Just Another Cliche

Hadassah Lavianlivi EXTRA CREDIT

Movie: Not Another Teen Movie

Yes, this movie is exactly what the title states: just another cliche teen movie about a popular high school kid and a  dubbed social loser. This movie is meant to be a sum-up of teen movies through out the ’90s, but if those cliche teen movies already exist and people make fun of them then why exactly would a production company waste time and money just to make a mockery?

The movie follows a group of ‘cool’ teenage kids who rule their high school and want to have fun at the expense of less popular kids- DUH, and a bet is  made that the most popular guy can get the geekiest girl in school to fall for him. Wow! What a great lesson to teach impressionable teens: it is okay to lie and embarrass other teens who are less fortunate than them just because they can.

Throughout the film, the popular guy actually begins to like the so called loser girl and realizes she is actually gorgeous under her thick black glasses. Yes, all it took was removal of a pair of glasses to make her into a ‘hot chick.’ This is not reality and just a terrible example for kids; it does not teach self acceptance and uniqueness, rather only an acceptance of a certain standard of beauty. Eventually, the popular guy grows closer to the girl and his old friends become distant; to get him back they tell the girl the truth about the original bet – yay! the climax of this monstrosity- and she is mortified in front of the whole school.

Towards the end of the film, scenes bounce between the girl and boy who miss each other despite the ridicule and dishonesty. Eventually, the movie ends in a cliche airport scene where the boy apologizes and professes his love to the former geek. And they live happily ever after. Well at least that is how the movie ends. So yes, this was just another teen movie  we did not need.


Hadassah Lavianlivi           Medium: Instagram

Instagram is a social media platform that has the ability to connect millions of people around  the world by sharing photos, videos, ‘how-to’ tutorials, and constant content updates on everyday living. In a world where everything about everyone is online, Instagram has become a way for regular people and celebrities to keep up with the millions  of  people out there; especially for celebrity fans, Instagram photos give a glimpse into celebrity everyday life.Over the recent years, many people have used Instagram to gain a social following and have turned into ‘social media stars’. Instagram is an App, that is downloadable for smartphones and electronic devices. People can create their own accounts while also following others  to see what  they post. Recently, Instagram has become an advertising platform as well using celebrity endorsement posts and sponsored ads on user feeds to rake in millions of dollars. Instagram is the face of social media and only continues to broaden the way we connect online.

Since Instagram is a social  media platform the aesthetics are extremely pleasing and it has a huge social following to prove how enjoyable the App is for users. The App is basic in the sense that  people can post content and interact with each other, but the beauty of Instagram is that each person can create their own unique aesthetic/theme for their  profile. There are many different types of pages that people enjoy following like: beauty, fashion, food, and fitness to name a few. Instagram is not just a social  media platform but a universe of its own.

The celebrity world caught wind of how social media- specifically Instagram- has gained such a huge following and they have invested in creating profiles to be more connected and relate-able to fans. Celebrities and  lifestyle gurus are the highest followed profiles, for example: actress/ singer Selena Gomez is the most followed person on Instagram in the entire world with 107 million followers. However, on a small scale, Instagram is a great way to just keep in touch with distant friends  and family. I know that personally I spend many hours exploring the content on Instagram and I always seem to find new interesting things to follow.

The great thing about Instagram is that it tracks personal use, so it can gear content towards what the user enjoys. Every page is different; depending on  the person. The ‘explore page’ feature offers users the opportunity to reach out to new people and  new experiences. Recently, Instagram added a  ‘story’ component to the App where  users can  add short video clips for their followers to watch throughout the day; the stories delete within  24 hours so new ones  can be re-posted with new updates. Instagram is without a doubt addicting.

