“The Upside” Movie review

Nick Wilson | Staff Writer

Only five years after the global hit The Untouchables(2011), Director Neil Burger and screenwriter Jon Hartmere create an Americanized spinoff of the French film. The Upside entails a story of a wealthy billionaire, Phillip (Bryan Cranston), who was recently widowed and paralyzed from the waist down due to a paragliding accident. His need for a day-to-day caretaker leads him to hire an unlikely and unqualified candidate, Dell (Kevin Hart), an ex-convict attempting to stay out of jail, as an act of rebellion and fatalism. Despite their opposing lives and struggling differences, the two quickly come across an unlikely bond. Phil introduces Dell to opera, modern art, kumquat, a line of luxury cars, and other stereotypical billionaire things; Dell urges Phil to appreciate the humbler pleasures of his lower class life including hot dogs, weed, and Aretha Franklin. Almost as if two pieces in a puzzle, the pair unables each other to rediscover the upsides to life and live life to the fullest.

While majorly focuses on the comedy and drama aspects of their relationship, The Upside is able to stay similar to its popular predecessor. However, that means that it also brings the flaws from the earlier movie— reliance on stereotypes between white and black, rich and poor, and rotations from comedical irrelevance and longing scenes to dramatic sentimentality and heart-filling encounters. Two strong performances from both Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston, however, are able to keep a viewer intrigued in the story’s character development. The undeniable chemistry between Hart and Cranston accomplishes all it can to support the character developments of both Phillip and Dell and allows for the story to unveil toward a heart-warming ending.

It’s uplifting to see another side of Kevin Hart, known most commonly for his comedic talents displayed in his own stand-up series, along with Ride Along(2014), Central Intelligence(2016), and Jumanji(2017). Don’t be alarmed; The Upside is still filled with plenty of Hart’s comedic genius, possibly even too much. Burger attempted to utilize Hart’s talents to the fullest, allowing him to crack the audience up for essentially every scene from the movie, aside for the occasional plot-shifting heart-to-heart scenes that impact the lives of Dell and Phil. Comedy tends to be overused at some parts, however, included a scene that Dell must change a catheter that last for ages and an irrelevant foreign shower scene that just seems out of place and dried out(no pun intended). This overuse of comedy seems to direct the plot off the main topic of attempting to allow Phillip to live his life in joy and for Dell to reconnect with his struggling family who he was forced to leave to do his time in prison.

    The light and elegance of the plot line still somehow shines through across the comedy of the film and still fills the hearts of the audience. An undeniable bromance between Dell and Phil does no less than perfect to save them from their own internal problems, but also provides one of the first feel-good movies of the year with as many high and low moments that can fit into the 126 minutes. It would be hard to imagine The Upside won’t rack up views in the box office and plenty of positive audience reviews.

Opinion: Why some students feel Sex Ed belongs in high school

Katelyn Mitchell | Staff Writer

When I was a kid, I was never given the dreaded “talk.” Whether this was because my mother had been a hard-core Baptist, my parents were uncomfortable or they did not believe that it was the right time, I do not know. My first exposure to the sexual education talk came at the end of my fifth grade year where they split up the boys and the girls, put on a scratchy, poorly animated movie, and expected us to soak up all of the knowledge.

This theme followed me throughout my public school years up until eighth grade. When I questioned why sexual education stopped at the peak of teenage hormone years, my science teacher said, “If you and I need to have this conversation, then I believe that we have bigger issues that need to be addressed.”

At the age of 16, I know more teenagers who are out having sex than I would like to admit. One could blame the increase in sexual activity in teenagers on the hormones that are running through the body and the excitement of having a romantic partner Yes, middle school and the high school health classes talk about birth control and condoms, but it is only touched on briefly while abstinence is stressed to the point no one bothers to listen.

I understand that the state and school both regulate what gets taught at the school. The Indiana State Standards state that “sexual education” should be taught as a comprehensive health education. While this is good in theory, in reality it is a poorly planned idea. Health education is an umbrella term, meaning that it is a main subject that has minor subjects written into it. Yes, the health education class talked a little about STDs, condoms, birth control, exams for both men and women, as well as abstinence, but it also speaks about diet, exercise, smoking, respiratory systems, digestive systems, etc. You cannot call a small sub-unit “comprehensive.” In fact, it is anything but.

