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[Review] John Was Trying to Contact Aliens (2020): A Documentary Short

The title of the short is very intriguing that I added it to my list a long time prior to its official release. I watched it on Netflix (Turkey) just this morning, realizing it was about 16 minutes long and feeling a little disappointed that it was not a full-length documentary. Let’s get to the gist—I did not like it, and I’ll tell you why. [Note: Heavy spoilers!]

Credits: IMBD via Netflix, colors edited by Hazal’s Camera.

The documentary tells the story of a boy who is adopted by his grandparents upon his parents’ divorce. I do think this part is important because John mentions how his mother was “out of this world” with no more detail, and on the contrary, his grandparents are supportive of his unusual interests. There is also a small detail mentioned that John is gay, which, later finds its place in John’s story. So, John begins to use radio waves and airs cultural music (heavily instrumental selection of Indian, African, Jazz, etc. music) that reaches beyond the moon and towards the infinite space. After about 30 years of research, he quits, and, plot twist happens here: John finds true love.

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[OPINION]: “We need to hear from students more amid public health crisis”

We need to hear from students more amid public health crisis

The pandemic hit everyone differently. I pushed through writing this article with a creeping writer’s block, which later permanently sat on my mind. I felt very unproductive at the time and I wasn’t creating for a while back there before I sent this op-ed to DAILY SABAH. Frankly, they published it and put me out of my misery.

This is not a small win for me— DS is one of the top 3 largest and most read newspapers in Turkey.

You can give it a read below. I talk about how international students are affected by the pandemic.

[Summer Travel Series]: Apollonia, Apolyont, or Golyazi

I asked my fiancée whether he was up for a road trip on a flaming hot Sunday, and he said “why not”; so, we found some comfort in the air conditioning of his car and drove to what was called in the ancient time, the peninsula of Apollonia. Before I walk you through this small village that resides on the western shore of Lake Uluabat, a little history lesson shall be covered.

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‘Til I get a drone, thank you, Pinterest.

The History of the Peninsula

Due to the coins from as early as 450 BCE that were discovered in Apollonia, it is believed that the village was founded by Miletus in the ancient times. Some believe that the anchor symbol on the coin has something to do with its given name, others speak of a tale: The Bergama King Attalos II. gave the name of Queen Apollonis to the village. In the luwi language apa means water, ull means bushes, and wana means God; hence, the name resembles a combination of all. In ancient times, there were 9 other cities named Apollonia so, some refer to the village as Apolyont to distinguish it alongside its water source.

During its long history, Apollonia was under the control of the Byzantine Empire. However, Ottoman claimed the land in the 14th century; the architecture alongside the water carries the clashing influence of both cultures. Today, Apollonia is referred to as Golyazi (meaning ‘fisherwoman’) by the Nilufer Municipality of Bursa, and it’s both a historic site and home to its fishermen and villagers.

Before I forget, many thanks to my personal photographer Oğuzhan Tiryaki for capturing this authentic village, and helping me overcome my writer’s block without even realizing it. I might keep you full time.

The Tour Guide

  1. St. Panteleimon Church
  2. The Weeping Plane
  3. The Golyazi Lake
  4. Greek Ruins
  5. Ethnic Food

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[Review] The Godfather Part III (1990): Can the Most Unholy Sins Be Redeemed?

rBVaR1vmbwyAS_3FAANhiAr1qJQ635The Godfather Part III (1990) did significantly better according to both domestic and worldwide box office data ($66,520,529) in comparison to the previously released The Godfather Part II (1974). While Paramount Pictures did not have to try and sell the film to the fanatic movie-goers, the reviews for the film remain dissonant to this day. The author of the 1990 NY Times article is mesmerized by the film; in fact, she claims it was completed by “fascinating threads of continuity”. Members of other websites like Reddit and Rotten Tomatoes would agree The Godfather Part III is the worst one of it all. I’d summarize my experience like this: Another great film packed with death, guilt, and a little more romance this time; however, it is still not as good as the first two productions. I’ll examine the bigger themes and talk about a few logistical mistakes in this article.

Read first,

[Review] The Godfather (1972): An Immigrant Story of Succession

[Review] The Godfather Part II (1974): The Role of Women and Children

 

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Between the Lines (Part II and III): The Off-Screen Transformation of Michael Corleone

The Godfather Part II begins roughly in 1958-1960, and about 20 years pass until the audience sees the Corleone family again in the third film, which begins in 1980. I’ve seen many reviews that felt the characters remained the same during the part of their lives that were unseen, or off-screen. To me, it is the opposite. Connie showed her cunning side a little more, and Kay seemed to have returned back to her free American roots, just as she was before her marriage to Michael. I already talked a bit about the contrast between the two women here; To add, this contrast was a little more exaggerated within the part III film. Continue reading

[Review] The Godfather Part II (1974): The Role of Women and Children

Welcome to the second review of The Godfather trilogy directed by Francis Ford Coppola. If you haven’t already, read the first review here: “[Review] The Godfather (1972): An Immigrant Story of Succession”.

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“I saw a strange thing today. Some rebels were being arrested. One of them pulled the pin on a grenade. He took himself and the captain of the command with him. Now, soldiers are paid to fight; the rebels aren’t.”

“What does that tell you?”

“They could win.”

Becoming The Monster Child: Michael Corleone (Based on Part I & II) 

The Godfather 2 (1974) is a sequel to the groundbreaking first film The Godfather; however, it would be an insult to call it a continuation. The film intertwines the lives of Michael’s father Don Corleone (as Robert De Niro) and his most favored son and heir Michael (as Al Pacino). While the audience watches Michael advancing his position as Don and the respected crime leader, the film is more about Don Vito Corleone’s past and its impact on Michael. [Spoiler ahead] Continue reading

[Review] The Godfather (1972): An Immigrant Story of Succession

Freddie, you’re my older brother.

