At Covenant College, Maclellan/Rymer’s label as the“studious building” has persisted as a dorm stereotype. Mac Movie Night 2015 provided an opportunity for residents of Maclellan/Rymer to prove that they do more than just study and read out loud from The Chronicles of Narnia. This year’s version of the annual event allowed each one of the building’s four guys’ and four girls’ halls to display their unique personalities in a demonstration of collective creativity.
Though the most vocal and visible attendees of the event are always the spiffily-attired Mac residents, on Saturday night, students from all buildings, and a few faculty and staff members gathered in the chapel to watch Mac Movie Night 2015’s line up of eight-minute films. This year’s judges were Professor Kara Funke, an adjunct professor of music; Isaiah Barnfield, Founders’ new resident director; and Covenant chaplain Grant Lowe, whose baseball cap covered his iconic hairdo.
Transitions between movies were filled with wisecracks from host and former resident of Suburbs James Taylor. Taylor aided in the introduction of hall alumni, each of whom were chosen by their former hall to introduce that hall’s film. The introductions by former hall residents proved to be both endearing and effective as additional means of revealing the diversity of character in Mac halls.
Every year brings a new set of requirements for the movies, a component of Mac Movie Night that ensures the inclusion of unifying elements in all of the films and often proves to be entertaining. Past requirements range from awkward to ostentatious—in 2013, movies had to include a handstand, and last year’s films attempted to subtly work in the official Mac Movie 2014 hashtag “takemacthenight.”This year’s requirements included need for 100% hall participation in some form, appearance of a faculty member, the inclusion of a hall relic, a Star Wars reference, and broken glass.
This year’s films followed a trend of pop culture parodies—Halcyon’s “The Hall,” Rowan’s “The Suitemates” and Sutherland’s “In All Things” attempted different types of mockumentary films, Harambe!’s “CovFeed” was a Buzzfeed-style list video, and Chi Alpha’s “Happiest Days of Our Lives” spoofed the melodrama of a soap opera. Halcyon residents assumed the personalities of characters from The Office and used just eight minutes to tell most of the punchlines from the pilot episode, while Chi Alpha’s film contained the dramatic pauses and climactic moments of a real daytime serial. Rowan actor Holly Randolph won the best actress award for delivering lines such as, “You can’t be found until you’re lost. Aristotle” in Rowan’s unscripted story of the interactions between two freshmen and their unusual suitemates.
Lawrence’s “The Search,” Suburbs’ “Wendell,” The Five Points’ “O Sasquatch, Where Art Thou,” featured original plots and storylines, with outcomes ranging from adorable to bizarre. The Five Points’ “O Sasquatch, Where Art Thou” featured original music by resident Drew Lattner, as President Halvorson commissioned the hall to kill the mythical creature “Sasquatch” with guns and hand grenades—culminating in the accidental demolition of Carter Tower (a cause for renovations). Lawrence’s “The Search” documented the hall’s quest to find a new hall relic, and included cheerful references to the forty-foot fall and injury of Lawrence resident Matthew Gidney earlier this semester.
Sutherland’s film “In All Things” won both the first place prize and the coveted people’s choice award, with actor and narrator Ian Webb receiving the award for best actor. The satirical film was a ridiculous yet hilariously accurate portrayal of Covenant College life—showing students lost in the fog on the way to breakfast, attempting to steal entire cartons of fruit from the Great Hall, and chapel staffer Leah Jones thwarting attempts to “scan-and-skip” chapel—with full-body tackles by the flagpole.
Harambe! took home the second place prize for a film thematically similar to Sutherland’s, a Buzzfeed-style video titled “CovFeed.” CovFeed featured a “video team” arriving at Covenant to record a series of cringe-worthy awkward moments familiar to many Covenant students, like getting turned down for Kilter, catching someone else moving your laundry, or seeing your professor in the gym.
The third place prize went to Suburbs for their unique yet charming film, “Wendell,” in which a hall of college guys manage to adopt an infant—“it will build community!”—and then lose him somewhere in the greater Chattanooga area. “Wendell” explored the hall’s experience attempting to first care for the baby, and then (after misplacing him) find him by anxiously traversing the scraggly mountaintops and urban jungle gyms of the geography surrounding Covenant.
Mac Movie Night is one of the most beloved Maclellan/Rymer traditions. It offers the wider campus a chance not just to enjoy a bunch of short films, but to know the halls that comprise the quirky Mac community. In the past, movie creators and viewers have had to sift through the lines between being funny but not offensive, wholesome yet not boring, and unique without being unenjoyable. The round-up of films this year showed halls that appear both earnest and enthusiastic--creating the best example of what Mac Movie Night can and should be, and certainly demonstrating the imagination and artistic ability of all of the building’s residents.