Maniac review: Netflix’s new mindbending drama

Written By: Zuzelle Ramos

Netflix continues expanding their list of original series with the addition of Maniac, a disorienting show that leaves the audience wanting more. The series stars Emma Stone as Annie Landsberg and Jonah Hill as Owen Milgrim; they take part in a clinical trial that offers help to individuals struggling with their traumatic experience.  

Junior Amanda DiPerna stated, “I really enjoyed the show because it is similar to Black Mirror in its twisted, yet fascinating way. Plus Emma Stone and Jonah Hill are amazing and play their roles so well.”  

When Annie and Owen are introduced, their characters are displayed as having polar opposite backgrounds, but even though their lives started at different routes they ended up on the same road. Annie comes from a middle class family, while Owen comes from a wealthy family. Within their families they both go through catastrophic events that leaves them scared. Through different ways they learn of the trail, they figured the trial was the only alternative for a fix with their mental health.

Before Annie and Owen were  accepted into the trial they had to go through a screening. This screening intensified the mystery of their past experiences. The audience does not trust characters when they do not know the person they are. The past experiences of characters presented in the show, give insight into who the characters are, allowing the audience to identify with the characters. Within the show Annie and Owen do not even know if they can trust each other, but when they live alternate realities together due to a malfunction, they grow closer together.  

Maniac does not have a set genre. Instead, it experiments with a mixing of science fiction, comedy, and romance. This combination allows viewers with different interests to enjoy this series together. The show captivates viewers with its unique story-telling method of fragmenting its characters into different planes of reality. Unlike most of Netflix’s other releases, which viewers criticize for being unoriginal and lacking a decent plot, Maniac is like a breath of fresh air.

 

Flying High: Students pursue aviation goals

Written By: Amir Bredy

The future is something that most high school students dread to think about in terms of deciding on career paths and life plans. One promising field that students are currently getting involved in is aviation. Alvaro Martin, Kai Tworoger, and Zion Moss are taking leaps towards their goals of becoming pilots or aeronautical engineers after college. The aviation industry is in high demand for hard working aspiring pilots, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, through 2037 there will be a need for over 635,000 new pilots  

People usually credit a good experience early in life to something that they want to get into as a career and this rings true for Tworoger. “What sparked your interest in aviation as a career in your future?”

“What sparked my interest in aviation was actually my mother. When I was child she was in architecture school and did a big 8-week trip traveling around the world studying different types or architecture in different countries. So of course, the spastic child I am no baby sitter wanted to take care of me for that long, so I got to hitch a ride. Of course, to get from country to country you had to fly or take a take a train and it all started from there. I would just stare outside that window for hours just amazed by the scenery of just blue skies and clouds,” Tworoger said.

Flying is a skill that is not easy to master but Zion gives his insight on why he is so invested in all aspects of aviation.

“I would say it’s the freedom that it gives you for a few hours at a time you’re no longer attached to the earth and you get to see the world from a greater perspective.”

Becoming an aviator is a daunting task and requires many hurdles from acquiring certain licenses to getting the required ratings to actually fly. Martin calls the process rigorous, lengthy, and expensive but worth it. He is currently working on getting his private pilot’s license next summer and has plans for his future after graduating.

“After high school I’ll then attend flight school, acquire all the necessary licenses and ratings to fly commercially. After flight school is when I will finally apply to the regional airlines,” Martin said.

The current state of commercial aviation is weakening with raw numbers of pilots going down with retirement, but airlines are still ordering new planes. This trend was introduced to Moss and he gave his perspective on the whole thing.

“Commercial aviation is moving away from having physical pilots and is moving more towards fully autonomous flights, though it’s a common trend in all industries I feel that there is an aspect in flying that only a human can comprehend and fulfill. Flying is more than just a series of calculations and maneuvers and there is no way to program that into a computer,” Moss said.

All together these talented students have operated many aircrafts like the Cessna 172SP and 208 Caravan. In addition, they have also flown planes made by Columbia and Mitsubishi all while perfecting their craft and love for flying.

“I love aviation so much, and that I can’t wait to be in the skies with my copilot Alvaro Martin who is also a fellow aviation enthusiast here at Mast Academy. One day I could be flying your route, so see you in the skies.” Tworoger said.

“Aviation is my future, it is something that will allow me to explore the world and bring on new adventures, and as such I want to do it with my co-pilot and friend, Kai” Martin said.

“All my life I’ve been aspiring to build bigger and bigger things and also to go as fast as I possibly can, and I feel that aviation is the pinnacle of both those things: engineering and speed, “Moss said.

Outward Bound: Challenges in the wilderness

Written By: Julia Cooper

MAST is the first public school in Miami to participate in a travel education program called Outward Bound. From October 26th to the 30th, seven students and six teachers traveled together to an area just outside of Asheville, North Carolina along with students and teachers from Metropolitan International School of Miami.  

