Archive | Arts & Entertainment

Do It For The Kids

Posted on 09 February 2012 by Gus Lopez

Welcome back, Warriors. I hope that your break was as fruitful and productive as mine, by which I mean that you accomplished even less than I did and earned yourself a little extra time at the Rec. In all seriousness, I do hope I find you all well.

However, I must dispense with the pleasantries, and get right down to it. I am upset, Marquette. I am upset and hurt that despite a whole semester of my (rather opinionated) advice, I walked into my classes two Mondays ago, and was besieged by all of the things I campaigned against. Sweat pants with boots, rampant bacon-neck, and ill-fitting garments of all kinds. But, what struck me the most, were my fellow males. But, wait, maybe I should offer some clarification.

I’ll take a second to breathe, and explain the background to my ire.

I spent my CHRISTMAS ( I’m a proud Catholic) break split between COD, sleep, the gym, dressed-up dinners, and nights on the town. But one of my most memorable nights, was at dinner on Christmas Eve. I was invited by a good friend of mine to spend the holiday with her family, as mine was out of the country. It was just some cocktails and snacks at 8:30, so I wore some khakis, a white Brooks oxford, and a festive (yet modest) sweater. I arrived at her comfortable suburban home and was greeted at the door by her Father, who was also in a button-up, sweater, and slacks. We exchanged greetings and small talk as he took my coat and then walked me into the kitchen, where everyone had gathered. All of the Men were in a similar uniform to ours, sweater-vests, BB ties, blazers, and button-ups. I instantly felt at home among these well dressed Gentlemen, all of them I would find out were successful or on their way to it, my kind of people.

Now, I know. Maybe, you say, its just because it was a holiday. Maybe it was just to appease their Mothers and Wives. Maybe they hated the collars and cuffs. But, I disagree. These Gentlemen looked like they couldn’t have possibly been more comfortable in anything else.

After a few minutes of introductions, I found myself speaking to an uncle. We were discussing how I had been pleasantly surprised to not be over-dressed, which I explained was almost always the case on Campus. He nodded knowingly and complimented me on my tie, “few kids your age even own ties anymore, it seems.”

Suddenly, I was struck.

Warriors, he’s right. What happened to us, as Men? Raise your hand if: You can tie a tie. A bow-tie? Do you know what size sport coat you wear? Did you use an iron in the past week? Do you take pride in a good pair of shoes? Or, pants that fit just right? I know some of you do, and the rest…

I get it. We’re busy. Times have changed. The era in which every Man wore a fedora and knew a tailor by name… They’re gone. Replaced by Jordan fitteds and Affliction tee shirts. Hell, there’s a chance we’ve probably romanticized the whole history of fashion. But, I have another question to ask you. Do you own a pair of Wayfarer’s? The big sunglasses with the silver accent on each upper corner? You do? You know who else did? Michael Jackson, Audrey Hepburn, Bob Dylan, Buddy Holly, and John F. Kennedy.

Here’s my point. Classics, will always be classics. I wish I could convince you all to join me in class rocking oxfords, khakis, and casually knotted ties. We could go out on the weekends in slim dark trousers and a solid blazer. Forgoing the jager-bombs for three fingers of scotch. But that won’t happen. So, instead, I ask you all: as Gentlemen, my Brothers, let’s step it up.

Every generation leaves a handful of items for their sons and grandsons to bring back. Every generation has that one thing that will always be cool, that will always get our girls to smile when we wear it. Let’s make it a resolution for this year, to stem the tide of terrible clothing. Its not too late! We’ve just barely started the Tens’ (or whatever it is we’re calling this decade). We can make a promise to ourselves, right now, to show future generations that we took ourselves seriously. That although we liked to wear t-shirts and sneakers instead of polos and loafers, we had pride. Because that’s what its about. We look at pictures of the Roaring 20’s, and laugh at their high cut trousers and newsboy caps. But people still wear skinny ties! In 80 years, what will they think of us? Maybe they’ll understand that times were different, they’ll see pictures and nod knowingly, “Yeah, our great-grandparents really liked to be comfortable.”

Then, they’ll zip up their futuristic metallic jumpsuit, throw on some Wayfarer’s, and head out the door.

