Tag Archives: 2022-2023

Is There Room on Library Shelves for Controversial Books?

By Teddy McCrann, ’23

Staff Writer

In recent years, a debate has resurfaced within the American public school system over the presence of “controversial” books in libraries across the nation. For years, classic books such as 1984, Lord of the Flies, and Catcher in the Rye have been pervasive in English literature classes, as they teach valuable and timely lessons on society and human interaction. It was not until the 21st century and the current wave of heavy censorship regarding children’s entertainment that books such as these were even considered to be taken off of the shelves of public schools. While many of these books do contain significant levels of profanity and mature references, they more so teach American students, high schoolers in particular, not only how to read at a more advanced level but also to become aware of societal injustices and the American reality. The question remains: are these books so controversial that they should be stripped from shelves and classrooms nationwide?

Based on a recent survey taken by CBS News, more than 1,600 books were banned from school libraries across the United States in the 2021-2022 school year alone. From Massachusetts to California, in 138 districts across 32 states in total, students were forbidden from reading certain novels that have had a significant presence in English curriculums for the past century. A specific example of one of these novels is Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, which was published in 1960 and has since become one of America’s most widely read stories focusing on the foundations and consequences of racism and prejudice within our nation. It delves into the intricacies of community living and how divided individuals can be regarding situations of morality and compassion. Lee’s novel has been banned from school libraries due to the presence of racial slurs as well as Atticus Finch’s character being perceived as a “white savior,” a theme that critics argue has roots in the imperial idea that whites, or Europeans in colonial times, can solve everyone else’s problems. Both are believed to have negative effects on students. The use of racial slurs and promoting any kind of racial supremacy holds no place in American society and its school system whatsoever; however, many believe that a novel such as To Kill a Mockingbird teaches extremely valuable lessons to students, specifically in judging someone solely based on their character and nothing else. I personally read To Kill a Mockingbird in my sophomore year English class and had no issue handling its use of slurs or mature content, although I recognize a classmate of color might be impacted differently. I greatly enjoyed the novel as we mainly focused on analyzing the characters and Lee’s various messages and themes. Nevertheless, I do believe that discussing societal issues, past and present, through a novel like this and recognizing criticisms of it is a fruitful and necessary aspect of the educational process. 

Book banning in today’s society mostly stems from parental concerns over the material that their children are exposed to in school. A significant number of books that are forbidden show similarities to To Kill a Mockingbird through the use of profanity, while others are banned due to their suggestive and mature content. Some of these books are dystopian classics, such as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, while others are much more relevant today regarding LGBTQIA+ expression and celebration. An example of one of these works is a memoir written by George M. Johnson called All Boys Aren’t Blue, which focuses on racial and sexual identity and has been banned in 29 school districts due to its content. CBS has found that 41 percent of books that were banned in the 2021-2022 school year contained content on gender and sexuality, with many school officials attributing this to political pressures from state officials and parents. While many agree with these people and desire to keep school literature free from this type of material, others find that books on gender and sexual identity are good for representation of the diverse people in our society. 

The resurfacing of the debate over book banning is no surprise as recent years have brought an increase in sensitivity regarding race, gender, sexuality, and other mature topics within entertainment and especially literature. As this has reached public school systems, more and more books have been taken off the shelves of school libraries out of concern for the students’ well-being and beliefs on these sensitive subjects, even though some of these works have been embedded in American public school curriculums for the past century. While I believe people have a right to differing opinions on sensitive subjects, I have personally found that reading “controversial” novels teaches valuable lessons and also helps to lead healthy discussions on sensitivity and perspective within all aspects of our society. 



Avatar Movies are Guaranteed Big Bucks for James Cameron

By Abbey Kinzel, ’23

Staff Writer

I’m sorry to say this but, James Cameron just can’t stop making money from his movies. First it was Titanic, and now it’s the Avatar series. It is beyond my comprehension how this man can make so many successful movies. If a ton of people watch one of his movies in theaters and don’t think it’s that good, the money is already in his pocket. But it’s hard not to watch his new movies; they either have a great story, great visuals or both.

Avatar (2009): So this was a thing that actually happened literally 30 minutes before watching the new Avatar. My dad asked if I had seen the first film in theaters. I don’t think it occurred to him that I would’ve been four years old. But anyway, this is a modern classic, with CGI that was absolutely spectacular for 2009. When I watched this when I was younger, it felt like something out of the future. I thought it was magical; if I had only seen a little of it, I might’ve mistaken it for a dream. When I watch it now, that feeling is still there. It’s hard not to say that it’s absolutely beautiful. The story is questionable yet compelling, since it projects Americans as always wanting to destroy something beautiful for their own benefit. The love story between the two main characters is intriguing and fun, and I somehow always find myself smiling when they are together since it feels very genuine. It sometimes feels like you are with the natives of the planet Pandora. It’s hard not to feel for the native people and connect with their culture. But there is one thing that doesn’t sit well with me. One of the main conflicts in the middle of the movie is when the main character Jake Sully has the task of safely relocating the native people before the military began to destroy their land. But Jake basically forgets to convince them to leave their big tree. It feels like they set him up to be revealed as a liar, t but it just doesn’t make a lot of sense. I mean, I can get that maybe Jake was hesitant about what he was going to say to the native people and how much their mega tree home means to them as a culture, but this twist makes him look bad. But since I don’t think anyone wants more spoilers, lets get to the score. This movie earned 82 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. After watching this again, I feel it is definitely better than the second movie. And it’s the highest grossing film of all time with $2.9 billion in profits.

