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September 04, 2012 - Image 32

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2012-09-04

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4D - Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Michigan Daily -- michigandaily.com

'Hunger Games'triumphs
Film adaptation.-
of popular novel
beats the odds

The writers/directors of "Reunion" also helmed the "Harold and Kumar" films.
American Pie' cast and
crew talk'Reunion'

Daily Arts Writer
MARCH 26, 2012 - Now hold
on just a second, Can it be pos-
sible? Can a film based on a best-
selling young adult saga, with a
fan base fright-
eningly similar
to that of the
"Twilight" series
(a moment's The Hunger
pause to shud- Games
der at the mem-
ory...), hit all the At Quality16
right notes? Yes, and Rave
yes it can! "The Lionsgate
Hunger Games,"
with- its flawless
cast, perfectly paced action and
dramatic intensity, is everything
we've been waiting for and more.
Breathe easy, Suzanne Collins
- perhaps Hollywood's finally
learning how not to mess up a
beloved piece of fiction.
Though, the movie's victory
has to be due in part to Collins's
contribution to the screenplay.
Director Gary Ross's ("Seabis-
cuit") decision to hire Collins,
writer of -the original trilogy,
yields a film that's true to its lit-
erary counterpart even after cer-
tain scenes from the book are
cut and altered. If anything, it
ensures that the books' multi-
tude of fans get what they pay
for - a movie that's loyal to the


13 years after first
film, humor and
shenanigans return
Daily Arts Writer
APRIL 6, 2012 - "Hey, do you
want to have sex with us right
now?" Jason Biggsasked. "I know
we just met, brother, but there's a
fuckinglock on that door, right?"
Since it would be a blatant
breach of journalistic ethics, this
writer for The Michigan Daily
respectfully declined, politely,
pointing out that the windows in
the group-study rooms at Ross
are in fact, two-way, before pro-
ceeding with an interview with
the cast and crew of "American
Reunion": writers/directors Jon
Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg
("Harold and Kumar" films), star
Eddie Kaye Thomas (Finch), and
the apple pie paramour himself,
Jason Biggs (Jim).
It's been a long 13 years since
the first "American Pie" launched
a new generation of teen-sex com-
edies and nine years since the
last non-direct-to-video sequel,
"American Wedding." But the
original cast wasn't always keen
about reuniting for yet another
"No one thought after ("Ameri-
can Wedding") that there was
going to be one, and the idea, on
the surface, wasn't that appeal-
ing," Thomas said. "(Hurwitz
and Schlossberg) wrote a qual-
ity script, and I know that's what
got everybody on board. It's hard
to find good movies, period, to
make. Whether it was.'American
Pie 4' or a whole other film, it's
just a good, funny script, which
got everybody to say 'Alright, I'll
do it.'"
Because of storytelling and
scheduling issues, members of-
the core cast were dropped for
2003's "American Wedding,"
including Chris Klein (Oz), Tara
Reid (Vicky) and Mena Suvari


(Heather). But Hurwitz and
Schlossberg were insistent that
they and everyone else were
game before "Reunion" moved
forward - this meant every-
one, including Jim's foreign
exchange crush Nadia (Shannon
Elizabeth), the MILF Guys and
The Sherminator.
"You wanted to bring back all
the favorites from that first film,"
Schlossberg said. "The hope was
that once you started getting
some of the cast, the rest of the
cast would jump on board."
Hurwitz added: "If these guys
hadn't signed on board, Tara
Reid would have played every
character. It would have been
Eddie Murphy style."
As newcomers to the "Ameri-
can Pie" franchise, Hurwitz and
Schlossberg were brought on for
their dual-threat capability -
not only did the duo create, write
and direct the entirety of the leg-
endarily raunchy "Harold and
Kumar" trilogy, they are devo-
tees of the "American Pie" films.
"These guys know these mov-
ies better than any other human
being walking on the planet - to
a scary degree," Thomas said.
Biggs related an anecdote
from their flight to Detroit that
explicated the breadth of the
pair's fandom.
"I looked over,' (Schlossberg)
puts his earphones into his
iPhone," Biggs recounted. "I'm
like 'What're you watching?'"
because I'm nosy as shit. And it's
'American Pie 1.' He was like 'I
just wanted to double check the
Uncle Mort reference in 'Ameri-
can Pie 1' and see what scene it
was in."' "
"When you're doing a sequel,
you want to make sure."
Schlossberg began.
."Yeah, especially six, seven,
eight months later, after the
movie's already been locked into
the can, you want to be able to
reference it on the flight," Biggs
"I was sitting next to Jason
Biges, I wanted to imoress him."

