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February 02, 2004 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-02-02

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8A -The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 2, 2004


.. ... _,.
_ ___

u nveils
By Bonnie Keliman
Daily Arts Writer


By Jennie Adler
Daily Arts Writer
taking the SATs is probably a memory in the
not-so-distant past for many students in Ann Arbor.
Tl test itself remains hauntingly fresh in the
minds of most, but does the significance of those
three letters still linger? "The
Perfect Score" attempts to
unearth deeper meanings The Perfect
behind the feared entrance Score
exam and shows it to be every- At Quality 16 and
thing from sick and twisted to Showcase
profoundly revealing about Paramount
lifelong truths.
Director Brian Robbins ("Varsity Blues")
wastes no time breaking into the film's heist
plot. On top of school, college application
essays and the ACTs, the fears of the SATs can
naturally drive kids to crazy extremes. With the
anxieties of persistent parents and possibilities

of (gasp) attending community college, six high
school seniors plan to steal the SAT answers but
eventually realize that their ultimate goal is not
a 1600, but instead standing up to whomever
they can - even themselves.
Ringleader Kyle (Chris Evans, "Not Another
Teen Movie") and best friend Matty (Bryan
Greenburg), sick and tired of being standardized
by the SATs, assemble a team of students
including almost every clique in high school in
a fashion similar to that of "The Breakfast
Club." There's the alternative rebel, an over-
achiever (sans the hidden drug addiction), the
star basketball player and the slacker/stoner, all
of whose personalities clash, resulting in comi-
cal banter.
With such typical stock characters, one would
assume that the roles would be easy enough to por-
tray; the script doesn't cry for Oscar-worthy talent.
But, for example, the slow-talking and emotionless
star basketball player - portrayed by real-life
NBA forward Darius Miles - only furthers the
dumb-jock stereotype and adds little to the film.

Courtesy of Paramount
Are you the two
morons from
"Dude, Where's
My Car?" I was
nominated for two
Golden Globes.
The only glimmer of hope is the rabble-rousing
Francesca, played by Scarlett Johansson ("Lost in
Translation"). There seems to be a trend with
actors taking not-so-noteworthy roles after an
Oscar performance, and Johansson follows suit.
Despite the less than challenging role of a cliched
outcast, she proves her versatility as an actress and
flawlessly delivers sharp-tongued insults reminis-
cent of those she spat in "Ghost World."
The plot is adventuresome but with all-too-pre-
dictable characters, the dialogue is left to suffer.
Self-reflexive at times, the cheesy inspirational
speech overpowers witty references to "Dawson's
Creek" and Old Navy and what would any movie
be without an overused reference to "The Matrix."
"Score" is ultimately not gritty and honest
enough to convey its potentially profound and bru-
tally honest message to the SAT board: Testing is
hellishly competitive and a poor judge of academ-
ic potential. Instead, it flounders in sub-par, soph-
omoric dialogue and worthless camera time spent

One afternoon, Gabriel Garcia
Marquez is sought out by his mother in
the cafes of Baranquilla. She has two
requests: to help sell their house in
Aracataca, Colombia, and to return to
law school instead of wasting his life
as a journalist. In all practical terms,
her journey is a failure. The house is
too decrepit to sell and her son is too
stubborn to return
to school. Against
all expectations, Living to Tell
however, the the Tale
epoch becomes By GabrielGarcia
"the most impor- Marquez
tant of all the deci- Knopf
sions I had to
make in my career as a writer. That is
to say: in my entire life."
Garcia Marquez is so inspired by the
ghosts of his past that he spends the
rest of his life trying to relate them. So
begins "Living to Tell the Tale," trans-
lated from Spanish by Edith Gross-
man, the first in a trilogy of memoirs
that recount the life story of one of the
most respected writers of our time.
In long paragraphs and winding
sentences, Garcia Marquez confiden-
tially tells the reader the most intimate
details of the first 27 years of his life.
He begins with the pivotal trip to sell
the house, jumps back to his earliest
memories of following his grandfa-
ther around the streets of Aracataca
and then meanders through his youth
in Colombia. He covers everything
from family legend and his schoolboy
years to the beginnings of his journal-
istic career and daily life in his
favorite brothels. He also tracks the
course of Colombian politics, reacting
to the assassination of liberal leader
Jorge Eliecer Gaitin - which
sparked the country's current civil war
- with mild surprise before returning
to lunch with his brothers. At times, it