Avatar: The Way of Water (2022): So my friend and I were supposed to go to the new Hanover movie theater to review it and watch the new Avatar movie. But my friend came down with COVID so my dad went with me instead. We were really rushed when we finally got to the theater to watch, and all I felt was tired, and my eyes hurt from probably not blinking because I didn’t want to miss a thing. But I can definitively say that it wasn’t as good as the first one – like most sequels. Since it is a fairly recent release and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, I won’t say too much. This movie has a 79 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is almost as high as the original. A lot of people who watched the movie thought the CGI was fine but not as mind-blowing as the first movie. The box office did rake in over $2 billion regardless. Meh, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish was still better.

Avatar: Literally any Upcoming Avatar Movie: Not a lot has been said about the upcoming movies except for the release date for each and a lot of rumors. There is a two-year gap between each movie, so it’ll take about six years for all of the movies to be released. Rumors include that they have already filmed scenes for the next movies before the child actors age too much, and that the fifth movie will be Jake Sully and his family going to Earth.

Featured image: https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/22/entertainment/avatar-way-of-water-2-billion/index.html

Drama Club Takes on Fairy Tale Mashup for Annual State Festival

By Paulina Leskow, ’24

Staff Writer

One of the early signs of spring at Hanover High School are preparations for the annual METG Festival. The Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild Drama Festival is a competition in which high schools present a one-act play under 40 minutes, with the crew limited to just five minutes to create and break down the set. The performances are judged professionally in daylong rounds, and only a select number of schools are chosen to move on to the next level. HHS began working in January on this year’s entry, The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon, and competed against seven other schools in the preliminary round at Marshfield High School on March 4. Their performance was one of four selected to advance to the semifinals on March 18. 

The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon by Don Zolidis is about almost every fairy tale known — Cinderella, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel and more — all jumbled up into one crazy, hilarious story. The cast was very excited to present the show, with a mix of performers both new to and experienced in the happy chaos of festival days. In the first round, HHS performed in competition with Duxbury, Marshfield, Hull, Norwell, Hingham, Weymouth, and Ursuline Academy. 

“I am happy and nervous at the same time, as this will be my first time performing in front of so many different people from different schools,” Baylor Speckmann, a junior and first-time festival cast member, said early in the rehearsal process. Baylor played Narrator 2 in the production. “There are so many specific parts and movements to memorize, but I know it will work out with the help of the castmates, crewmates, and our director.” 

HHS Drama teacher Collin Fahey directed the show, having a few festivals under his belt including the challenging hybrid-style competitions during the height of COVID.

“It is the 90th annual festival this year, and it is very exciting to be a part of such a tradition,” he said. “All of our cast and crew is such remarkable talent, and I can assure you that this will be one of the funniest shows you have ever seen!”

This is the second and final festival for Kaya Bianculli, senior co-president of the Drama Club who will be portraying Narrator 1. “I like seeing different drama departments from other schools perform as well as meeting new people,” she said.

Family and friends attended a dress rehearsal of the show in the HHS auditorium on March 2. The action-packed, hilarious play left many smiling from ear to ear. In the March 4 competition, the performance was not only selected to advance to the next round, the cast and crew won several individual awards. Junior Ian MacDougall earned a nod for outstanding acting; his multiple roles included a hilarious turn as a black raven with the voice of a 1930s gangster. Junior Paulina Leskow was cited for outstanding stage management and versatility, and sophomore Marie Fortier was honored for her role as assistant stage manager.

“I am thrilled to be able to get a view of the show as a crew member, which is completely different to performing as an actor,” said Fortier. “Seeing the sets and props come together is a very fun and memorable moment.” 

Paulina, Ian and Marie with the awards won in the March 4 round.

Like Its Main Villain, Friday the 13th Franchise Has Been Hard to Kill

By Abbey Kinzel, ’23

Staff Writer

Friday the 13th is one of the classic horror movie franchises from the 1980s. Sean S. Cunningham’s original was a smash hit, making $59.8 million in the box office, which is $216.28 million today. Just like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th has an “unbeatable killer” that proves to be beatable at the end of the movie. Almost every movie picks up where the last left off, with a new quality that makes the audience think that the killer, once again, cannot be stopped. This movie franchise has become a part of pop culture to the point where the generic killer is a guy in a hockey mask and kills people in a summer camp. The Friday the 13th movies are infamous in every way, shape and form. But over the life of the series, there have been jewels and there has been dirt. Honestly, like its friend Halloween, the franchise is slowly dying. Maybe it’s time to put the series to rest; a big break from making a movie almost every year may not be such a bad idea.

Friday the 13th (1980): This movie has become a classic in the genre of horror movies like Child’s Play and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Since CGI wasn’t invented yet, they had to use something called “practical effects.” That means for one scene ,the cast had to kill a real snake. But they had to be smart about some of the kills in this movie, like when an arrow goes through someone’s neck on camera. Some people who know the series but watch the first film all over again forget that the killer isn’t the same throughout the series. Most think that Jason has always been the killer, but the first film’s villain is his mom, Pamela. Thinking that her little son Jason drowned in the lake unsupervised, Pamela swears to kill every counselor at the camp to close it down. However she is decapitated, and for some reason the final girl rows a boat out onto the lake until morning. This has a 63 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and is the highest rated out of the 12 movies released so far.

Friday the 13th: Part II (1981): This one was a little worse than the first one, and by a little worse, I mean it earned a 29 percent according to Rotten Tomatoes. However, I think it’s cool that Pamela’s son, Jason, wasn’t dead and he comes back to get revenge for the death of his mom. He starts the film by tracking down and killing the final girl from the first installment. The final girl for this movie is a child psychology student. She defeats sack-head Jason with the power of child psychology and his mom’s sweater. We also get to see Jason’s shack, which is a small shack with all the victims from the movie with his mother’s head and sweater as an altar. The only disappointment was that Jason had a sack over his head and when his face was revealed it was more deformed than monstrous. It is an ok movie for a sequel.

