Sierra Burgess is a Major Controversy

Catfishing Is Not OK And "Sierra Burgess Is A Loser" Is Not Either

This movie definitely sends the wrong message.

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"You catfished me, caused me to almost be killed during my football game, kissed me without my consent, and faked being deaf, but you know what? You are exactly my type."

Catfishing:

lure (someone) into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona.

The new Netflix original film, "Sierra Burgess is a Loser" has spiked quite the controversy on social media. There was a bit of anticipation for this film, given that we were shown a trailer that showed a plus sized girl as the lead. Most movies and shows tend to show thin girls to be the leads, so this was a nice change, and I think many girls felt as though they could possibly connect to this film and the character.

Unfortunately, the movie was not all it was cracked up to be in the trailer. From the trailer, we see what the overall premises of the story is: unpopular plus sized girl catfishes cute jock, reveals herself eventually, and they live happily ever after. From the trailer alone, many would think that the plot was decent. Yes, catfishing people is wrong, but hey, it's a movie! Crazier and more messed up things have happened on film. Just this simple plot point was not enough to spark controversy. Many people feel insecure about themselves and will pretend to be someone else online. While it is wrong to do and harmful for both parties, it happens. I think this is the reason why people did not give the trailer a second thought; we are used to seeing catfishing happen! I mean, MTV has a whole show about it after all.

I watched the movie myself about a week ago. The first half of the movie is decent. Nothing too crazy happens, there is some mild humor, and characters are being introduced. This first half could not have prepared me for what would happen next.

Here is a quick rundown of the movie: Sierra Burgess, the main character, puts up a sign at school to offer tutoring services and adds her phone number. Mean popular girl, Veronica takes down the sign and takes it with her (for some strange reason). Cute jock from another school, Jamey sees Veronica and her friends at a diner and asks for her number. Veronica gives Jamey Sierra's number that she conveniently had in her bag. Jamey texts Sierra, thinking she is the cute cheerleader from the diner. Sierra continues texting him, never revealing who she is. For some strange reason, Jamey says, "I know who you are, Veronica!" Letting Sierra know who he thinks she is. The reason I found this strange was that Jamey asked for Veronica's number IN PERSON! Of course, he knew who she was! He literally met her! After this, things get complicated and this is where all this controversy stems from.

Sierra offers to tutor Veronica on anything and everything to impress her new college "boyfriend" who said she was not smart enough if she agrees to help her catfish Jamey. The two begin working together and they end up facetiming Jamey. Sierra talks, Veronica mouths the words. I thought this was as far as that little charade would get, but no! It gets worse. Jamey calls Sierra and asks her (well, Veronica) out on a date. She agrees to go and has Veronica go on the date, while she sits behind them in the theater.

After the date, Veronica and Jamey are talking in front of his car, and Sierra comes in and hides under the car to listen to the conversation. She tells Veronica what to say the entire time, then the unimaginable happens. Jamey wants to kiss his date, shocking! Veronica asks Jamey to close his eyes for the kiss, then Sierra pops in and kisses the kid for a couple seconds, still covering his eyes. He was extremely confused but went with it. Non Consensual kissing is okay I guess? He had no idea he was kissing a girl he had never met.

Later on, Sierra and her best friend, Dan are picking up trash around a park when they see Jamey and his little brother playing catch. Dan intervenes in the games, trying to make conversation with Jamey. Sierra runs up to them and begins to sign, and badly. She signs, pretending she is deaf. I found this to be beyond messed up. She had no idea how to sign and she was faking a disability just because she didn't want him to hear her voice that would expose her. We find out that Jamey's little brother is actually deaf in this scene, which makes what she did even worse, in my opinion.

Sierra goes to a party with Veronica, overhears that her college boo, Spence, only told her she was dumb to make her feel insecure and sleep with him, sees her go off with him, and only calls her once to warn her. After the poor girl slept with this jerk and was dumped the next day, she decides against telling her anything at all. What a great friend!

