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November 06, 2012 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-11-06

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 5

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 5

'Ralph' smashes stigmas

When do
artists sell out?

Newest Disney film
plays with video
game tropes
Daily Film Editor
"Wreck-It Ralph" exists in
front of a video game backdrop,
but refuses to be defined by video
game norms.
It plays with ****
gamer concepts
of points and Wreck-It
medals, but Ralph
instead of fall-
ing back onto At Quality 6
arbitrary, pixi- and Rave
lated senses
of comple- Disney
tion, it seeks
to humanize the qualities of the
"players" working within the
system. Bad can be good and los-
ing can be victory, because what
matters isn't the gold around
your neck, but the gold within
your heart.
Ralph (John C. Reilly, "Cyrus")
is a bad guy; he wrecks for a liv-
ing. But being bad isn't all that bad.
Ralph allows the good guys to be
good; he is a necessary niche in
video game ecosystem. He knows
this, and his struggle isn't really
to prove he isn't bad, but instead
to gain some recognition of his
importance within the system. So
he goes off in search of a "Hero's

Medal" by jumping through the
various games residing in the
This arcade setting allows
"Wreck-It" to draw from, and
expand upon, the rich history of
video games within our culture.
Sometimes we forget these char-
acters, their worlds and their
styles, have been with us for
decades. Even if we don't notice it,
the influence of "Street Fighter,"
"Mario" and "Pac-Man" is deeply
embedded within our psyche.
It's something "Scott Pilgrim vs.
the World" evoked very well, and
"Wreck-It" continues thathomage
to gaming simplicity. Joyful eyes
will dart toward all corners of the
screen to catch the references and
pieces of the past and relish in the
vibrant fluidity and understand-
ing of the animators.
Gaming is, in a sense, motion.
Coincidentally, so is cinema,
which draws its name from the
Greek word for movement, kine-
ma. The creators of "Wreck-It"
understand these things. The
inhabitants of Ralph's game dance
and mingle in an intentionally
disjointed manner. It's as choppy
as an old Nintendo game, and a
delight to take in. Of course, there
are also newer games with more
fluid motions.
One example, "Hero's Duty,"
pokes fun at the violence and
intensity of modern entertain-
ment, while also perfectly encap-
sulating the tone of those types of


"Take that, Michael Phelps!"
games. Ralph jumps into "Hero's
Duty" to get his hands on a medal,
and the pounding electronic,
nightclub music that assaults your
ears, combined with the hectic
first person shooter pacing is over-
whelming, but also the perfect
opportunity forthe movie to break
the more simplistic fetters of older
games. The opportunity is taken,
and for a few minutes, the audi-
ence is transported into a hectic,
pulse-pounding world.
The story takes a turn with
the encounter of Vanellope, a
scratchy-voiced "glitch" per-
formed endearingly by Sarah
Silverman ("The Muppets"). She
becomes the center of the film,
and Ralph goes from caring about
medals to, eventually, caring more
for her. Vanellope is purposeless in

the game, a bug in the system; her
plight, combined with her imma-
ture hopefulness, creates a char-
acter worth rooting for. She and
Ralph share a desire to belong, and
while this is a common theme in
children's movies, where "Wreck-
It" succeeds is in its definitions of
success and the sacrifices required
"Wreck-It Ralph" ends cleanly,
but it's hard to ask a children's film
to not. Even still, Ralph doesn't
become a Good Guy, he just finds
comfort in friends, and in being at
peace with the parts in him that
wreck and the parts in him that
can heal. After years of living in
Pixar's shadow, Disney has finally
leveled-up their animation game
- let's hope "Star Wars" gets the
same care.

Inn~enr' su.sacgeshz

cian or
they str
seems t
know w
they ar
This ar
your se
to cher
and clu
close to
heart ft
starts t
artist li
out mo
music i
tually, y
this isn
you use
a sheep
We t
label, bi
all goo
in the g
artist t
years y
the mu;
an act h
niable t
after th
sound f
- even
Bob Ro
leap to
while it
15x plat
like an'
lost inte
I'm n
about t
how im
when a
fact, re:
a short
editor a
out cou
once yo
you inh
how su