Friday the 13th: Part III (1982): Ok so, I’m going to be honest with everyone for a hot minute. I haven’t watched Friday the 13th in quite awhile. So I completely forgot that this movie has a 3 in it for another reason, which is that it was filmed in 3D. Most fans know that this movie is the one with the cheesy gags to make the movie more “3D” including for some of the kills. This is also the movie where Jason gets his signature hockey mask. Some of the kills I found cool are a handstand kill, a harpoon kill, and someone getting his head squeezed between Jason’s hands. I know for a fact that two-thirds of those kills had some 3D element that makes them look kinda cheesy. The survivors’ big showdown with Jason in a barn goes a little overboard. So in order, they stab him, hang him from the ceiling and when he wasn’t dead they swung an ax in his head until he collapsed on the floor, not dead but defeated again. I mean, whatever gets you far away from that camp the fastest, then I guess…go off? Queen? This has a seven percent on Rotten Tomatoes and the lowest ranking movie to date of the series. Yes, it’s a fan favorite since the ax to the head made the signature missing piece in his hockey mask. But other than that, never do cheesy gags in your movie to make it “3D.”

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984): This one is a bit of an improvement from the third movie and it introduces Tommy Jarvis, who will appear in this film and the next two movies. But this movie title is “The Final Chapter” and if you could tell, it wasn’t the final chapter. This movie seems like now they can dial back the uncomfortable scenes and introduce a family, the Jarvis family. Some teens next door get killed by Jason, as does the mother of the Jarvis family. The rest of the Jarvis family is next on Jason’s hit list. Some guy named Rob that was with the Jarvis family, who was related to some girl from the second movie, dies hilariously by screaming “He’s killing me, he’s killing me!” And with the power of acting, Tommy stuns Jason long enough for his sister to knock off his mask and kill him with his own machete. This has a 24 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and a good balance of laughs and kills. My personal favorite was when Rob died, it reminded me of the audio clip, “Help! The killer is escaping! The killer is escaping! Help Me!” This was called the final chapter since this was supposed to be the last film, because Jason is successfully killed. So I guess it’s the final chapter of Jason’s killing spree as a mortal.

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985): Almost every fan hates this movie. Authorities bring a grown-up Tommy Jarvis to a mental camp, which also includes Jason’s grave. I don’t know who would bury him, let alone give him a gravestone made out of wood. Once someone gets killed by a man who isn’t Jason, he is arrested and a lot of people begin to die. Tommy is convinced that Jason came back from the dead, and tries to hunt him down and kill him again. However, it is just a copycat killer named Roy Burns, who snapped when his son was killed. And it’s a big mystery if Tommy became influenced by the ghostly apparition of the real Jason, to kill the final girl, Pam. This has an 18 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Nobody could really like this movie since it is literally Halloween 3 for Friday the 13th.

Friday the 13th: Jason Lives (1986): From this point onward for the series, Jason is a supernatural being. He will never be a mortal man-child anymore. If you couldn’t tell, Jason gets resurrected because Tommy digs up Jason’s grave and stabs him with a metal pole. That pole is struck by lightning and Jason comes back, and kills Tommy’s friend who is there against his will. We also meet a fourth wall -reaking grave digger. But all in all ,most of everything in this movie is more gore and more over-the-top kills. There are a lot of people who we don’t know who get killed for no reason because test audiences said they wanted more kills. But anyway, Jason is lured by Tommy into the lake when Tommy starts calling him mean names. Tommy manages to get a chain around Jason which is tied to a giant rock to make him sink to the bottom. It has a rating of 50 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the 2nd highest-rated movie of the series. And we will never see Tommy Jarvis again, unless you watch the “Never Hike Alone” fan film with the actor that played Tommy in it. 

Friday the 13th: The New Blood (1988): Let’s just get this out of the way right now. I hate this movie. They introduce this girl who has telekinesis, and she got her powers by wishing her abusive dad would die. She uses her mind to make their dock collapse, killing him in the same lake where Jason sank to the bottom in the last film. I also hate this one because they had to dial down the gore and blood, making it the least gorey of the series. The main girl Tina goes to cry by the lake while thinking of her dad, and when she tries to use her powers to bring her dad back, she raises Jason instead. We get very cool shots of Jason’s back, his spine is just out in the open. A fan-favorite kill was when Jason took a girl in a sleeping bag, zipped her up and whacked her against a tree. The stunt man that played Jason, Kane Hodder, said that it is his favorite too. Throughout the movie, Tina and some guy named Nick wander around and learn more about Jason. Nick goes back to the teen party house where he came from and discovers some bodies. I think the production team didn’t know how to fill in the run time, so this movie is full of running around in the woods. Tina and Jason face off and I would like to add Jason has never gone up against someone with supernatural powers before, so he is like a bumbling idiot the whole time. Tina uses her powers to take Jason’s mask off and yet again he doesn’t look anything like he did in the previous movie. She starts beating the life out of Jason and, I kid you not, brings Jason to the dock and summons her dead dad to bring him back down to the bottom. Man, they were really stretching with this one. It was one of the most out-there scenes I have ever seen. This movie has 35 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The only good thing that came from this movie was a new stuntman for Jason, Kane Hodder who was willing to get the living crap beat out of him, including holding 40 seconds of uncontrolled fire on his body, setting a record. He even stayed committed to the part when that very same fire gave him burn scars on his face and chest. That is what I call dedication.

