In Hawaii, it’s beaches, waves, and Kahuku High School football!

by Jasmine Weng

Football is immensely popular in the U.S., but few in the Mainland know its cultural role on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Kahuku High School football draws thousands to Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, and on September 17 more than 2,000 “Red Raider” fans flew to Las Vegas for a game against Bishop Gorman, the number one high school in the nation. Gorman prevailed, but not the Kahuku spirit that is traced to ancient traditions of family, community, and excellent gamesmanship.

For those born in the North Shore towns, Kahuku football is the center of gravity. It owns the most championships, and sends the most players to the NFL. Red Raider fansweb1_20160822_kahuku_touchdown purchased the 2,000 available tickets for the Las Vegas game within an hour. The stadium holds 5,000 people and the Kahuku faithful had a huge presence in their red t-shirts as they waved Red Raider flags. Fans back on the island watched the game on TV or online in ritual gatherings in homes and eateries. Pounders Restaurant at the Polynesian Cultural Center streamed the contest for Kahuku fans while providing Kalua pork and other game “grinds.”

Pounders was packed that night with red t-shirt clad supporters, some wearing the classic Red Raider headband. Beyond Pounders, thousands found somewhere to watch the live stream. Fans rarely watch games alone as TV broadcasts become ignite luaus up and down Kamehameha Highway.

Although Bishop Gorman has a big budget and superior equipment, they’re no match for Kahuku spirit that echoes the ancient warrior legends; Devotion to the game may derive from ancient dance rituals. Service activities and community fundraising is often tied to football.

web1_spt-kahuku-spirit-1-300x200Aofaga Wily, a 21 year old Kahuku alumnus and football player says he felt like a celebrity while on the team. Even as a high school player, people sought his autograph and photo. “The attention did not make me big-headed or conceited, but made me humble and willing to be a good example for the younger generation”, said Wily. He expressed how football is a big influence on other players’ lives; it teaches hardwork, humility, and how to build a family with teammates. While Kahuku lost the game, they gained great experience by playing Bishop Gorman. Red Raiders of the North shore always hold their heads high; they are “Red Raiders for life.”

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The Black Eyed Peas’ “Where is the Love?”…Again!

by Daniel LeBaron

This reviewer was disappointed with a first listening of The Black Eyed Peas’ 2016 remake of “Where Is The Love?” known as “#WHERESTHELOVE ft. The World.” It was bland and lacked the energy of the original. If nothing else, it was “catchy” through techniques of technology. Later that day I couldn’t get the song out of my head, and since, it has grown on me.

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Although in theory it would be best to review this new release on its own merits there is no black-eyed-peas-where-is-the-loveescape from comparing it to its predecessor. Indeed, a knowledge of the original gives this new remake more significance. One can hear in this rendition a more somber tone. There is a weariness as if the artists are being tempted towards jadedness. Still they state bluntly the same questions as before reframed with greater recency. They want the world to wake up, look at themselves, and return to love.

The music integrates silence effectively. At times it is monotonous, at others funky. The diction of the lyrics is very clear. They have been updated along with images to reflect recent issues from police shootings to Syria. The message gets a bit more to a real, personal level than the original.

The new lyrics comment on the election “looking like a joke.” Elder Dallin H. Oaks recently echoed these sentiments at a BYU devotional when he called for more civility, mutual understanding, and a love for all. He said “The few months preceding an election have always been times of serious political divisions, but the divisions and meanness we are experiencing in this election, especially at the presidential level, seem to be unusually wide and ugly.”

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The song begins with a computer voice asking “Where is the Love?” This might represent the distance from our own humanity that has been the result of our digital age. Instead of using technology’s potential to spread understanding, mankind often uses it to argue and become more rigid in a preferred worldview.

