Mount Hood

Staffs favorite movies

Written by: Sierra Porter | Staff Writer

“The Western Howl” staff is filled with crazy cool personalities, a variety of talents and a plethora of different hobbies and passions. One thing is for sure: we are all movie fanatics and live vicariously through the characters we love. Here are the staff’s favorite movies and why we continue to enjoy them. 

Editor in Chief, Gretchen Sims, expresses her love for the movie “Braveheart.” Sims says, “I actually learned how to play the main theme ‘For the Love of a Princess’ from Braveheart early on in high school. I fell in love with the score and convinced my parents to let me watch it. My mom isn’t one for gore, but I loved the film and it is now one of my all-time favorites!” 

Linden Loren, coordinator, advising & virtual engagement, dubbed the “dad” of the Howl, recommends “LinkedIn: The Movie.” All one needs is a LinkedIn account and some salt to snack on — truly inspiring. 

The Howl’s Digital Media Manager, Ruth Simonsen’s, favorite movie is “Predestination,” a sci-fi thriller released in 2014. Simonsen says, “This movie made me rethink my life and everything I believed in. It brought to light how frail yet beautiful humanity is, and how one truly needs to make the most of it while one has it. Trust oneself and always grow, but give oneself the grace to recognize that one is a completely different person in every phase of your life, never to be the same person twice.” 

Cami Ansley, Copy Editor, deems “Crazy Rich Asians” as her favorite movie. Ansley says, “This movie was really relatable to me as an Asian American and the ending was so perfect and satisfying to watch. It was also nice to see an all Asian cast with actors and actresses that I’d never seen before.”

Head Designer Addie Floyd’s favorite movie is “Tangled,” based on the timeless story of Rapunzel and her long hair. Floyd expressed, “This movie is my comfort movie. It just brings me so much joy. No matter the mood I’m in, Tangled can always cheer me up.” 

Our other amazing Designer, Sophie Taylor, says her movie favorite is “Coraline,” released in 2009. Taylor says, “Coraline” is one of the earliest movies I ever remember watching. Ever since I was little, the claymation animation style has always captured my attention. There are so many subtle hints and clues that foreshadow the movie that every time I watch it, I find something new. There have been so many conspiracy theories and rabbit holes to go down. Keep Portland weird.” 

Photo Editor Quinlan Elise has a short and sweet response on why she loves “Napoleon Dynamite:” “there is no other choice.” 

Hannah Field, the Howl’s News Editor’s favorite movie is “Fox and The Hound.” Field recalls some of her favorite memories with the film, “I can remember watching this movie on VHS tape in the garage while my dad worked on his cars. I would sit on a stool or a tiny chair with my neck craned upward at a 120 degree angle looking at that tiny box TV playing my favorite movie. I think it’s an underrated but beautiful piece of work and hope everyone has the pleasure of watching it one day.”

Claire Phillips, our Entertainment Editor’s movie of choice is “Fried Green Tomatoes,” released in 1991. Phillips says, “This historical classic takes on many heavy topics that are still relevant today. It will make one cry, it will make one laugh and above all, it will make one crave some good Southern food.” 

Sports Editor, Jaylin Hardin, says her favorite movie is “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.” Hardin expressed, “I’ve loved the trilogy since I was a kid, but ‘The Two Towers’ was always my favorite because I love the plot. Extended edition just makes it so much better because it adds so many more details from the books.” 

Creative Lifestyle Editor, Liberty Miller expresses her love for “The Sorcerers Apprentice,” released in 2010. Miller says, “This movie was one of the more psychologically formative movies of my younger years. Nicholas Cage and Jay Baruchel create a seamless duo performance and take on their roles to the point where they become their character. The storyline was intriguing and the pace of the movie created the perfect elements of suspense — the soundtrack was also incredible, with ‘Secrets’ by OneRepublic still being one of my all-time favorite songs. My favorite scene from the movie included that song being played while the Tesla Coils are run by David Stutler.” Miller also gives a special shout-out to “Crazy Rich Asians” as a close second. 

Taylor Duff, one of our great Staff Writers, chose the movie “SuperBad,” released in 2007, as her movie favorite. Duff said, “I love this comedy that explores growing up and learning to just be oneself. Plus I still crack up every time I watch. Viewer discretion is advised.” 

Talented Freelancer Lili Minato expresses her love for “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.” Minato says, “At its release, ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me’ was considered a bad prequel to its beloved predecessor, ‘Twin Peaks.’ Now, it has a cult following of many who enjoy the story of Laura Palmer. It’s a film full of bizarre scenes and a devastating plotline. In true David Lynch fashion, it is weird and wonderful.” 

