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October 14, 2009 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-10-14

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - SA

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - 5A

Girl problems

a

COURTESY OF ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS

Apparently fashion models are cold-blooded.
This behind-the-scenes look digs deep
can't quite get to the bottom of Vogl
By Emily Boudreau I Daily Arts Writer

On screen, with her perfectly
coiffed bob and dark sunglasses,
Anna Wintour
(editor-in-chief **-
of American
Vogue maga- The
zine) radiates et
power and effi-
ciency. She is ISSue
easily one of the
most influential At the Michigan
and important Roadside Attractions
women in the
fashion world. And, in a documen-
tary like "The September Issue,"
an audience would expect the film
to delve into Wintour's complex
psyche, getting at the underbelly of
the fashion world.
Director R.J. Cutler makes a
mistake, though, by underestimat-
ing Wintour. Her whole life has
been dedicated to the idea of image
control, of retouching photographs
and creating perfection in fashion
and appearances. Cutler attempts
to catch her with her guard down,
S and for that he is a fool. Through

the film, her reputation a
ilish woman in Prada doe
rialize. Without capturin
Wintour, the film fails t
the true spirit of Vogue.
"The September Issue'
to explore the inner wo
Wintour's empire durini
ation of the 2007 Septer
of Vogue. It was the lar
to date, spanning 840 pa
and spreads worth hut
thousands of dollars.
For about the first 30
the film struggles to fin
hold. Wintour and her la
polished and never onc
sweat in front of the cam
know how to fashion th
too well. It is not until G
dington, the creative
comes into the' pcture th
starts to really take off.
Coddington is the
voice of the-magazine,
proclaimed "romantic" i
that has sold its soul for
She keeps the movie fror

high
but shallow as the indu
creates some of thei
ue. photographs in the
Coddington, fashion
ficial - it's art. The
her relationship with
s the dev- two women were hir
sn't mate- time and it's their cl
g the real alities that drive th
o capture the success it has ac
Coddington sli
'attempts making sarcastic c
rkings of manipulating Wint
g the cre- posely discusses herl
sber issue of the camera crew t
gest issue later admits, she k
ges of ads an increase in it. Co
ndreds of brings in the film's l
man to model ina ph
minutes, in an effort to publ
td a foot- untouched by Photos
ckeys are Wintour. Contrary
e break a desires, hisprotrudin
era. They not be edited out oft]
eir image While the dynam
race Cod- two women is incred
director, ing,the filmcouldstil
at the film other aspects of the
try. Very little time is
creative politics behind the
the self- how what shows up
n a world dictated by money a
glamour. Companies pay to gi
m being as inthepagesofthema

fashion
stry itself and less of how unpractical or ugly they
most beautiful are. Vogue's job is to create a desire
magazine. For for them. "nThe September Issue"
is not super- never delves into this side of the
film explores industry, and the film would have
hWintour. The benefited if it had.
ed at the same There are also many other per-
ashing person- sonalities that add color to the
e magazine to magazine but are not developed
hieved. in the film. Andre Leon Talley, the
nks around American editor-at-large, is par-
omments and ticularly entertaining as he comes
our. She pur- to represent the shallower, more
budget in front ridiculous side of the magazine. He
because, as she takes up tennis because Wintour
new she'd get snarkily told him to lose weight.
ddington even Talley shows up at the court with
portly camera- six Louis Vuitton carrying cases
oto shoot then, for his accessories and refuses to
lish the image take a Louis Vuitton sweat-towel
shop, overrides off of his neck.
to Wintour's "The September Issue" man-
agstomachwill ages to preserve a little spark of
he magazine. the beauty and glamour that exists
ic between the in the fashion industry before it
libly entertain- is branded with a label. The film
lhaveexplored keeps up the pretense that fashion
fashion indus- is fun, but similarly,"tats onTy
devoted to the surface-level entertainment. Cut-
magazine and ler clearly had loftier ambitions
in the pages is but Wintour manag 1fo PlalIhec
nd advertising. strings behind the movie and keeps
et their clothes him from delving too deeply into
gazineregard- the w'rld of Vogue.

