The Stargazer

Justifying my Purchase

””We’re at a point right now where the then-niche nerd interests of the past are the driving elements of pop culture. Being a superfan of anime, comic media or fantasy and sci-fi worlds is normal. These things make billions of dollars off of the casual interests of millions. A foreign concept not even two decades ago. Then comes the issue of quality control for these things- these companies have an incentive to “give the people what they want,” too often at the expense of the creative direction of the end product. I’ve always subscribed to the idea that a good fan speaks wisely with their wallet. Not everything associated with the intellectual property you’ve fallen in love with deserves the money you earned. However, every fan can make a sore mistake and see past their own bias- and contribute to a cycle that enables more half-baked content to be made. More importantly, it enables the continued exploitation of talented artists to keep pumping out this product rather than letting them work their craft. Recently I’ve spoken very badly with my wallet and bought a product that is not emblematic of the best qualities of the thing I’m a fan of. This isn’t a traditional review of the quality of my mistaken purchase, but rather a tale of how a deep love of something inherently nerdy led to nearly one hundred of my own money, being more or less wasted due to my fandom blinders. This is that going back to the beginning:

Black Swan, Suspiria, and the Horrifically Feminine World of Ballet

””As a psychological thriller, Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan (2010) borrows heavily from the gendered tropes of the horror genre while also cultivating some of their own. With its sophisticated score and disorienting cinematography, the maddening beauty of the film defines the "feminine" canon of unsettling stories immersed in the world of ballet. These narratives spotlight its soul-crushing discipline, unnatural physical demands, and distinctly feminine grace to expose the anxiety of female perfection.

Scott Pilgrim V.S. The Romance Analysis: Pixelated Romance and Symbolic Battles

””If you think modern-day dating is complex, imagine going through the ultimate test of strength and commitment by having to defeat seven evil exes to get the girl. In the neon-colored, video-game-inspired, indie-rock band landscape of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, love is as complex and enigmatic as the battles Scott faces throughout the story. Based on the graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O'Malley, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010) combines action, comedy, and romance to create a whirlwind adventure of love and persistence that captured the hearts of readers and viewers alike. This article will dive into the intricacies of the romance portrayed in the film, exploring the themes and underlying messages that make this film a unique, captivating, and action-packed portrayal of romance.

My Thoughts on Palworld, Featuring Hatsune Mikey

””When it comes to gaming, 2024 shows much promise with upcoming releases such as Final Fantasy VII Rebirth and Paper Mario and the Thousand Year Door. January alone came out swinging with The Last of Us: Part 2 Remastered, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, and Tekken 8. However, none of these releases compare to the juggernaut that is Palworld. Developed by Pocket Pair, Palworld is an early access survival game where players can capture creatures called “pals” to help them along the way. The game launched on Xbox and PC on January 19, 2024 and proceeded to break the Internet. Within its first week, Palworld reached a peak of over 2.1 million players on Steam, sold over 8 million copies, and achieved over $5 million in sales. With its quick success, Palworld has also been the center of controversy due to some pal designs being criticized as for looking similar to designs from properties like Pokémon. Because of the strange place Palworld is in right now, I decided to give it a shot and see what the hype was about. I created my character, Hatsune Mikey, and started my Palworld journey.

To be a Foodie: Chef through a Latin Foodies' Lens

””Cuban bread, ham, roast pork—lechón— Swiss cheese. Contrary to popular belief, pickles and mustard are not optional. But what is the significance of a sandwich? To Carl Casper (Jon Favreau), the encouragement from his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara) that his Cubanos are better than the ones from Miami’s iconic Versailles Restaurant is all he needs to take his career from prestigious to portable. In opening his food truck, he breaks away from the tradition of caviar eggs and lava cakes to reconnect with his craft and community by making dishes he cares about.

“Level 135 unlocked!” : The History of Nintendo and Recap of the CDU x ASLC Super Nintendo World Event

””On January 31st, the Askew Student Life Cinema and Club Down Under teamed up to transport FSU students back to the golden era of gaming in celebration of Nintendo's 135th anniversary. The activity-packed event rekindled memories of the Super Nintendo era and left guests with a warm feeling of nostalgia. In honor of this company's tremendous milestone, let's dive deeper into how Nintendo became the gaming platform we know and love today and its continuous impact on our generation.

The Nightmare Technique of The Zone of Interest

””The 13th of October, 2023. The leads, sound designer, and director of the five-time Oscar-nominated film, The Zone of Interest, walk onto the stage of the Southbank cinema at the BFI London Film Festival, minutes after the credits are done rolling on the two-hour nightmare that the audience was subjected to. I was in that audience, and I was stunned. I was paralyzed in my seat after watching the most subtly effective drama film detailing the horrors of the holocaust I had ever seen, all done without a single drop of blood shown on screen. The sound of the film, paired with its precise and uncanny visuals, shook me. I felt a visceral sense of terror because I’m aware that just beyond the frame, but never beyond earshot, people are needlessly and systematically dying in sick, twisted daily slaughters. One of many things that have been ingrained in my memory in the short Q&A that followed was where lead actress Sandra Huller (nominated this year for her acting in Anatomy of a Fall) is asked about how she approached her character. The first part of her answer was a nuanced take on finding a way to honestly portray an evil of history without sympathizing or simplifying it, her character being the real wife of Auschwitz camp director Rudolph Hoss, but it's the second part I’m going to focus on here. That being the intricacies of the multi-camera system, as opposed to the much more conventional single camera.

Subconcious Impact of Representation

””From a young age, I never paid much attention to what most of my idols and heroes looked like or where they were from. Superman soared across the sky and Spider-Man swung across New York buildings and their alter-egos just looked like what the child version of myself believed the average person looked like. Part of growing up for me was realizing that I looked different from what I and many of my peers had been conditioned to consider the average. Most average looking pop culture figures did not share that many physical attributes with the little Latino kid that was looking up to them; it did not bother me at a young age since it was just the established norm. This established norm is eroding more and more every year though media continues to take significant strides in representation.

Hispanic Representation: Guillermo Del Toro

”” Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Guillermo Del Toro has become one of the most prolific filmmakers of the modern age thanks to his unique voice, resilience on non-CGI creatures, and his unrelenting patience for his craft. Before working behind the camera, Del Toro worked for much of his early career in makeup and special effects, trained and mentored by Dick Smith. Working alongside Smith for ten years, Del Toro eventually cofounded his own visual effects studio named “Necropia”. This early interest and experience with practical effects laid the groundwork for almost all his projects to come, beginning with his first film Omnivore.