Monday, May 30, 2016

Character Analysis: Brian Johnson

Character Analysis: Brian Johnson
By: Brian Cotnoir

Well it’s almost that time of year again.  Another school year has come and gone.  Many students are looking forward to graduation, while others are looking forward to Summer vacation.  So I decided that in honor of the end of another school year, I would write a Character Analysis on a student character in film.  Very few films stand the test of time and hold as much relevance today as they did back then as John Hughes 1985 cult classic “The Breakfast Club”.  The story of a group of 5 students from different social groups and backgrounds who are forced to spend their Saturday in detention.  Instead of working on the essay their Principal assigned them to write, they spend most of the day talking, arguing, sharing stories about their home lives, smoking pot, dancing, and just trying not to get caught by Mr. Vernon.  Anyone of the characters from “The Breakfast Club” would have been a great choice for me to write a Character Analysis on, but the one I have chosen to write one on is Brian Johnson: The Geek.

CHARACTER: Brian Johnson from “The Breakfast Club” (1985)

Brian Johnson from "The Breakfast Club"
Brian Johnson is one of 5 students at Shermer High School forced to spend their Saturday in detention.  Early on we see Brian has come to the detention prepared to study and work on various class assignments.  As his day progresses we view him desperately trying to seek the approval of the others.  When questioned by student John Bender, if he’s still a virgin, Brian makes up a lie saying that he lost his virginity to a girl he met at Niagara Falls, and then lies and said he also had sex with Claire—a popular girl in the Saturday detention with them.    Brian is in detention because his flare gun went off in his locker.  Brian admits that this is the reason why he is in detention when he’s sitting around the library with the other students.  When asked by Andrew why he had a gun in his locker, Brian replied “I can’t have an F”.  Brian tells his classmates that he failed his Shop Class earlier this year; it was the first time he ever received an F.  Brian goes on to tell the others about how strict his parents are with his grades, and how he’s devastated at the loss of his perfect Grade Point Average.  This confession makes Brian appear somewhat mentally unstable and anal retentive.  Brian’s stress over his grades is most likely brought on by the pressure from his parents to achieve academic perfection.  He says that “I can’t have an F. And I know my parents can have it”, so by that we can accurately assume that his parents hold him to the highest standard (academically).  It is unclear if Brian brought the flare gun to school mistaking it for a real gun, but it is heavily implied that he was having suicidal thoughts over receiving an F.  Claire tells Brian that “killing yourself is not an option” to which he snaps back “Well I didn’t do it!”.  Why a student deserves a Saturday detention rather than psychological help for contemplating suicide is beyond me, and I’m just going to chock that one into the “it was a different time back then” scenario.

THE ACTOR:

Anthony Michael Hall
Brian is played by actor Anthony Michael Hall.  This wasn’t the first time Hall has played the Geek character in a film.  In fact, he’s the actor who revolutionized the Geek character in film and made him the everyman that people like and root for.  Before Anthony Michael Hall, most film characters who played geeks were neurotic and panned up for comedic relief like Jerry Lewis’s character in “The Nutty Professor”.  Anthony Michael Hall’s geek character archetype led to many successful and beloved acting performances in films like “Sixteen Candles”, “Weird Science”, and “The Breakfast Club”. 

THE CHARACTER IS SIMILAR TO OR INSPIRED BY:

As I mentioned above, Anthony Michael Hall has set the standard for how to play a geek character in film. Every other geek character in film pretty much takes direct inspiration from Anthony Michael Hall, everyone form Ducky in “Pretty in Pink” (another John Hughes film), to McLovin in “Superbad”, and Columbus in “Zombieland”. All share many distinctive similarities to all of Hall’s performances.  Their characters are socially-awkward, (usually) intelligent, they have unique but distinguishable quirks, and they fail time after time at trying to pick up women.

