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April 06, 2004 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-04-06

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Tuesday
April 6, 2004
arts.michigandaily.com
artseditor@michigandaily.com

RhTtg S

7

ZACH
MABEE

Rock's way: Man it

's good

im confident that most people
agree with me when I proclaim
that action flicks ought to rouse
viewers. A strong fight scene or a well-
crafted destructive rampage should
have the force to transform an idle,
passive moviegoer into a raucous spec-
tator, a passionate supporter of the hero
and his cause.
I suppose that I carry this fanaticism,
though, to another level: I derive a sort
of youthful, childish bliss from watching
the finest big screen, muscle-bound
meatheads run amuck. Actually, I don't
derive it from watching most meatheads
... I derive it from watching Dwayne
Johnson, better known as The Rock.
The Rock, to be brutally candid, is
contemporary cinema's finest action
star, and if he continues the trend he's
begun, he will very soon redefine the
role of the macho-male lead. Since
he's now relegated wrestling on his
personal agenda, I wouldn't hesitate
for a moment to say that his ascen-
sion to the throne of action king is
soon to materialize.
How, though, can I say that after only
two movies ("The Scorpion King" will
not be considered in this discussion),
The Rock is girded for battle with
action's greatest leading men? Primarily
because his work fills me with a sort of
boyish glee that is rare.
Boyish glee, eh? Yes, boyish glee. As I
sat through "Walking Tall" this past
weekend, I was trembling joyously like a
child having the time of his life at his
favorite amusement park. It was as
though I was waiting in a line to ride a
roller coaster, eagerly recounting my
past thrills and anticipating even more
that were yet to come.
And this superfluity of youthful joy
came, mind you, from nothing more
than a finely chiseled hero wielding a
two-by-four. The Rock doesn't require
an epic, apocalyptic story and the role of
mankind's savior's bodyguard to suc-
ceed, as Arnold Schwarzenegger did.
Nor does he require a shiny M-60 and a
bottomless ammunition cache, as
Sylvester Stallone did. No, The Rock
doesn't require any such buttressing
from elaborate plots or gleaming guns;
he lays the smack down himself.
His violent outbursts are perhaps even
more enjoyable because they are so
wonderfully uncomplicated. In the first
major showdown in "Walking Tall," for

instance, The Rock's character, angered
by the shady dealings of employees of
the local casino, drives purposefully to
the house of gambling, brandishes his
cedar stick and, in a matter of minutes,
reconfigures countless slot machines
and at least seven men's jaws. He does-
n't, during this havoc-wreaking, beat
around the bush: His glare and his stick
do the talking.
But it's not solely The Rock's dexteri-
ty with a piece of wood that makes him
a budding star. Without a doubt, his
charisma and shining personality rival
his figure and physical skills. I've never
before watched a man of action who
articulates so well and charms so effort-
lessly. The Rock is a natural romantic;
it's just hard for some to see this, as it's
well-hidden by layers of finely tuned
muscle fiber.
The most pertinent issue now for The
Rock is role choice. To sit atop the jew-
eled thrown of action stardom, he'll
need to be wise with his part selection.
From what I've seen thus far, I can
offer this simple piece of advice: Only
accept roles that don't require signifi-
cant alterations of your personality or
physical appearance.
I said I wouldn't mention "The Scor-
pion King," but it's definitely appropri-
ate support for my words of wisdom. In
short, The Rock has no business playing
a mythical king in ancient Egyptian
times. He's great not because he can eas-
ily transform into another person for the
sake of a film. No one in his right mind
should want to see The Rock play a part
that requires actual character acting; that
can be left to clowns like Stallone and
Schwarzenegger who need fascinating
roles to thrive. The Rock should, rather,
accept only roles that allow his untainted
self to emerge - roles that let The Rock
be The Rock.
So it seems that The Rock can sur-
vive, nay, succeed, with nothing more
than his trademark swagger and a piece
of crudely fashioned lumber. His talent
as an action superstar speaks loudly and
clearly for itself. Hopefully, directors
and screenwriters can see his simple
brilliance as vividly as I can, so that we
can all continue to smell, and genuinely
savor, what The Rock is cooking.
- Zachs man-love for The Rock is seri-
ously scaring us all here at the Daily.
Scold him at mabeez@umich.edu.

I Invented
the Peanuts.

