by Julia Pisani ‘21
To begin this very professional review *wink wink*, I’d like to provide a summary of the book for anyone who needs a refresher or hasn’t read it. Feel free to skip to the next paragraph if you don’t need a refresher.
Denny, a professional race car driver, buys Enzo, a wise dog. Enzo loves to watch TV and observe the people around him, and learns a lot about life and about being a good human from doing this. Denny falls in love with Eve. They get married and have a daughter named Zoë. They buy a house. Everyone is happy. Denny and Enzo go to a reunion for Eve’s side of the family. There is a bad snowstorm when they are about to leave, and they end up driving Annika, Eve’s relative, home, because the roads aren’t safe. (Annika is fifteen years old.) She convinces Denny to let her stay at his house for the night. Annika then proceeds to force herself on Denny, who declines her advances. Next, Eve gets sick. She thinks she has a virus, so she takes Zoë and travels to the hospital, leaving Enzo alone for three days while Denny is away, racing. This scene is important because it exemplifies Enzo’s intelligence and how similar it is to that of humans’. He rations his water from the toilet and only goes to the bathroom on the front mat, strategies that dogs typically are not smart enough to enact. During these three days, Enzo hallucinates, thinking Zoë’s stuffed zebra has come to life and is molesting all the other stuffed animals. He unknowingly destroys the zebra. Denny finds out that Eve doesn’t have a virus, she has cancer. As she gets sicker and Denny’s job still requires him to travel, Eve’s parents, Trish and Maxwell, convince Denny to let Zoë stay with them to be closer to her mom. Denny and Enzo stay at home and visit Eve whenever they can. Eve gets a little better and is moved from the hospital to her parents’ house, where Zoë is still living. Trish and Maxwell begin telling Denny they want Zoë to live with them permanently, and Denny says no. Eve dies. Denny is ready to collect Zoë and have her move back in with him, but Trish and Maxwell decide to start a lawsuit over child support for Zoë, who is about six years old at the time. Denny, who is short on money after paying for Eve’s bills, finds a lawyer, but struggles to consistently pay him. Luckily, the lawyer lets it slide. Suddenly, Trish and Maxwell add a twist to the story. They charge Denny with child molesting, saying that he forced himself upon Annika. This crushes Denny’s spirit because the allegation is completely false; Annika forced herself upon him, and it’s not in Denny’s character to do to anyone what she did to him. Denny is broke and about to give up, but Enzo reminds him that he must keep fighting for his daughter. One night, when taking Enzo on a walk, Denny passes by a restaurant near Annika’s house and runs into Annika. He pleads with her to testify honestly and confess that she forced herself on Denny, not the other way around. Annika listens to him and tells the truth at the trial. Denny gains custody of Zoë. He also accepts a job working for Ferrari in Italy, and plans to move there with Zoë. At the end of the book, Enzo dies of old age. As he is about to die, he remembers a documentary he saw about dogs in Mongolia, that when they die, they are laid to rest a certain way so that they can become humans in their next life. Enzo knows he is ready to be born again as a human. The epilogue of the story is set in the future. Denny and Zoë are living in Italy; Zoë is in her early twenties. Denny meets a young boy who is a big fan of his racing. Denny asks the boy’s name and he says Enzo.
Book vs. Movie
Overall, the movie was very similar to the book, as it should be. There were two key
aspects of the movie that I noticed were very different from the book. For one, in the book, Annika forces herself on Denny, and Trish and Maxwell later charge Denny with child molesting, claiming that he forced himself upon her. Imagine my surprise when, in the movie, Annika wasn’t featured as a character at all. Instead, in a moment of rage, Denny accidentally lays a hand on Maxwell, who promptly falls dramatically and clutches at his arm. Trish and
Maxwell later charge Denny with assault, although Maxwell was not injured to any degree following the encounter. It’s my guess that the movie was intended to be family friendly, and the scene with Annika was taken out and replaced with a much less intense event in order to appeal to the designated audience. If that, in fact, was the reasoning for replacing Annika’s scene, I do think the movie makers achieved it well, although it caught me off guard at first.
