Archive for September, 2010


FRA Photo Collage

Here is the photo collage for my Digital Media Class. 

FRA Photo Collage

Here is the one of my name.

nik photo collage

Get Low Review

          In a world of movies dominated by big budget special effects films, Get Low, presents a different sort of movie reminiscent of its setting in 1930s Roane County, Tennessee.  Director Aaron Schneider and Producer Dean Zanuck deserve plenty of praise for making one of the best dramas of the year for only $7 million.  In a somewhat unusual role, Robert Duvall delivers a performance that some critics – including this one – believe may earn him an Oscar Nomination. 
         Felix Busch (played by Robert Duvall) is a hermit who nobody quite seems to understand.  He has lived by himself in a house in rural Tennessee for the last 40 years.  When he comes to town, he creates quite a buzz.  He wants to throw a funeral party for himself, while he is still alive.  He invites anyone and everyone to come to the funeral, and his “hermit money” provides an incentive for struggling funeral home owner Frank Quinn (played by Bill Murray).  It is a tale of love, regret, forgiveness and understanding, through which the life of Felix Busch slowly becomes just a little bit clearer. 
          The acting in the movie is well above average.  Robert Duvall has a role that is not so much defined by what he says, but what he does, which makes his facial expressions and body language increasingly important.  Indeed, Duvall did not merely play Busch, he was, even if just for the brief 100 minutes of the film, Felix Busch. 
          In addition to the experienced Duvall, there was one other actor whose role was portrayed perfectly.  This was the 27 year old Lucas Black, who plays Buddy Robinson, Frank Quinn’s assistant and the mediator between Busch and Quinn.  Black – hailing from Decatur, Alabama, seems to feel quite at home in this role, and his southern accent helps to keep the pace of the movie from rolling by too fast.  To truly feel the emotional impact of the film, it can not be too fast paced, and Quinn’s natural southern demeanor kept the movie true to the setting.  It is Black that keeps this movie authentic, and he deserves major praise for his work.
          Though special effects were a non factor in this film, the cinematography and musical score were outstanding.  They worked together, the musical score consisting of simple country guitar melodies reminiscent of the guitar playing of Andy Griffith and the cinematography worked to create a beautiful and accurate portrait of Tennessee in November.  Indeed, the strong musical score and cinematography worked in conjunction with the acting to make this film one of the best dramas in recent years.
          The film has yet to win any awards, but many, including Wall Street Journal  critic John Anderson, believe that the film may earn Robert Duvalle an Oscar nomination.  This film easily earns a ***+ out of **** review.  Simplistic, nostalgic, powerful and beautiful are the only words needed to describe this film.
You can see the trailer here.

Favorite Visual Art

“The true work of art is but a shadow of divine perfection.” – Michaelangelo

My favorite visual artist would have to be Georgia O’Keefe.  I find her use of color fascinating, and the two pictures shown here are probably some of my favorite pictures.  If you want to see more information about her, you can visit the Georgia O’Keefe Museum website.  So, enjoy!

Picture captions:
1. In this painting by Georgia O’Keefe, O’Keefe uses quite a bit of green and blue colors that seem to portray a mysterious tone.  This painting was painted in a series of paintings O’Keefe painted called “Jack in the Pulpit.”

2. This piece (below) is called “Ram’s Head.”  O’Keefe painted it using a Southwestern motif.

“God put me here.  The longer I am here, the more I feel called to be here…it’s not really a job because I love it.” – Mr. Jerry Williams

When asked who I would most like to interview, I think that there is really only one answer.  Mr. Jerry Williams, the U.S. History teacher and baseball coach here at Franklin Road Academy.  A teacher unlike any other, Mr. Williams has long been seen as an enigma by students.  However, through a very unorthodx teaching method, Mr. Williams turns ordinary students into extraordinary writers, while giving them confidence and tools that they can use for success in college and beyond.  This past Wednesday, I had the chance to interview Mr. Williams.

It is 7:15 on a cool August morning.  It is my appointed time to interview Franklin Road Academy’s most fascinating teacher, and many time winner of the FRA faculty superlative “Craziest In Class.”  As I arrive at his classroom, I am thrown the first curveball.  He is nowhere to be found.   I find him in the hallway, and he beckons me outside.  I hastily grab my notepad and pen and hope that I have my questions memorized.

Mr. Williams, as intimidating as he sometimes is, turns out to be one of the most pleasant interviewees one could imagine.  Slowly, he reveals to me his motivation for being a teacher.  Mr. Williams was originally academically ineligable to play baseball, so, after a year at junior college, he returned to Vanderbilt University, where he was an All-SEC catcher on the 1980 SEC Championship team.  He said that originally, he did not think that he would be a teacher.  But as he came here, he sought to teach others what he had not known, to prevent the mistake that he had made.  He wanted his students to go into college, “with a head full of knowledge.”  He wanted students to go to college and beyond feeling confident in their writing.  As the sweet morning air hangs in the sky, Mr. Williams greets the students as they arrive.  We get back to the interview, and I ask the question that I personally am most curious about: What is the hardest part of your job?  Mr. Williams looks to the sunrise and thinks for a couple moment before finally saying one word, “listening.”  Mr. Williams tells me that he often gets so excited about teaching and gets so thrilled with the subject matter that he sometimes forgets to really listen to and understand his students.  It’s something he says he works on, but something that he still struggles with.  A surprising answer, that shows his real passion for the students.  He sees his greatest challenge is understanding and listening to students, a real sign of caring for his pupils.  Next, I ask him on whether he thinks he is being called to be a teacher, and what the meaning of that calling is.  Mr. Williams says that he does indeed see teaching as his calling, though it was not always so.  As he continues his service at FRA (and it really is a service) for over 25 years now, he says that the calling grows stronger each year and that, “now, it’s not even a job because I love it.”  He ends by reminding me that what you put into it is what you get out of it.  For Mr. Williams, God placed him in this school to make a difference, to help people become better writers, make class more enjoyable, and, “trying to look for good, and make the good better.”