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October 11, 2006 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-10-11

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Nothing offsets a strong jaw like Baroque architechture.
Scattershot 'Dolls'

"Hahahaha ... where did everybody go?"

IMMATURE MUSICIANSHIP
LOCAL POP ROCKERS RACE TO LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR

By Lloyd H. Cargo
Daily Music Editor
Since Tally Hall's latest album has
recently been re-released nationally, it's
time to take a second look at the same
songs they've been recycling for the last
dour years, because something needs to be
done. Badly.
To be fair, Marvin's Marvelous
Mechanical Museum isn't completely
worthless. For example, it would make
a decent coaster or maybe even a good
doorstop. But that's about the extent of its
logical uses. The CD is such an atrocious
attempt at music that at its best could be
used to pick up confused little boys and
at it's worst is patronizing and racially
insensitive.
Actually, MMMM is quite an accom-
plishment. It must be pretty hard to cre-
ate an album where every single member
contributes songs devoid of any positive
'musical qualities. Wolf Eyes have been
trying to assault listeners aurally with
grating noise at unbelievable volumes for
years now, but even they haven't been able
to give listeners headaches the same way
Tally Hall can.
But headaches aren't the only reaction
this garbage inspires. If you can make
it past the first two tracks, "Welcome to
Tally Hall" is the nadir of their unparal-

leled tastelessness. The faux raps almost
seem as if they can't possibly be intended
seriously, but since they are, Tally Hall
might be Pat Buchanan's new favor-
ite band. The song wears its racist hood
subtly, but patronizing lyrics like "who's
to blame / the automated playas / I pro-
claim" and "no, turn it up more I So the
grey in the back sipping 'gnac can hear
/ He's knocking down the shots like Bill
Lambeer (sic)" are an affront toward any-
one who actually takes hip hop seriously.
Really, you're telling me you would say
""Jiggle your bodiggle all over the place"
or "we're rapping with robo-electronic
ebonics" to a black person's face? While
wearing one of those goofy-ass ties? Then
why put it on your album? It's not "cute"
- it's downright offensive.
That's why it's not so surprising that
Tally Hall's proudest moment was having
a song featured on "The O.C." - a show
that, by the way, has never had a black
character ever.
Everybody (under the age of 15) seems
to think that Tally Hall is heading to big-
ger places (such as the Mall of America)
but their (really stupid) shtick of wearing
ties and sounding like a glorified Back-
street Boys wears thin upon (less than) a
single listen.
Let me share a personal anecdote. This
summer I was working a booth at Top

of The Park, an annual festival aimed at
families and teens that features live acts
every night. Next to Shawn Mullins, Tally
Hall's performance was one of the most
highly anticipated of the summer. As one
very excited young fan approached the
booth, I asked her "So who's your favor-
ite band member?" to which she replied
"The one with the red tie." So, naturally, I
asked her "And why is that?" to which she
replied "he's the cutest." So I said "oh, I
can't see the stage from here, what instru-
ment does he play?" Her response was a
blank stare and an "uh, I dunno." Yep,
those are Tally Hall's biggest fans.
For anyone with any respect for music,
the English language or race in America
it's clear that this band is one of the worst
acts that is somehow, unfathomably, get-
ting attention from purveyors of fine taste
like MTV or Fox. To be clear, I'm not blam-
ing the fans of Tally Hall; they have yet to
form a social consciousness, or pubes, so
they aren't to blame for the band's inex-
plicable rise. No one is to blame, really;
Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum
is more like a natural disaster than a ter-
rorist attack. Soon we'll all recover and
return to rebuild once those little rascals
responsible for Tally Hall's hype get to
high school. At that point Tally Hall will
hopefully be long forgotten, just dollar-
bin fodder for record stores in Hell.

By Jeffrey Bloomer
Managing Editor
"Russian Dolls," the strange,
scattered follow-up to the 2002
summer-
in-Barce- FILM:
Iona fable ***
"L'auberge, SPECIALFEATURES:
espagnole,' Fis
the rare sequel
produced by Russian
virtue of cre- Dolls
ative curios-
ity rather than IFC
commercial
necessity. In the film, now on
DVD, puppy-dog sex symbol
Romain Duris reprises the role
that helped build his internation-
al career as Xavier, an aspiring
writer who moves in with a sextet
of students from all over Europe
for a semester abroad. The origi-
nal film was a lightweight, mod-
estly entertaining mix-up of
classic tropes of self-discovery,
and "Russian Dolls" plays like
its cynical older sister, a narrative
gimmick that makes for an exper-
iment both charming and cloying
at different turns.
In the film, Xavier, our mawk-
ish but endearing hero, is push-
ing 30, and he feels the age in
its every essence. His career has
gone nowhere - his first novel
remains hopelessly unfinished,
and his lone professional writing
credit is on a soap opera - and
his maudlin romantic pursuits
typically end in sex and a quick
exit (and not just on his part). He
still sees his former lover Martine
(Audrey Tautou, a good sport in a

