‘Glass Onion’: A layered mystery

As the sun starts setting later and the wind gets colder, we all need a sunny, summer escape. “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” centers on private detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig; “Casino Royale,” “No Time to Die”), returning from the film “Knives Out.” Blanc finds himself on a private island getaway with a billionaire and his influential, famous friends. The only issue? Benoit was never meant to show up. When people start turning up dead, the investigation begins.

I’m not going to touch upon the plot much, because I feel that the best way to go into this movie is blind, without knowing much at all about what will happen. I will talk about “Knives Out,” though. “Glass Onion” is a sequel to the 2019 mystery-comedy “Knives Out,” with writer/director Rian Johnson returning. While the last film was a traditional theatrical film release, “Glass Onion” is a bit more complicated. After the success of “Knives Out,” the rights for two sequels were quickly bought by Netflix. Netflix had a company first with “Glass Onion,” as they teamed with movie theater chains Regal, AMC and Cinemark to distribute the movie for one week only, a month before the movie’s release on Netflix. I was fortunate enough to see this “sneak preview,” but I cannot wait for the wide release in December to watch the film again.

The film is driven by a smart, witty script bolstered by a great cast that deliver the comedy and tension in equal measures, with standouts being Craig’s Benoit Blanc, the detective investigating the mystery played by Janelle Monáe (“Hidden Figures”) as Cassandra Brand, a scorned former business partner of the getaway’s benefactor, and Kate Hudson’s (“Almost Famous”) Birdie Jay, a former supermodel and current businesswoman who drives some of the film’s best comedic moments. This is just scratching the surface of the cast, with Edward Norton (“Fight Club”), Kathryn Hahn (“Parks and Recreation”), Leslie Odom Jr. (“Hamilton”) and Dave Bautista (“Guardians of the Galaxy”) rounding out the cast. With ensemble films, sometimes characters fall by the wayside. “Glass Onion” doesn’t have this problem, as every actor brings something to the table and makes the film stronger as a whole. 

The movie is hilarious, but that doesn’t mean it’s a parody of the murder-mystery genre. The movie brings a story filled with twists and shocking reveals that gives the film more complexity than one may initially think. “Knives Out” established traditions that carry over into “Glass Onion,” and I’m sure they will appear in the third film as well: a large, comedic ensemble cast; someone involved in the murder that he ropes into being his assistant; and lastly, a great soundtrack. The music in the first film drew from rock bands ranging from The Rolling Stones, Gordon Lightfoot and Roxy Music. “Glass Onion” has two prominent musicians utilized throughout the film: the music of David Bowie and the Beatles, with the film even deriving its title from the Beatles’ song of the same name. The movie features other musicians though, with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Bee Gees both having songs in the film.

“Knives Out” is one of my favorite movies, and “Glass Onion” did not disappoint as a sequel. But that’s the thing. It has the same director, a returning star and character and a new murder. But is it really a sequel? The events of “Knives Out” are never acknowledged, with only a passing reference to one of the film’s elements. You don’t have to watch “Knives Out” to appreciate “Glass Onion.” If you’re a fan of the first film, I’m sure you’ll love “Glass Onion.” If you haven’t seen it? I’m still confident you’ll have a blast.

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” comes out on Netflix Dec. 23, 2022.

Title: “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”

Director: Rian Johnson

Starring: Daniel Craig, Janelle Monáe, Edward Norton

Genre: Mystery, Comedy

If you like: “Knives Out,” “Only Murders in the Building,” “See How They Run”

Shamrocks: 5 out of 5

Contact Andy Ottone at


Center for Social Concerns ends SSLPs, introduces NDBridge

The summer service learning program (SSLP) and its international counterpart (ISSLP) have been phased out by the Center for Social Concerns. NDBridge is the University’s new summer community engagement program, limited to rising sophomores. The previous programs were open to students in each of their three summers.

NDBridge will continue to offer eight-week service-based immersion experiences, a one-credit supplementary course and international options through NDBridge-International to the smaller applicant pool.

JP Shortall, associate director of the CSC, said that the new program will build on the SSLP framework.

“NDBridge will combine the best elements of the SSLP/ISSLP programs while also providing additional resources and structures to enhance and deepen the experiences of our students as they engage in domestic and global service-learning opportunities,” Shortall wrote in an email to The Observer.

Shortall cited the difficulties the previous programs faced over the past three years as the reasoning behind the CSC’s decision to replace SSLP and ISSLP with NDBridge.

