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March 08, 2011 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - 7

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Tuesday, March 8,2011 -7

Hearing the inner scream

Lavigne's' Lullaby'

T here'a a moment in Terry
Zwigoff's 1994 documen-
tary,"Crumb," when the subject,
legendary comic artist Robert
Crumb, pulls an old 78 from his
shelf and narrates:
"When I
listen to old
music, that's
one of the few
times I actu-
ally have a
kind of a love
for human-
ity. You hear JOE
the best part DIMUZIO
of the soul of
the common
people - their way of express-
ing their connection to eternity
or whatever you wanna call it.
Modern music doesn't have that
calamitous loss that people can't
express themselves that way
anymore, you know"
And when I see him lean back
against the wall, eyes open, lis-
tening to Geeshie Wiley's "Last
Kind Word Blues," I believe him.
I believe for a moment that we've
lost it. We really missed the
point, dropped the ball. Some
"calamitous loss" has been, well,
lost.
Later in the film, Crumb
roams the Haight neighborhood,
sketching locals both real and
imaginary - a man meditating
outside a corner store, a drunk
passed out on the toilet, beef
heads with Adidas logos embla-
zoned on their chests. He draws
portraits of commodified doom.
In his sketches, yuppies chat,
"Gosh isn't it a beautiful day?"
and headphones plaster every
ear. In one, chunky twenty-
somethings talk while a man
hangs, crucified. The title? "Hey,
I'm dyingup here."
Walking down the street with
his brother, Crumb says, "People
can't wait to have the money to

getthe
a beaut
of sarc
Ove
fixated
scream
ing of t
Whitel
Samue
play, if
it so, is
machir
linked
woman
experi(
stores
peratel
higher

ir hands on this stuff. It's - can be found in just about
tiful world," with no hint anything.
asm. Crumb's unapologetic with
his opinions, which is part of
*** what makes him so endearing.
But his take on music is practi-
r the last month I've been cally rockist; his school favors
on the idea of the "inner the passion, the reality, authen-
a," prompted by a view- ticity. Also, his narration tips at
:he British actress Billie the basis of early communica-
aw's 1973 performance of tions studies - that we have
1 Beckett's "Not I." The effectively lost our culture, that
it's appropriate to call everything we speak, "like" and
a lengthy, one-person find comfort in are ideas that
ne gun stream of phrases have been commodified and spit-
loosely by the concept of a shined before we were finished
n suffering some traumatic incubating. The words I write
ence. She recalls grocery are bought and sold for cheaper
and deadbeat parents, des- meanings.
y pleading to some silent But who am I to deny the
power. In the onslaught inner scream in Waka Flocka?
"Born This Way"? Debussy's
Dieu qu'il la fait bon regarder? I
h D u s find "calamitous loss" in songs
hen Debussy so mechanical and corporate
and W aka Crumb would spit on me. Donna
Summer's "I Feel Love" is just
Ocka collide as calamitous as U2's "Pride (In
the Name of Love)." Who am I
to render the shivers down your
spine are any less worthwhile
ds and spit, the perfor- than mine? If our emotions can
reaches a hypnotic sort of be commodified, then music can
a, abstract but lucid. The be too. But that music is just as
itself, without definition, viable as Crumb's beloved 78s, it
ses a furious, impression- is the state of our common soul,
lamity. it is the essence of modern pop.

Fl

Avril's latest waxes
nostalgic but lacks
the emo touch
By CHLOE STACHOWIAK
Daily Arts Writer
Something magical happened
in 2002 - something with the
power to change mainstream
music forever.
It was a time *
characterized
by bleach-blond AvdlILave
hair, scantily
clad women and Goodbye
provocative lyr- Lullaby
ics, as Christina
Aguilera and RCA
Britney Spears
ruled the charts with singles like
"Dirrty" and "I'm a Slave 4 U."
Nothing was too over-the-top
or erotic for the pop scene, a pop
scene with leading artists who
wore their sexual appetites as
proudly as their leather pants.
That is, until Avril Lavigne's
arrival. With her messy hair,
unconventional eye makeup and
too-cool-for-school attitude, she
ignited radio culture with the
desire to be different. Her album
Let Go, drenched in guitar riffs
and angst, drew in 13-year-olds
everywhere to the mystical alter-
native America. We wanted to be
sk8er bois and date rock stars in
lieu of dancing ballet. We wanted
to wear men's ties in our belt loops.
We even felt a sense of superior-
ity when we didn't hang out with
the popular kids at lunch - and
if any of our friends did, we were

