Category Archives: Features

The Features section caters to everything you need to know about culture on campus and the Louisville community. Here we explore the arts, student events and the latest trends that make U of L unique.

Honest Abe slaughters every bloodsucking, pale hide in "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter"

Movies at the Floyd: hidden gems at UofL

Honest Abe slaughters every bloodsucking, pale hide in “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter”

By Simon Isham–

So you feel like going to the movies on a Friday night. When you get there, you’ll need a ticket, which costs about $8 these days. You might want some popcorn and a drink, which is an extra $15. You could pay $23 to see a movie. Or you could go to the Floyd Theater, located right on campus in the Student Activities Center.

The Floyd operates as what’s called a second-run theater, which means that they can start playing a film after it’s finished its cycle in a standard theater but before it comes out on DVD. This means they typically get new movies two months after they’ve been released. One movie that has recently generated a lot of buzz both on and off campus is “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” which the Floyd has secured for the month of October.

The biggest myth about the Floyd is that it only operates for students and faculty. The fact is that it is also a proud community theater. In fact, it is the nearest cinema to several of Louisville’s neighborhoods, including Iroquois, Shively, Schnitzelburg and Old Louisville. The Floyd makes cinema accessible to everyone in the area, with a hugely discounted student ticket price of $1.50 and a general admission price of $3. Concessions are also reduced, with popcorn costing just 75¢ and a drink, candy and popcorn combo for only $2.

The Floyd plays movies every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with screenings beginning at 5 p.m.and 8 p.m. On Thursday, the Film Committee of the Student Activities Board tries to screen an enriching art house film or an old favorite. For the Friday and Saturday showings, the committee chooses a more mainstream selection.

“The Breakfast Club” c. 1985

This Thursday, they’ve chosen “The Breakfast Club.” In case you haven’t seen it, the synopsis: “Five high school students, all different stereotypes, meet in detention, where they pour their hearts out to each other, and discover how they have a lot more in common than they thought.” The Friday and Saturday flick is “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” in which “Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, discovers vampires are planning to take over the U.S. He makes it his mission to eliminate them.”

On the last Friday of every month, the Floyd screens a cult classic at midnight. This month, that film is “Jurassic Park.” “If you see a golf cart, decorated like a Jeep driving around campus and tossing out dinosaurs, that’s us. That’s how we advertise,” joked film committee chair Susan Lewellyn. “We might not do that—it’s still in the works—but I really want to. It’d be awesome!”

For students who are interested in getting involved with the film committee, Lewellyn says that the easiest way is to join the Facebook group. “That way, you can keep up-to-date on everything going on here and make your own suggestions. Another way is to attend our regular meetings at 2 p.m. every Friday in the SAC in 303A. That’s where we pick the films. Finally, in early October, we’re holding a recruitment event called Tour de Floyd, so be on the lookout for that.”

Jesseca Ferguson’s display of pinhole photography runs through September 30 at the Hite Art Institute on campus. This polaroid from a pinhole negative is titled Princess/book. A reception celebrating the exhibit will be held September 18 at 4:40 p.m.

Jesseca Ferguson’s Museum of Memory

Jesseca Ferguson’s display of pinhole photography runs through September 30 at the Hite Art Institute on campus. This polaroid from a pinhole negative is titled Princess/book.

By Esther Lee–

Use the double doors in Schneider Hall to enter the Hite Art Galleries. Walk past the construction of the next hosted exhibition. Ignore the blank walls, plastic wraps and tables with tools. Come into the gallery around the corner. Welcome to the Museum of Memory.

Museum of Memory is an exhibition featuring the pinhole photography of Jesseca Ferguson. According to the biography posted next to her pieces, “Her pinhole photographs and collaged “photo objects’”have been included in solo and group exhibitions in the United States and Europe.” Museums all around the world including Paris, France; Krakow, Poland; Cambridge, MA and Boston, MA have displayed her works.

Ferguson used a pinhole camera for her photography. A pinhole camera is a very simplistic camera that does not use lens. “It’s any cylinder that the inside is painted black.” Renee K. Murphy, program assistant of the Department of Fine Arts, explained. “It can be made out of an oatmeal container.”

By using this simple camera, Ferguson was able to successfully exploit the softness in her photographs. “There has been an increased interest in pinhole photography,” John Begley, gallery director, explained. “As technology moves forward, artists also explore the alternative media of the past because of the means of expression.”