Ducky from "Pretty in Pink"

McLovin from "Superbad"



FATE OF THE CHARACTER:


After spending the whole day talking to the others and sharing in some friendly bonding and experiences that may last a lifetime, Brian has to come to a sad—but inevitable—realization.  When school resumes on Monday morning, they will most likely go back to their own social groups, and will not remain friends.  Even with this devastating news from his newest friends, Brian tells the others that he would never shun or ignore any of them if they approached him in the hallway; even though they all told him that they would most likely turn away from him if he approached them.  As the detention draws to an end, all the others approach Brian and convince him to write the essay that they were all supposed to be working on during their detention, since they consider him to be the smartest.  Brian agrees to do this favor for his new friends and composes a letter roughly 1/10th the size that their Principal instructed them to write at the beginning of the detention setting.  The essay that Brian wrote is read out loud as the film ends, and he signs it “Sincerely Yours, The Breakfast Club”.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Character Analysis: Olaf

Character Analysis: Olaf

By: Brian Cotnoir

I like “Frozen”.  There I said it, and I’m not even embarrassed.  Even the toughest and most rugged of men can have a Disney side.  Not only is this one of my favorite Animated Films, but it’s one of my favorite films of All-Time.  Nothing makes me happier then when my three-year-old niece asks me if we can watch “Frozen” together.  I enjoy this film.  I like the animation, I like the songs (yes, even “Let it go”), I like the story, but most of all this film has probably my favorite Disney Character ever, Olaf.  From the first time I saw this titular snowman in the film, I became instantly intrigued and fascinated by him; I found him to be charming, funny, and especially entertaining.  So today we are paying tribute to Olaf and analyze what makes him so darn awesome.

CHARACTER: Olaf from “Frozen” (2013)

Olaf from "Frozen"
Olaf is a anthropomorphic snowman created by Elsa, the Snow Queen of Arendelle. We first see him very early on in the film.  He is just a typical snowman created by a very young Elsa for her younger sister Anna.  Olaf cannot speak, or move, and has no conscious thoughts.  Many years later after Elsa runs away to the high icy mountain tops she uses her snow powers to create a snowman before creating a giant ice palace for herself to reside in.  For reasons never explained, Olaf is now alive and wanders through the mountains of woods on his own until he comes across Anna, Kristoff, and Sven the reindeer.  Olaf greets them with this typical greeting “Hi, I’m Olaf, and I like warm hugs”.  Olaf is a very kind-natured, innocent, and naive snowman whose only dream is to experience Summer (completely unaware of the fact that he will melt in the heat).  Olaf agrees to take the others to Elsa’s ice palace.  Even though, he was told not to enter the palace by Anna, Olaf can’t help himself and rushes in to meet his creator.  Even though, Elsa comes off as cold-hearted (no pun intended) and a little hostile, Olaf is beyond excited to meet his creator, and she is even more surprised to learn that he is alive.  Despite being tossed out, by Elsa’s evil snow henchman, Olaf is still delighted to have met her and hopes to see her again.  Unfortunately, Elsa’s ice powers hit her sister Anna in the heart, and now it’s up to Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven to rescue Anna.



THE VOICE ACTOR:

Olaf is voiced by Broadway singer Josh Gad.  Before, taking the voice role of Olaf, Gad was best known for playing Elder Arnold Cunningham in the hit Broadway show, “The Book of Mormon”.  Gad, not only does a fantastic job as a voice actor, but being a Broadway actor too also means he was more than capable of providing the singing voice for Olaf as well.  This is a nice change of pace, because in the past Disney Animated films have one voice actor for the speaking parts, and one for the singing parts.  Josh Gad does an amazing job at both.

CHARACTER IS SIMILAR TO OR INSPIRED BY:

Frozen” is a lose adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen. Walt Disney himself started developing the plot to the film back in 1959.  Disney, unfortunately never got adapt the story into an animated film, and the project remained in limbo for decades (not to mention went through many re-writes).  Olaf was not a part of the original story of The Snow Queen, and is definitely a creation of a Disney in an attempt to create a character for comic relief purposes.  Olaf, definitely falls in the same category of Wisecracking, funny Disney Sidekick like the late Robin William’s, Genie from “Aladdin” and Eddie Murphy’s, Mushu from “Mulan”.  Film Critic, Chad Rocco (aka CR! From Channel Awesome) did an episode on Olaf for his show “Familiar Faces”, and I highly recommend you check out his video on Youtube for more details.

