January 28, 2003
A-ml R-M Daug
BY ADAM ROTTENBERG
DAILY ARTS WRITER
FOX's monster reality hit, "American Idol,"
returned for its second season debut in a surpris-
ingly entertaining style. The reality show wave
has run rampant across television airwaves for
the past few years. However, "American Idol"
changed the basic formula of the talent show
contest by having the judges tell it like it is. It
took a relatively benign subject matter and
infused it with appealing cruelty other shows in
the genre lacked.
The first few episodes are where "American
Idol" really thrives because of the American popu-
lace's complete lack of talent. The idiocy found in
these so-called "competitors"' decisions to embar-
rass themselves on national television leads to
comes across as mildly amusing as opposed to
The episodes focusing on the talent search in
different cities showed how popular "American
Idol" has become. It's interesting to see how the
preliminary rounds offer a different look at talent
than what the rest of the show will provide. As
with last season, the talent pool will get better
each week while America votes on who will stay.
However, Simon's insults and the humor found
within the show decreases as the talent increases.
The focal point changes towards the quality of
singing and performance and the completely
inept singers will no longer be there to be berat-
ed by the judges.
While the argument can be made about
Jeff Daniels' new film
filled with local flavor
By Jaya Soni
Daily Arts Writer
Simon Cowell, the nasty British
record executive, has zero toler-
ance for bad music. He callously
berates a competitor following an
awful rendition of a song, often
causing the competitor to break
down in tears. This year, Simon is
no longer alone in not holding
back any punches; Randy Jackson,
an American record exec, has
joined to voice his intolerance.
Paula Abdul, a washed up former
Laker girl and pop-idol, still is
overly sweet and manages to annoy
America with her comments.
Tues. at 8 p.m.
and Wed. at
Simon's brashness as cruelty, he
always speaks the truth. Without
Simon Cowell, all "American Idol"
would be is a glossed up karaoke
contest. With him, it becomes
something far more entertaining.
This is FOX's only foray into reali-
ty programming without going to the
lowest common denominator (see
"Joe Millionaire," "Man vs. Beast,"
and my personal favorite "Who
Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire").
With the return of "American
Written and directed by Jeff Daniels,
and the sophomore film production of
his Purple Rose Films, "Super Sucker"
sunstantiates the diverse talent of mid-
western actors. Arising from Chelsea,
Daniels created the showcasing com-
pany after immediate success from the
production of "Escanaba en da Moon-
light" and other theatrical endeavors.
Custom to Daniels' unique style of
comedic farce, "Super Sucker" por-
trays the persistent personalities of
Midwestern "Super Sucker" salesman
Harvey Barlow and his eccentric crew.
Be careful not to mistake a "Super
Sucker" for the average suction device
typically called a vacuum. Fred Barlow
and wife Bunny Barlow (Michelle
Mountain, "Escanaba en da Moon-
light"), attribute their quaint "happi-
ness" and success to the Suckerton
regime of family cleaning devices.
However, Barlow's once legendary
career as the Johnson City, Mich.,
Courtesy orrurple Roserictures
Daniels and father fixing thelawnmower.
the vacuum cleaner and his wife in their
bedroom. As Barlow approaches the
door, moans and screams of pleasure
increase. Inside the room, he witnesses
her using the antique drapery cleaning
attachment known as the "Homemak-
er's Little Helper" to pleasure "those
hard to reach places."
The film's humor lies within the
absurdity of marketing vacuum clean-
er attachments for non-traditional
uses. Barlow's already misfit crew is
further accentuated by their outlandish
tactics to sell appliances to needy
The true highlight of the premiere was a con-
testant named Edgar, dressed and attempting to
sing like Enrique Iglesias, who, after destroying
the judge's eardrums, kept lying to everyone and
attempting to fight his way back into the contest.
New this year is the dumping of one 6f the
two annoying hosts - only Ryan Seacrest
remains. This truly is an example of addition by
subtraction. In the premiere episodes, Seacrest
focused on the backgrounds and feelings of the
contestants. Without his former partner, it
Idol," America has already shown that it welcomes
the show back with open arms with the monster
ratings its debut has received. The true indication of
the entertainment of the series as a whole, however,
will remain to be seen until the final ten contestants
are chosen. These ten will determine whether or not
the show can be successful. As much as the judges
do entertain, the majority of the people tuned in last
summer to root for their favorite contestant.
But for now, enjoy the idiocy displayed with peo-
ple who for some odd reason believe they are tal-
ented, and Simon's desire to tell them that they
most certainly are not.
Courtesy of FOX
You are absolutely dreadful. Never sing again.
The Slackers bring ska back to the Pig
Super Sucker salesman
has faded from an "up,
up, up" moral of opti-
mism. Barlow's career is
on the brink of failure
after battling and losing SUPER
to the competing Super At Shov
Sucker distribution com- Mac
pany run by the corrupt purle R
(Harve Presnell, "Patch
Adams"). Third generation Suckerton
president Cye Suckerton allows for
Barlow and Shnaebelt to compete in
one final sales contest in which the dis-
tributor with the most signed contracts
in thirty days has sole privileges to the
Johnson City market.
