The Fault in Our Stars outshines recent books
Apr15

The Fault in Our Stars outshines recent books

THE BELLS – By Jessica Pitcaithly Soon to be released in theaters as a major motion picture, The Fault in Our Stars is not only a phrase from Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, but also an eye-opening and touching novel written by John Green. People might expect the book to have been written in medieval times. Instead, it takes place in modern day and deals with a difficult topic that readers all over the country have appreciated. The plot focuses on Hazel Grace, a 16 year-old girl living with terminal cancer. She narrates the novel from a first-person point of view, showing the everyday struggle of the terrible disease. Forced by her mother to join a support group for her illness, Hazel reluctantly partakes in tedious sessions held in “the literal heart of Jesus,” (inside-joke book humor).  This ends up changing- her life forever. At first, Hazel dreads going until she meets Augustus Waters. Soon, the book speeds up as an unconventional love story unfolds. Augustus, or Gus for short, is a handsome boy. Initially, he is over-determined to get to know Hazel, and readers might be unsure of how they feel about the character. But as the book continues, readers intently follow the path of this couple’s relationship as they suffer from illness and a huge hunt for answers about Hazel’s favorite book: An Imperial Affliction, which plays a big role in the story. Green delivers a shocking ending that readers will not see coming. This unexpected turn furthers his message of the book about dealing with cancer. As a whole, The Fault in Our Stars is a fun and unique novel. Avid readers should carve out the time to delve into its honest truth about a difficult, real life topic. This book made me look closer at my life and count my blessings. On the other hand, it made me realize that I should enjoy the small things because of how short life is and take advantage of the moment. The popular novel is being adapted into a film and will star Shailene Woodley as Hazel and Ansel Elgort as Gus. With Woodley making a name for herself, the film has already gained a large following. It comes out in theaters June 6. But before sitting down to watch the film, get comfortable, open the book and read. Regret will not even cross your...

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God brings theaters to life
Apr15

God brings theaters to life

In an era when darkness and violence have come to be the thrills moviegoers seek, glimmers of light are flickering across the silver screen. Competing with blockbusters like Divergent, God’s Not Dead brought in viewers interested in a message of life-changing redemption. The plot is derived from various real-life stories of court cases and students who challenged the authority of professors and universities to force them to abandon their faith. The multiple storylines that are interwoven to build the plot are fresh and strong. Nothing is sugarcoated. The message of the gospel reached people where they were. Some accepted it, but others rejected it. Further, superb acting by Kevin Sorbo, who played Hercules in the 1994 series, combined with appearances from the popular Duck Dynasty couple, Willie and Korie Robertson and Christian rockers, The Newsboys, draw upon a wider demographic of moviegoers than some other Christian films. The story is set mainly on a college campus where a freshman needs to fulfill a philosophy credit. He ends up in the class of a professor who is a devout atheist. The instructor tells the entire class to write “God is dead” on a piece of paper and sign it. The young student, passionate about his Christianity, refuses. The angered professor issues an ultimatum. The student must prove in three lectures that God does, in fact, exist. If he fails, he fails the class. As the lectures go on, the true reason behind the professor’s unbelief begins to come out. In a heated exchange, he admits that he hates God, to which the student replies, “How can you hate someone who doesn’t exist?” Finally, after the final week of class periods devoted to the existence of a creator, a driver strikes the professor in an intersection. A pastor and a missionary who provide a side plot and comic relief are at the scene when it happens. The pastor prays with him, and he dies in the street reconciled with God whom he once hated. The movie ends at a Newsboys concert where Willie Robinson, who had heard of the freshman’s strong defense of his faith, encourages everyone present to text “God’s not dead” to everyone on their contact list. The movie audience receives the same mandate right before the credits roll. Because of the full range of emotions, the well-developed storyline and the call to action, this is a must see for Christians looking for practical ways to share their...