CR!'s Analysis on Olaf (A Must Watch)


FATE OF THE CHARACTER:

Olaf and Kristoff manage to get Anna to safety, and after an intense battle between Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf, and Prince Hans.  The spell is broken when Anna sacrifices herself to save her sister, and everyone lives happily ever after.  Arendelle is thawed and Olaf finally gets to experience summer, despite melting, he is brought back to his solid state by Elsa and she uses her ice powers to give him his own personal flurry so he can survive in Summer.


That’s all we know of Olaf up to this point, but I’ll be sure to add on any more details we learn about him when/if “Frozen 2” is released in theaters. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

5 Bands that Angsty White Girls in the early 2000's listened too

5 Bands that all Angsty White Girls in the early 2000’s listened too

By: A. Aleister Sirrat

Since I made fun of the white boys in my last music review, I decided it was only fair to have some fun at the white girl’s expense this time.  Oh the early 2000’s was a wonderful time for Angsty White Girls.  These girls emerged from their sheltered suburban homes lives and began “rebelling” about how “depressing” and “messed up” life was.  These angsty girls, aged 13-16, journeyed to the mall and took over the Hot Topic buying gauges, $80 pairs of black pants covered in chains and zippers, and those purple & black stripped finger less gloves.  They then retreated back to their bedrooms where they sat in the dark writing bad poetry about their menial problems, as they watched Tim Burton movies on their TV’s and fantasized about marrying Johnny Depp.  They would also lash out at their parents every time their parents said that they were “just going through a phase”.  And today we’re going to see if we can rub a little bit more salt in those wounds.  Here are 5 bands that Angsty White Girls in the early 2000’s listened too.

1.) Good Charlotte

Punk-Pop comprised roughly 40% of all music listened to by Angsty White Girls in the early 2000’s.  Bands like Simple Plan, Fall Out Boy, New Found Glory, and Post-American Idiot Green Day found heavy favoritism with young angsty females.  Any one of these bands would have been a viable choice on this list, but the one band that sticks out the most is Maryland’s Good Charlotte.  My reasoning why is because during the height of their popularity Good Charlotte managed to be a perfect blend of emo and punk-pop that appealed to a largely female audience.  Also, unlike the other bands I mentioned above, Good Charlotte has failed to stand the test of time.  Most of the other bands are still touring and recording today, and are listened to by many different types of people and not just Angsty White Girls.



2.) Evanescence

Every Angsty White Girl in the early 2000’s absolutely adored Evanescence lead singer Amy Lee, and aspired to be just like her.  Indeed, many Angsty White Girls would attempt to sing the song “My Immortal” at their high school talent show, only for many of them to realize that they do not possess the vocal range necessary to hit the same notes as Amy Lee.  And also, many Angsty White Girls hoped to meet a boy who could sing so they could do a duet of Evanescence debut hit “Bring me to life” and/or sing Shaun Morgan’s parts to Seether’s “Broken”. 








3.) Avril Lavigine

We all know a girl who wore
neckties over their t-shirt
Besides Evanescence’s Amy Lee, Angsty White Girls had another female vocalist to admire and aspire to be more like, Canada’s Avril Lavigne.  Now, I’ve already bashed Ms. Lavigne in my “Top 5 Worst Lyrics” article, so I’ll try to keep this short and sweet.  Avril Lavigne was a lot closer in age to many of her female fans than Amy Lee was so it gave Angsty White Girls the impression that they could be just like her and obtain the same amount of success and notoriety as her with their own music (or poetry).  At a time when the most prominent and well-known female singers were Pop Superstars like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, and Mandy Moore, Avril Lavigne presented herself as the “Anti-Pop Star”; someone who was more real and honest and someone who many young females to relate to and look up too.  And then two albums later changed and entirely and became everything she swore she’d never be from her first album.





4.) My Chemical Romance

I actually know almost nothing about My Chemical Romance (like seriously, I couldn’t even tell you the names of one of their songs), but this was one of the biggest and most popular bands with Angsty White Girls in the early 2000’s.  Whereas some bands have a distinctive sound, but no image, My Chemical Romance always came off to me as a band that had an image and no distinctive sound.  And I swear every Angsty White Girl in the early 2000’s had the same MCR poster hanging in their room.  Although, I know nothing of their music I can say that the bands singer Gerard Way wrote one of my favorite mini-comic book series “The Umbrella Academy”.

