Category Archives: Features

Movie Review: Barbie

Journalist Elizabeth Birkner takes us inside one of the largest blockbusters of the summer

The new Barbie movie is an intriguing film with a unique moral twist. I watched it twice in the theatres at the beginning of August. The second time I watched the Barbie movie,I wondered if my opinion the first time I watched it would change. I also tried to watch the movie the second time through a different perspective.

Overall, I enjoyed the Barbie movie. I loved how the directors showcased and represented Barbie dolls and this magical world they are perceived to live in. For example, when Barbie moves between stories in her dreamhouse, she floats. This is because when a child plays with a Barbie doll, they simply pick her up and place her in a spot instead of making the doll walk. Intricate details like this added so much to the movie, and I could tell the production designers and directors put a lot of time into making their movie an accurate representation of how real Barbie dolls would look and act.

Something else I appreciated about the Barbie movie was the casting. Margot Robbie was the perfect actress for Barbie because she is very collected and has the sparkly attitude that Barbie often displays. Another casting that I loved was the actress cast as Sasha, the sassy tween who hates Barbie. Ariana Greenblatt was cast as Sasha, and it was an amazing decision because she frequently plays characters with bold attitudes. The only casting I was not a fan of was the casting for Ken. Ryan Gosling is a great actor, but I felt he looked too old to be playing Ken. Apart from Ken, I thought the casting for Barbie was flawless and perfect.

The plot in the Barbie movie was what prevented me from raving about this movie. When you think of Barbie, you think of pink and sparkles and this perfect doll who lives in her dreamhouse in a perfect world. The movie was far from any of this. It talked about sexism, thoughts of death, depression, and several other problems our society experiences. I never would have thought that any of this would come to mind when thinking of Barbie. Watching this movie required me to think past the innocence of the toy because the Barbie is acting out scenarios that are more adult, and this is a childhood toy! Though the plot was meaningful, it was very unexpected. None of the previews alluded to what this movie would ultimately address.

After considering the new Barbie movie and watching it twice, I am not sure if I would choose to watch it again. Even though I was not a huge fan of the theme, however, I can appreciate that it took a lot of hard work to create a plot in a Barbie movie that discusses serious topics. I am not sure what age group to recommend the Barbie movie for, because even though it is a movie about Barbies, many subjects that were discussed I found alarming. What I do know is that the Barbie movie is a very detail-oriented movie that finds a bridge between a perfect world and a human world while analyzing the fusion, and it will have you contemplating your own life until the movie ends.

Just Because: DQ’s Summer Blizzards

Rated by our resident Blizzard expert

By Marcello El-Semarani

Dairy Queen has recently come out with new Blizzard flavors. Five flavors to be exact. And just in time for the summer! I recently tried each Blizzard and will go into heavy detail about each one, while giving it a rating between one and 10.

Peanut Butter Puppy Chow

Dairy Queen’s Peanut Butter Puppy Chow flavor is a great combination of peanut butter and crunchy chocolate-covered Chex cereal. With every bite you take, you’ll experience the creamy and nutty taste of peanut butter blended perfectly with the perfect crunch of the cereal. The chocolate coating adds a layer of sweet and richness that complements the peanut butter flavor. This flavor is a true masterpiece for peanut butter lovers, offering a unique and enjoyable texture.
Rating: 8.2/10

Oreo Brookie

The Oreo Brookie flavor at Dairy Queen brings together the best of three things: chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and Oreo cookies. This perfect combination starts with a smooth and creamy ice cream, infused with chunks of chewy brownies, crunchy Oreo cookie pieces, and swirls of chocolate fudge. The chocolate chip cookie dough adds an extra layer of sweetness and texture. With each bite, you’ll experience a harmony of flavors and textures that blend amazingly, creating a delicious and comforting treat.
Rating: 9.1/10


Dairy Queen’s S’mores is a flavor that is hard to mess up for me. It captures the idea of a traditional campfire snack, combining flavors of toasted marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. As you bite into this blizzard, you’ll encounter swirls of marshmallow sauce, chocolate chunks, and crumbled graham cracker pieces. The combination of the smooth ice cream with the crunchy and sweet elements creates a perfect experience for me which also reminds me of cozy bonfires.
Rating: 9.3/10

Cotton Candy

The one I was looking the least forward to, the cotton candy flavor at Dairy Queen is an interesting, but nostalgic treat. This flavor perfectly captures the light and fluffy essence of cotton candy. It features a vibrant blue and pink swirl of soft ice cream like the colorful cotton candy found at fairs and carnivals. The flavor is sweet and light just like the actual treat and is a great choice for those who love cotton candy. I, however, am not one of those people as its too sweet.
Rating: 6.4/10

Choco-Dipped Strawberry

Dairy Queen’s Choco-Dipped Strawberry flavor is a perfect blend of strawberries and rich chocolate. The smooth and creamy strawberry ice cream is packed with strawberry pieces, creating a refreshing and fruity taste. The chocolate coating adds a rich bite, exactly like biting into a chocolate covered strawberry. The contrast between the sweet and tangy strawberries and the creamy chocolate coating creates a perfect flavor combination that satisfied me.
Rating: 9.1/10

Dairy Queen’s new flavors offer a wide range of rich and delicious options. Whether you’re a fan of peanut butter, Oreo cookies, s’mores, cotton candy, or the combination of strawberries and chocolate, there’s a flavor for every person. I have hardly anything bad to say about these flavors except for cotton candy. My personal favorite out of this review is going to be S’mores.

