Skyfall does not win at all

In a little more than a week, the latest installment of the James Bond series will be released to DVD for your viewing pleasure. Except viewing this film was anything but pleasurable. Lets get a little background here. The James Bond series was recharged with the release of the film Casino Royale starring a new actor to play Bond: Daniel Craig. Craig acted the Bond part perfectly making Casino Royale an instant hit. Then came the mediocrity of Quantum of Solace that was really a plot set up movie. Everyone thought the next Bond movie would be in-your-face and fantastic. But this movie was simply disappointing.


The best way I could describe how this movie failed was that it simply wasn’t a James Bond film. It WAS a good action film, just not a James Bond film. Lets look at what makes a movie uniquely Bond: It needs a dark villain who tries to gain money or power somehow. It needs Bond to come up with a plan that outsmarts the villain. Bond needs to be hardcore, confident, and unwavering in his demeanor. And above all, there needs to be a Bond girl (I am not sexist by promoting this. I am simply stating that the movie is geared toward the male audience and based on every single other Bond movie, a Bond girl is to be expected.) Why did this movie fail in my mind? It didn’t do ANY of this. 1. The villain’s character was just made to spite Bond, and he was not witty at all. He had no motives or depth or plan to take over the world. 2. Half the movie was about Bond’s internal struggle with his past and his duty to his country. I don’t care what Bond is struggling with on the inside, I just want to see him take out the bad guys. 3. Bond is outsmarted at every turn and is beat down by the villain. Bond should never be portrayed as vulnerable, and the “master plan” to catch the villain should not be to just sit and wait and shoot him. 4. There was no strong female character attached to Bond, therefore there was no romance, a key element of every Bond movie.


All said and done, I was terribly disappointed by this movie and was hoping for a lot more out of it. Leaving the theater, I did not feel as though I had just watched a movie that belonged to a series I know and love. At best, Skyfall was a decent action movie with lots of explosions and a cool intro song by Adele. If for some reason you were on the fence about the movie and were going to wait until it came out, you are just wasting your time. I would not recommend this to anyone who wanted to watch a James Bond movie.


Grade: D+

Verdict: If you weren’t excited enough about this movie when it came out to see it right away, don’t see it at all. Please.

RCL blog 4

So this is probably one of the saddest things I have ever seen on Facebook. I am friends with a girl I went to high school with whose name is Taylor Parker. She is a sweet girl who is a year older than me and loves to ride horses. She posted this a couple days ago:

Everyone go home and hug your parents. Tell them you love them. You don’t know when the world will swipe them away. I lost the most important human in my life today and I am across the country with a delayed flight. My dad is gone and there is nothing I can do about it. Be grateful of your parents and let my Dad rest in paradise. My life will never be the same.


I am not sure the circumstances that led to her father’s passing, but it is all very sad. Her post on Facebook is one of the most beautiful, pathos driven posts I have ever seen from a friend, no matter how sad it may be. Her word choice is almost poetic when she says the world may “swipe” your parents away. The image of your parents being alive and well at one moment and they next they are quickly gone is put in my head. Immediately this passage fills me with sorrow and I sympathize with Taylor greatly. Her last sentence is very powerful as well. It leaves the reader to think about their life and how it would be with the loss of a parent, which elicits an emotional reaction from the reader.

This post is so sad and so powerful that it is needless to say that I picked up the phone and called my parents. I would imagine that the majority of people that read her post called their parents making her post very effective.

WIP 4: Rhetorical paper draft

Mark S. Ryan

Professor John Minbiole

CAS 137H

5 October 2012

A Speech to Rally the Country

            There have been few times, since the United States has became its own country, that America has been attacked on its own soil. The United States was a country born out of a rebellion, and a country whose citizens have felt as though their nation is one with a dominant military and a strong sense of nationalism. As can be expected, any event that challenges the United States military might or national pride has been, and always will be, met with a strong retaliation from the American public. This was certainly true when the United States was attacked on December 7, 1941 when Pearl Harbor was decimated by Japanese military forces. It had been a long time since the United States had been directly attacked and the people of America were certainly less than happy. They looked to their leader, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to restore the American valor. Roosevelt was charged with the duty the next day of speaking to Congress about a declaration of war on Japan. In a very simple, effective, and rhetorically driven speech, Roosevelt was able to convince Congress to declare war, while providing a sense of hope to a mourning American public

Roosevelt establishes his credibility and ethos as a speaker at the onset of his speech, which is common for most effective speeches. He begins by simply stating facts about the incident of the preceding day of the Pearl Harbor attacks. Statements like, “the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan” along with his statements about how they were in contact with the Japanese ambassador who showed no signs that the Japanese would attack show to the listener of this speech that Roosevelt knows all of the details of the attack and the U.S. relations with Japan. This establishes his credibility on the topic of the attacks and leads the listener to believe that Roosevelt knows what he is talking about when it comes to the attack.

These facts in the beginning not only build his ethos, but also appeal to the audience emotionally through is use of loaded phrases and diction. The most obvious example of this in his introduction is when he refers to the day of the attacks as “a date which will live in infamy”. He inserts this phrase as a type of side note, almost as if it has no purpose, when in reality it was very purposeful. The addition of this phrase in the speech sets the emotional tone of the speech and immediately allows the listener to identify with the words and mood of the speech as a whole. By adding this phrase that every single American agrees with on an emotional level, Roosevelt is able to lay down a foundation to construct a very effective argument. Other words in his introduction such as “suddenly and deliberately” reflect the feeling that this attack came without warning and struck the United States where it hurt. Roosevelt is mirroring the current feelings of listeners in the beginning so he can later manipulate them.