The second huge change that I noticed was one that I don’t necessarily agree with. I have two different opinions on this, so hear me out. A very key aspect of Enzo’s character, as seen in the book, is his knowledge. Enzo considers himself to know more than most dogs. He learns a multitude of things from watching TV and observing the humans around him; he often remarks that because he cannot speak, he is at an advantage because this setback makes him a very good listener. Throughout the book, Enzo constantly remarks about what makes a good human, and what qualities and behaviors they possess. He also continually thinks about his next life, where he wants to be a human, and what he will do with the gifts of speaking and opposable thumbs. However, there is almost no mention of this in the movie. The movie seemed more focused on the events in Denny’s life and how Enzo interpreted them. The only time the audience is really given a glimpse into Enzo’s head is in the ending scene, when Enzo is about to die, and he pictures the documentary he once saw about dogs being laid to rest in Mongolia. One part of me disagrees with this choice, because an enormous part of Enzo’s character was completely cut out from the movie. However, another part of me realizes that the movie had to undergo a few changes to better appeal to the general audience; nobody wants to watch a movie that’s exactly like the book, and it seems that Enzo’s constant human thoughts and observations had to go. This was also strategic, because it seemed that Enzo’s view about being a good human was communicated as more of an underlying effect in the movie, rather than him stating his views, like he did in the book. While I understand the reasoning behind it, I still would have liked to hear more of Enzo’s thoughts.
To begin, the casting was perfect. When I read the book, I pictured Denny to be played by Alex Roe (look him up! he looks like a Denny!), but Milo Ventimiglia, who is a very talented actor, did a really good job. Of course, Amanda Seyfried, who is also incredibly talented, played Eve. She looked just like I would picture Eve to look. When Eve was sick, Amanda’s face makeup and bald cap looked very believable and not over the top, which was nice. The actress who played Zoë was very good as well. I was glad to see that she looked her age; the movie would have been very different if Zoë was played by, say, a thirteen-year-old actress. Whoever voiced Enzo must have been the same old man that has voiced every other dog in every other dog movie, but Enzo is very wise, so the voice fit him well.
I liked the visuals a lot. It was cool to be able to see Denny racing, because that’s not something I, personally, could really picture in my head while reading the book. I loved the way the scene where Enzo takes a ride in Denny’s car is set up. That’s a really great scene from the book and I’m glad it was kept exactly the same when it was adapted.
In terms of emotional appeal, I thought the movie would be a lot more tear-jerking than it
actually was. When reading the book, I admit, I cried a little bit, but there weren’t any tears throughout the entire duration of the movie, which caught me by surprise. Everyone cries while watching a movie where the dog dies! The scene toward the end, when Enzo died, was more peaceful than sad. In retrospect, that was probably strategic, because Enzo was ready to move on to his next life. In addition, the movie wasn’t very funny. Most dog movies are either funny or sad, and this movie wasn’t necessarily skewed toward either. That I didn’t like. I think the producers and directors should have aimed for the movie to be either funny or sad overall, and because they didn’t achieve that, the movie wasn’t nearly as emotionally appealing as the book.
I’ve never heard of the director, Simon Curtis. After googling him, I concluded that I’d
never heard of any of the other movies he directed, either. (When googling Curtis, I noticed that Patrick Dempsey was one of the producers for The Art of Racing in the Rain!) Although I personally would have approached the movie differently, I have to admit that Curtis adapted the book to film very well. The film wasn’t exactly like the book, and it differed from a lot of other dog movies in the sense that Enzo’s death was more peaceful than sad. It was definitely family friendly as well. To wrap up my review, I would like to award The Art of Racing in the Rain 8.5 out of 10 stars, and, yes, I would recommend this movie.
by Jacob Repucci '19
Theater is the most social art form. However, when I say “social,” I don’t just mean “collaborative.” Other art forms may involve people working in unison to create a piece of art that follows a singular vision, but it may not require the participants to interact much on a social level. In theater, however, the final production is elevated if the actors are friends as well as collaborators. I learned this to be the case during my first major production with the TA Players, Mamma Mia! I found out that the people involved with the show really cared for each other, and that these connections made their work more entertaining.
One of the major pluses of these relationships between actors is that their on stage relationships were believable. One such relationship was between the characters of Eddie and Pepper, played by Paul Solomon ‘22 And Gabe Paulin ‘19, respectively. Because these two were friends in real life, their (often hilarious) time on stage together was more believable.
