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September 20, 2004 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-20

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Monday
September 20, 2004
arts. michigandaily. com
artspage@michigandaily.com

RTS

0

8A

... .. .. .. .. .. ... .. .. .. .. . . . .. ..................................................... ..--

'Guide' teaches the
ins and outs of sex

Courtesy of
Touchstone
Take a look
at this wood.
This feels a
little small
to me.

Return of the Mac
Baseball comedy strikes out looking

By Zach Borden
Daily Arts Writer

In addition to being a successful sitcom star and estab-
lished comedian, Bernie Mac has crafted himself a nice
niche when it comes to comedic supporting roles. With
small parts in successful fare such as "Ocean's Eleven"
and "Bad Santa," Mac has gained a following and it was
only be a matter of time before he broke out in a lead.
Mac has stepped up to the plate, literally, to deliver
his first headlining role in "Mr. 3000." The sports com-
edy, which was in development hell for 10 years (with
such actors as John Travolta and Richard Gere originally
attached to the leading role), certainly showcases Mac as
a likable and capable actor, but unfor-
tunately his talents are not enough to
save the film. Mr. 3000
Mac stars as Stan Ross, an arro- At Quality 16
gant and cocky baseball player for and Showcase
the Milwaukee Brewers. Ross may Touchstone
be a great athlete, but his reputation
seems to take center stage - he is
icy toward the media and isn't exactly fan-friendly. Only
playing the game for himself, Ross quits the game after
3,000 hits since he believes that record will guarantee
him a spot in the Baseball Hall Of Fame. However, his
decision means that he has to abandon the Brewers -
which ends up costing the team the pennant.
Nine years later, Ross is making a push to finally be
inducted. Long out of the game, Ross spends his time
hanging around the sports bar in his self-created shop-
ping center, designed around the theme of 3,000 hits. But
then it's discovered in Cooperstown, where they're prep-
ping for the latest inductees for the Hall of Fame, a few
of Ross's hits were accidentally counted twice - leaving
only 2,997 hits to his name. With Ross' legacy at stake,
he has to get back in the game and reclaim those three
hits. While a spot on the team is guaranteed due to the
former star's popularity (the team's owner sees Ross as a
way to bring fans back to the stadium), his athletic ability
is questionable. With a whole new set of challenges facing
him, can Ross recapture his former glory and rightfully
reclaim the title of "Mr. 3000?"
In a nutshell, "Mr. 3000" is about second chances,
learning humility and that winning isn't everything. Dur-
ing his big comeback, Ross has to learn - and teach
- the true meaning of teamwork, and get rid of his
narcissistic qualities. On top of that, a romantic subplot
involving an ESPN reporter (Angela Basset) is thrown
into the mix. This is all formulaic stuff, and while there's
nothing wrong with taking an old idea and putting a new

spin on it, this film is an exercise in sports-figure ste-
reotypes. The known archetypes are all here: the smug
athlete who must redeem himself, the greedy owner, the
betrayed manager and so on. The only difference is that
this formula has been more successful in other movies.
Frustratingly, the story doesn't even try to challenge
the audience. Instead of intertwining the subplots, the
movie presents its stumbling blocks one at a time (with
the exception of the romance, which is ongoing). The
conflicts presented throughout are natural, but they are
slightly overdone and wrapped up far too easily. Some
of these incidents don't even give a fine sense of clo-
sure, and it feels like the only reason they are there is to
just hammer in how selfish Stan Ross is. Ultimately, the
film tries too hard and becomes overstuffed. The finale,
complete with Ross giving a voice-over out of nowhere,
is a poor attachment that is meant to wrap up some open
threads easily.
Most surprising though is that the film isn't that funny.
There have been several other baseball comedies before
that managed to be inventive, but the jokes in "Mr. 3000"
are pure retread - a lot of the laughs are predicable and
border on clich6. All of this is shocking, since Bernie Mac
is very gifted when it comes to generating laughs. The
comedy works best when it pokes fun at Ross's success,
such as the opening endorsement and his advertisement
for the shopping center, but despite a few good lines, the
film is far from hilarious and lacks comedic consistency.
Even though Bernie Mac isn't drop-dead funny in the
movie, he does make the film work a lot better than it
should. This isn't a complex role, but it fits Mac's strengths
as an actor well. He does give off a respectable vibe as
Ross, finely capturing his driven intensity and gradually
makes his character sympathetic. Angela Basset, as Mac's
love interest, also puts in some strong work. She is a wel-
come and solid presence - especially in the film's most
dramatic scene. It's just too bad that the film's supporting
actors aren't given too much to do.
Charles Stone III, best known for helming the sleep-
er hit "Drumline," does a decent job as a director here.
Despite some portions of the movie dragging on and
the overload on Ross' nature, Stone makes this a pretty
even affair for the most part. The director also showcases
some nice visuals, and he certainly stages the baseball
scenes well by keeping a strict focus on the action. Stone
continues to prove that he has a good sensibilities as a
filmmaker, and can indeed cross over to different types
of audiences.
Ultimately "Mr. 3000" is a passable film, which is able
to hold some interest due to the talent of the actors. Ber-
nie Mac definitely has a future as a full blown comedy
actor, but he can't help this movie knock it out of the park,
as it barely makes it to first base.