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Lady Warriors

Posted on 09 February 2012 by Gus Lopez

Hello Warrior-ettes! I promised my female readers a column last time and despite admonitions from my friends that I tread carefully, I want to keep my word, even if I have to be placed under witness-prevention. Now, Ladies, no one is going to deny that MU girls are classy (at least in comparison to UWM), but I have a few suggestions, take ’em or leave ’em.

Let’s start off by addressing an issue that I personally cannot come to terms with. Ladies: Tights are not pants. I’m sorry. Further, I refuse to believe that you all feel more comfortable in something that’s about as close to public nudity as I think society will ever get, over actual pants. I am 100% behind their utility as a layering item, but still, I think you’re all too classy to stroll into my Phil class in a crew-neck and tights. Please, just think about it?

If I get hate e-mails with the above, I might have to fear for my life with this next one: Sweats. Please believe me, I have my fair share of sweat pants, anyone who was in any way involved in their high school has at minimum four or five pairs of the things. And I acknowledge that every once in a while, an alarm clock mysteriously malfunctions and you arrive to Theo in mismatched socks, sweats that have “DANCE” on the butt, and praying no one talks to you because God only knows what your breathe smells like. But, that’s just how it starts. Once in a while becomes once too often. Next thing you know, you’re wondering why anyone bothers with jeans, and your classmates are edging away from “that girl with the crazy hair in the middle row.” Again, just food for thought, and I promise that if anyone catches me in a pair of sweats and calls me out, I will promptly remove them and walk to wherever I am going in my boxers. Promise.

Last, but not least, I would have to say my biggest beef is… Those MASSIVE purses you haul around. I’ll grant you that part of my animosity is a twinge of jealousy (how am I supposed to carry my monstrous smart-phone, keys, pen/pencil, some gum, a wad of crinkled cash, and whatever other junk that ends up in my pockets, without my flat-fronts looking like an overzealous chipmunk?) But still. Some woman nearly knocked me out with her duffel bag sized Coach. I swear if I carried a bag that big they’d make me check it when I fly. I do not see the aesthetic appeal in a woman carrying a bag rappers are known to transport sprite and sizzurp in. Actually, I once I saw a girl pull a 2-liter out of her LV. In class. You know what, on second thought, I’m not mad. I’m impressed.

Please, don’t think that I’m just hating on women or that I like to criticize and judge you ladies. I like to think I’m a decent person, albeit an opinionated one. I’m just a guy who likes to look good when he leaves his apartment. Not because I’m shallow, or because I like to be complimented, but because I want to present myself as best as I can. I think we all work too hard at whatever it is that interests us to not take pride in how we look. We should walk out our doors as often as possible with full confidence that the world will take us seriously. That’s my reasoning behind the above. Can I look at the girl that wears sweats every-other day, or the one in tights all the time, or the one dragging a luggage item around and have full confidence in them? Maybe you can. And if so, you’ll disagree with my column fairly regularly. Which is totally okay. Maybe I am just a superficial jerk. Either way, I’m still going to rock a polo when I could just wear a tee. There’s something about the way you dress that tells those around you how seriously you take yourself and what you do. I don’t want my lawyer coming to my inevitable defense counsel in what the average college student wears. It isn’t about the expense or decorum, Its about walking in looking like you know exactly what you’re doing.

So, there you have it. Stay tuned, ladies and gent’s, I have some things to discuss with the both of you next time. But until then, Marquette, keep your Swagg on.

Gus Lopez

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Too Tight

Posted on 09 February 2012 by Gus Lopez

Hello, my fellow Warriors, I sincerely hope that I find you all well, and I even more sincerely hope that your Valentine’s Day was worse than mine. But, let’s put that terrible holiday well behind us.

On to more important matters. I want to bring our collective attention to a plague which we really ought to address. Warriors, we’re getting a tad portly.

I will be the first to say, that the winter is rough on my workouts. I weighed in at a solid 169lbs this morning. A far cry from my generally acceptable 160. I know that dragging yourself to the gym during a Wisconsin winter is difficult, and there’s been very few days that I’ve wanted to throw on the Under Armour tights and brave a run in the frozen tundra. But given that this week we are looking at the nicest weather thus far this year, I think its fair to say, we need to hold ourselves slightly more accountable.