Outward Bound offers a wide variety of programs both nationally and internationally from backpacking, mountaineering, whitewater rafting, canoeing, sailing, and even dog sledding expeditions. The programs focus on team-building and classroom management techniques for teachers, as well as character development and team-building skills for students. Regardless of age and position, everyone that attended the trip came away having learned some valuable lessons.

“We went rock climbing and I got all the way to the top. I couldn’t get up in the beginning, but they encouraged me to keep going and I persevered,” junior Colin Drucker said.

Participants were also excited by the beautiful fall foliage of North Carolina. The group was there at the perfect time to catch orange and red leaves on the towering maple trees without catching frostbite.

“The change of scenery and being able to see the different colors of the leaves” was what AP Biology teacher Ashli Wright was most looking forward to before leaving for the trip.

It was not all idyllic and picturesque, though.

“I think everyone was really stretched in terms of getting out of their comfort zone and doing something entirely new and sometimes unpleasant, like sleeping on the ground in freezing weather. Other times it was fun, like hiking through the mountains with Lt.Phillips singing R&B to inspire us to march on,” Spanish teacher Lynn Paisley said.

Everyone in the group participated in hiking, rock climbing and other challenging activities.

“My favorite activity would be the ropes course. I got to face my own fears and do a 30-foot swing, which was really fun,” junior Emma Moise said.

Overall, students and faculty alike enjoyed the experience of getting to bond with each other in an unfamiliar setting while simultaneously increasing their endurance, strength and appreciation for nature and each other. It was such a powerful experience for those that attended that plans are already being set in place to have a larger scale trip for the next year of Outward Bound excursions.

Ganuza off the grid: Sustainable Costa Rica

Written By: Kaylee Rodriguez

 

This summer, global perspectives teacher Mayling Ganuza swapped her fourth-floor classroom for a bamboo thatched hut. For two weeks, Ganuza immersed herself in a lush green jungle found on the southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.

Ganuza is no stranger to traveling. Among her travels include hiking trips through the jungles of Thailand and Vietnam but this trip proved to be different. This time, Ganuza actually lived and sustained herself in this type of environment for an extended period of time.

The two-week trip consisted of taking a permaculture design course at a 9-acre jungle forest farm to learn about sustainable living, regenerative agriculture, and ecological design. Despite these complex terms, the focus of the two weeks was quite basic: live off the land. Due to the remoteness of the site, inhabitants had to meet their own energy and water needs using solar-power and collecting rainwater. They also grew their own food, receiving nourishment from an entirely plant-based diet.

Coming from the United States—where consumer culture and convenience reign— daily tasks proved to be difficult.

“A challenge was doing laundry. I would wash something by hand and then hang it to dry, only to have it rain and get wet again…my clothes and sheets were perpetually wet,” Ganuza said.

Living in the jungle was far from lavish.

“The only perfume you should wear is insect repellent. I made one out of natural oils like citronella and lemongrass,” Ganuza said.

Being surrounded by nature, one truly garners a feel for its untamed beauty and rawness. The jungle offered an escape from fast-paced living and placed an emphasis on being completely present in one’s surroundings. When your surrounding is the wild, it also means living in the presence of a variety of critters and creatures.

“There were always different animals visiting, like kinkajous, sloths, and parrots. Even the insects were incredible! A praying mantis climbed on my arm and tried to fight me.”

Not only did Ganuza get to interact with the animals, but she also had an opportunity to meet with some of the indigenous population. Among these, was a medicine man who welcomed the group into the home he built himself, a two-story bungalow that resembled Disney’s Swiss Family Treehouse. Hacking their way through the jungle, the medicine man taught the group about natural medicine, picking plants and explaining their medicinal values as they walked.

With great experiences come great lessons; this trip was no exception. One lesson that Ganuza took back home is that monkeys are very dramatic and that toucans are trouble-makers so at the end of the day, it is best to stay away! Her greatest takeaway, however, was far less playful.

“The biggest lesson I learned is that there are other ways of living. I am interested in working toward a sustainable future, but we will need to break out of our air-conditioned, plastic-wrapped comfort zones and make fundamental changes on a personal and societal level for that to happen. We need to transition from being dependent consumers to responsible producers and prepare for an uncertain future of dwindling natural resources,” Ganuza said.

It is evident that Ganuza brought back far more than smelly clothes and mosquito bites. Although her trip only leant itself to two weeks of unplugged living, it offered a glimpse of a subsistence lifestyle. Ganuza hopes that this lifestyle, often left behind in history, can be incorporated into building a sustainable future.

Fun in Fiji: A community service adventure

Written By: Carolina Niebla

On June 12, Gianfranco and Giovanna Key ventured on a 16 day trip to Fiji for a program called “Rustic Pathways.” Rustic Pathways allows students from all around the world to take trips during the summer and spring break. They also provide gap year trips for college students. They participate in community service, their projects depend on where they go.

Gianfranco and Giovanna went to three different places in Fiji: the Nausori Highlands, Vaturu Dam and Kuata Island.