Courtesy of University Productions

KING ARTHUR
LEGENDARY PLAYWRIGHT CELEBRATED IN U' PRODUCTION

By Sarah Peterson
Daily Fine Arts Editor
The scene was set, and every nook and cranny
was filled with piles of books and newspapers,
suitcases, a baseball bat, a piano in one corner
and a bicycle in another.
Chandeliers from all different time periods
spilled light onto the six-tier stage and the 22
cast members who inhabited it. Then, with an
opening monologue spoken
by De'Lon Grant playing the An Arthur
character of Quentin from the Miller
play "After the Fall," the audi-
ence was whisked into the Celebration
mind of brilliant playwright Thursday - Saturday
ArhrMiller. at 8 p.m. and
Arthur Mi lerba Sunday at 2 p.m.
"An Arthur Miller Celebra- $8 Students
tion" is a play put together by $15 Adults
Mark Lamos, which com- At the Trueblood
memorates the depth and Theater
genius of Miller's work
throughout the years by tying together different
scenes from twelve of his plays, including such
works as "All My Sons," "Death of a Salesman"
and "The Crucible." The play takes the audience
into the playwright's mind and explores how the
Great Depression, love and persecution all played
a role in influencing Miller's work.
Miller offered his own insight on both his
work and his life when he spoke at the
Mendelssohn Theater on Thursday.

"I wanted to write in a vague sort of way,"
Miller told the sold-out audience Thursday morn-
ing when asked if he had come to the University
to become a writer. "I wasn't thinking of becom-
ing a playwright." Miller explained that as he got
into writing, prose seemed too distant to him and
that the theatre at that time (in the '30s) was
exploding; it was starting to reflect real life and
the new radical outcry.
Miller's work has always been experimental
and somewhat radical, and it has always created a
picture of real people in real situations. In the
play "The Creation of the World and Other Busi-
ness," a scene from which is used in the Love
and Romance section of "An Arthur Miller Cele-
bration," Miller paints Adam and Eve as an old
married couple, bickering about everything, but
obviously still in love. In a scene from "The
American Clock," we see a man coming home to
his prostitute lover and discussing Marxism.
In what was perhaps the most powerful scene
performed (pulled from "Incident at Vichy,"
1964), five men in a holding cell heatedly argue
about whether they should try to break out of the
jail, while also expounding upon their differing
views of the Nazis. Leduc (Brad Fraizer) is a
doctor who is the leading voice in trying to con-
vince the group to escape. Monceau (Brian
Luskey) serves as the loudest dissenting voice.
Both men are Jewish, but while Leduc believes
he will be murdered, Monceau believes his fame
as an actor and his adherence to the law will save
him. The scene becomes more and more uncom-
fortable as Leduc repeatedly asks how Monceau

will feel when he is asked to "open his fly." The
power of the scene comes from the truth behind
the characters and the reality of the roles.
Miller's plays, while all different and special
in their own rights, all carry the same basic
message. And that message is that we are all in
this life together. "An Arthur Miller Celebra-
tion" illuminates this fact. It uses many plays,
grouping them together under the categories of
"The Depression," "Love and Romance" or
"Persecution," but all of them deal with the
human condition and the relationships that form
between people.
The play itself expertly weaves the brilliant
words of Arthur Miller into a cohesive and
interesting batch of snapshots, connected with
excerpts from Arthur Miller's autobiography,
"Timebends: A Life," 1987. The work of the
cast, however, makes the play the powerful pro-
duction that it is. The settings may be from the
past - costumes are lifted from the different
periods represented - but the words spoken
and the intense emotions poured out into each
line are-what make the production an emotional
masterpiece.
In a monologue taken from "Death of a Sales-
man," a woman playing the role of Linda stands
up and pronounces that while her husband may
not have been a great man, he was still a human
being. And, in a line that seems to sum up not
only the entire play, but also the outlook on life
of one of the greatest playwrights of our time,
sophomore Malaika Nelson, in the role of Linda,
proclaims, "Attention, attention must be paid."

Roc-a-Fella hopefuls fall short with debut

By Evan McGarvey
Daily Arts Writer
Music REVI EW
Something is rotten in the state of Roc-a-Fella.
The departed king Jigga has left a sea of MCs striv-
ing to fill the void, fellow musi- ____________
cians yearning to become the Young Gunz
flagship rapper of the label.
Beanie Segal's gripping, bull- Tough Luv
dog persona is crippled by Roc-a-Fella
seemingly endless trips to the
slammer. Memphis Bleek has been a commercial
disaster. Cam'Rom is too busy propping up the lack-

