10B -The Michigan Daily - Weekend Magazine - Thursday, January 22, 2004
The Michigan Daily - Weekend Magp
TODD WEISER - WAmINGF R PTMAN
TPS REPORTS, DONALD I
WORLD OF CULT FILI
DARKO AND THE
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Courtesy La Face
"I am your neighbor!"
1. Speakerboxxx/The Love
Below, uKast -What's your
favorite Andre? Mine's the bass
player. He's dreamy.
2. The Very Best of Sheryl
Crow, Sheryl Crow -
Breaking news: Millions sue after
buying blank Sheryl Crow CDs.
Get it? Cause there s no Very Best
of Sheryl Crow.
3. The Diary of Alicia Keys,
Alicia Keys - Can't she stick to
being a waitress? What if that guy
comes in wanting a special with
4. Shock'N Y'all, Toby
Keith - For some reason, people
keep feeling the desire to buy this
crap. Damn you, Operation Iraqi
S. Closer, Josh Groban -
Don't worry, sooner or later every
soccer mom in the world will own
this and he'll slip off the charts.
6. NOW That's What I Call
Music, Various Artists - What
the fuck! There isn't a song by
7.ehe Singles 1992-2003,
No Doubt - Ah yes, still riding
that "ska was cool for 10 minutes'
8. Soulful, Ruben Studdard
- Now showing practically every
day on FOX: yet another
9. Fallen, Evanescence -
Thank god for the "Daredevil"
soundtrack, otherwise no one
would like these hacks.
10. The Black Album, Jay-
Z - The bitch song is the real
highlight of this album.
trying to define a genre may be one of the most difficult
tasks in art criticism. Breaking films, books, etc., into
genre distinctions usually turns into a list of a genre's
standard conventions rather than a clear, succinct sentence on
what a melodrama is, or what makes up a post-World War I
B-movie detective noir.
An even more difficult task is to try and define a genre
when it isn't a genre at all. This happened last semester during
one of the many film classes I've been a part ofat this fine uni-
versity. A friend you know him as esteemed Daily Music
editor Joel M. Hoard, I just call him J-Ho - and I were doing
our normal thing, sitting in the way back of the auditorium
reading the newspaper as loudly as possible, when a checklist
appeared on the out-of-focus projector screen. The checklist
compared two clear genre categories (I wasn't paying enough
attention to remember what they were, so let's just say musi-
cals and comedy) and a third category, cult movies. J-Ho and
I laughed (as quietly as possible, of course).
Musicals: a genre. Comedy: a genre. Cult movies: not
Honestly, I shouldn't be so holier than thou on this issue;
"cult movies" is historically a hard term to define. But in my
book (not the textbook, I never opened that sucker up or even
bought it, come to think of it) and in the books of most of the
classmates I talked to, this definition was blatantly wrong.
In his description of cult films, Tim "Diggler" Dirks of film-
site.org (a favorite website of Chicago Sun Times film critic
and all-around great guy Roger Ebert) writes, "Cult films are
usually strange, quirky, offbeat, eccentric, oddball, or surreal,
with outrageous, weird, unique and cartoony characters or
plots, and garish sets." "Diggler" (a nickname I made up, by
the way) gets closer to my definition than my film professor
did, but his description even seems too specific.
Basically, cult movies are films that were ignored upon their
initial theatrical release, buf slowly gained attention over the
years as more and more people saw them, liked them and then
joined the cult following. Under this definition, films with
obvious cult followings like the "Star Wars" or "Lord of the
Rings" trilogies do not count, as they were immediately loved
by everyone, not just a small group of loyal, mainstream-hat-
ing fanatics. "Star Wars" and LOTR go beyond cult films, for
they are an entire culture in themselves.
My professor's cult-as-genre description feels like a neo-
capitalist take on the art of filmmaking. A screenwriter can sit
down, planning to write a comedy. How do you write a cult
The impetus for this entire discussion was Tuesday's 58th
birthday celebration for one of the kings of cult filmn- David
Lynch, Lynch makes films which are "strange, quirky, offbeat,
eccentric, oddball, etc." They're just plain weird. Think
"Eraserhead," "Blue Velvet," "Mulholland Dr." John Waters
("Pink Flamingos") and Sam Raimi ("Evil Dead"), two of the
other kings of cult filmmaking, also gravitate toward the out-
rageous. Guys like these make the definition of cult movies as
a genre understandable. However, it's still not correct.
The ultimate cult film has to be 1975's "The Rocky Horror
Picture Show" "Rocky Horror," and the transvestite-rocking
good times it inspired, failed at the box office at first but then
found new life in midnight screenings all across the country.
