The Gentlemen: Guy Ritchie Finds Lightning in a Bottle

 

               The Gentlemen is absolutely the most entertaining and satisfying movie I have seen in recent memory.  I was not sure what to expect going in, gangster movies these days all seem to be focused on some deep sense of tragedy or moral sermon, and Guy Ritchie’s more recent films had steered away from his unique roller coaster style towards something I find much more boring.  However, by the end of the film, I was wrapped up in its’ story and passionately cheering its’ protagonists towards victory.  Without spoiling the film, as I think any and all reading should see it for themselves, I break down the nature of the characters and conflict within The Gentlemen and why they make the film great.

The characters of The Gentlemen all project their own unique sense of power while simultaneously registering to the viewer as deeply human.  Importantly, the audience is able to connect with the characters without being exposed to some deep philosophical flaw within both parties.  Mickey Pearson is likable because he sits in an extraordinary position as a powerful marijuana king pin, but now seeks something ordinary for himself, a way to sell his business and secure a quiet future for himself.  The former gives him an exciting and exotic feel, while the latter lends itself to a sense of understanding and realism for the viewer.  The character arc for the antagonist Dry Eye supplies these elements as well, only in a bit of a reversal.  Dry Eye starts the story serving under his Uncle, Lord George, a humbling experience for him that most viewers can identify with.  As the film progresses Dry Eye pursues an increasingly aggressive strategy that fuels the stories drama and pulls the viewer into the surreal.  The motivation and action of all characters in the film strikes this effective balance between the reasonable and fantastical, allowing the film to be deeply thrilling without straying too far into ridiculousness.

The implications of the conflict, or maybe better put conflicts, throughout the film subtly move between simple personal matters and preferences, to large scale impacts on our world at large.  Mickey Pearson has developed intimate relationships with his entire social and business network, most notably his wife Rosalind and his right hand man Ray.  Often plot points are resolved simply on the basis of these person to person exchanges, giving the viewer a sense that it is these little details that allowed Mickey to build his empire.  Meanwhile, Mickey’s position within the larger world is explored, including connections to the worldwide press, rival gangs, and the British aristocracy.  This supplies the story with a sense of grandness by implying that the decisions made within Mickey’s tight world will have resounding effects and even tricks the viewer into thinking that they themselves have a stake in the events.

The tone of The Gentlemen often reaches silliness or absurdity, but it also has important moments of seriousness and intensity.  This dichotomy makes the film unpredictable and exciting in a way that few others are.  I recommend it highly and hope that other artists attempt to replicate or expand on its’ style.

 

 

 

Top 5 Places that I have visited

I have been fortunate enough to travel to many great places at a young age and I hope to do a little more in the future, but for now here are my top 5 places that I have been to!

  1. Italy

I had the chance to go to Italy with my dad for 10 days. In that time period we went to a couple different cities (Venice, Rome, Cinque Terre, and Florence) each city had its own uniqueness to it. Italy as a whole has a lot of culture, art and history to it which I thought was amazing. The food was really good as well. I would definitely recommend traveling to Italy if you haven’t  been before, but go for more than 10 days because there is so much to see.

2.  Hawaii

Next would be Hawaii, I have had the chance to visit Maui and Oahu (Honolulu). Both Islands were awesome. Both places have great beaches to swim and or go surfing at. Honolulu has Pearl Harbor which has a lot history as we all know and gives you chills at the same time. Something that I thought was interesting while we were at Pearl Harbor was that there were two Japanese destroyer war ships docked in the Harbor. They were there celebrating the anniversary of the battle of Midway. So it was weird to think about the history of what happened there and to also see those ships as well. Overall I thought that Hawaii was great, lots of sun and different things to do.

3 Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

I don’t think you can go wrong with Cabo as a college kid during spring break. There is a lot of stuff to do (fishing, swimming, para sailing, jet skiing, golfing, and maybe throwing a couple beers or more into the mix on the beach). Cabo also has some great night life as far as clubs and restaurants go. The view of the ocean, the arch (in this picture),and the weather is amazing.

4. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is a great sports town even if your not a fan of Boston sports ( I am not, Go Steelers) the people are very passionate about their sports teams which, being a sports fan myself I think its awesome. The city itself is just cool, it has a mix of history for example the old narrow cobble stone streets and then you have modern day skyscrapers which gives the city a great atmosphere. The peoples accents are pretty cool too.