A few days later, Sierra and Jamey's schools have a football game. Jamey is the quarterback, Sierra is in the band, and Veronica is head cheerleader, a perfect group for a Taylor Swift song. Anyway, Jamey walks off the bus, sees Veronica, and kisses her, right as Sierra walks by a window and sees the two locking lips. She walks off angrily and Veronica pushes Jamey off, not knowing what to do in the moment. Sierra hacks into Veronica's Instagram, and posts a picture of Veronica and Spence mid-makeout, with the words, DUMPED OVER DM on it, and showing the direct message. The whole school sees this quickly and they even put it on the big screen. Jamey sees the screen, gets distracted, and is tackled, receiving injuries.

The most messed up thing about this whole film is that despite all that Sierra did to both Jamey and Veronica, and Dan, her best friend who she forgets about, they ALL forgive her after she writes a song about her being a sunflower, not a rose. Jamey takes her to homecoming and kisses her and Veronica sees her at the dance and hugs her like nothing had happened. She did not deserve this perfectly happy ending! She did not even directly apologize to either person or show any regret for doing what she did. Also, the movie focused on the fact that Jamey liked her despite her looks, not for her in her entirety, which is a whole other topic, but overall, this film had way too many messed up things in it for my taste.

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The 9 Eras Of Disney Animation

The evolution of Disney animation over the years
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As a kid I always loved movies, and no movies did it quite for me like Disney movies did. Whether they were old or new, there was something about Disney movies that just spoke to me. The music the characters, the stories-- they all helped to shape some of my fondest childhood memories and are responsible for many of my interests and beliefs today. But what I always found most interesting is the history behind these films, how the time they came out influenced their themes and meanings. So today I’ll be exploring just that-- the nine eras of Disney animations.

1923-1928: The Silent Era and the Origins of Disney

The history of Disney begins with the Silent Era. In 1923, Walt Disney, working for Laugh-O-Gram studios out of Kansas City, Missouri, created a short film called Alice’s Wonderland, which would serve as the first of the Alice Comedies. After the company declared bankruptcy, Walt moved to Hollywood, where he and his brother Roy formed Disney Brothers Cartoon Studios. They worked out a deal with Winkler Productions to produce the Alice Comedies and eventually, in 1926, moved their company to Hyperion Street, where it was renamed Walt Disney Studios. After the decline of the Alice Comedies, Walt created his first ever original character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and produced 26 short comedies starring the character before a falling out with Charles Mintz, who had by 1928 taken over Winkler Productions. Legally, Oswald belonged to Mintz and his company, so he took the character and four of Disney’s animators and started a new animation company, Snappy Comedies.

1928-1937: Pre-Golden Age and Mickey Mouse

The Pre-Golden Age saw Walt recovering from the loss of Oswald and also set the stage for Disney as we know it today. In 1928, Walt, in collaboration with Ub Iwerks, created a new character that he originally named Mortimer Mouse. However, his wife didn’t like the name, so he renamed him Mickey (I think we can all agree this name is much better). Mickey made his first appearance in 1928 in a test screening of the short film called Plane Crazy. However, the film failed to pick up a distributor, so Walt went back to the drawing board and created Steamboat Willie, which was released in 1928. The film was an immediate success due to the fact that it was the first cartoon to feature synchronized sound and established Mickey as the mascot of Disney. After this, a series of Mickey Mouse cartoons were released. This series also saw the introduction of many Disney staple characters, such as Minnie Mouse, Pluto, and Goofy. Donald Duck, another iconic Disney character, first appeared in Disney’s Silly Symphonies, a series of animated short films that were popular for their innovative use of Technicolor. With this, Walt had successfully bounced back from the hardships of the Silent Era and set the stage for the Golden Age of Disney.

