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Unwrapping the gift of Christmas cinema

By Apple Parry

This holiday season is upon us, folks. So grab your cocoa, sit back, and get critical. I picked five different movies that don’t have anything in common except for the time of year they were set in, and I rated them.

‘Elf’

elf

Will Ferrell gave his most wholesome performance as Buddy the Elf in “Elf.” As far as Christmas movies go, this is the perfect balance between comedic and extravagant.

Without going totally over the top, this movie still hits all the marks of a feel-good show.

Early on, Buddy discovers he is adopted, and this is quite a shock to Buddy because he is delusional. So he heads out to find his dad.

While Buddy is navigating his way through New York, he gets hit by a car, demonstrates the proper way to go up an escalator, how to really make spaghetti, and teaches the youth how to win a snowball fight.

Rated G, this movie is perfect for watching with your entire family, especially if someone is adopted, and you need to find a way to tell them. — just send them to a worldwide crime hot-spot, alone, wearing an elf costume, and I think they’ll get the message.

I give this movie 10 out of 10 candy canes.

‘Love Actually’

love actually

If you haven’t seen “Love Actually,” you’ll be just fine.

With nine different story lines, this movie shows us how to actually love.

It stars Professor Snape, Nanny McPhee, the guy from “Taken,” and a bunch of other British people.

Take away a few scenes and the Christmas theme, and this movie could have been set at any time of the year.

Kirsten Parry, my mom, said, “The entire movie caters to the male ego” and “It’s annoying.” But if you like unnecessarily complicated and inappropriate movies, give this rom-com a watch.

I give this movie 9 out of 10 trash cans

‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’

grinch

The Christmas movie that basically raised me was Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

We all know the story of how a bitter, former Who tried to ruin Christmas for the hopeful town folk, and how in the end, his heart grew three sizes.

But with the help of relatable teens, a new side of the Grinch was uncovered. When the Grinch ate glass and struggled to find something to wear, we all felt that.

Jim Carrey made a hashtag-relatable character. The only bad thing about this movie is how creepy the makeup and hair make the actors look.

If you’ve ever wanted to be inside a snowflake for an hour and 50 minutes, just head on down to Whoville. But don’t stay too long, the whole town revolves around Christmas, and that’s why the Grinch left in the first place.

I give this movie 38 out of 37 Who puddings.

‘The Princess Switch’

princess switch

Netflix debuted their newest original this holiday season, “The Princess Switch,” and it is bad.

If you’ve ever wanted to see a Christmas version of “The Parent Trap,” just log onto Netflix and search this title.

Vanessa Hudgens, who plays both main roles, does not make a classy comeback.

Every plot point is overdone and, in 2018, is redundant. Hudgens’ British accent alone is reason enough to not watch this movie.

93 percent of Google users liked this movie, which means 93 percent of Google users are idiots.

There are reasons humans have the ability to imagine and create, and this isn’t one of them.

I give this movie a “multiply by zero” rating, because it will never be good.

 ‘Die Hard’

die hard poster

Bruce Willis stars as John McClane, “a hard man to kill,” in “Die Hard.”

When McClane flies to L.A. to visit family on Christmas Eve, everything goes terribly wrong. Alan Rickman, who plays the villain in this movie as well, takes McClane’s wife as a hostage.

McClane sneaks his way around the building unseen, like a badass, and breaks a lot of things. The film includes terrorists, elevator shafts, walkie talkies, and iconic one liners. There will always be controversy when it comes to whether this is a Christmas movie or not, but I think we can all agree It’s a nice break from literally any Hallmark movie.

I give this movie 1 out of 1 “yippee ki yays.”

Happy holidays to all, and to all a good quarter.


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February 11, 2014

By Taylor Nichols

Photo by Shaylee Vigil
Photo by Shaylee Vigil

The 2014 Sochi Olympics have generated controversy and resulted in a flood of criticism aimed at the Russian government.

