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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Grammys bring gamut of emotions
Feb11

Grammys bring gamut of emotions

The 2014 Grammy Awards ceremony was definitely one for the books… Maybe even the same book that the AMA’s fell into. While Miley Cyrus wasn’t able to make it to the actual event (though she was spotted at the Clive Davis pre-Grammy gala), the planning committee seemed to prove that they didn’t really need her to make a statement. In fact, they seemed to do  a jaw-dropping job with the artists who did perform. We could start with the fact that Daft Punk won four Grammys – because we apparently time traveled back to the ‘90s – but that isn’t even the worst of it. Not even Lorde was the worst of the night after she got on stage to perform an interesting version of “Royals,” which won Song of the Year. It might have been the most awkward performance of the night. She needs to work on what she does with her arms next time she goes to such a big event. The Robot was out years ago. Theguardian.com actually described her as “angular.” Speaking of Lorde, what exactly was her BFF Taylor Swift doing for her performance of “All Too Well”? Last time I checked, pianos and head-banging didn’t exactly go together. And T-Swift killed it… not in a good way. Cringe-worthy moments. But not as cringe-worthy as Beyonce and Jay-Z’s performance to “Drunk In Love.” I think they realized they were both starting to become irrelevant and decided to do something to fix that. Maybe Beyonce got lessons from Miley, or maybe she is just trying to make up for the fact that her surprise, self-titled album release back in December wasn’t as surprising as she hoped it would be. But then, we never know the exact reasons for celebrities’ desperate attempts. Do you wanna play with magic? Katy Perry apparently does. Dressed in a witch outfit, she performed “Dark Horse.” This was one of the better and  more humorous numbers, complete with smoke and brooms used for dancing. One of the greater controversies of the show was that Queen Latifah wedded about 34 couples toward the end of the show. With Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, Madonna and Mary Lambert singing “Same Love,” the couples of different ages and races, some gay and straight, were married at the Grammys. Of course they were married off-stage, so it wasn’t a big show for them, but it still caused quite a scene on social media. Viewers who had heard the news before the awards show were outraged that they would be doing such a thing. Once it was done, people couldn’t believe that they had gone through with it....

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Texas Navy SEAL’s story hits big screen
Jan29

Texas Navy SEAL’s story hits big screen

THE BELLS — 2013. What a great year for the movie industry. And what better way to end the year than with an action-packed war movie? Although it was one of the last movies to come out last year, Lone Survivor really made an impact on those who were willing to see this true story-turned-book-turned-movie. UMHB students gathered  at Grand Avenue theater Jan. 16 for a CAB event letting students in for free with their Cru Cards. The theater in which Lone Survivor played was completely filled. Director Peter Berg wrote the movie script after spending a month in Iraq with a group of Navy SEALS. Berg wanted to film sooner, but Universal Studios asked him to direct Battleship first. Marcus Luttrell, who also made a small appearance in the movie, wrote the book about his experiences going into Afghanistan on a mission to bring down a terrorist leader and being ambushed. He fought to stay alive and to save his brothers, but ended up watching them die during that fatal task. Hence the title Lone Survivor. Luttrell has spoken at numerous places around America, including UMHB’s McLane Lecture on March 31, 2011. He talked about his experiences in Afghanistan. Mark Wahlberg said he had never played a role like this, but took the audience by surprise by portraying the main character, Luttrell. It was an incredibly difficult and dramatic role, but he nailed it. The book and movie are amazing portrayals of the brotherhood the men formed during training. If you’re not a fan of dramatic movies, Lone Survivor is not for you. You also might want to rethink seeing this if you’re not into loud gunshots, grenades or bombs. Maybe even wait until it’s released on DVD so you can watch it in your living room with the lights on and the volume turned down really low. It’s almost an understatement to say Berg really did bring this movie to life. If you’re a war movie fanatic and have yet to see the movie, you’re definitely missing something. Don’t wait to see this when it comes out on DVD – it’s worth seeing on the big screen. This movie isn’t for the fainthearted. If you are in the mood for a tear-jerking movie and if you can look past the cursing and noise, you won’t regret seeing Lone...

