Category Archives: Entertainment

Honest Review: Film version of Cuckoo’s Nest strayed from the book

Hello, and welcome to Honest Reviews. Today we’re taking a look at the 1975 film version of “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” which I recently watched in my Senior Humanities class. Something definitely flew over this “nest,” but it wasn’t a bird. It was the mind of this director. Milos Forman was trying to recreate some of the … rather eventful things we’ve heard about this classic American novel published in 1962 by Ken Kesey. But, to be quite honest, he failed amazingly.

Let’s address something, though, before I get into the negatives. Jack Nicholson is amazing in this movie as McMurphy, a rather hyperactive individual who causes some problems (including strangling someone in the end); there’s no denying that. His acting is magnificent as usual, although I admit that’s coming from someone who loves his acting style.

Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for… Let’s talk all about what made this book-to-film adaptation so very wrong.

 We have all of the characters as described in the book, set in a brutal mental ward in the 1960s. Oh wait, no we don’t. Harding doesn’t have those rather delicate hands that the book mentions. Oh no, you should see the size of them! They could fit a child’s head inside of them! For those of your wondering who Harding is, he is supposed to be a rather smart individual and very talkative. He is in the book, but the movie practically strips all of his dialogue (or makes it too simplistic).

But the Nurse is still there, right? Yeah, but she’s not looking as the book described. You would think that she would have the body to match the vivid descriptions of the book, but no. In this book, the Nurse really seems to be described as a rather busty looking woman, with an obnoxiously mean personality. Played by actress Louise Fletcher, Nurse Ratched has the body of a rather anorexic-looking woman.

There are way too many inconsistencies in this film to count, so why don’t we bounce back over to the positives for a moment?

To be honest, I think that Fletcher plays her part really well. I mean, she has the same attitude the Nurse has in the book, despite her physical differences. When it came down to the voting process of whether or not to allow the patients to watch the World Series, her attitude was still stone cold, refusing to count the votes. Nicholson does a great job of portraying McMurphy’s boisterous and vibrant personality, seeing as his acting is usually off the wall. In fact, I think everyone does a good job, in terms of line delivery. The director proves he did indeed read the book with the accurate portrayal of the scene where Candy (a newer female character) breaks into the ward with some booze to share.

Now back to the inconsistencies that drive me up a wall.

 For one, the novel is supposed to be told from the point of view of Chief Bromden, the rather strong and silent type, so when the movie randomly makes the switch to McMurphy’s point of view, it threw me completely off. Not only this, but McMurphy seems rather energized for someone who just entered a mental institution in the ‘60s, doesn’t he? Maybe there’s something in his mind telling him he’s actually insane. I’d say Nicholson himself is insane and not McMurphy, but ignoring potential mental illness, let’s move on. The hospital seems more frantic than it was described in the book, doesn’t it? People running around screaming, mumbling to themselves in the halls… It feels like an early ‘90s MTV music video. Am I supposed to be enthralled… Or creeped out?

And while the movie actually manages to follow through with Bromden revealing that he can talk, he doesn’t talk as much as he did in the book! sigh See, you can’t look into the light for too long in this movie, can you? Before you know it, you will be burned. Also, hey! Milos also got the whole Nurse strangulation thing right too, another MAJOR plot point… That happens just before McMurphy is sent up to be lobotomized. How ironic. The Nurse feels weak at that point, all (probably) because she’s lost her dignity and pride, all because she refused to send McMurphy up when she could’ve earlier on in the story.

 At least the director got the ending right! It’s a miracle! Yes, the whole “Chief smothering McMurphy” thing wasn’t ignored after all. I mean, I understand if you don’t think that McMurphy should live after being lobotomized, but let the man die on his own. That took some dignity out of McMurphy for me to be honest. I am still happy that the Director incorporated the correct ending, and didn’t fade to black or something.

In fact, let me end the review by saying this: This movie was okay. I mean, it wasn’t crystal clear in terms of getting some details correct… like some major dialogue! But, the acting was well done, Forman at least carried over a majority of the scenes correctly, and the movie was in the right spirit. Although mental hospitals are completely different nowadays, I still got goosebumps before I even get to the ending!