I walked into my 8am poli-sci class last week, and saw one of those things none of us wants to see. The girl who refuses to believe that her jeans may need to be sized up. There was muffin-top, my friends. A rather evident one, to say the least. It was almost fantastic, the proverbial train-wreck. It made me wish for some pastry to dip into my coffee, which was both funny and disturbing. However, the amusement wore off quickly. Ladies, This is one of the most grievous of fashion faux-pas. I have rallied against improper fit time and time again, and yet you ignore me. I know that it can be difficult to accept that something no longer fits, and I admit that ill-fitting pants are at least marginally better than sweats, but there are ways to avoid exposing this unsightly mistake. Firstly, a shirt that is of proper length is the most simple fix for this scenario. But, let’s say that you don’t want to just cover it up, and actively draw the eye away from your waist, a tee shirt or simple sweater won’t be enough, you’ll have to go for something that has texture or a pattern which angles up and away from your hips. A blouse with a ruffled neckline, or a button-up that you can tuck in will help.

Now, all of you gentlemen who have been snickering quietly, or perhaps not so quietly, you aren’t without rebuke. Gent’s, you have to start wearing shirts that fit.

I will always advocate a slimmer fit, and I will also staunchly stand by my theory that a shirt that fits properly and might strain a tad in the shoulders is preferable to a shirt that bunches and blouses. You’ll look fatter if there’s a huge swath of cotton folded over itself at your bellybutton. But, that isn’t the issue I saw just recently.

He was like a real, human personification of the comic book guy from the Simpsons. Or, at least, his stomach. And his Nike shorts. There was so much straining and stretching when he transitioned from standing to sitting that one could imagine a gymnast limbering up. Except this man wasn’t fit, in the slightest. I know a great deal of men who are on the thicker side, and can still charm the ladies as well as play a great game of ball. And often, what you wear can and does say a lot on your behalf, even if your beer belly doesn’t. But letting yourself go before your junior year of college isn’t a great sign.

Men, a tucked in shirt, unless you’re very seriously overweight slims you down, so long as it fits well. But, the easiest way for us to clean up our act in this category is actually trying things on before you buy them. Seriously, guys, try that shirt on. I doubt that many of us put on an obviously too-tight shirt, look in the mirror, and knowingly wear it out. But I know that once we buy it, there’s a need to justify it, so you con yourself into putting on what you ought not to.

I’ve never told people that they needed to be swim suit models, because we’re all actually real humans. But I think that we can all do a little bit to at least wear clothes that help us, and work with us rather than expose our faults. Common sense is key here, don’t have that extra slice of pizza at 11pm, and don’t squeeze into those jeans. We all know better, so use your head, and keep your swagg on, Warriors

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Springtime Warriors

Posted on 09 February 2012 by Gus Lopez

Warriors! We’re almost there, our salvation is in sight! That wonderful time that is SPRING BREAK is finally here! In the spirit of fun in the sun, I’ve got tips for your beach attire, and I promise not to poke fun of anyone. Well, not too much.

To kick it off, Gentlemen, I want to walk you through what I take to the beach. First, I think its wise to invest in a beach bag. Don’t get all macho on me, I’m talking about a backpack, not one of those canvas totes girls and liberals put their groceries in. I use a beat-up vintage Jansport I found at a garage sale for a nickel. Seriously. It was five cents. It was once probably a bright blue, but the vinyl has worn down several shades and along with the leather trim and straps, the patina this thing has is luxuriously awesome. It only has three pockets; a main pouch for towels, a shirt, and extra shorts. A medium one for sunblock, a camera, and inflatable arm floaties. And a zippered pouch for my wallet, keys, and phone. Go thrifting and pick one up. Second, you can never have too many towels. Bring two big ones to dry off/lie down and a little one for your face/hands. No one likes sand in places where it ought not to be. Pack an extra tee, or two. Since you’re at the beach, have fun with them. Few places are more appropriate for vintage t-shirts. Bright solid colors, or shirts from your high school/past events are perfect. On my feet I wear boat shoes, as a personal choice because I regard all sandals somewhat suspiciously. However, a sunny day on the water is the only place male flip-flops are acceptable, so rock ’em if that’s what you’re into. To keep from spending the whole day squinting, rock some shades. My preferred eyewear is a pair of wayfarers, or understated aviators. Again, you’re at the beach, so those wayfarers with the lime green frame are okay. I personally prefer tortoiseshell but lets be honest, I also wear ties to class. One compromise: please don’t be the guy with the mirrored lenses, those look stupid.

