Back to the Future

1994: A 20 Year Retrospective | Jay Benedict reporter | Two decades ago, the world was treated to one of the best years in entertainment ever. Most freshmen at PSU, however, were born after this wonderful year. So, here’s an education on what you missed and for us older students, prepare to bask in nostalgia. If you don’t remember it or are unaware of just how great it was, here is a retrospective of the entertainment industry in 1994. Film Film was the strongest that year and many of the releases have become classics. Some of the greatest examples of cinema include the likes of “ Forrest Gump,” “Pulp Fiction” and “The Lion King.” It…

Study guide

Several workshops geared for academic success | Jay Benedict reporter | One of the biggest challenges facing freshmen, and all students, is how to properly study and prepare for tests and papers. The Academic Success Workshop Series offers tips and tricks to help students tackle their academics. Sponsored by the Student Success Center in 113 Axe Library, the workshops start in late August and cover anything the academically concerned student could need. Each session builds off the last as the semester progresses, but each is specific enough to stand on its own merits. Here’s a rundown of what’s coming up this fall according to Student Success Counselor Ashley Wadell Build Your Personal Strategy for a…

Summer music preview

| Jay Benedict writer | Summer entertainment is known for its blockbuster movies, TV repeats and songs that encapsulate the spirit of the season. They’re songs that sound best while driving with the windows down, with the volume pumped up and belting them out shamelessly until you’re stuck at a stoplight and people start giving you looks. Last summer saw hits like Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” and Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us.” Hits from established acts will be popular, but undoubtedly some newcomers will make a splash as well. Here’s a preview of albums that have been announced that might just contain the singles that will be overplayed on…

Solid last production, plot ‘phones’ it in

| Jay Benedict reporter | “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” is the final production the Grubbs Studio Theater will hold. Strangely, its final show also features something the theater has never seen before. Local band Deadeye scored the play and performs the songs, as well as the sound effects, live. It adds something special to the experience. That’s a good thing because without this gimmick the play might have trouble standing on its own. At their cores, plays or any entertainment production seek to accomplish a goal. Plays are comedic for enjoyment, tragic and take the audience on a dramatic journey. They have a motive. Sometimes that motive is simply artistic and other times it’s to…

Good people doing bad things: ‘Fargo’ is a must-see

| Jay Benedict writer | “Your problem is, you’ve spent your whole life thinking there are rules…there aren’t.” Thus begins one of the most fantastic short monologues in recent television history. Billy Bob Thorton brings chaos to a small Minnesota town and a bunch of tragically funny characters get caught up in the mix. This is the recipe that FX has implemented in its new and wonderful dark comedy/drama. It borrows pieces of its blueprint from the Coen brothers’ 1996 film by the same name, but the series is neither a sequel or prequel; it’s more of spiritual re-imagination. The original “Fargo” won more than 60 awards, including two Oscars, so taking a page from…

Nine season sitcom ends its ‘legendary’ run

| Jay Benedict writer | Spoiler alert! Reader beware. It took nine years and 208 episodes, but Ted Mosby finally finished telling his kids the story of how he met their mother. The finale was presented as two episodes with Ted finally meeting the mother near the end of the first half-hour. “How I Met Your Mother” (HIMYM) has been CBS’s Monday night sitcom powerhouse for almost a decade. Creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and the writers took full advantage of the time given to them before finally uniting Ted and the mother, a little more literally than expected though. The series has followed Ted through his various relationships, their development and ultimate conclusion….

“The 100″

| Jay Benedict reporter | “The 100” is CW’s attempt to cash in on the current dystopian young adult trend that’s currently dominating film and literature. The newest offering comes from the network that was once known for its high school soap operas, but the CW also has shows like “Smallville,” “Arrow” and “Supernatural” in its catalog. “The 100” is not without cheesy teen drama, but it channels more of the darker and action-oriented traits that make many of its other series strong. It does this by combining elements of “The Hunger Games,” Will Smith’s “After Earth” and “Lord of the Flies.” The series is set 97 years after a nuclear war forced humans off…

Next-generation’s Titan has arrived

| Jay Benedict reporter | “Titanfall” is a fast-paced first person shooter (FPS) that is almost elegant in its simplicity and that’s also what makes it so damn fun. There’s a game in every console generation that becomes the measuring stick that subsequent releases are compared against. Respawn Studios may have just given us that with “Titanfall.” Fanboys and detractors have followed the hype-train that’s been behind this game since its reveal at the 2013 Electronics and Entertainment Expo (E3). Questions and rumors actually started following it when two years earlier, “Call of Duty” (CoD) alums Vince Zampella and Jason West announced it was their first project after a bad break with the best-selling video…

This ‘ G I R L’ is not wild

Pharell plays it safe on second album | Jay Benedict reporter | Pharrell Williams’ first solo album in eight years is bound to frustrate fans of his previous releases, but will probably leave its mark on mainstream music. “GIRL” is a departure from his previous releases, which were decidedly more hip-hop, rap, and R&B. His last solo album, “In My Mind,” received mediocre reviews and sales, but he’s coming off one of his most successful years ever as a producer and collaborator. In the past year, 10 records he was involved with reached the Top 5 on Billboard. Those collaborations include Daft Punk, Robin Thicke, Beyonce’ and Jay-Z. He also spent time with Frank Ocean,…

One of the best shows on TV isn’t really on TV…

| Jay Benedict reporter | “House of Cards” is a Netflix original series, meaning it’s only available via the streaming service. This also means Netflix dropped all 13 episodes of the second season simultaneously on Feb. 14. For those of you who haven’t binge-watched the entire season, I’ll do my best to keep spoilers out. The first season was released to little fanfare, partly because it was one of Netflix’s first original series, and partly because another of their series, “Arrested Development,” was stealing most of the hype. “House of Cards” picked up over the next year, and this season is one of the most anticipated TV premieres of the year, The plot follows Kevin…