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October 22, 2008 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-10-22

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 -5A

A Texas boys
rise and fall

Oliver Stone's latest delves
into the world
of Dubya
Daily Arts Writer
"W." - Oliver Stone's fascinating biopic about
our current president - will make you sympa-
thize with George W. Bush no matter what you
believe. As scary as that may
be to some on this campus, it **
makes for a spectacular film,
with a sweeping lead perfor- W.
mance by Josh Brolin ("No
Country for Old Men"). At Quality16
In depicting a history we've and Showcase
all lived through, Stone adds Lionsgate
untold depth and nuance to a
character we all think we know.
Bush's story, as told bythe allegedly militant-lib-
eral director, is actually the opposite of our gen-
eral conception of this president. Here, he isn't
a privileged loser who has everything handed to
him. Far from it: His is a classic American story
with an all-important moral.
Early scenes of the film show a spoiled rich
brat who gets into Yale as a legacy and does
nothing but screw up. Following college, he
can't hold a job and becomes an alcoholic. After
even his own parents have given up on him,
Bush miraculously pulls himself up. He may
have been a child of privilege, but when he ulti-
mately gets to the highest office in the world, it
isn't because of his Yale and Harvard degrees or
because of his father's connections.
After blowing every opportunity his fam-
ily name afforded him, Bush is a nobody. Thus,
America's penchant for rooting for the under-
dog demands that you cheer as he works his
way to the top with sheer guts and an impres-

sive obsession to learn from those around him.
Stone allows a long moment for us to cheer for
this once-broken man, but then comes the most
crucial message of the film.
Bush may now be ahard worker and a sincere
person, but he is wrong for the job. The beauty
of his rise from failure to president is aptly shat-
tered by interposed scenes that comment on the
grave damage this good man's presidency has
done to our nation and the world. Ingeniously,
Stone makes us all witness Bush's failure by
showing the danger of this country's obsession
with the "common man."
Such a complex message requires a truly
humanizing lead performance, and Brolin deliv-
ers. Playing a man who is so easy to caricatur-
ize, Brolin performs with brilliant sincerity. He
looks and sounds like Bush, but more than that,
he presents the same quirks Bush is known for,
this time exposing the very basic, mostly good
intentions behind them.
The rest of the famous roles are also superbly
emulated. For Laura Bush, Dick Cheney and
Karl Rove, Stone uses one telling characteristic
to make each character come alive.
Rove (Toby Jones, "Infamous") is a creepy
hanger-on who always has way too much infor-
mation; Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss, "Jaws") is a
terrifying specter who only vaguely cloaks his
maniacal intentions; and Laura Bush (played with
marvelous regality by Elizabeth Banks, "Invin-
cible"), has a benign, almost naive goodness about
her that is at once endearing and disturbing.
Perhaps Stone struggled over how to end a
biopic about a man who isn't only still alive, but
actually still president. The final scene employs
.a metaphor: Bush, an avid baseball fan, is fanta-
sizing about making a big catch in the outfield to
win the game and to become the hero. He hears
the ball being hit, he runs to the spot where he
thinks it will land, he pounds his glove to pre-
pare for the catch and, alas, there is no ball.
How fitting.

