Bye Forever, Hunger Games Press Tour

The final installment of The Hunger Games comes to an end today with the release of Mockingjay – Part 2. Will Peeta overcome his hijack by the Capitol? Will Katniss kill President Snow? Will Gale find a happy ending? All these questions are answered in the movie – and if you’re like me, you’ll forget what happened in the book and most of the movie will be a surprise. A good surprise, though. I’m just saying I forgot how stressful it gets, especially in the tunnel scene.

And as the franchise comes to a close, so does the epic press tours that our lovely cast has been going on for the past four years. We’ve gotten to see a number of enviable gowns from Ms. Lawrence and co. but by far what I’ll miss most is these idiots together answering dumb questions and playing stupid games to promote the movies.

For example, here’s one (that’s not as dumb) from this press tour that involves pranking YouTube prankers Smosh all in the name of charity.

So here’s the thing. I’ve read all the books. I’ve seen all the movies on opening weekend. I’m a fan. But for some reason, I become a teen fangirl when it comes to watching videos of interviews of this cast. I’ve seen an embarrassing amount of Josh, Jen and Liam answering similar questions over and over again, but it always comes down to their chemistry. Friendship, real or not real? TOTALLY REAL. And that’s why I love these videos. As we say goodbye to the Hunger Games one last time, here are some parting clips of our beloved cast through the years that will make you wish there was another franchise for them to all star in once again.

The Hunger Games

This was in 2012, but Josh and Jen look like different humans.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

SAM CLAFLIN IS SUCH A DREAM BOAT. THE WINKS. I CANNOT.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Possibly my fave “Joshifer” interview/game? Jen is very excited about winning these Fandango movie tickets, but is she actually more excited about winning? Also they’re cute.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

If you have a chance/want to keep avoiding work, just go through and watch any and all interviews Josh Horowitz from MTV has with the cast. He’s been interviewing them since the beginning and it’s kinda sad seeing it come to an end. Luckily he got to go out with a bang and take shots of bourbon with the cast at their final premiere.

 

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Forever Scarred: Traumatizing Moments from YA Novels

Like Joey Tribbiani, we believe that some books belong in the freezer. If you aren’t a Friends fanatic, that’s a reference to the episode where Joey kept The Shining in the freezer because it was too scary. When he and Rachel do a book exchange, we learn that it isn’t just overtly gory fiction that makes you want to freeze away your feelings:

Whether gross, creepy, or just plain sad, these are some moments in YA fiction that had us reaching for the icebox:

The One Where Dobby Dies

I admittedly was very late to the Harry Potter game. Like, I didn’t start reading the series until the seventh book came out. I blame my parents. Anyways, as I was reading the books from the beginning, I would discuss my thoughts and feelings about what was happening to my friend who had read them already. In particular, I remember being so incredibly annoyed and mad at Dobby. Inherently, I disliked him for his affiliation with the Malfoys, but also I couldn’t stand the way he spoke in third person. “Listen to Dobby!” “Bad Dobby!” “Dobby is fed up with this Malfoy bullshit!” As I continued reading, he began to have a soft spot in my heart and soon became one of my favorite characters. So when he was killed by Bellatrix’s knife after essentially saving HP, I was absolutely gutted. He was devoted and loyal to Harry, and passed away in the most heroic way. I had to stop reading because I was so stunned and also the tears were clouding my eyes and prohibiting my ability to read.

Hazel’s ‘Fake’ Eulogy for Augustus

SPEAKING OF BLUBBERING AND TEARS. THIS ENTIRE PASSAGE:

“There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

The Hunger Games in General

Like a lot of other people, I like and appreciate the world Suzanne Collins created, it’s easy to forget just how troubling the premise is. Before the first movie came out, I was explaining to someone (a mother of three) what the books are about. It wasn’t until then, when I was saying it outloud to someone who has kids that I realized just how effed up it must be that we get entertainment out of these books, in particular the first one. As a parent, she must have been picturing what it would be like if her kids were put in that situation, when you have no choice but to watch your kid fight to the death in a televised sport. I know the series is more than this, but, still. How messed up.

