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January 17, 2006 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-01-17

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Tuesday
January17, 2006
arts. michigandaily.com
artspage@michigandaily.com

cleRTSgan aiig

8A

Babies, porn and blow

Courtesy of Disney

"Remember what we learned in practice ... just add a few thousand crazy white people."
'ROAD OTO VICTORY
HEART WARMING SPORTS FLICK SURPRISINGLY ASTUTE

nly two weeks into the New
Year and the media has latched
onto an entertainment story
that will saturate tabloids, TV shows and
blogs for the next nine months. Specula-
tion on Angelina Jolie's pregnancy was
already in the air for at least a few weeks
before their announcement that she is,
indeed, carrying Brad Pitt's
child. Soccer moms and
housewives everywhere
were further incensed when
Jennifer Aniston's publicist
announced that the couple
didn't contact Pitt's former
wife. Instead, she had to find
out like the rest of us. Pitt
might need to prepare for
Tom Cruise-esque fall from
fame; he's managed to offend PU
every member of his core MA'
constituency in about a week.
Dropping America's sweetheart and
impregnating Jolie, who's destined to save
a few orphans with him before promptly
getting bored or drinking his blood, might
end up being Pitt's worst career move,
unless he attempts awesome Irish stereo-
types (see "The Devil's Own").
Other divorce announcements came
from Oscar-winner Hilary Swank and
diminutive husband and "actor," Chad
Lowe. A long string of Lifetime-worthy
films for Lowe coupled with Swank's
rising fame may have placed too great
a stress upon the relationship. Another
possible factor? Lowe's realization that he
had married a man.
With Swank no longer paying the
bills, Lowe may need to turn to the sim-
plest way for a jilted ex to gain revenge
and make a quick buck: release a sex
tape. Fortunately, there doesn't seem to
be any indication of one coming out,
but one involving Colin Farrell is a
different story. Long rumored to exist,
the recording of pre-beer gut Farrell
and Playboy Playmate Nicole Narain
was uploaded on DirtyColin.com this
week. After a legal injunction, the site
prematurely went down (in a perverted
life-imitating-art situation).
And what do these sex tapes lead to
besides a little notoriety and the adula-
tion of teenage boys everywhere? Babies!
And in Juvenile's case, a little baby
mama drama too. A "trick-ass ho," as
he would affectionately call her, had the
New Orleans rapper arrested because he

JT
IT

neglected to pay his child support. With
masterpieces like "Slow Motion" (sample
lyric: "If you going through your cycle /
I ain't with it, I'm gone"), Juvenile faces
the possibility of jail time and is likely
already beginning to regret ever writ-
ing every dance chaperone's nightmare,
"Back That Azz Up."
Fellow blonde Lindsay
Lohan made a name for her-
self in 2005, and she's car-
ried over into the new year,
likely breaking some of her
resolutions already. First
there was her appearance on
"The Tonight Show," during
which she jumped up at the
end of Juelz Santana's set
and did her best imitation
NIT of that freshman girl a little
TOO too desperate for a attention
at a frat party. Then there
was the Vanity Fair article in which she
admitted to having an eating disorder
and dabbling in a few drugs, but was
on the road to recovery (of her breasts,
mainly). Nothing too special here.
Except, of course, that Lohan recounted
her interview. Vanity Fair has stood by
the story, claiming everything Lohan
said is on tape.
The best was saved for this past week
when notorious media blog Gawker.com
reported that Lohan went into a New York
nightclub's bathroom and scrawled "Scar-
lett (Johansson) is a bloody cunt" with a
signed "L" to boot.
The night didn't end there though.
The New York Post's Page Six recount-
ed witness' stories of Lohan and model
martyr Kate Moss climbing on stage at
New York's premier strip club, Scores,
dancing (clothed, sadly) and caressing
each other. Surprisingly, the skeletal duo
managed to avoid mistaking each other
for stripper poles. Not in attendance was
Scores fixture and former Zairian super-
star, Dikembe Mutombo, who didn't get
to use the legendary "Who wants to sex
Mutombo" pickup line he called upon
during his days at Georgetown.
Lohan out of her gourd. Swank single.
Juve takin' care of his various wifeys.
And Mutombo, thank god for Mutombo.
Let's hope this 2006 thing can stick
around for a while.
- Any simnilar urges to share gossip
can be indulged at mattoop@umich.edu.

