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April 07, 2009 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-04-07

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, A pril 7, 2009 - 5

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - 5

A screenplay

This is my last film col-
umn for the Daily.
Yes, the obvious thing
to do is self-congratulate or self-
flagellate. But
hear me out.
This really is
it for me, and
I didn't get to
say goodbye
in the Daily's
annual senior
farewell last BLAKE
winter, so this GOBLE
is it.
I've been here for four years,
which includes three chances
of getting canned, two letters to
the editor about me, one posi-
tion as an editor and one semes-
ter of having a column. I've
published more than 150 pieces
for this newspaper. I hate to say
the sappy stuff, but the Daily's
been the love of my life.
Oh lord, separation anxiety
is kicking in. Print journalism
and film criticism is hurting.
No. No! There will be no "Jerry
Maguire"s here.
I just want to get a couple of
things out there before I write
out my ideal ending. I love mov-
ies, which probably makes me
the same as you. I don't profess
to know more than anyone. I
hope I was never condescending
to anyone. I just have an opin-
ion, like you.
I'm an Art & Design student.
I'm not a pothead finger-paint-
er. Neither are my friends. I'm
a dude who truly believes in
visual literacy as the best pos-
sible stomping ground for peo-
ple to engage with each other.
To alter Billy Crudup's "last"
words in "Almost Famous": I
dig movies. Sure, I dig my used
Criterion DVDs, countless
screenings of "Ghostbusters"
and random writing about all
that stuff. But it means noth-
ing without having people with
which to share it.
So, to any and every person
that's read my junk over the
years, thank you so much. Dave.
Kristin. Bloomer. Paul. Caroline.
You were members of the Daily
who nurtured me from a wreck
to a reckless writer. Family and
friends? Well, duh. And anyone
who took the time to actually
comment on, criticize, e-mail
or just talk to me about my
thoughts on movies, you're what
meant the most to me. Oh, and
in response to the commenter
who told me - or rather, my
mom - that I should stop writ-
ing? Nah.
This is almost all I can do.
Now that I've required more
Kleenex to dry my tears than
"Terms of Endearment" needed,
I leave you with my ending.
Laugh, sure, if you need to, but
I learned how to write screen-
plays for this moment. And this
kind of an ending is a bit more
chipper than you think.
PAGE 232
Blake's last Sunday Arts
meeting at the Daily has ended.

The small crowd of writers dis-
perses into its subsections: Fine
Arts, Music, Film and TV/New
Blake stares around. No audi-
ble sound. He does his last reads
on reviews. Still no sound. It's
routine by now, but it happens
faster than it ever has before.
He's done.
Blake stares out the window.
He looks like he can't bring him-
self to leave. One of his editors
EDITOR: Hey Blake.
EDITOR: Four years huh?
EDITOR: What's next? You
going anywhere? Jobs? School?
BLAKE: Dunno.
They walk down together.
Step one: Write
for the Daily.
Step two:
Become Batman.
Camera tracks behind them.
EDITOR: Hey man. You've
done a lot here. Stop mop-
ing about not being the "best
writer," or being insecure about
all the people who were your
editors. It's whatever. Screw it.
You're our writer. You wrote a
hell of a lot.
Blake is standing at the door.
Think "The Searchers."
BLAKE (sullen): I could've
done more ...
EDITOR (comfortingly):
You've done too much. Forget
it Blake, it's the Daily ... Take it
easy. Write on.
Blake stands in the doorway
visibly aching still. Editor walks
off. Blake rubs his shoulder,
uncomfortable with the thought
of not being able to write for
this thing anymore. Pause.
INSERT CUT: Blake, fresh-
man year. Skinnier. Optimis-
tic. Getting chewed on for his
review for "Doom" the movie.
INSERT CUT: Close-up.
Blake's face. He smirks. Like his
awful headshot.
Blake runs up to his Batpod.
Hops on.
CUE "A Dark Knight" by
Hans Zimmer & James Newton
Rushes down State street
toward I-94. Camera's behind
the Batpod, and as Blake hits
the off-ramp, he pumps both his
BLAKE (v.o.): I can ride a
bike? ... Oh shi...
CUE "Ghostbusters" by Ray
Parker Jr.
Goble is writing a film about
himself. If you want to see it, e-mail
him at bgoblue@umich.edu.

India's 'Pool' of talent

The newest Indian import
showcases the performing
skills of untrained actors
DailyArts Writer
In the past few months, "Slumdog Million-
aire" has won the hearts of
audiences worldwide. Its suc-
cess has sparked a recent surge
of interest in films about India, RM Pool
which benefits films like 2007
Sundance Award winner "The At the
Pool." The movie, released last Michigan
fall, has finally been able to find Bluemark
its footing in smaller markets.
The film's protagonist, a
young man named Venkatesh (newcomer Ven-
katesh Chaven) embodies the idea of India's
working-class population. The film is quick to
show the tedium of his menial job at a hotel,
where he spends his days tidying rooms and
doing laundry. Like most Indians in his class,
Venkatesh's poverty is exemplified by his lack of
material possessions. Though basic necessities
like food, clothing and shelter are never lack-
ing, audiences will never see him kick back on