I love you. But don’t ever take

sides with anybody against the

Family again.”

Summary: A crime drama based in the 1940s New York City, tells the story of an Italian American father transferring power and influence of his mafia business to his son.

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The Italian Mafia Reimagined: Theme of Succession in The Godfather

In the 2019 Fresh Air interview by NPR’s Terry Gross, the writer and director Francis Ford Coppola travels back in time and talks about the small but crucial decisions he had to make when shooting The Godfather. While answering questions for what is classified as a crime film, Coppola says all aspects of the production had to support the theme of succession. “I would always know that as long as I was telling the story of the succession of – there was a king, and he had three sons.” says Coppola during the conversation. Indeed, The Godfather is a reflection of the collective Italian culture and their togetherness under one patriarchal roof—that is Don Corleone (as portrayed by Marlon Brando). Despite the clashing personalities of his sons, there are barely any arguments about the (then unstable) future of the family between those who enter and exit Don Corleone’s office, which appears in the film several times. Thus, the peace of the family is secured under whoever becomes the leader of the family business and has a duty for the wellbeing of all. Continue reading

[Memoir] Being “Me” During Self-Imposed Quarantine: Sanity, Where are you?

In the beginning, I played the guitar; in the end, I watercolored.

I am almost hitting the month two threshold during the piece of the pandemic that is my own. To elaborate, I’d like to think that I am experiencing the pandemic my own way, and you are living through it the way you know best. So, here is what is going down in my world (I sprained my wrist vacuuming so I’d like a set of claps right about here for persevering through it and writing).

A moment for claps.

Let’s try it again. So, here is what is going down in my world: My sleep has been good until right about a few weeks ago; as of now, I genuinely struggle and talk to the little voice in my head and try to think of the reasons why I am a good person, and hence, I should find my way to heaven after a few God-time-measures spent at a blank space (preferably white but I am almost sure it will be black). God forgive my sins for what I have written. Next? I have been fasting for religious purposes (Hey! Here is an article), and mostly feeling guilty for the days I skip a few days for no specific reason except the bloaty feeling I get every evening when we break the fast. I could spend time explaining it to you, but I probably should go off on another tangent before I hit the wall. I clearly have a lot of headaches; I am not sure if it is because of fasting or the bad air inside my house. I swear fresh air feels different. Yes, I open my windows regularly and it is not the same. I recently listened to a quaran-tune (see what I did? Patent that shit) by Justin Bieber, frankly that is not a convincing cause of the condition for my doctor that I cannot visit.  I kind of want to say thank you for listening and leave now because I poured out all the funny in me and I think that was all.

Gee, tough audience.

On a serious note, I wanted to check in with you (Hey! Here is a two-minute survey for students and grads) and see how you are doing in these challenging times. It isn’t always easy to stay still physically, but it is another deal to be still mentally. I am not doing all that great… I am just about surviving. Please reach out if I can help you in any way.

April 2020 Book, TV, and Film Roundup

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Staying home, fasting for Ramadan, and moving very little limited by the square inches of my apartment turned me into a lazy person. As a result, I came to consume media at the fastest rate humanly possible while knitting. The roundup this month is an extensive one, and even with saying that I do not think it reflects the real amount of media I consumed; there is more to it than what is written here! The good news is that I kept the roundup short this time, and this has no direct relation to my newly adopted habit of laziness. Cheers!

Other April 2020 Blog Entries

February – March 2020 Book Roundup: The Self-Isolation Edition

Top 10 Podcasts of 2020: The Next Generation Radio to Fix Your Pandemic Blues

The Shelf

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz (2007)

The author Díaz begins by taking a well-known storyline, the fat sci-fi obsessed boy who should not have any hope in life, and he makes this boy a hopeless romantic Dominican. There is an explanation for his uncool, no girlfriend type life—he is a victim of the family fukú (which means a curse). While the first few chapters introduce Oscar, the fat kid, Díaz decides the best way to explain his eternal damnation is through observing the family history as well as the political history of the Dominican Republic (DR) which the reader can follow through the footnotes. In fact, the author could have easily added another 150 pages to the book if he expanded on these notes about the Trujillo ruling. (I share similar feelings because I was born in a developing country; I appreciated his laments that may seem out of nowhere to some readers). Continue reading

Top 10 Podcasts of 2020: The Next Generation Radio to Fix Your Pandemic Blues

In an attempt to fill my excess time between cooking and cleaning in this new quarantine realm, I decided to give podcasts a try (I have always been a late bloomer; in fact, I still haven’t seen Tiger King). After a month of listening to different podcasts, I narrowed down a list for your convenience. Some of the podcasts below have informed me about the COVID-19 crisis without putting me in a depressive state, and some simply helped me put a smile on.  They are ranked and reviewed below.

Gentle Reminder: I am also looking forward to your podcast suggestions in the comments section!

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February – March 2020 Book Roundup: The Self-Isolation Edition

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Hello, fellow homebodies! There isn’t any news from me except that I am a slowly recovering screen addict these days. In between finishing every season of the four TV shows, I was watching concurrently; I was able to squeeze in a few books. I am turning into a bit of an optimistic these days, so I actually really enjoyed every one of these books and I hope you do, too. Whether you are a dreamer, a creative, or a thinker, there is a book for you— Just look below!

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