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September 09, 2013 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-09-09

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The Michigan Daily - michiganclaily.com

Monday, September 9, 2013 - 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Monday, September 9, 2013 - 7A

'Sunny' crosses a dark
line in season nine

By EMILY BODDEN
Daily Arts Writer
"It's Always Sunny in Phila-
delphia" returned on its new net-
work, FXX for its ninth season, a
feat that hope-
fully proves B-
the staying
power of this It's AlWays
immature and Sunny in
delightfully
ridiculous com- Philadelphia
edy. Season nine
The season premiere
opened with
"The Gang Wednesdays
Broke Dee." atO1 p.m.
As selfish and
snarky as in pre- FXX
vious seasons,
the episode pushed the levels of
comfort. By now, audiences know
to expect dark humor stemming
from the few redeeming qualities
that each character possesses, but
season nine pushes the envelope.
Sweet Dee (Kaitlin Olson)
takes center stage, but not in
the way we expect. Instead of
her usual sharp self, Dee has
reached a mental breaking point
that causes the gang to decide to
rehabilitate her using their own
means. While the episode pres-
ents some of its usual laugh out
loud, or at very least, chuckle-
producing humor, more than a
few suicide jokes arise.
Dark humor is one thing, but
suicide jokes take the show into
new territory. Though com-
edy pushes comfort barriers and
norms, suicide seems an extreme-
lyinsensitiveplacetotry and draw
laughs.While "Mac & Charlie Die:
Part 1 and Part 2" of season four
focused on Charlie (Charles Peck-
ham) and Mac (Rob McElhenney)
faking their own deaths to avoid
Mac's father, the implications
were not as dark as the suggestion
of Dee actually contemplating sui-

Is this where Kara Thrace went when she vanished?
Sci-fi thrills, lit tl

Cruel an
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ered ve
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After e
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FXX
d unusual
e to a mental break. When and self-involved siblings.
and depression are consid- Perhaps the show's most pop-
ery serious issues, making ular duo, Charlie and Mac, sur-
eems in bad taste. prisingly took a back seat in the
rue thathumor canexpose season opener. There needs to
in society through satire. be more Charlie and Mac, two
aicide prevention should idiots who seemingly cannot
alify as a fault, consider- function normally, since the two
concerns a very sensitive offer some relief from the show's
rious subject. "Sunny" 's dark tendencies. While no more
n the matter may send the caring than the others, their lik-
ous message that suicidal ability surely comes from their
ts are not legitimate con- stunted development, both emo-
and that those who have tionally and mentally.
re merely weak. Some ofthe more talked-about
episodes stem from the gang's
attempted, and ultimately failed,
t's possible elaborate schemes. Perhaps one
of the remaining episodes will
o push the bring about another episode like
past favorites "The Nightman
elope too far. Cometh" or "Chardee MacDen-
nis: The Game of Games." The
gang produces the most laughs
with their elaborate pranks.
t being said, both Denis Nine seasons certainly vali-
Howerton) and Dee (Kai- date the successful history of
ison) perform perfectly. "Sunny," proving that the audi-
ight seasons, these televi- ence wants to see more of the
blings leave little to criti- gang's antics. And while every
bout their performances. episode cannot be a standout in
characters exhibit subtle- the series, they shouldn't be too
at reveal themselves over painful to watch. Here's to hop-
er again in each episode, ing that the writers of "Sunny"
e chemistry between them return to their beloved roots for
for believable, deranged the rest of the season!