01

By Imran Syed
Daily Arts Writer

The best stories in life are true. And "Glory
Road," a minimally enhanced depiction of one of
the greatest sports stories of all
time, is certainly among the best Glory Road
portrayals to hit the screen in
months. Released in a time when At the Showcase
the specter of discrimination and Quality 16
- racial or otherwise - still Disney
looms, the film is a stark portray-
al of one team's improbable triumph and a poignant
reminder of the way illogical, bigoted norms appear
once-removed from a blurring context.
Essentially, "Glory Road" follows Don Haskins
(Josh Lucas, "Stealth"), a basketball coach who, when
given the chance to move up from high school to Divi-
sion I, moves with his family to El Paso to coach the
little-known Texas Western University Miners.
Like most pioneers, Coach Haskins doesn't think
he is one - he just wants to win games. Working

on a low budget, he finds himself losing out on all
the big recruits. But on one scouting trip, he comes
across a smooth-handling guard named Bobby Joe
Hill from Detroit and offers him a scholarship. The
year is 1965, Bobby Joe Hill is black and such a
thing just can't happen.
Fighting back pressure from fellow coaches, fans
and even university officials, Coach Haskins recruits
several more black players - not just to sit them on
the bench as "token negroes," but to actually play with
them and win. With Haskins's guidance, his '66 team
comes together against impossible odds to have a 27-
1 season, capped off by the most important game in
basketball - the NCAA championship - against the
powerhouse Kentucky Wildcats.
"Glory Road" is much more than the stock underdog
story Disney releases approximately I1 times a year.
It handles its social relevance adeptly, and doesn't get
caught in the slapstick that weighs down many such
films. Though not perfect, the pace is solid, especially
in the early scenes. In an effort to give the audience a
quick overview of Coach Haskins's life, too much is
squeezed into the first 10 minutes, making the narrative
feel rushed. But just as the audience settles in, so does

the film, and it goes on to tell its exceptional story in a
compelling, yet suitably somber manner.
Lucas, trashed for his performance in last summer's
megaflop "Stealth," is great as the relentless and naively
righteous Coach Haskins. He has mastered the coach's
mannerisms and delivers the most natural performance
of his career. His players are also remarkably convinc-
ing in their looks and styles. Unexpectedly, Disney has
created an environment that authentically captures the
civil rights era, and successfully evokes the issues its
characters live with on a daily basis.
There are people who will see "Glory Road" and
walk out disappointed because, to them, it's just a
rehash of the same old underdog story. But the film is
so much more than that. It brazenly stirs up the most
controversial issues in America, asking us to ponder
our most basic assumptions about the social order. It
was once unheard of for a black man to play college
basketball. Today, we still have country clubs that pro-
hibit women and laws that discriminate on the basis of
sexual orientation. "Glory Road" is astonishing because
it challenges us to remember that the pursuit of a better
society is not merely an antiquated fight embalmed in
celluloid triumph tales, but an ongoing battle.

I

'Holiday'
full of
easy fun
By David Eicke
Daily Arts Writer
There's nothing like a good death
comedy to raise the spirits.
Queen Latifah's latest airy vehicle
"Last Holiday" capitalizes on a clas-

Sincere animal film moves past cliches
By Michelle Zellers
For the Daily

Warner Brothers funneled countless millions into adver-
tising for "Kangaroo Jack" and "Racing Stripes," insipid
kid-animal movies complete with the voices of stars like
Mandy Moore and Frankie Muniz. Given their history, it's
unfortunate that they are reluctant to pay similar attention
to "Duma," a more serious and intelligent family film that
has been latent on their shelves since April.
"Duma" traces the adventures of a South African boy
who must travel hundreds of miles to release his pet cheetah

Courtesy of Paramount
Oprah finally spirals into a torrid love affair with Dr. Phil and Betty Crocker.

sic "What if?"
plot to create a
sense of jubilance
in the face of an
otherwise-grim
situation. Though
Latifah has trou-

Last Holiday
At the Showcase
and Quality 16
Paramount

ble selling her usually buoyant and
impulsive persona as the reserved play-
it-safer, what really makes the film
work is the secondary cast. The movie
is brimming with charming, nuanced
characters who all play small but
important roles. Latifah also doesn't
convincingly sell her romance with
Sean (LL Cool J, "S.W.A.T."), despite
his purported ability to "crack a walnut
with that ass."
Sean's hind parts first catch Geor-
gia's (Latifah, "Beauty Shop") eye
from across the floor of the department
store where they both work. Unfortu-
nately, despite mutual attraction, nei-
ther party can summon the guts to say
anything until one day, as they're final-

