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Pitch Perfect 2: a movie review

The fictional Barden University Bellas, an-all female a capella singing group, featuring an ensemble cast that includes Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, and Alexis Knapp, perform in a competition scene in the new Universal Pictures movie, Pitch Perfect 2 (Credit: Universal Pictures)Pitch Perfect 2 is the sequel to 2012's Pitch Perfect. While it lacks the originality of the first and often goes for more low hanging fruit when it comes to the comedy, it is still an enjoyable movie, though the PG-13 rating is deserved. The film picks up three years after the first iteration with the Barden Bellas now the toast of the a cappella world after winning the national championship three years in a row. However, their popularity ends rather abruptly as a wardrobe malfunction while performing in front of the president gets them banned from the circuit. Their only recourse is to win the world championships. Such a victory is a long shot though, as no American team has ever won before on account of the fact that, as John Michael Higgins' character so eloquently states, "the whole world hates us."

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The Newsies: Seize the day

Watch official production footage from NEWSIES on Tour! (Credit: Disney on Broadway via Youtube)Infectious as the flu and jovial as Santa, the Newsies musical will leave you with a song in your head and a smile on your face. This 1992 Disney film turned stage musical chronicles the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City. In a struggle for equality and justice, the paperboys fight against newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer and his desire to improve his profits by increasing the cost of the newspapers to the delivery boys.

Affectionately called "papes," the newspapers are the livelihood of these delivery boys. These mostly orphan boys struggle day by day to survive, with their sole source of money coming from their papers and society's kindheartedness. Centered on the main character Jack Kelly, this persuasively smooth cajoler leads this group of boys to seize the day and not succumb to the greediness of Pulitzer.

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A review of Robert Putnam’s Our Kids

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert D Putnam (Credit: Simon and Schuster)Coupling heart-rending narratives with substantiated commentary, Robert Putnam's newest book Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis is a work that begs to be read and is worthy of contemplation. Putnam, termed "poet laureate of civil society" by the New York Times, argues that access to foundational, developmental institutions are becoming increasingly separate and unequal. Strong families, quality schools, and robust communities, are essential institutions to creating a social cohesion.

However, Putnam contends that the reality of today is that there has been a type of negligent individualism, which has created a divide between the haves and the have-nots. Delineating between "our kids" and "their kids," Putnam poignantly iterates that "our kids" bask in relative affluence while "their kids" traverse arduously in a world where social capital is scarce. This widening disparity between these groups has caused upward mobility to go on the endangered species list, believing it to be true that mingling between the two groups is essential to said mobility.

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