As for myself, my favorite movie is “The Karate Kid,” released in 1984. There are so many reasons why this is my favorite movie but long story short, I love an underdog story. Not to mention the amazing soundtrack. 

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The romantic’s diary

Written by: Taylor Duff | Staff Writer

“Dinner & Diatribes” — Hoizer 

“Gimme All Your Love” — Alabama Shakes 

“I Wanna Be Yours” — Arctic Monkeys 

“Freakin’ out on the Interstate” — Briston Maroney 

“Tennessee Whiskey” — Chris Stapleton 

“Out of My League”— Fitz and The Tantrums

“Gooey” — Glass Animals

“Light My Love” — Greta Van Fleet 

“Shut up My Moms Calling” — Hotel Ugly 

“Broken” — Lovelytheband

“For the First Time” — Mac DeMarco 

“Sweater Weather” — The Neighborhood 

“July” — Noah Cyrus & Leon Bridges 

“Something in the Orange” — Zach Bryan 

“Somebody Else” — The 1975 

“Shades of Cool” — Lana Del Rey 

“Chemical” — Post Malone 

“Cranes in the Sky” — Solange 

“Right Person, Wrong Time” — MMC

“Deja vu” — Olivia Rodrigo 

“Run” — Joji 

“The Less I Know The Better” — Tame Impala 

“Body Paint” — Arctic Monkeys 

“Wait a Minute” — Willow 

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Vampire craze: from “Dracula” to “Twilight”

Written by: Claire Phillips | Entertainment Editor

If any of the names Count Dracula, Lestat de Lioncourt or Edward Cullen ring a bell, the popular vampire media culture has been doing its job. Whether “Dracula” was required reading in high school, or you ran to the first screening of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1,” vampires have a knack for finding their way into the lives and hearts of many.

Vampires, of course, found their humble beginnings in mythology. In European folklore, dark and shrouded vampires visited loved ones and caused mischief in their villages, a stark difference from the pale, cold-blooded creatures society knows today.

The word “vampire” originated in folklore in Southeastern and Eastern Europe. Demons and spirits were precursors to vampires in Mesopotamian, Hebrew and Greek cultures. Many other cultures have their own variations of vampires.

Drawing from Transylvanian folklore, Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” has been a popular gothic classic since its release in the late 1800s. The novel has no single narrator, and the majority of it is told in letters and journal entries. Many may know this book from high school English, and while the memories may not be so fond, it is not a forgettable story.

If a book or even a movie adaptation of the classic doesn’t sound appealing, there are even more ways to enjoy the vampire tale. “Dracula Daily,” a free subscription newsletter, sends Jonathan Harker’s journal entries one day at a time so readers can experience the story with him.

In 1976, a novel titled “Interview With the Vampire” was published. Twelve books later, Anne Rice made a name for herself in the vampire world. The first book received a movie adaptation in 1994 by the same name, starring Tom Cruise as Lestat de Lioncourt, Brad Pitt as Louis de Pointe du Lac and a young Kirsten Dunst as Claudia. In 2022, a television series aired on AMC based on the original “Interview With the Vampire” book. 

Set between San Francisco, New Orleans and Paris, “Interview With the Vampire” has a romantic yet gory take on vampire folklore. The interweaving of characters and settings set a precedent for future vampire stories. Anne Rice, herself, was an executive producer of the television show but sadly passed before it aired. However, she assured everything went according to her vision. 

Pacific Northwesterners are well aware of the “Twilight” franchise. Whether people were “Twilight” crazy, or “Twilight” haters, everyone knew about this popular franchise in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Written by Stephanie Meyer and directed by Catherine Hardwicke, this vampire love story has not fallen out of the limelight.

Rosario Peralta Cortez, the English writing specialist for Spanish speakers at Western’s Writing Center, brought “Twilight” culture to Western’s campus when she was a student. “In my dorm in Landers, I had two massive Twilight posters that my friend who worked at the movie theater had gifted me,” Peralta Cortez said.

Peralta Cortez is still spreading her love for vampire culture at the Writing Center — all you have to do is ask.

The original “Twilight” movie, an adaptation of the first novel, was supposed to be an independent film, but garnered $408.4 million at the box office and set a foundation for a successful five-movie saga. Bella Swan and Edward Cullen charmed the entire world both then, and now, and vampire enthusiasts enjoy sharing the story with others.

“It’s nice to still be able to return to the same story so many years later and find new joy from it,” said Peralta Cortez. “I also got my mom hooked on the books in Spanish, which was fun to experience. I learned the word for Twilight from the books, crepúsculo, which sounds so much cooler than Twilight.” Vampire stories suck you in, no matter the language. Don’t forget to make a trip up to Forks, Washington.