Stacey McGill’s Diabetes Pee

Everything I know about diabetes I learned from Ann M. Martin. But the most traumatizing lesson was when Stacy hadn’t yet been diagnosed, and she wet the bed at a sleepover because diabetes makes you pee a lot. This led to her losing her best New York City friend. The diabetes also caused Stacey’s divorced parents to fight all the time and to bring her to some sort of quack doctor. When she tries to play it cool and not tell her BSC friends about the diabetes, they assume she has a shady secret. AND when everyone is tucking into Claudia’s food hoarder snacks, the narrator always explains that they have saltines or something for Stacey. Basically if you get diabetes you will pee everywhere and your life will be ruined, is what I learned. For more BSC thoughts, see our The Baby-Sitters Club: The Musical — Excerpts From The Libretto.

Jonas’s Dad Kills Babies

Ah, The Giver. Probably one of my favorite YA books of all time. Except for that part where Jonas’s usually-chill dad is seen cooing at an adorable little baby then shooting it up with death drugs because it was a twin, which was against the rules. Then Jonas learns that the baby who has been hanging out with his family is also on death row so he escapes into the wilderness with it. Damn.

You Might Get Cancer. Love, Lurlene McDaniel

Remember Lurlene McDaniel? She wrote treacly, vaguely Christian books about teens with terminal illness. She covered all manner of diseases but I knew her best from the Dawn Rochelle books, which were about a 1980s teen who has leukemia. McDaniel probably did a lot to teach the youths that kids living with disease are just like us. But it’s almost like she did a little TOO good a job because as someone who bruises easily and is prone to violent, cascading nosebleeds, I definitely spent my junior high years being like “you know who had these problems? Dawn ‘Leukemia’ Rochelle.” Most traumatic moment: when Dawn’s friend and hospital roomie died and Dawn got her Bible with that one part of Ecclesiastes underlined.

Open-Air Mating In The Alien Zoo

Our high school was notorious for ridiculous eight-book-long summer reading lists, where most of the books were 400-page tomes set on the British moors. But Junior Year, they assigned at least one “hip,” “modern” book: Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I don’t remember much, but I do remember that these disgusting slimy aliens abducted the main character and he had to live in a human zoo. They brought a porn star in and the two of them, like …. mated. In front of the disgusting terrible aliens. Who were cheering, maybe? It was horrible.

Those Disgusting Button Eyes

Coraline discovers Other Mother and Other Father, who are alternate-universe parents who have button eyes. Then Coraline, a human person, is supposed to sew buttons over her own eyes to “match.” And THEN she meets ghost children onto whom the Other Mother had sewn button eyes. Nah.

 

 

 

Pop Culture Extra Credit: College Edition

A couple months ago, my alma mater, Emerson College, announced that starting in the Fall of 2016, there will be a new major available to students – a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Comedic Arts, AKA a degree in comedy. Emerson is a communication and arts school where being a musical theatre major doesn’t make you a nerd and Quidditch is the top sport. We’re known for having unusual or quirky things that you wouldn’t find at a “normal” college. When I first heard the news, I thought, ‘Oh, that makes sense’. The school already offers classes on things like puppetry and “Queer TV After Ellen Came Out”, so yeah, a comedy major sounds about right.

However, it was a much bigger question mark to the rest of the world who went to schools that had classes like Accounting and football teams. Emerson even got a mention from Seth Meyers who suggested students can “just take your tuition money and burn it in front of your parents.” Fair.

So with kids heading back to college over the next few weeks, I thought that there must be other schools out there that offer odd, or pop culture-centric classes. Luckily, the American educational system did not let me down. Here are just a few courses you can take right now – did you guys take any weird classes in college?