Inside the gallery room, over 20 framed photographs sought individual, undivided attention.

In the middle of the room, the gallery displayed Altered Book: The Little White Bird on a stand and under a clear case. I wondered what was so special about this piece because it was just a bird picture glued in a book. I skimmed through the page of the book until a few lines stood out. “The reason birds can fly and we can’t is simply that they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.” A connection was made. This was just the beginning of many connections that were waiting to be explored.

A reception celebrating the exhibit will be held September 18 at 4:40 p.m.

In some of her works such as Bird/bones/spiral (constructed) and French head/box (constructed), Ferguson plastered her photographs onto strategically torn and aged books covers which gave antique feels to the overall works. These particular pieces reminded me of tattered, 100 year-old books that were falling apart found in the Rare Book Collection at the Ekstrom Library. “I love the sense of balance, structure and texture.” Jamie King, an undecided major, age 19, explained. “It almost reminds me of textiles. She incorporates the photos in its position.” Also, by using book covers, this technique presented a layer of texture, which added dimension.

Although Ferguson’s works were photographs, she never failed to incorporate some sort of text in the frame. Sometimes the texts were passages from book that forced the viewer to squint their eyes to read and others were very simple. The Moon (constructed) showed a picture of a moon and on the bottom of the photograph was the words “The Moon”. This brought about an understanding and connection of her works that cannot be expressed with a lack of visual or textual. Also interestingly, Ferguson seemed to take her photographs at an eye-level and angled perspective giving a micro-scale effect.

According to the artist, “my work is a slow, hand-built and cumulative, rather like the layering of dust or memories over time.”
The Museum of Memory will be held at the Hite until September 30. There will also be a reception held in honor of the gallery on September 18 from 4:40 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Photo courtesy


Red Cross visits UofL

By Noah Allison–

Tons of people lining up at the doors, countless amounts of blood, people fainting, no, it wasn’t the world’s greatest slasher flick, it was the annual American Red Cross Blood Drive challenge at the Red Barn.

On August 31, the Red Barn was especially red as eager Louisville students poured in for hours on end to donate their blood to those who need it.

“I know if I was in a situation where my life depended on a blood transfusion, I would feel better knowing that people were willing to give up what they could for those who need it,” sophomore Justin Tallio said.

Doors at the Red Barn opened at 10 a.m. From that moment on there was no resting as students lined up out the door and filed in for the next seven straight hours.

“The employees worked diligently despite the overwhelming turnout of donors,” senior Marcella Kennedy said.

While it was scheduled to end at four in the afternoon, the last donors didn’t leave the Red Barn until 5:20 p.m. All those hours of needle poking led to 95 pints of blood being collected, an increase in amount of blood donated from the last blood drive at U of L. There is no denying the anxiety that comes with donating blood, especially for those who have never donated before. But that didn’t stop many from donating for the first time.

“There were no words to describe it, I think people are mostly afraid to donate because they never have before,” first time donor freshman Amber Ogden said. “I’ll donate again, it’s a good cause so there is no reason not to.”

If one wished to donate but missed out on the opportunity to do so, do not fret. It takes approximately 56 days from donating to be able to donate again, which means the American Red Cross workers will be back to collect more blood sometime in late fall or early winter.
Photo courtesy Red Cross

Sourcefed Joe Bareta (Right) Elliot Morgon (left)

Webshows that make you smarter

By Michelle Eigenheer–

Pay special attention to these Youtube webshows to spike your IQ.

Vi Hart, described on her YouTube channel as a “mathemusician,” creates videos that illustrate mathematical principles. Her videos, sprinkled with math humor, explain concepts that a lot of students don’t learn in high school math class. Hart dives into things like the math of spirals, proofs, the number phi, infinigons and the Fibonacci sequence in nature.

If you’re interested in math, this is definitely a channel to check out.

While The Lizzie Bennet Diaries isn’t packed with a bunch of information, it’s a new way to enjoy the classic novel. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a vlog (video blog) based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Instead of taking place in England, 200 years ago, it takes place today with Lizzie as a communications student. The entire series follows the novel with modern tweaks and viewer interaction through comments and responses.


Crash Course is an education series created by vlogbrothers John and Hank Green. John Green, popular teen author, teaches history while “ecogeek” Hank Green teaches science. Each video presents a different concept, like the Industrial Revolution, the immune system, the French Revolution or population genetics. If you’re having trouble understanding a concept, you want to learn about it in a different way or you just like watching animated videos about what you’re supposed to be learning in class, you should check out “Crash Course.”