Movie Review: “Guardians of the Galaxy 3”

By Brody Beaupre

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the third movie in a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) series. This movie came out May 5 and has a Rotten Tomatoes Score of 82%. As an MCU fan and watcher of the first two Guardian movies, I enjoyed this one. The movie has a very climatic smart that sets the tone for the rest of the movie. This is an action-packed film keeps your attention the whole time. There is this love for the main character (Quill aka Star-Lord) that gets you hooked immediately and allows the plot to develop around him.

The movie starts by introducing a brand-new superhero (or supervillain). This gets the whole audience invested, trying to figure out who they are and why they’re there. This leads to an epic battle scene and introduces the main characters for the movie. These are the superhero group that was formed in the first two Guardians of the Galaxy. They then go on an epic space adventure trying to save their friends life, and are met with challenges and powerful adversaries, who they are eventually able to band together in a shocking twist at the end (I promise, this isn’t a spoiler).

If you are looking to watch this movie, I would recommend watching the first two Guardians at a minimum. The MCU is so intertwined with many references to people or situations that happened in other MCU movies or shows. It’s possible that these outside characters and events may leave you very confused if you do not know Marvel.

However, you can still appreciate the amazing animation and graphics at face value. There are elaborate sets and tons of CGI of things that are not even close to being realistic, but somehow look completely real. Marvel is notorious for thinking of outlandish scenes, ships, and even weapons and making them look and behave very realistically.

Overall, I loved this movie. There were some (CGI) animals that were hurt and even killed, which I know made some of my peers dislike the movie, but it added to the plot as opposed to subtracting.

Official Rating: 8.5/10 – There’s a lot to love, but there are also a lot of new additions and a lot happening. Director James Gunn expressed all of it well, but I would have liked a little more in-depth detail of everyone and why certain things happened.

Just Because: Goodbye Oak Hall

By Amelia Chen

My entire Oak Hall experience has been nothing short of wonderful. As a freshman who has been attending Oak Hall since kindergarten, leaving will not be easy. Because of my dad’s job, we are relocating to Texas.

Ever since I started at Oak Hall, people have yet to fail to be welcoming and loving to the students. Because I attend this school, I have met the best friends ever. It has a family-like environment, almost like a small town where everyone knows everyone. I’m going to miss this greatly and hope to find something similar at my new school.

The saying “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone” resonates so much with me now. I used to complain about having uniforms, assemblies, so much work, and just anything I didn’t love about the school. But the truth is, those were just little things the school had to make us better, to teach us life lessons, and to strengthen us in academics. I was ungrateful for this, but it really is an incredible school. I’m not saying it is perfect. It is not. It has its flaws just like any other school. But I am so glad I’ve been at Oak Hall and not somewhere else.

This school has made me a better student and a better person. Leaving as someone who would be a lifer if I had stayed through senior year is emotional and more difficult than I can imagine.

Another aspect I know I am going to miss so much as I go off to a new state and a new school is the varsity volleyball team that I have been part of for four years. The girls have been a family to me and reminded me why I love the sport so much. For the majority of those four years, I have had an amazing coach who has believed in me and pushed me to be greater. The best thing about this team is there isn’t drama, and we all get along. Whether it is getting a noise complaint in a hotel or screaming to Taylor Swift lyrics at the top of our lungs as we practice. I look forward to fall every year because of volleyball.

Lastly, for the entirety of my years, I have had exceptional teachers who have taught me not only what is laid out in the curriculum but also life lessons. These adults have been mentors in my life, and they don’t get enough credit.

I am going to miss what is here, but I know that it’s going to be all right in the end. I will never forget all the incredible memories I have made.

Just Because: What is A Louisville Slugger Anyway?

From trees to tees

By Brody Beaupre

Louisville Slugger. Even if you don’t know the bat, you’ve probably heard the name or seen the iconic logo. For those who don’t know, Louisville Slugger is a brand of baseball bat. This legendary brand got its start around 1880 when a man named Andrew “Bud” Hillerich apprenticed at his father’s woodworking business and learned the tricks of the trade. Hillerich grew up playing baseball and rather than go and buy bats, he would simply make them instead. He did this for some of his teammates as well.

Company legend says that in 1884 Hillerich’s bat made it to the major leagues. Pete Browning, nicknamed “The Louisville Slugger”, is credited with being the first person to use one of Hillerich’s bats in Major League Baseball. By 1894 “Louisville Slugger” was a patented business and producing big league bats. These bats changed the game forever.

Honus “The Flying Dutchman” Wagner, esteemed shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates, became the first MLB player to sign a contract for a bat. Wagner also started the now common trend of having the players’ signature inscribed onto the bat.

The bats start as a tree then through the factory gets shaved down and shaped into the bats you see in the other photos

With the endorsement of two major league sluggers “Louisville Slugger” was taking off. The only issue was the company was run by woodworkers not salesmen/managers. That’s where Frank Bradsby came in to really launch Louisville Slugger. With a quick rebranding the company “Hillerich & Bradsby Co.” was born and to this day continues to produce the same quality Louisville Slugger bats.

My Experience

This past 2023 spring break I was blessed with the opportunity to visit the factory and see some of the work that goes into making a bat. There was so much to learn as a ballplayer and so many amazing insights and hands-on portions for everyone.

I have been playing baseball for most of my life, and as an avid user of Louisville Slugger bats, it was truly a wonderful experience. Being someone with aspirations to make it to the Major League level, seeing all the bats from billet (the raw uncut wood) to something some of my favorite players have seen and used in game was so motivating. It makes me want to have my name on a bat that some kid picks up and goes “Oh wow! This is so cool!” Experiencing the factory from a fan view really makes me want to be on the player end more so than I already did. It’s the experiences like the ones that I had which is what makes the Louisville Slugger factory such a spectacular place.

There is just so much history I couldn’t cover it all in one story, but I highly recommend if ever given the opportunity, to go and see it all firsthand.