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January 05, 2006 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-01-05

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 5, 2006 - 9A

rime
pays In
violent
'New York'
By Chris Gaerig
Daily Arts Writer

Courtesy of Warner Bros.,
"So, about that Esquire cover..."
Aniston can't break
nr

For the past 10 years or so, reality television has
been making its push to completely dominate the
airwaves. There's an incom-________
prehensible draw for viewers True Crime:
to watch the "true" lives ofTNewCrk
celebrities and random, attrac- New York
tive 20-somethings. Plus, no City
one wants to miss the oppor- Gamecube
tunity to watch the latest on- Activision
air freakout and lose out on
hours of cafeteria gossip. It
was inevitable, then, that "reality" would make
its way to video games as well.
Enter a slew of purportedly realistic action
games. "The Sims" gives players the ability to
live almost any life they choose. Racing simula-
tors like "Grand Turismo" allow for customiza-
tion and true-to-life handling.
Then there's "Grand Theft Auto," arguably the
most infamous "real-life" simulation. One of the
game's main draws is the amount of freedom -
players can kill, rob or steal anyone or anything
they choose.
Given the massive market for "Grand Theft
Auto," other games were sure to arise. One
of these, the "True Crime" series, is quickly
approaching the "GTA" throne. The first install-
ment, "True Crime: Streets of L.A.," was praised
for the accuracy of the city's layout. Unfortunate-
ly, the fighting system and mechanics of the game
were too restrictive and convoluted. Its follow-up,
"True Crime: New York City," remedies many
of these amateur problems and shows amazing
growth and promise for the franchise.

Courtesy of Activision

See kids, even if someone doesn't have a pink Range Rover, you can still jack them.

"True Crime: New York City" continues the
exact mapping of the city, but the New York Police
Department wanted to make sure no one mistakes
this game for real life (the packaging carries a
disclaimer issued by the NYPD). For a game try-
ing to simulate reality, the disclaimer is slightly
disorienting, but the police certainly don't want
the city to be viewed as it's depicted.
Players are put into the life of thug-turned-cop
Marcus Reed - a man with a sizeable chip on
his shoulder and little, if any, tact and discre-
tion. After a series of racial slurs and insinua-
tions, Reed is given street clothes and told to go
undercover. From there, players either complete
their assignments or travel through the city solv-
ing random street crimes.
As the game progresses - granted, Marcus
is behaving and not killing random civilians
- players move through the ranks of the NYPD,
gaining access to a variety of city-issued weapons
and vehicles. Of course, if you decide to beat the
hell out of people after you arrest them or ran-
domly get destructive, you shouldn't expect to get
far with your badge.
Unfortunately, the further players make it in
the game, the more repetitive it becomes. While
trying to become a basic officer, players seem to
solve the same street crimes. The game's view

of New York leaves players with the impression
that there's always a rock band destroying a hotel
room somewhere or an international arms dealer
taking a drive past Central Park. Those cinematic
moments - V.I.P. characters and missions that
advance the plot - get lost amongst the mundane
tasks.
The standard assortment of tasks - protection,
sabotage, controlled sprees of violence, and get-
ting from point A to B - is usually just shuffled
and repeated with new enemy character models
and paths through the city. It gets boring and
takes away from the memorable missions and the
moments of joyous destruction.
Besides these situations and the occasional,
completely absurd side job - hijacking a news-
paper truck and driving it into a river or doing a
stripper's dirty work - players are allowed abso-
lute freedom. Frisking people, planting evidence,
checking trunks and entering nearly every ran-
dom store on the street are all possible.
Players can't have sex with the hookers, but
that's not to say "True Crime: New York City"
isn't realistic. It takes the grimiest aspects of its
infamous competitor and removes them while
maintaining a realistic world. Besides the arsonist
lighting up everything in sight in Times Square,
"True Crime" is about as real as it gets.

