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October 12, 2004 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-12

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 12, 2004



Berg matures under the 'Lights'

By Zac Peskowitz
Daily Film Editor
Far above the 50-yard line at Ford Field, comfortably
ensconced in a luxury suite with a Detroit Lions cap pulled
snugly over his head, director Peter Berg expands on his
new film "Friday Night Lights." Berg, who has appeared in
"Collateral" and "Cop Land," is making the difficult transi-
tion from acting to directing, and "Friday Night Lights" is
his biggest film behind the camera so far.
To capture the reality of high school football, Berg took a
crash course in athletic cinema. " I saw every football movie
you could think of. From 'North Dallas 40' to 'The Longest
Yard' to 'Any Given Sunday' to 'The Waterboy.' But the mov-
ies I liked the best were one film called 'The Last Game,'
that was a documentary about a school in Pennsylvania, and
another called 'Go Tigers,' which was a documentary about
a high school team in Ohio. It was the documentaries that I
thought were the most intense and got my heart pounding."
As Berg slouches in his chair and mentions the great Texas
film "Dazed and Confused," H.G. Bissinger, the Pulitzer
Prize winning author of "Friday Night Lights" and a cousin
of Berg, pipes in with his own comments from across the
table. "Was Ben Affleck in that?" Berg counters, "No, that
was 'Clerks,' that was Kevin Smith." Still unconvinced at
his cousin's answer, Bissinger continues prodding away
and insists that Affleck appeared in the Richard Linklater
film. Eventually, one of the editors of "Friday Night Lights"
definitively settles the dispute when he reveals that Affleck
did in fact appear in "Dazed and Confused."
After the amicable resolution of this familial dispute,
Bissinger launches into a discussion on allowing his cousin
to film his book. "We sort of did grow up together. Pete
grew up in Westchester County outside of New York and I
grew up in New York City. My parents are very close to his
parents. We saw each other at family gatherings. The book
came out in 1990 and Pete was just starting out on his film
career. Pete's very brash and very confident and said 'I'm
going to make this one day.' I thought that was the most
ridiculous thing I'd ever heard, we didn't know where Pete

Faster and more intense...

Tunde Adebimpe bellows during Saturday's performance.

Trio opens to mixed response
By Forest Casey
Daily Arts Writer

was making a living. He kept at it and kept at it and he's hav-
ing a great acting career and then a great directing career.
He directs with a lot of intensity and style."
When asked about the challenges of working with a
young cast, Berg tartly responds, "Pain in the ass. They're
chasing girls and trying to get in the bars. I'd steal their
girls and drink their beer. They were great kids. I think the
best part was I like movies where you really forget you're
watching a movie. And when it's a movie star, unless it's a
really good movie star, I tend to never forget. There's Tom
Cruise or there's Brad Pitt or whatever. For me, to have
guys like Tim McGraw and some of these young kids that
nobody really knows as an actor, it's cool because you can
just forget that you're watching a movie. That's something
that's hard to do."
Before the trio is forced to depart for an appearance on
"The Mitch Albom Show," Berg jostles to get in the last
word. "I love acting, but now that I'm an old man I don't
want to have to go out there and take the hits every day. It's
fun to be creatively in charge."


New York-based TV on the Radio's
musical style is decidedly experimental.
They balance distorted guitar rhythms
and throbbing electronic beats with lead
singer Tunde Adebimpe's barbershop
quartet hymns. To say that they are differ-
ent from the band
they opened for on
SaturdayThe Faint, TV on the
would be an under- Radio
statement. They are At the
innovative, creative Majestic Theatre
and, unfortunately,
that's the opposite
of what the Majestic's gothic crowd want-
ed to hear. It would have been a tall order
for any opening band.
Adebimpe strolled on stage late, amid
the grumbling of the crowd, humming
banging his tambourine in what would be
a jangling three-minute introduction to
TV on the Radio's most impressive song,
"Young Liars." No more than a minute
into the body of the song, Adebimpe was
already pouring sweat. Guitarist Kyp
Malone was jumping up and down, his
large afro bouncing along, and guitarist
David Andrew Sitek was kneeling down
in front of one of the amplifiers, strum-
ming the major chords with a drumstick.
Adebimpe's singing style took him
all over the stage; he moaned, covered
his forehead with his hands as if about
to faint and writhed like a contortion-
ist, gathering the notes from somewhere
beneath the stage. After the thundering
applause for "Young Liars," the band

Superman actor Reeves dies at 52

Kyp Malone strums his guitar.
launches into the too-long "Dreams" and
the too-confident "Unknown Country,"
effectively losing the crowd.
But, as if he already knew that the audi-
ence would begin cheering when they
announced their last song, Adebimpe
removed his glasses and shut his eyes,
lunging into the sporadic "Staring At The
Sun." At this point, the crowd had waited
too long for The Faint and began to sit
down in large numbers. The impatient
audience looked like a refugee camp,
but Adebimpe just smiled, saying that
the last time they played in Detroit, they
saw a man, bleeding from his head, walk
past a hospital without stopping. "That's
when I knew that Detroit was tough," he

said with a laugh.
The crowd did cheer when TV on the
Radio announced their final song. "Satel-
lite" is already loud and fast, but, just like
The Ramones, the band seemed deter-
mined to play it louder and faster. Sitek's
hands became a blur and the whole band
started jumping, punishing the crowd for
their disrespectful camping. Adebimpe
started shouting his lyrics - loud, gut-
teral shouts that pierced through the wall
of guitar, and the band walked off stage to
exploding applause. Whether this applause
was from a theater full of new TV on the
Radio converts or Faint fans excited about
the inevitability of their favorite band was
inconsequential to Adebimpe.

