Family: Central Theme of the Fast and Furious Franchise

By Toni Yee

Family is the heart of Mormon theology.  Eternal family, extended family, – it comes in many forms.  But, rarely do we consider fast car families. The “Fast and Furious” movie franchise, however, maintains its core family theme through the recent installment “Fate of the Furious.” Fancy cars and drag racing are only part of the story. Family lends support, and can be drawn on by anyone in the most unusual circumstances . Even the urban race culture.

According to Michelle Rodriguez (Letty), a franchise star, the family theme fate-of-the-furious-filming-locations-jagcan be traced back to Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) Vin Diesel. “It’s something that came out of Vin’s mouth where he didn’t like the line that was there. At the end of the day, the movie is all about family.”  Throughout the 16 years of furious movies, one little ad-lib by Diesel established the idea that anchored the franchise. Your upbringing makes no difference. It doesn’t matter if your childhood was stable. If you’re willing to search, family can be found in many forms, just like the urban one in “Fate of the Furious.”  The premise is that humans are inherently drawn to family, and it doesn’t have to be traditional.

In “Fast and Furious Six,” Vin Diesel says, “You don’t turn back on your family, even when they do.” Despite their trials the characters stick together as a family in the end. Even though they encounter misunderstandings and arguments, all of the films repeat the family mantra over and over again.   In “Fate of the Furious,” however, Vin Diesel choses a path without his family. This is dome at his peril as is our lives are also at risk when we choose to go it alone.

Everything was going so well with Toretto’s family then all of a sudden, Cipher, a villain, tempts Toretto to turn his back from his family which he does. He is blinded with the consequences of his decision as he falls under Cipher’s spell.  Suddenly Toretto sees hismaxresdefault son, reminding him of the wonderful support family offers. Despite the influence of Cipher’s team, he reunites with the family reclaiming the satisfaction that brings.  Toretto’s family still welcomes him despite his sins.  “You don’t turn back on your family, even when they do” Toretto utters in “Fast and Furious Six.”  He thanks family members for their foregiveness.

A dominant theme of the Fast and Furious franchise is that despite our poor choices,  it is never too late to get back on track. Our family will always be there for us even when stray.  Toretto chooses to go rogue for a while, but later he realizes that family matters most. It may not be blood relatives, but friends can turn our to be even more loyal and loving if we invest in the group.

Trials and temptations are inevitable, but the lesson of Fast and Furious is that it’s up to us how we handle them.  No matter how hard life gets, family is all that matters in the end. As Diesel says, “I don’t have friends, but I have family.” A family awaits all us. But, perhaps not in the places we expect.

 

 

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LDS Students Size Up Power Rangers

By Myck Miller

For many the TV show Power Rangers was one that dominated the children of the 90s. These same children, now adults were ecstatic to hear of the production of the newest addition to the Power Rangers family. Rita-Repulsa-EW-e1461076145709The excitement was there, the technology was available, and yet many of BYU-Hawaii’s students were not happy with the result of the movie. Was it the anticipation? Could it be that the past can’t be replicated in the present? Whatever the answer is the BYU-Hawaii student body was not happy with the movie and voiced their opinions about where the movie went wrong.

Landin Hayter, a senior majoring in Political Science said, “my hope was that this movie was going to take me back to my childhood and give me the satisfaction that I once had as a kid. The problem is that the expectations that I placed on the film were too high and it ended up coming up short.” Landin later explained that much of what he loved as a kid now is no longer a form of entertainment. Many can remember those Halloween nights with one of the most popular costumes being Power Rangers.

When asked about what went wrong with the movie, Dave Johnson, a junior majoring in accounting said, “the plot wasn’t clear and the acting was terrible.” He later added, “I had a serious issue with the flow of the movie. 6084779ce2255704f927c668d4fbe3e8d7fa0b3bIt lagged on forever and when it was time to morph and get the action rolling the movie came up short. I expected the action to be like the superhero movies but it didn’t live up to the hype.” Much of what the students said about the movie had to do with the pace. Power Rangers had the expectation of living up to the hype of so many of the superhero movies that are currently in production. When BYU-Hawaii students were asked how it compared to the Marvel and DC comic movies the overall consensus was, “NOT EVEN CLOSE!”