Because of the bonds between these people, not only were their on-stage relationships believable, but as they naturally joked around with each other as friends they came up with ideas that made the production more comedic. For example, a scene with a group of drunken men was made even more funny after Anna Bruner ‘19 proposed that they wear togas. Another hilarious moment was the addition of the famous “Mawwige is what bwings us together here today,” line from The Princess Bride by Matthew Balfour ‘20 during a wedding scene. More moments like this were littered throughout the production, all because friends joking around with each other came up with hilarious ideas and brought them to the directors.
Similarly, the background ensemble was made more entertaining by groups of actors who knew each other and made decisions to make their interactions more comedic. While the lead actors performed their parts on the stage, the members of the ensemble, including myself, had to keep themselves busy to keep up the illusion of a busy island taverna. As a result, they sometimes had to get creative. I always enjoyed being part of a short interaction on stage where Pepper, while working a bar I was standing by, would take a bottle (filled with water, of course) and waterfall it in my mouth as I chugged it. Plenty more members of the ensemble interacted with each other like this, leading to a more lively background and overall show.
All of these interactions made it so that the actors were having fun as they performed. We were all dancing, singing, and even performing crazy stunts (like dancing in wetsuits) with our friends, after all. This energy spilled into our movements during every dance and every song. As I learned during the course of the production, the more fun you’re having with the role, the more the audience enjoys your performance. So really, by forging bonds with each other, the cast made each dance number more entertaining for the audience.
Performing a story where one pretends to exist in a community of people is, by its very nature, a social act. Because of the social nature of the medium, those who participate in it find themselves growing closer together. As a complete newbie to theater, I found this to be the case for myself. I started out not knowing many people in the TA Players. But throughout the course of the production, I got to know more and more people as we worked, and my performance on stage got better as a result. This community is one of the major reasons why I enjoyed my time with the players so much, and why I regret joining so late in my high school career. Because of this, I would urge anyone considering whether or not they want to join the TA Players to try it out. I guarantee that they won’t regret it.
by Gaia Ayres '20, Guest Writer
The newest art exhibit at Thornton Academy, featuring reimaginings of numerous cover designs by Mrs. Merry’s Illustration class, is nothing short of a varied display. Each piece in the show depicts a completely unique style, subject, and mood, with focuses on music to movies to films to podcasts. Each artist’s work shows a great level of thought and dedication, though there are some standout pieces.
By Virginia Bradford, on behalf of the INK staff
The theme of this issue of INK is interesting places at TA.
At INK we try to collect the best artistic talent at Thornton Academy to showcase what we are capable of, and what we can do in four years at Thornton Academy. This school is a place where students can find little places to find themselves in, whether it’s in classes they love, or in little corners near the auditorium, places to explore, and halls to walk down and think about past students and past TA experiences. I feel like it’s important to find someplace to latch onto, a corner where you feel most creative and curious.
Last week, INK got to go up above the library in the former bleachers in the former gym. We got to see our workspace from a whole new angle and have some idea of what a student watching a game fifty years ago might have seen here, right in the exact spot where we were standing. Because we went up there as a group, I’ll probably think of INK the next time I’m standing above the library looking at everything.
There are plenty of places at TA where I have found memories— the staircase next to the dance studio where I like to walk up the rickety stairs and imagine I’m in a tower, the catwalk above the auditorium because I love a good view and a good scare from being so high up, the attic in the Latin Building where I spent a morning cleaning up Cinderella’s Closet, the observatory where I saw blurry stars through a telescope one night during my junior year.
Lauren Levesque, one of our advisors, says her favorite spot is the corner of the library behind the movies, where there are meetings sometimes. Grace and Izzy, two INK members, like a spot near the auditorium that they claimed when nobody wanted to stand there in the morning. I’ve seen artists put up their own personal signs in the hallway to mark a place they like to work, and musicians who always play the piano in the music room after school ends, so you can faintly hear music from “The Office” or something more elaborate and pretty, if you listen close enough.
Take a look at what this issue has to offer, like the hidden graveyard photo-- the "modern gates to Hades"-- by Ona Jurkeviciute, the summer haven that is so important to Alison Violette, and all the places at TA that made these TA writers, artists, and musicians who they are today.
By Jacob Repucci'19
National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is an important fixture in my year. It’s become a holiday of sorts where the story I’ve daydreamed about for the past year can finally be brought to life on the page.