“Sex+,” hosted by Laci Green, is a show that talks about relationships, body image, sexuality and gender. Green talks about a lot of things that people don’t talk about in general conversation but also encourages more openness about issues such as sexuality and sexually transmitted infections. With a relaxed feel and an attitude and vulgar language that many college kids can relate to, the videos are surprisingly not awkward to watch.Think of Sex+ as the sex-ed class that you never had. Green answers a lot of common questions about sex, sexuality and sexual health. She also answers viewer questions, if there’s something she hasn’t yet covered in a video.

Philip DeFranco is a YouTube celebrity who covers a wide range of “newsy type things.” From politicsand pop culture, to sports and entertainment, PhillyD presents news, along with his opinions, though he encourages other people to share their own thoughts, prompting his viewers with a question of the day. He also enjoys giving prizes to viewers, running from posters, to $100 gift cards, to game consoles.

After “The Philip DeFranco Show” took off, DeFranco started SourceFed, a channel dominated by “20 Minutes or Less.” The show is a news show with multiple hosts that present the news in short clips, totaling 20 minutes or less by the end of the day. The number of hosts means that even though there is a lot of opinion, it’s a bunch of different opinions. The young hosts make it an appealing show for younger people and the content is much like that of “The Philip DeFranco Show.”
Screenshots courtesy of Youtube

Cage The elephant - StarryNights_Logo_Stacked_White_1343065209

Music lovers: festivals this fall

By Anna Meany–

Although the heart of music-festival season is over, hipsters and music-lovers alike can still enjoy live shows as the leaves change both near and far from Louisville.

Soundland is a one day festival taking place on October 6 in Tennessee’s capital – a short three-hour drive from Louisville. “With a lineup as diverse as Nashville” (, Soundland aims to please music lovers with their favorite bands as well as introduce them to new music. Headlining Nashville’s festival, which takes place at the the Lawn at Riverfront Park for the first time, are Louisville natives My Morning Jacket, Young the Giant – who just recently visited our river city – and Divine Fits. Purchase your tickets early to access the $45 ticket price; however, when those tickets run out, general admission will cost $55, or shell out $75 for a VIP ticket.

For music-festival goers that prefer to camp, Starry Nights, entirely curated by Cage the Elephant, will commence on September 28th just outside of Bowling Green. For $45 and less than a two hour drive, fans can fans can enjoy the music of Cage the Elephant, Portugal the Man, Manchester Orchestra and Mimosa. Bowling Green local acts include Sleeper Agent and Morning Teleportation. The crew at Starry Nights has taken to the fans for deciding the final lineup – giving Facebook fans the opportunity to vote for even more local acts to play onstage.

A bit longer drive would take music-festival goers to Atlanta, Georgia to experience the Counterpoint festival. From September 27-29, Counterpoint takes place on the Chattahoochee riverfront over 8,000 acres. With 3-day general admission tickets starting at $165 (single day tickets are priced at $65 a day), attendees can enjoy over 70 live acts and a silent disco -this particular fest offers mostly electronica music for the digital-loving soul with headlining acts including Bassnectar, Scrillex and Pretty Lights.

Road-tripping down to the bayou will also satisfy music-festival lovers – the Voodoo festival takes place October 26, 27 and 28 in City Park of New Orleans. The headlining acts include Jack White, Green Day (out with a new music this fall), Scrillex and Neil Young & Crazy Horse. $175 can get fans a 3-day weekend pass, with options to camp near the site or book a hotel nearby. Large-scale art displays (think bright lights and big hunks of metal) will fill City Park throughout the festival.

With prices ranging from the fairly cheap to more expensive trips, music festivals are sure to provide every fan with something to enjoy this fall season.

couples dance

Worldfest on the Belvedere: Louisville’s own culturally diverse community on display

By Esther Lee–

Just as the billboards that you see in downtown Louisville and on Bardstown Road mention, WorldFest truly allows you to “See the World. (without leaving town)”. Worldfest recently celebrated its 10th anniversary through the Labor Day weekend on Louisville’s Belvedere downtown. Worldfest is an annual festival that celebrates the vast cultures and diversities that the city of Louisville offers with food, music, dance, and more over a course of three days.