luster Diplomats and producer/sorcerer Kanye West
is off in his own, very successful, universe.
Add to this shallow pool the Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern of rap, the instantly forgettable
Young Gunz team of Young Chris and the inexpli-
cably named Neef. This duo from Philly, signed to
the State Property sub-division of the Roc, end-
lessly rep their hometown's peripheral neighbor-
hoods like they've got the gangsta quota of
Compton and Brooklyn combined. The last time
weak rappers tried to represent such obscure town-
ships, listeners were told to take their shirts off.
and spin them like helicopters.
The beats on the album are typical Roc-A-Fella,
taut strings and simmering handclaps over the occa-

sional gospel chorus. Albums Future of The Roc and
Tough Luv both have ceremonial bass lines and
horns that herald the Young Gunz as saviors.
Just Blaze and Tough Luv's equally kinetic pro-
ducers can't redeem these refuse MC's. Young Chris,
the stronger of the two, has a weak and chipper flow
that sounds like everyone's kid brother trying to rap.
Neef, much worse, is about as mush-mouthed and
insipid as they come. Combine this appalling lack of
skill with Juelz Santana and you've got "$$$ Girlz"
as one of the most droning songs of the young year.
In the kingdom of the Roc, this poor effort reveals
the duo to be nothing more than a set of court
jesters. Maybe a rejuvenated panel of rappers can
sustain the label, but not these benchwarmers.

Muse fuses influences together on LP

I hate to tell you this, but you have something in your teeth.

By Matt Kivel
Daily Arts Writer

The amount of Radiohead-derived
bands is currently at an all time high.
When Thom Yorke and the gang
released OK Computer in 1997, the
band strove to break away from the
conformity that so commonly charac-
terizes popular music. They could not
have foreseen the wave of captivated

teenagers who would one day grow into
the mainstream rock acts of the present.
Muse makes no effort to hide their
influences, and it __...______
is clear from the Muse
first note that they Ms
are trying to be Absolution
Radiohead. Warner
The most star-
tling realization upon listening to the
album is that the band actually suc-
ceeds in its impersonation. The songs
are well written and the musicianship is

impeccable. Opening track, "Apoca-
lypse Please," finds lead singer
Matthew Bellamy borrowing heavily
from Yorke's angst-ridden vocal style
while the band pounds away with mili-
taristic intensity. "Sing For Absolution"
finds Bellamy switching to a Jeff
Buckley-inspired vocal. The resem-
blance to Buckley is almost uncanny;
his passionate vibrato, his smooth
lower range and his haunting falsetto
all appear in Bellamy's performance.
"Stockholm Syndrome" begins with

Stiles-led teenage love
story lacks originality

By Sravya Chirumamiila
Daily Weekend Editor
MOVIE REVIEW *
"Girls Gone Wild" has lured many
sex-crazed college guys (and Snoop
Dogg) to the beaches of Cancun and
Florida. In "The Prince and Me," a

I

A- Screenprinting
End-Of-School T-Shirt SALE!
BAR CRAWL SHIRTS
NjDORM HALL SHIRTS

GRADUATES!
\.y 0 Wake up. Get coffee.
Change the world.
" Spend 10 months (Sept-June) in
full-time community service in the
metro Detroit area
" Receive a $4,725 scholarship,
weekly stipend & health benefits
" Tutor and mentor children

an intense prog riff that gives way to
pounding drums and dramatic vocals.
Operatic harmonies reminiscent of
Queen make the chorus an unforget-
table moment in the album. A smooth
solo electric guitar opens the next song,
"Falling Away With You," conjuring
memories of Buckley's "Hallelujah."
Bellamy's performance is nothing short
of remarkable and while it would be
wrong to say that Absolution is a great
album, it can be said that Muse's poten-
tial seems unlimite;. The band is one
step away from producing a master-

"Girls of Wiscon-
sin" commercial
entices Eddie
(Luke Mably, "28
Days Later"), the
Crown Prince of
Denmark, who is
sick of the easy

The Prince
and Me
At Quality 16 and
Madstone
Paramount

sports bar (where they have some inti-
mate moments using the meat slicer).
While Eddie's charm, status and intel-
ligence are completely unbelievable, the
movie manages to accurately portray
some aspects of American college life.
Students at the Midwestern university
complain about the spoiled, rich East
Coast kids who come to throw around
their parents' money at their back-up
school, and annoying distribution
requirements force students like Paige,
a pre-medicine major, to enroll in a
Shakespeare class, for which she has to
take the dreaded blue book exams.
Clearly aimed at teenage girls, the
movie has no qualms displaying overly
simplistic metaphors with butterflies,
barnyard make-out sessions and Paige's
girl-power attitude. It also offers several

prey in his country, to embark on a
quest to get American girls to take off
their tops.

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