Mount Hood

Max Max: Second Opinion

By Declan Hertel
 Staff Writer

In sharp contrast to my colleague Nathaniel, I hated “Mad Max: Fury Road.” I hated it because it was a perfect action film and, therefore, has ruined all other action films for me.

I didn’t know that movie genres could be won, but “Mad Max: Fury Road” has won action films.

I couldn’t look away for a second. “Mad Max” is, for my money, the most visually beautiful film since 2009’s “Avatar.” The vibrant orange and blue color palette brings the wasteland to life, deftly avoiding the brown deluge that often plagues post-apocalyptia.

Every element of the world — from the absurdly dangerous automobiles to the religious fervor of the War Boys; even the bungee-suspended, pajama-wearing flamethrower-operator/war-guitarist (take a second to absorb that) — just feels… right.

Without exaggeration, I say even the weakest action sequence in the film is far and away better than any other I’ve seen recently. Every scrap is executed with complete abandon, reveling in the madness without a care in the world; it’s an attitude best expressed by Nux during an utterly unhinged battle sequence: “What a day! What a LOVELY day! “

Have yourself a “lovely day” at the cinema. Go see “Mad Max.”

4.5 paws out of 4, and I’, not even kidding.

“MAD MAX: Fury Road”

By Nathaniel Dunaway
 Entertainment Editor

In 1979, Australian filmmaker George Miller released his feature-film debut: a dystopian action thriller entitled “Mad Max.” The film starred Mel Gibson as Max, a role that would launch the then 23-year-old actor into stardom.

Inspired by the 1970’s oil crisis, in which oil prices skyrocketed, affecting millions of Australians in particular, “Mad Max” (and its immediate sequels “The Road Warrior” and “Beyond Thunderdome,”) follows Max, a lawman, and his travels through a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland, where he encounters vicious motorcycle gangs, mutants, vengeance and driving. Lots and lots of driving.

Miller had always planned a fourth film in the franchise, but the project remained in development hell for nearly 30 years. When it finally became a reality with the release of “Mad Max: Fury Road,” this month, the response from fans and critics alike was virtually unanimous: it was worth the wait.

“Fury Road,” essentially a reboot of the series rather than a strict continuation, stars Tom Hardy (“Bronson”) and Charlize Theron (“Monster”) as Max Rockatansky and Imperator Furiosa, respectively.

The film begins with Furiosa, a badass, one-armed raider, leading a convoy of war rigs from the Citadel — a colony led by the film’s antagonist, Immortan Joe — to Gas Town, a city with a monopoly grip on gasoline. Halfway to her destination, however, she veers off-road, thus setting the insane events of this insane film in motion.

As it turns out, Furiosa is actually smuggling Immortan Joe’s Five Wives (the women he keeps as “breeders”) to safety. When the masked, deformed, and insane Joe realizes this, he leads a war party after Furiosa to retrieve his wives.

If that description of the film sounds somewhat Mad Max-less, that’s because it is, for the first act at least. Early on, Max is captured and serves as the “blood-bag” (an unwilling blood donor) to Nux, a Citadel raider played by Nicholas Hoult (“Warm Bodies”). Only after the first half-hour does Max cease being a passive character to whom things simply happen, and becomes the driving force of the film, when he decides to aid in the rescue of Immortan Joe’s Five Wives.

Still, Charlize Theron’s Furiosa is constantly at odds with Tom Hardy’s Max for the title of “Fury Road’s” true action hero. Max’s name may be in the title, but it’s Furiosa’s mission that the audience invests in — first when she seeks to save the Five Wives, and later, when she seeks revenge on Immortan Joe, played terrifyingly by “Mad Max” alum Hugh Keays-Byrne. Regardless, Furiosa will still inevitably go down as one of the great action characters of all-time.

“Fury Road” is filled to the brim with explosions, gunfire, fights, frenzy, and fun. It’s an action film in the purist sense, in which the action serves as perfectly-executed exposition in the telling of a great story. It’s never action for action’s sake, never mindless or aimless.

The title of “action film” has a sour connotation to some, suggesting a men’s only club of overwrought violence and one-liners, but “Fury Road” is about as far from Steven Seagal as you can get, mainly due to Imperator Furiosa, the epitome of the strong female hero.