 Overall Rating (IMDB Based):  7.5/10

Concert Showcasing Vocal, Instrumental Groups Hits a High Note

As a part of March is Music Month, music students collaborated to create an amazing night of vocal and instrumental music on March 13. The 90-minute Collaborative Concert is always an excellent performance to go to, and this year was no exception. It gave parents an opportunity to see their own kids who are in band or chorus, and also take a listen to the other wonderful groups performing. While Concert Chorus has only about 20 kids or so, there is still excellent sound quality. Sure, with plenty of foreign pieces, there were some nerves that definitely were on the rise. I assure the nerves were unneeded. After all, students gave a performance that everyone deserved to see!

By Steve Ryerson
By Steve Ryerson

But, why do we do this almost every year? Seems like tradition to me, and this has been confirmed by band director Mr. Ketchen.

The collaborative concert has been a tradition since before his arrival at Hanover High School in 2008, Mr. Ketchen said. He firmly believes that the tradition is a fantastic way to model both the vocal and instrumental ensembles, without creating a concert that is much too long. When asked if he had a favorite ensemble amongst the larger group, Mr. Ketchen explained that he cannot pick favorites, as he said, “I only compare the ensembles with themselves.” This means that he asks each instrumental group how they feel about their performance over a certain amount of time (a week, 3 days, etc.). Mr. Ketchen and I do share one thing in common: We both love the whole collaboration itself. I personally enjoy the band’s performances every year I’ve been a part of this concert, and I’m sure Mr. Ketchen has enjoyed some of the vocalists performances as well.

By Steve Ryserson
By Steve Ryserson

Ms. Bertelli, the chorus director, said she enjoys the joining of each of the ensembles. I agree, since the result is usually a wonderful night full of even better music. When Ms. Bertelli is spending some time in the “Music Library,” picking the music that will be performed, she keeps in mind that she wants the audience to say that they “at least loved one piece.” The songs she picked are very diverse, and included, “Cantique de Jean Racine” (French piece), “Salmo 150” (Latin piece), and one of my personal favorites, “Gate Gate” (Indian or Buddhist piece).

Ms. Bertelli said she loves Chorale because they’re the “babies,” who can easily gain a whole new learning experience. She and I both love Concert Chorus because of the fact that we’re all in it together, and that we learn in such a large and educated group. VOX is in her sights as well, due to the fact that the girls are “game” for going over pieces that are worthy of taking to any of the competitions, and those always come out fantastic. Each of these ensembles gave it their all, even if some were performing with the band.

By Steve Ryerson
By Steve Ryerson

Overall, I felt like this was an amazing experience, especially with the way that the Jazz Ensemble ended the show! It felt like there was a wall of sound all around us the entire night. Ms. Bertelli and Mr. Ketchen told their students that there were some small mistakes they might need to fix for  the M.I.C.C.A (Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association) festival, but there’s no doubt in my mind that they both thought the concert was certainly better, in terms of quality, since September, and showed how much students have grown with their hard work.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Movie Review

By Jillian Drummy

Despite being out for over a month now, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is still making its way through theaters throughout the country and the world. It has now had close to six weeks in the box office, and has been a commercial success- truly living up to the greatness of the first Hunger Games film. A change to the second film of the series was the loss of the director Gary Ross, who directed the first film. Under the pressure to create theatrical work just as great, new director Francis Lawrence did just so. The film follows many of the book’s most unique details, and the setting of the film was completely accurate to the vast and imaginative world fans pictured in their minds. Many dedicated fans to any series will say that the movie is never as good as the book, and however true this may be, Catching Fire did come very close. Today, after six weeks, it currently holds the place of the 36th highest grossing film of all time, trailing behind some of the most famous movies of all time.

Seeing the midnight premiere was a personal highlight for me as a fan, to have a first viewing and finally end the very long wait. To add even more to an already great film, the large amount of additional cast members that were added on to this film were excellent. In Catching Fire, many new characters are introduced and play strong roles through the book, and the movie as well, and continue to be present within the remainder of the trilogy. Jennifer Lawrence, reprising her role as Katniss and a recent winner of an Oscar, came back even strong. Not only did Catching Fire personally impress me greatly, but with the evidence from its box-office success and critical reactions, it left other viewers feeling just as satisfied.

The Night Before Christmas: A Holiday Instrumental Concert

The Auditorium came alive on December 19 for the annual Hanover High School Winter Band Concert featuring Concert Band, Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Lab Band and Jazz Ensemble. All of these instrumental groups rehearsed during and after school in the months leading up to this concert.