from'Frier
By Imran Syed
Daily Arts Writer
Remember the "Seinfeld" slump? How,
ever since the show's finale, its stars -
except Mr. Seinfeld,
of course - have Rumor
found success in no HaI
other roles? Appar- Ha t
ently, the slump car- At the Showcase
ries over to other and Quality 16
once-beloved NBC Warner Bros.
sitcoms. The most
notable recent victims have been our old
"Friends" (just ask poor, unemployed
Matthew Perry). The one star who we
might expect to break out of the holding
pattern is the tabloid institution known
as Jennifer Aniston. Succeed she eventu-
ally may, but not in 2005. After divorcing
Achilles himself and then starring in the
lukewarm "Derailed," Aniston finishes
out the year with "Rumor Has It." Despite
occasional sweetness, the film is messy
and tedious on the whole.
Launching from the events of 1967's
"The Graduate," "Rumor Has It" cen-
ters around Sarah Huttinger (Aniston),
a career-deadlocked reporter from New
York City who returns home with her
boyfriend, Jeff (perennial rom-com star
Mark Ruffalo, "Just Like Heaven"), to
her California family for her younger
sister's wedding. There, through a series
of poorly paced (though often entertain-

ids' slump
ing) sequences, she discovers her family's
darkest secret: Her mother was in love;
with a man other than her father, a man
who also had an affair with her grand-
mother and may also be her real father.
Confusing? You bet, so watch "The
Graduate" before you go.
The mysterious man is Beau Burroughs
(Kevin Costner), with whom Sarah herself:
eventually sleeps with. "Wait" you'll say,
"isn't there a chance that this man is her
father?" Yes, and though that possibility
is seemingly ruled out by Beau claiming
to be sterile, an air of doubt remains, the
relationship icky at best. Then, of course,
there's Sarah boyfriend, or fianc6 really.
Yep, it's a complicated situation, and we
can sympathize with Sarah when she
hangs her head in despair and exclaims,
"I'm going to need so much therapy!"
But all disconcerting topics are handled
with a light, humorous air, and "Rumor
Has It" is not an objectionable film.
Shirley MacLaine, who plays Sarah's
grandmother (but don't you dare call her
that), steals scenes with her nonchalantly
obscene and blunt demeanor. Costner and
Ruffalo, though both held back by the nat-
ural limitations of a lackluster script, grasp;
their roles well and play an integral part in
portraying the truly outrageous nature of:
the situation Sarah finds herself in.
Aniston too is commendable, but herf
lovable antics are counterproductive; the
fluffy comedy and her flighty character::
too easily conjure the Rachel Green per-
sona she so desperately needs to escape.
ARTS.

Knoxville can't compete in 'The Ringer'

By Blake Goble
Daily Arts Writer
FItREVWi

For a film thz
malicious humor
disabled, "The
Ringer" is not
terrible. It's not
the controversial
and topical com-
edy that so many
thought it would

at seems to enjoy
directed at the
The Ringer
At the Showcase
and Quality 16
Fox Searchlight

be (in fact, it recently garnered an
endorsement from the Special Olym-
pics). It's not even as frightful as one
year of delay from a major studio
might make a movie seem. But real-
ly, Barry Blausten's ("Beyond the
Mat") comedy of assumed identity,
shifty behavior and on-screen depic-
tion of the Special Olympics is just
kind of dull.
Johnny Knoxville (TV's "Jack-
ass") is Steve Barker, who has been
recently promoted at work thanks to
the firing of a humble janitor, Stavi.
Wrought with guilt but also hungry
for a pay raise, he decides to hire
Stavi and let him do landscaping for
him. That is, until Steve loses his