Although the college students weren’t fans of the movie they did add that the movie may appeal to younger children and is a family movie. BYU-Hawaii students however are not fans and hope that if there is another movie in production they learn from the mistakes of this film and try to pattern the sequel to something similar to Avengers or the Christian Bale batman movies.

“All the Light We Cannot See,” A Novel for the Pensive Mormon

By Daniel Stout

Anthony Doerr’s “All the Light We Cannot See” is in the slow-read category, but not in the monotonous sense of the word. On the contrary it is a lively fascinating book; it just demands a thoughtful pace. This reviewer is drawn to the pensive reading experience where a page-a-day can be immensely satisfying. That is if one adheres to Anna Quindlen’s thoughtful reading concept. Reading is in the mind, and some books let the imagination wander. All the Light is such a book.  Mormons that enjoy perusal of a sentence followed by gazing-out-the-window rumination should enjoy this tale. If you’re lamenting the lost art of thinking, allow Doerr’s artful prose to come to the rescue.

51wG7x-S+0L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_It is the tale of two teenagers in World War II France: A blind girl and a male member of the Hitler youth. The latter figuratively eyeless. These are disparate worldviews, but their lives eventually converge. The merge of mindsets not only makes a good story, but forces the reader to confront delicious dilemmas avoided in our religious lives. Why don’t we recognize the limitations of authority?  What is it about evil that makes it so difficult to discern?

It’s a novel about life’s ironies.  Happiness is somehow drawn from contradiction, and ultimately there is no happiness, only an arduous journey.  All the Light holds a mirror up to our journeys eliciting reflection of readers’ earthly sojourns. It raises more questions than it answers, but that that’s the goal of the author. It’s a a book to think with.

I had heard that All the Light was a literary achievement, but was unprepared for the elegant use of metaphor and well-crafted writing. Varied sentence length and brevity are but a few of the peruser’s delights. Doerr’s artistic workmanship is present in line after line. Take this sentence, for example. Four words, but a hundred interpretations:

Still night. Still early.

Ultimately, it is a book about the paradoxes of nature, i.e., so nurturing yet so cruel. Doerr schools us on a vital subject.  ________-__-____-2644Life may impair us, but never obstructs our drive to uncover love in its dark recesses.  Read this novel, and don’t be afraid to take a year.

 

“Parrot Heads:” The New Trop Rock Film

Former Eagle Timothy B. Schmit, coined the the term “Parrot Head,” a reference to fans of the rocker Jimmy Buffett. Parrotheads don tropical shirts, sunglasses, and grass skirts; jimmy-buffett-2015-ab2c8ca49025539csome bring inflatable sharks to concerts and even haul in sand to simulate a beach in parking lots. The new Netflix documentary, “Parrot Heads” transcends the foundational; it’s a look at “Parrot Head 2.0,” which has spawned an entire rock genre, “trop rock.” Trop rock bands and festivals are a vestige of Buffett culture, supporting an argument of this blog that this is truly pop culture religion.

If religion is reduced to belief, community, and ritual, the Parrot Heads qualify.  Songs elicit feelings about tropical paradise and the need for escape. florida-keys-trop-rock-playlistConsiderthe song, Fins; fans sway in unison and repeat various hand movements.

Parrotheads advocate a simple life that respects nature; many support environmentalist causes. It’s a search for a laidback lifestyle and the reclamation of spontaneity, which they find missing from a nine-to-five, overworked society. Many Parrotheads are critical of institutions; Buffett himself has a particular aversion to authority.These communities are neither superficial nor ephemeral. Parrotheads exist outside the concerts through parrothead clubs, informal gatherings and websites.

imagesThe documentary is riddled with compelling facts such as $42 MILLION raised FOR CHARITIES. Parrott heads  DONATED MORE THAN THREE MILLION HOURS OF VOLUNTEER TIME SINCE THEIR INCEPTION 25 YEARS AGO. What could be more religious than that?