I should back up and explain what I’m talking about. NaNoWriMo is an event that takes place over the course of the month of November, where authors all over the world endeavor to write a certain amount of words (traditionally 50,000) of a novel before the end of the month. If that sounds like it’s hard, that’s because it is. But it is so worth it.
To have a finished story on your computer at the end of the month is an amazing experience, if only because that story idea was actually finished instead of left to drift aimlessly about your brain.
Maybe you’re interested in NaNoWriMo, but have a few objections. “I don’t have the time” might be one. “Whenever I try to write it turns out horrible” might be another. But really NaNoWriMo is designed to counter both of those arguments. The idea of having a fixed word count over the month is to force you to make time for writing. Plus, if you really don’t think you can write 50k in a month, you can always lower your word count. As for thinking your writing is terrible, that’s fine! The point of NaNoWriMo is to get words on the page. If you stop to think whether your words are good or not, then you’ll be writing too slow to win. In other words, NaNoWriMo gives you permission to fail. When November is over, you can come back and edit the story into something you’re more proud of. You wouldn’t write an essay in one go, so why would you do the same for a novel, which is arguably more complex?
In closing, NaNoWriMo is a great experience that everyone should try. It’s only one month, after all, so what could really go wrong? Don’t settle for idle daydreaming about a story; get that story out there for the world to see!
By Virginia Bradford'19
Over the summer, I worked at the Portland Museum of Art, as a 2018 Homer Fellow. I was surprised to get into the program, given how many people from all across Maine were interviewed, and considering that seven would be picked. In the end, it was me, Ella, Sam, Sarah, Jayda, Pethuel, and Alice. We were set free in the museum seven hours a day, to roam the marble halls, hear the tapping of high heels on the floor and get acquainted with the sculpture garden and the secret staircase and the possibly-real Mona Lisa.
Our job was really to plan a Teen Night at the Museum in late August, and I badly wanted to bring a wooden boat for the Teen Night art recreation that I came up with at the same time as two of my coworkers. The wooden boat seemed perfect for “Diana Of The Sea”, a painting on the third floor, next to maroon walls, showing a woman in a boat surrounded by starfish and lobsters and the ocean.
by Virginia Bradford, on behalf of the INK Staff
This issue is dedicated to all the INK editors of past and present who have contributed to our magazine, giving Thornton Academy a creative, organized way to “show off our talent”. In the ten years that Barbara Barklow has guided us editors to making a beautiful platform on which to showcase our artwork, a lot has went on behind the website, behind the social media, behind the colorful posters. INK editors have their own little world behind the magazine, in the INK club.
INK has evolved over the years— on our “About Us” page, it describes how we have put our magazine on several different websites, floating around the Internet in these ten years since INK began. Right now we’re floating around Weebly, but you can view an example of a past publication here.
One thing that has stayed the same, throughout all the years and platforms since 2008, has been the pure passion and drive behind the INK editors that keep this issue moving. We are Thornton Academy students, working to make sure we always get out the next issue. And INK Club has traditionally been a place where creative students walk in and out, showing off their talent and appreciating that of others. Laura Talbot, Class of 2013, reminisces on her time in INK as a place where she learned to open up and speak more often. She also fondly remembers looking through the submissions before publication.
"I affectionately remember sorting through the newest submissions for INK and navigating Weebly to edit the official website. Every meeting we got to learn about and admire the hidden talents of our peers and to share their wonderful creativity on a wider platform."
There has been a lot of work involved in the creation of INK— many meetings, many different places to meet— but there has also been significant fun. There have been publication parties with cupcakes, lots of laughs and joyful conversation between hard-working individuals with a love for art in common. Sean Speckin writes, “Our team went from strangers to a well-oiled machine and, after two years, a family.” His full essay can be read here.
One of the INK founding members, Carly McCarthy '10, also contacted us during the making of this issue, describing how INK helped foster her creativity, and that she is "incredibly proud of how far it's come, and how hard its staff work to share Thornton Academy's creativity with the world". (McCarthy was the member who first expressed an interest in creating an arts and literature magazine at TA.)