“[It’s] a festival that allows you to experience diverse beauty around the world,” Mia Nguyen, Vice President of the University of Louisville’s Vietnamese Student Association, Education major, age 19, explained. Jordan Wolz, age 17, who worked at one of the food stands also explained, “WorldFest is a nice time to show off Louisville with the music and dance. It’s three days, all day, of fun. It’s a great place.”

At the festival, there were over a hundred booths that were catagorized as “World of Cuisine,” “Worldfest Booths,” and “World of information.”

Anyone would be able to tell you that they had a hard time deciding what to eat at the festival. Foods varieties ranged from Columbian to Greek and Jamaican to Indian. There was just not enough time and stomach capacity to try everything. On the other hand, your wallet probably went on a diet after just one day at WorldFest because of the all the bought items such as trinkets at Sandy’s Crafts and colorful shirts and floral-printed dresses at Demb AK Tey.

Not only were there countless of booths and stands, but also three main stages which showcased a variety of music and dance performances. Thanks to these performances, every inch of the Belvedere was covered by some sort of music.

At the Main Stage, groups such as Delhi 2 Dublin (World Mix) fired the crowd with its musical mash-up of cultures such as Bhangra and Celtic. People couldn’t help but dance or jump to the group’s energetic and outstanding live-performance and music. Other groups such as the Groove Masters (Afro-American) and The Ark Band (Reggae) performed on the other side of WorldFest on the Fountain Stage. The stage was beautifully placed in front of the fountain (hence the name) which gave life to any performance on the stage, especially during the evening when the fountain lights turned on.

When asked about his first WorldFest experience this year, Christophe T. Leong, age 19 answered,“This was my first WorldFest, and I enjoyed it very much. I had always thought Louisville lacked a ‘cultural’ element. Yes, there is the Crane House, but it lacks something to connect these ‘islands’ of cultures. But at the WorldFest, it harkens back to the marketplaces, the silk road, and the bazaars of the past. An exchange of ideas, music, food, and products. A reincarnation of an old concept.”

After a day of eating and walking around to different booths, listening to Reggae of the Ark Band and drinking the last bit of manga smoothie was the best way to end the night. Without any doubt, WorldFest is one of the greatest events that Louisville has to offer.

Leong continued, “I am very impressed and very jovial that this exists. Hopefully these ‘islands’ will come and be one great continent of cultures.”
Photos: Eric Voet/The Louisville Cardinal


Blast from the past: ‘90s bands set to release new music this fall

Green Day c. 1990s without their modern trademark of eye makeup and formal attire.

By Rebecca Timberlake–

Fall 2012 promises to be a blast from the past. With popular nineties bands such as No Doubt, Matchbox Twenty and Green Day all releasing albums after varying hiatuses, music this fall may seem more familiar than new.

No Doubt’s album “Push and Shove,” to be released September 25, will be the group’s first album since 2001’s “Rock Steady,” which many consider to be their greatest success as musicians. As of now, it has reached the two- time Platinum status in the United States, Silver in the United Kingdom and Platinum in Canada. Although “Rock Steady” is the fifth studio release from the band, it was their second highly acclaimed album, only after 1995’s “Tragic Kingdom.” which had such hits as “‘Just a Girl”’ and “‘Don’t Speak.” However, if “Push and Shove” lives up to its hype as one of the most anticipated albums of the year, as the commercial success of their recently released single “‘Settle Down”’ suggests, No Doubt could prove that a band’s best work is always yet to come.

Matchbox Twenty also plans to release their album “North” in September. After five years without new material as a group- lead singer Rob Thomas has kept busy with solo albums- the band has gotten together once again, releasing the single “She’s So Mean” this summer. Although the single has widely been received by fans on YouTube as “trying to stay current,” most admit that it still falls under the “Matchbox Twenty Sound.” Think an upbeat “Push,” not “3A.M.” And while each album has produced numerous hit singles, Matchbox Twenty’s debut in 1996, “Yourself or Someone Like You,” had the highest number of successful singles, like the aforementio

ned “Push” and “3A.M.”, as well their very first single “Long Day,” “Back 2 Good” and “Real World.” Luckily, Thomas maintains the attitude that making the music is what matters, and fans are just a perk. He has been quoted as saying, “You have control over making a record, you have control over making songs, control over playing live and performing the best show that you possibly can, but as far as people liking your record and people buying your record, there is so little that you can do about that.”