“What We Do in the Shadows” references all the vampire stories above, left and right. Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement know how to appeal to an audience, especially those who are already familiar with these stories. Both the original 2014 movie and ongoing television series are filmed in a mockumentary style — almost like a horror “Modern Family,” if you will. Even the “cameramen” get involved in some vampire fun.

The movie and series follow two sets of vampire roommates, respectively, and their chaotic adventures. There are wholesome moments, sad moments and some straight-up weird and gory moments. It may not be for everyone, but it sure is hilarious. 

Some may say choosing to consume any form of vampire media is silly or immature. Many think it might be beneath them. However, there is a lot to learn from all of these stories. Rosario Peralta Cortez said it best: “Old stories can be given new light, and vampires can be enjoyed with whatever level of seriousness you choose to give them.”

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Written by: Hannah Field | News Editor

Taylor Swift’s newest album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” was finally released April 19. During the announcement speech at the Grammy Awards show Feb. 4, Swift held up two fingers in a peace sign — alluding to her double album drop — when announcing her eleventh studio album. Fast forward to meeting Swift at midnight, fans listening to the 16 tracks of “The Tortured Poets Department” were surprised at 2 a.m. when Swift dropped an extra 15 songs.

The production of the album rested in the hands of Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff of the band Bleachers, longtime friends and collaborators of Swift who heavily utilized synths, keyboard tunes and distortion techniques. Track one, “Fortnight,” is sung alongside Austin Post, also known as Post Malone, while Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine is featured on track eight, “Florida!!!”

The album itself appears to be the lovechild of Swift’s last original album release “Midnights” and the pandemic-created sister albums “Folklore” and “Evermore.” While officially being a pop genre album, much of the album is backed by a soft piano and utilizes strong lyricism as Swift sings about various tragic topics, such as heartbreak, abandonment and the nuance of fame.

The 31 songs have topped the charts, being the first album on Spotify to reach one billion streams within a week as well as being the platform’s most-streamed album within one day at 300 million. Despite breaking records, the album has been surveyed heavily in the media — with many fans turned anti-Swiftie and strangers criticizing what they consider to be odd lines, off-beat tunes and a lack of true poeticism, rather antithetical to the tortured poet of “The Tortured Poets Department.”

However, most critically condemned is Swift’s apparent past relationship with The 1975 frontman Matty Healy, with multiple songs dedicated to their previous interloping. Although nobody knows definitively which songs are about Healy, many fans presume at least “Fresh Out The Slammer,” “But Daddy I Love Him” and “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived” to be in regards to Healy — with the latter being a direct descriptor of Healy’s behavior during and after their time together.

“The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology,” the second installment of the album, contains the song “thanK you aIMee,” which, in all capital letters, spells out KIM — which fans presume to be about Kim Kardashian and their nearly decade-long feud.

Overall, the album explores the themes of unrest, misunderstanding, dying romance and Swift’s complex relationship with fame. Very few songs, if any, are considered joyful pop hits, and the most upbeat song of all, “I Can Do It With A Broken Heart,” is likely one of the most “miserable.” It’s an album for the tortured poets of the world reeling from personal loss in one way or another — and, according to the Swifties, more is coming May 3. Although, in typical Swift fashion, she’s likely got more tricks up her sleeve to keep the guesses coming and the songs streaming.


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Never left the 90’s

Written by: Sierra Porter | Staff Writer

“This Is How We Do It” — Montell Jordan 

“Ride Or Die” — JAY-Z

“Thuggish Ruggish Bone” — Bone Thugs-n-Harmony 

“The Choice Is Yours” — Black Sheep 

“Woo Hah!! Got You All In Check” — Busta Rhymes 

“Forgot About Dre” — Dr. Dre feat. Eminem 

“As The World Turns” — Eminem 

“It Was a Good Day” — Ice Cube

“Everyday Struggle” — The Notorious B.I.G

“C.R.E.A.M” — Wu-Tang Clan 

“Troublesome 96’” — 2pac

“Girls All Pause” — Kurupt feat. Nate Dogg & Roscoe 

“Who’s The Mack?” — Ice Cube

“The World Is Yours” — Nas

“Loungin (Who Do Ya Luv)” — LL COOL J

“Shook Ones, Pt II” — Mobb Deep 

“93’ Till Infinity” — Souls of Mischief 

“Mass Appeal” — Gang Starr 

“Regulate” — Warren G feat. Nate Dogg 

“I Got 5 On It” — Luniz feat. Michael Marshall 

“O.P.P” — Naughty By Nature

“O.G Original Gangster” — Ice T

“You Got Me” — The Roots feat. Erykah Badu & Tariq Trotter 

“Tonite” — DJ Quik 

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Aloha from Maui

Written by: Hannah Field | News Editor

In August of 2023, wildfires raked the island of Maui, causing unprecedented damage to Maui County and its inhabitants. Homes, businesses, studios, buildings and more were lost to the fires — devastating not only many lives but also countless lifelines for artists, creators, business owners and creative minds. 

