Sunflower Seeds: Comfort Zones

In this seed, I’m working on getting out of my comfort zone. But just for a second, let’s think about the Cheesecake Factory…

Every time I go to the Cheesecake Factory I always order the Godiva Cheesecake. Not that anyone cares as to what my order is, but this is a habit for me and I’m too scared to try something else that I might not like.

I find myself eager to try new things and see new places, but I also get very comfortable with what works. The whole idea of it ain’t broke, don’t fix it kind of sticks with me. However, I must say that I have been getting better at stepping out of my comfort zone especially in this the past year.

This past March when I went to New York, I didn’t know anyone that was a part of the group. People had familiar faces, but I didn’t really know these people on a personal level. I’m not going to lie at first, I was a little nervous since I ended up getting lost on the subway alone, but I was able to make some great friends from that trip. I saw a city I had never been to with fresh faces. 

I usually don’t make the first move with guys, but within the few times I have, I have been pretty successful. I haven’t had a Cinderella story from my reaching out, but I have had a few fun dates from these. Besides spontaneous trips and flirty moves, I have been saying yes to a lot more in life, and I find myself enjoying life even more. I have done things that I never thought I would do, and I couldn’t be happier! The next time I go get a desert, I might just branch out. 

Written by: Nina Capuani

The Ultimate Summer Sendoff Playlist

Perfect for drives along the coast or lounging by the pool with friends, this summer playlist will put you straight into summer-mode.

As the semester comes to an end and the weight on your shoulders is finally lifted, the summer relaxation begins. Whether your plans include traveling, working, or visiting family, summer is a time to let your hair down and enjoy the sun while the air is warm.

Each year, a summer playlist makes its way into my music library and it’s ends up being the only thing I listen to for my three month break. When I think of “summer” music, I immediately think of upbeat, feel-good alternative songs with catchy guitar lines and lyrics you can shout in the car.

This year, I worked hard to deliver the best summer playlist for anyone who loves alternative, pop, and indie music. Featuring the newest hits from some fan-favorites and a few older tunes that remains classics, this playlist is perfect for beach days, road trips, and everything in-between.

A few of my favorites include:

Talk Too Much – COIN

After hitting no. 8 on the Alternative Songs chart, it is clear that this COIN song fits the “care-free summertime sound” that we are all looking for. They are a rock band making guitar-driven music and they have hit the mark on this hit track.

Tired Eyes – Besphrenz

Besphrenz is a unique group that you’ll be surprised hasn’t blown up yet. With their original style mixing indie, rock, and rap, this band is hitting multiple styles at once, but still keeping it clean. I respect them for being innovative musicians and I’m sure that this song will stay on repeat all summer long. The playlist also features Walking On Ice and their newest single, White Shoes.

Heat of the Summer – Young the Giant

Young the Giant has been a fan-favorite in the Alternative Music world for some time now, and with “Summer” being in the songs title, it surely fits the playlists theme. The song opens with a distorted guitar line and features a catchy chorus you’ll find yourself humming to all day. Young the Giant has done an excellent job in creating new music while sticking to their original sound that everyone loves.

This Life – Vampire Weekend

Released earlier this month, it is clear this song is different from the traditional Vampire Weekend sound. The song is lighthearted, bright, and bouncy, and has even been mentioned it closely matches Van Morrisons “Brown Eyed Girl.”

Hollow Life – Coast Modern

Imagine if Cage the Elephant, Grouplove, and Glass Animals teamed up on a track: this is what it’d sound like. This song was released a few years back, but the chorus is fresh, creative, and exactly what you need to hear all summer long.

Gold Snafu – Sticky Fingers

From the memorable beat and easy-to-follow chorus line, this song is easily enjoyed by any audience. Lead singer, Dylan Frost, delivers unique vocals falling under the reggae/rock genre, and its clear this song needs to be played full volume with the windows down. The playlist also includes one of their more mellow songs, These Girls.

Weekend Friend – Goth Babe

While “Goth” might be in the name, this musician producing anything but gothic music. Classified as surf-indie-rock, Weekend Friend is a care-free summer tune with soaring production. Greeting listeners with a heartwarming combination of keys, drums, and shakes, this song is easy on the ears in just about any setting.

No Going Back – Yuno

From the first drum-kick, this song shines light straight into my heart. After my first listen a few months back, I had the sudden urge to drop everything, go on a road trip, and make a video that highlights this wonderful track. With a weightless melody and vibrant lyrics, it is no wonder this was Yuno’s first single after signing with Sub Pop Records.