Concert Band is Hanover High School’s traditional “school band” and it started off the concert as it always does with five pieces. Sleigh Ride (Leroy Anderson) started the concert because it is a classic holiday song that most people are familiar with even if they do not recognize the name. Next was Farandole (Georges Bizet), in which the flutes and clarinets had a brief solo. After that, Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring is a famous Bach chorale. All chorales are known for their relatively simple melodies, what makes a chorale special is how the rest of the Band comes together with separate harmonizations to support it. In fact, almost every person in the Band played a separate part in order to make the piece come together as beautifully as it did. The relative calmness of the chorale was a perfect contrast for the excitement of Bugler’s Holiday (Leroy Anderson). The trumpet section really took the lead in their rousing performance. Concert Band’s final song of the night was ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas (arr. by Bill Holcombe), which featured the narration talents of Superintendent Ferron. He narrated the famous poem while the Band played music to set the mood. Out of all the songs Concert Band played, this was the song that the most work and practice went into. While everyone was nervous of how it was going to sound going into the Concert, everyone in Concert Band was overjoyed at the performance.

After Concert Band left the stage to a standing ovation, Percussion Ensemble quickly took the stage. Percussion Ensemble is an afte- school group of the Concert Band percussionists. For the Winter Concert they performed an arrangement of O’ Holy Night. The uniqueness of their chosen arrangement quickly captivated the attention of the audience.

Jazz Lab followed. Jazz Lab is a group that allows any interest student to join and play solos over traditional jazz standards. For this concert, two standards were played: “Red’s Good Groove” by Red Garland and” Listen Here” by Eddie Harris. During the performance of” Red Good Groove,” Chris Clarke (alto sax), David Raab (clarinet) and James Burke (guitar) all performed solos. Soloists for “Listen Here” included Nate Hanrahan (soprano sax), David Raab (clarinet), and James Burke (guitar). It was clear that the audience was impressed with the variety of instruments and solos that were made from these two jazz classics.

Immediately after the applause died down for Jazz Lab, Jazz Ensemble performed. Jazz Ensemble is an audition-based band which emulates a 193os era Big Band. Big Bands are composed of trumpets, trombones, saxophones, and various percussion.  In addition to performing at concerts, they are available for community events (gigs) and compete in competitions in the spring. For this concert they played two Christmas songs: “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and a medley of famous Christmas Carols called “Christmas Joy and Spirit.” Their traditional jazz standard was” Second Line (Joe Avery Blues),” which featured soloists Bobby McDermott on trumpet, Jake Prescott on alto sax, and Brian Meehan on tenor sax.

 To see a video of the Holiday Band Concert please visit

Gaming Review: Call of Duty vs. Battlefield

By Anders Carlson

In today’s gaming market, first and third person shooters reign supreme. In particular, two franchises; Call of Duty and Battlefield, make huge sales each year. And I’m here to decide which one is best, or maybe just list their positives and negatives.

Call of Duty: Call of Duty has received a bad rap the last couple games for “being the same game but with new maps and guns”, glorified DLC. I feel that new CoDs offers more to the player than just maps and different guns. The multiplayer in CoD games has always been the benchmark for the FPS genre. Fast paced, easy to learn and not prone to lag, it has gained a large amount if players. People also cite the lack of graphical improvement went compared to Battlefield, but Call of Duty has always been made for consoles, so high end graphics are not really attainable on 5 year old hardware. This means that any computer can run most Call of Duty games. In the end, Call of Duty is a fun, easy to play, but very limited FPS.

Battlefield: One thing you can say is that it is expansive, the average Battlefield map is twice as large as a Call of Duty map. It is also more ambitious, featuring usable fighter jets, helicopters, tanks and other vehicles. Up to 32 players are common place. This makes Battlefield a much more varied game to play, with air battles, tank charges and large scale infantry fights all happening on the same map. Battlefield also uses the Frostbite Engine, which produces some of the best graphics in video games however, this also limits the game. I believe that the FPS genre is best played on a PC, and even my PC, which can run most games at the maximum setting, cannot run Battlefield 4 since the graphics card is out of date. It is 1-2 years old, which in terms of a computer is not old at all. Even Battlefield 3, which is 2 years old, I can only run at medium settings. This means that to be able to run it, you really need a high grade computer, which most people don’t have. But when it does run, it is a incredible game.

These two games are extremely different in their appeal, and choosing between them is really up to your needs. Do you want your FPS to be quick, easy and basic, or grand, open and varied? It really is up to you.


