The Harbinger Online

Senior Column: Alex Lamb, Film Critic/Convergence Editor

Photo by Grant Kendall

 

 

Alex Lamb

Position: Film Critic and Convergence Editor

College: University of Kansas

Double Major: Film and Journalism

 

 

 

“Welcome to Hollywood, kid.”

Thank you for seeing me sir, it’s an honor. I want to make a high school flick set amidst a high-functioning journalism program, from the perspective of the school film crit–

“I know, I read your letter. You have five minutes to impress me. Don’t waste my time.”

Okay, so, we open on our hero, first day of freshman year. He knows no one. He rarely sleeps. He loves movies.

Rocking a blue Hawaiian breezeback as he takes a seat in journalism class, he already knows his purpose at the school – he shall become “the movie guy.”

This wily upstart is Lamb, confident and unafraid. Once he joins the school newspaper, The Harbinger, the senior film critic Landon McDonald takes on the role of Jedi Master and accepts Lamb as his Padawan apprentice, expanding his cinematic world and training him in the art of movie reviewing.

Beckoned by the gauntlet of the cineplex, Lamb champions that arena and Landon deems him a worthy successor. From his infinite knowledge, he teaches Lamb the secrets of the universe, and Lamb forever idolizes Landon as his ultimate role model.

Sophomore year, Lamb discovers in the Harbies his second family, and it’s in the loud heckler, the T-Rex look-a-like, the feline storyteller, the music snob and the nefarious warlock from Chicago in which he develops the friendships of most value. As part of the publication’s online revolution, Lamb is even inspired to tackle video journalism, which proves most rewarding through his recording of the stories and music of the school’s coolest student bands.

At the spring convention trip that year to Portland, the Harbinger evolves into the defining aspect of Lamb’s high school experience, forever taking precedence over all other classes and activities. The race against time to the breathtaking top of a towering waterfall, the all-night editing session for competition videos (punctuated by the unconscious babbling and sleepwalking of another staffer) and the Best of Show wins for print and online mark his first full movie-like adventure.

Serving as the online video editor in addition to film critic his junior year, Lamb takes the escapades to a whole new level. He produces a trashily entertaining video story about the local teen club, which is only outsleazed by the picture of Lamb himself, smooching/eating the face of some random girl he danced with there.

At the fall journalism convention, fate leads Lamb to a chance romantic encounter with Chloe, a California girl from The Harbinger’s biggest rival publication. The star-crossed lovers even maintain a supremely quirky long-distance relationship for several remarkable months.

In the spring, the convention in Anaheim propels Lamb on the greatest adventure of his young life. He and the three biggest oddballs on Harbinger take Disneyland by storm, and then a blonde Asian beauty enchants Lamb at the j-dance. The following evening, he joins her and her awkward Asian friends amidst the amusement rides of Disneyland – an exploit so weirdly surreal that he struggles to accept it as reality.

Unexpectedly, Chloe even makes a surprise appearance at the convention, briefly reuniting with Lamb and providing closure to their affair. And to round out Anaheim, Lamb journeys on a life-changing trip through Los Angeles, including an extraordinary hike up the Hollywood Sign Mountain, then returns home a new man.

However, the most unnerving moment of his life occurs during his catastrophic interview for the following year’s online co-editorship, and his loss of the position to the hardworking newbie nearly sends him over the brink of madness. But after a self reevaluation, he recalls that he’s not some big shot editor nor is he fit for such responsibility; he’s “the movie guy,” damnit!

So Lamb focuses back on what he does best: he attains official critics circle membership, gets a job at the closest AMC theater and – a dream come true – gets to see every movie in the city for free.

During his final year on the newspaper, Lamb embodies a level of consistent quality and professionalism, exemplifying how even the least journalistic staffers – including the boy who wrote exclusively about movies – can reach their loftiest journalistic goals if they stay dedicated. His other position as convergence editor personifies this growth; Lamb becomes a leader of the website and stands at the forefront of modern journalism, bringing the print and online publications closer together in innovative new ways.

On his last day of high school, Lamb climbs onto the gym roof for his annual tradition of skyline watching and life pondering. He ruminates on the ending of an era. Satisfied with his accomplishments, he smiles.

Framed against the backdrop of the flaming sky, Lamb takes one final look before descending from the roof and driving off into the sunset – ready for whatever exciting adventures await him. Cue “Born to be Wild” and roll credits.

“Well, I think I’ll pass on your film. But I tell ya what – we can turn this into a TV series.”

AMC original programming?

“FX. Four year deal.”

Hmmm. Good enough for me. I’m in.

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Alex Lamb

Alex Lamb joined Harbinger his freshman year and became East's resident film critic. He also worked his way up from being a videographer on the Harbinger Online during its rebirth in 2009 to the convergence editor his senior year. He graduated in 2012 and still writes movie reviews, only now at the University of Kansas, where he is double majoring in Film and Media Studies and Journalism. He plans to become a movie director. Read Full »

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