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January 26, 2009 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-01-26

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, January 26, 2009 -5A

Avoiding spoilers
like the plague

You thinking what I'm thinking?" "Yea. Arby's it is."
Notorousl y bad

Spoiler alert! This column may con-
tain crucial plot information from
my next column. Don't keep reading
if you don't want to know what happens in
two weeks.
This is your last chance.
OK. To those coura-
geous men and women 3
among you who braved-
the spoiler warning,
congratulations, there
aren't actually going to be
spoilers after all - mainly BLOCK
because even I don't know
what I'm going to write
about in two weeks time. But aren't you glad
to have been warned? To those of you who
cling to this column's every word (Hi, Mom),
aren't you glad that next week hasn't been
ruined for you?
Spoilers (information about the plot of
something not yet released) are becoming a
real problem - nay, a plague - for the busy
TV viewer. They have infested the Internet,
private conversations, news publications and
even television itself. And like any plague,
the only way to avoid spoilers is complete
solitary confinement.
As someone who principally watches
plot-driven shows - "Lost" and "Heroes"
especially - and reality competitions (I loves
me some "So You Think You Can Dance"),
it's very important to me not to know what's
coming next. But, sadly, my life cannotbe
spent entirely in front of the television, and
sometimes I have to wait a day or more
before I watch the latest episode of one of my
shows. That will be happening for this entire
season of "Lost," for instance. I need to be at
the Daily on Wednesday nights putting out
The B-side for you all to read the next morn-
ing while you talk about what happened to
Locke and Sawyer on the island.
When I miss a show like "Lost," I have no
choice but to become a hermit crab until I get
a chance to watch the new episode, emerging
from my shell only to order food or use the
bathroom. And even those things sometimes
have to get put on hold (thank God for empty
Mountain Dew bottles).
Like real hermit crabs, I also can't log
on to Facebook, because people might have
changed their statuses to relevant things
like "OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE (important
plot-related thing) HA1PPENED ON THAT
SHOW!t!!" I can't go to any site with news;
even Yahoo and CNN run stories ranging
from pure plot information to actor profiles
that might indicate whether an actor has
left a show - which usually means they got
killed-off. Ifnothing else, these sites always
say who got voted off of "American Idol."
And I can't even use AIM, just in case some-
one sends me an excited but overly informa-

tive instant message, meaning well but not
realizing my ignorance.
But more importantly, I can't even watch
TV. Bravo is always running ads for "Top
Chef" and "Project Runway," which I rarely
have the time to watch when they actually
air. So when I see a commercial for the next
episode, it gives away who was or wasn't
eliminated in the episode I missed.
For shows like "Lost" and "Heroes," the
spoilers can be a matter of life and death (for
the characters, if not me). If an expendable
character is on the brink of death at the end
of an episode, but I miss the one that follows,
I'll inevitably find out whether that person
died in the ads for the next episode. This
completely ruins the suspense of the episode
I have yet to watch, turning me off to the
series as a whole.
What has made this such an epidemic
is the fact that most people are not as kind
as I was at the beginning of this column.
Internet blogs and Facebook users rarely
provide spoiler warnings. Commercials
for TV shows always show clips from the
upcoming episode before viewers have a
chance to realize what show is being adver-
tised and avert their gaze. Admittedly,
when people talk about a TV event that has
already happened, it might not technically
be a spoiler, but it's close enough that it
pisses me off.
Yep, Dumbledore
dies. Olops. Sorry.
If any of you think I'm overreacting, mayI
bring you back in time to when a certain tale
of witchcraft and wizardry was just releas-
ing its sixth installment? (SPOILER ALERT)
Perchance you remember a certain old
wizard who met a certain demise. Perhaps
you were one of the unlucky few to be the
victim of a "Dumbledore dies" flyer, Inter-
net site, T-shirt, e-mail, Facebook status or
overheard conversation. Imagine having to
avoid something that sinister and ubiquitous
on a weekly basis. That is the torment of the
TV fan who also happens to have a real life
(however nerdy that life may be).
Well, that brings this episode toa close.
On the next "TV/New Media Column," did
Jamie escape from the pit of snakes and dis-
mantle the bomb? Yes, he did, because you
can clearly see him alive in one of the clips in
the commercial. Dammit.
Block will inflict grave injury upon you
if you send him spoilers. At your own risk,
e-mail him atjamblock@umich.edu