Seriously, EVERY Angsty White Girl had this poster!


5.) 30 Seconds to Mars


This band never seemed to me like they should have been famous or successful, but by God they did become just that.  You see normally when a person who is known primarily as an actor attempts a music career it doesn’t usually turn out that well for them.  There are few actors and actresses in the world today who have found success in both films and music, but Academy Award® winner Jared Leto certainly has found his own success with both.  Despite being one of the biggest and most well-known actors in Hollywood today, he somehow managed to present himself as the Emo Adonis rock star in the early 2000’s with him and his brother’s band 30 Seconds to Mars.  I knew Leto in the early 2000’s for roles in movies like “Fight Club” and “American Psycho”, and I was amazed at how many Angsty White Female fans of his weren’t aware that their musical fantasy was also a quite talented actor.  Since Leto has had success in both fields, he has managed to introduce fans of his music to his films and fans of his films to his music.  For many Angsty White Girls in the early 2000’s, Jared Leto was the complete package.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Character Analysis: Angel Face

Character Analysis: Angel Face

By: Brian Cotnoir

Angel Face from "Fight Club"
The First rule of Asylum for Nerds is you must share this article.  The second rule of Asylum for Nerds is you must share this article.  Fight Club: has there ever been a more masculine title for a book/film?  I don’t think so.  Ever since Fox Studios made a film version of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel of the same name, “Fight Club” has gone on to inspire a loyal cult following.  Millions of men around the world have identified with the stories nameless narrator, and have also aspired to be like the macho and ripped Tyler Durden.  Even though the Narrator and Tyler Durden (played by Edward Norton and Brad Pitt respectively) are the two most easily identical characters associated with the book and film, they aren’t the only ones who are iconic or memorable.  There’s also Helena Bonham-Carter’s character Marla Singer, and Meatloaf’s Robert Paulson, but ther is another—nameless—character in the film who has gained a loyal cult following (in both the film and in real life), and that character is Angel Face.  But what is it about this character that makes him so special and memorable?  Let’s take a look at him shall we?

CHARACTER: Angel Face from “Fight Club” (1999)

Angel Face scarred up after fight with Narrator
Angel Face is first introduced to the film at one of the nights at Fight Club held by the Narrator & Tyler Durden.  We never learn his actual name, he is merely referred to as “Angel Face” is both the novel and the film, though, he is sometimes referred to as “Mister Perfect Angel Face” by the resentful Narrator.  Angel Face is described as being very young and having beautiful blonde hair and facial features.  It is because of the reasons that the narrator harbors a deep resentment towards him, and believes that Angel Face is trying to usurp him, and find favoritism with Tyler Durden.  This resentment eventually boils over and Angel Face is savagely bludgeoned by the Narrator one night at Fight Club.  The Narrator proclaims “[he] wanted to destroy something beautiful”, and hence Angel Face loses his good looks.  The next time we see Angel Face in the film he is being recruited for Tyler Durden’s newest plan, Project Mayhem, and still bears the disfigured scars left on his face by the Narrator.  He takes great pleasure in their corporate destruction and is a highly active and willing participant in Project Mayhem

THE ACTOR:

Actor Jared Leto plays Angel Face in "Fight Club"
Angel Face is played by future Academy Award® Winning Actor & Musician Jared Leto.  Leto definitely fits the description of Angel Face in the film; he was young, good looking, and had blonde hair.  Leto was really the best choice for the role, and I believe is just as important as Brad Pitt for making this film a must-see for many Female audience members.  I know so many women who are huge fans of Leto’s band 30 Seconds to Mars, and saw this film solely to see him act in it.  Another reason why I believe Leto was the best choice for the person to play Angel Face in “Fight Club” is because of his now famous notoriety for playing characters in film who end up being horribly disfigured and brutally killed such as in “Requiem for a Dream”, “American Psycho”, and “Panic Room”. 

