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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National Night Out makes students think about safety
Oct09

National Night Out makes students think about safety

In 2012, the campus had 42 cases of theft on record. Many students assume they, along with their belongings, are safe,   but they could be wrong. Campus police deputy John Ellison is the current crime and prevention officer. He attended National Night Out Oct. 1 to help broadcast this important event. “Crime prevention is a huge deal, especially here at UMHB. The better we do with crime prevention, the less we have to deal with burglaries,” he said. The occasion gave all campus police officers a reason to help students become aware of their surroundings. “We try to take opportunities like this to get the word out about crime prevention,” Ellison said. One of the goals of the event is for residents to have the opportunity to get outside of the dorms and meet people other than their direct neighbors and also those who serve for their protection. “We are out here and approachable so the students can get to know their officers in a laid-back environment. We don’t want just a business relationship, especially here with our students. We want them out talking to us all the time,” Ellison said. In addition to campus authorities, Belton officials were also at the event making their rounds while going to other block parties happening all over town. It might not be possible to get every resident on campus to attend an event like this, so Ellison hopes to at least get more involved and aware. “We would love for the students to swing by, get some free food and then go back to their dorm. We don’t expect them to stay the whole time, as long as they come,” he said. The event hosted attractions such as texting and driving, goggles that gave undergrads a chance to see what being under the influence is like and firefighter gear to try on. Senior business administration major Joanna Leath attended and participated in the activities. “Students who come can learn about several different parts like don’t text and drive and the seat belt simulator. They can also get their bike registered while fellowshipping with other students,” she said. Sophomore nursing major Jacob Barnes is a Belton firefighter and came to show his support with other volunteers. “It’s always good to know who’s watching your back and protecting you. It’s not just the firemen that were there. It was security, police officers, and medics, all of which help in the community. National Night Out is all about knowing who serves you,” he said. Barnes assisted attendees who wanted to try on the firefighter paraphernalia. “Honestly, it’s just cool to try on the gear...

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Cru Culture
Sep24

Cru Culture

A lot of things make UMHB students unique. In fact, seven characteristics separate regular students from Tru Cru. Why seven?  We are a Baptist school, and seven seems like the perfect number. So let the countdown begin. You know you’re a Crusader when: 1. You start using phrases like “Campo.” The technical term is “Campus Police.” Nevertheless, “Campo” takes less time to say and leaves you feeling a lot like Ke$ha when the phrase leaves your mouth. Yes, it’s a term, and, no, you won’t get a ticket for it. 2. You find yourself looking forward to tweeting in chapel. So many inspiring speakers walk up the steps of Walton Chapel every Wednesday morning. But the real proof of a great sermon lies in the mentions on Twitter. It’s like having a class discussion without having to raise your hand or formulate your thoughts on the spot. Hashtag chapel. 3. Every Thursday, you instantly crave a specific chicken sandwich. When someone asks you about your favorite campus tradition, do you instantly think “Chick-fil-A night?”  Even though it may not technically be considered a tradition, Thursday nights in Temple, surrounded by tasty sauces, yummy chicken and good friends make for some of the best memories. 4. You gasp when someone uses the phrase “School Song.” Those two forbidden words definitely classify you as a real Crusader. If you’ve been paying attention at any pep rally, assembly or lecture, you know that the song which begins, “Dear Mary Hardin-Baylor,” has been dubbed as the “Alma Mater.” Any utterances of the two “s” words should cause a shock to the purple blood that runs through your veins. 5.  You wonder whether or not someone actually died in Presser Hall. I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors that the building houses a ghost and has appeared on multiple paranormal hunting shows. That doesn’t stop your curious spirit from wanting to explore the old building at night, though. 6. You ask for Norts for Christmas. Just the fact that you know what Norts are shows your school spirit. Nike shorts aren’t an option. They are necessary and vital to your academic survival. 7. You drink Dr Pepper for breakfast. You will consume more of this sugary drink in your four (or five or six) years at UMHB than you will for the rest of your life. Take advantage of the free beverage. Coke products? Ain’t nobody got time for that. While these things may seem odd and random, they make us as a school unique. Twenty years from now, you won’t remember how much time you spent cramming for that Psychology test. But you will...

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Dancing Film Loses Battle in Theaters
Sep24

Dancing Film Loses Battle in Theaters

With the standards of a dance movie genre and actors like Josh Peck, who starred in Nickelodeon’s comedy Drake and Josh, and Josh Holloway who played in the hit TV show Lost, it was kind of a given that Battle of the Year would flop as a movie. Since the movie is based on Bill Lee’s well-made  documentary titled B-boy, you can guess that he also directed this poorly plotted movie. He shouldn’t have. The plot wasn’t the greatest compared to other dance movies such as Step Up, Footloose, and Dirty Dancing. This movie definitely won’t be making its way up to classic dancing movies anytime soon. Battle of the Year is an   international contest which the Americans haven’t won in 15 years, and a determined breakdancer decides to change what have been the previous odds. Yes, that is the plot. As the main character, Dante Graham (Laz Alonso), tries to get a group together to help the country get back to the winners’ table, he also convinces his friend, Jason Blake (Holloway), a former championship basketball coach with a background of breakdancing, to help coach the team. After basically throwing off every dance member to form an all-new and improved dance team, Blake gets down to business and hires Franklyn (Peck) as an assistant and   choreographer Stacy (Caity Lotz), who, after doing what she was hired to do, disappears from the movie. Weird? We agree. Though the movie does have a lot of  dancing, it also has some funny dialogue, whether intended or not. Sarcasm is widely used. Franklyn (with a “y”) is a prime example of the comedy hidden throughout the film, his over dramatized quote being “I may be Jewish, but my religion is hip-hop.” This  still never explains why he isn’t  dancing Were we really expecting Peck to play a serious character, though? The script wasn’t the best of the best, but we can’t doubt that the dancing during the movie was pretty amazing and over the top. One downfall is that the clips of the dancing were  choppy; audiences had to piece together what was happening with two-second clips. It did make you want to get up and try breakdancing for   yourself, though—If you’re willing to break your neck. While many reviewers are bashing the movie, the Tennessean is writing about how it was “a lost cause” from the beginning. How can we disagree after Lee put Chris Brown in a movie? The ever-so-critical Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 6% on their tomatometer.   If you   actually look at their movie reviews, you know that they can be pretty vicious, even to some of the...

