May 2017

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-AP Students and/or students who have taken the SAT

“It is not often that a man can make opportunities for himself.  But he can put himself into such shape that when or if opportunity comes, he is ready.” -Theodore Roosevelt

For years and years, high schools across the nation emphasize the aptitude test known as the SAT.  There are those who have the necessary funds, those who know which direction to go in life, and those who are backed with the many scholarships they have earned who may just shrug off the difficulty that comes with nothing more than another qualification for college.  For many, however, comes its blatant needlessness.  There will be those who have an interest in vocational schools, those who work straight out of high school, or those who pursued an alternate route.  Why must they receive the same emphasis if it’s not of their interest?

The SAT, in a sense, is an unnecessary test that has burrowed its way into high school life.  Perhaps it wouldn’t be needless if something like junior college was not made available as an alternate route.  Junior college, otherwise known as community college, is arguably the most efficient and helpful way to get into any four-year university.  Unlike a generalized test such as the SAT, community college can provide students with a more specific goal for when they reach any of the local Cal-States or UCs.  This is imperative to those who have yet to decide what they wish to pursue in life, what they know they’re good at, and what they’re the most comfortable with since it provides an extended two years of experience and flexibility that isn’t limited to mandatory classes in high school.

In hindsight, passing the SAT, ACT, or any form of aptitude test can prove a student’s worth in college life.  However, in today’s society, debt has become the accepted snake that crawls up and down everyone’s spine.  It almost always begins with student loan debt.  As opposed to what the SAT promotes, unless the student pursued scholarships, they are walking into the loan traps set in place by a majority of colleges.  Why must a student pay for general education classes in a four-year college?  These classes do not favor their pursuit in their occupation whatsoever, yet they are still paying the full price for courses and semesters.  Why isn’t it advertised that community college also covers general education classes?  You can complete said classes for a fraction of the cost all while figuring out what career you want to pursue.  Not to mention that transfers have a greater enrollment rate than freshmen going in straight from high school according to the statistics found on

As mentioned before, unless a student has access to adequate funds and/or scholarships, the SAT should NOT be emphasized in high school life without the consultation of alternate methods.  Students should be aware and should know what they must endure if they decide to go directly into a four-year college directly from high school.

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“V/H/S: Viral” is a 2014 anthology horror film directed by Gregg Bishop and Justin Benson. It is the sequel to 2012’s “V/H/S” and 2013’s “V/H/S/2”. The plot of the film doesn’t follow the previous film. A group of teens who are obsessed with making viral videos witness an ice cream truck being chased through their neighborhood and record the chase with cameras to hopefully make it viral and become famous.

The film consists of three short films being played through someone’s phone whenever the ice cream truck passes by that person during the police chase:

“Dante the Great”

An unsuccessful magician named Dante is trying to make ends meet when he comes across a cloak that can make his magic more interesting beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

“Parallel Monsters”

Mainly told in Spanish, this short film centers on a man who builds a machine that opens up a parallel universe very much like his own. He and his parallel self swap universes for a few minutes with some major consequences he may never forget.


A group of skateboarders travel to the Mexican border. They soon skate over a mysterious symbol on the ground and they find themselves in a fight for their own survival against an evil that they have accidentally unleashed.


The film was complete trash! The film was a little too short and none of the shorts were that interesting. “Dante the Great” was mainly a short documentary instead of a found-footage short. In “Bonestorm”, the camera shots weren’t good. The boys had two GoPros on their heads, one towards their faces and the other faced away. The directors could’ve taken the cameras that were facing them and there would’ve been less camera switches. In “Parallel Monsters”, the monsters were lazily created and not scary. Don’t watch this movie, unless you enjoy bad movies. What could’ve made the movie better would be that the boys who were chasing the ice cream truck could get into the truck and watch one of the tapes.

“Dante the Great” could’ve been found-footage like it’s supposed to be instead of a documentary. “Bonestorm” could have less camera switches. “Parallel Monsters” could’ve had more scary monsters in the parallel universe. One thing that also could’ve made the movie interesting would be that the glitch monster from the first film in the short “Tuesday the 17th” could’ve been the one behind the chase and videos going viral


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“V/H/S” is a 2012 anthology horror film directed by Adam Wingard and Ti West. Starring Calvin Reeder and Lane Hughes, the film is mainly about a band of crooks who are hired by their boss to steal a rare v/h/s tape from an old man’s home, but instead, they find a dead body surrounded by horrific tapes.

The film is a collection of five short films that one of the crooks watches with the dead body while the other crooks search the house for the rare v/h/s tape:

“Amateur Night”

Three friends buy a pair of video glasses to make an adult film. They bring back one girl to their hotel room with them, but it is soon revealed that the girl isn’t really “human”.

“Second Honeymoon”

A couple having their second honeymoon in the Grand Canyon are documenting their trip while being stalked by a mysterious killer.

“Tuesday the 17th” 

Four college friends are going to the woods with their new friend. All seems to be going well, then there’s a killer in the woods. Not your average killer. This one only appears as a tracking error on their camera so it can’t be filmed properly.

“The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger”

This short is filmed from an old Skype conversation. A woman is talking to her boyfriend who’s away on business, then she thinks her house is haunted. Soon after, she discovers a mysterious lump on her arm. Is she safe?


