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November 18, 2004 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-11-18

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12B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 18, 2004
knee-sla ppin homoerotikism with Andrew Gaerig

The Michigan Dail

'm a music snob, and over the
course of the last four years,
I've found that the single word
most often associated with those
two is "prick." Which is fine. I'm

a prick (Case in point: two weeks cography (which is actually a mis-
ago my mother half-jokingly asked nomer, as most of their work is on
me to stop using our family sur- vinyl ... you see what I mean?), but
name in print). I may know every in the real world, this pretty much
nook and cranny of Flying Saucer means that people don't like me
Attack's mostly out-of-print dis- that much.


In order to remedy this problem,
I've taken pretty much the opposite
stance on film and cinema: I don't
know shit about anything, and as
such, I like really awful movies. I
think the Die Hard series is the best
trilogy ever produced, that "The
Day After Tomorrow" was laudably
acted and that "Mighty Ducks 3" is
not only a fine film, it's a whole-
some look at the state of boarding
schools, disadvantaged kids and
the fourth most popular profes-
sional sport in America. All of this
allows me to sleep pretty well at
night, except for one thing: People
still don't like me very much. I fig-
ured that my awful taste in mov-
ies would produce enough guffaws
to at the very least balance the
amount of hatred my music elitism
produces. Worst case scenario, I'm
back even, right? Not even close.
As a truce, I figure I'd put it all
out there: The 10 Best Non-"Die
Hard" Movies of All Time. If we
can't get along after you read this,
then just be glad we don't share a
last name.
10. "G.I. Joe"
The classic battle between Joes
and Cobras for the Broadcast Ener-
gy Transmitter really isn't all that
interesting, but no movie list is
complete without an animated fea-
9. "Deep Blue Sea"
The movie in which LL Cool J
hangs out with a parrot and shark
eugenics produce ultra-intelligent
killer sharks. Those who see the
movie always seem to remember
Samuel L. Jackson's inspirational
speech, in which he is eaten, mid-
movie, by an ultra-intelligent kill-
er shark, the single most surprising
plot development in any movie on
this list.
8. "The Fifth Element"
This movie gets worse every time
I watch it, and yet, Bruce Willis
in an orange tank-top is somehow
enough entertainment to justify
this. two-hour monstrosity. It also
contains Chris Tucker's most toler-
able performance and flying taxi
cabs. European!
7. "Reign of Fire"
I'd like to be able to say that
this movie has it all, but it doesn't
even-come close. Mostly, it just has
dragons, axes and trans-continen-
tal tension. In the end, the Europe-
ans and Americans learn to work
together to destroy the mother
dragon. Bonus points for lack of
believable romantic subplot.
6. "Bad Boys 2"
The fact that this movie devolves
(nay, evolves) into Will Smith
and Martin Lawrence fighting
the Cuban army would be enough
to satiate most appetites. That it
clocks in at a robust two-and-one-

half hours and still makes you feel
all fresh and warm inside is just
icing on the embattled, good-cop!
bad-cop cake.
5. "Alien: Resurrection"
I'm not ashamed to admit that
I've only seen the first 20 minutes
of this movie. In those 20 minutes,
however, it separated itself from
the generally well-regarded origi-
nal "Alien" in two very important
ways. First, there was more than
one alien, and by the time I fell
asleep, they had already escaped
their cage. Second, it contains one
of cinema's finest lines, in which
Ron Perlman nimbly avoids end-
ing a sentence with a preposition:
"If you hang with us for a while,
you'll find out I am not the man
with whom to fuck."
4. "Predator"
Besides all of the obvious jokes
about how this movie features two
men who held the. office cf state
governor, we get lines like "If it
bleeds, we can kill it," gunfights
with jungle drug lords and the
least compelling female lead, well,
ever. The juxtaposition of man and
nature vs. alien is the long-lost
literary conflict your high school
English class skipped.
3. "National Treasure"
I know what you're thinking.
"Nic Cage sucks." "This movie isn't
even out yet." "Andrew, you haven't
even seen this movie." And you
see, I agree with all three of those
statements on a number of levels.
But when it comes right down to it,
I think this movie must be one of
the 10. best ever, despite Nic Cage.
The previews have shown enough
raw brilliance to warrant its inclu-
sion on this list.
2. "Die Hard 2: Die Harder"
Alright, I'm really sorry: I sim-
ply couldn't think of 10 other good
1. "Alien vs. Predator"
This might be the pinnacle of my
cinema consciousness. The only
thing missing is a health meter for
Alien and Predator, "Street Fighter
2"-style. They could have left the
human characters out, for all I
care, but not even that hurdle could
detract from this masterpiece. I
have not made even a rudimentary
attempt to enjoy another film since
this was released. I am totally sat-
In addition to skipping class to
see "National Treasure" this week-
end, Andrew is also looking for
someone to watch "The Sandlot"
with him. If you are interested in
making a weekend of it with a guy
who thinks the dollar bill is trying
to tell him something, let him know
at agaerig@urmich.edu.

