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September 12, 2006 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-12

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 12, 2006

'Idlewild' offers nothing new
By Anthony Baber
Daily Arts Writer


zg a
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BCG invites the
Class of 2007
to our
Fall Presentation
September 13,
5:00 p.m.


As dominant and innova-
tive forces in Atlanta hip hop,
Big Boi and Andre 3000 have
personified themselves as the
Southernplayalistic group Out-
kast. But in
recent years
they haven't OutkaSt
been seen Idlewild
anywhere La Face
near each
other, with the
exception of the dual album
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
on which they did their own
thing on two solo efforts under
the umbrella of one album.
Their last true collaboration
was 1998's equally stunning
Aquemini (Stankonia is ques-
Since then, the two have pur-
sued different careers as Big
Boi, the patriarchal head of Pur-
ple Ribbon, and Andre Benja-
min, the dextrous star of the big
screen. With the release of their
new film "Idlewild" comes an
album of the same name, with
the two boys together again as
Idlewild the album flows
as a cultural odyssey through
ragtime, smoothly sung R&B
and bass-heavy hip hop, sup-
plemented by the R&B styl-
ings of Purple Ribbon artists
Sleepy Brown, Scar and Janelle
Monae, particularly in the col-
orful, big-band single "Morris
Throughout, both artists pose
the question of whether the
group is still together. In "Life
Is Like A Musical," talking
about making plans before col-
laborating on another song, Dre
says, "Say no matter what goes
down we stand strong / 'Cause
ain't nothin' changed." But
in "The Train," Big Boi goes
on to claim that "The second
hand won't never stop and nei-
ther will the clock / That nigga
Big still hit the stage by him-
self and still rock," obviously
acknowledging that though he's
done well with his partner, he
can do fine by himself.
But words don't always equal
By Ted Chen
Daily Arts Writer



Prohibition. But with slick beats.
action. There are only two songs
where they perform together.
The group no longer has the
chemistry that produced classic
Southern hits like "Elevators
(Me & You)" and "So Fresh, So
Clean." Their styles have now
reached opposite poles. Not
only is the teamwork lacking,
but the album also drags, with
an eight-minute ending that
should've been cut to three. ,
Andre 3000's bizarre style,
coupled with a jazz/blues-
based premise, is particularly
hard to appreciate on songs
like "When I Look In Your
Eyes" and "Idlewild Blue." His
attempt at reinventing ragtime
flops in 2006, when the beats
and sounds of today's modern
hip hop rule the airwaves.
Though the ATLiens are
firmly established in the hip-
hop industry as a duo, the pair

should think about sticking
to their own projects in the
Idlewild, though not a
soundtrack for the film, serves
as an accompaniment to the
big-screen project. It attempts
to stand alone as an album, but
without knowledge of the film
it's easily misunderstood.
Many of the film's characters
appear in the album's interludes,
and some songs, including "PJ &
Rooster," have Andre 3000 and
Big Boi appearing in character.
Other movie-cameos-turned-
album cameos are Macy Gray,
as Taffy in "Greatest Show On
Earth," and clips of dialogue
featuring Terrence Howard and
Malinda Williams. Although
somewhat relevant, these vocal
cuts tend to slow the pace of the
album, and were better off left
on the cutting-room floor.

Sports movies are nothing if not predict-
able. Surprises aren't even in the playbook. So
to viewers who like knowing
how movies end, "Invincible"
might fit the bill. But for the Invincible
rest of us, the film is just be At the Showcase
another brick in a football and Quality 16
movie marathon. Disney
"Invincible" is the account
of real-life Philadelphia
Eagles receiver Vince Papale who rose from part-
time bartender to NFL star status in the late '70s.
Mark Wahlberg ("The Italian Job") convincingly
plays the 30-year-old Papale, a football fan from
south Philadelphia with financial struggles and
an absent wife - in other words, without much
to hope for.
Papale's saving grace arrives in the form of
Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear, "We Were Sol-
diers"), new head coach of the Philadelphia
Eagles. Hoping to revamp his club, Vermeil
holds open tryouts to non-professionals, and the
movie quickly unfolds as Papale's one-man jour-
ney from runt to runner.
But all movies suffer when events become too
predictable. When Papale struggles with roster
selection or expressing his feelings to Janet (Eliz-
abeth Banks, "Catch Me If You Can"), everyone
knows that he won't possibly be kicked off the
team or rejected by the girl. The film belabors
the obvious when more screen time could've
been devoted to the development of supporting
characters and team dynamics.
Sadly, "Invincible" hardly bothers with char-
acters other than Papale. There are no indica-
tions of team spirit - everyone just seems to
be waiting around for Papale's magic to appear.
Even off the field, Papale's many drinking pals
are spread too thin for any kind of emotional
attachment. And left ,with the lead and most


I look super sweet.
of the screen time, Wahlberg doesn't push his
acting ability. He looks as though he's simply
going through the motions - are his stone-cold
expressions supposed to conceal some inner tur-
moil? Wahlberg doesn't make that clear enough,
settling for bland frowns of stress and heavy
grunting on the field.
Good marketing sense ensures that "Invincible"
arrived on the first kick of the football season, and
it appropriately screams football in every scene.
If a chara.'ter isn't talking about football, they're
playing it. Actual game footage is well execut-
ed, with some inevitable slow-motion sequences
mixed in for maximum crunch effect.
But even good football can't save the film from
weak acting and a narrowly-focused plot. "Invin-
cible" may be about Papale's life, but there is too
much focus on him. Success in life (and in film)
doesn't come from one man alone.


Continued from page 5
And it doesn't make him
David Byrne, but on Future-
sex Timberlake leans toward
the experimental. "Sexy Ladies
- Let Me Talk To You" serves
as a prelude for "My Love," ref-
erencing the latter in a quirky
call-and-response with Tim-
baland over light, clattering
percussion, while the "Love-
Stoned" interlude and its stut-
ter-stop beat makes way for the
moody, quasi-indietronica of "I
Think She Knows."
But when Futuresex fails,

it trips in embarrassing fash-
ion. Timberlake has too much
potential and name-brand help
to be choosing staid weepers.
"Losing My Way" - with Tim-
berlake playing a washed-up
crack addict - is simply out
of place next to cuts featuring
Three 6 Mafia ("Chop Me Up,"
one of the album's weakest) and
semi-homoerotic Justin/Timba-
land sex banter.
Timberlake is currently the
best at doing what he's doing
- dancing, hitting that bird-
song falsetto and foraying into
movies without being laughed
out of the park. It's impossible
not to judge him or desperately

search for one of his contempo-
raries that's qualified to show
him up. But what's scary is that
there's no one else around him
at that same level. That might
not be so much a sign of his
ability as a consummate enter-
tainer/performer but an alert
that we're seriously lacking
quality pop music.
Futuresex isn't the Thriller
follow-up to his Off the Wall
(Justified). Maybe that's a far
stretch of an analogy to make.
But from now on, Timberlake
is going to have to face up to
these standards. The kid's not
only competing with Usher

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