Western has since installed an “Aloha from Maui” exhibit in celebration of the artists in Maui, Hawaii, which will be featured through May 3. The exhibit, which can be found in the Cannon Gallery in Campbell Hall, states that, “Through the loss of galleries, studios and art businesses, Maui County artists have persevered. They continue to create and share ways in which art can be healing and bring community together.”

Paula Booth, Western’s Gallery Director and Assistant Professor of Art, led the charge in jurying “Aloha from Maui.” Booth, herself, harbors fond memories of Maui and believes art has the power to heal, leading to the production of “Aloha from Maui.”

The artworks are completely giclee printed reproductions on canvas stretched on a two-inch frame, as, unfortunately, obtaining the artwork of thirty-six different creators crafted, gathered and shipped to Oregon from Maui proved to be difficult. 

The historic town of Lahaina, Maui, was particularly ravaged by the disaster. Featured artist, Laurie Robbins Miller, honored two significant Lahaina landmarks: Front Street and the Banyan Tree — an impactful moment for fourth-year student Tati Ala, having been born and raised in O’ahu, Hawaii.

“When we were first going through and picking out (artwork), I cried at like four of them,” said Ala. “Specific ones that are very meaningful.”

During the fires, Ala was in Hawaii that summer and had been in Maui earlier that year. “I was crying the entire time — we had family and friends there, and I’m very grateful nobody passed away and everyone we know was safe. But there were a lot of people who didn’t have that.”

“This is an important celebration of their work and their livelihoods and it connects what they do to a wider audience,” explained Booth. “This is a very colorful, engaging and fun show — there really is something in it for everyone.”

“It has been really great to have the opportunity,” said Ala. “It’s close to home.”

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Nunsploitation horrors: An immaculate review

Written by: Lili Minato | Freelancer

Content warning: this article contains spoilers and discusses dark themes involving pregnancy and religion. 

The infamous nunsploitation genre is back with two new blockbuster films that have left audiences rattled and disturbed. 

Nunsploitation is a film subgenre that involves the exploitation of nuns in a horror or thriller setting. Some of the most popular films of this genre come from “The Conjuring” universe, specifically the movies “The Nun” and “The Nun II.”

“Immaculate,” which hit theaters on March 22, gave audiences a more artistic approach to the often repetitive and predictable horror subgenre. “Immaculate” follows an American nun, played by Sydney Sweeney, who joins a hospice convent in Italy. Besides the slightly off-putting comments and actions by the elderly nuns who are cared for in the convent, Sweeney’s character, Sister Cecilia, considers the Italian countryside her new home. 

As the days and weeks pass, Sister Cecilia notices more odd and unusual occurrences around the convent, corresponding with her worsening health. Cecilia becomes increasingly more ill and requests to see a doctor. In return, she gets a checkup by the convent’s appointed physician, 

where the devout nun finds out about her pregnancy. There is nothing that has caused the said pregnancy so it is ruled to be an immaculate conception. Sister Cecilia was going to give birth to the next baby Jesus. 

The first half of “Immaculate” is predictable and filled with plot holes; there is nothing too unique about it. As the film progresses, though, the artistic values start to show.

The final scene provides a beautiful “Rosemary’s Baby” finale for the film. 

Sister Cecilia has just escaped her captors and is free from the convent. She stands outside, surrounded by the beautiful countryside, but the beauty starts to deteriorate as she goes and squats by a tree. The camera moves up close to Cecilia’s bloody face as she begins to scream. 

The screaming lasts for multiple minutes without any camera cuts. After a while, a crying baby can be heard. The camera then pans out and follows Sister Cecilia as she goes and grabs a heavy rock, she brings it toward the crying infant who is out of the frame. She holds a rock above the baby and drops it. With that, the film ends. 

Sweeney gives an excellent performance that proves she has the pipes to be the next big scream queen. 

Along with “Immaculate,” another blockbuster nunsploitation film was released two weeks after the former. “The First Omen” is the sixth installment in the “Omen” franchise and shares a very similar synopsis with “Immaculate.” 

“The First Omen” also revolves around an American woman sent to Italy who becomes suspiciously pregnant on arrival. The only difference is that the main character faces an arguably more sinister birth than Sister Cecilia did. 

Both films are currently in theaters with “The First Omen” getting slightly better ratings than “Immaculate.” For nunsploitation fans, both seem to be worth the watch. 


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