Elder Oaks, continuing to speak about the ugliness of the current political climate said, “Partly this results from modern technology, which expands the audience for conflicts and the speed of dissemination. Today, dubious charges, misrepresentations, and ugly innuendos are instantly flashed around the world, and the effects instantly widen and intensify the gaps between different positions. TV, the internet, and the emboldened anonymity of the blogosphere have facilitated the current ugliness and have replaced whatever remained of the measured discourse of the past.” This sense that social and other new media has separated ourselves more from love truly informs the style of “#WHERESTHELOVE.”

Even if a listener prefers the classic they surely can appreciate the artistry behind this “update.”

Dancing with the Stars: “Lochte, look out!”

by Stephanie Soto

Ryan Lochte, a famed Olympic swimmer, got blindsided by two protesters during the first night of TV’s Dancing with the Stars. The protesters were protesting against Lochte due to Lochte’s lie he made during the 2016 Rio Olympics about being held at gunpoint at a Rio gas station. Lochte has now been banned from swimming professionally for the next ten months.

Lochte has been known for being a large partier athlete with his short lived reality show on E network and pictures of his extreme lifestyle popping up over the internet. The young thirty-two year old’s money and fame has been causing controversy for some time, but not on such a world scale.

Lochte had signed up to do Dancing with the Stars before the incident in Rio even happened. ryan_lochte_set_to_join-f87afebdba100f992fee5d2bff2884d3The protestors luckily never touched Lochte, but got all the way on stage to where Lochte was standing until tackled by security guards. This is not all, female protesters stood in the stands yelling boo and liar to Lochte on stage until fellow dancer, Derek Hough, told them to leave. Although the protest was a non-violent one, it still made a statement. Interviews from the cast and Lochte himself show that some thought it was a stunt, while others were upset that the protesters decided to make a fun family show about politics.

The protesters have gone on record saying they did it for America and wanted to show that Lochte is a liar and a criminal.

Lochte has gone on record apologizing for the incident in Rio, but people are quick to judge and not so quick to forgive. This makes me think of the verse Luke 6:37 “Judge not and ye shall not be judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned; forgive and ye shall be forgiven.”

Did Lochte do wrong, yes. Does he deserve to be harassed forever, no. People makect-ryan-lochte-protesters-dancing-with-the-stars-20160912 mistakes all the time, not on such grand a scale, but people make mistakes. Unfortunately, the money and fame does not make you any smarter or help you deal with situations more. Most seem to think it does – it is usually opposite the case.

Lochte will and has been reprimanded for what he did, but going onto Dancing with the Stars is not only putting Lochte in a difficult spot, but his partner and the rest of the dancing with the stars cast and crew too. This is not the best way to go about doing things.

We, as human beings, need to show forgiveness and compassion to those who have wronged us. Not to make them feel worse than they already do.

New Film on the Greatest Costume Designer, Orry-Kelly

by Kayna Kemp Stout

“Women He’s Undressed,” a documentary about Hollywood costume designer Orry-Kelly, may sound scandalous, but it’s a film that can be enjoyed by diverse audiences. Those who womenhesundressed3are fans of classic films will take notice of the many clips from among the 285 movies that Australian born Kelly has designed including Casablanca, Some Like It Hot, Auntie Mame, and Oklahoma. He left his small seaside village in the early 1920’s for New York City and landed in Greenwich Village and the bohemian lifestyle of an artist who hand painted ties to make ends meet. He got a toe hold on Broadway, which led to his first costume designing jobs for the lavish musicals popular at the time. He moved to Hollywood to be a part of the burgeoning film industry. He was hired by the Warner Brothers Studio and began living a lavish lifestyle.

For audiences who enjoy costume design, this documentary rewards with many behindveda-ann-borg-and-orry-kelly-ca-1937-in-women-hes-undressed-courtesy-of-wolfe-video-1 the scenes details about costume choices for a litany of stars during the golden age of Hollywood, such as Bette Davis, Greta Garbo, Barbara Stanwyck, Angela Lansbury, Ingrid Bergman, Marilyn Monroe, Katharine Hepburn, and Jane Fonda. Orry-Kelly possessed a masterful eye for choosing colors, draping fabric, and disguising the figure flaws and assets of the starlets who became his friends. His personal life as an out of the closet gay man had its share of drama during a time when that was expected to be kept hidden. His early co-habitation with Cary Grant was a carefully guarded secret even in his autobiography. Grant played by the Hollywood rules and requested that their liaison not be written about and Kelly obliged.  Grant was a pallbearer at Kelly’s funeral in 1954. The years of his life 1897-1954 provide a time capsule that illuminates Hollywood in its hay days. Interviews include Jane Fonda, Angela Lansbury, Catherine Martin, Leonard Maltin and Ann Roth.