'3000' writers
return home
Eric Champnella, co-writer of
the new film "Mr. 3000" and a
University alum, felt at home upon
his return to Ann Arbor last week.
"This is a dream come true, I love
it here. This place is what gave me
the drive and inspiration to go out
to Hollywood," Champnella said.
After an early screening on Tues-
day night at the Michigan Theatre
to a welcoming bunch of family,
friends and students, co-writer
Keith Mitchell similarly described
the experience at Michigan as one.
of love and admiration.
Creating "Mr. 3000" was a 10-
year process. and as it could be
extremely difficult to keep faith
in a script that takes so long to
make. Mitchell noted, "It was a
slow, frustrating process to make
this film, but patience is a virtue'
and good things come to those
who wait."
Champnella recalled, "to see
the posters, while at the premiere
in L.A. last week, with Bernie
Mac and Angela Basset, none of
this would have never happened
if Keith and I don't sit down and
say, 'what if'?' The fact that this
film would never have cane into
the world if we had not created
it. - that is the most incredibly
satisfying thing, and that feeling
alone is worth the wait." Asked if
Hollywood life ever had become
overwhelming for the two. "Of
course, that's why coming back
to Ann Arbor allows me to put
things back into perspective."
Mitchell and Champnellaaren't
done with Hollywood yet. Mitch-
elI plans on making the sequel to
"Like Mike," while Champnella is
writing a children's book for New
Line and directing an indepen-
dent film called "Cooler." They
are collaborating for a Christmas
film and are still pushing to make
a film about legendary sports
announcer Bob Ufer.
- Phonon;ell Williams

By Bernie Nguyen
Daily Arts Writer
It would seem that in modern Ameri-
can society there is a need for an
instruction manual for every aspect of
life: gardening, sports and even love.
The only problem for the average inept
reader is finding one that is both accu-
rately written and interesting to read.
That's one problem that readers of
Paul Joannides's
immensely enter-
taining "Guide to Guide to
Getting It On" will Getting It On
not encounter. By Paul Joannides
The "Guide" GByuootnPres
itself is a thick Goofy Foot Press
tome of 730 pages
(not including the index and glossary
of sexual terms), with an easy-to-read
typesetand a wealth of graphic, well-
drawn illustrations for visual learners.
No topic is taboo and all subjects are
discussed in-depth. From basic human
anatomy and romance tips to the explo-
ration of lesser-known sexual territory,
Joannides expertly crafts a humorous
manual that entertains while it teaches.
Besides the basics of sexual inter-
course, Joannides also goes into social
commentary about the state of sexual
affairs today. His discussion of Barbie
as a sexual icon, for example, includes
various viewpoints from experts as well
as laymen to offer a broad spectrum.
Letters from readers and fans, asking
questions and telling stories about sex,
provide anecdotal relief.
The "Guide" is witty, satirical and
above all readable. With chapter titles
like "Men's Underwear - The Fruit
in Your Loom," Joannides maintains
humor with incredible ease, which light-
ens the weighty topic under discussion.
He also provides the readers with many
laugh-out-loud moments that make the
book all the more enjoyable. Besides its
bold discussion of what usually goes on
behind closed doors, the "Guide" also

