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February 21, 2013 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-02-21

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2B - Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

RedeeminG 'ump'

Learning to love Mozart

Daily Arts Writers Tyler
Bailey and Noah Cohen step
into the salon for a friendly
debate on the
1995 Academy Awards.
Tyler: The choice of "Forrest
Gump" over "Shawshank Redemp-
tion" in 1995 is, in my mind, one
of the greatest atrocities in Oscar
history. "Shawshank" is as close as
you cangetto aperfectmovie - an
elegantly crafted story of deliver-
ance and friendship set in the harsh
backdrop of an oppressive prison.
Although some might argue that
there was never a doubt that jus-
tice would finally run its course in
the plot, the movie crafts situations
that seem so convincingly hopeless
they transcendthe plane ofthe film
screen and shake you to your core.
And in that way, it's easy to forget
that it's all part of a constructed
narrative. "Gump," while emotion-
ally movingat points, falls too heav-
ily on thinly worntropes - the love
story being the most obvious of all.
obvious plot direction and worn
tropes, I don't understand how you
can defend "Shawshank." All the
evidence points to your protagonist
being guilty, so of course he's inno-
cent. Allthe evidence points to your
protagonist dying in prison, so of
course he escapes. Despite all the
talk about unexpected plot twists,
"Shawshank" follows the obvious
direction of a jail movie to the let-
ter. "ForrestGump" doesnotderive
its magic from the borrowed emo-
tional taps of guilt, punishment and
the desire for freedom. It makes
its own emotional universe from
scratch. "Shawshank" understands
a prison. "Gump" understands a
Tyler: I can hardly agree that
"Gump"understands aworld when
the character's interactions with
that world boil down to constant
pandering to endless pop-culture


The Oscars is like a box of chocolates.
references and a watered down
romp through various bastardized
historical events in search of his
"onetruelove." Hemayunderstand
the bizzaro world where the good
guy always gets the girl and mama
always knows best, but I'll take
"Shawshank"'s depiction of a pris-
on any day. Although it does seem
to end up that ultimate justice is
finally realized for Andy Dufresne
- the journey is much more har-
rowing than it may appear. His wife
is still dead, and her killer still not
brought to justice. I feel that no film
that year was able to portray the
deterioration and redemption of a
man with such painstaking emo-
Noah: As I took it, the simplicity
of "Gump" 's world was an hom-
age to the idea that we complicate
our own lives with needless worry
about purpose and destiny. "Gump"
welcomes us into a mind that has
faith in simple virtues and juxta-
position. Jenny's plot arc wildly
diverges from Forrest's to provide
context for the sweet simplicity
that Forrest constructs for himself
and, in narration, superimposes
upon his life story. What you deem
a fault of "Gump" is, to me, its most
lovable quirk: an appreciation for
what you have and what you are
that acknowledges you aren't the
smartest cookie in the batch, but
gives you permission to love your-
self anyway.
Tyler:Alright, I can understand
the reasons why someone might

appreciate "Forrest Gump," and I
can say that I've enjoyed watch-
ing it - butI just cannot justify the
decision that was made to award
"Gump" the most prestigious honor
in film above both "The Shawshank
Redemption" and "Pulp Fiction."
"Shawshank" is almost universally
recognized as one of, if not the best
movie ever made. It'sextremelysad
that the superior movie was denied
the award just because it wasn't as
successful at the box office as "For-
rest Gump."
Noah: I don't know how the
Academy decides what movie
should win Best Motion Picture,
but they have to give some cre-
dence to popularity. This having
been said, I don't think it's fair
to sweep "Forrest Gump" off the
table as though it can't compete
with the legends of "Shawshank"
and "Pulp." It's not right tolet the
legend of something predetermine
your opinion of it. "Forrest Gump"
does not roar to its conclusion in
the emotional chariot of some vic-
torious singularity like redemp-
tion or freedom, and to win your
respect, it shouldn't need to. Cour-
age doesn't always roar. Some-
times courage is the quiet voice at
the end of the day saying, "I will
try again tomorrow." "Forrest
Gump" is the quiet voice whose
reticence represents its virtue.
Even as someone who thinks you
might be right, I'm proud to fight
for "Forrest Gump." And that's all
I have to say about that.

