‘Pledge’ Questions the Horrors of Toxic Masculinity and College Social Life

Greek life is a quintessential part of the American college experience. Fraternities and sororities are known for their cult-like behavior, wild parties, and questionable hazing rituals. But rather than questioning this strange societal obsession, it has been widely accepted, and even encouraged because these groups encourage close friendships and offer the promise of potential professional connections. Fraternities are central to teen comedies, from Animal House to Neighbors— they are familiar sight and are the epitome of being a cool guy. But behind closed frat house doors, horrors can unfold. David Robbins’ Pledge captures those horrors, taking what is seen as a normal part of growing up, and pushes it to its gory, terrifying extreme — toxic masculinity is on the chopping block in Pledge. Bordering on torture porn, it questions the forms of masculinity we covet and what that means for anyone that does not fall into that very specific category.

Pledge begins with three awkward college freshmen who, in varying degrees, want nothing more than to rush a fraternity. Rushing means they will be accepted into a sacred brotherhood of booze and hot women. But unfortunately, these boys don’t fit the typical fraternity bill. They aren’t tall or muscular with perfectly-gelled blonde hair, their jokes fall flat, they have no rhythm, and they can’t stomach shots of liquor in rapid succession. They are mercilessly mocked and kicked out of every frat house they enter. Just when they are about to give up hope and resign themselves to a lonely college experience, they’re invited to another kind of rush party. It’s for a social club, which is believed to be much more elite. This all sounds like a setup in a Judd Apatow movie, where the boys will run into a series of hilarious sexual exploits. But then, the sinister undertones start rolling in.

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Podcast #3: 2018 Wrap Up, 2019 Hopefuls

Third episode of the podcast is here!

On our Patreon page we set a goal of $75 to start working on our podcast and two months ago we hit that goal, thanks to your help! Every time we gain a new Patron, we come one step closer to saving enough money to pay to our writers. You can help us with as little as $1.

In our third episode podcast host Charlie Dykstal talks with our editor-in-chief Dilara Elbir, editor Mary Beth McAndrews and staff writer Mia Vİcino about their favourite films and performances of 2018 and what they are looking forward to in 2019. Available on iTunesSpotifyGoogle Play and Stitcher.

Happy awards season everyone!

Podcast #2: Holiday Films, Specials and Emotions

Second episode of the podcast is here!

On our Patreon page we set a goal of $75 to start working on our podcast and last month we hit that goal, thanks to your help! Every time we gain a new Patron, we come one step closer to saving enough money to pay to our writers. You can help us with as little as $1.

In our second episode podcast host Charlie Dykstal talks with our editor-in-chief Dilara Elbir, editors Mary Beth McAndrews, Cassidy Olsen and staff writer Sydney Bembry about holiday films and specials. Available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Stitcher.

Happy holidays everyone!

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Podcast #1: Halloween, Horror, and Childhood Scares

Dear Much Ado readers, get ready to be listeners!

We’re so proud to share the first episode of our podcast with you. It’s been a year (and a month) since we opened Much Ado and we could never imagine how far we’d come in such a short time.

On our Patreon page we set a goal of $75 to start working on our podcast and this month we hit that goal, thanks to your help! Every time we gain a new Patron, we come one step closer to saving enough money to pay to our writers. You can help us with as little as $1.

Our first episode is about, as it should be on October 31st, Halloween! Podcast host Charlie Dykstal talks with our writers Mia Vicino, Mary Beth McAndrews and Tyler Llewyn Taing about horror films that scared them in childhood, jump scares and how cathartic horror films can be.

Listen to the first episode on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play. Don’t forget to subscribe for upcoming episodes and share your feedback with us on twitter or via e-mail at muchadoaboutcinema@gmail.com.