Tag Archives: just because

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: Rating Cereals

By Ryan McKinney

Today, I will be ranking the top 10 cereals as there is a wide variety of different choices to debate, and yes there is only one correct list: this one. I am basing my list off of three factors: how good it is dry, with normal milk, and with almond milk. Some options are featured higher on the list though due to its delicious taste when mixed with chocolate milk. 

Coming at the 10 spot is the second-best cinnamon tasting cereal, Apple Jacks. This is a delicious cereal that tastes unlike the name, but is rated at a solid 7 out of 10. Apple Jacks were invented by William Thilly in 1965 but the name wasn’t originally used until 1971. Apple Jacks received the rating based off a good dry and with normal milk score but tastes a little odd with almond milk and/or chocolate milk. 

Apple Jacks: 7/10

Taking the number nine spot is Captain Crunch Berries. The berry explosion is what brings this cereal so high as there is a burst of flavor when the amazing cereal hits your tongue. With almond milk especially, this cereal receives a rating of 7.4. This average comes from a good score in all three categories. 

Captain Crunch Berries: 7.4/10

Moving on to number eight comes the original brand of cereal, Honey Nut Cheerios. This cereal is dynamic as it tastes delicious mixed with any milk, and many consider it the “OG” cereal. Although this cereal is vintage, along with good tasting, there are top contenders that simply outlast Cheerios due to its lack of complete flavor. This brings the cereal up to a score of 7.7 as it is a striking competitor but just can’t make the top five due to its blandness in flavor.  

Honey Nut Cheerios: 7.7/10

Coming in the lucky number seven slot is Frosted Mini Wheats. Frosted Mini Wheats is a dynamic cereal as well as a blessing to the taste buds with all types of milk. The reason this cereal lands in the seven spot is also due to its blandness of flavor when eaten dry, but slightly beat out the Honey Nut Cheerios due to the frosting adding a little bit extra taste. The total score for the Mini Wheats rounds out to a 7.9, slightly edging out its previous competitor. 

Frosted Mini Wheats: 7.9/10

Barely missing the top five is Fruity Pebbles but make a major jump in the scoring system. Fruity Pebbles sum up to a total score of 8.5. This cereal is near perfect as it has an extreme amount of flavor along with versatility with various types of milk. The only issue is that it gets difficult to finish as most of the tiny pebbles sink to the bottom. This is why this amazing cereal barely misses being part of the fantastic five. 

Fruity Pebbles: 8.5/10

Entering the top five comes the only cereal on this list filled with chocolate and peanut butter. Reese’s Puffs exhibit a strong tasting cereal especially with chocolate milk. The total score on the scale reveals a solid 8.9. This is due to its elaborate ingenuity and its wild mixture of flavor. This cereal clearly resembles a look alike taste along with fan favorite candy Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. 

Reese’s Puffs: 8.9/10

A shining contender coming in at the four spot is the “magically delicious” cereal, Lucky Charms. This cereal combines both bland flavors along with bursting marshmallows to form a delicious cereal. The total scale score comes out to the first “A” at 9.2. This score is basically carried by the taste of the marshmallows as they are the heart and soul of this cereal brand. The slight blandness on the other side of the cereal, however, is what slightly carries this brand outside of medal contention. 

Lucky Charms: 9.2/10

Barely entering the leaderboard is the Tony the Tiger led, Frosted Flakes. Tony the Tiger is really the king of this brand as its total score comes to a 9.4. The sugar in this cereal portrays the perfect recipe for frosting as it is 10 times better than the frost on Mini Wheats. This cereal is also very compatible with all types of milk, including a strong push of extravagant taste with almond milk.

Frosted Flakes: 9.4/10

Froot Loops are not worthy of making this list at all, but taking the silver medal is Froot Loops WITH Marshmallows. The marshmallows are a complete gamechanger as the cereal itself tastes good, but every color tastes the same. This cereal displays a strong explosion of flavor coming from both the melting marshmallows and the tasty loops. Out of 10, this cereal comes in at a solid 9.8 as it is near perfect, but barely misses out on being crowned champion. 

Froot Loops with Marshmallows: 9.8/10

The greatest and clear-cut champion in this competition comes the ideal breakfast of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The diverse and unique cereal portrays many positives, as it is flawless with a score of a perfect 10. This cereal is seen in my pantry at all times, as it is dynamic with many amazing milk-to-cereal combos that you can make. Overall, Cinnamon Toast Crunch undoubtably takes the title and will hold onto this title for the rest of my lifetime. 

Cinnamon Toast Crunch: 10/10

Just Because: “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” Review

By Amelia Chen

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of watching the new Marvel movie, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. From the emotion of the plot to the acting, to the cinematography it was all around incredible to watch. 

This film paid a beautiful and touching tribute to Chadwick Boseman, the actor who originally played Black Panther, and sadly passed away two years ago from colon cancer. Instead of just “replacing” his character T’Challa, the creators of the film made a way for him to live on. They created this theme that even though a person may die, they live on in our hearts. Although in the movie, it was about T’Challa, what was really being displayed was how the actors carry the legacy of Boseman as the Black Panther. The amount of respect and love for Boseman was shown throughout the entirety of the movie. The writers did an extraordinary job composing this grief that was not shared just by the actors in the movie, but with the audience as well. They were able to properly show how people deal with grief differently, giving the opportunity for necessary character development.