Green Day has decided to do something just a bit different, however. While they will be releasing their first new studio work since 2009, they will be doing so in installments. Originally set for release in October “Uno!”, November “Dos!” and December “Tres!”, they will now be issuing the trilogy as follows: “Uno!” on September 25, “Dos!” on November 13 and “Tres!” will bring in the New Year with a January 15 release. After changing their sound in 2004 with “American Idiot” from their traditional punk rock to a more politically aware style, front man Billie Joe Armstrong says the group is going for a “power pop” sound this time around, something “between AC/DC and the early Beatles.”

However, these bands are not the only nineties favorites to bring new material to the table this fall. The slightly less anticipated releases of The Wallflowers (October 2) after seven years, P!nk (September 18) and Alanis Morissette (August 28), both after four years harkens back to 1997-1998.

Along with the new albums, P!nk and Matchbox Twenty, among others, have plans on touring to promote their albums. And after a summer of tours from other former chart-topping groups Red Hot Chili Peppers, Motley Crue and Guns N Roses, such concerts accompanied by new music have great potential to feature many sell-out dates.

Finally, what would new releases from ‘old’ artists be without Kiss, Bob Dylan and, of course, Aerosmith? Their albums, October 16, September 11 and November 6, respectively, all have fans eager to see if they’ve still got it.
Photo courtesy Reprise Records


Job fairs offer possibilities for nervous new graduates

Despite turbulent conditions in the job market for new graduates, hopeful students lined up to fill the U of L Red Barn on Aug. 29 for the annual Job Fair.

Representatives from companies like Coca-Cola, Marriot Hotels and UPS, who are still able to absorb new hires, set up booths and pitched positions to students who ambled between handshakes and foldout tables.

Although shaky conditions in the job market have shown signs of stabilization in the last quarter, many graduates are still in the midst of a rabid job search.

The Associated Press reported in April, “53.6 percent, of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years.”

Statistics on job loss for those who have a bachelor’s degree are less worrisome. While some argue that the unemployment rate of recent graduates may reflect a reduced overall value of a four-year degree, statistics from the Bureau of Labor indicate that a four-year degree may be the key to keeping a job during times of company-wide layoff.

Forbes reported that, “In the group with the best education, there was no net job loss during the recession and the number of people who held jobs climbed 2.2 million or 5 percent,” and that, “While the national rate is 8.3 percent the rate is just 4.5 percent for all four-year college graduates.”
Photo: Rae Hodge/The Louisville Cardinal


‘House of Leaves’ gives readers a rewarding mental workout

By Jordan Nichols–

Although there are truly thousands of opinions and perspectives on this novel and its meanings, there is really no right way to explain “House of leaves?” Mark Z. Danielewski’s  novel is one you pick up for the tantalizing look and you›re hooked just reading the introduction. The riveting contents will capture you immediately and keep you interested with the various facts and visual aesthetic appeal. Often compared to “The Blair Witch Project” due to its convincingly jumbled format, cult following and urban legend status, House of Leaves has been staple reading for lovers of alt-horror since its publication in 2000. And for good reason.

Within the first ten pages, readers will find themselves captivated by the novel›s challenging aspects – such as the author writing “This is not for you.”  Even though the book itself might look a bit intimidating due to the page number and partially confusing syntactic structure, the intrigue of multiple narratives twining together binds the reader to the page. The challenge is in the author›s choice to create secondary, even tertiary,  stories in accompanying columns and footnotes. Danielewski may not be the first to push the edge of reader engagement with his intentional obfuscation, but he does it with unusual verve and panache, pushing readers into Lovecraftian psychological horror territory. Readers will close the book questioning the definition of concepts like space and time while trying to decide what perspectives are still intact.

The main narrative is about an actual house, which should be a sturdy structure, but is actually a constantly growing life force. The narrator attempts to document the constant evolution of the labyrinthine structure with growing unease. The house adds new rooms and corridors of it›s own accord, expanding and contracting viscerally. This story is paired with that of Johnny Truant as he unfolds the history of the house and all its secrets. He does this while trying to find himself in the journey.  The complicated theories of what is and isn’t real are explored, but not answered, thus leaving the readers to answer it themselves and forcing them to challenge their ideas of fact and truth in the process. 

The novel is full of different types of documents and various styles, stories and references to further support ideas and morals throughout the overall story. The reader is able to find photographs and depictions of the house in a variety of viewpoints to help with the image of its instability (very possibly birthing the name of the book considering a leaf). The book also includes mythological stories as well as celebrity quotes and textual references. To step back from the book and look at the overall effect is like walking into the room of a patient in an insane asylum, where the walls have been covered with newspaper clippings, photographs and maps. All of which have pins sticking out of them and are connected by a single winding string. The book feels like the manic diary of someone who realizes that his hallucinations have become real. 