For the main event, ie, the shorts, we need to have an adult discussion. You are no longer in middle school. You are no longer in high school. Step away from the board shorts unless you can legitimately board. Long boards, skate boards, and boogie boards don’t count. Actually, unless you own a surfboard, know who the Wolf Pack is (hint: Not from the Hangover), or can perform a cutback: You can’t wear them. Period. Please grow up. Your teenage dreams of looking like Kelly Slater or riding the Pipeline during the Classic need to be discarded. I grew up in a surfing community, and we all think you look dumb (Okay, so my hometown is the world freshwater surfing capital, but still). Don’t be a kook (surfer for “wannabe.”) “No boardshorts?!” You scream, “Well then what should I wear? A thong? My swim team jammer?” No. Buy some swim trunks. “But, Gus, they’re so… Short.” Yes, they are. Build a bridge, and get over it. Our lady friends wear what is essentially underwear in public with few complaints, but we men freak out if people can see our knees. Even if you didn’t spend the last few weeks preparing to be seen in public and your abs are still hibernating, you will look good in your new swim trunks. Trunks don’t have elastic at the top to squeeze your gut into a mushroom and the short length will help to elongate your frame and slim your appearance. The colors and patterns being offered by designers often have this effect in mind. So breathe easy, I have your best interests in mind. Swim trunks don’t have to be too far from your comfort zone, have a little confidence in yourselves, and embrace adulthood. Remember, my e-mail is always open and I will be more than happy to suggest specifics if you’re lost.

Ladies, you just keep doing what you’re doing. I have few complaints in your department, other than the obvious. And even then, few things are prettier than a tan smile and a nice personality. If anything, I’ll ask for a touch more modesty than is the current norm.

Lastly, I feel like I shouldn’t have to mention this, but, Guys: No sarongs. This isn’t Tahiti (unless you are, in fact, in Tahiti. In which case do whatever you want). For the Lady Warriors, please don’t come back orange.

My fellow Warriors, may your break be everything your parents wish it wasn’t. Hydrate, party hard, soak up some rays, and keep your swag on. (P.S. If anyone will be raging in Texas, hit me up.)

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The Little Guys

Posted on 09 February 2012 by Gus Lopez

My fellow Warriors, I think its time for another of my calls to action, and this time, I promise not to offend anyone. Well, I promise not to try to offend anyone. My main issue here is our obsession with big brand names. Don’t get me wrong: I am a proud and happy member of the 1%, so don’t think I’ve suddenly gone off the deep-end and now hate corporations or something. I just think we all need to look at where we buy our clothes and evaluate if we’re happy with what we’re getting.

I have been incredibly fortunate to have a little extra cash after my “internship” this summer, as well as having had the great opportunity to spend some time on the East Coast (you’ll see that the East Coast has left a mark on me in terms of my style in coming columns). While vacationing at a resort on the Chesapeake, I realized I’d packed too lightly. I needed some basics, a shirt or two, some swim trunks, and a sweater, so we went to a small boutique named Khaki in Irvington, Virginia. I was immediately taken with their preppy items, which still maintained a practical aspect in keeping with the outdoor-leisurely lifestyle of the region. The flagship brand, exclusive to Khaki, is Jimmy and Sook. It is here where Khaki got me hook, line, and sinker. I needed a polo (don’t get any ideas, I had accidentally packed only oxfords) in order to hit the links with my friends. The owner of Khaki, Mr. Andy Smith, pointed me towards his most popular product, the Jimmy and Sook pique-knit polo. It is beautifully made, fits perfectly for an active guy, and the logo on the chest, a blue crab, is iconic of that area. On top of the styling, it was reasonably priced at $60. I got one in navy blue, and it is now a regular in my rotation.

What’s my point? My point is, we need to step away from the Ralph Lauren, the Gap, and the J. Crew, and look at other options for our attire. Why? Well, primarily, customer service. I still maintain e-mail correspondence with Mr. Smith, and when I asked about a crew neck he didn’t have in my size while I was in Irvington, he promised to ship it to me as soon as he had it. And he did, two weeks later, free of charge.

Andy knows that as a small business owner, his only way to compete with the big companies is to provide exceptional products at good prices, accompanied with a personal touch. And he isn’t the only one.