Also according to state standards, “Indiana law does state that when sexuality education is taught, abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage must be stressed. Instruction must teach that abstinence outside of marriage and a mutually monogamous relationship inside of marriage are the best ways to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems. (IC 20-10.1-4-11)” Again, this idea is good in a perfect world where everyone does what they are told, but in reality, it is a complete bust. Telling teenagers to stop having sex is not going to prevent them from having sex.

Regarding the school, Mr. Williamson, dean of students, says that the administration has been talking about having an optional forum after school to talk about teenage issues- such as sexual education, dating abuse, drugs and alcohol, etc. With the forum not being mandatory, parents should not feel like they are being attacked about their personal opinions. I feel like incorporating a forum like this is a tremendous step forward. In this situation, teenagers are getting factual, well-researched sexual education and their parents can make the decision whether or not they want to send their child to the forum.

All in all, sex education is crucial for teenagers. We are becoming young adults and are going to be exposed to a myriad of situations. Knowledge of sex should be as equally important as knowing how to file taxes, pay bills, buy a house, budget, etc; not a taboo subject that is shoved onto the backburner. We need the education and truth.


Opinion: Assault Rifle Ban

*These opinions do not reflect those of Center Grove High School, the CGHS Administration, or CG Publications.*

Mara Bastin | Staff Writer

Graham Kanwit | Contributor

49 mass shootings, 98 deaths, 168 injuries, 2 months, and only in the United States.

Out of every country in the world, why are we one of the only countries that continuously struggles with gun violence?

It is unacceptable to allow these horrific shootings to continue plaguing our country. There is only one solution to the outbreak of mass murder—we must implement a ban on assault weapons.

This will inevitably be a difficult decision for a country whose culture is so heavily influenced by guns, but we must realize that we should not be putting lethal and militaristic killing machines in the hands of people who are not even old enough to buy a drink.

An assault rifle specifically designed to kill a high number of people belongs in the hands of a soldier, not in the hands of someone who has passed a day-long background check to assess their ability to wield a gun.

Australia, which banned semi-automatic, self-loading rifles and shotguns in 1996, has not had a mass shooting since.

Similarly, in the United Kingdom, stricter gun control laws were put into place the same year after a gunman murdered 16 children with a semi-automatic weapon, and the country has only suffered one mass shooting since then.

The success of other countries in decreasing these mass murders by banning assault weapons is a signal that such a policy could work in the United States.

In 1994, former president Bill Clinton imposed a ban on semiautomatic weapons. After the bill’s enactment, mass shootings fell from 155 to 89 between 1984 to 1994. After the lifting of the ban in 2004, the number of gun-related massacres rose to 302 by 2014.

It is inevitable that some people will be able to gain access to an assault weapon, despite a potential ban. However, a ban would put regulations in place that the majority of citizens would likely follow.

While there are people who disobey these laws, they are a small fraction of a population which would mostly abide by them. Conversely, if no such laws were in place, citizens would not be required to follow these standards and would have no motivation to obey them.

In spite of superfluous amounts of evidence supporting an assault weapons ban, the most fundamental reason most people disagree with it lies in the second amendment of the Constitution.

Many believe a ban would infringe on their constitutional rights

The first clause of the amendment, forgotten by many Americans and outright ignored by others (the National Rifle Association, for example, does not include it anywhere in their organization’s website or merchandise), is crucial to understanding the original meaning intended by the Founding Fathers.

While “militia” originally referred to the entire American populace in 1789, this was a time when every able-bodied citizen was needed to protect and defend from outside invaders. During the Revolutionary War, American volunteers were the military which defended against the British soldiers. The definition has since changed, as not every American is needed to provide security for the state.

The popular belief that a ban would disrupt their Constitutional rights, the meaning of words in the document do not necessarily mean what they do today. Guns in the 1800s were far less powerful than they are today, and our founding fathers would surely disagree with the way many twist their words to further their personal agendas.

Assault weapons are created solely to kill humans. Isn’t this enough evidence for a ban? Stricter gun control has been proven to work in so many cases, so why doesn’t the United States follow through?

Our representatives are not listening. Too many politicians responsible for keeping our country safe are bribed in the wrong direction by funds from the NRA and continue to hold on to outdated ideas in our politics and culture.

As students, teachers, parents, and citizens, it is adamant that we use our voices and hold our representatives accountable for taking action.

Hats, are they really a distraction?

Katelyn Mitchell | Staff Writer

America is said to be the land of the free and home of the brave, but the educational system is doing quite the opposite. In American school systems, the dress code is constantly protested by students, parents, and sometimes faculty.

