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February 18, 2014 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-02-18

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The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 5

Shaping my

"Did someone say ribs???"
Success in Cards

of Netfl
of "no
held b
the ve
a s
death it
like a
for a s
of Car
the coi
the stor
sense tI
it's doi
drops r
even c
to dist
and hav
Bad," "N
skips th
Frank U

iless pragmatism "American Beauty") is bad from
the beginning. His actions may
s center stage in grow crueler or more shocking,
but it's not a matter of morals
season two for Underwood. He's more or
less the same person he was in
y JOE REINHARD season one, the higher position
Daily Arts Writer of power notwithstanding. It's
a questionable decision, but the
of what makes season two show has such confidence in its
lix's "House of Cards" so execution that it rarely seems
gisthatit takes anattitude unwise.
regrets." Robin Wright ("The Princess
g is Bride") as Underwood's wife Claire
sack - is another highlight. Together,
ry first House of the couple dominates everyone
delivers else on the show, when it comes
hocking Cards to acting prowess and to issues
t that on Capitol Hill. Claire and Frank
a certain make great strides this season
n's Netflix Instant in achieving their goals, but it's
n season thanks to Wright and Spacey that
seem it's thrillingto watch them trample
warm up exercise. Some over more people's lives. (Asbad as
save moments like that that sounds, it's true.)
eason finale, but "House The rest of the cast does their
ds" doesn't care about job, but no one trumps the two
nsequences. Even when stars' level of talent. For some this,
y drags, there's always a may be problematic, especially
hat the show knows what if the Underwoods prove too
ng, that everything has a disgusting to watch. The couple
. And itusually does. becomes especially desperate this
sugh the first episode season, as Frank's position as VP
major hints, it becomes makes them more susceptible
clearer as the season than ever to negative media
ses that "Cards" is trying attention and scandals. Frank has
ance itself from a few a lot to juggle, between covering
TV tropes. Nowadays it's up past sins, dealingwithrelations
common to take amorally with China and appeasing the
ous main character (or President, while simultaneously
an outright decent person) trying to enact an ingenious and
'e him or herbecome more devilish long term plan. It makes
eirredeemable("Breaking the show more enthralling than
Mad Men," etc.). This show ever, assuming you look past the
e long term development. fact the bad guys win a little too
inderwood (Kevin Spacey, often.

At the end of the day, season
two never really surpasses season
one. It's not that the show lacks
ambition - with its multiple
interconnecting subplots,
powerful cinematography and
daring story direction, it boasts
ambition that rivals Frank
Underwood's. (Okay, maybe not
Frank Underwood's, but you get
the idea.) And its failure to rise to
greater heights isn't necessarily
even a bad thing. Season one was
fine good television, and this
new season managed to replicate
everything great about it without
coming off as rehashed material.
Season two's just not going to
convince any naysayers either. By
now, the show is content with its
faults. It takes its time (perhaps
a little too much time) and treats
many characters like pieces
in a game rather than people
worth developing. If watching
politicians, businessmen and
lobbyists connive and backstab
doesn't appeal to you, the show
isn't about to cater to you to get
you to binge watch all 13 new
episodes. Again, it has an attitude
of no regrets. Season two'sjustnot
worth your time.
other than that, season two is
by all means a success. "House of
Cards" isn't a show for everyone,
but it's hard to deny its quality. It's
even harder to deny its confidence
in its characters, its cast and
its story direction. And so even
though it's not perfect, it still
makes for excellent television.
"Welcome back," Frank
Underwood says to conclude the
season's first episode. It's great to
be back, indeed.

For my 11th birthday, I had
a party at Zap Zone. I invited
girls and guys, but only one
boy came. He felt lost in
the sea of budding women
and ate
pizza for a
long time,
while the
rest of us
games. ANNA
gotten me
a paint set
(or was it
a step-by-step guide?) and
left before I opened the rest
of the presents. He felt sick,
he said. I watched him bolt
to his mother's car,.sprinting
faster than any sick person
I'd ever seen.
I had sat behind him in
history that year, which led
to a strong fascination with
his dark hair and scratchy
handwriting. I had a crush,
and as I clutched the paint
set on my way home from
the party, I vowed to make
him something, anything, to
show I took his present seri-
I started trying to emulate
Picasso, in hopes of thrilling
him with my knowledge of
cubism (which was incred-
ibly lacking) and C6zanne,
because I remembered loving
Curtains when I saw it in a
dusty art book. I tried paint-
ing trees, birds, grass, rocks,
lockers, smiles, eyelashes and
fingers. I was 11, and I hated
everything I ever drew, and
I never ended up painting
anything for him. He moved
away a few years later.
When I was 13, I had an
English teacher who would
check our homework reading
for margin notes, and look
us in the eyes when he found
something unsatisfactory.
He would bend close and
say "this makes me want to
weep," and then we'd blush
and hide our shame in the
next day's homework, filling
the margins with notes that
we hoped meant something.
Our weekly quizzes snuck

up un
of que
read "'
I wr
like Y
and IN
I show
he did
just cr
The n(
me up
that w
of N. L
I root'
and sa
I re