“House of Leaves” is the very definition of weird; and yet one of the most interesting and psychologically boundary pushing novels someone can read. The book is bound to draw in the daring, the intrigued, the detectives, the escape artist, and of course the avid writers, though very nearly anyone could find more than a few reasons to be infatuated with each and every part.  The book truly is a great read, and you’ll walk away from it with more questions than answers even 12 years after its release.

Now that he’s back with “The Fifty-Year Sword,” released originally in a tiny print run from a Dutch publisher, will readers still be up to Danielewski’s challenging style? Will they be presented with as many literary puzzles in his latest strange novella? Widely praised overseas for its clever artwork and haunting dialogue, “The Fifty-Year Sword” is another border-pushing book that leverages its expansive writing against the tone of an oral story. Five nameless narrators tell their tale to five nameless children, in a round-robin fashion in an attempt to capture the shivers of a campfire story. If Danielewski’s magical realism serves him as well in “The Fifty-Year Sword” as it has in “House of Leaves”, reader could find themselves reviewing the new book 12 years after its American release also.
Photo courtesy Random House


Review: ‘Hit and Run’ hits the mark

By Rebecca Timberlake–

Big budget movies loaded with CGI and special effects are typically the top earners at the box office. In fact, it seems if it isn’t a sequel or an over the top 3D film, it doesn’t even get notice in the theaters. But occasionally, an independent sleeper hit will break the mold. “Hit and Run” does just this.

Within its runtime of one hour and forty minutes, “Hit and Run” manages to pack in all the fun action-packed car chases and scenes like the “Fast and Furious” franchise and all the loveable humor and charm of star, writer, co-director and co-producer Dax Shepard. Joining Shepard, who plays Charlie, is his real-life love Kristen Bell as Annie, Charlie’s girlfriend of a year, Bradley Cooper as criminal Alex Dimitri, who Charlie witnessed commit a bank robbery and murder, and Tom Arnold as Randy, the law officer in charge of keeping Charlie safe and sound in the Witness Protection Program. In addition to the big name actors portraying main characters, there are a slew of unpredictable cameos throughout the film guaranteed to get a chuckle.

The plot finds Charlie ready to leave Witness Protection in order to get Annie to an interview in Los Angeles for her dream job heading a department for a field of study she created herself at the college. However, due to the last-minute opening, Annie lets it slip to former boyfriend, who also happens to still be very in love and obsessed with her, Gil (Michael Rosenbaum of “Smallville”) that her and Charlie are moving. Claiming Charlie is unstable, Gil sets in motion a plan to tear the two apart and hopefully win Annie back. When Dmitri is alerted of Charlie’s whereabouts by Gil, he and his rag-tag team of criminals pursue the couple on their way to L.A.
Ultimately, Charlie is forced to do the one thing he has been most terrified of doing: telling Annie all about his past, and risking her leaving him forever.

It is in the intermingling of past and present relationships, however, that the audience truly comes to appreciate Charlie and see a genuine love between him and Annie. The character also gives a new perspective to Shepard as an actor different from his usual characters in films like “Employee of the Month” and “Without a Paddle.” Suddenly Shepard is a romantic lead, as well as a sweet and all around good guy. Similarly, Cooper steps out of his comfort zones of suave and sexy ‘bad’ boys like in “Wedding Crashers” and the “Hangover” franchise. Instead, Cooper is a dirty, dread-locked hair slacker with a quick temper and a passion for dogs. In some scenes it is difficult to know if his lines are truly hilarious, or if seeing less-than glamorous Bradley Cooper delivering those lines is what brings in the laughs.

Keeping with the shocking actor transformations, Tom Arnold does something he rarely does- entertain. Proving to be the scene-stealer of the film, Arnold plays a bumbling fool trying to get respect as a member of law enforcement despite the fact that he cannot handle his weapon without accidentally firing it in public places. And considering his concern over protecting Charlie, who seems to be the one taking care of Randy, his disposition to be the cause of accidents all around him is absolutely hilarious, no matter how serious and heartfelt the rest of the scene is.

In the end, if there is one major flaw of the entire movie, it’s that Shepard did not make it longer. Though it definitely does more than expected in less than two hours, one can’t help but wish there was just one more scene.
Photo courtesy IMDs