ly talking, Georgia knocks her head on
an open cupboard. A subsequent CAT
scan leads to the discovery of a termi-
nal disease in Georgia's brain, and the
diagnosis? She has three weeks to live.
Georgia does what any good lead
character in a formulaic Hollywood
comedy would do: She decides to start
Living with a capital "L." Withdrawing
her entire life savings, she embarks on a
"last holiday" to the dreamy Hotel Pupp
in the Czech Republic. There, her new-
found carefree antics inspire everyone
from bellboy to congressman. The drama
begins when her charisma threatens the
political agenda of retail mogul Matthew
Kragen (Timothy Hutton, "Kinsey").
This whimsical pattern of winning
over all (save the Man) at a large estab-
lishment recalls 2004's "The Termi-
nal." The two movies share the same
essential feel, and perhaps more impor-
tantly, both feature a profoundly amus-
ing old Indian man named Gupta.
Other delightful small characters

include a boisterous, warm-hearted
chef, a sneaky old concierge, a wide-
eyed masseuse and the aforementioned
bellboy, whose head of tumultuous hair
that recalls Rod Stewart after a night of
rough sex with a puma.
OK, so maybe that's an exaggeration.
Some of its events are much too far-
fetched for any sincere enjoyment. After
two minutes on a snowboard, Georgia is
able to plummet down a black-diamond
slope, landing some sweet jumps on the
way. Unless you're James Bond, that's
probably not going to happen.
Small complaints aside, "Last Holi-
day" has a joyfulness that just makes
the audience feel good. Yes, it's a bit
corny in spots. Yes, it suffers from
chronic predictability. But its cast and
story are as inspiring as "The Termi-
nal," not to mention previous movies
utilizing Latifah's affable comic talents
like "Bringing Down the House," with
the same message. Live. Dance. Have
a good time.

into the wild, lest the animal be placed
in captivity. Absent teen-idol appear-
ances, animated stints and the typical
kid jokes, Warner Bros. execs have
been uncertain of Duma's ability to
garner an audience. But there's reason
to have faith in this one: Director Car-
roll Ballard ("The Black Stallion," "Fly,

proven his ability to capture elegantly and unsentimentally
the fragile relationships between humans and the natural
world. The simple, colorful shots of people and wildlife in
Africa show his latest film is no exception.
When young Xan (newcomer Alexander Michaletos) dis-
covers an abandoned cheetah cub alongside a road, he and his
father, Peter (Campbell Scott, "The Exorcism of Emily Rose"),
decide to adopt the animal as a pet on the family ranch. But as
Duma (the Swahili word for cheetah) matures, Peter warns that
the animal must soon be released before he becomes too old
to readjust to the wild. Peter's sudden illness and death make
the northward trip to release Duma impossible, so the family
drags the cheetah to a Johannesburg apartment as Xan's moth-
er searches for work in the city.
Duma's escape from the apartment and surprise appear-
ance at Xan's school nearly lands the cheetah in captivity and
convinces Xan he must complete his father's plans to return
him to the wild. He embarks with few supplies and no permis-
sion on a motorcycle trip hundreds of miles northward into
the heart of Africa, his cheetah riding happily in the sidecar.

Duma
At the Michigan
Theater
Warner Bros.
Away Home") has

Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Best cat movie since "The Ghost and the Darkness."
Xan's survival along the perilous path is due partly to his
encounter with another wanderer (Eamonn Walker, "Tears
of the Sun"). The boy, cheetah and adult nomad form an
unlikely trio who combine their skills to navigate the wil-
derness. Each member mounts obstacles to return to his
natural habitat, and along the way, the group learns mutual
lessons about loss, home and family.
"Duma" is more moving than other recent kid-empow-
erment movies, such as "A Series of Unfortunate Events,"
which tend to portray children outwitting villainous adults
with absurd, fantastic solutions to their problems. The situa-
tions Xan encounters in "Duma" may be equally far fetched,
but the themes resonate more genuinely.
Strong performances, rich scenery and a thoughtful plot
help make "Duma" an enjoyable experience for both child
and adult viewers. Though at points it falls into the familiar
look-at-the-cute-animal movie, it was clearly made with the
same care and craftsmanship filmmakers usually invest in
films for older audiences.
As a sincere, no-gimmick picture without big-name stars,
"Duma's" nationwide release is still in question. But should it
make its way into more theaters, "Duma" has the potential to
become a new, enduring family classic, respecting the intel-
ligence and emotion of children rather than placating them
with colorful explosions and crude jokes.

A ~ I-.

Headaches?
Michigan Head*Pain & Neurological Institute is
conducting an in-clinic research study evaluating an
investigational medication for migraine.
Participants must be 18 to 65 years old and suffer 2 to
6 headaches per month. A total of three clinic visits
are required. Visit 2 is a four- to five-hour treatment

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, FLORIDA

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