Some other favorites from the playlist include songs from boy pablo, LANY, Bad Suns, HUNNY, Local Natives, Empire of the Sun, Still Woozy, Toro y Moi, and many more. Hoping these songs are enough to brighten your mood all summer long! Now, go enjoy the sunshine.

Written by: Brittany Roache

Avengers Endgame: Analysis, Themes, and Theories

Despite some plot holes and other minor complaints, Avengers: Endgame is great, and all Marvel fans should rush out to see it!

Avengers: Endgame is finally here! I have been so excited to see this movie, and I know you guys have been too. It seems like everyone and their grandma has seen this movie by now. It’s everything it’s hyped up to be, the culmination of eleven years of movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is it. This is the finale! Just like for the film, Us, I will be doing a spoiler filled analysis of this movie. The trailers of this movie give so little away that any little aspect of the plot I discuss with you would be considered a spoiler. I will be sure to let you know when I am about to spoil the movie before it happens. If you’re wondering if this film is “worth your time”, the answer is absolutely! This film is an epic cinematic event that any Marvel fan should see as soon as they can! The film is wonderfully and impressively constructed, and despite its lack of “artistic aspects” as some people have complained about with this film, you can’t deny that as a fan this is hugely satisfying! So, yes, see this film as soon as you can, and see it in IMAX because the whole film was shot using their cameras. This means that the film will be presented in an expanded aspect ratio then you get in any other showing, and I can safely say it looks very nice on the big screen.

SPOILERS AHEAD! DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS MOVIE YET! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

I will admit that I was mostly surprised at the direction this film decided to take. That being they decided to have this film take place five years after the events of Avengers: Infinity War. Although looking back this decision makes the most sense for the characters and for the plot, it’s disappointing that they kill Thanos off as easy as they do in the beginning. I was so looking forward to seeing Thanos confront the Avengers once again, and although it happens, it’s much more anti climatic then you’d expect. In the beginning of this movie, Thanos has his own farm, he’s retired, and has even destroyed the Infinity Stones. When the Avengers realize this, they beat him up, and Thor slices off Thanos’ head with his ax. Thor then talks off into the distance as the camera goes out of focus and the film slowly cuts to five years later.

We then see as the characters try to get over their losses and the lives they lead after the events of Infinity War. There’s trash all over cities, everyone’s pissed off all the time, and plants are not being attended to. We see as Captain America leads a support group to help everyone get over the loss of their loved ones, Natasha Romanoff, Black Widow, takes calls from other members of the Avengers, and Thor lives at the remote little civilization of New Asgard where he is an alcoholic that plays Fortnite with his friend Korg, who thankfully is still alive. The only one who seems to have truly moved on is Tony Stark, Iron Man, who is now married to Pepper Potts and has a daughter. Also, ummmmm Bruce Banner, who is now professor Hulk, dabs while taking a picture with some fans, so there’s that. Anyways, the possibility of time travel becomes relevant when the Avengers discover that Scott Lang has been through the quantum realm in what felt like five hours. This is when Tony Stark uses what he knows about the quantum realm to figure out time travel, and when they decide to try to go back in time to retrieve the stones. They explain that this would be better than perhaps killing baby Thanos stopping him from ever getting the stones in the first place because going back in time and changing something only makes a new timeline.

I understand the reasoning behind the rules they present, but the problem is that it makes this movie very complicated and hard to follow.

If you haven’t noticed, the rules that this film presents for time travel is unconventional to what we are used to seeing in films. This makes time travel aspect of the movie very complicated and difficult to follow. I understand why they chose to go with the rules they have here, but I don’t think it worked as well as they thought it would. They seem to break their own rules when Captain America at the end, after he delivers the Infinity Stones back to where they belong, decides to live a life with Peggy Carter, only to have him meet Bucky and Sam back at the bench as an old man in order to give him back the shield. How is Steve able to meet Sam and Bucky back on the bench many years after he reunites with Peggy? Shouldn’t he now just be gone forever living in a different timeline? It’s very confusing and honestly doesn’t make a lick of sense, but it wraps up an arc for Steve’s character, and it feels very satisfying.

What makes this film as exciting and fun to watch, though, is that climatic final battle!

