Day: July 17, 2010

A Review of a Poetry Slam: “Dry the Last Tear and Move On” by Asma Khan

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Sometime during school, around the third quarter (no one seems to know the month or week), our English teacher had us do poetry slams. The objective was to dramatically read one of the poems we had composed for our poetry packet. We heard boring performances, funny ones, emotional ones, and slightly crass ones. Funnily enough, the crassest of the 29 odd students won the “competition”. But, I’m here to talk about the deserved winner.

Asma Khan, a pretty 14 year old, has an undying love for love and happiness. It shows in her countenance and posture. She loves life. But her poem took a turn for a slightly darker and sadder matter. This girl, who I have known for a year now, wrote a poem that drips of emotion, sadness, and truth in every verse.

She walked up to the middle of the class room and began reading. Her poem, “Dry the Last Tear and Move On”, narrated a life that was barred from freedom and repressed socially. The narrator spoke of how painful it was to not be able to do anything and to suddenly find herself weaving a web of lies. The quality of the poem, though very straightforward and leaving little to be left as vague statements, is of the utmost best. A free verse, the lines flow as if she’s talking to herself, and as if the lines could be said like the tears falling from the narrator’s eyes. Trying to piece her life together, while remaining as secretive as one could be without becoming a liar, she moves on after being crushed by her parents yet again. She rises from her parents’ repression to live a life as fullest as she can.

Her performance was quite interesting. Her voice wavers with the beginning lines, as if she had been weeping as the narrator had. It remains at an inconsistent volume, unsure of what to do, like the narrator. When she reaches the word “explodes”, her voice explodes into something stronger. She throws confetti upon the floor, symbolizing both her life and her heart. Her voice grows with strength and, like the narrator, rises up. Her voice is stronger, more confident. Her voice proves that the narrator is going to move on and keep living her life.

Though she does not move during the performance, this is an exemplary poetry slam. Ms. Khan becomes the narrator (which mustn’t be too hard, considering it was autobiographical), and completely inhabits her role. This is natural born acting. She enunciates and gives the words a lyrical rhythm, while maintaining the emotion of her “character”.

She did a fantastic job, and I’m disappointed in the judges not choosing her as the winner. She was fantastic and completely deserved to win. Moving, emotional, and stunning, her poem was one of the best I have ever heard or read.

Grade: A

A Little Less Than Engaging: Review for The Proposal

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I really don’t think chick flicks care about what critics say. They’re audience films, and that’s not much of a problem. They are chock full of romantic clichés and cutesy characters and archetypes of jerks and nice guys abound. Romantic comedies are often distilled into the same group as chick flicks, which is not entirely deserved. Mean Girls could be considered a chick flick, but it’s not really a romantic comedy at all. I think Music and Lyrics is a bit of a romantic comedy, and it walks the line well. Anne Fletcher is the successful director of the chick flick and romantic comedy 27 Dresses with Katherine Heigl. She knows how to use the clichés and make the fun and fresh, if not completely new.

The Proposal is about a man (Ryan Reynolds) who works, as a secretary mind you, for an evil boss. The evil boss (Sandra Bullock) is threatened with deportation back to Canada, and boils up a plan to “marry” her whipping boy secretary. In an attempt to make this sham seem real, the two travel to Alaska to meet the boy’s family. Comedy ensues.

Sandra Bullock’s Margaret Tate is really nothing after you’ve seen The Devil Wears Prada. She’s bitchy, alright, but her bitchiness does not even match up to a tenth of Meryl Streep’s Oscar nominated portrayal of Hell on heels. But, whatever the level of bitchiness, Sandra Bullock is actually funny and touching in the movie. It’s been several years since she’s done anything as fun and loose as The Proposal. She fits the role and she looks like Maggie Tate would be anal retentive, and that’s just fine.

Ryan Reynolds plays Maggie’s secretary, and being a secretary with a horrible boss, that kind of places you in a role where you will be his or her whipping boy. But Reynolds shows comedic chops as well as genuine warmth in the film. But his character is reduced to average one-liners, sarcastic remarks, and nakedness.

Betty White is funny (notice, not hilarious) as Gammy, Andrew’s grandmother. The 90 year old woman makes it her shtick throughout the entire film by saying things 90 year old women don’t usually say, but probably think in their heads. It’s a fine turn for White, who’s an expert at comedic timing and has fun with dirty humor, but the script didn’t offer her much.

Overall, this is your typical cute romantic comedy. There isn’t that much to day about it because the plot itself has very little to say, besides defrosting a cold hearted bitch. While it tried to show that Maggie was indeed a human and not just an automaton, it struggled too much with over emotion. The Devil Wears Prada is much better and offered a much more complex antagonist. The film offers several laughs, but it will not remain in your mind for much time.

Grade: C+