EASTER IS HERE!

 

It's Easter Tiime!

It’s Easter Tiime!

It’s that time of year again, where people are either celebrating Passover, Easter, or nothing at all. Personally, I celebrate Easter, having grown up in a Christian household, so I am inclined to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. Others will celebrate these holidays with countless amounts of chocolate, Easter Egg hunting, or just tick the day off as just another day on the calendar. I look at Easter the way I look at most holidays: A day where I get to connect with loved ones that I don’t get to see very often.

 

Since I am a student in college, and I live on campus, I only get to see my family and loved ones when I have breaks or holidays. When you are used to seeing them everyday for eighteen years, this is a whole new world. This is why I cherish these holidays and breaks, because seeing my family is what keeps me grounded and checked in with reality.

 

I am graduating in just a few weeks, and the transition from student to a contributor to society is scary, exciting, shocking, and thrilling all at the same time. It will be a new experience, which is why this Easter was so important to me. It will be the last holiday before the real world comes calling, and familiarity will only be found when I am with family and loved ones.

 

On one hand, these new experiences will be welcome. I went to college to better prepare me for the path I am about to go on. On the other, I enjoyed the comfort that came with having a dorm room to sleep in, and when I went home, I knew I would eventually be back at school. Now, the next time I go home, there will be no going back. At least I get to start my journey at home, where I will get the supportive push forward as I look to accomplish my dream to be a professional actor.

 

This Easter was special. Spending time with my family was a pleasure, as always, and I also got to be in our church’s Good Friday play. I started acting in my church, so to be able to go back to where I started my dream was a real treat. I hope everyone enjoyed their respective holiday (Or their normal day) just as much as I did! Happy Holidays!

Here is a slideshow I put together of my family and I celebrating Easter at The Cheesecake Factory!

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MY TIME WITH JESSE MENDELSOHN

Recently, I got the chance to do a profile on Jesse Mendelsohn, who is a junior majoring in Film here at Hofstra. Jesse also happens to be a good friend of mine, and I have had the pleasure of working with him on a few films.

To help with my profile on Jesse, I sat down and did a podcast with him. Below is the audio for that podcast:

INTERVIEW WITH JESSE MENDELSOHN

 

This interview reveals that Jesse really likes editing the most out of all the jobs he has experienced on sets. However, I really liked his point about making new friends every time you get the chance to be on a different film project. We touched on this a little bit in the interview, but I believe this is a very important aspect of filmmaking, especially in a college setting. Making connections with people and bonding over a creative process like the making of films is really special, because so many people work so hard to make a movie the best that it can be.

 

I also got the chance to get a video of Jesse editing a short project he was working on. Also in this video, Jesse shows off his skills with a bass guitar! Here is that video:

 

Jesse has always been a delight to work with on set. He is very detail oriented, and he really knows his stuff, especially in the editing room. I see a bright future ahead for Jesse Mendelsohn.

 

You Got a Fan in Me

If you were to ask me what my favorite movie of all time is, my answer would be “Toy Story 3”, and it is not even close. Yes, I realize there are more impactful movies out there. However, this movie holds a special place in my heart, as it does for many people in my generation.

Now, “Toy Story 3” is my favorite installment of the “Toy Story” series, but I do love the series as a whole. When the first movie came out, kids everywhere became very wary of their toys, thinking they might actually be alive! Imaginations ran wild! Especially if you owned the toys from the movie, and I had a whole bag full of them. In my opinion (And I’m sure many people share this opinion) “Toy Story” put Pixar on the map, and allowed the company to really expand. Here was a movie that got kids to the theatre, and the parents who were forced to bring the kids to pacify them for a few hours were able to transport themselves back to their childhoods. Suddenly, it was not a chore to bring a kid to see a movie, but a pleasure, all thanks to “Toy Story”.

That was the immediate impact of the “Toy Story” series, and that is not even beginning to explain the movie itself. This movie gave kids a role model in a simple cowboy toy, who is named Woody. You can have your futuristic Buzz Lightyear toy; I would take Woody over him in a heartbeat. He is a leader, he is funny, kind, and I learned what true loyalty is from Woody. He is the reason I love the series so much, and the first “hero” I can remember having, aside from my parents.

When I say that this series holds a special place in the hearts of my generation, I am talking about the people who are currently seniors in college, hopefully ready to graduate this year. We literally grew up with Andy, the kid who owns Woody and the rest of the toys we all know and love. When my fellow seniors were about to enter college, “Toy Story 3” came out with Andy getting ready to head off to college himself.