seems as if Garcia Marquez has
become lost in his almost stream-of-
consciousness writing style, but in the
end he always finds his way back to
the point.
Along the way, the reader can easily
recognize many people and events
forming the basis for Garcia
Marquez's greatest works of fiction.
The story of his parents' forbidden
love affair is told in "Love in the Time
of Cholera" while the name on the
gate of a deserted banana company,
Macondo, inspires the town's name in
his Nobel prize winning "One Hun-
dred Years of Solitude."
The most striking aspect of the
memoir is Garcia Marquez's vision of
everyday life in Colombia. With rich
details and unexpected touches of
brilliance, Garcia Marquez reveals a
world where young intellectuals argue
about literature and politics for days
on end in cafes around Baranquilla.
Brothels are the writer's paradise due
to their wild nights and quiet morn-
ings and his mother, with 11 children
of her own, takes in her husband's
illegitimate sons and daughters
because they share some of the same
blood as her offspring.
Throughout most of his youth, Gar-
cia Mirquez is sickly, shy and so poor
that he cannot afford more than two
changes of clothing. Around him,
blood is continuously spilt in an end-
less civil war that tears his country
apart. But he lives to tell the tale, keep-
ing his sense of humor and love of life
throughout it all. Garcia Marquez's
first memoir is a strong, rich story of
human life and perseverance.

on guys who
wood, not the1

should earn1
big screen.

their keep on the hard-

Keys succumbs to sophomore slump

By Hussain Rahim
Daily Arts Writer
How do you follow up an album that
you spent your whole life writing? If
you're Alicia Keys, you do a little bit
of the same but with a little less than a
lifetime to replicate the original. The
pressure of an already overrated debut
looming, Keys knows that she has
much to live up to, however unfair
those expectations are. That in mind
,she launches into the familiar.
With an audacious title and intro-
duction that flirts with self-importance,
it's clear that this is an ambitious

album. Her fusion and hopping
between various genres - which made
her so popular and captured the ears
and wallets of ______________
fans worldwide A .iKe
- is on display Ala eys
yet again. From The Diary of
"Heartburn," Alicia Keys
which is a bit of J Records
throwback funk,
to the piano-drenched classic soul of
the lead single, "You Don't Know My
Name," she is still reaching across the
Her technical talent is obvious, but
what also becomes clear as the album
plays out is her lack of songwriting
ability. At her most bizarre she talks

about her medulla oblongata being
electrified, but more often it's just flat.
There is a feeling of redundancy in the
writing displayed on the album, espe-
cially when compared to Songs in A
Minor. "When You Really Love Some-
one" sounds like a diet version of "A
Woman's Worth" from her first album
in both melody and lyrics. Beside the
Kanye West-produced lead single,
nothing is immediately grabbing and
her attempts at concept songs don't
particularly work either. "Samsonite
Man" and "Dragon Days" come off as
trite and disposable.
She seems to have set a tonal quality
to her sound and it almost backs her
into a corner. It becomes the "Alicia

Keys" sound and it stagnates into
mood music. Keys clearly has found
her niche in the popular music scene,
but she's not quite there artistically. As
a disciple of the singer-songwriter tra-
dition, she is trying to find her own
unique voice, but realistically it would-
n't be the worst thing if she decided to
outsource some more of the writing,
since that is when her album is at its
strongest. When the pressure is on,
artists usually resort to internal materi-
al. Moving away from the overly per-
sonal concept of diary entries to a
more extroverted style of music would
do wonders for Keys.

Continued from Page 1A
However, the show's peak came early
with a stirring acoustic set from 22-year-
old troubadour Jackie Greene. Running
through a brief, five song set that drew
mainly from his latest album Gone
Wanderin', the Sacramento, California
native has been surprising audiences
across the country while opening for
blues luminaries Junior Brown and B.B.
King over the past two years.
A last minute addition to this year's
festival, after a powerful set opening
for Brown at the Ark in November,
Greene is a mature, focused artist
whose depth and understanding of

music excels onstage. His taut, bluesy
performance drew comparisons to an
early Bob Dylan or Woody Guthrie.
Receiving the largest ovationof the
evening, Greene is marked by an
innate ability for folk music and an
overarching artistic accomplishment.
The festival continued through Sat-
urday with performances from Seattle-
based trio Uncle Bonsai, Peter Mulvey,
Ruthie Foster, Jo Serrapere, Delta 88
and School of Music student Jeremy
Kittel. The weekend came together
with performances from two of folk
music's finest - Ralph Stanley and the
legendary Emmylou Harris. Both
evenings were emceed by jazz-vocal-
ist-cum-folk-singer Vance Gilbert.


' June 19-August 27, 2004 (3-, 5-, 6-, and 9-week sessions)
" From our new business curriculum, take accounting, marketing, and
organizational behavior
" Take one of 16 ancient and modern languages
" Stay in modern dorms and exercise in the new sports and aquatics center
. Join Field Museum paleontologist Lance Grande on a dig for
prehistoric fossils
" Learn from distinguished faculty in small class sizes
* Transfer a wide range of undergraduate courses for college credit


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