e've all been there at ists can do both: They can care
some point. You've about popular opinion, and still
discovered a musi- make truly creative, uninflu-
a band, and not only do enced music.
ike a very deep chord His example was convinc-
you, ing, at least momentarily. "Well,
else what about Kanye?" he asked.
o That one made me think. I'm
ho not ashamed to admit that I'm
e. a fan of Kanye West, from his
tist is, original The College Dropout
ally, days, all the way to My Beautiful
cret, Dark Twisted Fantasy (I don't
ish ELLIOT count Cruel Summer, nor doI
tch ALPERN particularly enjoy it). In any
case, his music has remained
ir the objectively well-appreciated:
able future. Rolling Stone gave Fantasy five
then they make a hit. out of five, Pitchfork a 10.0 out
you know it, the fame of 10, and Spin a pessimistic
o collect around this nine out of 10.
ke a snowball rolling But still, I stuck to my opin-
h a dense drift. They put ion. As great as Fantasy is, I'd
re records, but this new still argue that the music is
sn't quite the same. Even- affected by his celebrity. The
ou come to realize that College Dropout worked with
't even the same band heavy themes, like family
d to like - and that, in dysfunction when a relative is
g to it, you feel more like incarcerated, or the titular act
than a pioneer. of leaving school early. Fantasy
does this to an extent, but Ican
never truly ignore how famous
he is as he raps.
eryone goes It's not a very satisfy-
instrea for ilg answer - that he sold
,re for out because he "knows he's
rightprice famous." Clearly it would qual-
r ify the majority of the music
world for "selling out."
But for this, I point to the
brow around the term recent exploits of a certain
out" as if it's not just a Kendrick Lamar. Granted,
ut an eventuality - that Lamar isn't nearly as famous
[ music must come to rest as Kanye, nor has he built the
raveyard of mainstream same body of work. But consider
'mise. If you have an the situation: Lamar is anup-
hat's still making great and-coming hip-hop sensation,
you better enjoy the few garnering fame largely from his
ou have left, before the Internet stardom. Yet instead
t" expiration date makes of making a 2 Chainz "I'm so
sic go stale and bland. cool, seriously guys" album, he
what really signifies that records a deep, complex, almost
as "sold out?" t's unde- vulnerable product - one that's
hat it occurs; Metallica, also insanely catchy.
e bands most successful Kendrick doesn't jeopardize
The Black Album, was his sound, but instead holds
I of compromising their to it tenaciously - and yet, he
or mainstream success still found success, debuting at
the album's producer No. 2 on the Billboard 200. He
ck acknowledged the dif- didn't seem to even consider the
as a desire to "make the mainstream, yet he still makes a
the big, big leagues." And fantastic - and popular - piece
's undeniable that going of music.
inum is a major feat, the So maybe selling out doesn't
1 fans often feel spurned, come from being successful
old flame has suddenly as much as living success-
rest, ready to move on to fully. When the cash rolls in,
nd better things, your lifestyle tends to change,
iot exaggeraingwhen I regardless of how true to your
e how much people care origins you wish to remain. And
his - and, accordingly, it's hard to argue that lifestyle
portant it is to know has no discernable effect on
n artist has sold out. In content - how often do rappers
ently, in the Daily Arts spit lyrics about growing up on
, a few of us editors had the streets, only to later weave
argument about the tales about their lavish luxuries?
of selling out. Another Quoth the immortal Kanye:
nd I argued that selling "Always said if I rapped I'd say
Id rarely be avoided, that somethingsignificant /But now
u get famous enough, I'm rappin''bout money, hoes
erently care about and rims again." So goes the life
ccessful you are in the of a hip-hop superstar.

Daily Arts Writer
Teen Daze's music sounds
exactly like his name - a collec-
tion of hazy, spatial electronica
that serve as the
ideal musical *
accompaniment Teen Daze
to any Polaroid-
documented The inner
summer, , or a Mansions
late-night philo-
sophical discus- te
sion in a dorm
room. That being said, the prob-
lem with Teen Daze's music is not
necessarily a question of its musi-
cal value, but rather, its artistic
On his Bandcamp page, Daze
describes his many different
projects in detail. He notes being
inspired by studying philosophy
in a remote village in the Swiss
Alps for one record, an old book
found in a thrift store titled "Uto-
pian Visions" for another and
manages to label one project as
"glo-fi" and "reverb-drenched."
The inevitable question aris-
es: Is this man an artist with a
legitimate identity or just a guy
attempting to play into every
existing "indie" cliche in order
to appear different? The question
hovers over Daze's second album,

The Inn
feels c
but ulti
and enj
Inner N
and fac
the sou
voice is
for the:
ond so:
than "P
the sam
tion an
ics are
it unde

er Mansions, a record that mental scope of the album and
ontrived at many points, demonstrates how Daze's work
imately succeeds as a deep doesn't rely solely on traditional
oyable collection of music. vocals.
, a young producer and Not only does Daze include two
hailing from Vancouver, instrumental songs, "Disciple-
how to create a mood. The ship" and "By Love," but he places
fansions is full of distorted them back-to-back in the middle
ding vocals, sparse piano of the album, providing exactly
and soft-hitting electronic 12 minutes of pure music without
"New Life," the opening vocals. "Discipleship," the better
would have fit perfectly on of the two, incorporates subtle
ndtrack of "Drive." Daze's disco hi-hats mixed with trippy
sn't the strongest, but his electronica grooves, while "By
ius, Clams Casino-esque Love" utilizes an early 1990s Tim-
tion easily compensates, baland-style drum beat mixed
g a worthy introduction with a floating harp line. Though
album. the songs are worth the listen,
after a while the continuous
instrumental becomes extremely
- * monotonous.
[mate hipstermotnus
"Union," with Frankie Rose,
ks a pshakes the album awake with a
Spurpose distorted guitar riff and a small,
ironically. but noticeable, background vocal
contribution by Rose. The song, a
standout from the album, sounds
like the emotionally unstable love
ided Loyalties," the sec- child of Best Coast and Washed
ng, carries more of a beat Out, with hyperactive guitars in
New Life," but maintains the beginning transitioning into
ne sense of awe, introspec- a smooth and celestial breakdown
d melancholy. Daze's lyr- by the end.
barely understandable, a There is a fine line, however,
that runs throughout the between experimental music and
While this lack of a lyrical simply a bunch of sounds. "Gar-
tion is frustrating at times, den 1," its aptly named sequel
rscores the broad instru- "Garden 2" and the closing track,