We all felt like Andy in that moment, so literally growing up with him made a huge impact on my classmates and I. That is part of the reason that “Toy Story 3” is my favorite movie, because the timing was perfect in my life and it was also an incredibly made animated film. When talking about the impact it has on people of various ages, however, I think it is a valuable lesson in growing up. In order to grow up, you must let go of things that hold you back. When giving up those things, however, you cannot forget the lessons you learned from them.

The Godfather’s Reign

“The Godfather” trilogy has captured the minds of people everywhere, none more so than the first installment, which will be the movie that I focus on. This movie changed the way we perceived mobsters, is one of the greatest cinematic achievements of all time, and has influenced countless films after its release.

Before “The Godfather” hit the big screen, mobsters were looked at as people who wore fancy suits, solely cared about money, and had the emotional range of a teaspoon. Then came “The Godfather”. Now, there were mobsters who thought very deeply about their actions; everything they did was of the utmost importance, lives were at stake, and the cool presence of Marlon Brando as Don Corleone remains one of the greatest performances ever seen in cinema. Mobsters were dangerous before, but once this film came out, it gave them a conscience, which is a terrifying thought. The Mafia could now be a family affair, and people would have it in their best interest to not mess with the family of a mobster.

Once The Godfather had been released, its influence on other films has been incredible. Films like “Mean Streets”, “Casino”, and “Goodfellas” have been directly influenced by “The Godfather”, with that theme of the Mafia being a family venture. I was also very interested to learn that for “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith”, George Lucas paid homage to the christening and assassination sequence found in “The Godfather”, by having Anakin Skywalker killing Separatist leaders, and ultimately the announcement of the beginning of the Galactic Empire. In my opinion, if you can influence the Star Wars films, you are doing something right.

Of course, the film has obviously influenced many filmmakers, and it seems like you have a parody of the film every day. I would be very surprised if you have never heard someone quote the “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse” line, as it is one of the most quoted lines in cinematic history. However, I believe this film benefitted a great deal from the performance of Marlon Brando.

Brando was given some very good material to work with, and when you combine good material with a legendary actor, that material becomes even better. Yet, when people talk about this movie, the conversation begins and ends with Marlon Brando, and director Francis Ford Coppola was smart enough to trust the material to Brando and not making anything complicated. This is not to say that the other performances in this movie were lacking, it’s just that the success of this movie depended on Brando, and he knocked it out of the park. When you can influence a generation of actors, you have done some special work.

Thanks to “The Godfather”, we have even more reasons to fear mobsters in real life. We also would not have many of the iconic films we have without the influence of “The Godfather”, and one of the greatest movies of all time can give thanks to one of the greatest actors of all time. A great film with a lasting impact on our society.

Our Obsession with Wizards

Quick, what is the highest grossing film series of all time? If you guessed the Harry Potter series, you would be correct! The eight films that were made, based on the seven books written by J.K. Rowling, have amassed nearly eight billion dollars worldwide! However, the impact of the Harry Potter series goes way beyond dollar amounts. It has created a social phenomenon.

The Harry Potter books sparked imaginations of children everywhere, and I could remember when I was eleven years old waiting for my letter from Hogwarts, the famous wizarding school, to come in the mail. Of course, like everyone else, I was disappointed, but then the movies came out. Now, we had a visual to go with our imagination, as the world we all dreamed about came to life. No longer did we have to wonder what the amazing creatures and different magical items looked like; we had something concrete to look at, and we could buy them in stores.

Herein lies a big impact of the movies: it created another world for people of varying ages to escape to. People were dressing up as wizards and witches, lining up at midnight to see the latest installment in the film series. You know you have hit the big time and have affected society in a major way when you can dress a certain way in public, and everyone around you can identify where you get your style from.

J.K. Rowling developed a new world for us as the readers to look at ourselves through. People could relate to Harry Potter, the boy hero with courage and a temper. Or, you could align yourself with Ron Weasley as the lovable, funny, and sometimes insensitive best friend, and girls everywhere could look up to Hermione Granger, the brilliant girl who would not let anyone push her around.

The main draw of this series was that people could put themselves in this world, and according to the movie sales, especially as the later films came out, more and more people were being affected by this phenomenon. You can find parodies and testimonials all over YouTube, or just converse with fans; I guarantee that the series, in some way, changed their lives and taught them lessons that they will never forget.

It is important to note how this series really took off when it was turned into a movie series. Before the films, the books had a respectable following, but nothing near the mania it created once the films started coming out.

That is why, ultimately, the films drove this series, because films have a way of reaching more people than books can. The Harry Potter films have touched many people’s lives, created a vast community, and I’d imagine that a lot of people could not imagine life without the series existing.