On the first day, they chose their partners and shopped for gifts for the host families that they were staying with. They stayed in small village houses and got to know the families.

They spent the first six days in the Nausori Highlands painting schools and building sidewalks in the village. There was only electricity from 6-10 p.m., the only time they would turn the generators on. Aside from those four hours, they had no electricity. They could not drink from the water and had to be extremely cautious.

Everybody on the trip was from different parts of the world with only one other person from Miami.

“In Kuata Island we had more leisure time. There we got to do things such as skydive and shark diving with bull sharks. These were two separate trips. For skydiving, they take you on an airport to a super small plane with only 3 people. It’s a 15 minute ride up to the top and at 14,000

feet is where you fall for about a minute. I was terrified but it was amazing,” Gianfranco said.

“The culture in Fiji is very different than it is here. Me and my friend would walk around and were offered cigarettes and the parents let their children run around everywhere without any concern of what might happen to them. One time we took a hike to a waterfall and the kids were jumping around a cliff not caring what might happen and their parents were okay with it,” Giovanna said.

In Vaturu Dam they continued their community service and spent more time getting to know everybody.

“My community service trip to Fiji humbled me in so many ways. I realized that happiness does not originate from the amenities of the first world but rather by the people and the environment that surrounds you” Gianfranco said.

 

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before: your new favorite rom-com

Written By: Rani Jivani

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them all at once? Lara Jean Song Covey’s love life goes from fantasy to reality when her love letters for every boy she has ever loved- five in all- are mysteriously mailed out and she has to confront each boy about it.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (TATBILB), previously a novel adapted into a movie, tells the romantic story between two high schoolers from different social circles: Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky. Lara Jean, a 16-year-old Korean American with an addiction to romance novels and a fear of talking to boys must fake date Peter Kavinsky, the most popular boy at school. The goal is for Lara Jean to get over her crush on her older sister’s ex-boyfriend and for Peter to make his ex-girlfriend jealous.

Of course, as in many romance novels, the two, despite their “fake” relationship, inevitably fall in love. They start bonding over many different topics, realizing that they have much more in common than they originally thought.

The movie is a throwback to the chokers, slip dresses, and scrunchies of the 90s but still has characteristics of the 21st century.

Lara Jean and Peter go to great lengths to prove to others that their relationship is real. They have each other as their background photos on their phones and talk about when to post pictures of each other on Instagram.

TATBILB turns away from the traditional all-white casts to an Asian-American protagonist, Lara Jean. When the author of TATBILB was asked about what kind of spirit the protagonist was, she responded an Asian-American with no doubt.

It is overwhelmingly rare to have an Asian-American play a main role featured in a movie; in fact, as the book was pitched as a movie, only one production company offered to keep Lara Jean Asian-American.

“I think it is very important that the movie industry incorporates more Asian-american protagonists to demonstrate representation .” said Cinthya Maldonado.

To All The Boys I’ve Ever Loved Before is a combination of the cheesiness of most teen dramas and elements of real life and relationships. It has just the right amount of high school drama, young love, and sweetness all in one 100 minute movie.

Dance to This! Troye Sivan’s new album, Bloom

Written By: Alexia Urena

Troye Sivan’s highly anticipated sophomore album, Bloom, has finally arrived. The electronic, dream pop sensation returned 3 years after the release of his debut album, Blue Neighbourhood. Sivan has garnered nearly 13 million monthly Spotify listeners, and debuted at number four on the Billboard charts upon Bloom’s release.

The album has been received to high critical acclaim; 4 stars from Rolling Stone, 8.6 by Metacritic, and 5 stars by The Independent, to name a few.

Bloom is composed of 10 tracks in a quick 36 minutes. For up-to-date fans, the album only had 5 new songs. However, the cohesiveness of the album as a whole makes up for the lack of more unreleased songs.

Sivan’s album spans a wide range of emotions and styles for old and new fans alike. Tracks like My, My, My, Bloom, and Plum are upbeat, pure fun pop songs. On the other hand, Animal and The Good Side are far more mellow, their captivating lyrics carrying the songs on their backs.

Bloom also includes two features: Postcard with Australian singer-songwriter Gordi and Dance to This with none other than Ariana Grande.  The two songs are starkly different than one other, Postcard is a sentimental ballad and “Dance to This” is more of a sweet and smooth dance track.

The album is honest and vulnerable in its lyrics. Sivan has shown his growth since Blue Neighbourhood, the songs are more brooding and deeper in meaning. Bloom covers everything from the ups and downs of relationships to Sivan exploring his sexuality.

Sivan is one of few artists who are so open about being gay, a topic that is still taboo in modern music. In Seventeen, for example, Sivan sings about his first time putting himself out to the daunting online dating scene as an innocent teenager, his uneasiness and excitement resonating with LGBTQ audiences.  

If you are looking for something to dance to or cry to- whatever suits you best- Troye Sivan’s Bloom is definitely worth the listen.