By ERIC CHIU
DailyArts Writer
Given that the first word in Com-
edy Central's name is "comedy,"
it would be safe
to assume the
network's stock-
in-trade is being Secret
funny. Comedy ,
Central's flag- Girlfriend
ship shows - Wednesdays
"The Daily Show at10:30 p.m.
With Jon Stew- Comedy Central
art," "The Col-
bert Report" and
"South Park" - certainly deliver
on that promise, but "Secret Girl-
friend," the network's latest addi-
tion, doesn't encourage laughter so
much as it encourages hitting your
head with a lead pipe repeatedly to
forget what you just saw.
"Secret Girlfriend" is an adap-
tion of an online video series from
AtomicWedgieTV.com. It follows
three 20-somethings and their trib-
ulations as single guys. The show's
big hook is that you're part of the
group - the entire show is shot
from a first-person perspective,
with all of the characters directly
addressing you via the camera.
The show's Apatow-like promos
unabashedlyaim at its target demo-
graphic, with generous amounts of
flatly written masturbation and sex
jokes. But the show doesn't do any-
thing beyond this empty premise.
A lightweight plot runs through
each episode - the pilot has "You"
going out on a beer run for your
friends after a breakup, meet-
ing romantic interest Jessica (Sara
Fletcher, "Redearth88") and watch-
ing friends Sam (Michael Blaiklock,
"Fired Up!") and Phil (relative new-
comer Derek Miller) filmviralvideos,
allwhile dealingwithyourpsychotic,
nymphomaniac ex-girlfriend (Alexis
Krause, "The Singles Table").
Krause notwithstanding, the
cast does the best it can with the
meager material it has been given.
There's sonething appealingly stu-
pid about Sam and Phil's faux-viral
videos- -the pilot has the'i film-
ing videos like "Toaster Head" and
"Fork Head," where Phil gets beat-
)ki' iinihehead with; resp ttively,'

a toaster and a fork. Still, Fletcher
is a surprisingly strong presence
onscreen.
Among the show's numerous
problems, though, is that it feels
like "Secret Girlfriend" was predi-
cated on nothing much beyond hav-
ing an excuse to watch a parade of
cleavage and scantily clad females
on basic cable every week. The
guys' leering point of view toward
the opposite gender makes Tucker
Max look like Gloria Steinem - the
girls who aren't strippers, models
or models who happen to be strip-
ping exist solely for "You" and your
friends to either have sex with or
talk about having sex with.
It's not helped by the first-person
conceit, which doesn't bring much
to the viewing experience besides
the occasional bout of nausea. The
show still feels like a standard sit-
com that just happens to be filmed
in first-person andthe gimmick kills
the show's half-hearted attempts at
building a narrative.
Admittedly, the characters are
.all already thinly written stereo-
types and episodes are basically a
series of loosely strung together
You are the star
in this disaster.
vignettes. The problem is, "You"
never respond to anything the
other characters do or say. Having
the characters do nothing besides
continually react to "You" makes
the show's attempts at character-
ization and plot fall flat.
But really, trying to pick apart
something like "Secret Girlfriend"
misses the point, or the lack there-
of. "Secret Girlfriend" isn't a show
so much as it's a loosely assembled
video collage of breasts, extend-
ed shots of female behinds and
dick jokes, with something barely
resembling a plot tying all of this
together. That being said, it's easy
to see why Comedy Central picked
the show up, but considering the
end product, "Secret Girlfriend"
would have been better off staying
online.

