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December 02, 2008 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-12-02

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, December 2, 2008 -5

vel
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A proper
send-o
been writing this column wreck. Plus they brought back Babu,
ice my sophomore year, and which was nice.) But I5am intrigued
time to put an end to this bytwo current shows, the finales of
-stuffed which will absolutely not live up to
e. I'm my expectations; although, only one
uck with of the conclusions actually matters.
ng, and I I've heard "The Simpsons" is
eived one going to end one day, though I'm
alling me not sure I believe this. I don't really
but I'm care for the new episodes, but the
th this - day Groening and Co. close shop will
kind of MICHAEL be a rough day for me. I assume it
in '68 ... PASSMAN will be kind of like losing the loyal
ly the past pet that was around your whole life
rs don't cause me to have a and finally passed away. (R.I.P. Mit-
tack in five. But I'm not going tens and Tiger.) But as far as I can
you with a "farewell col- tell, this show will not end until it
December because I know has to, and Fox isn't going to cancel
interested in dealing with "The Simpsons." Ever. This is pretty
nd of tomfoolery right now. morbid, but the series could very
guess I could have held on for well continue until one of the voice
e semester, so I'm not really actors dies. That's kind of unheard
eserve it anyway.) But it does of in television, but Groening has
e the proper time to bring up shown no signs of letting up, and Fox
[ haven't tackled in my two canceling "The Simpsons" would
the Daily's TVColumnist: be like Disney deciding it's tired of
vision finale. this whole Mickey Mouse business.
e I nerd out here, I think And considering the show has been
sambiguation is in order. on the decline for at least 10 years,
t like Wikipedia.) As far as I I'm not looking forward to having
television shows end in one to internally review the last episode
ways: 1. They go out on their of "The Simpsons." Maybe this 2012
ms (e.g. "The Sopranos"). 2. apocalypse thing has legs.
forced out but are able to Thankfully, a bad "Simpsons"
the show in some way (e.g. finale will not tarnish the series
and Geeks"). 3. The show is for me and the show's diehards.
y canned (e.g. "Undeclared"). Actually, it'll probably be kind of a
particularly interested in bittersweet moment, and I'll most
two and three because even likely have to fly across the country
wo, it's generally some kind to watch it with my "Simpsons" bud-
azard ending that no one dies. We'll sit shiva afterward. There
tended. (I'm not going to will be a deli tray. It'll be nice.
thesis on "LetIt Be" either) And the inconsequentiality of
"The Simpsons" finale is not unusual
in television. A terrible ending of a
movie can ruin it, but anyone who
iding the best thought six seasons of "The Sopra-
nos" was ruined by ascrappy finale
y to sign off - is out of their mind. Unfortunately, I
.uwi o don't think I'm going to be able to say
the same for "Lost."
I always assumed "Lost" was a
ling anyone. dumb show. Having watched four
seasons of it in roughly three weeks,
I can confidently say it is not dumb,
but I don't think I, or anyone else, is
proper finale is important ina position to say whether or not it
there's really nothing like is smart. Essentially, the draw of the
temporary entertainment. show is that the audience has very
s last album isn't always little ideasof what's going on. The
so in advance, and even downside is that when we do find out
is, that sort of proclamation what's been happening, it's entirely
e taken with a grain of salt likely that the explanation for what
ially if said artist happens to took place over the course of the
bed with Beyoncf. And film previous six seasons willibe wholly
k franchises can't compare unsatisfying and make the entire
the "finale" of evena sub- show seem likea roundabout way of
series is rarely more than telling a bad story. It could make the
d of its totality, so those are series seem like a terrible waste of
y non-entities as far as this time. This kind of worries me.
is concerned. But the "Lost" finale could also
sroblem with TV finales is enhance the story, and really, this
y're rarely very good. Finales is what makes television a relevant
never capture a show at its and occasionally excellent form of
'en shows that go out earlier entertainment. There's nothing like
ey had to generally wrap the conclusion of a show you care
le too late, typically having about, whether it ended well or not.
d some bad habits. "Sein- If you closely followed "Seinfeld,"
;rted relying on outlandish "The Sopranos" or any other series
s that weren't true to the that resonated with you, you abso-
original conception. "Arrest- lutely remember where you were
Alupment" was drowned in an during the final episode. The ability
amount of in-jokes, etc. It's of DVRs to shift time by offering