Emerson College {Boston, MA}

TV Creators: Understanding the Whedonesque

Description:

This course will use the career of Joss Whedon to introduce students to the variety of positions in the entertainment industry and their potential for fulfilling and creative work… By examining his work at various stages, students will better understand auteur theory, modern industrial entertainment production, and artistic production across media. Works covered include: Roseanne, Alien: Resurrection, Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a film and TV series, Angel, Firefly and Serenity, Dollhouse, The Cabin in the Woods, The Avengers, Much Ado About Nothing, Buffy: Season Eight, and Astonishing X-Men.

Class Notes:

Surprisingly enough, I’m not too familiar with the Whedonverse. The closest I’ve ever gotten is watching Dr. Horrible multiple times over. Back in my day, this class was specifically about dissecting Buffy, and not any of Joss Whedon’s other works. My friend (who shall not be named because in her words, ‘I have a reputation to uphold’) took the Buffy class and had this to say about it: “12-year-old me couldn’t believe she was watching one of her favorite shows in class to achieve a real college degree, but it was surprisingly one of the most demanding classes (work load wise) that I have ever taken.” As I think we’re going to find with the rest of these courses, it may sound silly at first, but it’s probably really interesting and a lot of work.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology {Cambridge, MA}

Topics in Comparative Media: American Pro Wrestling

well this is frightening

Description:

This class will explore the cultural history and media industry surrounding the masculine drama of professional wrestling. Beginning with wrestling’s roots in sport and carnival, the class examines how new technologies and changes in the television industry led to evolution for pro wrestling style and promotion and how shifts in wrestling characters demonstrate changes in the depiction of American masculinity. The class will move chronologically in an examination of how wrestling characters and performances have changed, focusing particularly on the 1950s to the present. Students may have previous knowledge of wrestling but are not required to, nor are they required to be a fan (although it is certainly not discouraged, either).

Class Notes:

Exactly what major is this class fulfilling? I particularly like the disclaimer at the end. ‘You don’t have to be a fan of WWE… except you should probably be if you’re spending money on this class.”

Rutgers University {New Jersey}

Feminist Perspectives: Politicizing Beyoncé

Description:

Calling all the single ladies: this exploration into Queen Bey’s influence on feminism, race, gender, and culture helps students become more aware of the way in which pop culture shapes society. Most classes that are named for celebrities deal with sociologies of fame or psychologies of human behavior, but Kevin Allred’s version zeroes in on politics. By juxtaposing Beyoncé’s song lyrics with readings by distinguished black leaders like Sojourner Truth and Octavia Butler, students ask and attempt to answer the question, “Can Beyoncé’s music be seen as a blueprint for progressive social change?” Yet the more appropriate question may be: Who runs the world? Beyoncé.

Class Notes:

Sign. Me. Up. The person who wrote this description is clearly a member of the BeyHive, so that’s already a plus. But like previously mentioned, this class sounds hard as shiiiit. But that’s what you get when you break down the genius that is Queen B.

Georgia Regents College {Augusta, Georgia}

Good Kids, Mad Cities

Description:

Taking its name from Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 album, this course will examine the role of urban living on the development of young people. In Kendrick’s case, “the streets sure to release the worst side of my best” (Lamar 58). By studying and analyzing various literature, films, and K. Dot’s album, we will consider what effects our characters’ surroundings have on who they become as adults. The cities we will be visiting, in our imaginations, are Dublin, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Class Notes:

This class should be offered at more colleges, TBH.

Middlebury College {Middlebury, Vermont}

Urban America & Serial Television: Watching The Wire

Description:

Frequently hailed as a masterpiece of American television, The Wire shines a light on urban decay in contemporary America, creating a dramatic portrait of Baltimore’s police, drug trade, shipping docks, city hall, public schools, and newspapers over five serialized seasons. In this course, we will watch and discuss all of this remarkable-and remarkably entertaining-series, and place it within the dual contexts of contemporary American society and the aesthetics of television. This is a time-intensive course with a focus on close viewing and discussion, and opportunities for critical analysis and research about the show’s social contexts and aesthetic practices.

Class Notes:

I would take this class for one reason, the same one reason I watch the entirety of The Wire in the first place: Mr. Idris Elba. God bless.