Making kinky sexy again

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Daily Arts Writer
Inthe wordsofOfMontrealfront-
man Kevin Barnes's own MySpace
page, the recording process for his
band's latest disc
Skeletal Lamping
involved "explor-
ing the dark and
gloriously detest- Montreal
able sides of my Skeletal
consciousness." Lamping
Though wordy Polyvinyl
and tinged with
typical indie-
rock-star pretentious swagger, this
key quote encapsulates the core to
understanding Of Montreal's ninth
proper studio release. Weird, genre-
bending and funkadelic, the album
delves further into the utter eccen-
tricities that permeated the band's
preceding album, 2007's Hissing
Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?.
While the band may have ben-
efited from re-exploring the omi-
nous territory heard on such tracks
as the nearly-l2-minute killer epic .
"The Past is a Grotesque Animal,"
Barnes and Co. have chosen to go
in nearly the opposite direction:
toying with quick-paced poppy
quirkiness and turning away from
its darker underbelly. The result
is a 15-track-long redux of trippy
Hissing Fauna hits like "Gron-
landic Edit" and "Labyrinthian
v Pomp." Skeletal Lamping is devi-
ously offbeat and peculiar, but for
a band whose claim to fame is a
Bowie-esque frontman who dons
lipstick and fishnets on stage, it
Skeletal Lamping pushes the
aforementioned Bowie references
to thelimitwithitswide selection
of crooning and falsettos across
its many somewhat homogeneous
songs. The album's first single "Id
Engager" is one of the disc's more
accessible cuts. The song opens
'with an all-encompassing scream
from Barnes, followed by a series
of "ooh-ooh-oohs" and "aahs" to
the tune of a persistent bassline.
The track plays into the album-
wide theme of gender bending,
with Barnes screeching in chorus,
"I can't help it if it's true / Don't
want to be your man / Just want
to play with you."
The more harmonious "Gallery
Piece" is dance party heaven, car-
ried by a repetitive programmed
beat, reflecting Barnes own self-
conscious lyrical repetition: "I
want to squeeze your thighs / I
want to kiss your eyelids / And
corrupt your dreams," which later
gives way to the somewhat more
transparent line, "I want to turn

you on / I want to make you come
/ 200 times a day." Barnes has cer-
tainly kept his knack for attract-
ing a listener's attention, to say the
least. The track is one of the album's
better offerings and its blissfully
poppy foundation stands in marked
contrast to the album's more exper-
imental endeavors.
The band is most successful when
it sticks to its pop-based origins, as
heard on the two previously men-
tioned tracks, though the band's
progression into funk-based ele-
ments gives Skeletal Lamping an
added edge and it keeps the album
from turning into a stale regurgi-
tation of quirky pop hits. "Wicked
Wisdom" is a groovy powerhouse,
with soundscapes composed of deep
bass notes that quickly switch pace
from fast to slow. This sharply con-

trasts th
site's Cor
that feat
at a sign
up chore
with the
Caste," a
that rece
from its

:e slowed down "St. Exqui- Of Montreal is somewhat less suc-
nfessions," an easy-lovin' hit cessful when it tries its hand atla
tures Barnes' best attempt Beatles-style ballad, as heard on
ature Thom Yorke falsetto the half-heartedly poetic "Touched
tnied by a gospel-like back- Something's Hollow." Its members
ts. probably realize the same, since the
song ends before hitting its second
ipstick and While Skeletal Lamping doesn't
quite live up to its predecessor, this
shnets: Of disclaimer shouldn'tdisheartendie-
hard Of Montreal fans. The band's
atreal is back. newest release explores the full
scope of contemporary pop music -
a high task for any group. With its
ninth full-length release the band
band returns to its more has solidified its hold as the cur-
al quirky pop foundations rent torchbearers for the indie pop
e cutesy "For Our Elegant genre. Given its latest strong show-
bass-and-keys-tuned piece ing, Of Montreal isn't likely to lose
alls the band's earlier works any enthusiasts in the process of
extensive back-catalogue. achieving its vision.

International oMf
Come to the 6 annual series of events in which students professionals and representatives
gather to explore pathways to international careers
International Opportunities Fair
Thursday, October 23, 2008
2-6 pm, Michigan Union
Meat representatives of 60 organizations tofind out about:
Programsftor work,internships,volunteering,&teaching abroad
" Oganizations offering internationalcareers
International Career Panel Discussions
Careers in International Health & Humanitarian Relief
Wednesday October22, 5-6:30 PM, Michigan Union Anderson Room
GlobalCareers in Information & Technology
Wednesday October22, 5-6:30PM, Michigan Union Kuenzel Room
Teaching & Volunteering Abroad
Wednesday October 22, 7-8 PM, Michigan Union Pond Room
Peace Corps & Your International Career
Thursday October 23, 7-8:30PM, Michigan Union U-Club
Graduate Internships in Africa
Wednesday October 29, Noon-1:00 PM, Weill Hall Room 1110
International Environmental Careers
Thursday October 30,6-730 PM, Dana Bldg RoomH1040
Sponsored by:
The CareerC enter - The college of Engineering ~ Gerald R, Ford School of Public Policy -
Germanic Languages and Literatures ~ International Center - International Institute -
The School of Information - The School of Natural Resources &The Environment
The School of Public Health - The School of Social Work

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