The Church, Suicide, and “13 Reasons Why”

By Dylan-Sage Wilcox

Suicide is one of the hardest topics to address, yet a young adult novel written by Jay Asher in 2007 tackles this important issue. “13 Reasons Why” has been adapted to film for Netflix. The story follows the aftermath of the death of Hannah Baker who takes her own life. She leaves behind a series of cassette tapes that explain the thirteen reasons why she killed herself, she explains in these tapes that each character in the story had contributed to her decision. The main character, Clay Jensen, discovers the tapes in a box delivered to his home shortly after Hannah’s death and finds out he was one of the thirteen reasons why the suicide happened.

“Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers,” the website’s synopsis of the book said. The series on Netflix has already been popular with young adult audiences.

Mary Leishman, in her review of “13 Reasons Why” said, “This is important because it brings awareness to the issue and shows 4860c887-4fc1-4ff1-a8d5-f29c4d510589the warning signs that you can look for in someone who is contemplating harming themselves. This story is phenomenally written and brilliantly directed.” Leishman, who also attempted suicide in high school added, “I have heard a lot of speculation that this story is ‘unrealistic’ and for some it may be, but to me this felt like I was watching a TV series of my high school years on Netflix and it was extremely real.”

Although there are some who see “13 Reasons Why” as an attention-grabber to one of society’s most important issues, others felt that the series’ use of graphic language and other extreme elements, such as rape, made for a distasteful experience.

“I have watched the first few episodes and will not be continuing the series… I don’t understand why they have to include such graphic betrays and so many swear words in movies (and books). I stick to young adult fiction and even that is starting to have the same graphic and vulgar things that the rest of it does. Very sad,” said Stacey Hilderbrandt.

In recent years, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been addressing suicide Thirteen-Reasons-Why-thirteen-reasons-why-10661875-1458-2244and the affects it has on families who deal with it. In an article produced by the Church, they write, “Suicide is a global public health issue that can often be prevented. While it is a complex situation with no single cause, the risks can be reduced when family, friends, ward members, and mental health professionals come together to help those who are struggling. Everyone can play a role in suicide prevention and should learn the risk factors and warning signs.”

 

Logan Slashes, but that’s OK

By Myck Miller

MPAA ratings have always been what has limited the X-Men characters from reaching the legitimacy of their characters as presented in the comic books. Hugh Jackman over the course of 17 years has starred in eight movies prior to the release of what is expected to be his last role of Wolverine in ‘Logan.’ With the R rating is there concern to go out and watch this film? The answer is undoubtedly, YES!

This film differs from old X-Men films in the sense that the action is more intense and less fictional as presented in other Marvel films. Let’s be real, Wolverine has razor sharp metal claws. backgrounds_logan_outerDo you really expect him to shave people’s mustaches and not kill people… With Deadpool’s immense financial success, Fox gave director James Mangold the green light to go all in on the R ratings. Don’t worry there isn’t anything too awful that would make you reconsider who you are as a person. However, if you don’t like violence this may not be the movie for you. In this film Logan openly comes out and attacks as a Wolverine is expected to do. Scenes of him bisecting heads and punching through skulls was the main reason for the film getting the rating that it did. There are some scenes of small strays of female toplessness which only adds to the R rating. Profanity also was a factor in the film receiving its rating as the F word was used definitely more than once throughout the film.

