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October 06, 2005 - Image 10

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10A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 6, 2005

ARTS

I

'Longest Yard' scores on DVD

The remake of the 1974 classic
"The Longest Yard" may not go over
too well with
purists who are
disgusted by the The Longest
thought of Adam Yard
Sandler stepping
into the shoes of Paramount
Burt Reynolds,
but the film is nonetheless worthy
of attention. This football comedy
features both Chris Rock's quips
and surprisingly serious undertones
that make it stand out among recent
sports comedies.
"The Longest Yard" focuses on
Paul Crewe (Sandler), a former All-
Pro quarterback who has fallen on
hard times and finds himself in
prison for drunk driving. When the
warden tells him to organize a team
of prisoners to play a game against
the guards, Crewe has no choice
but to agree. Soon, however, Crewe
discovers his long-lost love for the
game, bonds with his fellow pris-
oners and leads them in overcom-
ing their shortcomings to defeat the
sadistic guards.
Sandler's performance is unex-
pectedly sound and, unlike in "The
Waterboy," he commands authority
on the football field. Rock's charac-
ter is likable too; his jokes are both
insightful and offensive, as usual.
The ultimate fate of Rock's charac-
ter enhances the depth of the story.
The film is more serious than one
might expect it to be.
The comedy of the film, on
the whole, is different from what
Sandler has become known for.
(Though Sandler crony Rob Sch-
neider does make a cameo). The

Courtesy of Paramount

"Bulletproof 2: Electric Boogaloo."
story has a core theme of redemp-
tion that makes it worth watching
despite the occasional brain-numb-
ing slapstick sequences. Indeed, at
times the comedy gets in the way of
this film becoming a bigger movie
than it is.
"Yard" translates well to DVD:
It's packed with special features,
some of which are actually worth
watching. The included deleted
scenes are surprisingly good (a rare
occurrence), as all seem worthy of
inclusion into the final cut. A short
making-of documentary titled "First
Down and 25 to Life" explains how
the film's producers transformed a
west Texas prison into the primary
set. The featurette "The Care and
Feeding of Pro Athletes" comically
portrays the very real challenge
of feeding a crowd of enormous,
exhausted men that the producers
faced on a daily basis.

Some features are totally point-
less however. Nelly's music video
"Errtime," though probably a treat
for his fans, is completely irrelevant
to the film. The requisite outtakes
feature nothing more than the actors
cracking up for no apparent reason.
An "Extra Points" special shows
some of the intricate details of film-
making that only the more enthusi-
astic film buffs will care about; the
special details behind-the-scenes
secrets such as how a CGI crowd was
created to fill the prison's stadium.
Despite some drawbacks (trail-
ers for other films and even a plug
for Rock's new sitcom, "Everybody
Hates Chris"), "The Longest Yard"
DVD is fun to watch, if only for the
film and deleted scenes.

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

"You're not going to make another obscure pop culture reference, are you?"

ALL IN THE 'FAMILY'
STEWIE QUESTS TO FIND HIS FATHER IN DVD FILM

By Michael Coulter
For the Daily
DDRIv, w
The one and only "Family Guy" is back on Fox and back

Film: ***
Picture/Sound: ****
Special Features: **

in our hearts. The outrageous comedy
series returns with a brand new DVD
movie about Stewie Griffin, TV's most
famous matricidal infant.
The record-breaking success of the
show's DVD sales and its miraculous
return from cancellation this spring
inspired the creators to release their
first movie which, according to Asian
correspondent Trisha Takinawa, "will

Family Guy
Presents
Stewie Griffin:
The Untold
Story
20th Century Fox

Williams keeps 'Robots' from rusting
By Imran Syed
Daily Arts Writer

in which Stewie takes a turn as Saddam Hussein being dis-
covered in a spiderhole underground. Also appearing are the
scathingly absurd racial stereotypes that verge on the edge of
offensive - like Ollie, the weatherman portrayed as a "typi-
cal" angry black guy or the Blue Man Group being replaced
by the Jew Man Group.
Although the primary storyline is great, a few side stories
bomb. One about Peter becoming a news anchor slows down
the pace, as does a downright pointless subplot involving Peter
and Lois teaching their teenaged kids how to date.
The film runs like a three-part episode of the show that's a
little too hot for TV. The picture and sound of the movie are
exactly like that which can be found Sunday nights on Fox,
seeing as the animation isn't any clearer nor the sound quality
any crisper.
The special features section is, unfortunately, sorely lack-
ing in content. All they have to offer is an uncensored audio
track and a trailer of "American Dad." However, the hysterical
audio commentary by "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFar-
lane, along with commentary from cast and crew members,
stands out as the DVD's crowing achievement. Listeners will
learn, among other things, how the original plot of the movie
involved Stewie coming out of the closet. While "Stewie Grif-
fin: The Untold Story" has its obvious flaws, it's a must-see for
fans who don't want to miss an episode.
Film: ***-
Picture/Sound: ***
Special Features:***