Friday the 13th: Jason takes Manhattan (1989): This movie’s title says almost everything, Jason goes to Manhattan and kills some people along the way. This movie should be titled “Jason on a Boat” since he kills tons of people on a boat and spends such little time in Manhattan. Jason teleports now? I guess that’s cool? And the ghost of kid Jason checks in on the final girl every once in a while for no reason but to be there. Two teens in a very nice boat go over some power cable and somehow wake Jason up from his nap at the bottom of the lake, and Jason of course kills them. So we meet future victims on a new graduation cruise ship, and somehow, some way, Jason drifts from Crystal LAKE to some river or body of water that connects to New York. He hitches a ride on the cruise ship, which is so big it doesn’t deserve to be called a cruise ship, it’s like Jeff Bezos’ giant yacht. There is a boxing ring, a cafe, a disco floor, a sauna and plenty of room for the many kills. Once it hits the one- hour mark, the remaining members finally decide to abandon ship and row to some alleys in Vancouver. Some kid Julius decides to box Jason on a rooftop and Jason gets his shot at it and punches the dude’s head off. The one thing that is wrong with the big murder round-up to kill off the remaining characters is that there are just open barrels of sewage, just out there in the open waiting for someone like Jason to use to kill someone. And a random tidbit of information, in this movie the sewers flood with toxic waste every night at midnight, I call BS on that matter. After Jason gets his face splashed with toxic waste, he burns and is forced to take off his mask and again he looks nothing like himself in the last movie. Jason begins to melt, gets set on fire, and somehow gets reverted back to his kid form. This movie has an 11 percent on Rotten Tomatoes , and gave new meaning to the term “plothole.” It’s very bad and they couldn’t even afford to shoot in New York, except for that one shot of Jason in Times Square but that’s it.

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993): This is the movie where the production company switched from Paramount to New Line Studios, and the title says it all. Jason goes to hell, but he is only there for 10 minutes, because he becomes a spirit that can possess someone to kill. Speaking of kills, they are the best of the series and very gruesome. To begin, Jason gets surrounded by the FBI and is blown up. After he possesses someone, we find out that a waitress named Diana is Jason’s half-sister, who has never been mentioned before. A man newly possessed by Jason kills Diana and tells her baby daddy to protect her daughter Jessica. It turns out that Jason’s new bodies don’t last long, so he needs to transfer his soul to a family member. The possessed man tries to transfer his soul to Jessica multiple times and kills some people in a diner. A Jason creature comes out of some cop’s neck and enters Diana’s corpse. So now Jason is back to his normal form and is promptly stabbed in the chest by a magic dagger, which makes a lot of hands come out of the ground and literally drag him to hell. This movie was given a 16 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and was a mess. You could tell New Line Studios used a first-time director. Even though Jason didn’t take his mask off, we all would probably guess that he wouldn’t look anything like himself from the previous movie.

Jason X (2001): To be real for a minute, this spends most of the run time in space, and they are in the future. Keeping Jason in literal chains was the worst idea ever, the people keeping him like this are only interested in his regeneration properties. So it’s no surprise he breaks out and kills almost all of his captors. One girl traps Jason in a cryo fridge so future people can deal with him instead. A future team finds Jason and the woman frozen, so they take them back to their ship and blast off into space. It’s not a big surprise whenJason wakes up after being inspected by one of the girls, where we see his face for this movie. And in a shocking turn of events, he kinda looks like himself from the fourth movie. Finally a movie that remembers what Jason looks like! But anyway, after waking up he dunks the girl’s head in an open tank of liquid nitrogen, and smashes her head on the countertop. Fun fact: Mythbusters tested this to see if it would actually work; it didn’t. Jason kills a lot of people on the ship and is responsible for letting the spaceship crash through a space station — totally destroying, by the way, the size of a city. The final survivors get ready to kill Jason, and some guy upgrades his android to shoot the hell out of Jason. But as Jason lays on the floor dying,some nanobots come out nowhere to revive Jason. So now we get the dumbest name for Jason ever, he is now Uber Jason. Once Jason tracks down the survivors again, they boot-up the VR machine to trick Jason by making the setting a camp. He reenacts the sleeping bag kill three movies later. The survivors escape and the sergeant faces off with Jason as the ship explodes and then makes Jason burn in the atmosphere of a nearby planet. This movie has a 19 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and was definitely made just for a cash grab. Since almost every major horror movie franchise has made it to space, why not Jason? It’s not going to look good on the timeline for the series but who cares? They made money.

Freddy vs. Jason (2003): Freddy vs. Jason is a movie only for the fans of both franchises. This was teased at the end of Jason Goes to Hell, but fans would have to wait a decade for it. So it has to be better than the last few movies, right? This was an ok movie, it would have been better only if they didn’t use a stupid, overused flying through the air effect. The main characters have the flawless logic of “Freddy died by fire, Jason by water, how could we use this?” Yes, Freddy died by fire but Jason has some of his kills when he pops out of the water, so he isn’t defeated by water. The kids that live in the town where A Nightmare on Elm Street takes place, don’t  know about Freddy so he can’t kill them in their dreams. So he manipulates Jason to get out of hell, climb out, kill some kids and make some others think that Freddy is back and more powerful than ever. The characters are really crappy and it’s hard to watch them lead their lives. And there is a lot of Freddy trying to kill some teens in their dreams, so for some of them he sends Jason to kill them instead. Jason kills one of Freddy’s targets when he was about to kill her in her dream. Jason also kills some kids at a cornstalk rave. Freddy possesses a kid into drugging Jason to sleep, where Freddy and Jason face off in a boiler room. One of the girls goes into a dream and pulls Freddy out into the real world so Jason and Freddy can have a rematch. Freddy and Jason duke it out on the Crystal Lake dock with some gruesome hits to the both of them. The final girl decapitates Freddy as Jason falls unconscious into the lake. The final shot of the movie is Jason emerging from the lake with his machete in one hand and Freddy’s head in the other. And Freddy’s head winks at the camera, but I don’t care Jason won fair and square. This movie received 42 percent on Rotten Tomatoes; it was more fun and the score shows it too. 