Vin Diesel is his
typical juiced-up
self in action flick
By SEAN CZARNECKI
Daily Film Editor
There is no way more boring
to describe a movie than, well, it
gets the job done. When it comes
to "Riddick,"
getting the job B
done is really
all this no-non- Riddick
sense thrill ride
needs with its At Quality6
knuckle-bear- and Rave
ing violence Universal
and more than
a few visual
flourishes. For fans of "The
Chronicles of Riddick" franchise,
this newest entry represents the
titular anti-hero's return to form
in more ways than one. He is the
savage we remember from "Pitch
Black," a brute who has more in
common with his surrounding
hellscapes than he does people,
who has finally gotten back in
touch with his wild roots.
Riddick, played by the always
guttural Vin Diesel ("Fast &
Furious 6"), has just been uncer-
emoniously relieved of his com-
mand of the Necromongers and
dropped on a nameless piece of
rock. There he adopts an alien
canine companion (Why is it
that animals always steal the
scene?) and settles back into his
old ways of fighting each day for
survival. It's a grim, brutal exis-
tence.
one day he and his "dog"
spot, on the red-dusted horizon,
the clouds of a storm driving to
them. Its meaning is apparent:
The party is over. In a clever
move, he triggers an emergency
signal to lure any listening mer-
cenaries to join in on his dying
soiree - to steal their ship. A

team arrives for Riddick's head.
Another possessing a dark past
arrives for what's in Riddick's
head. And so ensues the mad-
ness and campy dialogue that
we expect.
Part of what makes sci-fi a
dope genre is its ability to serve
as a cultural space to mash
genres together in unexpected
ways. "Blade Runner" and "Dark
City" mixed in elements of noir
and for all you reading people,
"The Brief Wondrous Life of
Oscar Wao," an exercise in magi-
cal realism, illustrated the hard-
ships of Dominican-American
diaspora through sci-fi. Innova-
tions here are none. "Riddick"
focuses instead on that horror
sci-fi niche it dug out with "Pitch
Black" back in 2000. Therein
lies the paradox: Where "Rid-
dick" goes wrong is its deviation
from that purity.
Writer-director David Twohy
("A Perfect Getaway") flirts
with Christian theology more
than "Riddick" had to, more
than it needed to - more than
it should've. He puppeteers a
prayer-spewing innocent to
work in spiritual insight, and it's
lame - lamer still when Riddick
preaches back his own tough
gospel, "God don't want nothing
to do with this." (I paraphrase.)
Anti-heroes fascinate us for
their conflation and inversion
of what it means to be a sinner
and what it takes to be a saint.
Throwing such obvious dis-
course in our face comes off as
sideline attempts to character-
ize Riddick. There is indeed
something of a character arc in
this anti-hero, and this is not
the ham-fisted direction I think
Twohy should go.
That said, the script does veer
off and delve into a sidestory
from "Pitch Black" that dangles
in front of Riddick a form of
redemption: Mere leader Boss
Johns, played with surprising

charisma by Matt Nable ("The
Final Winter"), needs answers
and he expects Riddick to give
them to him. This digression
was an appreciable effort and
not distracting.
I have to say much of the CGI
worked. At times, the scenery
has a painterly quality with
all the desolation of a Cormac
McCarthy novel and the crea-
tures risen slithering from the
mud are truly grotesque. Other
times, however, the aliens are
sucked of all flesh, bone and
blood. They're dehydrated and
weightless and lack danger and
life. And sometimes, the scenery
just screams blue screen. Memo-
ries of the infamously bad sets of
the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy
came back to me as I watched
grimacing.
My grimacing would not end
either with the overwritten vul-
garity of the script. At one point,
another merc named Santana
says something to the effect of,
"I don't appreciate you stepping
all over my dick." I give you no
context. That statement's stu-
pidity speaks for itself. There is
literally no situation in the uni-
verse or in the history of any-
thing that would warrant you
saying that.
But, again, for all my picki-
ness, it gets the job done. Genre
fans will enjoy "Riddick." They
will enjoy the performance of
"Battlestar Galactica" 's Katee
Sackhoff as Dahl. She's tough,
sexual (maybe needlessly sexu-
alized) and has a helluva shot.
They will also enjoy Twohy's eye
for campy, effective shots. And
most of all, they will reap the
joys of watching intestines spill,
Rambo-esque tricks and the
purity of its sci-fi horror thrills.
Some will say it's a boring run
around the same course we've
seen before. Others will say it's
passable. I say, "Riddick. It's
been nine years. Welcome back."

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