New biopic of The
Notorious B.I.G. does no
justice to the life of the
inspiring rapper
Daily Film Editor
The music of The Notorious B.IG.
seems to strike a chord
with everyone in our
generation, and it tran-
scends race, gender Notorious
and socioeconomic sta-
tus more than 10 years At Showcase
after his death. Even and Quality16
University students Fox Searchlight
from far more privi-
leged backgrounds
tape posters of him to their dorm room

walls. This is a big part of why he has
become one of the most iconic rappers
ever. But on the basis of his character-
ization in "Notorious," maybe he's not
so worthy of that status.
The movie is certainly well-inten-
tioned. It would have to be, since Biggie's
longtime friend Sean "Diddy" Combs,
who has spent significant portions of
his own career immortalizing the man's
image, is the executive producer. And
there's never any hint of maliciousness
on the part of perfectly competent direc-
tor George Tillman Jr. ("Men of Honor")
or the actor who portrays Christopher
"Biggie" Wallace, rapper Jamal "Gravy"
Woolard. But once all of Biggie's bases
have been covered, the audience still lacks
a deep understanding of just why the man
was so well-loved despite his many flaws
(including, as the film makes obvious, his
disrespect of women).
The opening scenes establish Wallace

as a relatively well-off inner-city youth.
He had a stable home life with a dot-
ing mother and attended a nice school
where students wore uniforms. In fact,
he seemed to start dealing drugs purely
by choice - the only explanation given
is that he felt the hoodlum life "calling"
to him. What did he see in the thugs on
the street that made him want to become
one? Did he find the lifestyle glamorous,
or was it just peer pressure? These are the
sorts of questions that this film should've
Mostly, "Notorious" tells a fairly typi-
cal rags-to-riches story: Biggie and his
crew put together a mixtape to give
to Puffy (Derek Luke, "Miracle at St.
Anna") at Bad Boy Records, who signs
him. Eventually, word spreads and Biggie
puts a best-selling album together and
subsequently must deal with the perils
of fame.

'Blart' only protects corporate sponsors


For an audio conversation about this year's Oscar
nominees from the Daily Arts staff, check online at

As the
close i
at th
time, t

By BLAKE GOBLE chants who flaunt themselves'
DailyArts Writer shamelessly in "Paul Blat: Mall
Cop," a cloying advertisement dis-
t him! He's in the Rainforest guised as a kid flick. Kevin James
bellows the main bad guy. ("I Now Pronounce You Chuck
extreme & Larry") plays Paul, a security
oard- guard with a constantly quivering
criminals lip. He's a mall defender incapable
n on the Pau Blart of getting a "real" job as a sheriff.
mous But when Paul's New Jersey mall
Blart, a WaI B comes under attack by hipster hoo-
security At Showcase ligans, Paul suddenly finds himself
in the andQuality16 alone, tasked with saving several
place workerswhile usingasnanybrand-
e wrong Columbia name items as possible. With his
he film's compassion, cleverness and PG

erism and pratfalls.
But, surprise surprise, "Mall
Cop" is forgettable fodder. Granted,
it's a film for 10 year olds and the
humor seldom goes beyond that of
slightly rude. Food, falls and fights
are what pose for humor here. But
when no one in an audience of kid-
dies and their parents is laughing
(which was apparently the goal

here), the film's in trouble.
Although accidentally funny on
about five occasions, "Mall Cop" is
awful. When James mumbles about
peanut butter making him happier,
he's just milking the loveable loser
routine. When he's gazing at a pret-
ty woman from his Segway, every-
one can predict he's about to run
See BLART, Page 8A

purpose becomes perfectly clear.
It's the climactic final scene, but
the only thing that really matters
is whether or not Paul still has that
Hallmark card for his sweetheart.
A nicely lit, perfectly in-focus Hall-
mark card.
Aldo, Macy's, Victoria's Secret,
Champs Sports and the now-
defunct Sharper Image are among
the many consumer-friendly mer-

An ad disguised
as a kid flick.
sense of humor, Blart's here to save
the day. In other words, this is "Die
Hard" with a penchant for consum-

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