cautions responsibility and safety. Its
graphic nature does not sacrifice plain,
good common sense when it comes to
the sexual act itself.
Aside from aid for those floundering
in deep sexual waters, Joannides also
takes on that most dreaded of all conver-
sations in "Chapter 51: Explaining Sex
to Kids." He advocates open acknowl-
edgement of sex when it comes to chil-
dren, which he concludes will help you
raise "... children to think about their
sexuality in ways that are constructive,
rather than raising kids who are mind-
less about sex ..." Tips like these offer a
more mature approach towards sex that
other guides do not provide.
Cyber-sex, threesomes, foreplay and
self-gratification - it's all here. Joan-
nides has created a book for the aver-
age Joe that will help him become, well,
more than average. For those who have
wondered whether they're doing it right
or who have wished that they were more
adept, the "Guide to Getting It On" is
highly recommended. And if you're just
a regular person looking for something
to read that is witty, educational and
brimming with scandalous fun, that's
OK too.

Electric Six increase.r
the voltage at Blind Pig

By Aaron Kaczander
For The Daily
Electric Six frontman Dick Valen-
tine seemed to have the entirety of the
nearly sold out crowd at the Blind Pig
Saturday night held in the palm of his

hand, listening to
his every word.
It didn't stop
there, either.
There may have
been a select few
show attendees

Electric Six
Saturday, Sept. 18
At the Blind Pig

who stopped at Village Corner after
the set and tried to purchase fire. "I
went to the store, to get more fire, to
start the war!" Valentine confessed
during "Dance Commander," a faux-
disco salute to the art of skinny white
boys awkwardly grooving to thump-

law. i I

ing drumbeats and chunky power
chords.
Detroit natives Electric Six chose
Ann Arbor for the final stop of their
stateside summer tour. The six-piece
group (now residing in England)
of ridiculous aliases like John R.
Dequindre, Tait Nucleus and The
Colonel, were out to prove to the town
that an evening full of schlock-rock-
ing sweaty anthems about improper
dancing and your mother is not just
wasteful satire. The Six received a
roaring reaction upon casually stroll-
ing onstage, and, with only a brief
introduction from Valentine, revved
up the crowd for a just under an hour
and a half of kitschy sing-along.
From the call and response of set
opener "She's White," the crowd
never ceased wildly yelling along with
Valentine's artificial British accent.
Their legion of loyal fans (who were
lined up for two blocks preceding
the show), moved the group through
their seemingly tired set. There was
a minimal amount of stage banter as
E6 treated their set (which remained
fairly unaltered throughout the tour)
like a well-oiled production line,
banging out song after song, rarely
giving the crowd, let alone them-
selves, a moment to rest and take in
the smoky, sweat-stained atmosphere
of the Blind Pig on a Saturday night.
The guys ran through nearly all of
their 2003 release, Fire, with a mix of
B-sides and even some new material
from their forthcoming album, due in
2005. Halfway through the set, Val-
entine proudly announced that Ann
Arbor fans would be part of a live
album being recorded that night for
a future release. Upon hearing this,
the crowd danced, bounced and sang
unnecessarily loudly to the next song,
"Improper Dancing," which posed
Valentine as the commander of a
roomful of closet Andrew WK fans.
The "Stop! ... Continue!" portion of
the song drove even the hippest of
hipsters, standing arms crossed in the
back, a reason to stomp his feet and
laugh at himself.
Closing out the night with a med-
ley of their singles, from the Jack
White-aided "Danger! High Volt-
age!" to the questionable nightlife

ql

INTERNATIONAl. PROGR
AUSTRALIA
BELIZE
CHINA
ECUADOR.
ENGLAND
FRANCE
GERMANY
IRELAND
ISRAEL
ITALY

An honest, revealing,
and hilarious portrait of
a lawyer as a young man

ALEX WELLEN
is an excited, ambitious,
and overwhelmed twenty-
something law student
trying to integrate into
one of the most powerful
and promise-filled cities
in the world-New York.
Barman is The Paper Chase
meets Sex and the City-
a career memoir for
anyone who has discov-
ered his or her life's goal,

This is B.U.

This could be you.

I

I I ~~ift'~t~.

r

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