6 - Friday, April 8, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com 0
6 - Friday, April 8, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom *
McCarthy's new film is a 'Win'
'Win Win' is
By TIMOTHY RABB
Daily Arts Writer
Director Thomas McCarthy
("The Visitor") has done some-
thing highly ironic in his newest
Win" - ironic
because by vir- Win Win
tue of avoiding
grandeur, he's At the
given us some- Michigan
thing truly FoxSearchlight
In an even-
paced manner that recalls the
independent dramedy "Side-
ways," McCarthy acquaints
us with the everyman life of
Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti,
"Duplicity"), small-time lawyer
by day, high school wrestling
coach by night and flat broke
regardless. When Flaherty
discovers a hidden prodigy in
troubled teen Kyle Timmons
(newcomer Alex Shaffer), he
thinks he's found the answers
to his financial woes and the key
to ending his wrestling team's
embarrassing losing streak. But
when Kyle's deadbeat mother
shows up to stir up trouble, Fla-
herty reaches a moral impasse
that makes him question his
motives for helping Kyle.
Typical light drama? Perhaps,
if you change your default notion
of "typical." Though McCarthy
avoids the shock-and-awe sto-
rytelling of a triumphant sports
tale, he also abstains from genre
conventions that would have
wasted an excellent character
piece on mainstream cliche. But
before trying to pinpoint exactly
what his new film is, it'd be best
to first specify everything it isn't.
Most importantly, it's not
a sports film. It seems like
"Remember the Titans" estab-
lished a modern template that
outlined what a good sports
film should be, and blockbuster
sports films have copied it over
and over, in every conceivable
way. Instead of mimicking the
formulaic, sauntering gait of
copycat inspirational films like
"The Longshots" and "Mira-
cle," McCarthy went the way of
"The Wrestler" and "Invictus"
by using the sports theme as a
backdrop for an examination of
It's not what you'd expect
from a drama. either. because
it's never quite clear who's right
or wrong. McCarthy levels the
playing field between Flaherty
(with his questionable legal stan-
dards) and his rivalry with Kyle's
mother (with her history of drug
abuse and shameless freeload-
ing). In crafting these complex
personalities, McCarthy shows
us that morality is not a scale
that judges the weight of rights
and wrongs. He places far more
emphasis on a person's ability
to recognize his or her wrongs
and make them right, especially
when the well-being of others
depends on it.
"Win Win" isn't even a com-
edy. Most recent comedies -
even the easygoing "Sideways"
- hyperbolize human speech,
thought and behavior until
characters are reduced to cari-
catures. McCarthy fills us with
lust for life and laughter, not at
the expense of zany sociopaths,
but with the authentic quirks of
We chuckle at Kyle, the world-
class-wrestler, because he's the
epitome of a troubled adolescent
- aloofunexpectedly perceptive
and too independent for his own
good. We laugh aloud at Kyle's
grandfather Leo (Burt Young,
"Kingshighway"), equal parts
senility and cogency. Best of all
From Page 5
could range from crop work to
helping with construction. They
are also planning to work with
schools to build musical bonds
and have an enlightening shar-
ing of customs.
"It's sort of like our way to say
'we're here, we got here and we
want to give back,' " Jimenez
said. "I think it will be cultur-
ally eye-opening. Cuba is a very
different country and is in very
different conditions. But I think
it's very beautiful and has alot to
The club prides itself on its
community service and diversi-
ty, but also on its ability to stick
to its "three pillar" adage: tra-
dition, camaraderie and musi-
cal excellence, as the Glee Club
slogan states. This trip will be
nothing short of an homage to
that - especially on the side of
"The fact that we're doing
this together makes it so rich *
and so meaningful and so abso-
lutely fantastic," Griffith said.
As the Glee Club will be rep-
resenting Michigan and Amer-
ica on this trip, the members
want to make a good impression
on the country.
"And of course, we're wearing
our Michigangear," Griffithsaid.
Daily Arts Writer Timothy
Rabb is a member of the
Men's Glee Club.
"Guess which hand has the quarter ... now pound that bastard."
are Flaherty and his coaching
friends Terry (Bobby Cannavale,
"The Other Guys") and Steve
(Jeffrey Tambor, TV's "Arrested
Development") and the way they
react with deference and awe at
Kyle's uncommon talent, playing
every angle for a chance to win
the state championship.
But if "Win Win" is not a
sports movie, drama or com-
edy, then what is it? The simple
answer is that it's a movie about
life. Sure, the story of a child
prodigy has a cinematic quality
to it, but Kyle's success doesn't
depend on whether he wins or
loses, only on whether the out-
come changes him for the better
or destroys him forever.
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