The midnight screening has since been an immediate identifi-
er of a cult film. Still, while the State Theater may cause you
to think differently, not all midnight screenings are of cult
films and not all cult films are given midnight screenings.
The question now is what are the recent cult movies? It's
another tricky subject, because the whole point of cult movies
is that they're not immediately popular.
Still, modern cult films exist, and some don't fit people's
normal expectations for what a "dark, strange and difficult"
cult movie is supposed to be. Next month, we get to celebrate
the five-year anniversary of one cult film, Mike Judge's
"Office Space." In 1999, "Office Space" received average
reviews and garnered only $10 million at the box office. Today,
it's hard to find a college house without a copy of the DVD. It's
even harder to find a cubicled office without at least one ref-
erence to the movie every day. Lumbergh, PC Loadletter and
Vibe Magazine are all now synonymous with the once under-
rated comedy hijinks of Peter Gibbons, Michael Bolton and
And finally, the true point to all this rambling ... "Donnie
Darko." The Coen Brothers' "Big Lebowski" offers some
competition, but Richard Kelly's film debut about the tangent-
universe adventures of a high-school kid with a superhero's
name is playing out as the cult film choice of a new genera-
tion. Manhattan's Two Boots Theater has been showing
"Darko" every weekend at midnight for over a year. Jake
Gyllenhaal and Co. almost never found an audience after a
very-limited post-Sept. 11 release (due to the film's principal
event of a plane crash), but thanks to DVD word of mouth the
film has flourished, quickly finding its cult and making young
stars of Gyllenhall, his sister Maggie and director Kelly.
"Donnie Darko" also now finds itself as a favorite of the
State Theater and its midnight screenings. "Darko"'s 1980s
world of Sparklemotion, Frank the Bunny and Patrick Swayze
ran during the fall semester and now returns on Jan. 31st.
Cult movies are not made, they just happen. "Donne
Darko" has happened. Go join the cult. No KoolAde involved.
- eiser has so much more to say about this topic. E-mail
him about yourfavorite cult movie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
C tesyoUniversa l
"Wanna have a gasoline fight?"
Gross in millions of dollars
1. Along Came Polly
(32.4) - Ben Stiller playin a
neurotic loser? I smell Oscar.
2. The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King
(12.4) - I just hope Sean Astin
gets some sort of GLAAD
award for this.
3. Big Fish (12.3) - Tim
Burton's come a long way from
"Planet of the Apes," huh? I
mean, c'mon, Ape Lincoln?
What the hell was that?
4. Cheaper by the Dozen
(11.8)-We hear the guy from
Smallville has big feet. You
know what they say, right?
5. Torque (11.4) - Just what
we need, another plotless
movie about motorcycles. Ice
Cube's finest since "Anaconda"
6. Cold Mountain (7.9) -
Jack White plays a guy that
playsg uitar a lot.Brilliant!
T. Something's Gotta Give
(6.7) - Keanu as a doctor -
almost as believable as Jack
Nicholson still being attractive.
8. My Baby's Daddy (4.4)
- I've lost allfaith in humanity.
There is nothing good and
pure left in this world. I just
give up, ou win.
9. Caendar Girls (3.8) -
Take it off girls. Take it all off.
No, dear God, put it back on!
10. Last Samurai (3.7) -
No makeout scenes, just Tom.
How is this still on the top ten?
Students prepare for the temporary shut-down of Wolverine Access as upcoming changes are implemented.
WOLVERINE ACCESS GETS UPGRADE FOR 2004
By Katie Maie Gates
Daily Arts Writer
"I didn't go to any of my classes,"
commented Engineering senior Joe
Kuechenmeister about the first day of
class this semester. Due to the shutdown
of Wolverine Access, Kuechenmeister,
along with other students, took an extra
unexpected day of vacation. "I didn't
think I needed to print them up," he said,
"so I didn't know the rooms."
This recent malfunction of the
University's registration website has low-
ered morale about the now four-year-old
system. "You can't get into it when you
need it," said LSA sophomore Maricela
Marcinez, who had to make a trip to the
Office of the Registrar last semester to
register for a class. "It was a pain because
I couldn't log on," she said.
Wolverine Access will have another,
scheduled shutdown from 5 p.m. on
February 5 until 7 a.m. on February 10 to
change to a new version of the website.
During the outage, campus offices are
prepared to help with tasks that are usu-
ally completed online, but students are
advised to take care of important busi-
ness beforehand. Michigan
Administration Information Services,
which is in charge of Wolverine Access,
hopes to alleviate some student concerns
with this upgrade.