There are both positive and  negative aspects and themes that resonate with Instagram. Positive aspects being the ability to keep up with distant friends and family, the ability to find  motivational and influential people to follow, and the ability to enjoy a great compilation of content as a whole. However, sadly with social media comes a huge ‘standard’ controversy about beauty and influence. Many people post things that are  considered to mainstream people as unobtainable beauty and lifestyle standards which could have negative affects on people-especially impressionable teenagers. People see photos on Instagram an assume they need to live up to certain standards which are really unhealthy and unreal. People forget that photoshop, filters, and even paid sponsorships could be huge factors behind posts that they become obsessed with emulating. Many young teenage girls see these ‘beautiful’ models and media influencing women and think they must look like them to be happy or to post the ‘perfect’ picture. There are many accounts that endorse cosmetic surgery and other ways to become ‘perfect’; these negative influences have greatly impacted today’s society. However, on the bright side, there are many accounts and activists devoted to promoting body acceptance and healthy body image with a realistic way of life. Instagram is a double edged sword.

Instagram is the leading platform for social media without a doubt. Millions of people have found Instagram to be the best and most enjoyable way to keep in touch with the world while finding inspiring people to follow along the way. There are aspects  of the App which have torn society apart with its beauty and lifestyle standards and  expectations, but hopefully in the future the App can be a place filled with only positive and enjoyable influences and content.

American Hero

Hadassah Lavianlivi   Feature Film: American Sniper

American Sniper is a Drama film surrounding the life of one very courageous and deadly Navy SEAL: Chris Kyle. The film is mainly an adaptation of Kyle’s memoir: American Sniper; along with the input of his family, friends and film writers. Kyle joined the army at an older age but became one of the world’s most deadly snipers throughout his military career. Like other soldiers, Kyle’s duty was always to his country and brothers in arms; living by the motto: no man is ever left behind. He fought many dangerous tours in Iraq and even  killed an infamous Islamic sniper from a remarkable 2,100 yards away. It seems that Kyle was comfortable overseas; war was where he belonged, but home is where Kyle had to continue his emotional fights with PTSD and save what was left of his marriage. Sadly, Chris Kyle was killed on February  2, 2013 by a fellow solider who was unwell and seeking help from Kyle. Chris Kyle defined an American Hero.

This movie was obviously made with a high production value as well as an A-list cast. The aesthetics of  the film were amazing: it appears that the movie was filmed oversees  in a place that ,without a doubt, resembles the Middle East army bases accurately.The sound effects in the film were outstanding and truly gripping; every gunshot was heard and every moment of tension was felt within every scene. I believe the film won an Academy award for the sound editing in the film- that is testimony to how gripping each noise and movement was in the film. Since the film mainly surrounds the work of a sniper, the editing and cinematography truly made the viewer feel as if they were sitting along with Kyle on a stake out. The only shocking moment in the film was when a fake baby doll was used instead of a real one during a family scene in the States. For such an important and expensive film with real sets in the Middle East, using a fake baby prop was degrading to the movie and production.

The story is mainly told through the tours of duty and home visits that Chris Kyle endures during the course of his military career. The story progresses through dialogue with many different characters like Kyle’s worrisome wife Taya and his Navy SEAL friends. Since it is a war movie, tension and conflict continuously arise for Kyle and the SEALs throughout the film. Mainly, conflicted surrounds the Middle Eastern threats while on tour but there are significant conflicts with his family back home.

As a country who greatly respects their armed forces, this movie focuses on and supports many honorable values these soldiers acquire while on duty and personally as well. Loyalty, integrity, and bravery are just a few of the values these brave men and woman signify throughout the film. Friendship is a huge factor for Kyle and his SEAL team while on tour- no man is ever left behind. The love and support shown by military spouses is highlighted as well mainly through Chris and his wife; a great ode to the real support systems for our soldiers back at home in the States.

American Sniper is a film based around war in Iraq so there is a substantial  amount of blood and violence throughout the course of the film.

When it comes to the topic of minorities, Middle Easterners and people of the Muslim faith are portrayed in a negative light for sure. This obviously occurs because the film is largely based around Kyle and the US military fighting the war on terror overseas. There is a large portion of Middle Easterners who have no harmful intentions towards other faiths and countries, but the select few that do mean harm outshine the others- especially in this film.

