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To anyone that read my tasteless, needless and generally horrible article on the 1996 murder of Hopkins student Rex T. Chao, I am extremely sorry. Making light of someone’s death in the context of Halloween was an idiotic and insensitive decision. I apologize for making light of a real life tragedy that had such a grave impact on the campus.
Editor's Note: The first paragraph of this article has been deleted. The writer has apologized for the insensitive tone of the piece. Read his statement here.
Sitting here listening to ‘90s rap, I wonder how I am supposed to describe Don Hertzfeldt’s acclaimed 2012 animated film It’s Such a Beautiful Day. I watched this movie mostly because it was relatively short and I had heard some good things about it.
It is probably fair to say that most people have some idea of what The Exorcist is and what it is about. However, if you have the mind of a tween and refuse to associate yourself with anything “old,” here is a brief plot. The film tells the story of a single mother and actress named Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) who, along with her daughter Regan (Linda Blair), personal assistant Sharon Spencer (Kitty Winn) and a live-in maid and servant, are temporarily living in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. However the film does not begin with the introduction of main characters Chris and Regan.
Thankfully, here at The News-Letter, we have perfected Minority Report-style preemption and are capable of fulfilling your needs before you are even cognizant of them. Yes, you are indeed welcome. We are the thought police and we know exactly what you are thinking, but in a friendly, non-dystopian way.
The premise is simple: Movies are expensive, Netflix is cheap. So this column will be serving up criticism of all the things you should be watching on Netflix and, on occasion, this reporter might scrape together some money and muster up the courage to go to a theater. Hopefully, the tone of this lands somewhere between Hunter S. Thompson and A. O. Scott, but readable works just as well.
Perhaps a quick preface: drugs aren’t cool–mostly– and it would be difficult to argue that cocaine, the esteemed schedule I narcotic, has offered anything positive to the human race. However, its nefarious trade makes for great cinematic context, as the creators of the Netflix original series Narcos have shown their many avid viewers. The show’s first season was met with largely positive reviews and drew a following amongst Netlfix users. Riding that wave of success, creators Chris Brancato, Carlo Bernard and Doug Miro released the second season of the show Sept. 2.
The world celebrated the ninth annual Record Store Day on Saturday, April 16. The festivities, which occur on the third Saturday of April, honor independent record stores. This year, The News-Letter decided to mark the occasion by reaching out to Celebrated Summer Records, a local store, for an interview and some insight into independent music culture. Owner Tony Pence spoke about the store and his relationship with music.
Netflix unveiled a brand new season of the Canadian mockumentary show Trailer Park Boys on March 28. The show, which is now in its 10th season, debuted on the Showcase network in 2001 and came to a close in 2007 at the end of the seventh season. The series was then revived in 2014, and Netflix started streaming it the same year. The show’s three leading actors, John Paul Tremblay, Robb Wells and Mike Smith along with their production company, Swearnet Pictures, were responsible for the reboot.
On Saturday, the Johns Hopkins Film Society screened a selection of student-made short films as part of the annual Johns Hopkins Film Festival. Its Baltimore Student Filmmaker Program featured a collection of films directed by local aspiring filmmakers. The contributors were largely college students with the notable exception of high school student Ruby Miller, who attends the Park School of Baltimore. This section is a new addition to the festival, now in its 22nd year.
On Thursday, March 23, the Program for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality at Hopkins hosted director Malaika Aminata for a screening and discussion of her 2015 documentary Not About a Riot. The film follows the events of the Baltimore Uprising, specifically between April 23 and May 1. The movie was shot by Aminata, a Morgan State University graduate and Baltimore resident, and was developed and produced independently by the director and others. As the title implies, the documentary avoids any depictions of the violence that occurred during this time period. Instead, Aminata’s film directs its attention to peaceful demonstrations, non-violent protests, impromptu concerts and artistic gatherings. Music features prominently in the film, especially in an extended scene dedicated to a small rap show set in front of a row house.
March 31 will mark the beginning of the 20th annual Johns Hopkins Film Festival. The festival is curated by the Hopkins Film Society (HFS) and will feature three screenings of feature films and a collection of independent exhibitions.
Baltimore’s Charles Theatre is currently showing the Hungarian film Son of Saul in the wake of the film’s Oscar victory in the category of “Best Foreign Language Film.” The movie, which is director László Nemes’ feature film debut, follows a Hungarian-Jewish man, Saul Ausländer, as he navigates the living hell of Auschwitz.
The movie was directed by Rick Famuyiwa and tells the story of three Inglewood teenagers who, in their battle against adversity fought from the depths of social exile, get involved with some drugs — not in the after-school special sense, just in the sense that it’s an issue. The cast is headlined by Shameik Moore as Malcolm, a geek with a passion for the ‘90s. He is flanked by Tony Revolori and Kiersey Clemons as Jib and Diggy, his best friends as well as fellow neon and flattop fetishists. The three are picked on for doing what Malcolm calls “white things,” like skating, studying and having a punk band. They also all have ridiculous amounts of fashion sense: crop tops, denim and primary colors have never looked so good.
Barnes & Noble hosted David Linden, author and neuroscience professor at the School of Medicine, on Feb. 16. Linden read from and discussed his recent book Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart, and Mind, published last year.
The Peabody Library is currently hosting an exhibition on parts of John Barth’s personal library. Barth has written novels such as the National Book Award winning Chimera. The author was born and raised on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and maintained ties to the state, especially the Chesapeake Bay, throughout his career.
The Center for Africana Studies hosted a reading by three poets and contributors to the recently published anthology The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop on Feb. 8.
Atlanta rap group Migos released a follow-up to their classic mixtape Y.R.N (Young Rich N****r), not to be confused with the also classic album Y.R.N. (Yung Rich Nation), in late January. Creatively called Y.R.N 2, this newest tape is yet another step in the meteoric rise of the trio compromised of Quavo, Takeoff and Offset. Migos has created their own flow and their own slang. One of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, Cam Newton, does their dance, the dab, every time he scores a touchdown — what a time to be alive. Moreover, comedian Dess Nice has argued that this group is better than the Beatles.
At a school students know to be demanding and stressful, a comedy show may seem improbable. The Intersession class on stand-up comedy offers an escape from the norm, with students’ comedic efforts culminating in a public show in which they deliver their four-minute routines in front of the Hopkins community. The aptly-named Intersession Stand-Up Comedy Show was on Jan. 29, a week later than planned due to winter storm Jonas.
Remember when Netflix was just a company that sent DVDs to your house in weird envelopes and not a production powerhouse that churned out great television? Neither does anyone else. We are all busy watching their shows on Netflix Instant.