She’s a scarred, battle-hardened fighter with no time for in-depth introspection or (and thank God/George Miller for this) a love-interest. But the feminist themes don’t stop there, with the story of the Five Wives’ escape from the clutches of Immortan Joe serving as an allegory of sorts for the reproductive rights of women.

Action doesn’t always mean flame-spewing electric guitars and hand-grenade spears. It also means what the characters do, and in this film, what they do and what decisions they make are paramount. “Fury Road” takes place over a frenzied three days of mayhem, leaving little breathing room and even less room for needless character arcs. What the characters do inform who they are, nothing more, nothing less.

In the hands of a lesser filmmaker, the idea of a two-hour long film encompassing what is essentially a single car chase would come off as overdone and gimmicky, but in George Miller’s hands, it’s truly a sight to behold.

So go out and behold it, as soon as you can. You’ll be glad you did.

4 paws out of 4.


By Nathaniel Dunaway
Entertainment Editor


Western’s student-run campus radio station KWOU now has an official app available through the Apple iTunes Store.

The app, called “KWOU: Western Oregon Radio,” is free to download, and features common radio and podcast app features, such as “Listen Now” and “The DJs,” the latter of which gives a rundown of the station’s 20 DJs and shows, including Space Legs, Renegade Riley, and Domination Nation.

“It has been a long process to finally get it out,” said KWOU Station Manager Iain Dexter. “But, we appreciate the work that Bruin Mobile from UCLA has done to help get this out. I am extremely excited to finally have the app ready for students and the Monmouth community to download and make access to our station much easier.”

“Weekly Schedule,” “Events,” and instant connection to KWOU’s various social media platforms are also available through the app, as well as information on how to get involved with the radio station, a part of Western’s student media.

The app requires iOS 7.0 or later, and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

“I’m looking forward to seeing KWOU grow through this introduction to mobile devices, which is what most people use to listen to music and the radio” said Clara Pratt, KWOU’s technical engineer.

KWOU joins Abby’s House as the two student-led organizations on campus with apps available through the iTunes Store.

“With any new technology, there are always initial kinks to work out,” Dexter said. “Currently, we are updating information, but you’ll always have access to our music and shows.”

In addition to the app, listeners can access KWOU at

Flailing is fun:

By Declan Hertel
 Staff Writer

The surge in indie games has brought with it a new genre of game: interactive slapstick. Funny games used to be games where you do a thing, someone says a joke, repeat. While those games still exist in fine form (“Portal 2” is a prime example), there is a new sort of comedy game that derives humor from its physics or controls.

Below is a list of very fine examples of the genre, and all come with high recommendations from me.

“Surgeon Simulator 2013”

This game is an example of an absurd control scheme used for humorous effect. In “SS2013,” you must perform complex surgeries with the use of only one hand.

The arm and hand are controlled with the mouse, and each of the fingers and the thumb are operated with the A, W, E, R, and Spacebar keys on your keyboard.

Picking up a scalpel becomes a gargantuan task, never mind using it to any great effect.

On more than one occasion, I’ve taken the heart I’m to transplant and accidentally thrown it full force into the patient’s face and watched it fall to the floor, never to be seen again. After many failed attempts, I finally completed the operation by removing everything from the man’s chest cavity and plopping the heart in. This is good enough in “Surgeon Simulator.”

“Goat Simulator”

The other main type of interactive slapstick comes from odd usages of physics. The developers of “Goat Simulator” left in every bug and glitch that didn’t crash the game, created a monster that plays like a demented “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater,” awarding points for tricks and stunts like running up walls, getting thrown across the map by a speeding truck, or knocking over a crowd of people by headbutting some poor sap into them.

That’s all you do; run around the map and cause mayhem as a goat. And it somehow never gets old. Every time you fire it up, you find some new way to mess with everything.

“Octodad: Dadliest Catch”

“Octodad,” a fusion of the above two methods of interactive slapstick, is a heartwarming game by Young Horse Inc. about a suburban father trying to be the best dad and best husband that he can possibly be while keeping his dark secret safe from the world, and even from his family; his secret being that he is, in fact, an octopus.

The player must guide the titular cephalopod through simple activities, like making breakfast, while controlling each of his super-elastic limbs individually.