Chris Kyle’s military journey with his SEAL team is truly a remarkable story of courage and love for America. A foundation was created in his memory to help returning veterans regain a normal life back in the States. Chris Kyle was an infamous American sniper but more importantly he was an American hero.





Raids of Glory

Hadassah Lavianlivi

TV show: Vikings- Season 1, Episode 1

Vikings is a drama series that portrays the historical myths of Viking legend. The show follows Ragnar Lothbrok, the first viking legend of old Norse history and his life journey to acquire fame, power, and wealth. His journey has many threatening and gory bumps in the road, but he has his faithful brother Rollo, his best friend Floki, his fierce wife Lagertha and their two children by his side. Throughout the course of the show, Ragnar acquires wealth and fame, but he continuously faces tremendous challenges within his family and friendships while trying to protect his newly acquired earldom and his Chritain friend Athelstan from many surrounding enemies. Ragnar’s world is full of twists and turns, his mind is ahead of the times, and that gets him into many difficult situations with the people around him.

In this episode viewers meet Ragnar Lothbrok and his family for the first time. At this point, he is just a simple farmer who is bound by Viking honor to his chieftain Earl Haraldson. It is the time of year for Ragnar and the vikings to go East and raid for their Earl, but Ragnar wants to go West. His defiance gets him into trouble, but in the end the Vikings do go West and obtain wealth while killing many along the way.

The aesthetic qualities of the show are impressive.It is obvious just by looking at the set design in this episode that a lot of time, money, and effort went into production for the show. Every detail seems to be thought out entirely, from the pots and pans in the street markets to the intricately designed braids in the women’s hair. Although there is beauty in the details, everything is very grey: the clothes, dirt and even the sky all seem to be the same color. It is understood that during the Norse time period things were very simple, but the lack of color does make the show a little flat. To some, the hue of grey may show how genuine the creators want to be when portraying the simple Nordic lifestyle. This all is viewer preference. Since the show is based in the Scandinavian region of the world, it is obvious that the creators wanted to give authenticity to the Nordic accent, but unfortunately there is not a unified accent between the characters. Each character has a different accent- British, Scandinavian, Australian- which ruins the the authenticity of the dialogue. The cinematography is fabulous, some of the scenes are shot so up close it feels as if the viewer is part of the conversation. For example, when Ragnar and his son Bjorn are in the field together the viewer feels as if they are standing right next to both characters during their dialogue. It appears that the creators did focus on the show’s sound effects, in this episode the viewer could hear every sword slash and scream during a battle scene or even the crunch of grass during hunting. Over all the aesthetics were pleasing with a few minor issue that took away from the authenticity of the episode.

The story is mainly told through the life journey of Ragnar Lothbrok. The episode primarily progresses through dialogue between characters. Conflict and tension continuously pop up during the episode, usually between Ragnar and another character like his wife, brother or the Earl. Viking raids seem to be the underlying foundation in the progression of story because each raid brings along more conflict and power for Ragnar.

Different values are exemplified but extremely undermined in the show. The Vikings believe in bravery and courage but the way they obtain those traits undermine their value. To vikings, bravery and courage are obtained by the willingness to fight and raid for wealth even though innocent people are murdered along the way. Leadership and power are “values” deeply rooted in the show: Ragnar wants to be the leader of the vikings, but instead of working hard for it he chooses deception and murder to obtain it. Although these values are being pursued in the wrong way, it does still show a great passion to achieve those valuable attributes which can be something to admire.

Violence is the epitome of this show, they are Vikings after all. In the episode, if Ragnar and the Vikings are not actually fighting they are thinking of the best way to fight and raid for more success. It is obvious that bloodshed does not phase them.

Unlike many periods in history, woman are of great value in the Nordic world. They are strong and powerful and even fight alongside the men during raids. Lagertha, Ragnars’ wife is the best representation of a strong Nordic woman. These woman can speak their own mind and are not treated like property or second class citizens.

Vikings is a unique show for those who enjoy learning about different periods of history.It has a huge fandom and is progressing into its fifth season. Whether myth or truth, Nordic legends are enticing.