Colorado College {Colorado Springs, Colorado}

Queen Bees, WannaBees, and Mean Girls

Description:

Queen Bees, WannaBees, and Mean Girls explores the means and motives behind why women seek authority and the actions they are willing to take in order to hold onto it. Students will examine this concept through the use of literary works and movies, such as the 2004 film Mean Girls.

Class Notes:

Temporarily ignoring the fact that first sentence makes it seem like this class is slightly sexist, it would be interesting to take a look into this culture of mean girls. And obviously, the class would have to be held on Wednesdays.

American University {Washington, D.C.}

Contemporary American Culture: Hunger Games

Description:

The Hunger Games trilogy is a publishing phenomenon that has dramatically impacted American popular culture. Using the series as a case study, this course examines the interplay of class, politics, ethics, and marketing. Topics covered include oppression, feminism, food deserts, rebellion, the publishing industry, and social media marketing. 

Class Notes:

Hunger Games isn’t just for kids, y’all. I also read “food deserts” as “food desserts” and immediately started to think what significance desserts had in the books, scouring my brain to remember Katniss’ fave food – then I realized it said “deserts” as in, the lack of food pretty much everywhere besides the Capitol. The Hunger Game isn’t just for kids, y’all.

Georgetown University {Washington, D.C.}

Philosophy and Star Trek

Description:

Star Trek is very philosophical. What better way, then, to do philosophy, but to watch Star Trek, read philosophy and hash it all out in class? That’s the plan. This course will center on topics in metaphysics that come up again and again in Star Trek. In conjunction with watching Star Trek, we will read excerpts from the writings of great philosophers, extract key concepts and arguments and then analyze those arguments. Questions we will wrestle with include:

I. Is time travel possible? Could you go back and kill your grandmother? What is time?
II. What is the relation between your mind and your brain–are they separate items or identical? Can persons survive death? Could a machine someday think? Is Data a person?
III. What is a person? Must you have the same body to be you? Same memories? When do we have one person, and when do we have two (think of the episodes where people “split” or “fuse”).
IV. Do you have free will, or are you determined by the laws of nature to do exactly what you wind up doing (while believing you have free will)? Or both? What is freewill?

Class Notes:

This description is VERY thorough. Not only that, but seems questionable. For instance, why is one of the questions, “Could you go back and kill your grandmother?”. First of all, it should be “Would”. Second of all, what? Is this a plot point in the Star Trek series? If yes, WHY? Also, “What is a person?” ??? This could be a very deep and depressing conversation I personally wouldn’t want to have in a classroom setting.

Georgia State University {Atlanta, Georgia}

American Poetry: Kanye vs. Everybody

kanye vs

Description:

According to the syllabus, Kanye makes for a useful lens through which to “investigate the continuous development of African American poetry and poetics—the uses of language and literature to represent blackness and Americanness in particular—observing shifting meanings in and of the text with important considerations of race, class, gender, and sexuality.” Throughout the semester, students decode Kanye’s work and interviews, which Dr. Heath believes help draw a line from the Harlem Renaissance to the black nationalist era to current-day hip-hop.

Class Notes:

Can’t tell if Kanye would love this course or disagree with it so much he’ll interrupt during class to say just how much he hates it. Is that a dated reference? Him and TSwift are all good now? Ok.

University at Buffalo {Buffalo, New York}

Breaking Down “Breaking Bad”

Description:

“Breaking Bad” was one of the most spectacular narrative achievements in television. Its five seasons comprised some 60 hours of a single narrative arc, something no film or television program (cable or commercial) has ever accomplished… In this seminar, we’ll take a close look at all the components of the series; we’ll talk about what was done, how it was done, why it worked. There is one prerequisite: that members of the seminar have seen the series before the seminar’s first meeting. We’re going to be studying it, not greeting it. We’ll look at some segments during the semester, but only so we can deconstruct the work. I’ll expect participants to do class presentations on different aspects of the epic, and a term paper on a topic of their choice.