Initially Barlow's team seems incom-
petent compared to Schnaebelt's force
of brightly-uniformed salesman and
mass commercial tactics. With the help
of new salesman Howard Butterworth
(Matt Letscher, "The Mask of Zorro")
the group regenerates with the notion of
selling happiness. Shnaebelt's approach
seems to be selling happiness; however,
Barlow accelerates down the course of
failure. Leaving work early in disarray,
Barlow arrives at home to hear music,
women and men across
the city. Barlow's ironic
endeavors are soon
reported to the national
association "Against the
Abuses of Home Appli-
ances" and the "Home-
maker's Little Helper"
soon becomes a national
controversy. The law
prohibits such "unethi-
of equipment and Barlow's
By Thomas Burke
For the Daily
Ska is dead, right? Well, the
Slackers are coming to prove you
wrong. This seven-piece band has
been soulfully tooting its horns since
1991, with an impressive array of
accomplishments including a killer
cover of Bon Jovi's "Dead or Alive."
Their eclectic mix of reggae, ska and
jazz has earned them a spot on the
Vans Warped Tour and the Montreal
The Slackers first came together
during the third-wave ska craze of the
early '90s when Reel
Big Fish and the Mighty
Mighty Bosstones were
blaring on MTV. Their THE SL
unique sound fuses AtThe]
Caribbean reggae with
rock and jazz to produce Tomorro
the Slackers' distinctive $7 A
"Brooklyn Soul" sound.
The Slackers' mellow sound is
closely linked with the Jamaican-Al
Green combinations of Q-Maxx, Vic
Ruggiero and Glen Pine. The pulse
of Ruggiero's organ and a firm
upbeat can get your
feet moving, and Mar-
cus Gerard's bouncing
CKERS bass rhythms will keep
lind Pig you going.
The Slackers joined
at 7 p.m. Rancid's Hellcat
Ages Records in 1997,
releasing Redlight, fol-
lowed by an appearance on Hellcat's
Give 'Em the Boot compilation. As
their popularity increased, the Slack-
ers earned the honor of playing with
Joe Strummer and the Mescalleros.
On their current tour, the Slackers
have played at the Melkweg in Ams-
terdam, the Troubadour in Los Ange-
les and, after tomorrow night's show at
the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, they will
be at the notorious Fireside Bowl in
Chicago. Since their appearances are
mostly in East Coast areas and they
tend to shy away from any activity at
the major venues in Detroit, their
appearance in Ann Arbor should prove.
to be a delight for Michigan.
crew participates in a hilarious and
unorthodox cat and mouse charade.
Matt Letscher portrays his charac-
ter's naivete and persistence with
great balance. His character still lives
at home with his mother and yearns
for the opportunity for respect as a
Super Sucker salesman. Fr( 1 and
Bunny Barlow's relationship prcgress-
es from a superficial happiness and
addresses the true concerns of pleas-
ure within a marriage.
With such a bizarre plot these themes
are conveyed with subtlety and the film
serves as comedic escapism. Jeff
Daniels' versatile acting and writing
landmarks the Purple Rose Films as a
success among midwestern talent.
THE P I EPONT
2 0 0 3
YOGA FOR BEGINNERS
SUNDAYS 4:30 p.m. - 6 p.m.
2/2, 2/9, 2/16, 3/9, 3/16, 3/23
no class 2/23 or 3/2
Instructor: DAVID ROSENBERG
SECTION 1: MONDAYS 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
2/3, 2/10, 2/17,3/3, 3/10,3/17
no class 2/24
SECTION 2: THURSDAYS 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
2/6, 2/13, 2/20, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20
no class 2/27
Instructor: JIM KNAPP
..... ...- ..... - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - ---- - ..-- - - -
BALSA FOR BEGINNERS 00
TUESDAYS 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
2/4, 2/11, 2/18, 3/4, 3/11, 3/18
no class 2/25
Instructor: JOEL RODRIGUEZ
THURSDAY JANUARY 30
THE STATE THEATER
BRPO[GHT TO YOU BY THE MICHIGAN SNOWBOAPI CLUB
A $E 1 yI P&i j
TAE KWON DO
SECTION 1: TUESDAYS 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
2/4, 2/11, 2/18, 3/4, 3/11, 3/18
no class 2/25
SECTION 2: THURDAYS 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
2/6, 2/13, 2/20, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20
no class 2/27
Instructors: TOM HART & RON PROCTOR
WEDNESDAYS 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.
2/5, 2/12, 2/19, 3/5, 3/12, 3/19
no class 2/26
Instructor: LUKE GYURE
ALL CLASSES $55
Classes run 6 weeks and are held at The Pierpont Commons on North Campus.
*classes are not held during the week of Spring Break (2/22 - 3/2)