It’s Halloween 1998. Four friends dressed as a teddy bear (nanny cam), a Marine, a pirate, and the Unabomber, respectively, are on their way to a Halloween party. But they choose the wrong house. After exploring the empty house, they find some men and a woman in the attic performing an exorcism. Before the friends can try and escape, the house unleashes a deadly poltergeist on everyone.


The film was a good movie, not bad or great, just good. It did reveal some scary monsters that not very many get to see in movies. Some of the shorts were too boring and the movie itself was a little too long. The second short “Second Honeymoon” could’ve had some more action in it to make it more interesting and some more backstory between the couple and the killer. The third short “Tuesday the 17th” was full of cliches, but the only good thing about it was a killer itself. One thing that would’ve made the movie a big twist would be that at the end of the fifth short “10/31/98” the boys could survive and then they could be mentally traumatized and they become the crooks who broke into the house to watch the tapes.


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“V/H/S/2” is a 2013 anthology horror film directed by Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett and is the sequel to 2012’s “V/H/S”.

The film  mainly stars Michael Lawrence Lavine and Kelsey Abbott as two private investigators who go searching for a missing college kid and find a collection of v/h/s tapes in his home instead.

The film contains four short films that  one of the investigators watches while the other searches the house for the college kid:

Phase 1 Clinical TrialsImage result for vhs 2 movie

A man was recently in a car accident and he gets an ocular implant with recording chip in it and he begins seeing spirits in his home. After seeing some weird activity in his home, a woman who can hear the activity but can not see it, gives him a message he may never forget.


A Ride In The ParkImage result for vhs 2 movie

A man biking through the fictional Gold Stone State Park mounts a GoPro camera on his helmet and gets turned into a zombie and we are given a first-person shot of what a zombie does. Contains: bloody images, gore, and violence that’s not for the faint of heart.




Safe Haven

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Four friends are in Indonesia making a documentary about an Indonesian cult isolated from society and during their interview, the cult unleashes its terrifying truth on everyone living there and the documentarians.



Slumber Party Alien AbductionImage result for vhs 2 movie

The title says it all! A group of young friends and teenagers are having a sleepover and they are suddenly abducted by aliens one at a time while a GoPro mounted on their dog records it all.


The film was a major improvement over its predecessor. The shorts were entertaining, have a lot of violence and gore and provide plenty of good scares. It provides the same plot line as its predecessor with it being a bunch of shorts being watched by someone. The plot also doesn’t make sense just like the first movie, but it’s not meant to make sense. The plot is a bunch of short films being played that have no real connection to each other. What could’ve been done to make it more interesting would be that the people who are investigating the home, one or more of the short films could have one of them in it and can reveal some backstory about them and how they got to where they are at the house now.


Alien-Goatdemon-Zombie-Ghost – A Review Of V/H/S/2


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“Circle” is a 2015 science fiction/drama film directed by Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione. The movie stars Michael Nardelli, Julie Benz, Carter Jenkins, and so many more. The film is about fifty random strangers who wake in a dark room arranged in one large circle with no way to escape. They soon learn that every two minutes, one of them is killed by a mysterious device in the middle of the room. They eventually learn that they get to choose who gets to die next by voting, starting up discussions about life and personal values of deciding who is the one person who deserves to live.

Circle’s setting is extremely simplified; taking place in a single room. 50 people are placed into a circle facing each other. In the center of the room is an ominous black orb which stares back into the eyes of the occupants of the room. Around the orb are triangular selectors, one for each occupant of the room. Each contestant of the Circle uses their hand to vote for a person to kill. Each vote is only known to the person who cast the vote. While visually, Circle is nothing special, it’s location allows it to focus on it’s core message and plot.

As the movie progresses, the occupants in the room die out while also discussing the different stereotypes and manners of human interaction. The 50 people cover very significant life topics like: racism, gay marriage, contributing to society, children, pregnant women, religion, immigration, etc… As well as the topics discussed in the movie, the 50 people in the room represent a different type of member of our society such as: an Army man, a pregnant woman, a child, a one-armed man, a Spanish-speaker, a rich man, a minister, an atheist, etc…

While it’s discussions are shallow at best, it’s addressing of the issues is refreshing in movie industry that is obsessed with recreating the old instead of creating something new. Deeper analysis of the movie’s plot reveals commentary about the prejudges of society, mob mentality, fear, mortality, and democracy. One example of this would be the reactionary methods with which the contestants vote with. Instead of using the a logical approach, the contestants reacted to fear tactics and mis-information. The overall feeling seems to echo the 2016 elections.

Overall, the movie is a very simple, creative, and horrific movie. Some characters could be more developed and the ending could have been more anonymous so the watcher doesn’t know who the real winner of the circle was. I liked this movie and recommend it to high school students to teach them valuable lessons they will need to learn in real life.

Wyatt Fortin: 8.5/10

To close, I personally found the movie to be quite refreshing. The movie’s message, while ham-fisted at times, is conversation starting. It’s study of the human condition along with it’s quick pacing allows it to explore a wide range of topics in a short amount of time. It’s simple and good for what the film makers were working with and beats a lot of high budget films that have come out recently in terms of plot and meaningfulness.

Josh Garde: 4 pies out of 2 ducks