Class Notes:

Unlike the American wrestling course, watching the series IS a pre req to being in this class. Luckily, most people on this planet have watched Breaking Bad. There’s gotta be something meta about teaching a class about a show that features a chemistry teacher who isn’t the greatest teacher.

University of California, Berkeley {Berkeley, California}

Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular ‘Logic’ on TV Judge Shows”

Description:

TV “Judge” shows have become extremely popular in the last 3-5 years. A fascinating aspect of these shows from a rhetorical point of view is the number of arguments made by the litigants that are utterly illogical, or perversions of standard logic, and yet are used over and over again. For example, when asked “Did you hit the plaintiff?” respondents often say, “If I woulda hit him, he’d be dead!” This reply avoids answering “yes” or “no” by presenting a perverted form of the logical strategy called “a fortiori” argument “from the stronger” in Latin. The seminar will be concerned with identifying such apparently popular logical fallacies on “Judge Judy” and “The People’s Court”and discussing why such strategies are so widespread. It is NOT a course about law or “legal reasoning” Students who are interested in logic, argument, TV, and American popular culture will probably be interested in this course. I emphasize that it is NOT about the application of law or the operations of the court system in general.

Class Notes:

As the lawyer of this Cookies + Sangria duo, I’m sure Molly can support or oppose this much better than I can, but in theory, this class actually sounds more interesting than it should? Although I hate watching court show, I’m sure there’s a psychology to it that can be studied. Or just a reminder of how stupid Americans can be.

 

Capitol Couture: Real or Not Real?

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 comes out today and if you’ve read the books, you know that this final installment is a far cry from the first two. There are no Games, and it’s all about a revolution, baby. Katniss and Gale are in District 13 plotting to take over the Capitol while Peeta and Johanna are all up in the Capitol being brainwashed by President Snow, who has clearly taken his last name to a whole new level:

{source}

When these ads first came out, it was a reminder that whoever is running the marketing/advertising/PR campaign for these films is a genius. The accompanying ‘address’ from President Snow lit’rally gave me chills the first time I saw it because I was suddenly transported to Panem and quickly went to grab my bow and arrow before I realized it wasn’t real and I didn’t have to go fight in the revolution. But it’s great that they make you feel like you’re actually part of this messed up dystopian world, and it obviously engages fans to be more involved and hyped up to see the actual movie.

The campaign for the entire HG series runs deep, but one of my favorites is the Capitol Couture website. In the series, the Capitol is know for its extravagance and outlandish fashion and trends – just look at Effie Trinket who is one of the craziest of them all. Despite the fact her fashion isn’t up to par in Mockingjay, the other people of the Capitol have to keep up appearances, and they get all their fashion tips from the Capitol Couture website.

It fascinates me how detailed each post is, and the lengths they go to make it seem like this is a real world of fashion. Here are just some of the insane featured fashions featured on the site – and who knows, maybe you can try being a trendsetter outside of Panem (I wouldn’t suggest it though).

Sometimes, I wake up in the morning and imagine myself as one of Panem’s glittering skyscrapers—and dress accordingly. I totter on my eight-inch Lucite heels and refresh my chrome-flecked lip gloss every hour on the hour. In the Capitol, fashion is a chance to role-play as animals or architecture, to assume grand proportions in outlandish silhouettes and even to express a tendency to unravel. {designs by Thom Browne}

“If jewelry isn’t your thing, take a cue from our suave Victor Peeta Mellark and incorporate those metallic elements elsewhere, like a sculptural gold pocket square. “

The most macabre chic in fashion today by Anouk Wipprecht

“The main carrier and perspective of the conference is women in the war,” makeup artist Mao Geping has noted of his themes. While Panem may be celebrating seventy-five years of blissful peace, this meticulous and ridiculous display of metals and petals has us ready to charge into battle.

Designer Peter Popps’ architectural background shines brazenly in his strikingly innovative creations;  to Circle’s District 6 influences of “transportation by magnets”, Popps delivers glimpses of the future mixed with design elements of the past.

