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April 20, 2009 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-04-20

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Agha Monday, April 20, 2009 - 5A

I The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Mil ey's major mishap

T V/N W I OLM
YouTube your
summer bredk

Cyrus's big-screen
debut adds nothing
to her already
shallow alter ego
By ANNIE LEVENE
Daily Arts Writer
Growing up just isn't what it
used to be. Past
generations
could look to
realistic depic-
tions of ado- Hannah
lescent angst Montana:
in movies like
"Pretty in Pink"
or TV shows At Showcase fa-
like "My So- and Qualityl6
Called Life" for Disney
lifelike portray-
als of teenage
life. These teens were moody and
flawed (ew, zits) - just like their
real-life counterparts.
Nowadays, gritty image of
teenage life has been glamorized
beyond all recognition. Singers
like the Jonas Brothers and Taylor Hannah does Montana.
Swift sing about heartbreak and
coming-of-age drama, but it's like- dollars. Likewise, shows like "Gos-
ly the biggest problem these phe- sip Girl" and "90210" flaunt teens
noms face is finding time between with perfect bodies and unlimited
fancy vacations and award cer- cash. These teen idols are hardly
emonies to count their millions of relatable figures for the typical

morals and a big old smile. Miley
Cyrus is Disney's go-to girl, and
her TV show "Hannah Montana"
is crazy-popular with the tweens.
In the past few years, Cyrus has
gone from daughter of a one-hit
wonder Billy Ray Cyrus to singer,
actress and, apparently, writer -
because there's nothing the world
needs more than the autobiogra-
phy of a 16-year-old. Cyrus's suc-
cess in, well, everything made a
big-screen adaptation of her TV
show not a question of "if" but
"how soon?"
The film, which follows the
same general plot as the TV show,
is about normal girl Miley Stew-
art (Cyrus) who happens to live a
secret double life as famous pop
star Hannah Montana. Complete
with a sassy best friend, a wacky
older brother and a loving single
father, Miley's life is basically per-
fect, save the difficulty of manag-
ing her famous alter ego. In the
film, Miley gets a little too caught
up in her fame-loving Hannah
mode - cue an over-the-top fight
with Tyra Banks regarding shoes
- and is shipped off to Tennessee
for some good old fashioned coun-
try lessons about life.
Much like Cyrus herself, the
movie has a shiny fake veneer of
perfection. Rarely does the life of
Miley (both the character and the
See MONTANA, Page 8A

awkward teen.
Disney has a history of churn-
ing out ready-made "role models"
in the form of actors and singers -
the "next big thing" with perfect

'Telekinesis will move you

ouTube isn't just for
laughing/crying/cursing/
exploding/drugged-up/
vomiting/dancing/lip-synching -
breath - babies/
penguins/
trucks/celebri-
ties/preteens/ "
monsters/game-
show contes-
tants/coworkers
anymore. It's
now your salva- JAME
tion from my BLOCK
high expecta-
tions for your summer television-
watching schedule.
If I ruled the world, you would
all spend this summer watching
the first five seasons of "Lost," all
three seasons of "Arrested Devel-
opment," the sci-fi miniseries "The
Lost Room" and season one (I'll
spare you the rest) of "Heroes." But
it has been broughtto my attention
that some of you enjoy such luxu-
ries as eating and sleeping to such
a great extent thatyou would forgo
those higher TV pleasures. So for
you disillusioned readers, Iwill
direct you to the wonderful world
of the YouTube series.
The YouTube series is a mag-
nificent thing. As Britney Spears
would innocently put it, it's-not
a viral, not yet a TV show. A
series usually consists of 10 or
so five-minute episodes that you
can watch in a single evening or
space out for the entire summer
if you've got the willpower. They
range from the product of three
guys, two cases of beer and a shit-
ty old video camera to the work of
C-list celebrities with too much
time on their hands.
Now, obviously I wouldn't be
bringing these up if I didn't have
some in mind for you already.
Being the hoity-toity elitist I am,
I can't help but recommend the
classiest of YouTube's offerings.
First up is "The Guild," a tale"
of some misfits wholly absorbed
in their unnamed "World of
Warcraft"-esque video game.
There's the nursing mother who
finds going on raids more impor-
tant than removing the surge
protector from her infant's mouth,
the guild leader who clearly lost a
lot of money in a pyramid scheme
and the meek, redhead protago-
nist who one day opens her door
to see one of her fellow guild
members with blue roses and a
marriage proposal. With good
production values, decent acting
and an annoying-beyond-all-
reason theme song, "The Guild"
will entertain anyone who has
ever been or ever wanted to be a
complete nerd.
tfslayinggnomes and bring-
ing your own cheese to a cheese-
burger joint aren't your thing,
then maybe I can interest you in
the pseudo-how-to series "You
Suck at Photoshop." You can learn
to superimpose a picture of your
marriage license on a van wind-