Friday the 13th (2009): Around the year of 2009 there were a lot of reboots for famous horror movie franchises . They disregarded but also kept a lot of the lore from the previous movies, like killing Pamela in the first few minutes of the movie in a flashback. We also learn that Jason had a hard time swimming but he never drowned, that’s what everyone thought, and he watched his mom get decapitated. The characters are very cliche and add almost nothing to the movie unless it’s for a kill. Most of the kills are very gruesome and different from the other movies in the franchise. There is a weird subplot going on with this one guy Clay who is looking for his missing sister Whitney. Whitney was from the beginning of the movie with some of her friends, who were killed; she was kidnapped by Jason because she looks like his mom. The subplot and the main plot merge so everyone can fight off Jason. And I think they went more overkill than the third movie since they wrapped a chain around his neck, hung him, threw the chain into a woodchipper and, before he goes in, Whitney stabs Jason with his own machete. This movie has a 27 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, 17% less than the last movie, which goes to show not all reboots are good reboots. And if they made another movie it would probably be just as bad.

Untitled: Friday the 13th Coming Up (2023?): This movie is a complete mystery to both me and the superfans. Articles say a new Friday the 13th that was set to come out in the new year has been called off. This usually means that it was in the works but they ran out of budget, it wasn’t given the green light to start filming, or they couldn’t get the story right. Most superfans think the studio is telling them that there is no movie, and it’s just a big prank so they can surprise them in September with the trailer. Honestly I don’t quite know who to side with, and after so many years of bad sequels, I don’t really care that much either. This is a franchise that needs to be laid to rest, but, like Jason, has been hard to kill.

Top Five NH Mountains for Skiing, Snowboarding

By Paulina Leskow, ’24

Staff Writer

Winter has finally arrived, meaning that people are hitting the slopes for skiing and snowboarding. There are so many ski resorts that make up the New Hampshire Skiing region, some people may not be aware which mountain best suits their ability and preference. Here are the most popular ski resort rankings for anyone looking to hit the slopes this winter.

Starting at number five is Gunstock Ski Resort. Gunstock is a four-season ski resort that offers 227 acres and 49 trails. It is located in the lake regions of New Hampshire, offering a beautiful view of Lake Winnipesaukee. Although Gunstock is a beautiful resort with amazing views and fun trails, it does have its flaws. When one comes in and starts skiing early in the morning, skiers and snowboarders experience nice, powdery snow, however, as the day goes on, the slopes become icy and dangerous to ride on. By lunchtime, riders are going down ice-filled hills with a fear of falling and bruising on the ice. All in all, Gunstock is not a bad ski experience, especially if one is willing to wake up early and head over. 

The next resort on the list is Cannon Mountain. Cannon Mountain is located near Echo Lake in central New Hampshire. This resort has some of the most beautiful mountains and snowy trails imaginable. The only problem is that these conditions are not consistent throughout the whole winter. The conditions depend on the day, and good skiing weather is very hit-or-miss in this region. If you happen to arrive at Cannon Mountain on a beautiful day with amazing conditions, you will have the time of your life riding down the mountain. 

Ranked third is Cranmore Resort. Not only is Cranmore a great place to ski and snowboard with groomed surface conditions and great views, but it also contains many amusements all yearround. In addition to skiing, one is able to ride a rollercoaster as well as take a trip on a zipline. It is a great place to visit with family and friends, and the penguin mascot can always make your day. Cranmore could be a place to go for a weekend trip, with people more interested in the thrill of amusement parks, not just skiers. 

Second on the list is Pats Peak. If you like long, scenic routes on the mountains, Pats Peak is the perfect place for you. It takes about an hour just to get down the mountain. That may seem extremely long for non-skiers, but for those passionate about the sport, this is paradise. Riding calmly through long paths freshly coated with snow sounds like the perfect getaway on a nice winter day. In addition, Pats Peak is located in Southern New Hampshire, one of the closer resorts in the region, so you don’t have to be stuck in the car for hours upon hours just to go skiing. When looking for a nice, calm ski journey, Pats Peak is just the right mountain. 

Although all of these ski resorts are pretty great places to ski or snowboard, Waterville Valley resort is by far the greatest of them all. Waterville Valley is located in the center of New Hampshire, and has a whole village revolving around the ski resort perfect for the winter, and even the summer. All of the ski routes are based upon ski level and vary in length, depending on your preferences. This mountain also introduced a new ski lift that holds six people, as opposed to the standard four-person lift. Lessons at Waterville Valley are very effective and memorable, and it is a great place to go with family, or alone. Waterville Valley is the perfect place to ski or snowboard no matter how advanced you are, and no matter if you prefer long or short trails.

HHS Ski Club: If interested in joining the newly active school ski club, please contact the author at pleskow24@hanoverschools.org

featured image: https://www.newenglandskihistory.com/NewHampshire/watervillevalley.php