“Chef’s Table” TV Series: Is Food God’s Greatest Gift?

By Stephanie Soto

Netflix Original Series’ Chef’s Table tells stories of exceptionally gifted chefs that shatter expectations and demonstrate struggle, success, and unbelievable perseverance.

Chef’s Table is a documentary series on  chefs from all over the world exhibiting their groundbreaking if not radical culinary delights.  Season Two features six different chefs, a few from America, with amazing stories.

Grant Achatz, the chef behind the mind blowing restaurant Alinea in Chicago, mixes science and food into a gorgeous work of art with floating sugar, tomatoes in the shape of chef-atala-chefs-table-1024x871strawberries, and endless innovative creations. Being in a position to create pursue his vision was the struggle, and a compelling part of the story. Achatz grew up in his family’s diner, and fell in love with food while studying with the best chefs in the country. Then, he defied ordinary fine dining, becoming a great artist of the dining world.  His dream met road blocks, such as stage-four cancer of the mouth. Doctors said he would likely die from the cancer or the subsequent surgery. He nearly gave up hope, until the University of Chicago offered a different solution to chemotherapy, but Achatz lost his sense of taste. This hurdle didn’t stop him; it spawned the idea to let others assist him in creating innovative dishes until he regained partial tasting ability.   This story of one man’s dream to defy the odds with his cooking and perseverance is an inspiration to us all. Perseverance shapes who we are and urges us on when things get hard. God is there as we push through the darkness toward a brighter day.

Dominique Creen, an adopted woman from France, made her mark in San Francisco becoming the first female chef to win two Michelin stars in America with her restaurant Atelier Crenn, named after her father. Her food is a different take on traditional French birthday_treatfood, that incorporates her childhood memories and feelings; it takes you back to times held most dearly. She wants her restaurants to help people feel at home, to bring them to her home, and make them family. Her menu is not traditional; it is a poem, that within each line, incorporates each dish in a new way. Success comes with a price, and while running her restaurant her father developed cancer. Due to her job, she could not see him until he passed away. Later, when her mother got sick, she went immediately to France to care for her. Creen’s dedication to her craft is admirable, but chasing your dream can not take over what really matters and that is family; a balance of the two helps you achieve your goals better than doing it alone.

There are more chefs in the series, each with a jaw-dropping amazing food to savor; each with a story of how they scratched and climbed their way to the top. Just remember, Mathew 19: “With man this is impossible; with God all things are possible.”

In “Sully,” worries are set aside for a miracle.

By Kayna Kemp Stout

The word miracle gets tossed around lightly these days in reference to diet pills, wrinkle creams, and even football victories. So there is always reason to be cynical when the media dubs something a miracle. However, after viewing the film “Sully”, I believe the media got it right when they called the incident, “The Miracle on the Hudson”.

The film, expertly directed by Clint Eastwood, gives viewers an insiders look into why the unnamed1emergency landing of the airliner by Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger is nothing short of miraculous. Much of the film focuses on the National Transportation Safety Board investigation of the emergency landing on the Hudson River after both engines are hit by a flock of birds shortly after take off from LaGuardia) Airport in NYC.

Could the disaster have been averted if Captain Sully had returned to LaGuardia? Computer simulations seemed to say yes. Sully’s training of 30 years as a pilot said no. The investigation hearings are stressful for Sully because he could lose his retirement pension if found negligent. While the 155 saved passengers and crew are hailing him as a hero, and the national media is touting him as a savior and miracle maker, the behind the scenes drama feels much different with so much at stake for Sully, including personal financial challenges concerning an outside business. He simply puts these worries aside, and focuses on the goal. Averting distractions is a God-given talent, or perhaps should be better developed in us.