Rob Cardenas quit his corporate job in order to pursue an interest, he wanted to exemplify the Great Lakes style in a line of fashionable and quality products, so he founded Chicago Belt Co. He went live just a few weeks ago, but has already been featured in several blogs, and with good reason, his first handful of ribbon belts look great and when I tweeted at him a month ago in anticipation of his new products, he sent me some stickers, Croakies, and a hand-written note, thanking me for my support. I don’t think I’d be remiss in calling Rob a friend, and it is here where I go back to my original point. Customer service. Real, personal, service is what these new guys are all about. I purchased a shirt from Chicago Belt Co. and again, my order was accompanied with another hand-written note. When was the last time Brooks Brothers did that? I mean, BB routinely sends me the female catalogue instead of the male catalogue despite me being a loyal customer for years, and based on how much they tweet me, know I’m single

Another wonderful example, Nick Mannella, of Knot Belt Co. started his company after deciding a day job just wasn’t for him. His company now has over 30 ribbon belts in both D-ring and leather and a plethora of accessories available for purchase online. Nick is another prime example of great customer service and solid products. Based in Boston, Nick sends his products nationwide and has also been featured in several style blogs. Like Rob, Nick has also accompanied any order I’ve made with a note, a personal touch that I can’t stress too much.

You might think its just belts, but if quality polos are your thing, check out Cash Robinson Clothing, a horse racing inspired brand from Kentucky. Founded by Travis Robinson, Cash Robinson prides itself in small-batch apparel. Like small batch bourbon, each run is special and limited, and individual shirts are numbered within their batch. Travis started with only a small selection of colors in his polos, but has recently expanded into tee shirts and other accessories. The flagship Cash Robinson small batch polo is a pique knit and fits athletically, loose enough to be active, but loses no class. A solid product from a great company.

I stay in touch with these guys fairly regularly, via tweets or e-mail, and that brings me to my closing point. With companies like this, and many more (Chesapeake Ribbon, Southern Dignity, and Salmon Cove), the person who packs your order is the guy who started the company, the guy who runs their Twitter account. This leads to a level of caring on the company’s behalf that means the consumer gets the better deal. Maybe a belt from Chicago Belt Co. or Knot Belt Co. is pricier ($40) than one from Target. Maybe a tee from Cash Robinson means having to wait for shipping. But I promise you that these people CARE. And supporting them means supporting the dream many of us have, finishing school and starting the business of our dreams. With that said, Warriors, let’s support these guys, and keep that swagg on.

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Winter Warriors

Posted on 09 February 2012 by Gus Lopez

Whoa. The Holidays came up pretty quick… I feel as though only last week I was day-raging during syllabus week. But, alas, the weather has turned and our attention must now be on staying warm through the coming months. So, what I have for you this week is my annual guide for how not to look like a high-schooler once it gets chilly out. Warriors, listen up.

I have a life philosophy that the true hallmark of being an adult is being comfortable no matter what. I say that, because a truly responsible and mature adult has enough experience, income, and self-respect to dress, and behave, appropriately regardless of climate. The question is, how do we do that?

First. You are in college now. You will be expected to have professional attire, and that means you’ll need a nice jacket or topcoat. Gentlemen, you are especially guilty of this. If you have a job/internship interview in December, showing up in a shirt and tie means nothing if you wore a ratty hoodie over it (in fact, I think hoodies should be relegated as solely workout gear). Don’t give me that, “But, Gus, I can’t afford it!” baloney. I bought a great peacoat from Old Navy for $25 freshman year, and I still have it. Peacoats are warm, comfortable, and they’ve been around FOREVER. Believe me, it won’t be going out of style any time soon. One thing, though, if you’re going to wear a peacoat, or topcoat, over a suit… Please, make sure its longer than your suit coat.

Second. Unless you actively have snowboarding boots on your feet and are on a slope, you can’t wear those huge puffy gloves. Primarily, because it makes you look like a child. Go to the TJ Maxx downtown, and you can find nice leather gloves for about $15. Get them in brown, black looks like you’re going to murder someone and don’t want to leave prints. $15 is too much? Walgreens sells those knit-stretchy things for $2. Buy a pair in navy blue. Yes, I know that neither of the above are great for snowballs, but… come on. You’re 20 now. (If you really must throw snowballs, go ahead and bring the puffys.)