5. Los Angeles, California

Finally, Los Angeles has a lot of things to do and or see like the Hollywood sign, Disneyland, Universal Studios, sporting events, concerts, the beach among other things.  The food is good, there is a lot of great restaurants. One of my favorites was this Italian place in Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills is crazy, way different from Montana. There was a lot of exotic cars and the movie stars were out.

By: Hudson Smith

 

My Favorite Places Along The Oregon Trail

If you went to school in the 80’s or 90’s you probably played the computer game The Oregon Trail.  While on your exciting and fateful journey you learned about dysentery and getting run over by a wagon.  Luckily, on this journey you have very little chance of those things happening.  However, there is a high chance you will learn about our ancestors and have a bit of fun.  So let’s get started…

We’re going to begin our journey west in Independence, Missouri.  All of the historic trails—Oregon, Santa Fe, and California, started at or near Independence.  This was a popular “jumping off” point where the pioneers

could stock their wagons before their arduous journey.  Spend some time getting acquainted with the trail at the National Frontier Trails Museum. This museum researches, interprets, and preserves the history of the pioneers who traveled along the trials.  After seeing the museum head to the Independence Courthouse Square, this was the official start of The Oregon Trail.  Walk around the square and try and get a sense of what it was like to have all of your earthly possessions crammed into a wagon to set off on a dangerous journey across the continent.

Make your way west to Rock Creek Station which is near Fairbury, Nebraska.  Rock Creek Station was a Pony Express station and road ranch that served the

pioneers along the trail.  It is here where Wild Bill Hickok shot his first man.  You can see reconstructed buildings, pioneer graves and trail ruts.  While in the area you should definitely check out the wonderful Homestead National Monument in Beatrice, Nebraska.

Keep heading west to Kearney and The Great Platte River Road Archway, one of the coolest spots along the trail.  The monument is a museum that honors the people who followed the historic trails and built America.

After visiting The Archway head to the south side of the interstate to visit Ft. Kearney.  This was an important outpost along the trail, it allowed the pioneers to resupply and offered them a safe resting area in a sometimes harsh territory.

 

Continue on brave pioneer, you’re 15% finished with your journey!

 

We are next headed to the Scottsbluff area and there is A LOT to see here so make sure you have some snacks.  This would also be a great area to make your home base for a few days.  The first landmark you can see from a distance is Courthouse and Jail Rocks.

These are the first rock formations that the pioneers would have seen on their journey west.  At one time there was also a Pony Express station located here.

 

 

Just a mere fifteen miles further west stands Chimney Rock.

One of the most awe inspiring and famous landmarks along the trail, Chimney Rock rises over 300 feet above the valley.  Do you have some quarters in your pocket?  If one is a Nebraska state quarter then you will see a wagon in front of this majestic landmark.  While you’re here make sure to check out the pioneer cemetery.

After Chimney Rock head over to see the fabulous landmark Scotts Bluff National Monument.  Scotts Bluff encompasses over 3,000 acres and towers 800 feet over the valley.

Visitors to the monument can walk in the footsteps of the pioneers of the Oregon Trail, drive to the top of the bluff via the Summit Road and stand in awe at the sight of the bluffs rising up from the prairie.

Before you leave Scotts Bluff pay your respects to an Oregon Trail pioneer, Rebecca Winters. Her grave lies on the eastern side of the town of Scottsbluff at the corner of South Beltline Highway and US Highway 26.  Rebecca died in 1852 after contracting cholera, a friend chiseled her name on an iron wagon tire which still stands on her grave today.

Keep heading west, pioneer, to Ft. Laramie.  You’ve made it to Wyoming! You’re a quarter of the way there! The fort was constructed in the 1830’s to support the fur trade and it soon became the largest and most important fort on the frontier.  Travelers would stop here for several days to rest, mail letters home, and resupply.  Today you can stroll the grounds and visit some of the many restored buildings and ruins.

Just down the road a bit from Ft Laramie is the town of Guernsey where you can see Register Cliff and the Guernsey Trail Ruts.  Register Cliff contains the engravings of hundreds of trail pioneers in the soft sandstone.  Register Cliff, along with Independence Rock and Names Hill, is one of three prominent “recording areas” in Wyoming.

