The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 20, 2005 - 11
UUur esy UI uins Gat eFims
"I'm sorry I lied and said I was Kevin Dillon."
Heated social drama
captivates on DVD
CONTINUES TO BENEFIT
By Uoyd Cargo
Daily Arts Writer
At Bob Geldof's Live Aid concert in 1985, Bob
Dylan remarked on stage,
"Wouldn't it be great if we did
something for our farmers right Farm Aid
here in America?" Not long 2005
after, Farm Aid was established. Tweeter Center
On Sunday in Tinley Park, Ill., Tinley Park, II.
at the 20th anniversary of the
first Farm Aid concert, it seemed like the issue at hand
took a backseat to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.
The organizers' mission is still to urge Americans to
choose organic foods from family farms, but the per-
formers also focused on Gulf Coast aid. Despite the
sobering realities, the concert couldn't have occurred
on a more beautiful afternoon. The diverse crowd
came from all over the Midwest to see headliners and
Farm-Aid board members Dave Matthews, John Mel-
lencamp, Neil Young and Willie Nelson pay tribute to
our often-overlooked providers.
The Tweeter Center's doors opened at noon, but
most of the 28,000 strong crowd waited until later in
the afternoon to take their seats. The first act to receive
an enthusiastic reception and undivided attention was
Chicago native and blues guitarist Buddy Guy. Joining
the legendary Guy was a scruffy-looking John Mayer.
This event, marking the first appearance of the two
artists together, saw the duo leaning more toward the
blues than Mayer's pop inclinations.
Local political sensation, Sen. Barrack Obama
made an unannounced appearance to introduce
Chicago's reigning rock royalty, Wilco. After a thun-
derous reception, singer Jeff Tweedy admonished the
crowd saying that they could indeed make a differ-
ence while leading the band in live staples "Jesus,
Etc" and "Casino Queen."
Taking the stage after a Kenny Chesney, Dave Mat-
thews didn't dissapoint in his first performance since
his recent annulment from Renee Zellwegger. Despite
"feeling a little nervous," Matthews's stage presence
took over as he captivated with his solo set. Playing
unaccompanied, Matthews mixed songs from his
solo album with bigger hits from The Dave Matthews
Band. Coming across as shy and gracious, Matthews
provided an interesting contrast to the man who fol-
lowed him, John Mellencamp. A founder of Farm Aid,
Mellencamp drew a favorable reaction, but his perfor-
mance was clearly not in the same league as the other
aillillilin Ilie Nelson
headliners. Choosing to preach between every one of
his bland anthems, Mellencamp's outspoken state-
ments about Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq war stood
in stark contrast with the stoicism of Neil Young.
The picture of class, Young provided the show's
most poignant moment by opening his set with Fats
Dominoes' "Walking to New Orleans." Backed by the
Memphis Horns and his own gospel choir, Young's
set sounded unusually intimate for such a large venue.
Young also took the biggest risk of the evening by fol-
lowing "Walking to New Orleans" with the politically
charged "Southern Man." The words took on a new
meaning with Young's anti-racism lyrics also provid-
ing biting commentary on the government's poor relief
efforts along the Gulf coast. In top musical form, his
guitar solos provided the most scathing commentary.
Following "Southern Man," Young brought up Willie
Nelson and Emmylou Harris, providing a preview of
the party that was Nelson's closing set.
Willie Nelson ended the nearly 10-hour day on a
classy note. Playing upbeat hits, his Family Band, Nel-
son and his trusty guitar, Trigger, brought the focus
back to the cause at hand. Nelson used his platform
as the show's closer highlight the struggles of Ameri-
can farmers. The restoration of American dignity was
Willie's goal, and Farm Aid was a great first step.
By Christopher Lechner
Daily Arts Writer
Paul Haggis, who penned the script
for last year's "Million Dollar Baby"
follows up the
winning film with Crash
his directorial Lions Gate Films
debut, "Crash." A
drama about racism
and class colliding in contemporary Los
Angeles, "Crash" employs brutal honesty
to stir a myriad of emotions. Critics and
audiences alike are already buzzing over a
possible Best Picture nomination, and it's
easy to see why.
The most attractive quality of "Crash"
is the passion that Haggis infuses in
every scene. He succeeds in directing
a realistic and thought-provoking story.
Haggis also has the uncanny knack for
reproducing the rhythms and dialogue
of everyday speech in his script. This
is most evident in the scenes involving
street-wise hustler Anthony (Chris-
topher "Ludacris" Bridges, "Hustle
and Flow"), a very opinionated and
philosophical criminal. Casting a rap-
per like Ludacris can be a gamble,
but he turns in a remarkably poised
performance. However, he is just one
role in an almost flawlessly cast film.
Other exceptional performances are
turned in from Don Cheadle ("Hotel
Rwanda") playing a black detective
whose monologue at the beginning of
the film instantaneously evokes a sense
of poetic realism. This year's breakout
star, Terrence Howard ("Hustle and
Flow"), fashions a powerful portrait of
an identity-conflicted television direc-
tor. This, for him, is a punctuation
mark on a year marked by outstanding
performances from Howard.
Lions Gate Films includes only amin-
imal amount of features on the DVD.
The first is an audio commentary with
Haggis, Cheadle and co-writer/producer
Bobby Moresco. Haggis provides his
personal accounts of the events which
inspired him to write certain scenes.
An interesting"Behind the Scenes" fea-
turette includes several interviews with
people associated with the movie who
explain what the film meant to them
and why they were attracted to it. The
remaining features, including an intro-
duction by Paul Haggis, promotional
trailers from Lions Gate Films and a
music video by Kansascali are negli-
gible and not worth viewing.
There is brilliant camera work from
cinematographer James Muro ("Open
Range"), and the rich 35mm format that
made the film so vivid in theaters is beau-
tifully preserved on the DVD.
Although "Crash" may seem devoid
of hope, it is ultimately a celebration of
the tragic human condition. The relations
and conflicts between people of varied
backgrounds that allows the true soul of
the movie to shine and makes "Crash"
one of the year's best films.
DAILY ARTS. W ESPOTIN THE FACE OF
PEOPLE WHO DON'T WANT TO BE COOL.