Third. Ladies, wear a coat. Wear real pants. And stop, please stop, wearing Uggs. If I see one more girl out on a Friday night shivering because a coat was “too much to carry,” I’ll lose it. If its cold, wear a coat. I get that it might not allow you to show off some skin… But maybe reevaluate your outfit, and overall outlook on life, if that’s the case. I know I’m fighting a losing battle on the leggings front, so I’ll just ask nicely, please understand they aren’t really pants. And, you do realize “Ugg,” is not an ironic title, right? They are, in fact, ugly. But seriously, I am a gentleman, and if you are cold I will gladly offer my coat. But understand that then, I’M cold, and less likely to buy drinks.

Fourth. For some reason, although only a handful of us are qualified to climb mountains, a North Face fleece is essentially required on this campus. I love all of mine, and its one of my go-to gifts for Christmas, so go ahead and drop the cash on that. But realize, there are other similar and more inexpensive options. Almost every retailer has a fleece on their racks and most are much less of a hit on your wallet. Don’t get wrapped up in a label.

Fifth, and finally, let’s say you have your own style, which I advocate and admire, and wearing a coat isn’t really your thing… Two words: Long. Underwear. It isn’t just for guys sitting in a tree stand anymore. Buy the silk/polyester kind that’s really thin and you can comfortably wear it under almost anything. No one can tell, and they’re fairly inexpensive (again, see TJ Maxx).

There’s no reason you can’t look good when it gets all Wisconsin-y out, just follow the above rules, and your parents will be pleasantly surprised when you make it home for Christmas. So, with that, I close out my last column of the year, I wish y’all all the best for the Holidays.

Also, Follow me on Twitter: @GusElTigreLopez, I’m generally amusing and sometimes it isn’t even offensive!

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Movie Review: “Anonymous” ***

Posted on 07 November 2011 by Kevin Benninger

To see or not to see “Anonymous:” that is the question. In telling the story of Shakespeare, one would hardly expect to find even close to the same brilliant dialogue, political intrigue or depth of human emotion that embody a large portion of Shakespeare’s work. Yet, it seems that writer John Orloff was intent on at least reflecting these features in his story about Shakespeare, or actually, the story about the person that some argue actually wrote the Shakespeare plays. Brilliant acting, intriguing plot and a wonderfully imagined London (including, of course, the Globe Theatre) bring the world of Shakespeare to life in ”Anonymous.” While it is a good movie, it is no “dish fit for the gods.”

To say that this story is “ahistorical” would be an understatement. The history in this movie is about as historical as Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The timeline, and the events are arranged to the plot in a very favorable way, and there were certainly many creative liberties taken with the historical portrayal of the characters. Despite how much these things may have bothered me, I had to remind myself (as I think others should) that it is a movie meant for entertainment, not a serious Shakespeare biography that answers whether he did or did not write the plays for which he is famous. Even with the obvious inaccuracies, I still found the story to be tremendously entertaining. Shakespeare the drunk, Ben Johnson the jealous and Elizabeth I as a lustful young woman are all intriguing portrayals of historical figures never seen quite in this same light before. If one truly disregards the inaccuracies and takes it as the entertainment that it is meant to be, it is really a fun movie.

Rhys Ifans leads the cast as Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford and the proposed “true writer” of the Shakespeare plays. Along with David Thewlis (Harry Potter films) as William Cecil and Joely Richardson (The Patriot, Nip/Tuck) as the young Elizabeth I, the film has a solid cast. Edward de Vere’s story is one of politics, betrayal, lust and the struggle to express the human soul above all else. As it turns out, despite having the inheritance and heredity to become one of the most powerful men in England, de Vere chooses to be a writer. Despite all that the film entails, the story sets out to show that the power of the words are more important than the politics or violence that surround it. In fact, without giving anything away, it is in one of the scenes where Ben Johnson finally tells de Vere what he thinks of his writings, where one of the most emotional exchanges in the movie takes place.

