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September 17, 2007 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-09-17

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, September U7, 2007 - 5A


The spoils
of victory

See the son in training? One word. Dynasty.

: ::htim :J~..sa

Associate Arts Editor
With birthdays and
block parties,
new classes and
(finally) a football win, High
Society certainly had reason
to celebrate this weekend.
Saturday's 38-0 win over
Notre Dame wasn't just for
the students. Post-game rev-
elers on South State Street
caught an eyeful of, uh, alum
early in the night. One for-
mer Wolverine turned an
invite to do a keg stand into
a peep show, getting naked
before the feat.
"It was weird," remarked
one onlooker about the alum
and his friends. "They were,
like, 30."
Gossip site PerezHilton.
com has already posted pho-
tosfromthisweekend of Rus-
sell Crowe at the Big House
- on the sidelines, no less.
Who knew he was a Michi-
gan fan, or more important,
friends with Lloyd Carr?
Crowe entered via the VIP
route (through the kitchen)
at the Chop House on Main
Street an hour or so after the
game, meeting up with the
varsity coach. No word on
whether or not Carr gave a
personal review of Crowe's
new flick, "3:10 to Yuma," but
we hear the latter was this
close to taking snaps in place
of the injured Henne this
In terms of actual parties,.
it's still early enough - and
relatively warm enough - for
theme parties. The dress-up
ideas are still on the first go-
round and the freshmen girls
(andguys) excited about"real
college parties" will actually
arrive at your house dressed
in modified bedsheets (and
only modified bedsheets, if

you're lucky).
Unfortunately, I was never
one of those freshmen. But
thanks to a friend's birth-
day, I finally experienced my
first toga party. Live music
by means of a funk-favoring
DJ and band (with two mem-
bers dressed in matching tie-
dyed togas and plastic laurel
crowns), coupled with nectar
of the gods supplemented by
Dole pineapple juice, result-
ed in a smashed watermelon
on the dance floor and strip-
Big enough
for bold-faced
names. Well,
downs to holiday g-strings,
among other things. Suc-
Other times, themes don't
work so well. Take pud-
ding wrestling, for example.
Admitted one participant at
a "pudding party" last week
on South Campus: "It was
more like wrestling in choc-
olatey water."
And let's link all of this
together. In regard to the
quarterback who did play
against Notre Dame, we
did hear some interesting
rumors.Very flattering ones.
Ask us about them next time
you see us dressed up like
Caesar and rolling in double-
chocolate swirl.
- We want to know
if Crowe showed up at
Lindenfest. Update us at

Daily Arts Writer
"The King of Kong: A Fistful of
Quarters" may be the best film about
video games ever
OK, no, there **
aren't that many
films about video The King
games, let alone
ones based on of Kong: A
games. The latter Fistful of
is among the most
demonized genres Quarters
in modern film
(and with titles like At the State
"Resident Evil," Theater and
"Super Mario Showcase
Bros." and "Doom" Picturehouse
in the canon, it's
not difficult to see
why). Silliness and dubious artistic
merit that dog the medium aside,
many mainstream video games just
don't have good stories, and like-
wise don't inspire the same on film.
Magic plumbers fighting lizards
may seem fun, and it is, but it's not
terribly dynamic.
But that's the genius of "King of
Kong": It realizes there can be ten-
sion and drama in playing games.
Sometimes the best stories come.
from the challenge of the game
itself. People take high scores very
seriously. Players want to beat the
bad guy or complete the level. They

want to save a beautiful, pixilated
That's Steve Wiebe's goal. And
that's why he plays countless hours
of "Donkey Kong."
"The King of Kong," a documen-
tary from newcomer Seth Gordon, is
an amusingly sensationalized look
at the joystick joust between top
tier "Donkey Kong" champion Billy
Mitchell and hopeful contender
Wiebe. Rich in '80s nostalgia and
mixed with underdog sports film
gusto, this is "Rocky" for the digital
age. And best of all, it has the advan-
tage of being true.
Meet Billy Mitchell. To put it
nicely, the man's weird. The king of
many games ("Burger Time," "Pac-
Man"), he's been known round the
underworld since the early 1980s.
Billy is a champ. The owner of a suc-
cessful chain of chicken restaurants,
Billy has lived the last 25 years with
pride. He constantly brags about his
talents and the nature of his true
success. He's a celebrity in his own
right. Oh, and he rocks a rad mul-
let and a wicked America tie. You
know this guy: a macho asshole vil-
lain. But the ironic thing, not lost on
the film, is that Billy is about as far
from macho as this prototype comes
- he's a total video-game dweeb.
Billy has been the high scorer in
"Donkey Kong" since 1982 and has
gone unchallenged in his mastery
of the game. That is, until family

