Editor’s Notes #182

Image source: http://editorialiste.blogspot.com
Image source: http://editorialiste.blogspot.com

Good afternoon, blog readers! As the summer dragged on, I’m afraid the “weekly” Editor’s Notes updates got away from me a bit. Now that the fall is nearly upon us, and the new school year has begun at Lewis University, we have more posts for you to read and be excited about on the blog. Before I get to those, though, I want to highlight a few posts that went up over the summer.

In the last few weeks of summer, Michael Lane posted some truly superb reviews. Beginning all the way back in July, Michael reviewed Lights Out, Suicide Squad (want to know if he liked it?), and the Netflix smash-hit Stranger Things. More recently, he has also reviewed a video game called Inside and the recent film Don’t Breathe.

Now, onto our September posts!

Returning in his “Basement Dwelling” series, music blogger Dan Fiorio reviewed My Woman, the new album from Angel Olson. We also had a new installment of the Jet Fuel Jukebox, this one focusing on the defining tunes of the summer. In addition, Hayley Renison continued her “Poetic Playlist” by analyzing the song “Morning in America” by Jon Bellion.

If you’re ready to leave summer behind and look ahead to the new season, there’s a new Jet Fuel Jukebox ready and waiting for you to discover. Michael Lane has recently reviewed one of his favorite films, Mean Creek, and a movie that wasn’t so much his favorite, Blair Witch. And Bree Scott, a new Assistant Blog Editor, reviewed Grave of Fireflies.

In recent weeks, we have featured some selections from the chapbooks of several Jet Fuel Review editors. You can read some amazing work from Sabrina Parr’s Letters to the Girl Forged from Glass and Gold and Sarah Ford’s Perversions & Saplings. This is some truly wonderful writing from a few of our own, so be sure to check it out!

Last week saw the return of our “Meet the Editors” series. Be sure to check out the latest posts to learn about Olivia Radakovich, a copyeditor and fiction editor for the Jet Fuel Review, and Ashley McCann, a former Jet Fuel volunteer.

As a final note, I want to remind everyone that the current Jet Fuel Review reading period is open and will remain open until October 15. If you’re interested in submitting your work, there’s no time to lose!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Sigh: A Review of “Blair Witch”

I can say with certainty that I’ve never had a more frightening experience watching a film than the first time I saw The Blair Witch Project. Revolutionary in its time for its found-footage camera style and unique ad campaign, the 1999 original is widely considered one of the most influential horror films ever made. It’s a film that I hold a deep respect for, and I even regard it as one of my all-time favorite horror films.

Now, 17 years later, director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett attempt to revitalize the legacy of the series with a new film simply entitled Blair Witch. Being a massive fan of the original film and the previous collaborations of Wingard and Barrett (which includes You’re Next and The Guest), I was ecstatic going into Blair Witch. As much as I hate to say it, though, Blair Witch comes off as nothing more than a soulless, uninspired, and even somewhat disrespectful retread of the original rather than a worthy successor.

Blair Witch is set in 2014, picking up 20 years after the events of the original. Our lead here, James (James Allen McCune), is the younger brother of the lead that went missing in Project. In the film’s fiction, the tapes that Heather and her crew shot those 20 years prior were found and released for public consumption, and ever since, James has been obsessed with his sister’s disappearance.

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Not Just Any ‘Cartoon’ Film: A Review of “Grave of the Fireflies”


Grave of the Fireflies (1988), though animated in its appearance on screen, is far from first assumptions of it being made for children. If anything, children should avoid this film at all costs. Grave of the Fireflies, directed by Isao Takahata, is a masterful piece in the way that it is completely unabashed in detailing the horrors of World War II in Japan.

