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September 23, 2013 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-09-23

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8A - Monday, September 23, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

FILM REVIEW
'S alinger' sputtersI

Documentary
gets too close with
meandering pace
By MAYANK MATHUR
Daily Arts Writer
History isfilled with people and
events that have forced society to
look at itself in a mirror and ques-
tion the reflec-
tion that stares C+
back, thereby
setting the Salinger
precedent for Atthe
a cultural and
social awaken- Michigan
ing. Things sim- Weinstein
ply change, and
the bigger the
event, the longer its repercussions
will echo in our memory. It's truly
a testament to "The Catcher in the
Rye" and its author, J.D. Salinger
in that both book and author con-
tinue to be a topic for major discus-
sion even today, 62 years after its
release.
Writer-director Shane Salerno's
("Savages") latest offering, "Salin-
ger" is a documentary that stirs
the pot and provides yet another
platform for the discussion of the
celebrated book and its contro-
versial creator. Clocking in at a
running time of 120 minutes, the
documentary can be divided into
three parts.
The first focuses on Salinger's
early adulthood, the second on the
events leading up to the release
of "The Catcher in the Rye" and

third on the aftermath of the
book's release. The structure is
such that it allows the viewer to
track Salinger's personal and pro-
fessional journey, giving the audi-
ence insight into what shaped him
into the person he became during
and after the release of "Catcher."
However, the effectiveness of this
simple technique is wasted due to
poor editing and a shoddy screen-
play.
The beginning of the film is
particularly drawn out, and while
one can appreciate the need for the
filmmakers to build asolid founda-
tion for the rest of the film - and
more importantly, Salinger's char-
acter - the poor pacing removes
any sense of appreciation whatso-
ever. Certain events are needlessly
emphasized and often repeated.
For example, the fact that writ-
ing for The New Yorker was an
important thing for Salinger is
mentioned endlessly. The film cuts
from scene to scene without really
going anywhere, and the audience
is left with too many perspectives
of Salinger's childhood and early
career. The interview excerpts act
as unwelcome speed breakers, and
while they might be important,
there are too many.
Things do get better as the
content finally moves on and pace
picks up, and viewers will come
out with a balanced idea of what
Salinger was like. The crucial
aspect of a documentary about a
controversial cultural icon is that
it should leave viewers with a per-
fectly realistic interpretation of
the person being discussed. This

documentary depicts Salinger as
a flawed genius, without unfairly
tipping the scales in favor of his
flaws or genius. It doesn't shy away
from pointing out that like every-
one else, Salinger had his oddities
and personal problems and the
glare the media and public fascina-
tion can have on "celebrities."
The final act is the most explo-
sive of the three. However, not
enough time is left for the coupe
de grace, and if it wasn't for the
overdrawn first section and
clumsy transition into the third,
this documentary could have
been more complete. The inter-
views are a continuing problem
throughout, simply because by
the end of it, youbegin to feel like
you know a little too much about
J.D. Salinger. It becomes all the
more disconcerting when you
think about the effort that this
man undertook in creating a wall
between himself and the world.
It's a confusing feeling
because, while the documen-
tary spends so much time treat-
ing Salinger like the Loch Ness
Monster, it treats the most per-
sonal details of his life as pub-
lic property. The film closes on
a particularly poor note with
extreme close up paparazzi
shots of a 90-year-old Salinger
walking towards his car. It leaves
the viewer wondering that had
Salinger seen this documentary
himself, would he have consid-
ered it a fitting representation of
his life? Or would he have con-
sidered it another unnecessary
intrusion into his life?

OB/GYN on GQ?
Mindy brings charm to
new season of Project'

