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October 02, 2009 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-10-02

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, October 2, 2009 - 5

Fox's brotherly disaster

"After 'Juno, I never participate in physical activities without using protection.'
Allwh ppedu

By ANT MITCHELL
For the Daily
If only one thing can be said for
Fox's new sitcom
"Brothers," it's
this: If you don't *k
find yourself
chuckling at a BrotherS
punch line, don't Fridays at
worry - you'll 8p.m.
probably get
anotherchanceto Fx
laugh at the same
joke before the next commercial.
Mike (played by the recently
retired Michael Strahan, formerly
of the New York Giants) flies home
to his family because his father
(Carl Weathers, "Happy Gilmore,"
the Oakland Raiders) had a stroke.
While it becomes clear that the
stroke is merely a ruse put on by his
mother (CCH Pounder,"Warehouse
13") to draw Mike home, other hid-
den problems become apparent.
The most central problem, it
would seem, is the constant and
obnoxious bickering that occurs
between Mike and his wheel-
chair-confined brother Chill
(Daryl Mitchell, "The John Lar-
roquette Show"). At times, the
arguments become so contagious
they erupt into a full family quar-
rel in which nothing can be heard

or ucndce
Adm
moment
ectopla
really g
They sl
bad acti
culprit)
whelmi
are onl
seemsli
Whichi
Case
tests hi
inabilit'
stabbing
C
J'
This," a
Andmi
show's
the wor
A humo
of the l
all thre(
Unli
"Malco
Develop
the cha
just not

'rstood. port the show. Furthermore, rath-
ittedly, there are rare er than hiding weak characters
ts of quasi-humor, but these under unusual or embarrassing
smic wisecracks are never situations, the writers for the show
given a chance to solidify. came up with money problems, a
lither away mostly due to failing restaurant and Alzheimer's
ing (Weathers is the biggest disease (as a replacement for the
, but also due to the over- fake stroke). There's just nothing
ng feeling that these quips inherently funny about any of these
y mildly funny because it things, and the writers are decid-
kewe'veheardthembefore. edly not creative enough to make
we have. them humorous.
in point: Chill's mother One of the most disappointing
im to see if he's faking his aspects of "Brothers," though, is its
y to walk by occasionally attempt to do what far better sit-
g him with a fork. "Analyze coms have tried and failed to pull
off: add scenes containing genu-
ine emotion. If executed well, true
)nly for bad emotion adds depth and completes
characters. But when done poorly,
oke lovers, it just leaves everyone involved in
the catastrophe feeling horren-
dously awkward. A potential upside,
to these emotional moments is the
nyone? "Talladega Nights?" tension they create. When broken,
ndyou, thisis the apexofthe the tension makes things all the
wittiness, unless you count funnier. But "Brothers" fails by
ds "widdly doos" as grade- weakly severing these situations, so
ar, which the man in charge much so that the actors themselves
augh track apparently did ... were likely relieved to be finished
e times. shooting such ill-fitting sappiness.
ke past Fox sitcoms like All in all, there's nothing par-
m in the Middle," "Arrested ticularly original, funny or special
pment" and "Bernie Mac," about "Brothers," and nothing can
racters on "Brothers" are be done to prevent its inevitable
intriguing enough to sup- crash and burn.

Ba
di

Dre
lywoor
once
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roman
dies am
David
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crafter
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her dir
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rymor(
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ing Blip
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sport o
larly sr
she tri
joins, a

rrymore scores Predictability ensues, as the film
follows the conventions of every
big with her "follow your dreams, defy author-
ity" narrative. Still, the plot's obvi-
rectorial debut ous points are far from being a
detriment to the film - in avoiding
By KAVI PANDEY a complex, sprawling story, "Whip
Daily Arts Writer It" is able to focus on substantially
fleshing out its characters and giv-
w Barrymore, the Hol- ing insight into nearly all of the
d starlet film's numerous supporting roles.
infamous *- One of the film's most absorbing
churning characters is Bliss's best friend,
forgettable Whip It played by Alia Shawkat (TV's
tad flashin At Quality 16 "Arrested Development"), who
end flashing ashows enough spunk and acting
Letter- and Showcase ability to carry a film by herself.
has finally Fox Searchlight Shawkat elevates her role from the
d a new stock "reliable friend" stereotype
y, exhibiting an unexpected to a realistic, empathetic charac-
for quality filmmaking in ter, uncovering her character's
ectorial debut, "Whip It." lofty ambitions and hidden vul-
ng a platoon of accomplished nerabilities.
colorful characters and a Other key supporting players
ndie-rock soundtrack, Bar- stem from Bliss's new world of
e overcomes a fairly banal roller derby, a place where all the
and forges a fantastic film. ladies flaunt their stark hilarity,
n Page ("Juno"), suffering possess clever nicknames (Jabba
n unfortunate bout of type- the Slut, anyone?) and display an
stars as Bliss Cavendar, a uninhibited ferocity, tripping,
nofGeneric SmallTown,TX. checking and slugging each other
irky, rebellious nature is sup- with the viciousness possessed by
dbytheculturallimitations of a hoard of tween girls at a Robert
metown and her overbearing Pattinson autograph signing. Bliss
r (Marcia Gay Harden, "The - later named "Babe Ruthless" -
who is obsessed with enter- joins The Hurl Scouts, a team of
ss into beauty pageants. Bliss aggressive-yet-apathetic women
ally finds her calling, how- that features the spunky, percep-
n the extreme underground tive Maggie Mayhem (Kristen
f women's roller derby, regu- Wiig, TV's "Saturday Night Live")
neaking off to Austin where and the oft-injured, vindictive
ies out for, and eventually Smashley Simpson, played by Bar-
derby team. rymore herself.