nothing role) and sometimes bab-
ysits her young son, but rejects
her advances when she warms
up to him again. With the excep-
tion of his sometime housemate,
a lesbian, he beds just about every
woman in sight, from a superstar
model to his old roommate Wendy
(Kelly Reilly), and he only seems
to get a little more pathetic with
each flame.
Screenwriter C6dric Klapisch,
who also directed, never finds a
focus for his new script, and runs
the movie over two hours in futile
search of one. The length, while
certainly unnecessary, passes
agreeably because Duris takes the
weight of the film's there-and-back-
again narrative cheerfully on his
shoulders with dialogue in almost
every scene. As much as Klapisch's
mechanical rehash of every last
"L'auberge espagnole" roommate
becomes grating, his enthusiasm
for his characters and their lives
since we left them is an welcome
shift from the standard. He's revis-
ited these characters out of geniune
interest in how their lives have pro-
gressed, not merely to extend the
story from the original, which was
for the most part self-contained.
The lone special feature on the
disc is the customary making-of
doc originally produced to mar-
ket the film more than give insight
into it, but the movie's episodic
structure lends itself well to home
viewing. The film brought in only
a third of the original's take in U.S.
theaters, not surprising for a ho-
hum sequel to a feel-good movie,
but in safer format it should make
for a more attractive risk.

Magazine's adventures adapt into bite
size travelogues for'Jackass' generation

Br Punit Mattoo
Ty/New Media Editor
Fuck the Travel Channel.
There are no tropi-
cgl beaches, Italian CLiPS:
villas or ancient ruins * **' .5"
here: In their place, SPECIALFEATURES:
"The Vice Guide to
Travel" gives us Paki-
stani gun markets, The
South American slums Vice Guide
and the epicenter of to Travel
nuclear disaster.
It's only appropriate Vice
that the minds behind
the subversive Vice magazine and dorm-
room staple "The Vice Guide to Sex and
Drugs and Rock and Roll," would make
their first foray into film a twisted take
on the most leisurely of subjects: travel
programming.
Resembling an episode of "60 Min-
utes," the DVD is composed of seven seg-
ments following the magazine's founders
and correspondents on trips, each with
its own specific purpose. The big draw
for viewers is the sense of exploration
of locales casually mentioned in news
briefs or history classes as the epicenters
'of crime, poverty and corruption despite
continued humanitarian efforts.

Almost all reasons behind the ubiqui-
tous proclamations of society's gradual
destruction are here. Founder Shane
Smith travels to Chernobyl, the site of
the most devastating nuclear disaster
in history, to explore the abandoned
schools, neighborhoods and parks left
behind after evacuation. In typical Vice
fashion of emotionally detached humor
in dire situations, the visiting Smith
slurs drunkenly while trying to hunt
for mutant animals that supposedly live
in the "Red Forest," where the dense
growth serves as a sponge for radioac-
tive emissions.
Other trips include a visit to the infa-
mous favelas, or slums, of Rio that served
as ground zero for "City of God" and
Brazil's vicious drug market. Gunshots,
drug-kingpin-sponsored parties and
tales of inescapable poverty and death
take centerstage. The dire images reveal
an area too dangerous for typical televi-
sion crews. Stories of journalists being
killed for filming a concert where a drug
lord may appear are told to an American
journalist dressed in a TV-reporter-style
suit - a perfect indictment for Ameri-
can people's ignorance of the rest of the
world's local problems.
The correspondents also explore the
global hotspots for the war on terrorism

not shown on CNN or Fox News. Leba-
nese boy scouts sing nursery rhymes
about Jews being dogs and watch car-
toons preparing them for the supposed
glory of martyrdom through suicide
bombs. Perhaps even more frightening
is a discussion in Bulgaria with a resi-
dential developer who showed leftover
Soviet warheads to Osama Bin Laden
and a trip to the typically forbidden ter-
ritories of Pakistani gun markets that
supply the mujahideen, militants oppos-
ing Indian rule.
With disconnected segments, it's inev-
itable that the viewer will benchmark the
clips against each other, and there are
obvious subpar pieces. A trip to Nueva
Germania, a former Nazi colony estab-
lished in the mountains of Paraguay,
becomes a meandering mess as the visi-
tor attempts to search for remaining fol-
lowers and form a story arc. Likewise,
the search for a dinosaur in the danger-
ous forests of Congo is derailed. But his
excuse, a hallucinogenic trip courtesy of
a local concoction, transforms his jour-
ney into something else entirely.
The obvious downside of the DVD
is the brevity of the segments. At only
approximately eight minutes each, the
viewer gets a narrow glimpse at societ-
ies hardly explored on film before. Spe-

cial features, including clips from the trip
and a visit to China with David Cross
("Arrested Development"), might appease
some after the DVD's abrupt end, as will
the accompanying 72-page book, which
features interviews with the travelers and
provides anecdotes detailing their experi-
ences with everything from Iranian gang-
sters to African prostitutes.
Vice still leaves fans hoping that the
"Guide to Travel" is only the first of a
bold and captivating series visiting the
places we've always wanted to see, but
were never allowed - or were too afraid
- to go.
- The DVD can be previewed
and ordered at http://www.
viceland.com/guidetotravel/.

A

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