A review of the Top 5 songs on iTunes

By Mackenzie Welch

1. Royals by Lorde

lorde-pure-heroine-410Now I’m not gonna lie. I was surprised to see this song at number one, but at the same time I wasn’t at all shocked. The best word to describe this song would be eccentric. Lately I’ve been noticing that practically every song that’s coming out sounds generically the same. But this song has such an original sound to it, which is something we haven’t heard in a while, it’s no wonder why this song became a hit. I’m not the only with this thought, people I talked to called this song “astounding” and “a complete original”. However some people did complain that the song is incredibly repetitive and too slow.  I can relate to that argument but I feel that the slow beat made it necessary for Lorde to really put emphasis on certain words in the song, to make them pop out. And to think this all came from a small town teenage girl in New Zealand. I think what really gets to people in the song is the message, now a days you see famous celebrities claiming to be the top harlot, flashing all their precious objects. In this song she’s saying she is perfectly comfortable with her small town life and she isn’t planning on losing herself in the high life, unlike some celebrities Lorde is sticking to her roots. I really love this song and can’t wait to see what’s more to come of her.


2. Roar by Katy Perry

Unlike Royals I wasn’t surprised to see this up in the top songs, mainly because whenever I turn on the radio this song is always playing. Now in a general sense, I like Katy Perry, she never had the same old same old feel to her songs, and this doesn’t disappoint.  While I admit the song is different than her other ones, that doesn’t mean I like it. Now the majority of the school’s response to this song was “I love it!” and “this is my anthem!” but I wasn’t feeling it. On a lyrical sense, I do like the meaning of what Katy is trying to get across, her progression in character; how she went from being nothing, to people pushing her down and hanging over the breaking point, but managing to get back up, and being able to become a happy and confident person in the end. But her voice in the song sounds like she’s trying to get as deep as possible and I hear a strain in her voice as well. I also felt like she could’ve done more to the bridge than just repeating roar as it gradually gets louder. While the majority of the school is roaring to this song, I just think that this wasn’t the best of Katy Perry.


 3. Wrecking ball by Miley Cyrus

miley-cyrus-bangerz-deluxe-new-songUUUUGGGGHHHH. That was my initial reaction when I knew I was going to have to write about this song.  So this song was by far the most controversial  on the charts. While some students I talked to said the song shows that Miley has changed, others felt Miley is just a wreck like this song. Now I feel that you can’t judge a person’s music based on her personality, even though I do that sometimes. With saying that, I don’t like this song because of the song not because of what Miley does. I do really love the chorus though and the lyrics and music in it, but the rest didn’t seem to tie in music-wise. The verses and the bridge are this kind of a fast paced light sound, then the chorus hits with heavy beats dropping and it gets slower. I also didn’t think she had to emphasize every single word in the beginning verses. I do think Miley has a lot of talent and is a good singer, but this song just didn’t appeal to me. Despite all this I’m still pretty interested in what more music Miley has to offer.


 4. Wake me up by Avicii

avicii-wake-me-up-612x612Now please tell me I’m not the only who has trouble hearing what he’s trying to say in the verses. I understand the chorus though, so I kind of felt like this song became so popular because both country and dance/electronic music are blended perfectly in this song. Generally the comments from students for the song were all positive. The only slightly negative response I got was from one student who said, “yeah it was good, but it’ll get boring eventually.”  I feel like that reply can go to any song. The meaning to this song I find it incredible because it applies to both the young and the old. The majority of the lyrics are saying that in the time of youth, be optimistic and following your dreams, life is shorter than everyone thinks and use life as your advantage. At the same time it also discusses that he wants to become older because then he’ll be wiser and he doesn’t want to make the same mistakes that he made it the past. So to summarize, I like the beats, the lyrics and the meaning, and this song is definitely going into one of my playlists.


 5. Hold on, We’re going home by Drake

drake-hold-on-coverMost people I asked about this song had never heard of it. However the few that did know the song called it “a bombing song.” Now I’m not a huge fan of Drake, but I have to say I like it. The sound has a slow pace to it but it has these beats that really ties in together. And even though the lyrics are just about being in love with this girl, I thought it fit well with the general sound. The only thing I didn’t like about the song was how he repeated the same verse in the beginning chorus. I was pretty surprised when this song was number five considering that not many people have heard of this song. I was also surprised of the slightly different direction that Drake is taking regarding his music and I personally like it a lot better. This is definitely a song you should check out.