Burgeoning designer Noa Raviv (who engineers in District 3 have been clamoring to get their hands on)… Mixing 2D textiles and 3D printed objects, Raviv’s Hard Copy collaborative collection was brought to life in collusion with Stratasys—a manufacturer of cutting-edge 3D printing devices and software. Capitol Couture salutes Noa Raviv and Stratasys for their collaborative efforts and their continuing commitment to the united vision of One Panem.

Photographer/videographer Nick Knight unites with model Alexia Wight and couturier Lady Amanda Harlech for an unique look at the marriage of art and science- a subtle homage to the collaborative efforts of Districts 1,2, and 8 in the latest Peacekeeper armor redesign.

A product of designer Argyle Witt and a team of nano-technicians working in the Capitol’s most sophisticated labs, these multi-task bots can be worn during day or night. Pre-set functions include skin cleansing and exfoliation, pigment infusion, body structuring, and the creation of absolutely unique pieces of wearable art… Three individual pieces can be fabricated before material depletion, giving the most discerning of Capitol fashionistas a few choices. Says Witt, “Every woman should feel like she’s one in a million. With these bots, we give her the luxury and the look to do so.”

 

The Jennifer Lawrence Victory Tour

It’s not like I need to tell you, but today is the day, Hunger Games fans!!! We’ve waited long enough for the second installment of  THG film series and it’s finally here. One of the things I love about movies coming out is all the press the stars do before the movie comes out (albeit it’s probably horrible for the actors themselves), especially if I have a fond admiration for them. This is especially true with Jennifer Lawrence and the rest of the Hunger Games cast.

Of course, we all want J Law as our BFF, and when it comes to interviews, you never know what she’s going to say. Not to mention, she always looks flawless doing so. In honor of Catching Fire and the amazing human being that is Jennifer Lawrence, here are some of her standout moments from the (exhausting) 7-city global tour, which will undoubtedly make you love her even more.

London // November 11

Dress: Christian Dior Couture (basically that’s all she wore/wears, which makes sense since she is their muse)

When the cast turned into dinosaurs

But then loved each other because they’re cute

It’s like finding money in your rented Dior coat, but better.

and then you throw them at your bff

JLaw being a perfect angel by approaching a Make-A-Wish kid at the premiere.

Berlin // November 12

Making practical look cool in Paris since ’87 (Dior)

Madrid// November 13

Photo Call: the perfect time to wear something other than Dior. One of my faves from this promo tour – Alexander McQueen

En la noche – mas Dior.

Rome // November 14

Love this Proenza Schouler dress from the Rome photo call!

breaking shippers hearts

Dior’s dresses come complete with a silver medallion placed randomly on the bottom!

If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.

A fan but a book on a rope and lowered it down to Jen for her to sign. Brilliant, really.

Paris // November 15

Dare I say this goth-like Dior look was perhaps my favorite??

annndddd side boob

Los Angeles // November 18

I was a little surprised when Jennifer came out of her car with this number. If you may recall from the Emmys, Julianne Hough wore a semi-similar dress, which I proceeded to put on my worst dressed list. HOWEVER, J Law is pulling this look off, and design wise, it’s just wayyyy better than the Jenny Packham one Julianne wore. Still not my personal fave, but she looks great.

JLaw was sick this night and didn’t do any interviews, but still had time to meet the fans – while they cheered her on.

Not reallly JLaw related, but can you even with Josh and Liam??

New York // November 20

The final Dior look!

Best photobomb ever.


Jennifer yelling like the photographers

Clearly there’s a story to this. Click here.

Highlights from her 4 million interviews


Perhaps my favorite interview from them all – I’ve legit watched this like 5 times already. It’s a problem.

Second favorite interview – more games with the cast! AND it’s a two parter! Check it on Yahoo!


If you’re not familiar with Unscripted, get ready to waste hours of your life catching up.

Cuddling up in a blanket with David Letterman, natch. Watch the interview here!

“Would you rather switch roles with Sam Claflin or Jena Malone?”
“Sam.”
Interview with MTV News

No go forth and enjoy Catching Fire, fellow Tributes!!

Eating that bomb Arclight caramel corn