‘This Is Us’ delivers for fans, bores everyone else

Logan Qualls | reporter

The musical styling of One Direction does not tug on my heartstrings in any way, shape or form.
While the British boy band’s music is simply not my cup of tea, I can admit that “One Direction: This Is Us” does a fair job of chronicling the band’s nearly instantaneous rise to international stardom.
The film paints the picture of five normal young lads brought together by a shared passion.
The director, Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me”), makes sure to incorporate this theme throughout the film, portraying the group as the revitalization of the boy band, epitomized by clean-cut looks with the hint of a mature edge.
Drawing comparisons to The Beatles’ rise to fame, the members of the group humbly acknowledge a large part of their success as a direct result of the fervent dedication of their fans.
Starting with their debut as solo candidates for the seventh series of The X-Factor in 2010 to sold-out performances across the globe only a few years later, the band members of One Direction – Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson – display their irrepressible youth and penchant for hijinks.
The band members maintain that their music would not be possible if they were not fully committed to doing things “their way.”
However, the film is overtly constructed with the single-minded goal of appealing to its target market: females, primarily preteens and teenagers.
While the director is no fool to ignore his audience, he sacrifices the chance at authenticity and instead, delivers a cached, static impression of the band.
The documentary highlights the band’s experience using an amalgamation of pre- and post-X Factor interviews, live concert footage, woven together with clips of the boys in their day-to-day activities as an international touring band.
As one might expect, the film features various songs from the band’s discography. Used as a tool for storytelling, the process works well for the most part but can feel repetitive at times.
The film’s greatest success lies in the slick production of each scene.
The use of 3D effects and highly stylized cinematic techniques contribute to a final product that is visually stimulating, if intellectually underwhelming.
While effective in detailing the band’s beginnings and rise to popularity, “One Direction: This Is Us” lacks substance and feels less like a documentary and more like another promotional strategy for the band.
It makes a clear effort at remaining heartfelt and sincere, yet ultimately feels manufactured. Plain and simple, this is a movie for fans of One Direction.

Karaoke Night seeks to promote healthy student activity

Casey Mack | reporter

Students are preparing for the first Karaoke Night of the semester at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, in the University Club of Overman Student Center.
The event is sponsored by Gorillas in Your Midst (GIYM).
In keeping with the group’s mission to maintain safety, health and responsibility within the student body, Karaoke Night is intended to promote alcohol- and drug-free student activity, says J.T. Knoll, prevention and wellness coordinator and GIYM adviser.
“Our goal is to help students make the right choices and have the courage to do it,” Knoll said.
Matthew Brooks, senior in construction management and GIYM member, says he believes Karaoke Night is a social event first but still an important part of GIYM’s mission.
“It’s neat to see people break out of their shells, and we have some diehard karaoke fans that become good friends,” Brooks said. “The stigma of a lot of college students seems to be that you have to have alcohol to have fun, but our goal is alcohol-free activities that generalize something positive.”
Samantha Barbosa, sophomore in psychology and GIYM member, says that she believes that college is an incredibly stressful time because of exams, essays and work.
She added Karaoke Night gives students a chance to get away for an hour, forget all about life’s chaos and have fun.
There will be a signup sheet for would-be performers along with snacks.
Nicole Bishop, student coordinator, says the available karaoke tracks this year have been updated with the top hits of today, along with classic rock and country tracks.
There also will be drawings for prizes such as T-shirts, cups and wristbands.
Caroline Barto, senior in psychology, says Karaoke Night provides an essential and open social opportunity on campus.
“I think that it is great to have activities on campus,” Barto said. “Students can meet new people and have fun without the worry of transportation or cost.”
Knoll says that a large part of students who show up are freshmen because they are still exploring the campus and are looking for activities after class.
Bishop agrees.
“The first event of the year always has a big crowd,” Bishop said. “Students bring their friends to come for a good laugh and to have fun and it’s free. It’s a silly stress reliever that brings you closer with your friends, and you get a sense of the community.”

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