Pirates of the Caribbean: a Doomed Franchise

By Abbey Kinzel, ’23

Staff Writer

The Pirates of the Caribbean is a franchise that has been around for 14 years. Growing up with these movies gave me fond and traumatic memories, but when I rewatched them recently, all I felt was affection. When star Johnny Depp, embroiled in a nasty court case with Amber Heard, said he wouldn’t return to the franchise even if “Disney came to you with $300 million and a million alpacas,” fans were heartbroken. I thought it was sad but also for the best. It’s hard to say this, but the movies have been declining in ratings and popularity for a while now.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) This movie was only made to give lore to one of the rides at Disney World, and executives thought it would flop because there had been a decline in the genre of pirate movies. If you couldn’t tell, it was not a flop at all. “I think the first movie has always been the best,” said Madame Youngworth. This one was definitely fun to watch as a kid, but now that I watch it as an adult, I understand some of the concepts that I di:dn’t get when I was younger. Some little girl named Elizabeth and her dad’s ship sail past the wreckage of a pirate ship and spot a little boy named Will in the water. They rescue Will and Elizabeth finds a weird coin around Will’s neck, which she pockets. We flash forward to a grown-up Will and Elizabeth; Elizabeth is the daughter of the governor of Port Royal and Will is a blacksmith. Around this time, Captain Jack Sparrow docks in the harbor, saving Elizabeth from drowning. But her mysterious coin necklace sends out some vibrations into the water, bringing pirates into Port Royal to raid the place. They kidnap Elizabeth, thinking her last name is Turner, so the royal navy, Will and Jack set out to rescue her. This movie received an 80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the highest score of the franchise so far. Like most of the first movies in a franchise, this did absolutely great and became a classic.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006): When I was little I thought this was the best movie of all time. But I was an idiot. This was fine in the sense of a sequel. “It’s the one I liked the most,” said Ms. Mathisen. It’s a little hard to judge this movie critically, but I have to anyway. The plot is all over the place, somehow Will and Elizabeth are getting married but it’s rudely interrupted when they have to track down Jack because he went missing. Why, you ask? Well, Jack has a blood debt to some octopus man named Davey, so he hides in an indigenous people’s clan to wait out the debt collection. So when Will and Elizabeth find Jack, their main goal is to find the octopus man’s chest and stab his still beating heart to end his life and the debt. Oh, and the octopus man has a giant kraken that can swallow whole ships, so that’s cool. This movie has a 53 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, 27 percent less than the first movie. In my opinion this movie was ok, but for your opinion you might say something else, because you might have a different opinion than me, and that’s how opinions work, I think.Pirate

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007): This one was my absolute favorite Pirates of the Caribbean movie ever. It has that one scene, y’all know what scene I’m talking about, that one with two ships and a big ol’ whirlpool, that one. So after a long sequence of events, Jack, Will and Elizabeth get back together to finally fight the octopus man and his waterlogged crew. It’s very hard to continue this summary without spoilers, so I’m just going to wrap this up quickly. Elizabeth and Will get married on a boat while fighting the octopus man. After killing the octopus man, Will is cursed to be the captain of the octopus man’s ship forever. This movie received 44 percent on Rotten Tomatoe, but I love this movie, no matter what anyone says and no matter how many plot holes there may be.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011): It’s incredibly hard to watch this movie on my own since I would be bored and want to make fun of it with someone. But anyway, Jack Sparrow has an imposter. It’s interesting! For like 8 minutes. Then we learn that it’s just his ex. And his ex happens to be the daughter of the pirate Blackbeard. They basically make Jack find the Fountain of Youth against his will. Blackbeard weirdly enough has magic powers. And of course the brown-toothed British want to get their grubby mitts on the Fountain of Youth too. It’s so hard to get through this movie without someone with you to watch it. This movie has a 33 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s all I have to say about it, on to the last movie. 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tale (2017): Ok, let me be real with you for a second, this was my first movie as a kid that was absolutely atrocious. I didn’t know how bad a movie could be until I watched this. Both men that directed this movie had directed only a total of eight  films, so I guess that makes you qualified to direct a major franchise’s new movie. Two of the lead characters in the movie, besides Johnny Depp,  had just minor roles in big movies or been in bad movies/tv shows. According to Screen Rant, Jack Sparrow during the first movie would be around 38-39 years old, so in this movie he should be about 58 years old, which is surprising to say the least. Typical pirates around that time would live to their mid-30s; the oldest pirate to live was Captain William Kidd, who reached 54 years old, Jack Sparrow is living longer than any real-life pirate. But this is a fictional movie, so a lot of other things don’t make sense either. Jack is drunker than a college kid at a frat party. He and his crew are basically going bankrupt so Jack decides to trade his magical compass for a bottle of rum which awakens drowned ghost men. The men themselves say that he has finally given up the compass like he hasn’t before, Jack gives his compass away like candy on Halloween, so that’s a plot hole. Henry Turner, son of Elizabeth and Will, grew up with no daddy just like his father and is determined to break the curse on his father from the third movie. And this one girl named Carina who is way too into astrology because her dad left her a necklace and a book, so basically her quest is a scavenger hunt for her dad and Poseidon’s trident (which can break curses). So it’s no big surprise that Henry and Carina team up, and Jack and his crew are just their escorts. A fun thing to do to pass the time while watching this movie is to count how many times they say father. This movie received a 30 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, so if the executives for Pirates of the Caribbean do manage another installment -with or without star Johnny Depp – it’s probably going to get like a 21 percent.

Featured image: https://www.disneyplus.com/movies/pirates-of-the-caribbean-the-curse-of-the-black-pearl/2XuO7Cc1YEau

‘Saw’ Movies are No Longer Cutting It

By Abbey Kinzel, ’23

Staff Writer

The Saw movie franchise has been a classic for family movie nights during the Halloween season. The first Saw movie in itself was touchy, even when it was first released to theaters. James Wan’s Saw came out in 2004, and it showed a new perspective on the genre of horror. Most of the horror movies at the time were slashers and began with the words killer, bloody or evil. Torture and traps were not a mainstay of horror since it can be hard to balance a plot and such torments. Saw movies normally center around one person or a group of people in a series of “trial traps” that will test others or themselves. However, the most recent entry strayed from this formula.

Many people consider the Saw franchise to be more in the genre of thriller than horror, and some say it’s too outrageously funny even to be considered scary. “The Saw movies don’t feel like they’re horror movies,” said senior Erin Shea. “It’s more like The Hunger Games, so it’s more thriller than horror.”