But you also have a secret to keep, so you must fight against your rubbery appendages and try to accomplish these mundane tasks as mundanely as possible.

You’ll be doing well, walking around the kitchen, making small talk with your family, and then one false move later you’ve thrown the milk across the kitchen, and then as you go to retrieve it you knock over some chairs, and that sends your leg flying into the air and you flip into the wall, and after much hilarious flailing, you finally deliver a bowl of cereal to your daughter, who thanks you wholeheartedly. And all is right.

Actors Wanted

Next week, Western’s department of theatre and dance will hold open auditions for its summer outdoor production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.”

Director David Janoviak will cast a combination of student and community actors in Shakespeare’s classic pastoral comedy. Parts for approximately 12 men and six women will be available.

The auditions will consist of an optional prepared Shakespearean monologue as well as cold readings from the script. No preparation is necessary to audition, but a familiarity of the play is highly recommended.

Audition dates are Friday, May 15 from 6 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, May 16 from 12 to 3 p.m. in the Math / Nursing Building, room 108.

The play will rehearse Monday through Friday evenings (6-9:30 p.m.) beginning on June 22 and will perform from July 30 through Aug. 1 on the outdoor stage adjacent to Rice Auditorium.

The part of Jaques is precast. All other parts are available.

“As You Like It” is one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, and features the famous phrase “all the world’s a stage.” It tells the story of Rosalind and Celia, cousins who run away to the Forest of Arden, where they find true love.

For more information, please contact Professor David Janoviak (Director) at 503-559-1551 /


[fruitful_ibox column=”ffs-two-one” title=”Fed Up”]
By Jenna Beresheim
Staff Writer

Looking for a non-shaming, obesity-epidemic-blasting documentary? Look no further than “Fed Up” by Stephanie Soechtig.

Narrated by Katie Couric and averaging a rating of 4 out of 5 stars, this documentary is well-made and definitely worth the watch. Plus it is free on Netflix.

Popcorn and soda pop not included, but at only an hour and a half, snackage will not be required.

Unlike some other marathon movies that require pre-apocalyptic hoarding to survive to credits, this documentary will be over in a blink. And may even make you re-consider those sugary snacks.

“The message that’s been pushed on us: it’s your fault you’re fat,” Dr. Mark Hyman, the chairman for the Institute for Functional Medicine said, in regards to the obesity epidemic in America:

“Forget about it.”

Top scientists and board members across the country in all forms of public health take a stand to break long-standing problems in the way we view health, debunking myths such as calories are calories, regardless of what form they are in, as well as what it really means to balance diet and exercise.

Instead, the focus is on sugar and how exactly it works in the body — even going so far as to compare junk food companies to tobacco companies.

Following the lives of several children suffering from zobesity, the viewer gets a more personal view of the daily struggles of those who are overweight and cannot seem to break away from it.

No matter how hard these children try, what they do is not working. Until they begin making the “right” changes to their daily life.

Unlike some documentaries, this film does not force the facts upon the viewer or demand a strict allegiance to their cause be made. Instead, “Fed Up” focuses on the facts and providing information, encouraging the public to reduce sugar intake, backing it up with all the right reasons. For those who wish to make the change to their lifestyle, this documentary offers a 10 day sugar-free challenge to break the habit.


[fruitful_ibox column=”ffs-two-one” title=”Avengers: Age of Ultron” last=”true”]By Declan Hertel
Staff Writer

In the first 10 minutes of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Captain America (Chris Evans) does a high-speed endo on a motorcycle, launches into a front-flip, and throws the motorcycle into a Hydra troop truck that spectacularly explodes upon impact. This is utterly ridiculous; it is also TOTALLY AWESOME.

Those two words are the core of “Age of Ultron,” Joss Whedon’s final foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I saw this movie at a midnight showing during its opening weekend, and throughout the entire movie the audience was laughing and cheering as the punches flew, the lasers pew-pewed, and the Hulk smashed everything.

The fight choreography is without flaw and everyone gets their chance to be the butt-kicking action hero. And oh boy, do butts get kicked: “Age of Ultron” takes the over-the-top stylized violence of the first “Avengers” film and ratchets it up to 11, and then says “nah, man, we can go higher.”