GET ARTS THOUGHTS IN
140 CHARACTERS OR LESS.
@michdailyarts

By BRIANNE JOHNSON
Senior Arts Editor
For once in his career, James
Franco doesn't steal the show. He
steals the patients. But as hard as
Franco's Paul
Leotard might B+
try - and as
wide as he The Mindy
might smile - Projeft
there is room
for only one Season two
flaky and eccen- premiere
tric yet lovable
Dr. L in this Tuesdays
gynecological at 7 p.m.
office. It's not FOX
you, handsome.
Season two
of "The Mindy Project" wakes
Dr. Mindy Lahiri (creator Mindy
Kaling, "The Office") from her
tropical, Haitian dream to a New
York hospital bed after return-
ing from a humanitarian mission
with holy, hot minister and fiance
Casey (Anders Holm, "Workahol-
ics") for emergency gallbladder
surgery. But a lot has changed
since Mindy traded in her scrubs
for a summer of shanty towns
and bad pixie-cuts in the season-
one finale: Between co-worker
Jeremy's (Ed Weeks, "Olivia Lee:
Dirty, Sexy, Funny") weight-gain,
Dr. Danny Castellano's (Chris
Messina, "Vicky Cristina Barce-
lona") nightly struggle to save his
ex-marriage and the introduction
of Franco as Mindy's friendly,
doctor-ly competition, it's clear
that the practice has moved on
without Mindy swooning, crying
and squealing through the office
halls. But what fun is that?
Franco, as OB/GYN and sex
therapist Dr. Leotard, couldn't
replace the erratic Dr. Mindy
Lahiri if he tried - not even if he
produced his own CD of instruc-
tional sex tips called, Come With
Me<(which he does). Inserting
some Franco into your televi-

sion s]
book
doesn
cool-ai
Franc
growl:
the be
jams?
"Th
need
Franc
of we
wants
Kalini
es wit
its cri
with
depre
ture-h
rhines
pre-H
Ja
ad
Z
Her
tants
of che
both
the m
photos
that w
squirt
lano r
to exp
real g
ridicu
cast it
If
betwe
as we
est, pl
up in:
blanke
ious, b
his sea

how, your soap opera, your pathies. But "The Mindy Project,"
or your college lecture just like its well-intentioned protago-
't exude the "hey-that's-so- nist, demands to play match-
ind-quirky" that it once did. maker anyway. Throughout the
o as a gorgeous sex doctor, last season, the show's writers
ing and bopping his head to have, more and more, sprinkled
at of his own thrust-tastic the script with moments of ten-
You don't say. derness and friendship, but the
e Mindy Project" doesn't characters' changing dynamic
the frills and thrills of a is no longer subtle. Messina has
o cameo to be the kind mastered the look of the Worried
eknight comedy that one Husband or, more appropriately
to relive the next morning. yet worrisome, the Concerned
g's mini-masterpiece bounc- Parent, and viewers must watch
h the ditzy effervescence of as the predictable will-they-
eator, yet keeps grounded won't-they plot line exhausts
a self-awareness and self- itself.
cation that lets its pop cul- But Danny does have some-
eavy humor shine like the thing going for him: He's not
tones bedazzling Mindy's Casey. When Mindy rushes to
aiti wardrobe. Haiti with her do-gooder boy-
friend, the show loses its most
crucial (and bubbly) component:
Ames Franco Mindy. It's that materialistic,
bumbling romantic idealist of a
ds unneeded protagonist, she who refers to the
setting of her proposal as a land-
.st to season scape that resembles a "douche
ad," that makes "The Mindy
premiere. Project," well, the Mindy project.
Whether that "project" is recon-
ciling her near-constant urge to
align her life with Hollywood's
'team of doctors and assis- scripted fantasies or whether it's
is just as amusing, a circle the viewer's process oflearningto
aracters whose one-liners, love our flighty Dr. L. doesn't mat-
those allowed to hang in ter. Because, just like the view-
noment ("I've never seen ers, Danny recognizes and quite
s of anyone on your phone conspicuously cares about Mindy.
'eren't you.") and those that The real Mindy. And when she
through classic Castel- says that she's "chill and easy,"
ants ("I mean, who's going Danny, and the viewer, knows the
lain Colbert to me? Is he a truth: She's not happy.
sy?") are just as abrasive, Which makes the contrast
Jous and charming as the between Casey and Danny that
self. much more pronounced. Mindy
only the romantic tension can curl up on her fire escape
en Mindy and Danny was with Danny and acknowledgeher
l-executed. Mindy's clos- fears, yet she can't be honest with
atonic companion shrivels her soon-to-be husband. Mindy,
to a two-dimensional wet why begrudgingly playthe role of
et of a character, too anx- the no-frills humanitarian when
bitter and bloated to revive Danny Castellano thinks you
x life or earn viewers' sym- look best in your scrubs?

HAVE A LOT OF OPINIONS
ABOUT LAST NIGHT'S EMMY
AWARDS?
JOIN THE DAILY ARTS TV/NEW MEDIA BEAT IN TIME
FOR PILOT SEASON!
E-mail arts@michigandaily.com to request an
application today.

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