1937-1942: The Golden Age

The Golden Age of Disney began in 1937 with the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The film was the first full-length feature film to use traditional animation and was an immediate commercial success, establishing Disney as one of the leaders of animated filmmaking. Other films that were released during this time include Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, and Bambi. Although all of these films would go on to become considered classics, at the time of their release only Snow White and Dumbo were commercially successful. What made this time considered the Golden Age wasn’t the commercial success of these films though, but rather the trends they created in terms of Disney filmmaking. Snow White was the first of the fairytale-based movies that Disney is known for and established the “Disney Princesses,” Pinocchio started the concept of taking well-known literature and turning it into a child-friendly film and Bambi explored the possibilities of making a movie through the eyes of a non-human character. Other Disney staples such as exaggerated villains, the use of music and prominent, comedic sidekicks were first introduced during this time as well. Another key characteristic of the films of this time was the inclusion of many dark scenes, which were usually sandwiched between upbeat and light scenes in order to create a mood shift. A similar, toned down version of this techniques would also be used in later films.

1943-1949: The Wartime Era

With the U.S.’s entry into World War II, Disney Studios faced lower budgets and a smaller team of animators as it entered the Wartime Era. Also known as the Package Era, the films of this time included Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, Fun and Fancy Free, Melody Time, and The Adventures of Icabod and Mr. Toad. What made these films distinct from the Golden Age films is that instead of telling a single, continuous story, these films consisted of multiple short films within each. These films are largely ignored and widely unpopular, with fans criticizing them due to their lack of consistency and tone in each short. The Wartime Era also Disney Studios producing wartime propaganda, which included anti-Nazi commercials and flyers encouraging Americans to support the war.

1950-1967: The Silver Age and the Death of Walt Disney

Disney’s Silver Age, also known as the Restoration Age saw the return of many of the trends set forth by the Golden Age of Disney. Films released during this time include Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Sword in the Stone, and The Jungle Book. What made these films distinct from its predecessors was the use of more ornate backgrounds and softer colors. Furthermore, the Silver Age also saw the use of lighter themes balanced with more complex characters, creating many of the well-known characters that are still considered fan-favorites today. The Jungle Book was the last film that Walt himself worked on before his death in 1966, and the movie’s release marked the end of the Silver Age

1970-1988: The Dark Age and the Decline of Disney

Hope you guys have a flashlight ‘cos we’re about to enter a dark place, or rather a dark age (see what I did there?). The Dark Age of Disney, also known as the Bronze Age, saw Disney Studios struggle to find their footing without Walt there to hold the reins. This was a time of trial-and-error in which the animators shied away from traditional storytelling tropes seen in the Golden and Silver Ages and instead shifted toward darker and more secular stories. Films released during this time include The Aristocats, Robin Hood, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, The Rescuers, The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, and Oliver and Company. With the exception of The Great Mouse Detective, which was both critically and commercially successful, most of these films only received little success, with The Black Cauldron being a box office flop. These films lacked Walt’s imagination and were criticized for only being intended to bring in money. The greatest criticism of these films was their departure from traditional animation and their use xerography. This saved both time and money, allowing animators to directly print their drawings onto cells. However, this process did have its limits and initially only black lines were possible using this method. As a result, films during this era are known as “Scratchy Films” because of the heavy black lines in their animation. While these films weren’t initially successful upon release, many have gone on to become cult classics. Also, the Disney Dark Age helped set the foundation for the pinnacle of Disney animation

1989-199: The Disney Renaissance and Birth of the Millennials

If you’re a millennial like me, then most of your favorite Disney moments and films likely come from the Disney Renaissance. The Disney Renaissance saw a return to the musical fairy-tale storytelling seen in the Golden and Silver Age while at the same time expanding on many of the themes and techniques introduced in the Bronze Age. Films released during this time include The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mulan, and Tarzan. These films were also the first films that Howard Ashman and Alan Menken worked on, both of whom are key elements to Disney’s musical success. The films during this time also had many important themes that would influence the current views of millennials; Beauty and the Beast and The Hunchback of Notre Dame taught us not to judge people by their appearances; Mulan and Hercules taught us the importance of making sacrifices; and Aladdin taught us that there’s nothing wrong with being ourselves and that the circumstances of our birth don’t have to dictate who we grow up to be.