1408319_1280x720-1Tom Hanks portrayal as a calm professional airline pilot is spot on as are the other leading performances by Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, Anna Gunn, Autumn Reeser, Holt McCallany, Jamey Sheridan and Jerry Ferrara. The film is not over when the credits begin to roll, so stay seated until you’ve witnessed the entire miracle.

New Thriller, “Don’t Breathe:” When Perpetrators become Victims

by Jasmine Weng and Daniel Stout

Don’t Breathe is a tense thriller about three thugs out to burglarize a blind man’s home. The stars: Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto and Stephen Lang; it’s directed by Fede Alvarez. Like the earlier film, Hush, it follows a similar plot line, only that instance a deaf and mute  victim has three killers to deal with instead of just one (Click the “Movies” page for  our review of Hush). In both, the criminals learn that skills of the blind far exceed their own. At a time of economic stress and fewer opportunities, Don’t Breathe is a mantra to fight on, stressing the hidden abilities of those considered less equipped for today’s challenges.

The victim takes down the first foe, and the cat and mouse game begins.  Good performances and a tightly written script make for edge-of-your-seat thrills. Those skeptical of the seemingly implausible plot, will delight in the edgy realism. Watching Don’t Breathe you’ll stop to catch your breath.

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Unlike Hush, the depth of the perpetrators draws empathy for them; good guys and bad guys aren’t easily discernible.  Rocky, one of the burglars, just wants to feed his daughter. Poverty’s pain is an underlying theme a la Hugo’s Les Miserables where a symbolic piece of bread can mean survival and, perhaps, a new start morally. Peculiarly, the impoverished might identify with law breakers.

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The gospel message is to act like Christ, and sacrifice for your loved ones. On the other hand, the blind man defends himself, conveying the second message: there’s always a way out, despite any disability; great is the will of the soul.  Never underestimate yourself or others, despite seeming weakness. Challenges develop the will; that’s a dominant theme. Don’t Breathe raises more questions than it answers. Plot lines may be closed, but not the dilemmas of hard times remain open questions.

“Ben Hur” remake falls short of the original

by Stephanie Soto

The classic story of Ben Hur has been reimagined in the 2016 remake Ben-Hur.

The story of Ben Hur is a story of revenge, forgiveness, and one man’s mission to return home.

Narrator Morgan Freeman, playing Sheik Ilderim, helps Ben Hur on his journey. We are introduced to Judah Ben-Hur played by Jack Huston as he races his adopted brother on horseback. This creates competition between the two brothers, an  underlying theme.

Ben-Hur is a Jewish prince sent to the gallows by his brother Messala played by Toby Kebbell , a Roman officer. This fuels Ben-Hur’s revenge stemming from wrongful torture

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Jack Huston plays Judah Ben-Hur in Ben-Hur from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Paramount Pictures.

of himself and family. The brothers’ differences are emphasized by their different beliefs, ranks, and birthrights. Their jealousy and rage against each other manifest the destruction of these emotions. In Mormonism forgiveness is taught as well as  letting go of the past. This, the brothers learn at the end, but not until each has endured suffering and loss.

Forgiveness is a key message. Jesus discusses it first. Yes, you read that right: Jesus is in the movie, and he shows mercy and compassion towards Ben-Hur which lights the spark that becomes  a flame of forgiveness against his greatest enemy. This is done differently then in the original; the audience sees Jesus’s face. In the first film only reactions to the Savior’s face are revealed.

In my view, leaving Jesus to personal interpretation gives the original more weight; it’s the story of an ordinary man, but in this version making it obvious takes away from the story. IIderim, the sheik played by Morgan Freeman, also shows compassion towards Ben-Hur after Ben-Hur escapes the galley. But, not without paying a price first. Ilderim sees that Ben-Hur needs to clear his mind or else he’ll be killed.

