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Jamie Gillespie

Honest Thoughts on the Best Picture Nominees


With the Academy Awards coming up on Sunday, everyone is putting their two cents (or $11.00 since movies tickets are so expensive!) into what movie should win Best Picture. Having seen all but two of the nominees, I thought I’d join the debate with some honest thoughts of my own…

American Sniper

I love America and really love movies that inject some patriotism into the audience, so I was a big fan of “American Sniper.” It was a great film despite the plastic baby, and I’m thrilled that it was nominated for Best Picture. Unfortunately, I don’t think “inspiration-for-Oscar-winning-movie” will be added to Chris Kyle’s long list of accolades. With an all-white acting pool at this year’s Oscars and fear that “American Sniper” ignites anti-Muslim sentiment, Clint Eastwood’s adaptation will be the latest target of the overly politicized Oscars. Last time I checked, Oscars are for good movies and the Nobel Peace Prize is for activists. Somebody should remind the Academy.


“Birdman” should be named Best Picture. Of all the films nominated this year, “Birdman” has the best combination of great actors giving great performances, an original screenplay that surprises the audience, and the one-shot effect that makes the film cinematographically astonishing. On top of that, the film’s message is perfect for critics of the current superhero saturated slate of Hollywood films.


“Boyhood” is apparently phenomenal. I understand that it’s impressive to film a movie over twelve years, but isn’t that what every good sitcom does on television? “Two and a Half Men” has been filming since 2003, and America practically watched Angus T. Jones grow up on the show. If CBS had saved all the footage and released it as a movie, would Charlie Sheen have an Oscar nomination this year? In all fairness, I have not seen “Boyhood,” but even an Oscar isn’t going to get me to shell out money to see it in theaters unless they revert to the price of a movie ticket on the day they started filming.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

What a great film! It has all the quirky twists and cameos expected in a Wes Anderson flick, and I remember walking out of the theatre so happy I saw it. Regrettably, that’s about all I can remember about “Grand Budapest Hotel” because I saw it in May. The Golden Globe surprise gave me hope that this could be the sleeper hit of the season, and I would love to hear another off the wall speech from Wes Anderson to cap off an evening of sure to be unremarkable speeches.

The Imitation Game

Everyone should see this movie. Fans of “Downtown Abbey” will be as confused by Allen Leech playing a role other than Tom Branson as “Sherlock” fans seeing Benedict Cumberbatch proving he’s one of the best actors in the game, but “The Imitation Game” proves that good television isn’t the only thing coming out of British studios. Why “The Imitation Game” isn’t a more serious Oscar contender with its stellar cast, compelling screenplay, and heartbreaking reminder of history’s terrible treatment of homosexuals is a question that might need a code breaker to solve.


I don’t want to say anything that will get me in trouble because apparently “Selma” is more like “Snuba” at the Oscars this year, but the last thing I want to do is forget to include it on my list. Do you remember when everyone was upset that Ben Affleck didn’t get nominated for Best Director? “Argo” won Best Picture. “Selma” was good, but it was not the best movie this year. That’s all I’m going to say.

The Theory of Everything

I only had time to watch one of the two movies about painfully smart Brits nominated this year, and I opted for “The Imitation Game.” Sorry, Eddie Redmayne. I hear your performance is fantastic, and I’ll make it up to you by clapping when they hand you the Oscar on Sunday. Then I’ll wait to watch the movie on HBO.  


Once you see “Whiplash,” you will never again be able to watch a Farmers Insurance commercial without thinking of J.K. Simmons’ amazing performance as a sadistic jazz instructor. Miles Teller also captures the obsession of a college kid chasing a dream in a way that satisfyingly complements Simmons’ soon-to-be-Oscar-winning performance. “Whiplash” is your typical indie darling that made it to the big leagues, but don’t let a lack of Best Picture gold stop you from watching this great movie.