From the indiscriminant killing of stray dogs all over the city to the unjustifiably expensive preparations Russia made for the games, many of which are still in progress, media and social networking sites have brought to light a variety of issues surrounding the event.

The Olympic Games had the potential to put the country in a more positive light to the rest of the world, but so far it has provided a flux of outlandish issues, some humorous and some alarming.

One of the most important issues surrounding the Sochi Olympics is the Russian government’s extreme anti-gay views and laws. Earlier this year President Vladimir Putin enacted a variety of laws prohibiting any public activities related to gay rights, including parades and other events, public displays of homosexuality, speaking out in defense of gay rights, and essentially anything in promotion of or supporting same-sex relationships.

Putin used children to promote this legislation, associating homosexuality with pedophilia and suggesting he enacted these laws as a way to protect youth from exposure to “nontraditional sexual relations.”

Putin even stated that members of the gay community coming to Sochi for the games would be safe as long as they “leave kids alone,” and Sochi’s mayor said his city didn’t have any gay citizens.

These abhorrent legislative actions brought on a huge range of reactions internationally as well as a wave of LGBT support from communities all over the world.

While the Russian government’s preposterous legislative actions are unacceptable and have caused more hate crimes in an already homophobic environment, the heightened controversy has actually generated more support for gay rights worldwide.

The British government provided funding to pro-LGBT protest groups in Russia, and Chevrolet aired a commercial during the Olympics showing a same-sex marriage and a gay male couple with their son and daughter. The Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion released a video saying “the games have always been a little gay. Let’s fight to keep them that way.”

Norwegian singer-songwriter Annie Melody also made a music video in collaboration with artist Bjarne Melgaard called “Russian Kiss,” featuring a song speaking out against the legislation as well as four and a half minutes of same-sex couples kissing.

Some political figures and world leaders, including Barack Obama, chose not to attend the Olympic Games, and they were joined by hundreds of others in protest.

Pro-LGBT messages also found their way into the games. Russian music duo t.A.T.u., who have long been known for pretending to be lesbians as part of their stage personas, performed at the opening ceremonies, although it was not broadcasted internationally. Furthermore, six of the Olympians competing this year are openly gay.

The overwhelming amount of LGBT support brought on by Putin’s blatant homophobic attitude is something to be celebrated. It shows that while some people are stuck in the past and cling to their outdated and callous views, we as a society are undeniably on our way to more positive and open-minded practices. 

The Olympic Games are composed of international athletes with an international culture—tolerance and acceptance are fundamental elements of any diplomatic exchange, and much of the world’s response to Putin’s stance on LGBT individuals is in the spirit of a successful celebration of diversity.


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Victory on the horizon for Whatcom athletes

Story by Kevin Doucette

Expectations are soaring for Orca sports.
Expectations are soaring for Orca sports.

School is back in session, the leaves are changing colors and the Washington rain is a reminder that fall is here, which means it is time for fall sports at Whatcom Community College.

The men’s soccer, women’s soccer, and volleyball teams have begun league play. Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams are coming off strong seasons last year. They each finished second in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWACC) North division, and earned a spot in the playoffs.

Unlike the two soccer teams, who each have a large roster size, the volleyball team is nearly a completely new team. Of the eight players, only one is a returning player. The team also has a new coach this year.

Volleyball

Last season the Orcas finished with a 3-9 record and did not reach the NWAACC playoffs. But this year the team is different and first-year head coach Angie Short said she fully expects this season’s squad to compete for the NWAACCs.

“My expectations are high,” said Short. “We have the talent to [make the playoffs,] we are just very young.”

It hasn’t been an easy start to the season for the Orcas. Freshman hitter Jillian Segaline said at the start of the season the Orcas had five women on the roster and had to recruit more players.

“We have adapted well, we had mishaps but everyone has stepped up,” said sophomore outside-hitter Jaydee Schmidt. “We don’t feel like a new team.”

Short said Schmidt, who is the lone returning player and leads the team with 64 kills, which is when a player spikes the ball to the opponents’ side. She has a lot of weight placed on her shoulders this season since she is the only returning player, but said she is strong and can handle the pressure.