“The past three years have presented significant challenges for community engagement programs both at Notre Dame and around the country,” he wrote. “As disruptive as these challenges were, they offered us an important opportunity to assess best practices in community-engaged learning, both nationally and globally,” he wrote. “In light of these assessments and changing student interests on campus, we decided it was a good time to make some changes to our summer community engagement programs.”

The program’s goal is to “get students to think hard about injustice, work with communities around the world that face it and consider their responsibility to the common good while at Notre Dame and beyond,” according to the NDBridge website

Shortall added that he hopes the Notre Dame community can gain “a sense of connection to communities around the country and the world, a sense of solidarity with their joys, hopes, griefs and challenges” through the program.

NDBridge will seek to deepen the experiences and connections of their students through the living situation for students in the program, Shortall said.

“In NDBridge rising sophomores will live with other students in intentional communities of four either at or near community partner sites,” he wrote. “Students often find themselves searching and/or disoriented after their first year in college, and programs like NDBridge serve to reorient them with meaning and purpose. The four-person intentional living-learning communities will offer opportunities to enrich the work the students are doing each day through common meals, prayer, reflection and discussion, with special emphasis on engaging with the local community.”

According to the website, “applications for NDBridge opened Oct. 31 and close at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 2, 2022.” Students will then be selected for interviews, receive offers and enroll in a preparatory course.

Shortall said that students should apply because the program “connects some of the most important things about being a person: meaning, purpose, a sense of community and self-discovery. And it’s a great way to participate in the University’s mission ‘to create a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good that will bear fruit as learning becomes service to justice.’”

The next information session for NDBridge is on Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. in the Geddes Hall coffeehouse.

You can contact Tess Brennan at


Fall is here, but I swear, summer is forever

Perhaps the start of fall isn’t marked by last Thursday’s Autumnal Equinox at 9:04 p.m. Eastern Time — maybe it’s the August 30 return of the Pumpkin Spiced Latte to Starbucks, or the day the box fans start to disappear from dorm room windows. Maybe it’s the first chill of fall you feel on an overcast day on campus or the slow, painful retirement of your flip-flops. However you define this shift, it’s happening, and everyone’s feeling it. 

Although I want nothing more than to embrace the turn of the new season, I find myself holding on for dear life to the summertime. On chilly late-night Grotto trips and sweatshirt-clad walks to DeBart, I’m thinking about legendary nights with hometown friends and summer romances. I’m thinking about saturated sunsets and mountain air and feet-dangling-out-of-car-windows. But whenever I feel this sense of loss, I remind myself that summer can be bottled. I’ve found my summer during this seasonal transition in a few songs.

The first song is “BIKE NO MORE” by brotherkenzie, which can best be described as a haunting, unfinished love letter. The dark piano melody coupled with the eerie vocals creates an otherworldly feeling. The lyrics are distant and vague like those lingering moments from summer: “Don’t you think I know you best / When you’re fast asleep on my chest? / I’ve still got so much to say.” Despite its lack of specificity lyrically, the song is made more vivid in its repetition and sonic mood. It feels like stomping through frozen flower beds, moody and satisfying. 

“Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap, an anthemic song popularized by 500 Days of Summer, opens with a glittery, tangy guitar riff that builds gradually to an epic pre-chorus. The pre-chorus is a series of snapshots that encapsulate youth and recklessness: “A moment, a love, a dream, aloud / A kiss, a cry, our rights, our wrongs.” The song invites listeners to plug in their own kisses, cries and mistakes — it’s a montage of our youth. It’s frantic and desperate, but also slow, mesmerizing and complex. 

The most gut-wrenching song is “Wish on an Eyelash” by Mallrat. The song is less than a minute long but creates a mood of longing that survives the track. Singer Grace Kathleen Elizabeth Shaw delivers crisp, angelic vocals detailing her pining: “I made a wish on an eyelash / Made a wish on elevens / Made a wish on my birthday / Talk about you to heaven.” The song is ethereal and somber, reminiscent of summers spent full of yearning, blowing on dandelions and hoping for things seemingly out of reach. 