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Spring movies provide break for viewers
Apr02

Spring movies provide break for viewers

THE BELLS –By Jordan Yarbrough and Leif Johnston Two movies have recently hit the big screen in the last month that target very different audiences. The first is geared toward Christians and is a religious film about Jesus’ life. The second is a book that turned into a movie, fitting perfectly into the recent trend. The film Son of God has been filling theaters across the country and has topped the North American box office, raking in over $26.5 million in less than a month. Produced by Mark Burnett, it has been received well by a wide variety of audiences. Making religious movies always seems like a touchy subject now that no one wants to step on any toes, but Burnett quickly gave a reason why he knew his film would do well. In a recent interview with Fox News he said,  “In general media circles … people get uncomfortable around God. But actually, more Americans as a community go to church than do anything else. More Americans go to church on Sundays than watch football. Son of God illustrates that in such a huge way…. What does this nation stand for? The Bible and free enterprise are the two things that built the nation.” Son of God illustrates the life of Jesus Christ better than any other movie or television show that has been available to the general public. It is a film that someone who doesn’t know much about Christ’s life on earth can understand. It is accurate to scripture, and the timeline of events makes it easy to follow.  One reason the movie is doing so well is because it doesn’t fictionalize any of the stories of Jesus. “If you came to the movie and you didn’t know anything about Jesus, you would really get a sense of the journey of his life. It was our job to make sure that the journey emotionally connected with you,” Roma Downey, who played the Virgin Mary in the movie, said. “So we told the story on the one hand as a political thriller… It is a beautiful love story. There is intimacy to it, and we hope that you’re drawn in… and you get a sense that you really know who Jesus is.” Divergent is another movie people are dying to see. With a strong female protagonist, it doesn’t just attract girls. Like The Hunger Games, there is a lot of action but less romance, making it a great movie for everyone. From a pregnant teen in ABC Family’s old TV show The Secret Life of an American Teenager, to the strong lead, Tris, in Divergent, Shailene Woodley...

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Cru Knights: a Gatsby-approved party
Feb25

Cru Knights: a Gatsby-approved party

Lights. Camera. Cru Knights. The legendary man pageant is one of the highlights of the spring semester. Each year, male students from across campus come together to represent an organization or group. They dance, make videos, strut and compete to win the title of Mr. Crusader Knights. This year, 23 men hit the stage under the direction of junior computer graphics design major Lauren Theodore. The goal was to put on a show that would transport audiences back in time and showcase the hard work each contestant put into the performance. For this year’s theme, the directors selected Roaring Twenties. Each advertisement and decoration featured Art Deco elements, and all the glittering gold and extravagance resembled a party Jay Gatsby himself would be proud to host. The set, designed by junior exercise sport science major Shannon McGorty, wowed audiences and cast members alike. Sophomore public relations major Katie Valenzuela helped run social media on the promotions team. She was excited to find ways to make the theme come to life for the audience. “We were like ‘Hey, come dressed in your best Roaring Twenties Great Gatsby outfit,’” Valenzuela said. “We (wanted) to transport these people into a different place and really create an awesome show for them, so for the audience to be able to be part of the production is something really neat.” Juniors Braxton Tucker and Taylor O’Rear emceed the event, transitioning between dances and videos with 20s-styled jokes and one-liners. “Please silence all cell phones because they don’t even exist yet,” Tucker quipped on opening night. The competition began Friday with parody videos submitted by each contestant. Their assignment was to spoof a viral YouTube or music video. New spins were put on old favorites ranging from “Charlie Bit Me” to the Sonic commercials with those two guys in a car, and a few music videos in between. After each cluster of parodies, one set of men would perform their group dance on stage. The contestants ended the night with a large group dance. Saturday evening was filled with struts, interviews and plenty of dancing. Former Mr. Cru Knights and alumnus Tanner Clarke was featured in a number before crowning this year’s champion later in the evening. “I’m really blessed to do this from a different perspective. Getting to pour into these guys every single day, doing devotionals at practices, really helped me to be part of their lives even though I wasn’t a student anymore,” Clarke said. “Giving away at this point is a blessing for me because I get to pass on what I had as a student to somebody else.” After an interview...