Even the genre's mostcriminally
one-dimensional character - the
cocky rival - has relatable issues
for once. Bliss's chief competitor
in this film is Iron Maven (Juliette
Lewis, "Old School"), who is pleas-
antly given plausible motivations
for her extreme bitchiness.
The stern parental authority fig-
ure is always aneasy punchingbag,
but as you've probably deduced by
now, in "Whip It," these people are
more than just autocratic dream
crushers. Bliss's mother and father
have more than their fair share
of vices, secrets and insecurities
hidden behind the fagade of their
values-driven lifestyle.
While "Whip It" is certainly
a female-empowering film, men
are not simply thrust off to the
side either. Two of the film's more
memorable characters are Razor
(Andrew Wilson, "Idiocracy") the
jean-shorts-clad coach of the Hurl
Scouts, and Jimmy Fallon (TV's
"Late Night with Jimmy Fallon") as
"Hot Tub" Johnny Rocket, the der-
by's animated announcer. Razor's
deadpan delivery and Rocket's
witty commentary generate some
of the biggest laughs in the film.
The film's soundtrack also
stands out, with the angelic melo-
dies of Radiohead adorning poi-
gnant scenes and the furious beats
of the Kaiser Chiefs fueling the
high-octane roller derby matches.
A quality chick flick is a rare
treat, so boyfriends or girlfriends,
take note. "Whip It" is lovable,
touching, energetic and even a lit-
tle inspiring.

Keeping summer alive

Sometimes gross is just gross

By MIKE KUNTZ
Daily Arts Writer
For many, the word "Princeton"
is inextricably linked to old money
and preppy snobs
in New Jersey.
Tell them the Ivy
League naive is Princeton
attached to an
up-and-coming Cocoon of Love
indie pop band Kanine
and the conver-
sation might lead
to Vampire Weekend, the faiously
(and shamelessly) Lacoste-sport-
ing Ivy Leaguers whose self-titled
debut made some serious noise last
year. It seems, at first glance, that
"Ivy League pop" may be becom-
ing a genre all its own.
Princeton isn't a band of Ivy
Leaguers, however - the members
attest the name comes from the
Santa Barbara street on which they
grew up, not the school. While the
band and Vampire Weekend both
have a similar summer breeziness
to their sounds, Princeton's Cocoon
of Love is less lyrically derivative,
endlessly more lush and certainly
smarter. This is the sound of Vam-
pire Weekend all grown up - or
with a Master's in indie pop, if you
prefer.
Where its vampiric counter-
parts relied on Afro-beat sim-
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Afro-be
touching
textured
of tweea
its book
telling I
Sebastia
to say, a
would fi
- and in
"Sadi
a whims
long-lost
promine
sichorda
Meredit
the voice
iN
S.
bringing
the fore,
eton's sm
Stand
is a sun-
bean, w
and guit
xylopho
the mix.
beat cou

ad nauseum to make their machine, the song quickly erupts
omplete, Princeton enlists into an incredibly lucid shuffle that
at only in flourishes, carries along almost hypnotically.
g instead upon more richly A fantastic moment on an already
I orchestral pop. Elements strong album, "Calypso Gold"
abound on Cocoon as well; draws you from the shade and dares
ish, post-graduate story- you to go back (trust me, you won't
brings to mind Belle and want to).
mn or The Kinks. Needless Elsewhere on the album, the
almost any of these songs chorus-ridden guitars and frantic
t in a Wes Anderson movie drumming on "Martina and Clive
a a good way. Krantz" jangle like it's 1982, while
e and Andy" leads off with "Sylvie" is a melancholy waltz,
ical dialogue between two recalling the more-tortured trou-
t lovers, complete with a badours of pop's past.
nt string section and harp- Once panned by a critic as
as well as guest vocals from merely "the sound of an indie band
h Metcalf, who provides trying to make it," it's clear that
e of "Sadie." Immediately Princeton sets itself apart from
its contemporaries. While many
bands trying to "make it" tend to
rely on found sounds and vocal
deliveries far from the beaten path
hirts here. in a forced attempt to stand out,
Princeton's offering comes neatly
wrapped with a bow. There are no
yelps or challenging eccentricities
baroque arrangements to here - Cocoon ofLove is much too
the song introduces Princ- pretty for that.
nart pop in terrific fashion. With a tour supporting Ra Ra
out single "Calypso Gold" Riot already in the works, expect to
drenched ode to the Carib- hear much from these guys in the
ith thickly layered strings coming months. But don't let those
ars along with splashes of longer nights and colder days fool
ne and ukulele thrown into you - Cocoon of Love might just
. Beginning with a calypso make the summer last a little bit
urtesy of a vintage drum longer than expected.