It’s no secret that what everyone truly came here for was that climatic final battle at the end of the film, and wow it is insane! Every major character you’ve ever known from the MCU (except Black Widow of course) is there fighting Thanos and his huge army, and everyone’s entrance is incredible! It’s so satisfying to see all these characters who were once killed in Infinity War come back from the dead fully ready to fight Thanos. Both times I saw the film, people seemed to have a very strong reaction when Spider-Man appeared again, given that his death was one of the most emotional from Infinity War. And don’t forget, of course, when Captain America finally becomes worthy of the hammer Mjonlir, and uses it to fight Thanos. That was incredible! Another stand out moment was seeing Captain America summon Mjonlir towards him as all the Avengers came together to fight Thanos where he utters the line “Avengers…. assemble”. This was for sure the best part of the movie, and definitely worth the price of a ticket alone.
The only disappointing element of the fight is that the Thanos they fight is one from 2014 after their time travel mission goes wrong, as opposed to the one we grew to know in Infinity War. Other than that, I absolutely loved this scene and thought it was a blast!

Despite its flaws, this film is everything I wanted it to be and more!

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I’d be surprised! Avengers: Endgame is a blast! Even when the plot gets complicated or don’t make sense, the film still feels satisfying and important! It may be a little long and you can definitely feel the length, but the film is nothing short of spectacular! It is already one of my favorite movies of the year, and I’m excited to see it for a third time this weekend! I feel like I certainly neglected to discuss some aspect of the movie here, but I feel that everything that needs to be said about this movie has already been said. Everyone’s seen it and talked about it to death at this point. At this point, I feel like a fan boy talking to a bunch of people on an online forum who have already seen the movie and have developed very similar thoughts on it. I’m so happy the Marvel movies have been as good as they have been for this long and I hope that they continue to keep it up for many more years to come!

So that has been all my film reviews for this semester! And wow what a great film to wrap up the semester with! It’s been a blast talking about these movies and I hope you’ve all enjoyed too. My hope is that I’ve been able to encourage others to think about the films they see differently and to think more analytically about them. Filmmaking is one of the most tiring and stressful crafts out there, and I know as a fellow TFM student how it is. But in the end of the day, making your own art and viewing other people’s art is a ton of fun to me! I hope I can keep talking about films and making films next semester, and I hope I can continue to share that with you all next semester! You’re probably going to see a change in content next semester, but I promise it’s not gonna let you down! So with all that said and done, stay safe and have a great summer! Go Aztecs!

Written by: Christian Scognamillo

Sunflower Seeds: Summer Aspirations

With summer here, I have done some serious self-reflecting over the past school year and now have some summer aspirations.

I couldn’t be happier with how my third year of college went, but I am eager to accomplish more. In the past, I used a timeline for events in my life that should have or will happen at certain ages. For example, I expected to know exactly what I wanted to do with my major/career by the time I was a sophomore, but now I am going into my senior year and I still debate changing my major at least once a month. It’s not too practical to live your life on a time line, so now I just like to set different goals for myself! Therefore, I thought this summer would be the perfect time to set and accomplish some personal goals!

First and foremost, my number one goal is work full time.

As an extremely broke college student, this will really benefit my wallet. I’m currently in the fourth and final stage of interviewing for an internship, so if I get it I will be accomplishing this goal! If not, it’s not the end of the world but I really need to pick the slack and work a job or two. Since I am going into my senior year and being 21, I would like to not worry about expenses like going out or going to concerts. Besides having extra cash for fun spending, I want to have enough saving to be able to afford rent right out of college. I don’t know what is going to happen in a year, and I really don’t want to have to move back home to Chicago. I am just trying to look out for my future self!

A second goal I have is to travel more!

If I am working full time it might be hard to travel, but I am positive I can work something out. I’m not necessarily trying to go out on international rendezvous’, but I would like to see more of the West Coast. I have never been to the Grand Canyon and its not that far away! I would to do more fun weekend trips even if it’s to places near San Diego like Julian, CA. However, I do want to go back to New York at some point in early June, so hopefully I can come up with enough money for that!

Lastly, I just want to have a ton of fun!

This will be my last summer ever as an undergrad, and I want to have as much fun as possible before I’m in the real world. In my seed about New York I stated that I lived in an atrocious, filthy, and cockroach infested apartment this past summer. I lived with 6 girls in a tiny two-bedroom apartment. All of our twin beds touched because we didn’t have much room, but that wasn’t really a problem compared to all the others. Besides it being filled with cockroaches, it was abnormally hot (sometimes I would sleep outside by the pool because there were less bugs and it was cooler there). Anything and everything that you think could go wrong did. Even though the living situation wasn’t ideal, I had the time of my life! It was the most fun summer I have ever had given that I had cockroaches for roommates. I met so many incredible people and explored. I hope to do that again, but without the bugs of course!

All in all I think it is good to motivate yourself and have different goals. Mine really come down to making money, traveling, and fun! That’s not too much to ask for and they all relate to one and another, so I’m sure ill accomplish them. Weather your goals are big or small you really can accomplish them if you put your mind to it!

Written by: Nina Capuani