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Local Knights of Columbus announce essay winners -11/21/2014, 8:57 AM

Grocery collection for ECMA on Saturday -11/21/2014, 8:56 AM

Feast on these holiday savings this season -11/20/2014, 8:13 AM

Birthdays (Nov. 20, 2014) -11/20/2014, 8:13 AM

HPMH partners with counties for outreach -11/19/2014, 3:49 PM

Kansas Next Step announces honors -11/19/2014, 2:09 PM

Senior volunteers honored for years of service to communities -11/19/2014, 9:09 AM

Living life by the five senses -- plus another -11/19/2014, 9:09 AM

'Big Hero 6' is slightly under-inflated -11/18/2014, 9:15 AM

KHP gives tips for safe Thanksgiving travel -11/17/2014, 1:06 PM

Latest donations move FHSU closer to goal -11/17/2014, 1:06 PM

Kansas is reading to preschoolers -11/17/2014, 12:56 PM

Great American Smokeout is Thursday -11/17/2014, 11:35 AM

Keep little helpers safe in kitchen -11/17/2014, 11:35 AM

Moran receives Legislator of Year Award from home care association -11/17/2014, 11:26 AM

Hammond named to fraternity commission -11/17/2014, 9:45 AM

No stepfamily is immune to holiday stress -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Community Bulletin Board (Nov. 17, 2014) -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Get the most from grazing crop residue -11/16/2014, 5:35 PM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 16, 2014) -11/16/2014, 12:52 PM

Choice overload -11/14/2014, 9:05 AM

God and Ebola -11/14/2014, 9:05 AM

Birthday -11/13/2014, 8:30 AM

10 tips for stress-free Thanksgiving cooking, planning -11/13/2014, 8:30 AM

Do you need that annual mammogram? -11/12/2014, 11:52 AM

'Warcraft' preview stirs excitement; 'Interstellar' is solid -11/11/2014, 8:40 AM

Favorite coffee cake and being introduced to Sassy Sundae -11/11/2014, 8:40 AM

Many types of stressors can affect holidays -11/10/2014, 9:09 AM

Time for film's encore, German cooking at library -11/10/2014, 9:09 AM

Business Briefcase (Nov. 9, 2014) -11/9/2014, 4:30 PM

Westview hosting youth lock-in -11/7/2014, 8:22 AM

A prayer that stands the test of time still holds true today -11/7/2014, 8:22 AM

Extension program gives tech tips for parents -11/6/2014, 9:24 AM

Birthdays -11/6/2014, 9:24 AM

Foreigners must report land holdings -11/5/2014, 3:39 PM

Jana's Campaign fundraiser nets $33,000 -11/5/2014, 10:29 AM

Getting out and voting, because I can -11/5/2014, 8:40 AM

Waterline works will hamper traffic -11/4/2014, 4:08 PM

Email issues resolved -11/4/2014, 11:43 AM

Gloria's birthday present, followed by barbecue pizza -11/4/2014, 8:41 AM

Many live in stepfamilies in United States today -11/3/2014, 8:58 AM

Taking care in providing proper animal health -11/2/2014, 8:31 AM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 2, 2014) -11/2/2014, 11:10 AM

