How the heck is that movie?

Ingrid Chang

Senior Shalini Pyapali blogs, not just to write about her life, but to write about movies, books and many others

Senior Shalini Pyapali's movie blog, howtheheckisthatmovie.blogspot.com, has reviews and critiques about almost anything in the media that triggers her thoughts.

She doesn’t just watch movies; she writes about them. Whether they were good or bad, she chooses to write about the movies that have impacted her. Before long, her reviews turned into a movie blog.

Senior Shalini Pyapali has been an amateur film critic since middle school. But Pyapali came up with the idea of creating a movie blog this summer.

"It’s mainly for myself but I just decided that maybe [if] other people are interested they can also read it and put their own comments on it," Pyapali said. "I’m sure that not everyone agrees with me on what I write but my intention is to write what I feel and it doesn’t have to be universal, or something everyone agrees on."

For Pyapali, movies take her into another world and that’s why she created her movie blog. Pyapali normally critiques more in-depth compared to light-hearted movies because for her, light-hearted comedies can’t really be analyzed. Rather than watching movies merely for entertainment, she uses them to start thinking about controversial messages and hidden subtleties that may lie behind a scene.

And that’s what the movie blog is for: a place for her to put down her thoughts about these movies’ messages. When she writes about movies, she talks about how the movie relates to life.

For example, in her review of "Brokeback Mountain", Pyapali talked about forbidden love and its inability to function like normal love. At first people had told her that the movie was just sad and frustrating and leaves a person feeling empty in the end. But Pyapali decided to see for herself, and concluded with her own interpretation: the message about forbidden love and ended up writing about it in her movie blog.

Though Stellar Movie Reviews is mostly a movie blog, she is also writes about books, television shows and other media that strikes her interest.

In the past, Pyapali has made a personal blog about her own life as well, but she has made this new blog in a completely different way.

"Blogging about your feelings doesn’t have to be logical. You can just write what’s in your mind but people don’t understand what you’re saying," Pyapali said, "[In] critiquing you want to make it more directed towards other people. When you write a critique you kind of imagine that there’s someone out there reading it."

Pyapali turns to professional reviews for inspiration and to learn more about movies. But Pyapali goes beyond Robert Ebert and Richard Corliss—she also reads IMDB.com reviews.

"I remember a year ago I watched [Star Wars] and I went online and read all the reviews on IMDB on it. People were saying different things. You wouldn’t understand where people were coming from; it was kind of weird," Pyapali said, "By reading a really good review you can gain a good sense of what the movie is about and what you can get from the movie."

Currently, Pyapali has enthusiastic readers including her two friends, senior Kalyanee Chendke and junior Jessica Park.

"I thought it was a wonderful idea to put a blog [about] what kind of movie it is," Chendke said. "I was like, wow, maybe I should have thought of this before."

Park met Pyapali last year in community leadership and Pyapali showed Park the blog.

"I think it’s really quirky. I like that she takes the time to think and review movies because usually people would just go to the movies and wait for the next weekend," Park said.

Even though now Pyapali’s busy with school work and college applications, she hopes to continue her movie blog as long as she can especially if the movie makes her think.

"I feel like blogging is nice because you get to organize your thoughts to make it significant," Pyapali said. "In the future you can look back at your blog and say ‘Oh, this is what I thought, I can’t believe it’."