his couch and watch a cricket match with a cold
beer. In addition, Venkatesh is unable to read
or write. His illiteracy is not due to the lack of
educational opportunities in India, but rather a
result of his decision to get a job so he can send
money home to his family.
Part of Venkatesh's daily routine includes
perching himself on top of a tree and gazing
in a trance-like state at a vast, blue pool in the
backyard of a local mansion. He dreams of the
rush of jumping into it, being enveloped by the
cool, crisp water and washing away all of life's
problems. After striking a friendship with the
pool's owner (Bollywood legend Nana Patekar)
and his daughter Ayesha (newcomer Ayesha
Mohan), Venkatesh soon discovers he is not the
only person who holds a deep connection with
the pool. And, since this is a coming-of-age story,
Venkatesh naturally comes to realize his true
destiny by the film's end.
"The Pool," which is documentary filmmaker
Chris Smith's ("The Yes Men") first foray into
fiction, reaches extraordinary levels of authen-
ticity. Smith cast his two leads, Venkatesh and
his preteen friend Jhangir (newcomer Jhangir
Badshah), from off the streets. As non-profes-
sional actors who have actually experienced the
hardships of their characters, they give wonder-
fully natural performances. The movie is shot on
location in the stunning city of Panjim; the film

artfully captures its dust-strewnstreets and ver-
dant jungles. Smith also throws peculiar quirks
about Indian culture into the film: Venkatesh
discusses his impending arranged marriage,
dodges mopeds and rickshaws in traffic and
boards up the hotel for the monsoon season.
Nana Patekar is famous across India for his
angry, vivacious roles in Bollywood films. Yet,
in a film full of amateur actors, the veteran
gives a quiet, commanding performance as a
man with a troubled past. Patekar's acting is
impeccable, as can be seen in his subtle trans-
formation from a stubborn, isolated brute to a
father figure for Venkatesh. His daughter Ayes-
ha is an angsty teenager with surprising depth.
Her hatred of her father is actually given plau-
sible justification.
While "Slumdog" transported audiences
into a fairytale India with extreme depictions
of poverty and violence, "The Pool" is an ideal
portrayal of everyday life in India. Additional-
ly, it's an astounding feat that Smith managed
to direct this film entirely in Hindi without
knowing a word of the language. Without a
percussive score, fancy camerawork or an over-
the-top song and dance sequence, "The Pool"
isn't as technically flashy as its Indian counter-
parts. Instead, it relies on outstanding perfor-
mances and characters to create an admirable,
meditative film.

'Deadliest Warrior,' dumbest show

Daily Arts Writer
Who would win in a fight: a ninja
or a Spartan?
OK, how about
a pirate versus
a knight? Ques-D
tions like these
have been hotly Warrior
debatedbystoned Tuesdays
college students Tays
for hours on end atlO p.m.
but without any Spike
sort of evidence.
These arguments have never been
officially resolved - until now.
Spike's newest addition to its
line-up, "Deadliest Warrior,"
attempts to set the record straight
once and for all.
Science and rigor are heavily
emphasized in "Deadliest Warrior."
The premier pits an Apache warrior
against an ancient Roman gladiator.
Their weapons are tested for lethal-
ity, and the weapon data, along with
other factors like fighting style and
armor, are entered into a computer
program that simulates 1,000 fights
between the two. Whoever wins the
majority of the fights is deemed the
superior fighter.
This "science" is explained by the
show's narrator, who uses a bizarre
fake accent to make the things seem
more epic. But it's difficult to pay
attention to what someone is saying

when you're just trying to figure out
why he's talking so strangely.
The most obvious problem with
"Deadliest Warrior," though, is
figuring out whether its tests are
technically accurate or inaccurate.
There's no evidence this science
actually works. Rather than making
the details understandable for the
average viewer, the scientists make
the testing and computer software
sound shady and under-developed.
The show focuses primarily on
weaponry as the determining fac-
tor in who will win a fight. As a
result, alot of other combat factors
are underemphasized. It seems
strange - and scientifically irre-
sponsible - that the strength and
speed of individual competitors
are disregarded in the equation.
Apache warriors and gladiators
are from completely different
societies, and it's reasonable to
assume they wouldn't be evenly
matched in muscle and swift-
ness - but then again, we're not
the "experts."
Combat environment is also
overlooked. An Apache war-
rior probably wouldn't hold up
well in an arena, and a gladia-
tor would have more difficulty
against a surprise ambush. It's
possible that neither combatant
would know how to fight with-
out home-field advantage. But
the show assumes each's fight-

ing style doesn't change with loca- reenactments of Apache ambushes
tion - an obvious error considering and gladiator battles whenever pos-
the final showdown is set in a North sible. Theyare hilariously corny the
American forest, which should give first few times, but quickly became
the Apache an advantage. annoying and overused. As a result,
the final showdown between the
Apache and the gladiator, which is
A fight in which supposed to be the show's climax,
loses all suspense and is perhaps
nobody wins even more boring than the reenact-
ments preceding it.
"Deadliest Warrior" might
sound cool, with future episodes
What detracts from any air promising showdowns between
of seriousness the show tries to the Yakuza and the Mafia and
create are its theatrical reenact- between a Samurai and a Viking.
ments, complete with low-budget Still, the overall cheese factor and
costumes, poorly choreographed shoddy science of "Deadliest War-
fights and bucket after bucket of rior" turn the cool idea into a sad
fake blood. The show uses these failure.

Work for our Fine Arts staff.
E-mail battlebots@umich.edu.

? t F
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Think you know it all?
The Campus Information Centers are hiring for
fall! Applications are available online or at one
of our two locations-in the Michigan Union or
Pierpont Commons. Applications are due by
Friday, April 10!
umich.edu/infol 734-764-INFO

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