“[Schmidt] has stepped up and done more than I have asked of her,” said Short.

Along with Schmidt, Short said McKenzie Impero, a freshman from Nooksack High School, is also a player who will have a big impact this season.
“[Impero] is pretty composed, which is unique for a young player,” said Short.

Whatcom is 1-5 in league and is scheduled to face the Skagit Valley Community College Cardinals, who are now 2-4.

The next home match for the Orcas is Oct. 21 against the Bellevue Community College Bulldogs. Dating back to last season, the Bulldogs, who stand at 8-1.

“We need to up our intensity and mentality and not be O.K. with anything less than the best,” said Schmidt. “We don’t give up and we won’t.”

Men’s soccer

Ryo Matsubara (right)
Ryo Matsubara (right)

Since winning the NWAACC championship in 2006, the Orcas have finished either first or second in league and been to the NWAACC playoffs every year. The Orcas currently sit in third place with a record of 2-4-2. They have a 19-man roster and several returning players with playoff experience. Third-year head coach Joel Grossman said he expects to win the North divison and reach the Final Four.

“We had a disappointing start but the team is coming together,” said Grossman. “We really have a lot of talent.”

Two of the four losses in this season have been by one goal. Assistant coach and former Orca soccer player Noah Holowatch said the record doesn’t reflect the team’s potential.

“Offensively, this team is better,” said Holowatch, referring to the Orca team he played for three years ago.

The Orcas have several players to watch this season. Grossman said sophomores Daniel Pinkerton, Davis Strawn, and Jake Zlotek will be high impact players. But no player received higher praise than sophomore mid-fielder Ryo Matsubara.

“He’s a rock star,” said Holowatch of Matsubara. “Some teams have that one guy you want to watch because they are so entertaining, and we have Ryo.”

In a comeback win against the Everett Community College Trojans Oct. 2, the Orcas trailed 0-1 early before Matsubara scored three consecutive goals, and the Orcas won 3-1.

Matsubara leads the team with seven goals this season, and has also added five assists.

It will be a battle of the sea mammals when the Orcas host the Shoreline Community College Dolphins Oct. 16 on Orca Field at 4 p.m., followed by an away game against the Everett Trojans Oct. 19.

“Nothing can stop us from winning the championship this year,” said Matsubara. “We just need to score more goals.”

Women’s soccer

Of all Whatcom’s fall sports teams the women’s soccer team is off to the best start. In league play the Orcas are undefeated and ranked No. 7 in NWAACC. But with four ties to go along with their six wins they are in second place.

Last season the Orcas finished second in the North division and made it to the second round of the NWAACC championships before getting knocked out by the Spokane Community College Sasquatches. Spokane would advance to the championship game.

“The girls set high goals for themselves,” said head coach Claire Morgan. “We think we can win the North and are capable of achieving our goals.”

Morgan said the Orca’s strength is in defense; currently the Orcas are in the top three in the NWAACC in goals allowed, having only allowed five goals in 10 games.

Morgan said there are five players on the team this year that graduated from Sehome High School, and at some point all played together on their high school team. The Orca defense is led by Sehome graduate Kaya Jones.
“She is a lock-down defender,” said Morgan. “She is very athletic and uses her athleticism to her advantage.”

Morgan said the vocal leader on the team is defender Eryn Mitchell. Mitchell is going to school for nursing and although she is a freshman she is the oldest player on the team at 29 and was voted team captain.
For the Orca offense, Morgan said sophomore Kylie Garrison from Squalicum High School leads the team. Garrison is in the top ten in scoring in the NWAACC with ten goals this season.

“[Garrison] has been doing well putting chances away when she has them,” said Morgan.

The Orcas host the Shoreline Dolphins Oct. 16, then travel to take on Everett Oct. 19.

Schedules are posted on the school website and can also be found at NWAACC.org. Rain or shine the Orcas will be on the pitch or in the gym, playing for a chance at NWAACCs.


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