Ben-Hur finally displays forgiveness confronting Messala. Messala asks for forgiveness as well, but his story arc goes too fast for my taste; since there are only 30 minutes left it had a nice ending.

Although the movie has great effects and heart, it lacks scenes from the original.  For 3242fea800000578-0-image-m-19_1458155765196example, when Ben-Hur was in the ship’s galleys, he has a glare off with a visitor testing endurance, and which is expendable. I like this scene in the original because it shows that Ben-Her is driven only by rage; no matter what they put him through he didn’t care. In the remake, this scene is ommitted. A key character from the original is also missing in the remake, making the latter harder to understand.  The remake depicted the Battle at sea and chariot race exceptionally well, however. These are phenomenal works of CGI and point-of-view shots. You’re part of the action; it’s right in your face as the devastation, surrounds them. The remake also explains the wedge between Ben-Hur and his brother, developing the characters. The characters are multi-dimensional.  Most importantly, the reason Ben-Hur was banished is more believable in this version than in the original.

I give it 3.5/5 stars. It’s worth seeing in theaters just for the action scenes I mentioned, but just not enough to buy.

“Hell or High Water:” Cowboys, bank robberies, and Marx

by Danny Stout

961962_008 A good night of movie viewing is assured in the opening scenes. Lonely Texas towns. Barren streets and dusty horizons; a cerulean sky with billowy clouds. Then it takes off. Two young cowboys robbing banks. Two older sheriffs on the trail. Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Sherriff Jeff Bridges provide acting that suspends disbelief. Bridges burps, guzzles beer, and prefers to sit and talk. Talk includes the bank robberies and unrelenting ethnic slurring of his partner. Despite the idiocyncracies, he has a moral center.

Enjoy this as a heist crime film with Cowboy shoot-em-up action and car chases. Or psychoanalyze an old law man obsessed with the puzzle of the immoral mind. If the viewer invests more surgical analysis, we have a political piece that could be shown in a graduate class on Marxism. Intermittently, as the sage brush rolls by, we’re reminded that the banks have replaced the guns of the old west.

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Underpinning the story, disclosed at the start, is a desperate attempt to prevent the closure of a family ranch. This also illustrates the philosophy of John Stewart Mill. If morality is in the outcome not the act itself, viewers will root for the robbers. In the spirit of Steinbeck, “poverty is a disease.” But, if we think like that, Bridges insists, “It will haunt us forever.”

Colin Kaepernack Doesn’t Stand for Anthem: It Happened Everyday in the Sixties

By Danny Stout

Recently, San Francisco Forty-Niner Colin Kapernack, refused to stand for the National Anthem before a National Football League (NFL) game. Rebuking this public display of patriotism, Kapernack was immediately on the news agenda, earning attention from the New York Times, CNN, The Huffington Post, and the New York Times. Failing to stand for the anthem, salute the flag, or in rarer cases actually burning the flag, are not new in U.S. history of protest. What’s perplexing is the frenzied scrambling to cover the story, as if it’s never been seen.

Suffice it to say that eschewing civil rituals is newsworthy, given that it weighs values ofblackpower patriotism against free speech. For example, a constitutional amendment prohibiting flag-burning is proposed intermittently. Unfortunately, coverage has been incendiary in tone; the goal of the media establishment seems to be about high ratings, rather than the underlying social problems underlying Kapernack’s action. With less emphasis on the political issues themselves, an opportunity for real public discussions slips through our fingers.

Giving the cold shoulder to the anthem was particular salient in the 1960’s, ignited by athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City when they raised their fisted black gloves to the flag in support of civil rights. Not long after the Newark, NJ riots, many African-American students refused to salute the flag. When other students used the flag for a table cloth, arguments broke out in the cafeteria.

Such demonstrations are reflections of our times, and uncover salient dilemmas. A barometer of unrest so to speak. We ignore these roots of discontent at our peril. Thus, President Obama said almost off-handedly, Kapernack was simply trying to say something. How many, regardless of their political persuasion, are listening?