CHARACTER IS SIMILAR TO OR INSPIRED BY:

We have seen other characters like Angel Face in film and stories before; the young person who joins a cause (possibly) looking for belonging and acceptance, and becomes heavily involved in the cause doing anything and everything he is asked to do by the group’s leader.  The only character I can think off the top of my head who draws similarities to Angel Face is a character named Tim from a 2008 German film called “Die Welle” (or “The Wave”).  Both are dedicated to their group’s leader and their cause, and feel that what they are doing for their cause is extremely important and justifiable.

Angel Face taking part in his Project Mayhem initiation

Tim wasn't accepted into Project Mayhem



FATE OF THE CHARACTER:


It is never clearly explained what happened to Angel Face and the rest of the members of Project Mayhem.  We see them arrive at Parker-Morris Building just as the Narrator begins to have is existential battle with his alter ego, Tyler Durden (and no, I did not feel the need to declare a SPOILER Warning because if you haven’t already seen “Fight Club” before reading this article it’s your own damn fault!)  The last scene we see in the film is of the Narrator and Marla Singer watching the buildings being blown up by the members of Project Mayhem, it is never officially stated in the film whether or not Angel Face and the other members of Project Mayhem died in the destruction as well or if they were merely just there to watch the show.  Personally, I think he must have died in the explosion with all the others, but that’s just my opinion.

Monday, May 2, 2016

5 Bands that Angry White Boys Like

5 Bands that Angry White Boys Like

By: A. Aleister Sirrat

Hello Friends.  Are you a blue-collar worker who peaked in High School?  Do you drink cheap beer with your friends like Pabst Blue Ribbon or Narragansett, and tell people it’s “your favorite”, but really you only drink it because it’s cheap and you can get drunk for under $10?  Do you have a super long goatee that you’re super proud of and are heavily tattooed? Are you the type of person who goes to sports bars to watch Pay-Per View UFC Fights and screams at the TV the whole time and act like you’re in your own living room?  Do you refer to your male friends as your “boys”?  Do you consider yourself a staunch Conservative and are easily angered by anyone who has a different set of beliefs then you?  Then there is a good chance that you are probably an Angry White Boy.  Angry White Boys make up a large demographic of males between the age of 21-55 in the United States and the best way to deal with them, is to ignore their loud, obnoxious behavior because if you try to confront them or get them to change their behavior you can pretty much guarantee that they will struggle to take off their shirt as they challenge you to fight in the parking lot.  Another way to avoid Angry White Boys is to not like the kind of music they listen too.  Bands like these...

1.) Puddle of Mudd

Puddle of Mudd is an ideal band for the Angry White Boy who got his girlfriend pregnant in High School, only to have to leave him years later because he proved himself to be unreliable and irresponsible time after time.  And she never came to see his band or supported any of his dreams or aspirations!  It’s music for the kind of guy who tells all his buddies about how “ungrateful” his ex-girlfriend was, and how she was always “nagging” him to “be responsible and provide for her and his family”. With many angry songs like “Control”, “Blurry”, and “She Hates Me”, Puddle of Mudd is the perfect band Angry White Boys who have hardly spent any time with their own kids in the past 3 years.



2.) Staind

Now we move to a band that’s perfect for Angry White Boys with a “sensitive” side.  Angry White Boys like rocking out to Staind because they can enjoy the lyrics and music of the bands front man Aaron Lewis, no matter if he’s playing with a full band or he’s just doing an acoustic set at your local city festival and you can see him play for free.  However, most Angry White Boys don’t want people to know they like Staind because they are worried that their friends will think they are a sissy.



3.) Blood for Blood

Boston’s, Blood for Blood is probably the angriest group of Angry White Boys out there.  This band is especially well liked by White Trash types from lower-income families who grew up in an Urban/Inner-City neighborhood that had a much higher population of minorities than white people.  Most of the lyrics are about drinking beer, fighting, and exclaiming excessive amount of profanities at people who are more successful then they’ll ever hope to be.  If you ever see an Angry White Boy in a “Wasted Youth Crew” shirt, it’s best for you to avoid making eye contact with them, unless you want them to beat you up for merely just existing.



