What I (And a Fellow Critic) Take Out Of Film Criticism

What I (And a Fellow Critic) Take Out Of Film Criticism

Movie reviews are surprisingly akin to the rest of our lives in many ways.

The inception of my interview with one Emerson graduate and film critic, Evan Crean, was incentivized by a project for the speech class in which I am enrolled. What began as a way to speak to someone in my future profession and get a grade became enlightening on a level above any letter marked on a sheet.

My first encounter with Crean’s work was back in December, a week before we were let out for winter break. Emerson was holding a film criticism panel with Boston Globe critic, Ty Burr, and the man I interviewed, Evan Crean. Crean graduated back in 2008 with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism, and shortly after found himself putting to paper his thoughts on film.

I took many a tip from Mr. Crean’s well-stated responses to my several questions. One such question requested the skills necessary to “make it” as a film critic. While most think of critics or reviewers as people who write their opinions, he expressed that the written word is not strictly the home of a critic's thoughts. Vocal communication is needed as well, especially for Crean, who hosts a brilliant podcast from his website. But aside from his podcast, he sat in on the previously mentioned film criticism panel at Emerson, in which he answered audience questions and spoke on criticism as a whole.

An equally important lesson I took from the interview was, in his words, “practice, practice, practice.” While even he recognized its now clichéd nature, he expanded, “The more you do it, the better you’ll get. Kind of like a muscle. With exercise, you build strength and confidence in your own abilities.” This is a fact not just for film criticism, but anything at all that you set your mind to. He then transitioned into the most formative piece of information he had to offer: be yourself.

That is, in itself, another rather clichéd statement. Who else can you be besides yourself? But it holds an immense amount of weight, especially when he divulged what that meant. He expressed that people will have differing opinions on your work, whether handled maturely and with constructive feedback in mind, or as a belittling child taking to the Internet to express their pent up aggression. Either way, stay true to yourself, because they are only your opinions, and opinions change. The personality that is brought into the review helps distinguish you from another. And like the last tip, this idea transcends film criticism to encompass most aspects of life.

Like most people at Emerson, I love film, and I love talking about film. But I am a writer first, so I’ve used my words to express my opinions on film via Odyssey, and on my own time. I believe film criticism is important. It allows your thoughts on a movie to be conveyed, while an audience has the ability to chime in, whether with their agreement or their denial of your claims. Either way, it opens up a discussion for one of the best mediums of entertainment: film.

I also believe that his website, which features a genuinely funny podcast and many different kinds of reviews, to be worthy of your time. Check it out, at reelrecon.com.

Cover Image Credit: http://moviepilot.com/LuisEnrique

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.

Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.

Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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How Art Can Help You Take Care Of Yourself

It's time to go on a date with yourself.


Art is a quintessential part of the human experience: it has something that has been present in human culture beginning from prehistoric times, from when human consciousness first entered the world. It is also something that transcends definition and intertwines with our play of life and the meaning of humanity. Art is an expression of feeling in its most ethereal meaning and "for fun" at its most basic.

Personally, as an Art History minor, art has been a dimension of life for me that I have explored deeply and holds a lot of meaning. Painting is a huge outlet and way to deal with stress for me, and appreciating fine art teaches me about the aspect of history and how all of history is tied together throughout paintings, sculptures, and photographs. It helps me center myself and remind me of the place I hold in this world and the curious aspect personal experience of history. However, art doesn't need to be the stereotypical idea of art: it can be expressed through dance, the learning of a new language, or the coloring of mandalas to ease stress.

The exploration of art and the artistic side of human nature is something that everyone has in them: it's written in our psychology. We have an entire side of our brain that is inclined toward feeling and abstract interpretation, so it's natural to assume that emotion and expression of art are intrinsically intertwined. Thus, experiencing art is a way to personally develop yourself, and can be an unfound way of finding out things about yourself.

Different ways to explore your artistic side can be very easy: as easy as 3rd-grade coloring books, coloring mandalas, or finger-painting. Recently, I participated in a lantern festival and being able to paint a small lantern was an amazing outlet from a stress-filled week and allowed me to express myself through something besides just communication. Writing is also another good way to express emotion and create art: many books are just art pieces, and can be another way to further develop yourself. Additionally, other small fun things like carving pumpkins (spooky season!) or even curating the perfect Instagram profile can be another way to express yourself.

Appreciating the small things in your life as art and self-expression help put you more in touch with yourself, which is easy to lose throughout the mundane cycles of college, work, and life in general. Keeping yourself in harmony and balance might seem like an earthy-crunchy concept, but self-care and self-love are vital in keeping the rest of your life ordered. Being mindful of yourself and your goals is something that I have always have had difficulty with, but working toward learning more about yourself is taking the first step.

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