INK has, for many of these alumni, been a short stop on the way to a creative career. Many of the skills involved with putting out the issues and bringing all the work together— writing essays, fixing mistakes, and making sure people submit their work at all— have also shown to be valuable skills in the career-minded world. One former member cites INK as the reason for eventually becoming a marketing director for a major Oklahoma newspaper company.
These 10 years of INK show just how dedicated and passionate all our INK editors, whether current students or alumni, have been to showing off TA talent, and how devoted Barbara Barklow has been to helping us along the way. We are proud to present our Spring 2018 issue of INK.
Comments courtesy of the December INK Poll
by Virginia Bradford on behalf of the INK Staff
When I first heard about the art in the gallery that had been vandalized, I was in Printmaking, hearing stories of ruined artwork meant for college portfolios, and feeling upset as I carved out triangular shapes in my Durer-inspired print. I heard that the AP Art chalk drawings had been smudged by somebody walking through the hallway, and everybody sounded so resigned and upset and angry, as if there was nothing that could be done about it.
Art is one of the best things ever invented, I think. Creativity, and the ability to hold onto some childlike wonder and imagination, and apply it to the surrounding environment, is something that should not be wasted. Artists are a special kind of people, whether they are writing or drawing, composing music or modern dancing, or anything in between.
I joined the INK staff because I find it fascinating to see people’s creativity, and to be a part of a team that can share TA’s most talented people with the world. There’s nothing like opening the submissions box the week before a new issue and hearing a song somebody made on SoundCloud, or a series of black-and-white photos, each one better than the last. It makes me appreciate Thornton Academy and all the people who are bound to be somebody.
My fellow editors feel the same way about art. Bree (Brianna Berube ‘20) says that, in response to what she likes about art, “Art is commonly misinterpreted in today's society. I believe that it is more than a hobby, more than a form of entertainment, more than just something pleasing to the senses. Art is the manifestation of the human soul. It is a window into the heart of mankind, and to me that is invaluable. It reflects cultures and experiences that are rich and emotional; art allows us to stay in touch with and understand our human nature.”
When I asked another editor, Jake (Jacob Repucci ‘19), in Advisory last week, he said, “I don’t know, I like telling stories and art is a way to get the stories in my head out Into the world, I suppose.” We made our National Novel Writing Day post using his notebook paper, before he wrote his 50,000 word novel all in the month of November.
All of us INK editors are INK editors because we love and appreciate art and the Thornton Academy art community, in all of its shapes and forms and varieties. We are editors, but we ourselves are also writers and artists and musicians. The art gallery vandalism, as upsetting as it was for so many, only made us appreciate what art really means to us— as well as to the TA community.
It inspired us to make a statement, by dedicating this December 2017 issue to our own AP Art Class, and all the Thornton Academy artists that make INK so enjoyable.
By Monica Gao'19
There were hundreds of visitors from all over the world waiting in front of the museum when I arrived there in the early morning. We all be here for the same reason—to visit one of the largest art museums in the world— the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Ballet dancers by Edgar Degas attracted my eyes, because they are so lively in terms of composition and movements. Degas was a French artist who was famous for his rendition of dancers. I also love a sculpture by him called Little Dancer of Fourteen Years. This sculpture was controversial when it was fist shown in Paris, critics considered the girl as “a deliberate image of ugliness”. Unlike older arts were made, the girl’s arms are taut, and the legs are quite twisted round, and there is tension in the pose. Degas didn’t idealize the girl; he just left the way it is, which is the reason why I particularly love this one.
Over six hours of visiting, I can see why the Met is one of the greatest and finest art museums in the world. No only because it has the world’s greatest collections, but also the architecture, the arrangements, the lighting. I have been to many other museums before, the lighting in some exhibition room were so dark that I could barely see the exhibits or descriptions. The lighting in the Met is not bright enough to hurt the exhibits, but visitors can clearly see everything. The color of wall papers perfectly match with the exhibits, all those little details like that make the Met a great museum.
The Met has great variety of exhibitions, from the 19th century European sculptures to ancient Iranian daggers, I had truly experienced different cultures and arts in these hours. I have already started to look forward to meet with the Met again.
The Well is a written and visual commentary that focuses on reviews of the arts at Thornton Academy and the greater community. With the help of Ink's publication staff, The Well exists to both inform the readers about our arts and literature events, but to also collect the ideas and opinions of the students it is meant to enlighten.