entitled to label them "sellouts."
Avril Lavigne was our anti-estab-
lishment Barbie, making "uncool"
the new "cool" in a nation that
once drooled over mini-skirts and
platforms.
Now, nine years after she began
her campaign against "preppy
clothes" and social conventions,
the artist is trading in her baggy
jeans for a style more typical of
pop. Her newest album, Goodbye
Lullaby, packs enough romance,
sentiments and corny lyrics to
nourish a Taylor Swift song - a
far cry from the pop-punk prin-
cess image she tried to carve for
herself in the past.
With sugary-sweet tracks like
"I Love You," it's hard to believe
the artist behind Goodbye Lullaby
once encouraged us to wear Chuck
Taylors and clothing embossed
with chains. The song, like most
of the album, moves slowly and
tenderly with acoustic guitar and
soft vocals. It's a warm, personal
ballad and is complete with equal-
ly gooey lyrics: She includes fluffy
"La la la's," a list of the reasons she
loves her boyfriend and a four-
minute plea for him to always be
next to her. Though the poppy
romance style in "I Love You" is
atypical of Lavigne, each corny
line sounds genuine. Even the
revoltingly affectionate "reason I
love you is you" refrain is convinc-
ing - impressive from an artist
once known for teaming up with
Missy Elliot and chasing after
another girl's boyfriend.
That's not to say that Goodbye
Lullaby doesn't contain traces of
Avril's former defiant side. Her
attempts to hang onto her past

of wor
mance
hysteri
soundi
express
istic ca

COURTESY OF RCA

image are clear in songs like
"Smile," which bounces with per-
cussion and a faster pace. Even
with its spunky sound, however,
the track's tough-girl attitude
feels forced and feeble.The"edgy"
vibe is immediately offset by the
song's generic lyrics, featuring
cringe-worthy lines like "You
know that I'm a crazy bitch" and
"I do what I want when I feel like
it." The track just doesn't sound
believable or natural on the album
- especially when surrounded by
songs with titles like "Darlin" and
"Wish You Were Here."
Preteens of this decade may
need tolook to'violentvideogames
and R-rated movies for their serv-
ing of nonconformity, because
Goodbye Lullaby doesn't deliver
the same punch as past Avril
Lavigne work. Instead, the album
reveals a sentimental side of the'
artist - one that was covered in
layers of eyeliner years ago. The
album sounds natural in its vul-
nerability and sappiness, which
poses a devastating question for
Let Go fans: Was the sk8er girl we
worshiped in middle school really
as tough as we thought?

To me, the inner scream is a
production of the id - it's the
unknowable essence of self talk-
ing, communicating something,
singing.
So if 51-year-old Robert
Crumb's monopolized ideal of
the inner scream exists solely
in Geeshie Wiley and old Char-
ley Patton 78s, good for him.
But that "calamitous loss," that
"inner scream," that "soul of the
common people" - pop music

At the end of the movie, Crumb
moves to France - he's had it
with America. He watches anx-
iously as moving men as stocky
as his Haight sketches pack his
precious 78s - into a massive
truck. "Not I" ends with a fade,
no conclusion, an endless scream.
The cycle goes on and on.
Dimuzio is inwardly
screaming. To join in, e-mail
him at shonenjo@umich.edu.

Fi'C EVd REk

FILM REVeIEWr
Rang o', a-iei i

By MACKENZIE METER
DailyArts Writer,
If another stupid animated
film with no message and gratu-
itous fart jokes is what audiences
are looking for,
they should stay
far away from
"Rango." With- Rango
out trying to R
hard, "Rango," At Quality16
voiced by John- and Rave
ny Depp, estab-
lishes itself Paramount
as a visually
stunning cartoon with a positive
message and proves again that
animated films can be entertain-
ing and worthwhile.
Hopelessly lost in the desert,
a yet-unnamed chameleon with
a crooked neck meets a fellow

By IMRAN SYED
Daily Arts Writer
Films about nice guys can be
dangerous. Sre,, such movies
may be intentioned as good, clean
fun, but often
the incom-
petence and
aimlessness Cedar Rapids
can really add
up and make At the Michigan
them down- Fox Searchlight
right noxious
to watch. Any-
one who had to sit through "Din-
ner for Schmucks" - a misfire so
epic it still brings chills - should
be familiar with the concept.
At first glance, "Cedar Rap-
ids" has all the makings of a well
intentioned disaster. Ed Helms
(TV's "The Office") plays Tim
Lippe, a naive simpleton from a
small town in Wisconsin. Tim
sells insurance, is "pre-engaged"
to his seventh grade teacher and
really doesn't know or do much
else. But one day, he is called upon
to attend a major insurance con-
vention in Cedar Rapids, Iowa,
which to Tim is a bustling cen-
ter of commerce and debauchery
unlike anything he has ever seen.
Tim meets new friends, learns
new things and discovers the

meanin
just be
with h
Film F
screen
ary as1
series,
emotio
matic b
a Sund
first S
under
theless
unamb
vention
only m
tially "
that's n