2000-2009: Post-Renaissance Era

Also known as the Second Dark Age, the Post-Renaissance Era was unique in that whereas previous eras were marked with having a common theme about them, this era was defined as a time in which Disney tried their hands at new methods in storytelling, similar to the Bronze Age. Films from this time include Fantasia 2000, Dinosaur, The Emperor's New Groove, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Lilo and Stitch, Treasure Planet, Brother Bear, Home on the Range, Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons, and Bolt. These films explored new storytelling elements marketed towards kids and more mature themes marketed towards the kids that had grown up during the Disney Renaissance that were now teenagers and young adults. While Lilo and Stitch was a commercial success, spawning several sequels and a T.V. show, most of the other films released during this time only received moderate success. This was in part due to the fact that they also had to contend with huge movie franchises like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Despite not doing as well as their predecessors, the films released during the Second Dark Age are well known for their innovation. Dinosaur was the first Disney film that used CGI animation, which would become a popular element of this era’s successor.

2010-present: Marvel, Star Wars, and the Second Disney Renaissance

Just as a Renaissance followed the first Disney Dark Age, a Second Disney Renaissance followed this Second Dark Age. Also known as the Revival Era, this era marked a return to the fairy-tale storytelling seen in the Gold and Silver Ages as well as the first Disney Renaissance. During this time, Disney bought the rights to Marvel and Lucasfilm, meaning they no longer had to worry about trying to market their films toward older audiences since the MCU and Star Wars did that for them. Films released during this time include Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Winnie the Pooh, Wreck it Ralph, Frozen, and Big Hero 6. Like the first Disney Renaissance, the Second Disney Renaissance built off several things introduced by its predecessor. Tangled, for example, used the CGI techniques first used by Dinosaur. Most of the films of this era have been met with great popularity, with Frozen being the highest grossing animated film of all time and Big Hero 6 being the highest audience-rated film of this time period.

And there you have it, the nine eras of Disney animations. I hope you guys enjoyed reading about the history of Disney and its growth through the years. I personally loved writing this article and look forward to writing more like this one.

Cover Image Credit: Travel and Leisure

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7 TV Shows And Movies To Look Out For Summer '19

Honey, you've got a big storm coming.

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I am thoroughly convinced that summer 2019 is THE season of new and highly anticipated content. If you don't believe me, just look at this:

1. Stranger Things ​​(Season 3) 

The third installment of the 1980s sci-fi thriller comes out this July 4th and fans are counting down the days as they wait. Need I say more?

2. Black Mirror (Season 5)

Head over to Netflix RIGHT NOW because the fifth season of the fan-favorite unnerving tech anthology just came out. I already binged the whole thing and I highly recommend. Plus, your old favorite pop princess might make an appearance. ;)

3. Men in Black: International

Oh yeah...your favorite alien franchise is back.

4. Toy Story 4

Let your inner-child shine as the fourth installment of the heart-melting toy-centric movie series comes back to grace all our movie theater screens.

5. Big Little Lies (Season 2)

FINALLY! This past Sunday, the 2nd season of the widely popular drama was released on HBO. Even though we've only seen 1 episode, it was amazing. Plus, Meryl Streep just joined the already star-studded cast -- how do you beat that?

6. Spider-Man: Far From Home

Your favorite Spiderman (Tom Holland) is back and better than ever. This time, Peter Parker sets off on a European adventure, and I don't know about you, but I can't wait.

7. The Lion King

Donald Glover, Beyoncé, and Seth Rogan...what could be better? The live-action remake of a childhood favorite is finally bound to hit theaters this July, and it's going to be epic.

So, get ready to plan your movie/TV binge days because you DON'T want to miss these.

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