continued from page 4B
see anyone and the voices have
stopped -- it must have been some-
one on the street - so we keep
Heading up the first two flights
of stairs is always tricky. There are
stairs that scavengers have stripped
of their marble, leaving only a thin
sheet of rusted metal that won't
support your weight; graffiti artists
have put their spray paint to practi-
cal use and labeled many of these
"bad step:"
There's a sort of societal feel to much
of the graffiti on the walls; besides the
Sharpie drawings of penises, occasion-
al swastikas and territorial scribblings,
visitors have numbered the entrances
to each ascending floor. While many
occasional explorers leave their names
and a date, one name appears on
doorjambs, in the stairwells and on
office walls most frequently. Catfish,
rumor has it, lived in the Depot until
just recently. He supposedly charged
rent to other homeless people who
sought shelter there, collected enough
money to get an apartment, and got
himself a job. Catfish is real, I know;
he recently provided commentary for
Gary Glaser's short film on the train
On the third floor, we leave the
stairs to peek through glass-spiked
window panes into the lobby. Further
up, we look out the window of one
of the rubble-filled offices onto the
close-cropped grass of Roosevelt
Park. Once home to a fountain, the
park now serves as a no-man's-land
between two of the city's car-clogged
arteries and the still-imposing osteol-
ogy of what used to be the Gateway
to Detroit.
We continue up the stairs, skipping
broken steps and hugging the wall
(the banisters have been gone for
years). Every few floors we'll stop
and check the view. It's late after-
noon, around 5 p.m., and in November
that means it's getting dark. Pink and
peach burn past the smog-softened

skyline, and for the first time today
the city doesn't look like something to
be ashamed of. Between the horizon
and the train tracks, hundreds of semi
trucks jostle each other in a slow over
the Ambassador Bridge to Windsor,
Ontario. It's hard to believe that this
industry and activity - so much of it
made possible by the businesses that
operate out of Detroit - has passed
the city by.
I've heard that the decline of the
Michigan Central Depot didn't begin
when Amtrak took over the Chicago-
Detroit route in 1971, or with the race
riots in the '60s, or even after thou-
sands of American soldiers passed
through it on their way to report for
duty during World War II: It began
after the Depression, when the trolley
lines that brought passengers to the
Depot from all over town shut down.
The three of us keep climbing, 18
stories in all, until we reach the roof-
top. Up there, we see gorgeous murals
and graffiti, the whole city before us
on one side and the river on the other.
We're standing on the top of Detroit's
forgotten ruins, and at that moment,
there's no place I'd rather be.
The growing prevalence of automo-
biles - a product of the industry that
put Detroit on the map - was eclips-
ing public transportation even then.
Far away from the rest of the city,
the station languished as train travel
grew less popular and the surrounding
area decayed. The Big Three killed my
baby, I think. I've only been inside
twice and the station already feels like
a sanctuary to me, a holy place that
shouldn't be revamped and painted up
like a casino, or salvaged as the new
police headquarters. We need to hold
on to some relics of Detroit's great-
ness, revitalize the barely-breathing
areas of town and make this place
somewhere good to be - with respect
to the past. Detroit deserves to have
a reminder of its struggle remain,
something more real than a monument
or a statue. Since December 26, 1913,
the Michigan Central Depot has been
here. It deserves better than history
- it deserves to stay.

This arched window at the back of the station allows access to the seco
story roof on the outside and affords an overhead view of the lobby inside


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Open windows on the building's landings light the precarious stairs during
the day and afford explorers a breathtaking view of the city's skyline.

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