After 5 gathering Nov. 10 in Hays -10/31/2014, 7:50 AM

Time for trick or treating -10/31/2014, 7:49 AM

Gella's to show Turning Points film encore -10/30/2014, 1:53 PM

State's Cold Weather Rule takes effect Saturday -10/29/2014, 9:33 AM

'John Wick' is efficient excitement for flick -10/28/2014, 9:07 AM

Serving up homemade cinnamon rolls -10/28/2014, 9:07 AM

Hansen Foundation awards grant to HaysMed Foundation -10/27/2014, 10:20 AM

HaysMed's cardiovascular-stroke team earns award -10/27/2014, 10:11 AM

Signs of suicide in teens should be dealt with quickly -10/27/2014, 8:58 AM

c_ -10/26/2014, 5:57 PM

Rosary rally takes place in Liebenthal -10/24/2014, 8:37 AM

Pink Impact conference coming to North Oak -10/24/2014, 8:37 AM

Living by the law of love in today's society -10/24/2014, 8:37 AM

Dominican Sisters host annual mission benefit bazaar -10/24/2014, 8:37 AM

'The Ogallala Road' author to speak at FHSU -10/23/2014, 9:40 AM

Industry support leads to welding awards for NCK Tech -10/23/2014, 9:24 AM

Birthday -10/23/2014, 9:24 AM

Natoma group elects new officers -10/23/2014, 9:24 AM

Tricks to making jams and jellies for holiday giving -10/23/2014, 9:24 AM

'Fury' is visceral and slightly shapeless -10/22/2014, 10:20 AM

Singing, making cheese and doing laundry all part of chores -10/21/2014, 8:51 AM

Parenting adolescents no easy chore for parents -10/20/2014, 9:47 AM

Breaking down using distillers grains on the ranch -10/19/2014, 1:12 PM

Business Briefcase (Oct. 19, 2014) -10/19/2014, 1:12 PM

Clubs and meetings (Oct. 19, 2014) -10/19/2014, 2:24 PM

2014 Kansas Speaks Survey finds wide dissatisfaction with politics -10/17/2014, 3:54 PM

Stamper memorial scholarship awarded at KSU -10/17/2014, 2:24 PM

Adding Christ's love to everyday situations wards off harm -10/17/2014, 9:14 AM

Producers hope to cash in on commercial -10/16/2014, 8:22 AM

Finding out you're technologically challenged -10/15/2014, 8:51 AM

Phillipsburg couple part of new Beach museum exhibit -10/15/2014, 4:25 PM

Medicare open enrollment begins Wednesday -10/14/2014, 3:21 PM

A corn roast and mountain pies -10/14/2014, 8:16 AM

'The Judge' bends and breaks -10/14/2014, 8:16 AM

Tips to helping children be good eaters for mom and dad -10/13/2014, 3:59 PM

Mother-daughter relationships can be difficult -10/13/2014, 9:04 AM

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History, known management available in SunSup -10/12/2014, 11:33 AM

Clubs and meetings (Oct. 12, 2014) -10/12/2014, 11:33 AM

Let go of unhappiness -10/10/2014, 8:12 AM

Money personality affects life, relationships -10/10/2014, 8:12 AM

Spring cleaning in the fall -10/8/2014, 8:13 AM

'Gone Girl' jump starts end-of-the-year cinema -10/7/2014, 10:04 AM

Amish PTA and fried rice -10/7/2014, 8:16 AM

Palco native Romine to retire from KSHSAA -10/6/2014, 2:30 PM

Dealing with argumentative teens a challenge -10/6/2014, 9:02 AM

Clubs and meetings (Oct. 5, 2014) -10/5/2014, 2:51 PM

Business Briefcase (Oct. 5, 2014) -10/5/2014, 2:51 PM

BVD testing could pay off big for farmers and ranchers -10/5/2014, 2:42 PM

To whom do we listen -10/3/2014, 8:49 AM

Hays After 5 meeting Oct. 13 -10/3/2014, 8:49 AM

Ellis County FSA with limited staff this week -10/2/2014, 1:56 PM

Holiday instant scratch tickets now on sale -10/2/2014, 9:44 AM

Former Obama press secretary launches Sebelius Lecture Series -10/1/2014, 2:18 PM

Photographs of rural life in China on exhibit in FHSU's Memorial Union -10/1/2014, 10:32 AM

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'The Counselor' digs its own grave

Published on -10/29/2013, 10:07 AM

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My article title this week provides an exceedingly appropriate summary of "The Counselor" -- which is very unfortunate.

The narrative is needlessly complex and makes the all-star cast constantly run into invisible walls. What's worse is that film chooses its weak narrative over its characters at every single turn.

The perfect representation of this, and the inspiration for my title, is that the main character doesn't have a name. Michael Fassbender, who I very much enjoy, is referred to only as "Counselor." This is easily the film's greatest failure. How can an audience possibly be expected to connect with a character that doesn't have a name, a history or even an interesting title?

Swap "counselor" out of the title and replace it with "attorney," and the parody movie basically writes itself.

That this film was directed by Ridley Scott, the man who gave us films like "Alien," "Gladiator" and "Black Hawk Down," is nothing short of an old-fashioned bummer.

Beyond the big-picture missteps, the entire film is littered with clumsy plot obstacles and unnecessary detours. "The Counselor" is a difficult film to follow, but the real punchline is that I just didn't care to. Only one of the characters resonates on a human level, and that character is used almost entirely for plot advancement.

The ultimate test of any decision is making the same choice after learning part or all of the consequences. As much as I didn't enjoy "The Counselor," I still would make the choice to see it before I would subject myself to seeing "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa."

I would rather suffer through what seemed like four hours of a poorly conceived and decidedly unthrilling thriller than watch "Bad Grandpa" and give any justification to the idea that it's acceptable to make strangers uncomfortable for amusement.

2 of 6 stars

James Gerstner works at Fort Hays State University Foundation. james.gerstner@gmail.com

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