The Guernsey Trail Ruts, or the Oregon Trail Ruts State Historic  Site, is an amazing section of preserved trail ruts.  Decades of pioneers, wagons, and animals wore down the sandstone two to six feet.  Take some time and walk in the ruts.

Next on our journey is the town of Casper, Wyoming.  This would be an excellent place to rest for a couple of days.  While you are here make sure to visit the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center. This museum showcases the several different trails with artifacts and interactive displays.

 

Just a few miles away is Ft Caspar, this is a military post that was named for Caspar Collins who was killed during the Battle of Platte Bridge Station.  Yes, Caspar really spelled his name that way.

 

 

Independence Rock, which lies about an hour southwest of Casper, is a large, rounded monolith that is known as the “register of the desert.”  The rock was a major landmark for the pioneers, they needed to make it here by July 4th to ensure they made it across the Rocky Mountains.  If you walk all the way around the rock you’ve walked about a mile.  Also try and climb to top so you can see the many pioneer inscriptions.

Head west on Highway 287 and south on Highway 28 you’ll see some of the most gorgeous Wyoming landscapes, you’ll be traveling through what’s called South Pass.  This is also the half way point of the journey west. Hopefully, you’ll get to witness the graceful antelopes bounce through the sage.  Make sure to stop at some of the roadside pull offs where you experience both the past and present.

Next you’ll want to make your way over to Montpelier, Idaho and visit the National Oregon/California Trail Center.  This is a living-history center, which sits directly on the site of the historic Clover Creek Encampment on the Oregon Trail.  The center contains displays and artifacts and depicts the pioneers’ journey along the trail.

Fort Hall is just a short drive from Montpelier but it would have taken the pioneers several days to get there.  The fort was originally used as a fur trading post but soon became a major resupply center for the pioneers.  They had been traveling for weeks since a resupply and hundreds of thousands of immigrants made use of Fort Hall.

Keep cruising along, pioneer, we are almost there!

Just west on I84 is Three Island Crossing.  This was a major point for the pioneers.  It was here where they had to decide on whether or not to cross the dangerous Snake River.  If you remember from the Oregon Trail game many pioneers never made it across.

The last stop on this Oregon Trail journey is the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City, Oregon.  Yes, you made it to Oregon!  This 500 acre site features original Oregon Trail ruts.  The center also features dioramas, artifacts, and theater presentations.

Well, pioneers, you’ve made it to Oregon!  Hopefully, no one drowned, died of dysentery, or got bit by any snakes.  There are many more amazing places to see along the trail, hopefully you’ll be inspired to go on your own manifest destiny across the plains, prairies, and mountains of the west.

 

 

4 Affordable Spring Break Trips Flying from Missoula 

Spring break is coming up, but you’re a college student and on a budget. Understandably so, we all are. Whether you want to see a beach, dine in the city, or explore a new country, you don’t have to break the bank to spend the week enjoying somewhere new. Spring break is a time for relaxation, exploration, and being a tourist. To get you all the fun without spending a fortune, I’ve compiled a list of 4 places with flights from Missoula, hotels, Airbnbs, and activities. I encourage you to travel with a group of friends and split the costs of hotels and Airbnb.

Keep scrolling to see 4 trips out of Missoula that will fit anybody’s budget.

1. Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona is beautiful and hot. Why not Spring Break here? In March, roundtrip flights from Missoula, MT to Phoenix, AZ average to about $156.

Low-priced hotels to consider:

Airbnb’s including pools:

There are endless activities in Phoenix. I love to look at TripAdvisor: Things to do in Phoenix to get some inspiration. My recommendation would be to visit the Desert Botanical Garden.

2. Los Angeles, California

If you want to relax on the beach, explore the city, or catch a Lakers game, Los Angeles is the place for you. In March, roundtrip flights from Missoula, MT to Los Angeles, CA average to about $198.

Low priced hotels to consider:

Airbnb’s with rooftop pools:

Beachfront Airbnb’s:

Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood, and sprawling city. TripAdvisor: Things to Do in Los Angeles lists many categories featuring outdoor activities, day trips, museums, walking & biking tours, and historic sites. I would go see the Hollywood sign.

3. Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon is one of the world’s great towns for weirdness, funky neighborhoods, beer, inexpensive good food, and outdoor activities. In March, roundtrip flights from Missoula, MT to Portland, OR average to about $196. You will not fall short of a good time if you visit Portland for Spring Break. Plus, it’s only 80 miles from the coast!

Low priced hotels to consider:

Airbnb’s with a hot tub:

For the adventurers:

I’ve been to Portland several times and all I can say is if you don’t try Salt & Straw while you are there, you are doing it wrong. If you can’t find something to do during Spring Break in Portland (which I highly doubt), check out TripAdvisor: Things to Do in Portland.

4. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Are you the type of person that is itching to get out of the United States for Spring Break? I know I am. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico might just be that place for you. Of course, when you fly anywhere out of the country flights will sky-rocket. However, in March, roundtrip flights from Missoula, MT to Puerto Vallarta, MX average to about $530.

Low priced resorts to consider:

Beachfront Airbnb’s:

Hostel:

Puerto Vallarta is famous for its art and culture. There are sculptures found throughout the town, on the seaside boardwalk, and in hideaway places. If you are a beach lover, Puerto Vallarta has the second-largest bay in the world (Banderas Bay). Check out the activities TripAdvisor: Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta has to offer.

 

Author: Megan Erickson

Sources: Kayak.com, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Google Hotel Finder

Top 6 Ski Areas Near Missoula…

There are a ton of options for skiing within the western part of Montana, whether this is in our beloved home state, or one of our close neighbors. There is plenty of fresh powder to go around…

To Start off this list we are going to lay down a few guidelines. All of these ski resorts are within 200 miles of Missoula, and for those of you that were worried…They all sell beer as well.

  1. The Montana Snowbowl  (15 miles outside town)      

Snowbowl will always have a special place in the hearts of Missoulians, for its close proximity to town, and your ability to go from class to the slopes in under 20 minutes.  While Snowbowl may have its ups and downs, you can always count on good skiing when they get some fresh snow up in the bowls. Priced at $48 for a student day pass, it’s not going to break the bank too bad. But they make up for it with $4 beers in the lodge at the base.

2. Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area (105 miles outside town)

Lookout pass ski area is known as the #1 Powder Place, and they definitely live up to that name. Lookout gets the most fresh snow out of all the resorts near Missoula, and for the most part, has pretty good weather. This resort is about an hour and 45 minutes from campus and never gets too crazy so you’ll always have a parking spot. A student day pass for Lookout will run you about $46, but the snow makes it worth it!

3. Discovery Ski Area (91 miles outside town)

Discovery ski area is located about an hour and a half from Missoula and will never let you down. With a really good mix of steep groomers and powder-filled trees, this resort is perfect for everyone. For those seeking a thrill, Discovery has an expert only backside of the mountain with some truly crazy runs. The only downfall of this resort is the road up to the lodge can get pretty bad, but you’ll always be able to find a ride up from the bottom. Discovery will run you about $50 for a day pass, but you’ll be able to go on a different run every time all day.

4. Lost Trail Powder Mountain (75 miles outside town)

Lost Trail is another favorite among locals, for its close proximity to town and amazing snow. You can almost always count on fresh snow at Lost Trail, and when the Montana side is open it is absolutely mind-blowing. This resort is never too crazy, and it also has a hot spring just down the road for an after skiing relaxation break. A day pass will run you about $45 and you’ll be able to get food and beer at the base lodge for a pretty reasonable price.

5. Whitefish Mountain Resort (140 miles outside town)

Still known to many locals as “Big Mountain” because of the name change back in 2007, but none the less this mountain is absolutely insane. The most powder you can find in western Montana and offers some of the most diverse terrains. Even though this resort is pretty far from Missoula, it makes up for it with the beautiful views and the chance to go on an inversion day. A day pass will run you about $83 and that’s pretty steep for most college students, but a trick it to go buy 2 day passes for $120 from Costco.

6. Blacktail Mountain Ski Area (120 miles outside town)

Blacktail is known for having some serious terrain, with steep faces and ungroomed runs all over the mountain. This resort gets a good amount of powder and can definitely prove to be tough in some spots. With its close proximity to Whitefish, the resort is pretty easily accessible and doesn’t break the bank at $45 for a day pass.