Saw (2004): It’s hard to say what category this movie falls into because it is a lot of different things. It’s gruesome and serious, but the editing makes the movie less scary and more ridiculous and laughable. Recognizable actors are Danny Glover, famous for movies like Lethal Weapon and Predator 2, and Cary Elwes, who starred in The Princess Bride and Stranger Things. The editing is on the same level as Taken 3, however Saw is just a little bit better. “2004 editing was pretty bad so it was kind of funny,” said Makenzie Conward, a senior who was encouraged to watch the original recently. During the film, I kept switching between laughing and being serious, I just couldn’t take this movie seriously for more than two minutes at a time. And for a split second, Cary Elwes’ character, Dr. Lawrence Gordon, breaks his American accent and becomes British for one word. Maybe it was the fear?! Rotten Tomatoes rates Saw as 49% on the famous tomato-meter. This is justified as this is a cool movie for its time and budget, but tries too hard to be serious.

Saw II (2005): This movie tries to be more brutal than the first one but the circumstances for the group trial are dumb and not fleshed out. The only recognizable character is actor/singer Donnie Wahlberg as Eric Matthews. There’s gore, but we learn that some of the traps are inescapable and are just glorified executions. Some of the characters are stupid and unbearable, while others that are “smart” can’t see the obvious word play of Jigsaw in the beginning of the film. Despite this criticism, the creators make a really good connection to the first movie, and present a surprise twist at the end. I felt like death when I watched this movie; it hurts to watch how uncalculated every move is. Rotten Tomatoes gives a 37% rating and I think this deserves a lower rating, like 27%. After watching this movie again recently, I feel like I needed financial compensation.

Saw III (2006): Saw III is a near direct sequel to Saw II. We pick up where we left off for 5 minutes, and then go into the actual plot of the movie. It is safe to say that most fans of the franchise consider this movie to have the dumbest main character to go through the Saw traps. In summary, and to avoid spoilers, all he does is yell at people; when he finally decides to help it’s too late, and they are already dead. He is an unbearable man to follow around for the duration of the movie and you are just hoping he dies early. And, of course, there is a “BIG” twist with the characters and some of Jigsaw’s past. But in all seriousness, it’s the kind of material a fifth grader could have pieced together halfway through the movie. In addition, we learn why some of the traps in this movie and the previous movie were inescapable. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 30% rating and I feel like this score is deserved. It is very boring and hard to follow, the protagonist is impossible to cheer for, and the traps are just “fine.”

Saw IV (2007): If you somehow skipped the first three movies, you may be wondering why they are opening up some old guy for the first 6 minutes. It’s because the Jigsaw Killer is dead and his body has been recovered. And that is only the second twist of the movie early on. There are some returning characters from past movies and the Jigsaw killings are still going on despite the original killer’s death. For the entire film, we follow Lieutenant Daniel Rigg (Lyriq Bent) with trial traps against some random people. Daniel’s mission is to save Donnie Wahlberg, who is back as Detective Matthews. And it is revealed that one of Jigsaws’ disciples is continuing the killings for him. Rotten Tomatoes has an 18% as a rating. This rating should be a few points higher but, all in all, this movie wasn’t that great.

Saw V (2008): This film begins where the last movie left off. The audience continues to follow the newly revealed Jigsaw apprentice, who tries to kill the one person that might learn his identity. Along the way, we learn more of the original Jigsaw killer’s past and some of the apprentice’s past as well. The film presents traps placed along the way to try to stop any detectives or cops who are with the apprentice’s enemy. This movie has a slightly better story and traps than the last few, and you actually feel like you want the characters to survive. Also, a lot of the traps feel more like personal attacks than tortures meant to teach a lesson or change a moral value as we’ve seen in the previous movies. Despite all this, Rotten Tomatoes gives it a13%. I wished this film was rated higher, but it could be seen as reasonable. The movie was mediocre at best.

Saw VI (2009): This movie still follows the apprentice who had successfully killed his main threat. We also follow a man going through a trial trap who denied Jigsaw medical insurance months before he died, as well as following Jigsaw’s ex-wife who is carrying out Jigsaw’s physical will. There is not really an interesting plot line, it is like a filler episode of your favorite show, ensuring a new entry each year. It is a little boring and two of the storylines cross and start to become one toward the end of the movie. Even though this movie is rated higher than both Saw IV and Saw V, it feels boring and doesn’t add anything significant to the franchise until the very end of the film. Rotten Tomatoes rates it a 39% as a rating for this movie. This movie deserves a much lower rating, such as a 10%; it presents a sleep inducing atmosphere throughout. Again, I feel as if I need some financial compensation for this movie. I am expecting two checks in the mail in three weeks. 

Saw 3D (2010): This movie does the exact same thing as the last movie and picks up right where we left off, literally like an episode of a TV show. The apprentice almost dies in a trap that was made for them. They track down and try to kill the person who put them in that trap. We also follow a man who falsely claimed to have survived a Jigsaw trap, and he visits a Jigsaw victim support group, with all the other victims of Jigsaw traps, some we recognize and others we don’t. One in particular is Dr. Lawrence Gordon, who survived the first movie and criticizes the man for bringing a camera crew with him to the meeting. This man gets put through a trial trap with his wife at stake. The audience learns that there is another apprentice in the mix. This movie felt like a good end to a franchise, since it’s also called “The Final Chapter,” but as you can tell, it was not the last one. This movie feels a little bit more exciting than the previous films, but has the lowest Rotten Tomato score of all the movies at 9%. The rating makes me feel a little depressed and balances out my excitement.