"Superman" actor Christopher Reeve,
who turned personal tragedy into a
public crusade and from his wheel-
chair became the nation's most rec-
ognizable spokesman for spinal cord
research, has died. He was 52.
Reeve went into cardiac arrest Sat-
urday while at his Pound Ridge home,
then fell into a coma and died Sunday
at a hospital surrounded by his family,
his publicist said.
His advocacy for stem cell research
helped it emerge as a major campaign
issue between President Bush and his
Democratic opponent, John Kerry. His
name was even mentioned by Kerry
during the second presidential debate
Friday evening.
In the last week Reeve had devel-
oped a serious systemic infection from
a pressure wound, a common compli-
cation for people living with paralysis.
He entered the hospital Saturday.
Dana Reeve thanked her husband's
personal staff of nurses and aides,
"as well as the millions of fans from
around the world."

Before the 1995 accident, his ath-
letic, 6-foot-4-inch frame and love
of adventure made him a natural, if
largely unknown, choice for the title
role in the first "Superman" movie in
1978. He insisted on performing his
own stunts.
"Look, I've flown, I've become evil,
loved, stopped and turned the world
backward, I've faced my peers, I've
befriended children and small ani-
mals and I've rescued cats from trees,"
Reeve told the Los Angeles Times in
1983, just before the release of the
third "Superman" movie. "What else
is there left for Superman to do that
hasn't been done?"
Though he owed his fame to it,
Reeve made a concerted effort to,
as he often put it, "escape the cape."
He played an embittered, crippled
Vietnam veteran in the 1980 Broad-
way play "Fifth of July," a lovestruck
time-traveler in the 1980 movie
"Somewhere in Time," and an aspir-
ing playwright in the 1982 suspense
thriller "Deathtrap."
More recent films included John

Carpenter's "Village of the Damned,"
and the HBO movies "Above Suspi-
cion" and "In the Gloaming," which
he directed. Among his other film
credits are "The Remains of the
Day," "The Aviator," and "Morning
Reeve's life changed completely
after he broke his neck in May 1995
when he was thrown from his horse
during an equestrian competition in
Culpeper, Va.
Enduring months of therapy to allow
him to breathe for longer and longer
periods without a respirator, Reeve
emerged to lobby Congress for bet-
ter insurance protection against cata-
strophic injury. He moved an Academy
Award audience to tears with a call for
more films about social issues.
"Hollywood needs to do more,
he said in the 1996 Oscar awards
appearance. "Let's continue to take
risks. Let's tackle the issues. In many
ways our film community can do it
better than anyone else."
No plans for a funeral were imme-
diately announced.


UPN's 'Mars' fills the teen drama void in primetime


By Amanda McAllister
For the Daily
Welcome to the O.C., - er, welcome
to Neptune High. Neptune, California,
a town with no middle class, serves as
the setting for the new teen crime drama
"Veronica Mars." High school student
by day, detective by night, the trials
and tribulations of title character Mars

(Kristen Bell) as
a not-so-normal
teenager are the
focus of this witty,
solid show.
In the year since
her best friend
Lily's murder,

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ing characters. Her father, Keith (Enri-
co Colantoni, "Just Shoot Me"), is the
most complex of the lot as the formerly
beloved, now belittled sheriff of Nep-
tune, who still obsesses over the debacle
of a case that ended his career. The case,
incidentally, was that of Lily's murder.
While less complicated, the rest of the
cast is entertaining and all fulfill their
predetermined, stereotypical roles with
enough grace to make viewers forget
they're pretty stock characters. Duncan
is the rich boy with a heart, while his
best friend Logan (Jason Dohring) is
the obligatory psychotic jackass. Mars's
friends come in the form of the new guy,
Wallace (Percy Daggs III) and Weevil
(Francis Capra), the head of the local
motorcycle gang. Various smaller roles
round out Mars's foes and provide a
glimpse of the bitterness the Mars fam-
ily faces in the elitist Neptune.
Like many of its teen drama prede-
cessors, "Veronica Mars" is riddled with
fresh, intelligent writing; banter between
the characters, particularly Veronica
and Keith or Veronica and Weevil,
seems effortless and unscripted. Mars's
monologue, which propels the audience
through the exposition needed to catch
up with the events preceding the pilot, is
a mixture of sarcasm and confusion that
fleshes out the title character perfectly.
The script glides easily between sharp

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Veronica Mars's life has been turned
upside down. Besides mourning, Mars
has to adjust to her breakup with Lily's
brother Duncan (Teddy Dunn) and
subsequent removal from the popu-
lar crowd, which he leads. She must
also cope with her mother's desertion
and accept her role in her father's new
career as a private investigator. Once a
happy-go-lucky teenager, Mars is now a
social outcast, struggling to make sense
of her life.
While Mars is the focus of the series,
it features a solid ensemble of support-

wit and tension, while avoiding both
arrogance and melodrama - some-
thing difficult to achieve, especially in
a teen show.
The pilot sets up some ambi-
tious goals for the plotlines to explore
- Lily's murder and the question of

Veronica's mother all remain, and the
seeds of character feuds and alliances
are planted. While it's not scandalous
or groundbreaking, "Veronica Mars"
is intelligent and quirky, and will likely
become one of the guilty pleasure shows
of the season.


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