“September” by Roy Blair is the most obvious transitional song for this time of year. It chronicles the end of a relationship, but with a glimmer of hope for the future. Blair contextualizes the narrative, singing, “I haven’t seen your face in about three months now.” He includes concrete images of a drunk walk home and his former lover’s Honda Accord, with commentary and reflection. He pleads, “Wish that we still talked / Even if the talk was small.” The song is as much in the now as it is in the past; it is one foot in and one foot out. But, above all, the song is about acceptance that all good things must end, whether that be a season or a relationship.

Surf Curse’s “Lost Honor” is an upbeat grunge rock song that is full of anticipation and excitement. Guitarist Jacob Rubeck told Flood Magazine, “This song is about fighting for love that feels right.” From New Year’s memories and hands on hips, frontman Nick Rattigan details and discerns precious moments, but asserts that “A final kiss never dies.” When I hear this song, I feel so sure that nothing ever dies. Nothing ever goes away.

The beauty of these songs is in their breadth, but mostly in their ability to capture this indescribable feeling that we call Summer. The songs are full of longing and anger and mourning and freedom. The songs sound like those invaluable fast food runs with hometown friends and Culver’s runs in South Bend with school friends. The songs sound like curling up in a ball in your childhood bedroom and sobbing salty tears at the Grotto. The songs transcend time and place. They are not summer songs — they are forever songs. Because surely our falls will be full of longing; surely our winters will be full of joy; surely our springs will be full of “rights” and “wrongs.” Because every season brings so much new and so much of the same. 

As we trade our t-shirts and shorts for sweatshirts and jeans, I hope we all call upon those moments of bliss from the summertime with the knowledge that bliss will return in time. Maybe we won’t find it in Hesburgh Library at 2 a.m. cramming for a midterm, but we will find it somewhere in Notre Dame, Indiana, perhaps when we least expect it. 

Kate Casper (aka, Casper, Underdog, or Jasmine) is from Northern Virginia, currently residing in Breen-Phillips Hall. She strives to be the best waste of your time. You can contact her at


Grant to help provide pre-college programming for underserved high school students

The Notre Dame office of pre-college programming has received a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc, a private charitable organization based in Indianapolis. The funding provided by this grant will go towards providing pre-college programming for teens from underserved high schools in Indiana. 

The Lilly Endowment has offered other grants in the tri-campus community, including one to promote mental health in Notre Dame residence halls called the ‘People With Hope to Bring Initiative.’

To be eligible for the grant, Paul Mueller explained that high schoolers must come from an underserved high school in Indiana.

Mueller, who is the director of the office of pre-college programming, said his department determines which schools are considered underserved using a variety of factors. 

 “We use professional judgment from our admissions counselors that visit these high schools to flag schools that they thought might fit an underserved criteria. In other cases, we use federal rules to determine whether a school was underserved or under-resourced,” he said.

The grant will be used to reach out to high school students who otherwise might not have been thinking about college, Mueller said.

“Our traditional ‘Summer Scholars’ student has already been thinking about college. So, this population that Lilly is funding is a little bit of an outreach population to get their college search activated,” he explained.

Because of the additional funding from the endowment, Mueller said the pre-college office has grown its ‘Summer Scholars’ program to accommodate more students.

 “We’re growing summer programs, probably by about 25 percent next year and another 25 percent the subsequent years as a result of this,” Mueller said.

The ‘Summer Scholars’ program brings students onto Notre Dame’s campus where they take a course taught by Notre Dame faculty. Last year, there were 450 students in one session of the program, however, Mueller said that by next year it is expanding to two sessions with the total number of students between 555 and 575.

One of the main changes brought on by the grant is that the program will now include a college fair as a way of connecting students to other Indiana schools, Mueller said.

“The biggest difference for the students will be that we’re adding a college fair, where we’re asking our other Indiana colleges to come up and talk about what they have to offer. It’s a recognition that especially from the Lilly-funded students, not all of them will be able to get into Notre Dame, so let’s give them the opportunity to explore what other options they might have in the state,” he said.

Muller explained that the goal is to help underserved high school students put themselves in college students’ shoes and begin to think about the possibility of attending college. 

“The biggest benefit is to get them onto campus and get them projecting themselves at a four-year college, thinking about ‘this is possible. I can do this,’” he said.

Notre Dame students can get involved with pre-college programming as resident counselors, Mueller said. The students are hired as staff in the dorms. 

“[The summer staff] provide leadership. They show students the ropes, they get them to the dining halls on time and into their classes on time. So, it’s a terrific summer employment opportunity for people that are really interested in working with high school students,” Mueller said.

Contact Colleen at