fingers in a mower, thus propelling
his quest for quick cash to pay the
hospital bills.
With a plan instigated by his slea-
zy, disreputable uncle Gary, played
with eerie conviction by Brian Cox
("Troy"), Steve and Gary decide to
try and rig the Special Olympics.
They plan to have Steve compete
and hopefully beat veteran champ
Jimmy. Money can be made. Friends
will be made. All the expected per-
sonal epiphanies and changes of
heart will crop up with ease. Laughs
will be minimal.:
As a film, "The Ringer" can be
taken or left by viewers. It's a throw-
away comedy promoted around holi-
day time by a major studio in order to
make a few bucks. There's nothing to
really go home and wet yourself over.
It's a forgettable film about a topic
that's anything but slight. So while
there might be a few seconds worth
debating over, it doesn't take itself
seriously. And neither should we.
Produced by the Farelly brothers,
of "Dumb and Dumber" and "Some-
thing About Mary" fame, this film
talks along the same line as those
comedies. But it definitely does not
come through with their cringe-

inducing laughs. One would think
with questionable subject matter like
rigging the Special Olympics, there
would be more uproar.
But really, this film is perfectly
tame. In a few sweet moments, it's
quite respectful and fascinated with
the games. Still, let's not miscon-
strue anything. "The Ringer" is
nothing like "Shallow Hal" and is
committed to humanizing cheap
jokes about easy targets. Knoxville
still tries out different retarded per-
sonas in front of a mirror in a gross
scene played for cheap laughs.
What is questionable here are two
points. Is it slightly hypocritical that
while Knoxville is easily shunned by
the audience for doing unkind rendi-
tions of the mentally challenged, of
the six disabled characters he affili-
ates with, four are actually actors
performing the same ruse by imper-
sonating the mentally challenged?
It may not be something to fight
over, but it does leave one wonder-
ing about the film's integrity. Of
course, this is assuming you think
it has any.
"The Ringer" was delayed for a
year for fear of public outcry. Yet
while viewing the film, it seemed

that the greatest laughs came at the
expense of brief moments with actu-
al mentally challenged characters,
and the audience's own discomfort
for what's on screen. These moments
are the only time the film teeters on
the edge of offense.
From ignorant young teenagers
to their aghast parents, the childlish
way people respond, as evidenced
by this reviewer's screening, can be
downright embarrassing. The film
might just be a huge litmus test for
an audience member's level of emo-
tional cruelty.
In the end, the most uncomfort-
able part of watching this supposedly
controversial film is the audience's
own awkward reaction.

REC
SPORTS
INTRAMURALS

The University of Michigan
Department of Recreational Sports
Intramural Sports Program
www.recsports.umich.edu
734 -763 -3562

REC
SPORTS
INTRAMURALS

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Entries taken:
Mon, 1 /90 NLY
11:00 AM - 4:30 PM
IM Building
Eitry Fee:
$90.44 p er team
Managr's Meeting:
MANDATO RY
Wed, 1/11
6:00 PM or 9:00 PM
IM Building
Play begins:
Thurs, 1 /12
IM Building & Coliseum
Basketball{

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SPremSeason

Entries taken:
Thu, 1 /5 ONLY
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
IM Building
Entry Fee:
$35.00 p er team
Managr's Meeting:
MANDATORY
Thurs, 1 /5
6:00 PM
IM Building
Tournament Dates:
Sat, 1/7 - Sun,1l/8
IM Building
Basketall Touney

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Entries taken:
Thu, 1/6 - Wed, 1/11
11:00 AM - 4:30 PM
IM Building
Entry Fee:
$50 .00 p er team
Managr's Meeting:
MANDATORY
Wed, 1 /11
8:04 PM
IM Building
Team Practice:
Sun, 1 /15 Co liseum
Play begins:
Sun, 1 /22 Co liseum
ya r E . rU Wt

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Ertries taken:
Mon, /9OD NLY
11:00 AM - 4:30 PM
IM Building
Entry Fee:
$90.00 p er team
Manager's Meeting:
MANDATORY
Wed, 1/i1
7:15 PM
IM Building

Play begins:
Thurs,01 /12
IM Building
A" w IsE s U

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