Schlossberg said.
But when it came to writing
the story, the duo knew they had
to inject fresh material among
the recurring jokes' and call-
backs to the previous films.
"When we were first
approached with the idea of
doing the movie, Jon and I
started thinking about differ-
ent ideas, and the first idea that
came into our heads was that
Jim's mom is dead," Schlossberg
"You sick fucks. You sick, sick,
fucks," Biggs exclaimed.
"The truth of the matter is,
when you have'someone like
Eugene Levy (Jim's Dad) and
you see that he's been put in the
position where he's been doing
the same thing every movie,"
Hurwitz said. "We were looking
to give Eugene (more to do)."
"It's kind of a genius idea - to
introduce death into the 'Ameri-
can Pie' franchise is conceptu-
ally ridiculous," Biggs said. "But
it's so smart and so good, it's one'
of my favorite things about the
movie because, first of all it adds
some poignancy, which there is a
lot of in this movie, despite what
you maay have gathered from the
present company."
Though pathos is pumped
up, so are the sex-crazed she-
nanigans that would make even
Tracy Morgan blush. While Jim
romancing a pie was boundary-
pushing in 1999, Jim running
around in a gimp suit for an
extended sequence is one of the
tamer scenes in 2012.
"When we were on set, you
shoot those long days and like,
on hour 15, I'd have a long con-
versdtion with Biggs," Thomas
narrated. "I'm like 'Yeah, I think
the country is headed in the right
direction, how do you feel about
Obama' and he's got leather studs
on his cock."
Now with kids and careers,
the hormonal teens from "Amer-
ican Pie" have certainly evolved
and matured - thankfully, the
humor hasn't one bit.

Tributessss ... make it work.
material it's inspired by.
To most, the story is familiar.
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Law-
rence, "Winter's Bone") lives
with her mother and younger
sister Prim (newcomer Willow
Shields) in an exhausted part of
District 12 called the Seam. As
happens annually, all children
between the ages of 12 and 18
from the 12 districts have to sub-
mit their names for the Hunger
Games - a competition in which
24 children battle to the death,
used by the Capitol to maintain
totalitarian control. When her
12-year-old sister is picked to
compete, Katniss volunteers in
Prim's place.

When it comes to the Capitol,
Ross lets his imagination fly. It's
precisely as over-the-top, color-
ful and extravagant as readers
undoubtedly expected. But just
as Katniss and fellow District 12
tribute Peeta (Josh Hutcherson,
"The Kids Are All Right") are
pawns inthe Capitol'sgames, the
Capitol is a pawn in Ross's game.
It's a means for him to break the
emotional intensity of the games
themselves, to occasionally hide
the fact that under the love tri-
angle most teenagers in the audi-
ence have come to see, this film
is actually about survival, death,
desperation and unrestrained
See GAMES, Page 9D

Florence + the Machine get
soulful on Ceremonials'

far fri
it has
not re

New album is damnation, but also revelation
and heaven. The album is practi-
iritual, yet not a cally a danceable sermon.
"What the Water Gave Me,"
parture for band the first single released, is a sin-
ister track with themes of death
By KATIE STEEN - more specifically the suicide of
Daily Arts Writer Virginia Woolf. It starts off low-
key, a metallic drumbeat with a
T. 30, 2011 - Two years melancholy guitar phrase moan-
the release of her debut ing in the background, which
nLungs, Florence Welch is continues throughout the song.
om winded. Florence's voice is gothic and
r the band's second album, intimidating, ebbing and flow-
nonials, Florence + the ing in a fluid reference to the
ine have joined forces once song title. She wonders in a deep
with fellow Brit and award- breathy whisper, "Would you
ing producer Paul Epworth. have it any other way?" A min-
album sounds similar in ute later the song is flooded with
ways to the group's first, deluge of instrumentation while
is to say vocals surge down octaves in a
an other- **** torrential outburst.
ly beauty. But the mournful overtones of
forwent Florence "What the Water Gave Me" are
er garage- + The incongruous. in comparison to
inspired "Shake It Out." While Florence
s like "Kiss Machine contemplates suicide in the for-
a Fist," mer track, in 4'Shake It Out" she.
cd elabo- nial proceeds to advise everyone to
on the Universal Republic simply shake out their demons. A
lose and youthful chorus adds in a "who-
ual ele- o-oa," perhaps articulating its
s found in Lungs. While surprise at the sudden shift
eligious, Florence discusses toward optimism. The song, like
y non-secular topics - to the majority of the album, has a
a few, demons, devils and rich, weighty quality to it.


The lyrics of "Shake It Out"
are poetic as always but still
relatable, much like the pop-
inspired sound of the single.
While Lungs was written as a
girl-power response to a break-
up, Ceremonials is an affirma-
tion of Florence's strength and
independence even with a man in
her life (yeah, she got back with
her ex).
It's easy to get carried away in
the inflated nature of Ceremoni-
als. Florence's most memorable
tracks of the album, however, are
the ones that stray furthest from
lavishness. In "Breaking Down,"
she exposes her vulnerability, an
eerily cheery piano accompany-
ing lyrics centering on madness.
In "Lover to Lover," Florence
muses on a loose lifestyle, admit-
ting she has no chance of salva-
tion. But she repeatedly shrieks,
"that's all right" - beautifully, of
course, because Florence is never
capable of uttering an inharmon-
ic note.
Florence even dabbles in
unabashed discordance in
"Remain Nameless," atrackcom-
manded by an electronic beat and
unrelenting coolness. It starts
slowly, a sense of unpredictabil-
ity underneath its superficial
tameness, but comes together in
the end with Florence's emphatic
request -for her darling to call
her whenever he needs her. The
track is clubbier than Flo fans are
used to, but it shouldn't be disre-
garded as mere experimentation
with the electronic genre.
With that in mind, consider
that the band almost went pop
for its sophomore album, propo-
sitioned by various U.S. produc-
ers. But Florence explained her
ultimate decision to reject the
enticement of pop in a Billboard
interview: "No. No. No. No. No! I
can't do that. This is too weird. I
can't just suddenly leave behind
everything that made Lungs."
And for that, Florence fans may
thank heaven or salvation or
demons or any ofthe other inspi-
rations for Ceremonials.

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