man Steve starts playing the game
in 2005. A scrappy, loveable loser
from Seattle, Steve has come close
to success and crumbled in almost
too many pursuits for one life. A
once-great baseball and basket-
ball player, musician and American
dream-seeker, Steve's been let down
in a lot of things. He's a consummate
But when he feels compelled to
master something, fate and almost
too perfect planning bring Steve to
an old "Donkey Kong" machine. He
knows he can conquer this one game.
Just to get a recognized high score
would do wonders for self-esteem.
And damn it, you're really rooting
for him to do it. It's when he finally
becomes recognized that the real
fight begins, and "Kong" turns from
typical documentary into a classic,
over-the-top rivalry.
Gordon orchestrates the chal-
lenge with a refreshing command
seldom seen in documentaries. With
poppy effects, clever editing and
humorous retro montages, "Kong"
one-ups most does in its ability to
engage visually. Sure, the overall
tone can seem too directed. Flashy
Adobe after effects and simple char-
acterizations may leave the audi-
ence wondering if there's more to
the story.
It doesn't matter. This is well-dra-
matized non-fiction. When music
from "The Karate Kid" plays, you

"King of Kong" director Seth Gordon is also
attempting to develop a dramatic feature film
based on this film for a 2008 or 2009 release.
According to rottentomatoes.com, Gordon is
in talks with various actors to fill the roles of
Billy and Steve, including Johnny Depp, who has
reportedly expressed interest in Billy.
laugh because it's so '80s, but you
clench your fists because you hope
Steve plays well, too. At the same
time, the movie clearly doesn't want
to be taken too seriously - Gordon
never forgets that it's a short piece
about two strange men fighting over
"Donkey Kong" scores.
To see Steve's video-recorded
score being challenged is shock-
ing to watch. To see Billy summon
his lackeys to dismantle Steve's
machine and secretly watch him
play is shocking. And to see Billy and
Steve go head to head over "Kong" is
wrought with an exhilaration most
fiction films spend too much money
on only to get wrong. "The King of
Kong" is startlingly entertaining
human drama - and the funniest
thing is it all revolves around a 25-
cent video game. All this over a high
score and a chance to save a princess
from a big, dumb ape.

Last mass meeting: Tuesday at 8 p.m.
420 Maynard St.

'Love' a little too close to reality

Daily Arts Writer
Each minute of "Tell Me You Love
Me," the new HBO drama set in the for-
mer time slot of "The
Sopranos," reads like
the play-by-play of a bad *-
Masturbation at 0:01 Tell Me You
(and 0:24). Hand job at
0:53. Woman inserting Love Me
a tampon (if you're into Sund
that kind of thing) at aysat
1:04. 9P.m..
I don't even want to HBO
talk about the 10-year-
old girl.
There's a good deal of vaginal sex
scenes as well, but they're so graphic
they're almost embarrassing. Watching
them feels like walking into a friend's
room only to find him getting busy with
his girlfriend - part of you is intrigued,
but most of you just wants to walk away.
From the non-sex scenes of "Tell Me
You Love Me," of which there are few,
the show appears to deal with three gen-

erations of couples and their attempts
to right their relationships with the aid
of therapist Dr. May Foster (Jane Alex-
ander). Unlike shows like "Desperate
Housewives," which portray bad rela-
tionships as volatile, somewhat terri-
fying beasts flush with name-calling
and thrown vases, "Tell Me" draws out
the uncomfortable realizations that
hurt more than any insult or household
If nothing else, the show's voyeuristic
approach to dialogue and characters sets
itapartfromthetypical television drama.
The show's characters are rounder and
more developed than typical sitcom cut-
ups. "Tell Me" has the right idea in focus-
ing on actual problems many couples
face. If the show had the ability to por-
tray relationships in a way both realistic
(it's got that down) and compelling (not
so much), it would be taking the typical
romantic drama one step further.
Problem is, the true-to-life romantic
issues "Tell Me" rolls out aren't nearly
as interesting as the made-up stuff. An
uncomfortable five-minute silence while
husband and wife realize they have noth-

ing to talk about while remodeling their
house may be representative of genuine
romantic dysfunction - but it's boring
as hell. There are enough reality shows
already. The last thing we need are dra-
mas that possess an obscene attention to
detail that would make even the "Laguna
Beach" producers blush. It seems cre-
ator Cynthia Mort and director Patricia
Rozeina have conflated frank realism
Some things
are simply
better left in
the bedroom.
and downright tedium, and the result is
an uncanny obsession with the kind of
moments that people try to escape from
by turning on the set.

Who wants to watch awkward relationships when you can just have them?


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