The most commonly argued point is that girls should be able to show their shoulders and have shorts that go above their fingertips, but those are not the only injustices. In nearly every school, there is some sort of regulation regarding hats. 

Schools believe that hats are a distraction; a fashion item that will distract kids from their school work and ultimately cause chaos in the school hallways.

Schools may find this surprising, but no one wakes up and puts on a hat to try and distract kids from their school-work. As someone who has a love for beanies, this rule severely hinders me.

During my freshman year, I would have to strategically plan to avoid the dress code and wear my beanie. From the planning that I had done, one would think that I was creating a war plan. I had to find out if the next day would be a red or white day, what teachers I would see, and what hallways I would have to go through just so I could be able to wear a beanie and not be “a distraction”.

Wearing a hat is a distraction yet the countless construction work throughout the school and the loud banging these construction workers create seems to not be a problem for the administration.

Schools today have been trying to figure out a way to enhance creativity in the system. Many performing arts classes and fine arts have finally gained notoriety and more kids are joining them. However, if schools truly did want to help creativity grow, accessories should be allowed in the dress code. Accessories help people express themselves in a harmless way. Some people like to dye their hair crazy colors, some people like to dress all black and wear platform shoes, and some prefer to have more layers of makeup on their face than a layered cheese dip. All of these examples are at some level of expression.

I am not the only person who has been told to take off my hat by staff. I have seen kids that wear snapbacks and ballcaps be reprimanded by a school official to take off their hats. The only question that I have in those situations is: why? Wearing hats is as distracting as wearing a necklace: people are going to see it, but no one is going to care. Well, except for American school systems.

School systems today are saying that hats are a distraction, but in reality, the only reason that hats are distracting is that the administration is making a big deal out of a simple accessory. I have never met a student in my educational career who has told me they were bothered by my hat. 


Kneeling during the national anthem: To be or not to be

Controversy has sparked across America surrounding the issue of kneeling during the national anthem. Started by lone NFL football player Colin Kaepernick, the trend of kneeling during the national anthem has caused a revolution in the hearts of many Americans.

A survey from Fox News, an openly right-wing news program, has shown that 41 percent of voters think kneeling is an appropriate form of protest, rising from 32 percent in 2016, while 55 percent of voters disagree with kneeling, lowering from 61 percent in 2016.

Kneeling to the flag is not a sign of disrespect to our country, but it is a cry from those whose voices are not heard by our government, whose actions are regarded with negativity by the general population because of stereotypical accusations and whose personalities are judged based on their religion, sexuality or skin color before people even meet them.

Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49’ers backup quarterback, sat and knelt during the anthem last year and has said he refuses to honor the anthem or take pride in a flag for a country that oppresses African Americans and other people of color.

President Donald Trump, whose views lie on the opposite side of the political spectrum, believes Kaepernick’s actions and those of other NFL players is a blatant sign of disrespect toward the flag and the country.

“The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect to our Country, Flag, and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!” President Trump tweeted on Monday, Sept. 25.

Groups of people like the NFL protesters, who use nonviolence to resist the outrageous opinions forged by those who have no right to make these allegations toward anyone of any race, religion, or sexuality, are under constant fire from the media for being different, and yet they are still expected to blindly follow a country which has not respected them.

“Wrong,” Stephen Colbert, host of CBS’s “Late Show” said. “Kneeling during the national anthem has everything to do with race, just like [Trump’s] presidency. Those players are protesting racial injustice. They’re not protesting the American flag. Saying that kneeling is a protest against the flag is like saying Gandhi’s hunger strikes were a protest against snacking.”

NFL players are simply trying to use their platform to speak for those whose opinions don’t seem to matter in our country. Putting a hand over your heart and pledging allegiance is a personal choice, and it should not be swayed by anyone. Our government claims it was founded on the ideals of freedom, yet when one man [Kaepernick] speaks his mind he loses his career and faces backlash from millions of people.

Is this what our founding fathers had in mind when they created these rules many years ago? What happened to the amendments that said our rights of freedom in our country gave us the power to speak our minds and do whatever we feel necessary in the eyes of the law to defend our opinions?

Politicians, the media, and our peers are constantly pressuring us to judge others for no reason. Kneeling during the anthem is nothing more than a protest against the actions our country has inflicted on minorities. These nonviolent protestors are no different than Martin Luther King Jr. or Nelson Mandela, yet somehow they are treated with hatred and hostility while King Jr. and Mandela are praised for their actions.


Kneeling to the flag opposing opinion story written by former senior Parker Ferguson.