"The Heart of God," all fall on the
wrongside of this line. There is no
musical or thematic connection
between the bleary, piano-heavy
"Garden 1" and the unorganized
and vocal-sample ridden "Gar-
den 2." And "The Heart of God"
is a disappointing end for such
a spiritual and introspective
album - the track sounds more
like a mix between choral music
and random noise than an actual
song, and thus ends the record on
a somewhat incomplete note.
The Inner Mansions is proof
that, after two years of constant-
ly releasing music, Teen Daze
understands what he does best..
The album is intriguing, nos-
talgic and sonically captivating,
and is definitely the work of an
inspired and thoughtful musi-
cian who, as his name implies,
is still trying to understand who
he is.

'eam audience, and that
the music you make.
opponent, a third editor,
ed, explaining that art-

Alpern wants you to guess
his price. To submit bids,
e-mail ealpern@umich.edu.

The fun of candidates as contestants

DailyArts Writer
October has been a month of
experimentation for the ladies
of a Packard Street apartment.
When the night falls and the caws
of crows outside our window
blend into the thump-thumping
of "Gangnam Style" from a first-
floor tenant's stereo, my room-
mates look to the living room. If
I'm plopped on the floor, remote
control in one hand, cell phone
in the other and a bowl of Lucky
Charms spilling over into my lap,
my roommates - my little Pavlov-
ian puppies - know to, as the kids
say, GTFO. Why? It's the hour (or
two or three, if Jim Lehrer moder-
ates) of the presidential debate.
It's not that I don't welcome
friendly, political banter (if there
is such a thing), but my roommates
value their sanity. Sucked into the
world of malarkey and precious
pathos, I prefer a night spent
threatening my blood pressure
levels and following the insightful
and educational commentary of
trusty news correspondents. Did
I say "news correspondents?" I

meant Twitter comedians and old
high school classmates.
A disappointment to the politi-
cally engaged and emotionally
invested voting demographic, I
have a confession. Though Don-
ald Trump has yet to extort me
for its admission, it's a truth I
must acknowledge nonetheless:
I haven't watched the 2012 presi-
dential debates to seek a promis-
ing display of leadership ability
and detailed plans for the future
of our economy, national security
and social issues. Instead, I shush
the audience surrounding my
television (the sound of absence
can be deafening) and tune into
what I consider another round of
"American Idol" auditions. Cue
music. Enter Ryan Seacrest. Cut
away from Seacrest attempting a
high five with a blind man. Sedate
Paula Abdul. Enjoy.
President Barack Obama and
Republican presidential candi-
date Mitt Romney are America's
"desperate hopefuls," lusting for
the golden ticket to D.C. We, the
voters, are the judges, varying in
apathy and sobriety - some of us
are Ellens, some Steven Tylers and

some A
ed Vote
to this
that the
.at hom:
son sh:
Bush si
hell is K
duces a
mean a
news cc
the La
to-be m
tion wi

bduls (that's you, Undecid- talent" in the form of a 19-year-old
er. Sorry). To fully commit in cowboy boots.
metaphor, I'll even suggest But, let's be honest, most min-
e Electoral College is "You utes are at once insufferable and
e, America;" Jennifer Hud- insatiable. It's an evening spent
ould've stayed, George W. predicting the next train wreck,
hould've gone and who the sadistically amused by the embar-
Kris Allen? rassment to which the candidates
- I mean "contestants" - subject
As the night stretches on, t care
to will be the less about Romney's economic
t Aproposals and more about his
Xt American comically tight smirk and friends'
President? suggestions via Twitter that he
appears to be "consistently silent
farting." I'm too bemused by Paul
Ryan's personal anecdotes about
etimes the search for the shape of his then-fetus daugh-
a's next president pro- ter to note the value of his argu-
truly great moment - I ments. I suppose it's hard to hear
moment, not an off-hand much through the snorts of my
nt, fragmented for future creepy-lone-girl maniacal laughter.
overage and catapulted into As the election season draws to
nd of Soon-to-Be Memes its close, so does the curtain over
tion: the binder of soon- the theatrical production that is
nemes). These are the rare the series of presidential debates.
s during which Obama or I know who I'm voting for (Aiken/
y fully answers a ques- Archuleta 2012!), but if you don't,
thout veering into "strong no worries. "America" doesn't
iy" babble, or when Simon always get it right - right, Taylor
s nipples perk up at "real Hicks?


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