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Deck the halls with boughs of duck calls
Nov20

Deck the halls with boughs of duck calls

The Robertson family from the hit show Duck Dynasty is at it again. They showed the world that their talents don’t end with making duck calls and hilarious television. On Oct. 29 they released their first Christmas album, Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas. Listen to one song, and you will quickly see that the humor in the show has transitioned into fun Christmas carols. The album has 14 songs, with some of the more popular  being “Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Christmas,” “Hairy Christmas” and “Duck the Halls.” Every song on the track has its own personality. For instance, in the song “Christmas Cookies,” Phil Robertson talks about Miss Kay’s Christmas cookies, which will surely bring some laughter. You might think that the songs would be poorly done, but in reality the Robertson family can sing. Not only do they do a fantastic job themselves, but they brought in some of the most notable and sought-after voices in the country music industry to accompany them in this album. Luke Bryan, Josh Turner, Alison Krauss and last, but not least, the king of country music himself, George Strait, make an appearance. The songs are a mixture of traditional Christmas hymns with a southern twist, to the Robertsons’ very own construction of Christmas carols.  As many know, they are a religious family and not afraid to confess their love for Christ. This is evident throughout the album. It is currently #1 on the Top Country Albums chart. This should be encouraging—that people who may never listen to Christmas music are getting a true feel of the season The album ends with Phil Robertson saying a prayer that  emphasizes what  Christmas  is all about. Yes, some of the songs are a bit goofy, but a number of songs on the track clearly point out the reason for the season. There is a song for everyone on this album. It mixes country music and Christmas carols perfectly with relevant and meaningful lyrics. I am usually not a fan of Christmas music, but this album is different. “Camouflage and Christmas Lights” stood out to me because it paints a picture of the Christmas season that only people from a small, southern town can appreciate. As well done as these songs are, they could stick around for some time and maybe even become Christmas carols your kids will be listening to. Really, how do you make a better Christmas album than one that has Si Robertson and George Strait in the same song? If you don’t want to buy the whole album, which I strongly encourage, make sure you at least check out some of their...

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Runner Runner: a safe gamble? by Katelyn Holm

It’s true: Everybody gambles. Whether it’s with money, time or happiness, everybody gambles. Runner Runner stars it-man Justin Timberlake, who plays genius Princeton gamer, Richie Furst. With his tuition on the line, Furst wages everything he has on the Internet table in one high-stakes game of poker. Though several hands go his way, he loses all of his winnings to a cyber-opponent. But after investigating his loss, Furst realizes he has been cheated. He immediately flies to Costa Rica to hunt down gambling tycoon, Ivan Block (Ben Affleck). To the surprise of viewers, Block not only reimburses Furst’s losses, but offers him a job at Midnight Black, the epitome of gaming industries, with the promise of a seven-figure salary in the first few months. However, this isn’t even close to the resolution of the film. Affleck executes his role with arrogance and an all-around unlikable vibe. He isn’t Argo quality by any stretch of the imagination, but the actor still pulls off an intriguing performance. While on the job, Furst realizes he has entered into more than just a game of cards or chips. Now, the graduate student faces dangerously powerful and rich money launderers, gangsters and professional hustlers. But it may seem a little overdone. Sure, violence and drugs plague corrupt industries like the one Block runs. The movie exaggerates these things a little too unrealistically, though. Regardless, Timberlake’s natural demeanor fits his role perfectly. He projects the confidence of a successful man, yet still maintains an innocence in comparison to the dark deals being made. Audiences feel invested in the character, which is something a lot of movies today lack. Soon, the FBI receives a tip that Block’s dealings have been far from clean. In fact, the shark has weighted all of the online tables and takes profits from all of the players. Agent Shavers (Anthony Mackie) confronts Furst, hoping he will be an informant for the authorities and incriminate Block for his illegal dealings. Because Furst fears jail time and the fact that the Costa Rican government could refuse his entrance into America, he tells Block of the confrontation with Shavers. Wrong move. The special agent just doesn’t seem intimidating, though, and audiences are never really fearful that any of the government investigators could do real harm to any of the characters in the film. A little excursion to Block’s hideaway reveals a lake that is home to two alligators. But these are no ticking clock, Peter Pan alligators. These reptiles eat anything that smells remotely like chicken, which is unfortunate for the two men covered in poultry fat who are forced into the water. Block...

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