Jigsaw (2017): This movie was a little unexpected when the trailer dropped and it did a bit better with ratings. A group of people are shown being killed off in a barn somewhere in the countryside, and with each person dying in the group, a new body is discovered. The police, to ease the public’s fears, say that the original Jigsaw killer is still dead and not coming back to life. So they dig up his grave and open his casket and realize that his body is missing. So I guess it is viewed as a big deal. The film revealed a brand new character who is never seen again. Even though there was a seven-year gap between the previous movie and this one, it did better in the theaters than the previous film. It has some twists and subversions that might make you question “Who is really behind the killings now?” It is a good comeback from where the franchise left off, but I don’t think people will be waiting every seven years for another Saw movie to come out and be just as good. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 39%.

Spiral: From the Book of Saw (2021): With the story by Chris Rock, this movie makes me feel more sad than scared. The plot of the movie is that cops are being kidnapped and put into deadly traps, and Rock is a detective leading a team trying to find the killer. They make it clear that the original killer is dead and can’t be the one behind the killings; you don’t say, next thing they are going to say is the sky is blue and that grass is green. Besides Rock and Samuel L. Jackson, his father who is a retired detective, there is famous Canadian magician Chris Ramsey. The story is fine, and the traps are cool, I guess? However, the part that makes me the most sad is that, at this point in the franchise’s history, most fans only watch the movies for the new take on the traps and less for the story itself. Any future movie has to find a way to subvert people’s expectations. Rotten Tomatoes has a 37% as a rating, but I think this movie deserves better.

Saw X (2023): This is an upcoming addition to the Saw Franchise, but there is almost no news so far other than the fact that Tobin Bell, the actor who plays one of the Jigsaw killers, is reprising his role. Everyone is getting excited since it is coming out in the month of October, part of the annual Halloween season. Yet the movie hasn’t even been released yet…

New Releases in Music, Movies Energize Fans

By Abby Van Duyn, ’24

Staff Writer

These past few months have been full of new releases and a ‘boom’ in pop culture. From new movies to album releases, many fans have enjoyed new media from their favorite artists. Five recent releases stick out as leaders from the past few months. 

Midnights by Taylor Swift

An idea of 13 songs written during sleepless nights turned into a historic album release for Taylor Swift. The highly anticipated release of Midnights includes songs from all genres of music. Fans are given a variety of style options while listening to the album. With the songs dominating charts for two weeks now, Swift’s most recent achievement rivals a release by The Beatles in their prime. With this new album, which is adored by her fans, Swift was quick to announce her upcoming 20-stadium tour, which has left people scrambling to find tickets to be able to hear her new songs in person. 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

The release of the sequel to the popular Marvel movie Black Panther was bound to be bittersweet. Wakanda Forever comes after the tragic death of lead actor Chadwick Boseman, who died of cancer in August 2020. There have been mixed reviews from critics: many think it lives up to expectations while others say it struggles to satisfy audiences as much as the original. The story tells the continuation of the fight to protect Wakanda after the death of King T’Challa.’ It is thought to be an effective tribute to Boseman’s career and has been well received by fans and audiences.

Her Loss by Drake

A collaborative album between Drake and 21 Savage was a long-awaited release for fans, but many were left disappointed. From dissing other celebrities to making questionable comments in the lyrics, the album left listeners with a bad taste in their mouths. As the NME website states, “chauvinistic album that’s packed with the kind of cheap misogyny that most of the world’s best rappers ditched years ago.” But, despite this backlash, the album maintains second place on the music charts. 

Enola Holmes 2

A fun and whimsical film made for all ages has hit Netflix. The main character Enola, played by actress Millie Bobby Brown, is the younger sister of famed detective Sherlock Holmes. Like her brother, she loves a good mystery. In this sequel to the 2020 movie, she’s tasked with solving the case of a missing girl. The show follows her along on this journey while all those who watch slowly fall in love with the characters. Enola Holmes is based on a young adult mystery series written by Nancy Springer; Sherlock’s little sister did not exist in the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories from the 1800s. The combination of good acting, an elaborate storyline and a mysterious plot brings the show great success and is a must see for fans of Brown.

Being Funny in a Foreign Language by The 1975 

The 1975 has made its comeback with the release of Being Funny in a Foreign Language. This album greatly resonates with its listeners, while also being unique from other works in recent history. Matty Healy, the lead singer, has become somewhat of a controversial figure, but has left many fans loving his complexity and quirks. Gen-Z has specifically found a love for the band, for apps like Tik Tok have been buzzing with their content.

Featured image from https://www.bmi.com/news/entry/what_kinds_of_songs_work_best_for_tv_and_film_placementsand_how_do_you_find

Outreach Club Joins Forces with First-Graders to Honor Veterans

Students in the Hanover High School Outreach Club worked with first graders at Cedar School on Monday, Nov. 7, to create crafts in honor of Veterans Day. The finished projects were handed out to veterans at the holiday lunch at the Hanover Council on Aging on Nov. 11.

The Outreach Club was created last year by students including Ashley Stracco and Brody Liebfarth as a way to support local seniors, veterans and families in need. Among its projects are “Cards for Kindness,” where handmade cards are collected for seniors, and gift baskets created and distributed at Christmas and Easter. For more info or to support the club, contact Ashley Stracco or advisor Mrs. McHugh.

Special thanks to Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Caulfield and Ms. Pollock at Cedar for inviting the high schoolers into their classrooms.

School Spirit Soars for Homecoming Traditions

Hanover High’s school spirit was on full display in the week celebrating Homecoming. From Oct. 24-28, students rocked red, white and blue and their brightest neon, most comfortable jammies, favorite jerseys and coolest tropical gear for four days of themed dress-up. They then busted ear drums at the Friday pep rally before coming together to watch the football team trounce North Quincy 42-0. Homecoming included senior night for football and cheer, and the crowning of Jimmy Godin and Sophia Marshall-Pelayo as king and queen.

Special thanks to Mr. Patch for additional photos