Not only was the film moving and emotional, but it was also cinematically beautiful. Two completely different worlds were created with amazing detail, making each world unique on its own and entrancing to look at. The action sequences were intense and had me on the edge of my seat.

Official trailer for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Above all else, the acting was exceptional and really stood out. The actors portrayed their real pain and loss of Boseman with such emotion and pure genuineness. Letitia Wright (Shuri) was exemplary and poured her whole soul into every scene. It was beautiful to watch these actors morph their characters from the first movie to the sequel. 

Overall, I would give the movie a 10/10. I don’t have any critiques because of how well it was done. This is one of those films that really shows that it doesn’t take one person to make a movie good. It takes a whole cast and crew and it’s not just the actors. Without the incredible work of everyone behind the camera, it wouldn’t be as amazing as it is.

All in all, this was an incredibly moving film and quite possibly one of my favorite Marvel movies. It is definitely worth the watch, and I highly recommend it. Chadwick Boseman’s unfortunate and untimely passing was handled with care and this incredible movie is a dedication to him.

Just Because: Music Review

Chosen Album: Midnights by Taylor Swift

By Amelia Chen and Bailey Thorp

At midnight on Oct. 21, country-turned-pop-sensation (and America’s Sweetheart) Taylor Swift released her new album Midnights which incorporates 13 songs she wrote about sleepless nights scattered throughout her life. Amelia and Bailey ranked each song out of 10 based on the lyrics, the singing, and the hype. Amelia’s reviews are in blue while Bailey’s reviews are in green.

Track #1 – Lavender Haze
This one isn’t a favorite, but I enjoy it because of how hype it is. It is upbeat and has a way of making me feel happy as soon as I hear it. The lyrics are written so beautifully about being in love, referencing a saying from the show Mad Men. The way she expresses her love in her lyrics and wrote so metaphorically was incredibly eye-catching. As many might be aware, she is not entirely known for being an extremely talented vocalist, but I feel as though in Lavender Haze she sang in the exact range meant for her. 
Rating: 8.5/10

Track #2 – Maroon
I believe that this song is supposed to be a parallel to the song Red, which is on an earlier album. Reddescribes love through colors, and Maroon does this as well, although its lyrics depict darker images. This is fitting, as maroon is a darker shade of red. Overall, I feel this is song is catchy and entertaining. 
Rating: 8/10

Track #3 – Anti-Hero 
Although this song has been huge on social media and streaming services, it most definitely is not my favorite. I don’t hate it, but it doesn’t give the same vibes as the other songs on the album. I don’t like how the singing goes from a high key to a low key, but I do love the lyrics. I think it’s incredible how she portrays self-blame so beautifully and really paints a picture of her character. This song isn’t anything special and doesn’t stand out. It’s boring throughout many parts and doesn’t have a great bridge. 
Rating: 6.5/10

Track #4 – Snow on the Beach
This is one of my least favorite songs on the album and it also happens to be one of the least popular songs. While it has a nice flow, the song is pretty repetitive, and you can hardly hear the featured artist, Lana Del Rey. This song could have benefitted from being a little bolder. 
Rating: 5/10

Track #5 – You’re On Your Own, Kid
I absolutely adore the lyrics in the song and feel the emotion when I listen to it. Although this song is a bit slow and emotional, it is a hype song, and it gets even better every time I listen to it. The chorus is my favorite part of the song along with the bridge. I also think throughout the song the singing was done well and listeners can feel the emotion through her voice. 
Rating: 9/10

Track #6 – Midnight Rain
This song is one of my favorites and is so catchy and fun. The song is about meeting the right person, but ultimately wanting different things. The lyrics are beautiful while still upbeat and lively. 
Rating: 9/10    

Track #7 – Question…? 
This one is not as good as the others. I feel like the lyrics were well-written, but I don’t love the singing as much or feel like I could scream-sing in a car to it. In some parts of the song, the singing sounds slightly breathy. There just isn’t enough in the song to make me as excited to listen as I was for others on the album. 
Rating: 7.5/10

Track #8 – Vigilante S**t 
The song has some darker lyrics and imagery, and is very heavy on the bass, which could make this song popular with listeners. In my opinion, this song is cringy in both the lyrics and music composition. It feels like Taylor is trying too hard to be hardcore and almost gangster. I don’t think this song really fits the rest of the album. 
Rating: 4/10

Track #9 – Bejeweled
I had extremely high expectations for this song but unfortunately, those expectations were not met. The lyrics are, again, very good but not as well done as others from the album. I also feel like it was bland in some places, and don’t love the entire song. She actually did a pretty good job singing because it could easily get breathy in some parts, but she never did. This song is also not as good as I would’ve hoped just because the only hype part is the chorus and the bridge. 
Rating: 8/10