“Anonymous” has some bothersome flaws besides the inaccuracies, however. The introduction and departure of various characters without much explanation or characterization is a bit overwhelming at times. Also, there was significant room for development of Robert Cecil’s character and his relationship with de Vere, an interesting aspect of the story that seemed to be ignored for too much of the film. Overall, though, it was a highly entertaining take on the true history of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry. So, back to our question from the beginning, and here is my answer: “Anonymous” is a flawed but entertaining film. I say, see it.

by Kevin Benninger
[email protected]

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Milwaukee Film Festival: Date Night ****

Posted on 09 October 2011 by WarriorAdmin

The Milwaukee Film Festival is one of my favorite events in Milwaukee. If you haven’t gone to any of the films in the festival in the past, make sure you try to attend in the future. It is really great when something like that is right in your city. If you are a student, it is something you must attend before you graduate. Not only does the film festival allow people to see films they otherwise would not (low budget, foreign, etc.), but it is also allows people to access another almost forgotten side of film, a side that shows that film is more than just entertainment – it is, or at least can be, a legitimate form of art. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend much of the Film Festival this year, but I did get the chance to see a great selection of short films entitled “Date Night.”

In “Date Night,” each short had its own unique flavor and style. They were only truly united by their focus on romantic relationships that tended to be perverse or dysfunctional. Beginning with the brilliant “An Evening with Emery Long,” the story of one middle-aged man’s comical attempt to make meatloaf for his first “date” with his co-worker, and ending with the minute and a half Spanish short called, “The Screamers,” the short film collection was entertaining all the way through. One highlight was the second to last film, “Gayby,” about two friends, one a gay male and the other a female who has given up on relationships, trying to make a baby together. This plot is just one example of the creative twists on relationships that was prevalent throughout the shorts.

Probably the most creatively filmed and edited of all the shorts was “Animal Love.” Featuring Selma Blair (“Cruel Intentions,” “Hellboy”) and Jeremy Davies (Daniel Faraday from “Lost”) as two strangers who arrange to meet up using a date website. Although they seem to meet purely for sexual purposes, it becomes apparent that both characters are actually two lonely individuals looking for something more. The film really shines in the way it is presented, including a dating game show style introduction of the two main characters and a few shots through the point of view of a runaway pet guinea pig. Complete with music by (appropriately) Animal Collective, “Animal Love” was certainly a highlight of the short films, and a great mix of originality and flawed romance.

Overall, “Date Night” was a lot of fun, especially for the couples in the audience. My only complaint was that it dragged a little during the French film, “Dear Abbot,” which was disproportionately longer than the other films and could have been cut about five to ten minutes shorter. Still, I enjoyed each film for the creative ways they presented love, relationships, religion, sexual orientation and even baby-making. The variety in “Date Night” makes it a fun and unusual movie-going experience. It is just one of the many jewels the Milwaukee Film Festival can bring to this city.

by Kevin Benninger

[email protected]

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Dress to impress

Posted on 09 October 2011 by WarriorAdmin

Well, Damn. Another year has come and gone, and now I’m a senior. So I guess that my advice bears even more weight, especially to my new Warriors, the class of 2015. This one is for you, so listen up.

What is the number one thing on your mind right now? People. Guys and girls alike are both concerned with meeting new people so they can share the epic nights with good friends. How does that connect with my fashion column? I have advice that will make that easier! Here’s the scoop: Be MEMORABLE. Guys, let’s handle you first.

The number one way to get a cute girl to remember who you are when you awkwardly encounter them in McCormick on Monday afternoon is to be the best dressed guy there. I promise to walk you through the nuances of fashion as the school year continues, but right now I have some hard and fast rules. One: Don’t look like a bum, ditch the sweatpants. Two: Seriously. I will mock you if I see you in sweats. Three: A clean polo and a pair of dark jeans take no maintenance and set you apart from the forty other guys in ragged tees and basketball shorts. Four: Ties, collared shirts and nice pants can be worn WHENEVER you feel like it. Randomly dress up one day; I guarantee at least one person will inquire, and that’s a great opportunity to make new friends. I live by the motto, “Everyday is bow tie optional.” I’m not saying you have to pull out some Vineyard Vines, but pick one day a week where you pull out the stops and you will see results. Five: You can get away with a lot of fashion quirkiness if the item fits properly and is clean. What separates a bum from a hipster? A shower and a sizing rack. And finally, Gentlemen, there’s no such thing as being “overdressed.” Always look as if you’re going somewhere better. Example: I wear button ups everyday. Why? Because I am an adult, and because it makes people mistakenly think I’m important. Men, if you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you do good.