"We manage the University's enter-
prise-wide administrative databases,"
explained MATS Communication
Coordinator Linda Hancock Green.
MAIS includes M-Pathways, the central
system organizing information on every-
thing from payroll to admissions. "It's
a lot more than just Wolverine Access,
it is just one way of delivering infor-
mation off of the student administra-
Before Wolverine Access existed, stu-
dents had registered via telephone with
the CRISP program. Over the years, the
website has made the registration process
easier by adding a backpacking option
and providing other important student
information, like financial aid reports
"I like that you can always look at your
information, so you can warn your par-
ents ahead of time how much you're
going to owe and check your grades,"
LSA freshman Ashley Thomas said.
Despite the website shutdowns, Thomas
appreciates its convenience.
The new system, to be implemented
Feb. 10, will add greater convenience to
students with added options including:
Enhancement to the financial aid
pages allowing students to accept or
decline aid and complete the Federal
Perkins Promissory Note online a crucial
element for attaining state funds.
Paycheck information for student
employees and financial aid disburse-
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NEWS IN ENTERTAINMENT
HOT OR NOT?
Backpack and registration options
on two separate pages with a tab to move
A new graphic design.
Additionally, Wolverine Access
will become a single sign-on service
with the University's online directory,
mail.umich.edu and CourseTools
Next Generation. "When you sign
into your mail, you are also authenti-
cating to Wolverine Access and vice
versa," Green explained. "That's a
good thing, but it could also be a very
unsafe thing." Leaving Wolverine
Access open can allow other students
to take advantage of personal infor-
mation, class registration and email.
Thus, it is important for students to
remember to logout
The logout process for the new system
requires four steps: one to end the ses-
sion, one to log out of the Wolverine
Access gateway, another to confirm and
finally a security-alert box to finalize the
logout. If a student does not complete all
steps, they will remain logged into the
Engineering freshman Andy Lin, who
often uses computing sites, said he is not
concerned that his identity could be
stolen by leaving the system open."Most
people log off (the computer) before they
leave;' he said.
"It seems like the school is too psycho
about login," commented LSA sopho-
more Scott Balentine. "It's kind of
annoying." Since he uses mail and
Wolverine Access at the same time
Balentine said, "It will probably be easi-
er (to be logged into both)."
Other students complain about the
operating hours of Wolverine Access,
since it is not a 24-hour site. "Nobody
goes to bed here," said Marcinez. "It
should definitely be 24 hours."
The weekday hours are 7 a.m. to 4
a.m. during the month of January, but
will return to 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. next month.
Shutting down the site "is important
P. DIDDY'S EX WANTS HIM TO PAY UP.
Misa Hylton-Brim, who gave birth to
Sean Combs' first son Justin in 1994,
wants the hip-hop mogul to step up his
monthly child support payments to
about $30,000, reports E!Online.
The onetime Mrs. Combs slapped the
"Shake Your Tailfeather" singer with a
child-support suit last fall around the
time he raised more than $2 million for
children's charities by running in the
New York City marathon.
Hylton-Brim claims her son deserves
the same amount of support as Combs's
younger son, Christian. This would
increase the current payment of $5,000
TAKING OVER BROADWAY
The multihyphenate superstar is
going to make his Broadway debut in a
revival of "A Raisin in the Sun," author
for record keeping and reports," Gre
said. "We take a snapshot every nig
and if they were doing that on a real-tin
database, it might slow it down consid
ably. Building that snapshot takes a cc
ple of hours."
The reasoning behind the Februa
upgrade is new software created
PeopleSoft that allowed the University
abandon the expensive custom-built sy
tem now in use. "There are a lot of und
lying architectural changes that will
transparent to the students,'Green said.'
fact, we made the decision to keep the s
dent's experience as similar as we could
Lorraine Hansberry's semi-autobio-
graphical play about a black family
moving into Chicago's white suburbs,
A representative for Diddy confirmed
he will perform as the lead role of
Walter Lee Younger, originated by
Sidney Poitier on Broadway in 1959 and
reprised in the 1961 film version.
Theatergoers will see the curtain rise
on this production in April.
THIS WEEK'S TRIP TO THE PEN
Grammy-nominated artist Michael
Tyler, better known as Mystikal, was
sentenced to six years in prison after
pleading guilty to sexual battery.
CNN.com reports that Tyler forced his
hairstylist to perform sexual acts, which
his bodyguards taped. Both guards were
also charged. P. Diddy could not be
reached for comment.
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