ng of life - conveniently, ally entertaining.
fore the movie concludes Though Helms's good-guy
appiness for all. charm has made his character on
official-2011 Sundance "The Office," Andy, a fanfavorite,
estival selection that was it works overtime here as he is put
ed in Ann Arbor in Janu- into the preposterous position of
part of the Sundance USA going from clueless to world-beat-
"Cedar Rapids" lacks the er in about three sequences flat.
nal, rhetorical and the- However, coupled with the genu-
bite one might expect from ine infectious charm of his co-
lance film. It's hardly the stars - John C. Reilly ("Cyrus"),
undance selection to be Anne Heche (TV's "Men in
whelming, but it is, none- Trees") and Isaiah Whitlock Jr.
, somewhat shocking how (TV's "The Wire") - there is
itious a film this is. A con- enough energy and warmth here
nal underdog story that is to please the average viewer and
oderately funny, it's essen- even to score a few laughs.
Tommy Boy"-lite - and no, Filmed almost entirely in
ot a good thing. Michigan, "Cedar Rapids" fea-
tures some prominent Ann Arbor
scenes - disguised, of course, to
films about looklikeCedarRapidsIowa.That
ilms bout the state's much-debated film tax
nicegucredit has brought in productions
of all sizes and types is no longer
finish last. deniable, and hopefully it will
remain in place so that more pro-
ductions follow the money to this
struggling state. As for this par-
rever, all its shortcomings titular film, while "Cedar Rapids"
nly to hold the film within is not as good as it easily could
ilm of average, as opposed have been, it's an underdog story
gingit down into the realm with an unrealistic sense of hope
norable disaster. As forget- and resilience - both of which
nd bland as the film is, it Michiganders should understand
s watchable and occasion- very well.

F

COURTESY OF PARAMOUNT
You know you're in trouble when the chicken-riding posse comes to town.

reptile
"Wedd
him a
Dirt. U
chame
mered
tus jui
the sat
la). A£
about
gun-s.
iff Ran
quest t
r water

Fif
cou
w

named Beans (Isla Fisher, tle down-and-out creatures and
ing Crashers") who gives booing the greedy water hogs of
lift to the derelict town of the big cities.
Jpon entering the town, the The voices by Depp and Fisch-
leon promptly gets ham- er as Rango and Beans are trans-
on something called "cac- fixing. Because the characters
ce" (which seems to have were shot with a technique called
me effect as straight tequi- "motion capture technology"
fter some made-up tales - made famous in "Avatar" -
his imaginary Western which records actors' movements
inging, he becomes Sher- and dialogue in a studio and then
ago, leading the town on a animates them, it is easy to for-
:o reclaim its disappearing get that it is actually animated
supply. characters on screen and not the
actors themselves. Furthermore,
the effects - both visual and
teen m inutes auditor y -aemzigEvr
teen m n tes frame is beautifully composed -
ild save ... oh from the cracks in the buildings
I to the arid, creviced landscape to
rong gecko. the dust blowing in the Mojave
Desert wind. In a scene toward
the end of the film, audiences will
be captivated and transported
le the plot is children's- by a devastatingly beautiful des-
predictable, don't be too ert sunset of reds, purples and
o judge: The storyline has blues stretching as far as the eye
1 adult elements like the can see, followed closely by an
It search for an identity - extremely realistic shot of what
hrough Rango's literal and looks like the Salt Flats of Utah.
ive search for a name - The sounds throughout the film
emes of big-city greed and make a perfect auditory cocktail,
,mental harm. Water and featuring noises like true-to-life
ortance are a strong, cen- crunching sand, shrieking hawks
eme throughout the film, and sloshing water.
.e exhaustive quest for it "Rango" is a great example of
ts lots of empathy for these a children's movie with relatable
parched little animals. themes. It's a visual and auditory
ice members might find treat with fantastic vocal and
lves cheering for the lit- artistic talent backing it, and a

message to overcome greediness
and to persevere through every-
thing, regardless of background
or seemingly impossible circum-
stances. It's a refreshing, worth-
while film that, after specimens
like "Gnomeo and Juliet" and
"Legend of the Guardians: The
Owls of Ga'Hoole," brings some
dignity back to the animated
genre we know and love.

UM newspaper OS 92 'L IK E' TH E
CHaLLelGe MICHIGAN DAILY

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Campus Mind Works Wellness Groups
r
FREE drop-in education and support groups for any
U-M student with Depression, Bipolar, or Anxiety
When: Tuesday, March 8th from 5:00-6:30 p.m.
2nd Tuesday of every month, Oct.-Apr.
Where: North Campus, Room 133, Chrysler Center
Visit www.campusmindworks.org for more
information.
No pre-registration is required.
MichiganEngineering
Uniersiy oMichigan
Depression tenter

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