The film starts out at “Nuts” with the fight in a European forest that includes the aforementioned motorcycle stunt and keeps pushing until it hits “Completely Freaking Bonkers” in the third act. I won’t spoil any other fight scenes; you’ll thank me.

Joss Whedon is well known for the one-liners and rapier wit he brings to his scripts, and he is on top of his game here. Every character packs as many quips as they can into the 141 minute runtime; they are almost all hilarious, and the ones that aren’t are worth a chuckle.

Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye delivers my favorite of the film right in the middle of the climactic battle, which ought to be a pleasant surprise to anyone who saw the first “Avengers,” where Hawkeye was pretty boring.

To be honest, Hawkeye steals the show. Ultron (a masterful voice performance by James Spader) may have his name in the title, but Hawkeye’s subplot and improved characterization really lend the film its emotional heart.

The addition of a romantic subplot involving Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) made me skeptical at first, but Whedon’s writing and the performances of Ruffalo and Johansson sealed the deal, and I was on board. Well done, Mr. Whedon. Well done.

My only real complaint about the movie is that when you’re driving a behemoth of a story at maximum overdrive as this movie does, bits are bound to fall off. There are a number of small happenings in the movie that are never explained and come off as useless. Whether they actually are or they’re foreshadowing the next phase of the MCU, it’s irritating.

That said, this only mattered to me after the movie was over, and I wiped the doofy smile from my face.

In all honesty, if you’ve liked the MCU so far, you’ll love “Age of Ultron.” If you hate the MCU, you’ll likely hate this too. But if you’re just looking for two hours of plain old escapism, you can’t do much better than this.

THREE AND A HALF OUT OF FOUR PAWS[/fruitful_ibox][/fruitful_ibox_row]


Oregonians Do It

Artwork by Carly Fister
By Jenna Beresheim
 Staff Writer

Oregon is known for waffling weather patterns and stubborn residents who refuse umbrellas or the cancellation of plans. If you find yourself amongst the list of friends willing to trek to the beach regardless of the time or weather, below is a rough list of activities to get you out of Monmouth and those daily doldrums.

For those tenacious trail travelers, Oregon holds hundreds of hiking options. If waterfalls are on the menu, try Multnomah and Wahkeena Falls, Sweet Creek Falls, or the ever-popular Silver Falls. Hankering for History?

Jacksonville hosts recently acquired parklands through a gold-mining town, while Cape Disappointment holds a museum along the same trail members of the Lewis and Clark expedition traveled.

Trails are certainly not the only outdoor option in Oregon. The Oregon Caves in Cave Junction are a great opportunity to unleash the inner spelunker. The coast is always a free option with a scenic drive, while also hosting options for those willing to spend a few bucks, such as the Newport Aquarium. For those animal lovers, The
World’s Largest Petting Zoo in Bandon may be a better option. Or for an up-close-and-personal experience with wild animals, try out the Wildlife Safari in Winston.

With Portland only an hour away, the bustling city is great for an all-day stay or a quick walkthrough. Stop by Little Big Burger for affordable, delicious bites while grabbing Voodoo Doughnuts for dessert. If it happens to be the first Thursday of the month, all art galleries will be open and free to the public for First Thursday. Voicebox Karaoke is another popular spot, but for the introverts, Powell’s is also a quick jaunt away.

To support local communities while also getting to shop wares and farm-grown produce, pop into a Saturday Market. Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, and Portland are all great for a morning expedition that will not eat up the rest of the day. Knock out grocery shopping in a vibrant, friendly community while promoting self-sustaining family farms.

Considering imbibing in true college spirit? Impress your friends with an extensive knowledge of liquors by visiting breweries within the state. The Bend Ale Trail boasts 14 breweries and comes with a handy pamphlet for a “self-guided” experience. Brewvana is hosted out of Portland seven days a week in multiple forms: walking tours, bus tours, and private tours.

For something a little closer to home, The Coin Jam in Salem is a 21 and over arcade and grill. The Oregon Garden in Silverton stretches out in 80 acres of botanical glory, but for a smaller-scale feel, Lavender Lake Farms is a mere 2 miles away on Highway 99.

In the end, Oregon has a little something for anyone and everyone, no matter what weather the state throws at us. In true Oregonian fashion, dress in layers and prepare for minute-to-minute shifts in the elements—don’t let Mother Nature tell you what to do with your weekend.