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March 29, 2013 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2013-03-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

8A - Monday, April 1, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

From Page 7A
One of the things I object
to in Hollywood produc-
tion - the misrepresentation,
even beautification of reality
which I discussed previously
- gives Tarantino fluidity in
his craft. He builds worlds that
can only be realized in cine-
ma, using deep intertextuality
that dwarfs most film-lovers'
(read: my) cinema knowledge to
reflect on American culture.
But I should mention that
there are complicated problems
with Tarantino. "Django" cap-
tures both his artistry and his
irresponsibility, at once crack-
ling with his glee for violence
and controversial language,
and demonstrating his demo-
cratic, eclectic approach to cin-
ema. He clashes low and niche
culture, such as his notable use
of Blaxpoitation, with high and
mainstream art. It's a fierce
He gave us Hans Landa
(Christoph Waltz), a Nazi fas-
cinated with America, then

casts Waltz as his slave-liber-
ating twin, Dr. King Schultz.
And though the famed director
affectionately follows the con-
ventions of Spaghetti Western
(he is indeed a Spaghetti-West-
ern master), he puts a black
superhero in a white-dominat-
ed genre.
Tarantino clashes culture
together. By doing so, he forc-
es us to question what license
storytellers should have when
it comes to painful histories,
and he makes slavery present
in a way otherwise impossible.
Because what separates the
past from the present is never
constant, they can sometines
be unified. I saw a revenge
fantasy, "Django," break that
boundary and show us how
slavery is relevant to our cul-
ture, even today.
And therein lies the last les-
son: American culture reveals
its constraints in its refusal to
confront the shameful chapters
of our history. I cannot condemn
a tradition out of reasons of per-
sonal taste, for those parts of
our culture we shun and silence
just may be our most important.


"Baby, you're the best of both worlds."
Shallow'Love and Honor

Ann Arbor-set
romance tries
too hard
Daily Arts Writer
"Love and Honor" is a Nicholas
Sparks book masquerading as a
political commentary. Directedby
newcomer and
Michigan alum
Danny Mooney
and set in the Love and
hazy counter- Honor
culture that was
1969 Ann Arbor, At the
the film claims Michigan
to be a state- FC
ment about the
ambiguity of
political activism, but instead is
a pretty, empty caricature of the
time period. "Love and Honor"
doesn't seem to understand what
it is - a tender romance, a com-

edy of errors, a satire of activism
or a denouncement of war - and
spends an hour and 45 minutes
never getting there.
Mickey Wright (Liam Hem-
sworth, "The Hunger Games")
is a soldier whose vapid charm
and clean-cut good looks are
disconcerting in the despair
that is war-torn Vietnam. When
his dependable best friend, Dal-
ton (Austin Stowell, "Dolphin
Tale"), is abruptlydumped byhis
high-school sweetheart, Mickey
follows him back to Ann Arbor
on their week-long leave; Dalton
with the purpose of reconciling
with his love, and Mickey off to
chase tail. Both these characters
are Ken dolls, each definable by
one consuming characteristic
(Dalton's loyalty; Mickey's libi-
do), and once in hippie-dippy
Ann Arbor, their strong jaws and
army uniforms give the impres-
sion of frat boys dressing up like
G.I. Joe.
In an attempt to curry favor

with feisty left-wing Candace
(Teresa Palmer, "Warm Bod-
ies"), Mickey pretends that he
and Dalton are army desert-
ers instead of just soldiers on
leave for a week, sick and tired
of fighting a pointless war. This
is where Mooney attempts and
fails to stab at the political cli-
mate of 1969. Ann Arbor is,
and has always been, a liberal
mecca, but the portrayal of the
counterculture is stylized and
it barely touches the surface of
the conflicted furor the war in
Vietnam instigated. It's safe to
assume that political activists in
the 1970s didn't spend their days
wearing precisely mismatched
peasant tops as they swayed to
ukulele players outside Ulrich's,
but that's how the film portrays
their lifestyles.
Similarly, phrases and pick-
up lines that no one would ever
say fill the script. (No 20-year-
old has ever successfully picked
up two stewardesses by calling

them "the loveliest angels" and
winking. It just doesn't hap-
pen.) The romantic scenes are
laughably bland and lackluster,
and none of the relationships
have any chemistry. The actors
only function as mannequins for
groovy costumes, just as the city
of Ann Arbor is only a backdrop
for an idealized image of sum-
mer 1969. The characters all lack
dynamism, and any smidgen of
relatability is lost in the awful
writing, which makes everyone
come off as either a righteous
jerk or a brainless druggie.
Films are meant to entertain
- they don't have to be gritty,
exacting representations of real
life. But to relate, they must
contain some real human truth,
something that ties the audi-
ence in beyond the pretty people
and idyllic landscape. "Love and
Honor" never finds this nugget
of truth, and instead aimlessly
avoids difficult issues and com-
plex relationships.




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