Grave of the Fireflies follows the tale of Seita and Setsuko, siblings who are struggling for survival after their parents and home were lost in the destructive path of World War II. The use of animation lends a childlike charm in parts of the film in stark contrast to the chaos that ensues surrounding these characters. The purpose of this contrast is to get the audience to feel for Seita and Setsuko, maybe even root for their survival. Unfortunately, the harsh reality of the siblings’ situation is first noticed by the audience rather than by the siblings themselves.

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Meet the Editors: Ashley McCann

Good evening, readers! Today we have Ashley McCann, who is a writer for Lewis University’s newspaper and was a former volunteer for JFR before officially joining the staff this fall.

ashleymccann-mastheadphotoAshley McCann is a junior at Lewis University. She is majoring in English Language Arts and Secondary Education, with minors in Creative Writing and Theology. Her favorite authors are Neil Gaiman, Chuck Palahniuk, Sylvia Plath, and George Saunders. Her favorite movie is Forrest Gump, and she uses Tom Hanks, in his many roles, as inspiration for most of the characters in her own creative pieces. She is a Marine Corps veteran, and although she has been to many different countries, she now hopes to travel the world in a more leisurely manner. Upon graduation, she wants to teach English, ultimately at the collegiate level.

Below is our Q&A with Ashley:

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Selections from Sarah Ford’s chapbook, “Perversions & Saplings”

The inside cover to Ford's chapbook, "Perversions & Saplings"
The inside cover to Ford’s chapbook, “Perversions & Saplings”

“Sarah Elizabeth Ford’s collection, Perversions & Saplings, is hauntingly vivid and shows us the destructive path that nature has been forced to take. Each piece contrasts vibrant imagery with the deterioration of creation; from nature outside to human nature. Each piece serves as a stepping stone in forewarning her readers of the damage society has allowed the world to dissolve into, and the declining landscape of evolution.

One such step is provided by ‘British Shorthair,’ a transmutation poem of ‘Science’ by Aracelis Girmay. Here, readers observe cannibalistic instinct supersede the domesticated breed of a German Shepherd and a cat. While readers expect to find the intimidating dog attack an unsuspecting chipmunk, it’s the cat who catches its prey.

‘Your mew was not a lion’s yawn, not a lion’s yawn.’

Her piece provides an element of disbelief that something so tame could be so feral.

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Jet Fuel Jukebox for 9/20/16

Jukebox_picHappy Tuesday, everyone! This is our second week in a row updating this playlist, so I think it’s safe to say that we’re officially back in action.

Since we so scarcely did this over the summer, my half of this week’s playlist has a bunch of songs I enjoyed over the past couple months. Be ready to hear both some new and old artists through 10 recent releases.

The playlist this week sees selections from Everything Everything, Local Natives, Saint Motel, and Beyoncé.

— Michael Lane, Blog Editor

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In Which I Write About My Favorite Films: A Look at “Mean Creek”


Jacob Aaron Estes’ 2004 film Mean Creek is, at the outset, what seems to be a simple, predictable coming-of-age tale. In reality, though, it’s much more than that. You could say that it’s merely an anti-bullying film, but there’s more at play here than just that, too. Mean Creek is an intimate narrative hinged upon revenge, peer pressure and its repercussions, and ultimately, morals.

As the film begins, our middle school-aged protagonist, Sam (Rory Culkin), receives a shiny, brand new black eye on the schoolyard, courtesy of George, a bully who has set his sights on Sam. A young Josh Peck (pre-dating his Nickelodeon stardom on Drake and Josh) portrays George, giving an incredible performance — one that should have led him to many more equally engaging roles. George is a character that you’ll immediately hate, but over the course of the film begin to warily sort of like, and in the end simply feel sorry for. It’s an exceptional character arc that, especially due to Peck’s remarkable performance, begs to be seen through.

Our story picks up after the confrontation, with Sam attempting an explanation of the injury to his older brother, Rocky (Trevor Morgan). Rocky proceeds to bring the story up to his friends, Marty (Scott Mechlowicz) and Clyde (Ryan Kelley), and the trio decides it’s about time someone got back at George.

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