Ladies, I want to make one thing clear. I believe that every single one of you is selling yourself short. I think you should all look stunning at all times. Not because I’m some sort of chauvinist who wants a fashion parade on campus but because I think that looking like a million bucks is a key to making a million bucks. Understand, I am not saying you need to wear something skimpy, ask any girl who knows me. I would rather see my future girlfriend (still single, ladies) in a nice blouse and skinny jeans than in some of the trash I’ve already seen a handful of girls stumble out of Colbeen in. You want a guy to notice you? Look gorgeous, but keep it classy. If you have to keep pulling down your skirt or pulling up your top when you’re out on Wells… Do you really think that the guys you meet will remember your pretty smile, or the words that are coming out of it? Equally important is what you wear to class. That cute upperclassmen you’re crushing on probably owns the oversized crew-neck sweater you yanked on with your leggings. If you walk into class dressed looking like a professional there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get treated like one.

I’ll wrap it up, I know the guys want to get back to COD and the ladies have Glee to watch.

I get it. You’re too busy to dress up all the time, and that’s fine. But realize that you are setting habits for your futures as actual grown-ups with actual jobs. Actual jobs where your boss and coworkers will judge you based on your appearance. Remember that.

One last piece of advice. I get it, college is a new thing and your biggest concern right now is partying, followed not-so-closely by academics. Ask anyone who knows me, I heartily advocate having fun… But then again I also spent some time on academic probation. I leave you with those parting words, until next time. Warriors, keep your swagg on.

by Gus Lopez

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Tom McCarthy delivers a ‘winning’ film with “Win Win” (****1/2 rating)

Posted on 26 April 2011 by Kevin Benninger

As much as I try, I can find little wrong with “Win Win.” Written and directed by Thomas McCarthy, most recognized for his work with both “The Vistior” and “Up,” this film exhibits his great understanding of simple human interaction and emotion. In an age of so many BIG films, the epic emotion displayed in movies like “Inception” and this year’s “Battle: Los Angeles” seems almost too easy. What about the little guy? What about the emotion most people can really relate to? McCarthy masters this without trying to be too deep or existential, which is so common with small budget films.

“Win Win” is the story of a struggling attorney and high school wresting coach, Mike Flaherty (played by the always fantastic Paul Giamatti), whose misguided attempts to support his family leads to a new relationship with an unexpected visitor named Kyle (Alex Shaffer). When Alex shows up at his grandfather’s house, Flaherty’s life becomes much more complicated. Having been granted guardianship of Kyle’s grandfather, Leo, through some quasi-illegal dealings, Flaherty finds himself caught up in the family affairs of the troubled Kyle, his recovering drug addict mother, and his dementia stricken grandfather. Encouraged to house the boy temporarily by his wife, Jackie (Amy Ryan), Flaherty discovers that Kyle is actually a really sweet kid and an incredible wrestler who might just be exactly what his downtrodden wrestling team needs.

The acting in “Win Win” is superb. Newcomer Alex Shaffer plays a perfectly quiet and deadpan Kyle who struggles with definite domestic issues. He is especially charming through his interactions with Flaherty’s daughters and his friendship with the nerdy Stemler (David Thompson). Amy Ryan (star of “The Office” and “The Wire”) does a fantastic job as Mike Flaherty’s wife and moral support throughout the film. Also worth mentioning is the laugh-out-loud comic relief from Flaherty’s best friend, Terry (played by Bobby Cannavale), who takes particular interest in the wrestling team once Kyle joins as a way of getting over his failed marriage. Then, of course, there is Paul Giamatti. ‘Nuff said. Most importantly though, the actors manage to keep the film real and relatable as intended by McCarthy, and this is where the success of the film lies.

Overall, “Win Win” is a near perfect film. While it lacks the grandeur of bigger box office pictures, it deals perfectly with its subject matter. McCarthy manages to capture the subtleties of emotion and personal revelations that come out of simple human events and interaction. From scenes depicting the farcical interactions in a civil court to those that involve the characters sitting at a table and eating pancakes without any spoken words, “Win Win” depicts real emotion and the joys of everyday life. Backed with an original song by the The National, this film is the complete package. I hesitate to give the movie five stars because it did not blow me away, but with great acting, great music, and well developed characters and plot, “Win Win” is a win for the makers of the film, and a win for the audience.

by Kevin Benninger
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