Track #10 – Labyrinth
This song is incredible lyrically. It describes the never-ending cycle of falling in love and going through heartbreak only to, once again, get involved in another relationship and restart the cycle. The song lyrics do repeat quite often, but in this song, it is represented of getting trapped in that labyrinth. I love the laidback tone of the song, and think it is an amazing addition to the album. 
Rating: 9/10    

Track #11 – Karma 
This is much better than I thought it was going to be. I’m always blown away by her incredible writing skills and was certainly not disappointed. I absolutely adore the extended metaphor she put in the song and how she makes it relatable. I also love the bridge and how it builds up. The only critique I would make is I wish the singing was a little better in some parts. 
Rating: 8.5/10

Track #12 – Sweet Nothing
This song has a really unique sound to it, and it stands out from the rest of the album because of this. The lyrics are also very beautiful and heartfelt. The lyrics describe a love in which the complexities of the world can be escaped by simply being in the presence of the one you love. I really love how the lyrics and the music combine to create and upbeat, yet relaxing song. 
Rating: 8/10

Track #13 – Mastermind
I love the symbolism of the song and the rippling beat. The singing was the best in this song, and this was the most hype song out of the whole album. What makes the song so special is the build-up in the chorus, making it so catchy along with its bridge. It has me scream-singing every time I hear it and an exciting feeling wash over me. 
Rating: 10/10

Just Because: NBA Preview

By Ryan McKinney

As the beginning of the new season kicks off, we look to see which team will come out on top as there are many big contenders. Starting in the Eastern Conference, many teams have a real shot at winning the title including the Celtics, Bucks, Cavaliers, and the Heat.   

The Boston Celtics seek to come out hot like the team finished last season. They have many stars including young forward Jayson Tatum. Through the first three games, Tatum averaged 34.3 points per game and killing it so far for the Celtics this year. While doing so Tatum says, “I’m feeling better than ever and I’m having a blast too.” 

The Milwaukee Bucks are looking to bounce back from their semifinal playoff exit last season. The Bucks are led by the Greek freak Giannis Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo uses his strength to score almost all his points in the paint. He is a driving force in the Bucks success, and they will need him to stay out of injury trouble if they want a shot at the title this year. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers received a new addition to their team that has already shined in their surprising 7-1 start to the season. Their new addition is guard Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz as he already has a forty-point game on the stat sheet during an overtime thriller against the Celtics. The Cavaliers have been cruising so far but let see if they can keep it up with their tough schedule ahead of them. 

Lastly for the Eastern Conference is the Miami Heat as they’ve had a rough start to the season. So far, they’re 4-6 through their first 10 games, and it is mainly due to their lack of toughness on the defensive end of the court. Although this may be true, Coach Eric Spoelstra always has a plan to fix the issues and with so many offensive weapons it’s safe to say they’re contender in the East. 

Moving on to the loaded Western Conference, many teams have a shot at the title. The teams include the Trailblazers, Suns, Warriors, Jazz, and Timberwolves. Surprisingly, Lebron James and the Lakers have started the season slow. Many of the Western title favorites are filled with new recruits and pickups that have brought them success so far this season. 

Through the first few games, the team that started in first but has slid to fourth are the Portland Trailblazers. The Trailblazers are led by Damian Lillard and recruit Jerami Grant. The roster is also very deep with many young threats that has the potential to make a championship dynasty. The future for this team is bright and I can’t wait to see what kind of success they’ll have this season. 

The next finals favorite in the West are the Golden State Warriors coming off their historical run last year. The Warriors are led by guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. With the two of the main players healthy, the team’s offensive flow goes way better along with a much better three-point percentage. Along with them, the team contains young stars like Jordan Poole and emerging stars like Andrew Wiggins. So far, the Warriors are on a rough start due to the squad “lacking purpose” says head coach Steve Kerr. Overall, I think the Warriors have the best chance to win the title this year due to their long winning streaks and extremely deep roster. 

Another strong contender in the West is the Phoenix Suns because of the dynamic duo on the squad. This duo consists of guards Chris Paul and Devin Booker as they both are dying for a finals visit again. Two years ago, they lost to the Bucks in six games in which Antetokounmpo had numerous 50-piece games. Besides the point, the Suns have a real chance at the title this year as many players seek revenge and look to do better than last years playoff run.

Moving on, the Minnesota Timberwolves have thrived with their new strategy. After trading for Rudy Gobert in the offseason the Timberwolves now have the two best centers in basketball on the same team. Karl Anthony Towns has struggled a little bit with defensive shifts, but he’ll pick that up and the team is still succeeding otherwise. Overall, the Timberwolves could be the team that shocks fans this year and take the trophy.

Lastly, the Utah Jazz have surprised everybody so far this year despite losing their two best players in the offseason. They received young star Collin Sexton from the Cavaliers who is shining this year now that he gets his own spotlight. Sexton is the main reason the Jazz are currently second place in the West right now, so let see if the team can keep it up. 

Overall, there are many teams that have a chance to win the title this year, but my prediction is that the Golden State Warriors will beat the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals. Then the Boston Celtics will beat the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals creating a rematch. In this finals series, I have the Boston Celtics gaining revenge and beating the Warriors in a tight seven game series.