Roosevelt briefly takes a break from the emotional manipulation and primarily pathos driven argument to bolster his argument with a logos appeal. He states “It will be recorded that the distance from Hawaii to Japan makes it obvious that the attack was planned many days or even weeks ago”. He uses this deductive logical argument to prove to the listeners that it was beyond doubt that the attack from the Japanese was deliberate and meant to hurt the country. The breakdown of the his logic is sound; it takes a long time to plan an attack far away. Japan is far away, therefore Japan planned the attack a long time ago. This logic-based statement, along with the assumption that premeditated attacks are worse than spontaneous, is effective in persuading the listener that it was impossible for this attack to be spontaneous, and therefore makes Japan’s infringement on the American national pride even worse.

Roosevelt reinforces his argument that Congress need declare war on Japan with a variety of pathetic strategies throughout the rest of his speech. The most prominent of these appeals is his very obvious repetition of the words “Last night”. He repeats these words for every single country Japan had attacked the previous day in sentences that had parallel structure. The “barrage” of the words “last night” mimic how the Japanese empire destroyed Pearl Harbor with constant hit after hit. Its almost as if his speaking style mirrors the bombs dropping on the harbor and very effectively appeal to the deep sorrow and strong vengeful emotions of the audience thus leaving it to his audience to make the easy decision that we should enter the war against Japan. This appeal really sums up Roosevelt’s argument in favor of declaring war, but this is not the only argument he is trying to make at the end of his speech.

Roosevelt’s second argument, is less obvious and explicit, but is just as important and effective. The shift in the final sentences of his speech contain, again, mostly pathetic appeals, but for the argument that the United States should not give up hope because it will win the war.  He uses inclusive phrases that build a sense of national pride within his audience and the country. “But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us”. By saying “whole nation” and “against us”, Roosevelt is appealing to his audience’s patriotism and make the listener feel proud to be part of the country, even though it may have just been attacked.

Immediately after unlocking the door by appealing to American nationalism, Roosevelt is able to bust open the door of hope with just a single sentence. “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.” This goose-bump inducing sentence leaves no room to allow the listener to doubt their national pride, might, and ability to succeed in the war. Roosevelt is so certain in this statement that America is dominant enough to win an “absolute victory” through its “righteous might” that the listener is unable to doubt him. By dissecting this sentence further, it is apparent that Roosevelt is strongly appealing to the emotions of his audience through his word choice, specifically through “righteous” and “absolute”. “Righteous” implies that America was destined by and given power by some almighty entity, whether it be God or some other divine power. It implies that there is no possibility to have a might stronger than the United States’. “Absolute” implies there are no other outcomes in a war with Japan than a victory. (This mindset is also reflected on the fact that we dropped two atomic bombs on Japan to win the war.) Two simple words illicit a wide range of emotions within his listeners that solidify his argument that there is concrete hope for the United States and that the future of the country is certainly positive.

In a time of crisis in the United States, the leader of our country was able to eloquently deliver a short and punctual speech that is considered one of the greatest in American history. In a speech under 500 words, Roosevelt was able to include logos and ethos rhetorical appeals while knocking his pathetic arguments out of the park. His assumptions about his audience were correct and he was able to manipulate feelings of distain and sorrow throughout the country into feelings of urgency and hope. He convinced Congress to declare war on the Japanese Empire. He convinced the American public that their country was still strong and mighty without a doubt. He convinced everyone that the future of our country was a future filled with hope, happiness, and above all, victory.


Works Cited

“Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Pearl Harbor Address to the Nation.” American Rhetoric. Ed. Michael E. Eidenmuller. 2001-2007. 1 October 2012

Current Events Hack of the Week: President Obama

Debate season is always a good time of year. I decided weeks ago that I would write this current events blog about the first presidential debate on the 3rd of October. Going into this week, Romney had lost a lot of steam on his campaign and many people, including myself, thought this debate would kill him. Obama has always been very good at public speaking and debates. He is particularly good at his pathos and ethos appeals when making a speech. From what I saw from Romney in the primary debates, I was sure that Obama would crush him. Well as usual, I was very wrong.

I don’t think the night could have gone much better for Romney. He spoke PRETTY good and was able to hold his own against the President. But I think his success was as equal as Obama’s failure in the debate. From just basic body language, it was clear that Obama was not as enthusiastic about the debate and that showed in his responses. Romney was able to dictate the tone and throw the punches during the debate while Obama was barely able to defend himself. Obama never really threw any big hits that Romney couldn’t return. It was interesting to see the ethos aspect of this debate as well. An incumbent president SHOULD have a clear advantage in the ethos department when going into a debate like this, but there were various points throughout the debate where I felt as though Obama did not know the specifics of economic issues or plans (or Romney’s plan to fix the economy) while Romney was able to sit back and jab at the specific “failures” of Obama’s economic policy over the last four years.

All over the spectrum of the media, left to right, agree that Romney outhit Obama all night in the debate and that Obama did not do nearly as well as expected. For those who do not know much about the economic plans and strategies of either Romney or Obama and watched the debate to see, it was clear that Romney presented his side very well while discrediting Obama’s record, and the Romney took this one hands down. To me, this debate showed that the Republicans put up the best candidate to steal Obama’s spot that they could.

Highlights From Debate

I wonder what will come of this for Romney. Historically, for reasons I am not sure, the challenger of an incumbent typically does well in the first debate between the two. Will Obama come back next debate swinging? What will come of it if he doesn’t? The next few weeks will be very interesting.