I blame Mozart and Bach. I
don't remember first learning
how to play the piano; my mom
used to say my two older sis-
ters were taking lessons, and I
wanted to be like them. She also
claimed I could play by ear at
the age of three - an awesome
exaggeration that I'm happy to
go along with. As a kid, I was
assigned a lot of Mozart and
Bach by my piano teacher. I can
see now what my teacher was
doing: My left hand was less fac-
ile than my right, and she was
helping me improve with music
everyone loves because who
doesn't love Bach and Mozart?
Somewhere around the age of
10, major dissonances with the
way I played began to emerge.
First, I began to find all of this
piano "lessoning" - practicing
assigned passages each week,
practicing scales, completing
theory workbook assignments,
waiting to play more difficult
pieces until I was "ready" -
positively insufferable. Second,,
I was an advanced player for
my age. I loved playing because
I was good at it, and I loved to
show everyone I was good at it,
which made me insufferable.
Third, I was bored. Don't get me
wrong, I loved playing, except I
didn't love playing any music.
I only wanted to play music
that was super fast and super
loud, or super slow with
moments drenched in super-
loud sadness. I had already
decided both Mozart and Bach
were "dainty," which might have
been informed by overhear-
ing someone somewhere say at
some point that "Brahms and
Chopin are for boys." And of
course, from that moment on, I
only wanted to play Brahms and
At about age six, I got in trou-
ble while practicing Mozart. I
remember thinking "enough
already with the patterns, the
reliable cadences, the bouncy,


her I,
and I
up m'

y, leapy lines woven and order.
in annoying perfection." Mom knew before I did: At
she heard me get up age six, these boxes were my first
the bench, Mom said from attempt at putting notes on a
irs, "EM The timer hasn't page. Over time she watched my
d yet! Keep going?" I told love of music tangling with the
was going to the bathroom doubts in my head that I wasn't
headed for dad's study. I cut out to be a concert pianist.
ed the scissors, and I cut It was a dissonance she helped
y Mozart pages. resolve. Every now and again
Mom asked to hear my Mozart
boxes, and she figured I'd figure
Froin out I could write my own.
My son, now seven, had a
stroke at birth. He has per-
estructuring fect pitch, listens with unique
classics to awareness and is drawn to and
absorbs music magically. For
composing the first four years of his life,
he fell asleep every night to
Bach's cello suites ringing beau-
tifully, perfectly, through his
ward the end of high room. Today, I play him a lot of
l, I told my mom I wanted Mozart on my piano. And that
ke a break from piano les- half-curious, half-delighted,
She had the same look half-concerned look ekes onto
er face as the day I cut my face when I play a piece by
lozart: half curious, half Brahms or Chopin and he leaves
hted, half concerned. She the room.
"We can talk about that." I now enjoy playing for my
t a week later she said, boy. I'm a composer who can still
K? I'd love to hear your play the piano pretty well, yet
again." I had saved them my love is for writing music, and
ears in our piano bench: for that, I thank Mozart, Bach
rt's measures cut into lit- and my mom.


to tal
on he
up M
for y


tle boxes, re-ordered, some put
upside-down, all taped together
with only the measures I loved,
in my perfect, new, sequential

Kuster is an Assistant Professor
of Composition in the School
of Music, Theatre & Dance.



Be relieved that you arrived
late to the "Real Husbands of
Hollywood" party. Perch6? It's
damn hilari-
ous, hysteri-
cal. Consider
yourselfwarned: Real
it's impos-
sible to limit Husbandsof
yourself to Holywood
watching only
one episode "Pilot"
in a sitting. BET
Really impor-
tant home-
work due tomorrow? Too bad,
it's time to give comedian Kevin
Hart and his cronies' show a go.
But it's worth it.
The loose parody of the Bravo
franchise caters to the collegiate
appetite. Hart headlines the
show as the only divorcee liv-
ing Hollywood life alone amidst
his bevy of famous friends - the
show features actors, musicians
and modelsasuch as Nick Cannon,
Boris Kodjoe, JB Smoove, Robin

Thicke and Duane Martin. In a
similarvein to "CurbYour Enthu-
siasm,"the plot grapples with the
first-world struggle of these men
to hysterically cope with daily
pitfalls and incompetence. They,
clown, argue and clearly have
a good time doing it - all while

being married to women such as
Paula Patton, Mariah Carey and
Nicole Ari Parker.
The star-studded cast may be
what ropes in viewers, but Hart's
comedic comfort sure as hell
won't disappoint.


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