By ANDREW LAPIN
Daily Film Editor
"There is no way I'm not going to
regret this. But fuck it. Let's go."
That's a line
spoken by the **
guy who's sup-
posed to be the I Hope They
most sympathet-
ic character in "I
Hope They Serve in Hell
Beer in Hell," At Quality16
and it sums up and Showcase
the philosophy
of the movie per- Freestyle
fectly. The main
characters, three bros in their late
20s, make incredibly poor deci-
sions - or more accurately, they
allow their ringleader, Tucker
Max (Matt Czuchry, "Gilmore
Girls") to make poor decisions for
them, and everyone else suffers
from the consequences.
We're even supposed to care
when Tucker's actions screw
over the group. Fat chance. Hang
around guys like him and you get
what you deserve.
The film is based on the book
of the same title by the real-life
Tucker Max (who also co-wrote
the screenplay). The book consists
of Max detailing various lewd and
audacious episodes of his life in a
manner that alternates between
gloating and self-shaming. The
book has been a best seller since its
2006 publication, bucking the ste-
reotype that frat boys don't read.
The film "Beer in Hell" stretches
one of the book's stories to feature
length. Tucker's friend Dan (Geoff
Stults, TV's "October Road") is
throwing his bachelor party, and
Tucker convinces him and their
other, more sardonic, friend Drew
(Jesse Bradford, "Flags of our
Fathers") to drive to a strip club
hours outside of town. Tucker also
makes Dan commit to the excur-
sion behind his fiancee's back. The
mastermind's stated reason for
this venture is that, because all the
local strip clubs have a "no touch-
ing" policy that Tucker refuses to

abide b
of tow
howeva
you ev
attitud
attract
It's a
the op
admitt
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the kin
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If th
T
m
as a do

y, the boys need to get out not supposed to have any emo-
n. Tucker's secret reason, tion. Neither of them are likable,
er, is even worse, and it tells especially Bradford as the mis-
erything about this film's anthropic Drew, who shoehorns
e toward sex as a sideshow pop culture references into all
ion. his dialogue and delivers his lines
at this point that Dan utters like he's strangling kittens. The
ening line of this review, movie limps when the two side-
ing he is too much of a kicks take the reigns, and there's
to ever argue with Tuck- not enough of a payoff for it when
a shame because Tucker's Tucker returns to the screen.
ad of guy who needs to be Yes, the group's ringleader gets
in at all times. Surely his his comeuppance in the world's
'iends would realize this longest poop joke, but this only
him eventually - some- serves to illustrate a key principle
in between all his lies, of poop jokes: They're much fun-
and rationalizations of his nier when you don't see the poop.
lism. Ultimately, the problem with
e film had positioned itself "Beer in Hell" is not that it's dis-
gustingand morallyrepugnant.All
of this was expected, and it's not
even the most misogynistic movie
ucker M ax: of the year - that honor goes to
j or ouc e "Miss March." No, the problem is
that, unlike the book, the film fails
to transform its repugnance into
decent comedy, and that is ulti-
ark, cautionary tale about mately Tucker Max's downfall.

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what happens when dicks like
Tucker aren't controlled, it could
have been a future cult classic.
But "Beer in Hell" is ultimately
too afraid (or admiring) of its
despicable ringleader to push him
as far as he needs to go.
Tucker Max is a hero to many
college dudes for obvious reasons
- he makes a lifestyle out of drink-
ing, partying and being an asshole
to women. He's the straight male's
id with a sense of humor. And in
the movie, Czuchry plays Tucker
with a stupid grin permanently
plastered on his face and a reckless
demeanor that communicates just
how little he cares about the world
around him. Czuchry makes the
audience hate him from the very
start, which is exactly how the
character should be portrayed.
In a poorly calculated move,
however, the filmmakers decide
to exile Tucker from the middle
third of the film. In his place,
Tucker's two buddies, Dan and
Drew, awkwardly become the
emotional center of a movie that's

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