expectedly, with Mr. through the dense play, I
well stopping mid-sen- wrote scenes of my own in
to whip out the stack the back of my notebook.
stions meant to trip up Cast as a townsperson in
who had neglected to "Wonderful Town," the sec-
The Odyssey" the night ond semester of my senior
year of high school consisted
ote poems in that of endless chorus practices
I wrote them because I and choreography rehears-
d to create something als. I only joined the musical
eats's "Adam's Curse," because my best friend had,
was young enough to and I sat in a corner of the
e I could in 9th grade. green room during open-
red Mr. Greenwell, and ing night wondering how I
n't say much - he was had managed to spend three
y sparse with compli- months with the people
, and I thought I could around me and like hardly
awl under a rock and half of them. I went on stage
hing would go on fine. and led the conga line, real-
ext day he matter-of- izing I hated musicals and
told me he had signed the person directly behind
for a literary reading me.
eekend, on the corner I am made up of fine art,
University and State St. in ways that had nothing to
ed myself to my chair do with appreciating beauty
id nothing for the next and relishing the finesse of
which docked me par- a master's work. I am edged
tion points. with experiences that allow
member standing on me to quote Dante's "Infer-
no," or break out into "Phan-
tom of the Opera" songs.
, I rarely do either, and yet
.e Art doesn't because I have formulated
t e among cultural experiences
e to be high- that had little to do with
"culturing" myself, I can say
)w and upper that fine arts have shaped
class, my subconscious.
0 ASS'In reality, art doesn't
have to be high-brow and
upper class. It doesn't have
to be seen in museums,
idium that balmy Satur- or travelled to from other
itimidated by the beau- countries. It shouldn't be all
oems that preceded my about reading for the sake
read, and felt nothing of keeping up with someone
t the self-consciousness else. It can be as simple as
lagued me during my liking someone who gave
chool years, and sat you a cheap Michael's paint
to the clapping, looking book and an empty Thursday
.y briefly at the other night.
mers. It's not about what kind
ior year I had a Span- of things you know, or how
acher who could pro- many concerts you've been
e my last name. The to - what even constitutes
g intonation on the fine art anymore? It's about
d syllable, a soft lull something that piqued your
g the three consonants interest, and lead you down
drawn-out "aya" that a rabbit hole fueled by Saint-
me sit up straighter in Exup6ry and Mahler.

the po
day, in
tiful p
own. I
that p
high s
up onl
ish te
and a
da Al
part o

and volunteer to read.
's "La Casa de Bernar-
ba" became my favorite
f the day, and as our
sh 4 AP class muddled

Sadovskaya is "culturing"
herself. To join her, email

Hart the best part of 'About Last Night'

DailyArts Writer
Inthe vein of the serious rom-
com, "About Last Night" bites
down hard on the polite love
story. It cuts
the audience a A
sharp, raunchy
and gloriously About Last
put-together Night
slice of two N9h
relationships Qualityl6
that crackle and Rave20
with potential
- one spicy, Columbia
one sweet.
"Part of
getting in, is knowing when
to get out!" Bernie (Kevin
Hart, "Ride Along") tells the
romantic lead, Danny (Michael
Ealy, "Takers"). The ebb and
flow of the script redounds
with that cynical relationship-
sniping that only best friends
can get away with. Hart's
character plays the proto-
masculine sex machine who
tries over and over to talk
Danny off the monogamy train.
He talks about relationships
in terms of entrapments and
emasculations. "Fake your own
death!" he advises. But Danny,
unlike the usual romantic
pushover, doesn't take Bernie's
shit sitting down.
When Debbie (Joy Bryant,
"Hit and Run") and Danny
exchange "I love you" 's, Bernie
makes a point about how
relationships are inherently
emotionally unequal. Someone
has to care more, and the sucker
who says "I love you" first is
that sucker. Danny counters,
"So are you saying we should

Stayin Af light

"What do you mean there are ribs??"
have counted to three, and said
it at the same time?" The banter
ranges from political to pop-
cultural, but it's always fast and
on-point. There's scarcely an
off-beat in the entire hundred
minutes, and plenty of one-
liners worth pocketing for use
outside the theater.
Bernie's relationship
amounts to full-fledged
insanity. In his first big fight
with Joan (Regina Hall, "Law
Abiding Citizen"), he tells some
ridiculous yarn about being
Jewish, and as he recounts the
situation to Danny at the gym,
we witness some of the best
comic chemistry ever to grace
a squash court. Even when he's
not onscreen, Hart's energy is
the lifeblood of this movie. His
relationship with Danny takes
the movie to a warm place in
every "bro" heart.
Every exchange between

Danny and Ernie is as pure as
the driven snow. From "Star
Wars" references to "Man, I
can't believe you dropped the
Jew bomb!," the pair epitomizes
that larger-than-life movie
friendship that makes your
heart hurt because you never
had one like it.
The main problem with
the film is that their beautiful
Los Angeles apartments, their
bodies, their social circles,
are all incredible - literally
unbelievable, such that an
observant audience can tell that
this movie is 90 percent fairy
tale. Especially since Danny's job
supposedly sucks, and even when
he quits to take a financially
worse job, he can somehow still
afford his magical apartment.
The characters' jobs become a
theme: their jobs can make them
feel romantically unviable, and
Danny addresses this emotional

baggage as something coming
between him and Deb.
The entire script is riddled
with these light romantic blows
of want, expectation and stress
that sneak into relationships and
eat us alive. Deb releases some
of this stress by tossing a fully
furnished turkey out of a fourth
story window. There's another
problem: that was simply out-
of-character for her. Sensible
people don't throw turkeys out of
fourth-story windows.
The story ends in medias
res. We don't know whether
both couples last or if either
couple lasts. The tension doesn't
altogether release, but it's okay.
It's the only thing about this movie
that's perfectly realistic. We're
left with Kevin Hart's charming
admonitions, "Why do we have to
do what everyone else does?" and
"Who says we even have to get it
right at all."




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