shield, edit a wedding band off
your deceitful ex-wife's finger,
add a cat urine stain to your car-
pet and more. But the clincher is
that, despite the evident marital
problems the protagonist Donnie
hopes to edit away, he actually
teaches legitimate Photoshop
tools, because "you suck at Pho-
toshop - now let's waste another
five or six minutes of my life and
see if we can do something about
it." Waste of Donnie's life? Maybe.
Waste of yours? Most certainly
not.
For those who scoff at or at
least appreciate the potential
humor in the soap-opera melo-
drama, I've saved the best for you.
The subject matter of "Horrible
People" is exactly what it sounds
like. Throughout the story of a
money-grubbing mother trying to
marry off her son to a rich fam-
ily, one character is found to be
a chocoholic, at least four people
get killed, fecal matter takes a
starring role and a man tries to
impregnate a passed-out bride-to-
be with a turkey-baster. In other
YouTube beats
eating and
sleeping on any
summer day.
words, standard soap fare, hut in
five-minute bites.
These should be more than
enough to tide over the eaters
and sleepers among you. If not,
you can always check the other
nominees for best YouTube series
from the last two years' YouTube
awards (apparently we award
pretty much everything these
days). And come to think of it,
those of you who have the time to
get through all my other recom-
mendations probably have enough
time to get through these too.
So go and enjoy the freedom
of summer. Lie on a towel on the
beach, umbrella overhead and lap-
top beside you. Bask in the rays of
the sun and the glow of the screen
as you watch Donnie move a cat
from the couch to a trash bag.
Or spend the summer making
your own series. It's the perfect
chance to live out those this-
would-make-a-sweet-TV-show
dreams you probably have if
you're taking the time to read this
column. Who knows? You could
be the next winner of the presti-
gious YouTube award.
And with that on your resume,
you might actually be able to get a
job next summer.
Block wants you to star in his
YouTube series. For a role, e-mail
him at iamblock@umich.edu.

By MIKE KUNTZ
Daily Arts Writer
While many would argue the slew of bands
emerging from the Pacific
Northwest these days capture
a sound unattributable to any
r single place or time (see all
press regarding Fleet Foxes), TelileSiS
there's undoubtedly a certain Telekinesis
breed of power-pop inextri- Merge
cably affiliated with every-
thing Chris Walla (Death
Cab for Cutie, The Decemberists) touches. He's
clearly found a winning formula, and now, it
appears, an apprentice.
The eponymous debut (just add exclama-
tion point!) from Merge Records greenhorn
and Death Cab acolyte Telekinesis, also known
as 22-year-old Seattle native Michael Lerner,
is a promising exercise in pop songwriting,
with Walla's uncongested arrangements giv-

ing the production just enough edge to keep all
the head bobbing hipster-friendly. With each
song tracked and mixed to analog tape over
the course of a single day, the album carries
a unique sense of movement and spontaneity
that is immediately enthralling: To put it sim-
ply, the album has legs.
Lerner is a self-professed fanatic of the Far
East, though he has never actually been there,
as he confesses in "Tokyo": "Only in my dreams
/'Cos they're all I know." The standouttrack is
a triumph of pop songwriting, reworking well-
worn melodies and progressions (The Strokes'
"Barely Legal" in particular) with its own
endearing brand of meat-and-potatoes power-
pop. Making the most out of basic arrange-
ments, Walla and Lerner layer the few overdubs
to create just the right amount of punch. The
careful mix of brevity and high velocity always
spells desire for repeated listens, and "Tokyo"
is a textbook example of the craft.
"Rust" starts the album off on a lo-fi note,

and its eerily reminiscent of a home-recorded
Death Cab demo - softly strummed acoustic
guitar, sparse piano recorded a room away, Ben
Gibbard-esque vocal stylings and all. Lerner
has obviously taken many cues from the Death
Cab playbook, but ditches their more atmo-
Making pure pop
interesting.
spheric tendencies for a frenetic locomotion
more befitting his youth. And, for the most
part, it works.
The album's momentum relies heavily on
song sequencing, and the careful crescendo of
the first four tracks, reaching a head with the
See TELEKINESIS, Page 8A

Discovery sells infomercial personalities

By CAROLYN KLARECKI
Daily Arts Writer
Hi! Carolyn Klarecki here for
Daily Arts to
tell you about
Discovery Chan-
nel's latest show,
"Pitchmen!" Pitchmen
Billy Mays's Wednesdays
signature catch- at10 p.m.
phrase - "Hi! Disovery
Billy Mays here
for (insert prod-
uct)" - has made him a national
icon. He has managed to convince
millions of people they absolutely
need bizarre items like OxiClean,
the Bedazzler and Mighty Putty.
Of course, the next logical step
for the world's most famous info-
mercial tycoon is his very own TV
show, where he can yell at vulner-
able consumers for a full hour -
not bad for a guy who first starred
in two-minute commercials.
Mays and lesser-known British
pitchman Anthony "Sully" Sullivan
help hopeful inventors and entre-

preneurs make a fortune by offer- tions to his jealousy of Mays's own
ing their salesman services to help celebrity status. An annoyed Sulli-
promote new products. "Pitchmen" van claims Mays is the worst pro-
shows how they decide what prod- ducer he has ever worked with and
ucts to endorse and what goes into when Mays overhears, sparks fly.
making obnoxious commercials. But wait, there's more! When
The biggest selling point of Mays is too afraid to let a three-ton
"Pitchmen" is Mays himself. car drive over his hand for a dem-
Everyone can recognize his big
black beard and booming voice,
but this show gives a glimpse of
the man behind the products. And
there's little question he's very
entertaining.
Mays and Sullivan are constant-
ly at odds. Sullivan, the organized
one, tries to get Mays toprepare for

onstration on the shock absorbency
of the insoles he's endorsing, Sulli-
van steps in as a stunt double. With
stunt doubling and petty fighting,
the hosts of "Pitchmen" are almost
as amusing as actual celebrities.
There might be a perception
See PITCHMEN, Page 8A

But wait,
there's more!
a shoot, but Mays is too busy greet-
ing fans. Mays is something of a
diva, attributing Sullivan's frustra-

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