The film is set in the year 2029 with the implication that the mutants and X-Men are no longer in society. There seems to have been no mutants born in the last 25 years which begs the question, are they going extinct? Some subtle clues are dropped as to the reason for the Wolverine-collage-1X-Men no longer being a factor. Some of those reasons were the rise in villains and their destruction of the former super team. Logan is now an old man working as a limo driver to try and support himself and Professor X. Both are getting old and no longer have the power they once had and as a matter of fact their powers are the reason for their suffering in old age. Out of all the X-Men movies this is full of pain and sorrow. It is definitely the most depressing of all the movies and the characters are sad throughout the whole film. This is what makes it unique as it goes against the standard for Superhero narratives. We see the flaws and the weaknesses of superheroes even though we place them on a higher level than anyone else. This realness gives the movie a separation from others and is the reason why it is so great.

New Joe Cocker Documentary: “Who was that guy, anyway?”

Mormons, when hearing the name, “Joe Cocker,” are likely to draw a blank, unless you’re an LDS child of the sixties. What Zoobie can’t sing, “With a Little Help from My Friends,” or as Cocker wails, “…from me friends…” in that instantly recognized Cockney – that is Cockney so heavy it demands a translator.

Unlike the 1971 film, “Mad Dogs and Englishmen,” the new Netflix – produced, “Joe Cocker: Mad Dog with Soul”  joe2is no meager concert film.  Yet performance footage compels, and to our liking, songs play for more than thirty seconds. While paling in comparison to the more mature “Eagles History,” and Peter Bogdonovich’s “Tom Petty: Runnin’ Down a Dream,” there is much here in terms of the compelling question, “Who was Cocker?” Filmmaker John Edgington lays it out there for fans to pass judgement.

Universally, he’s considered the “nice guy.” Shockingly though, Cocker leaves a trail of friends in the dust once their value wanes.  Stunning is Woodstock organizer Michael Lang, who invests a career in Joe, only to feel the cold shoulder of abandonment – not even a returned phone call for decades.

Few watch the Woodstock performance without sensing genius. Rasping wails and spastic arm movements. Joe_Cocker_-_Festival_du_Bout_du_Monde_2013_-_003Starred boots pigeon-toed in. Yet how far should a “single-single” carry one? “With a Little Help” is like Pure Prairie League’s “Amy;” the band would do it ten times if they could. Making things worse, it was a Beatles cover. Cocker had other songs, but few are likely to endure. As for the “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” project of the seventies, success was more Leon Russell’s than Joe Cocker’s. See the new autobiography of the Ban’s Robbie Robertson of you doubt Russell’s superior songwriting.

Jennifer Warren aka the “Love Lift us Up Where we Belong” one-hit wonder may have turned Cocker into the Truman Capote of rock. That duet kept him in the Chicago and Rod Stewart cohort of “never-to-make-it-to-stage-two.” Like Oskar in Gras’s novel  “The Tin Drum,” the infant genius never progresses.

The documentary is not polemical; the gravelly-voiced Cocker is left to the viewer’s judgment.  One thing can’t be debated; Cocker left it all on stage. Every note got his best effort. But, is that enough

LeFou Pas: Outrage sparks over gay character in Disney’s ‘Beauty in the Beast’

BeautyAndTheBeastPicture.jpeg 

The debate over LGBTQ+ tolerance escalated when Disney’s Beauty and the Beast included a gay subplot for a supporting character, LeFou, played by Josh Gad. Petitions were shared online in order to boycott the movie. In response, the LGBTQ+ community sounded off against the petitions creating a social media stir.

Before the highly-anticipated live-action remake of the 1991 story tale classic even hit theaters, with a total of $170 million on opening weekend, controversy circulated on social media about Disney’s choice to have the first openly gay character debut on the film.

According to an interview with British gay lifestyle publication, Attitude Magazine, the film’s director, Bill Condon, says LeFou is “somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day, wants to kiss Gaston.” LeFou is a companion of story antagonist, Gaston, the latter tries to court Belle, the film’s protagonist, while the former tries to subtly do the same to Gaston.