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Country musician admits to infidelity
Feb25

Country musician admits to infidelity

THE BELLS — One of the giants in the Texas country music scene shocked his fans in mid-February. Josh Abbott released a series of tweets that confessed he had been going down the wrong path and was a completely different man from what his fans could see. Abbott has become one of the more successful Red Dirt artists originating from Lubbock. He made a name for himself playing in local venues. He now travels all around the country performing in front of thousands of people. Some of his biggest hits have been about living the “small town life” and numerous love songs that have given the impression  he and his wife were the perfect couple.  But just like anyone could do, he fell into temptation traveling so much, and he fell into the trap of alcohol and infidelity. His latest album Small Town Family Dream worked its way up to number three on the Billboard Country Charts. But with all of the fame came a breaking point, and Abbott explained what he had been going through on Twitter. “I have not been the Christian husband that I needed to be in my marriage. I have destroyed my marriage through multiple problems, including problems with alcohol abuse, infidelity and language. Somewhere along the last several years, I have lost myself as an accountable human being.” Abbott thought letting his fans know through him would be the first thing to help lead him back to the right path “The temptations that we as artists and celebrities face are unreal to many of you…I have to own up to my mistakes….I’m 22 days sober and hope that I can continue to control my addictions. I want to be an honorable and godly man, and this is the first step,” Abbott said. I am a fan of Abbott’s music, and it is evident that he is a great musician with talent that few can compete with. But this scandal could hurt his reputation in the country music arena. However, many of his fellow artists were quick to send prayers and thoughts to him and his wife as they try to work things out. Abbott has continued to tour and play for packed houses, but for many it just isn’t the same listening to his songs now. He insists his fans realize that his music has always been sincere and will continue to be so. “I hope the songs I have written have inspired you… because that’s why we do what we do. That part is real. What hasn’t been real is the perception that my marriage is perfect & I’m an incredible husband....

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Endless Love: Unfortunately endless boredom
Feb25

Endless Love: Unfortunately endless boredom

THE BELLS — It never fails that a romantic movie comes out right before Valentine’s Day — or in this case, Endless Love producers decided to make the movie’s big screen debut on the romantic holiday to gain more in the box office. That was probably the best move on their part because the movie made $13.4 million its first weekend. That was probably because of all the girls begging their boyfriends to take them for their Valentine’s date night. If you were one of those boyfriends, you get major points for pretending to look over the whopping 14 percent that Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie. Of course the audience gave it a little higher rating, proving that people will have to go see it for themselves to determine how good a film it is. It is undetermined if the audience rating was only higher because of an attractive Alex Pettyfer who is the leading male in the film. Endless Love was a remake from the movie originally made in the ’80s, but the story line this time around is completely different. If you didn’t like the first one, don’t let it make up your mind when thinking about seeing the remake because it’s practically a different movie. “Those of us still scarred by the memory of Franco Zeffirelli’s 1981 mega-dose of romantic sludge … have every right to fear this remake. Thankfully, the only thing it has in common with that film is the title. It’s been scratch-built from the ground up,” reviewer Jim Schembri said on Rotten Tomatoes. Romantic cliches throughout the film are not scarce. Just be ready for the occasional twists and turns  meant to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Those who’ve seen the movie might have been slightly bored for the first 30 minutes. Yes, the beginning is slow. In fact, it drags on and really does feel endless. As the movie progresses, it starts to pick up. Then the end comes, and it never elaborates on the “oh my gosh” moments. Viewers are left hanging and disappointed. If you’re not confused by the end of this one, you might have to explain it to the rest of us who apparently couldn’t keep up as quickly. The story line is great, aside from all the rush from the middle to end. If you are familiar with Nicholas Sparks movies, this one might make you wonder how he didn’t rewrite this...

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