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Miley Takes Wrecking Ball to Career
Sep24

Miley Takes Wrecking Ball to Career

Or has she? The former Disney channel kid star has undoubtedly taken a plunge off the deep end when it comes to the wholesome, cookie-cutter image she once portrayed, but is it safe to say  Cyrus’ career is soon to follow? Current escapades prove to be the cause of the 20-year-old entertainer’s sky-rocketing popularity among social media sites and agents of the press. Rather than deter public interest, the graphic imagery in her newest music video, “Wrecking Ball,” received nearly 20 million views in its first 24 hours online. The images of the songstress slopping up to a hammer and straddling a wrecking ball in the nude have been the topic of interest among media correspondents and the public at large. Although very much risqué, such antics cannot by awarded with the title “unique.” Cyrus’ road since splitting from Disney resembles the unfortunate downward spiral taken by many child celebrities who preceded her. However, originality did come into play with her performance at the 2013 Video Music Awards when she donned a hairstyle quite similar to the beloved Disney cartoon mouse, stripped off a mouse-inspired one-piece revealing nude negligee underneath and twerked on stage, all the while making suggestive gestures with a foam finger. One can only imagine the shock of both her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Walt Disney himself; God rest his soul. Looking back on Cyrus’ evolution from a sweet southern belle to a fun-loving Hollywood rebel, this developing artist seems to have been dropping subtle hints to the public of her devil-may-care character as the years have passed. Some keen observers may have recognized the singer’s show at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards as a display that foreshadowed her recent raunchy behavior. At the awards she danced around a pole that was mounted on top of an ice cream truck while performing to the hit song “Party in the USA.” In 2008 a revealing photo published in Vanity Fair showed her sensual side, and the single “Can’t Be Tamed” expressed her wild-child spirit in 2010. What the femme fatale gains in attention, be it good or bad, she loses when it comes to her personal love life. Soon after the VMA performance, but before the controversial “Wrecking Ball” music video debut, she and ex-fiancé Liam Hemsworth officially called off their 16-month engagement. The buzz concerning Cyrus is displayed to an almost overwhelming extent. A Google Chrome browser extension was created to lessen the effects of Miley coverage for people who have gotten their fill. With all the hype revolving around this free-spirited icon, what comes next? Perhaps a 180-degree return back to the straight and...

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Civil Wars’ New Album: Go “Tell Mama”
Sep10

Civil Wars’ New Album: Go “Tell Mama”

Known for their folk inspired music, The Civil Wars’ new album, which is cleverly titled, The Civil Wars, is no different and does not disappoint. They haven’t strayed far from their roots of the song “Poison and Wine,” which debuted in 2011 and quickly became a fan favorite that put the folk duo, John Paul White and Joy Williams, on the  charts. The cover of the album is a black and white image of a colossal smoke cloud. This reflects the edginess of the collection, since some of the songs are titled, “Dust to Dust,” “Devil’s Backbone” and “Disarm.” In addition to the two making their mark on folk music, they are also recognized for their talent of harmonizing really well and have been nominated for several awards. White and Williams performed at the Ford’s Theatre Annual Gala to honor Morgan Freeman and Elie Wiesel. They can go “Tell Mama” all about that. The song entitled “Sacred Heart” on this album was written and performed in French. The inspiration came from the extravagant view of the Eiffel Tower while the pair were in a flat hanging out during a visit to France. Translated, the basic meaning of the song is waiting for someone. “I’ll wait for you there. Will you come for me?” Their most popular song from this album, “The One That Got Away,” might be a little too close to home since rumors are spreading around that the duo are not on talking terms with each other. Hopefully, they won’t be saying this about each other soon. In an interview with VH1, Williams discussed the small feud with co-singer John Paul White. “It took a lot of energy, honestly. We both have very different work styles, but I’d like to think that creative tension actually ended up serving the album well in the end….We created something even more raw and aching and real than anything we’ve done to date.” The band wanted to represent that all of their listeners feel alone at one point or another, and did so with the song, “Dust to Dust.” This, yet again, is ironic as they might be feeling lonely since they stopped speaking to one another. “Oh, you’re acting your thin disguise, all your perfectly delivered lines, they don’t fool me, you’ve been lonely, too long.” Despite all of the melancholy surrounding the artists no longer creating relatable music, the album debuted number 1 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. Even though there might have been tension, they masked it well. If this is the last album we will hear from the two, at least we can say that it...

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