Joseph Van Vranken, Multimedia Editor
“A Merry Friggin’ Christmas” tells the story of Boyd Mitchler, played by Joel McHale, whose Christmas spirit and belief in Santa Claus were stolen at a young age by his alcoholic, ill-tempered father Mitch, played by Robin Williams.
Now a father himself, Boyd slaves tirelessly to ensure that his son doesn’t experience the same holiday disenchantment.
However, when Boyd is informed of his nephew’s baptism, which is to take place on Christmas Eve, he is forced to pack up his wife and two children and return to the last place he’d want to spend Christmas — his childhood home.
Upon arriving back home, Boyd realizes he forgot to bring his son’s Christmas present. He must then make the eight-hour, round-trip drive to save Christmas before the kids wake up.
For a film about family, the characters need to be well-written, well-acted and most of all believable.
Unfortunately, the Mitchlers don’t really fit into any of those categories.
Outside of a few stand-out performances by Williams and occasionally McHale, the Mitchler family seems as if they are meeting each other for the very first time.
Most character dialog serves only as exposition, including but not limited to stopping dinner to explain what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is and how a particular character developed it. It is clear that no one at the table is being told this for the first time. The dialog only serves to inform the viewer instead of building any kind of meaningful, let alone believable, relationships among the characters.
About 30 minutes into the film, Boyd embarks on the road trip with his father. At this point the film does pick up a little in terms of pace and interest.
Fortunately, placing the two best acted characters alone in a truck for the majority of the film helps the family dynamic just enough so that they start to appear believable. However, about half way through the road trip, the writers deem it necessary to add a third wheel to split up the father/son dynamic, after having just created it. Although the third wheel does put a damper on Williams’ and McHale’s best efforts to bring the film back, there are still a few laughs to be had during the trip itself.
Overall, “A Merry Friggin’ Christmas” doesn’t feel like the proper send off for an accomplished and beloved actor such as Robin Williams, who died earlier this year. Instead, it just feels like a mediocre Christmas flick.
Nonetheless, there are enough laughs and a sufficiently well acted performance from Williams to make the film worth renting once the Christmas season is in full swing come December, even if only to see Williams in one last leading role.
“A Merry Friggin’ Christmas” is available now for digital purchase or rental from Sycamore Pictures, with a limited theatrical release beginning November 7.
Karen Zimmermann, Contributor
“There’s no such thing as pure black or pure white,” Thomas Hilton said, pointing to the almost-black circle in the center of a pop-art geometric piece. Hilton, the exhibition director, pointed out how there was a slight amber glare on the spot from the studio lighting above.
“So pure black and pure white are more… theoretical?” I asked.
“When you add light, yes,” Hilton said.
The theme of the Monochrome exhibition was a limited palette — not just black and white, but those were the colors featured most prominently.
Lines, contrast and an emphasis on form filled the space. In fact, visitors found themselves walking on artwork composed of light variations alone — a human shadow dominated the floor.
Sketches and black-and-white photos were a natural presence, as were several kinds of prints, which were created by using a carved material like a stamp, making art from the difference between. The presence and absence of ink on the paper created the artwork. Each three dimensional piece was a single color, not simple black or white, but one that served to summarize its character.
The paintings that did incorporate an actual color – a hue – did so with power, as they stood by the black, white and grays, forcing the viewer to really con- sider the hue.
In an accidental way, Monochrome seemed to hit just in time for Halloween. A good number of the works had a spooky sense to them: undeterminable, vaguely writhing forms, sullen women looking away, unattended life- style objects, skulls and organs.
“Black-and-white images can have a dark association,” artist Anthony Curia said. Curia, a graphic design student, displayed his print of a skull and candle in the exhibition.
The next exhibition scheduled for the Rio Grande Gallery is the ACC Art Majors Exhibition. Student artwork will be on display from Nov. 12 through Dec. 11. The annual ACC Holiday Art Sale which will feature student art is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 4.
Andrew Blanton, Contributor
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott defeated Democratic nominee Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, by receiving nearly 60 percent of the votes cast, making Abbott the first new governor-elect since Rick Perry took office in 2000.
Davis, who soared into the national spotlight last year after leading a 13-hour filibuster against new state abortion legislation, received just under 39 percent of the votes.
The Texas gubernatorial race resembled midterm elections across the nation where Republicans gained ground and Democrats were left to reconsider their strategies.
“Just a few minutes ago, I called Greg Abbott to congratulate him on being elected governor of this incredible state that we call home, and I wished him the best because it is in every Texan’s interest that he have a productive four years as our next governor,”
Davis said to her supporters.
In his victory speech, Abbott said, “Whether you voted for me, against me, or didn’t vote at all, I’m going to work every single day to keep Texas the best state of America.”
Davis withdrew from a campaign to be re-elected to her Fort Worth State Senate district 10 to run against Abbott. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, defeated Democrat Libby Willis Tuesday to take the seat.
ACC Bond Election
ACC Bond Propositions 1 and 2 were approved by voters. The college will now be able to raise nearly $400 million for projects such as district- wide renovations, construction of a new campus in Leander and land banking for a new workforce training center.
“This is a huge win for ACC, our students and the community. The voters have overwhelmingly decided to invest in the future of their college,” Jeffrey Richard, chairman of the ACC Board of Trustees, said in a press release.
Although Propositions 1 and 2 passed with 56 percent of the vote, the tax cap increase put forth in Proposition 3 was rejected. The tax cap increase would have raised the tax rate by 1 cent each in fiscal years 2016, 2018 and 2020. The increase would go toward freezing tuition rates over the next four years, hiring teachers and establishing the college’s first bachelor of science in nursing degree.
Board of Trustees Election
Mark Williams, former Austin school board president, beat incumbent Tim Mahoney with 53 percent of the votes for Place 1. Places 2 and 3 are to be decided in a runoff elections. The ACC board consists of nine members who are elected for six year terms.