4.) Godsmack

Another Massachusetts group beloved by Angry White Boys, Godsmack is favored by them because it’s so easy to scream their lyrics out loud when they are gathered together at a biker bar or outdoor music festival.  And also like Staind, Godsmack’s front man Sully Erna has a few acoustic tracks up his sleeve for the Angry White Boy with a bit of a sensitive side.  With songs like “Cryin’ like a bitch” and “I Stand Alone”, Godsmack provides many an anthem for Angry White Boys to shout while intoxicated.




5.) Stone Sour


Lastly, there is Stone Sour who are liked by Angry White Boys who were fans of Slipknot when they were 14, but now won’t listen to them because they think the 14-year-olds who listen to them today are annoying little turds.  Stone Sour is ideal for Angry White Boys have a more "refined" and more "mature" taste in loud heavy music.


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Character Analysis: Lipstick-Face Demon

Character Analysis: Lipstick-Face Demon

By: Brian Cotnoir

When you’ve seen as many Horror films as I have, you pretty much become immune to fear.  However, most recently there has been a new Horror movie character that has managed to terrify me multiple times.  He is a character who has made me scream out in terror in the theaters multiple times and that character has the bizarre name of “Lipstick-Face Demon”.  Don’t let the name fool you; this character from James Wan and Leigh Whannell’s “Insidious” Franchise is more terrifying than Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and Leatherface.

CHARACTER: Lipstick-Face Demon from “Insidious” (2011) and 
Insidious: Chapter 3” (2015)

Lipstick-Face Demon in "Insidious: Chapter 3"
So this is going to sound a little bit confusing, but I’ll try to make this as simple as I can.   Lipstick Face Demon’s first appearance technically comes in “Insidious Chapter 3” because everything occurs before the events in the first film.  Lipstick-Face Demon appears behind Elise Reiner, a spiritual medium, in her bedroom at the very end of the film.  He is—well-a demon who is from the astral plain known as “The Further”.  He has dark black skin, furry legs, and hooves for feet.  He also has razor sharp finger nails and green-yellow eyes, and his voice can only be heard by a select few.  Lipstick-Face Demon captures the spirit of a young boy named, Dalton Lambert.  With no medical explanation for why their son isn’t responding to anything, and mysterious and spooky things starting to happen around their home, the Lambert family ends up seeking help from Elise. Elise informs the family that their son is lost somewhere in The Further and that he is being held captive by a malevolent demon, who hopes to use Dalton’s body as way to break free of The Further.

Lipstick-Face Demon in "Insidious"


THE ACTOR:

Joseph Bishara plays the role of Lipstick-Face Demon
The Actor who plays Lipstick-Face Demon isn’t even an actor at all, but is someone who has close ties to the Horror film industry.  Joseph Bishara plays Lipstick-Face Demon in “Insidious” and “Insidious Chapter 3”, and he is also the Films Composer.  Bishara has composed the soundtrack for all three “Insidious” films as well as the scores in other James Wan films such as “Annabelle”, “The Conjuring” and its sequel, and many other Horror films.  I think it’s pretty nifty that the films composer has a small, but iconic role in the film.  It’s definitely a neat little fun-fact.  Plus, I find it funny that I find Bishara terrifying as Lipstick-Face Demon, but when you see him without the make up on he doesn’t look scary or intimidating.


CHARACTER IS SIMILAR TO OR INSPIRED BY:

Everyone who has seen Lipstick-Face Demon has had the same initial thought of him: “Hey, he kind of looks like Darth Maul from “Star Wars—Episode 1”, and I definitely see the similarities with the red and black faces.  Lipstick-Face Demon also has some traits of biblical demon portrayals (the red and black skin, the glowing eyes, the furry legs and hooves, etc.).

"Lipstick-Face Demon, I....am your father!"

".......Whatever, dude"


FATE OF THE CHARACTER:


Dalton’s Spirit is saved by his father Josh who journeys into the further to save his son, and Lipstick-Face Demon is unable to takeover Dalton’s body.  So it is safe to assume that he is still lurking in The Further waiting for his next opportunity to escape.

He's waiting for you!