Built to Spill keeps on trucking

By JEFF SANFORD
Daily Arts Assistant Editor
Doug Martsch, frontman of ven-
erable rock stalwart Built to Spill
and one third of
indie rock's Holy ***
Bearded Trinity
(Iron & Wine's Built to Spill
Sam Beam and
Bonnie 'Prince' There is no
Billy, aka Will Enemy
Oldham, com- Warner Bros.
plete the tri-
umvirate), seems impervious to
change. But it's not like he needs to
embrace it. With every release of
a Built to Spill album comes some
automatic good news - namely,
that it will sound just like every
other Built to Spill album. Again,
this is good news.
Built to Spill's brand of rock
is similar to our nation's other
. top brand names in that it's both
consistent and consistently sat-
isfying. Like Coca-Cola, McDon-
ald's fries and Bud Light, Built to
Spill's releases combine a warm-
blanket sense of familiarity with
that initial, refreshing taste that
immediately affirms why they're
so well-loved. The band knows
this - take a look at past albums'
opening tracks: Perfect From Now

Keep It Like a Secret's "The Plan,"
You In Reverse's "Goin' Against
Your Mind." Those are some of the
finest first sips in any indie-rock
band's catalog.
But enough with the beverage
metaphors. There Is No Enemy is
Built to Spill's most recent album
and only the third proper one the
band has released in the new mil-
lennium. Like every new Built to
Spill album since PerfectFrom Now
On, it differs from its predecessors
only by slight degrees.
For one, there are fewer - but not
many fewer (see the seven-minute
"Done") - spacey, solo-riddled jams
that push songs past the six- or sev-
en-minute mark. For two, Martsch
abandons You In Reverse's and Per-
fect From Now On's emphasis on
guitar- and riff-based songs for a
more holistic, full-band approach.
But again, there are still some killer,
song-making guitar lines (especial-
ly noteworthy are the spiky, punky
stadium-ready rockers "Pat" and
"Planting Seeds").
Martsch, as usual, tackles
weighty topics and asks some
big questions. On "Oh Yeah," the
album's jammiest and most mel-
ancholic track, he apparently sums
up his theology in totality: "And if
god does exist / I am sure he will

see / h
self se
along w
ture an
how un
beliefs..
makes f
poignar
Cont
rock's
Martsc
There
with lif
the mit
Martsc
produc
more yr
A
you lov
will be
want li'
He
memor,
album's
mark h

ow unlikely he made him- he complains, "Hindsight's given
em." Martsch's delivery, me / too much memory / There's
vith the song's loose struc- too much never seen," and fur-
d weeping solos, reveal just ther considers: "The tricks that are
sure he really is about his played with human brains." And
A sweet contradiction, it all if all this isn't enough to get your
for some very moving, very inner Nietzsche fired up, Martsch
nt tension. then asks one of humankind's
inuing his reign as indie most burning, universal questions:
resident philosopher, "What about Canada?" If only we
h spends a great deal of had an answer...
is No Enemy struggling Since all Built to Spill albums
fe, death and the nature of have similar themes, sounds, pro-
nd. On finale "Tomorrow," duction, etc., it comes down to the
h flips the notion of a good, relativestrengthofindividualsongs
tive life on its head: "The to determine whether the record is
tu have to live for /the more a success or not. That being said,
There is No Enemy doesn't have any
clear standouts like "Conventional
s consistent Wisdom" or "Randy Described
Eternity" on albums past. But it
CCca-cola. is remarkably solid from top to
bottom, with enough depth and
nuance to sustain the high stan-
e your life / the harder it dard of quality on which Built to
for you to die / and we all Spill's career has been predicated.
ving and dying easy." Is it among the best of the band's
questions the reliability of albums? I think not. But it's enough
y on "Hindsight," one of the of a success to ensure that the Built
highlights. In that trade- to Spill brand name lives on. And
igh-register, nasally voice, live on it does.

"Do vou ever think to yourself, 'Man, I'm so healthy."

You're Sick
LSA students, if you're concerned about flu season this
year, be sure to visit the LSA website. You can
self-report your illness and simultaneously inform your
instructors and advisor as well as read up on University
efforts to curtail the spread of H1N1 and other
potential campus outbreaks.
www.isa.umich.edu

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