like this column (I cannot shows around the clock may have
adequate explanation for the chipped away at the communal
ation of this parenthetical nature of watching a finale or
any show live, but the buildup to
h is why I'm not espe- an anticipated program is unlike
terested in finales that have anything else in entertainment -
happened. (Well, almost. except maybe a new "Star Wars"
o touch on "The Seinfeld" film or "Harry Potter" book, but
n short, it's significantly those fanboys aren't real people
han it's given credit for. It's anyway. TV can be dumb and
'to end a show where each insulting and disappointing, but
was almost inconsequential it can also be special. And pulling
ntirety of the series. It was off a damn good ending is about
a cartoon in that sense. The as good as it gets.
;nificant plot moment in the I'm just glad this column
'as probably Susan's death in didn't have to satiate that kind of
even, and that was basically anticipation. Killing off George
vent. But they found a way to wasn't even on the table for me.

What every wedding photo actually looks like in Australia

Australian' epic

Despite its
star-studded cast,
Luhrmann's latest
falls a bit short
By ANDREW LAPIN
Daily Arts Writer
It seems a bit egotistical to
give a movie the same moniker
as the country
it's set in. By
naming his film
"Australia," his Australia
first picture in
seven years, it At Quality16
almost seems and Showcase
as if director 20th Century Fox
Baz Luhrmann
("Moulin
Rouge!") is trying to represent
absolutely everything found in the
Land Down Under in a single film.
True or not, "Australia" is a
wide-reaching mega-production
in every sense, from its budget
(reportedly over $150 million) to
its star wattage (Nicole Kidman,
Hugh Jackman) to its running
time (nearlythree hours). The film

doesn't quite live up to its big-pic-
ture standards and expectations,
but the mere fact that it's not a
total disaster should be something
to celebrate.
Kidman plays Lady Sarah Ash-
ley, a stuffy British aristocrat
whose husband owns a cattle
ranch in the middle of the Outback
in1939. (Yes, the Aussie plays a Brit
in a movie about her own country.
Make of it what you will.) When
word reaches her of some shady
dealings takingplace Down Under,
she naively elects to pack her bags
and travel to the property herself.
After her husband's mysterious
death, she sets out to transport
her massive herds of cattle several
hundred miles across the vast ter-
rain to the bustling port town of
Darwin. To accomplish this feat,
she enlists the help of a ruggedly
handsome cattle drover,
aptly named Drover (Jack-
man, "The Prestige"), along
with a family of Aborigines
who live on herranch. All
this would be enough for any
normal movie to handle, but
it's just the first two hours of
"Australia."
It was wise of Luhrmann

to make the conflict between
whites and Aborigines a central
theme of the film. Not many peo-
ple realize that Australia's treat-
ment of its indigenous people in
the World War II era mirrored
America's treatment of minorities
during the same period. How-
ever, in what could be consid-
ered a desperate attempt to make
amends, Luhrmann tends to deify
his Aboriginal cast by depicting
them as otherworldly symbols of
the earth instead of actual flesh-
and-blood characters. Excellent
newcomer Brandon Walters nar-
rates the story as a shiny-haired
Aboriginal boy who Ashley dotes
on like a son. The film gives him
pseudo-magical powers and treats
every line of his pidgin English
like poetry.
For all its excess, "Australia"

is not without soul. It's clear the
filmmakers have a true love for the
land - the sweeping cinematogra-
phy captures every distant moun-
tain and threatening cliffside, and
the CGI is integrated seamlessly.
Luhrmann playfully embraces
the conventions of epic-journey
pictures and the character arche-
types therein: Enter the bumbling
drunk, the greedy villain and the
frumpy, uptight old ladies. He
doesn't twist the genre as cleverly
as he twisted the musical with
"Moulin Rouge!," but large-scale
undertakings like these don't leave
much room to mess around. Still,
the massive run time definitely
hampers any further enjoyment
of the film. Perhaps Luhrmann
should have borrowed one more
element from old-timey road-trip
epics: intermission.

e a;F
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'end the show in a manner
de sense given the charac-
d it was probably a better
to than killing George off ina

-Passman will miss his column
dearly. Tell him to keep writing it
at passman@michigandaily.com.

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