LeFou has short one-liners that reveal his homosexual orientation to the audience, such as a song he sings “No one’s quick as Gaston, no one’s slick as Gaston / No one’s neck is incredibly thick as Gaston / For there’s no man in town half as manly / Perfect, a pure paragon / You can ask any Tom, Dick or Stanley / And they’ll tell you whose team they prefer to be on! / Who plays darts like Gaston? Who breaks hearts like Gaston? / Who’s much more the sum of his parts like Gaston? My, what a guy, that Gaston!” The film shows moments of comedic relief where LeFou hints towards his pent-up feelings toward Gaston.

The “exclusively gay moment” Condon says is sending out a message that “[homosexuality] is normal and natural – and this is a message that will be heard in every county of the world, even countries where it’s still socially unacceptable or even illegal to be gay.” The gay subplot didn’t sit well with those who held traditional views of marriage, taking to the internet to express their disfavor of the character.

Petitions were setup online in opposition to Disney’s green light on LeFou’s sexual orientation in Beauty and the Beast which was consequently shared on Facebook and other social media channels. One such petition title read “Tell Disney ‘No’ to LGBT agenda in Beauty and the Beast: Sign the Boycott Pledge Here”. Enflamed comments from both sides of the debate questioned the reasoning of signing an anti-gay petition while the movie itself is has a theme of bestiality. Roughly 134,000 people have signed the Life Petitions Boycott on ‘Beauty and the Beast’.

Facebook user, Wendi Deal commented on such a post by saying, “This is hilarious that people are upset over this. Marrying off teenagers is okay, having people trying to poison and kill people is okay, giving up your whole life and future for someone you don’t really know is okay, but god forbid you have a ‘gay moment.’ Also, gay people do not have an agenda, they are people, they have people agenda, they want to be treated like people. So, weird, but that is really all they want.”

Rachel Bernardin echoed the same sentiments by commenting, “[LeFou] dances and makes a flirtatious joke- literally- that’s it- 20 seconds of the movie – and your kids won’t be any worse for the wear. Plus, unless they’re homeschooled and confined to your house, they’re going to be exposed at some point, wouldn’t this be a teaching moment for you? If you want to teach them why it’s wrong- don’t you have to teach them that it exists? That’s all this movie does- is show it exists by having two guys dance together- which other movies have done it just wasn’t seen as gay- and have him make a flirtatious joke at another guy.”

“I do not believe we need to hide or cover our children’s eyes if we don’t believe in same sex relationships. What we need is open dialogues about why we do not agree with it and open discussion on the subject is healthy. Pretending it doesn’t exist is going to cause them to be intolerant, unkind people,” Tanasha Anderson, a Latter-day Saint, said. “Use [this film] as a tool to create dialogue with your kids on what you believe is right and then leave it at that. Don’t pretend it doesn’t exist that doesn’t work with the sex talk either you aren’t doing them any favors by censoring the world and acting like it isn’t happening.”

According to Vox.com, a drive-in movie theater in Henagar, Alabama refused to show the film because of the openly gay character. In a Facebook post, that has since been removed, the Henagar Drive-In stated, “When companies [like Disney] continually force their views on us, we need to take a stand. We all make choices and I am making mine. If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me, then we have no business showing it. I know there will be some that do not agree with this decision. That’s fine. We are first and foremost Christians. We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches.”

The Henagar Drive-In wasn’t the only place to boycott the movie; the Russian government is considering a boycott if they determine there is “gay propaganda” in a prescreening of the film, according to Russian Culture Minister, Vladimir Medinsky, they will decide against showing it in the country. As well as a film censorship board in Malaysia has requested that Disney edit out the gay scenes, which Disney refused. The national talk over LGBTQ+ tolerance has been circulating ever since.

Despite the flak that Condon has taken over the past month, he told USA Today, “My message is: This is a movie for everyone. I’m sad about [the Henagar Drive-In], but there are 4,000 theaters showing the movie. I hope everybody moves past that and just goes to take pleasure in what we made.”

Beauty and the Beast has surpassed box office records by becoming the seventh largest opening weekend ever.