Even with its over-the-top, too-fuzzy storyline,
"Robots" is a film that everyone can enjoy for one rea-
son: Robin Williams. Each time the
movie starts to resemble a bad attempt
to capture the heartfelt compassion of Robots
"Finding Nemo" or "The Lion King," 20th Century Fox
Williams's walking junk pile, Fend-
er, dutifully delivers a quirky, edgy
punchline to save the film from obscurity. Through it
all, "Robots" keeps it together and has become the latest
addition to the quickly growing canon of CGI classics.
None of the original film's magic is lost on DVD. The
sappy-but-comedic story of Rodney Copperbottom's
(voiced by an unaccented Ewan McGregor) journey
to the big city to become somebody and live up to the
film's tagline ("You can shine no matter what you're
made of"), is well suited to repeat viewings with the
family. The brilliant, colorful backgrounds stand out,
even on the small screen, and the meticulously designed
characters each have their own special quirks and idio-
syncrasies. The story, though spread a little too thin, is
still bearable, thanks to Fender's many quips, some of
which could be missed in the initial viewing.
Though the movie is excellent, the bad special fea-
tures ("upgrades," in robot terms), are sure to disap-
point all but the most avid fans. The biggest advertised
feature is "Aunt Fanny's Tour of Booty," a piece show-
ing a brief tour of Robot City. It's a colossal disappoint-
ment. Aunt Fanny, (Jennifer Coolidge, TV's "Joey") is
the only character who talks, and she's hardly an enter-
taining presence. Though walking fire hydrant Fender
is present, he doesn't say a word, meaning the featurette
misses out on the Williams charm that kept the original
film alive.
Other features are disappointing, too. "Robot Arcade"
features inane activities that no one over the age of three
could possibly enjoy. The deleted scenes are so few and
done with such asinine laziness that most are not only
unfinished, but at times not even animated at all. The
director and producer's commentaries are also uncalled
for; they only show how little thought and organization

soon be in the $3.99 bin at your local car wash."
The story begins with the Griffin clan going to the debut
of the movie as if it were a big-budget, red-carpet affair. A
boozed-up Lois drunkenly exiting the limo kicks off the
laughs, which falter only sporadically. The movie's main
plot eventually begins when Stewie spots a man on the news
who bears a striking resemblance to him, football head and
all. Convinced that the man must be his real father, Stewie
travels across the country with the Griffins' dog, Brian, to
find him.
Everything that fans love about "Family Guy" shows up in
the movie. The pop-culture nonsequiturs that made the pro-
gram a hit are all up to date and hilarious, including a cutaway

the filmmakers put into this project. The cast interviews
are decent, though once again, too little time is given to
Williams and too much is given to the once-again-Scot-
tish McGregor.
The "Robots" DVD is an urgent call to end the obscene
requirement that studios include "special" features on
every single film released on DVD. The extra material
here is embarrassingly bare, and the film would have
been better off with just the feature and some inter-
views. Still, because "Robots" itself is fun, the DVD
is worth it.
Film: ***-
Pictures/Sound: ****
Features: **

aauses pop
formula on
WNeight'
By Gabe Rivin
Daily Arts Writer
A listener gets the distinct feel-
ing that Mathew
Cawes, frontman Nada Surf
of the New York-
based trio Nada The Weight
Surf, has no capac- is a Gift
ity for cynicism. Barsuk
Nada Surf's pre-
vious album, Let Go, featured songs
about love, butterflies and Bob Dylan.
Critically lauded for its pensive and
whimsical lyrics and deemed a gem of
pop simplicity, the band began to dispel
any haunting memories of their one-hit
single, "Popular" (circa 1996 MTV).
What makes their latest effort, The
Weight is a Gift, both a nice pop album
and a quickly tiresome listen is precise-
ly what gave Nada Surf notoriety with
Let Go. Yes, there's something charm-
ing about Cawes's personality; think a

01

Courtesy of Barsuk
"That one looks like a cotton ball.... That one looks like mashed potatoes ..."

WRITE FOR DAILY
ARTS. You COULD
FILL THIS BOX WITH
SOMETHING FUNNY.

30-year-old dork (not a virgin) who still
opens his eyes wide at nature and life
and spends his Saturdays rewatching
"Star Wars." He's not a contemptible
nerd, but he's a reminder of positive
thought in an utterly negative world.
Take "Blankest Year." Cawes exalts,
"Oh fuck it / I'm gonna have a party,"
and you can hear him revolting against
his parents. On the album's title track, as
well as on "Your Legs Grow," he sings
in gleeful resistance to the inevitable
pains that accompany adulthood.
Death Cab For Cutie guitarist Chris
Walla appears as a guest producer on The
Weight Is a Gift; he's a great influence
on the album's sound. Most of its songs

are three-minute-long pieces featur-
ing cheery, predictable rock melodies
that don't bring any new sounds to the
table. With the exception of some mild
country twang on "Comes a Time" and
a dissonant background to "Imaginary
Friends," this album doesn't breach
the comfort zone of four-chord rock
standards.
Pretty vocal harmonies and hum-wor-
thy choruses make this a listenable and
fun album. But unlike Let Go, which
had the beautiful "Blonde on Blonde,"
no song really stands out.. For a group
of introspective nerds - one without the
pretensions of Rivers Cuomo - look no
further than Nada Surf.

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