Top Five Haunted Campuses

America’s Most Haunted College Campuses


Every August, college campuses across the country are packed with families moving eager students into their new dorms. Unless you were lucky enough to move into a brand new building with state of the art air conditioning and a new mattress, you might remember the eerie feeling of taking over an empty room that has been called home by dozens of students before you. The thumbtack holes are still on the walls and the mysterious stain on the carpet will keep you and your roommate guessing until you add stains of your own to the room’s history. It’s almost like the ghosts of previous tenants still haunt the dorms they left. Once some posters of your own are up and the dorm starts feeling like home, college campuses start feeling much more like “Animal House” than a horror movie by the time Halloween parties on are on the mind, but some campuses have haunts that rival Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. Next time you’re scared to death by that physics final, think of the five most haunted college campuses and be glad your campus doesn’t have more to be afraid of…  

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5. University of Virginia  


Almost every college tour guide has a ghost story to tell prospective students, and the better the story the more likely it is to stick around long past the storyteller’s graduation. Of all the storytellers, however, no one tops Edgar Allen Poe when it comes to hauntings, and his old school starts off our list. A Confederate surgeon named Dr. Green is said to haunt the library to which he donated all of his books, and his ghost moved with the books when the library transferred from the University’s famed Rotunda to Alderman Library. Apart from other haunts on campus, Edgar Allen Poe left a scary note on his windowpane when he was forced to leave U.Va. due to debt…

“O Thou timid one, do not let thy

Form slumber within these

Unhallowed walls,

For herein lies

The ghost of an awful crime.”

Student loans are scary enough, but how would you like to find a note like that on your first night in a new dorm? If you want to learn more, the University Guide Service at U.Va. even offers a Ghost Tour of the campus.


4. Fordham University


Waking up to the sounds of a drunk roommate stumbling into the dorm well after midnight is pretty common in college, but students at Fordham University’s Bronx campus have to worry about something else that goes bump in the night. Students living in Finlay Hall have told of frozen hands grabbing their throats late at night—a reminder that Finlay Hall was built on top of a morgue. The ghost of a young blonde also apparently haunts the showers in Keating Hall, so freshmen have more to worry about than running into their new crush while wearing only a towel. With any old college campus, ghost stories are inevitable, but Fordham might seem eerily familiar to fans of horror because some scenes from “The Exorcist” were filmed at the university.        


3. California State University, Channel Islands

When it comes to haunted campuses, it’s all about location, location, location. Cal State’s Channel Islands campus has only been open since 2002, but from 1936 to 1997 the campus was home to the Camarillo State Mental Hospital. Ghosts and strange voices apparently haven’t learned that the campus is now an academic institution rather than an insane asylum, and the signature bell tower is a regular site for paranormal happenings. If living in an old asylum isn’t cause enough to call CSUCI haunted, watch “The Ring” and keep an eye out for scenes shot on the campus.

Also read: Top 10 costume ideas for Halloween 2015


2. Gettysburg College


Rivalries are popular on college campuses across the country, but Pennsylvania Hall at Gettysburg College was held and used as a hospital by both Confederate and Union troops during the Battle of Gettysburg. Med students know that Civil War era hospitals were more like butcher shops than modern operating rooms, so it should come as no surprise that the ghosts of bloody doctors still haunt Pennsylvania Hall’s basement. College romances can get dramatic, but men should also fear Glatfelter Hall. A young couple made a suicide pact to jump from the bell tower, but the boy bailed after the girl jumped. Her ghost—only visible to guys—haunts the bell tower, trying to lure a potential suitor to jump from the tower in her cowardly boyfriend’s place. After checking out the ghostly version of Romeo and Juliet at Glatfelter Hall, head over to the Kline Theatre at Brua Hall where the General haunts backstage.


1. Ohio University


Ohio University in Athens, Ohio has been universally dubbed the most haunted campus in the United States (if not one of the most haunted places in the U.S. period). From the girl’s basketball team that died in a bus crash haunting Washington Hall to a student named Laura who fell to her death from the fourth floor of Crawford Hall and now stops the Bob Marley song “Laura” from playing in her old building, paranormal experiences are pretty much a prerequisite for graduation. The real haunt at OU, however, is room 428 in Wilson Hall. Ohio University stands in the center of a pentagram of Athens cemeteries, and Wilson Hall just happens to stand at the very center of that pentagram. Exact explanations of the events that have occurred in room 428 are unavailable, but Ohio University officials have sealed off room 428 and dubbed it uninhabitable for students. If you never got off the waitlist for Ohio University’s freshmen class, the violent death of a student in the 1970s practicing a satanic ritual in 428 might be to blame for the lack of an extra bed. Those missing out on ghost stories while an undergrad will have to settle for OU’s killer Halloween party.