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February 03, 2014 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-02-03

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8A - Monday, February 3, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

8A - Monday, February 3, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

FIlM COLUMN
A broken heart's eulogy
for Blockbuster

FOCUS
"Can you brush your teeth first?"
w ar too awk
By JAMIE BIRCOLL Jason (Zach Efron, "Parkland") ny. I'm all for crass humor, but
Film Editor and Daniel (Miles Teller, "The there's really no reason for any
Spectacular Now"), book cover movie to spend a solid few min-
That awkward moment when designers. In response to their utes discussing whether or not a
the movie's title doesn't actu- companion's predicament, the woman is, as they affectionately
ally have anything do to with three friends decide to swear say, a hooker. Get'cha head in the
the movie. off relationships and stay single game, guys.
That awk- D to avoid - you guessed it - that But it's not the actors' fault by
ward moment - awkward moment when one any means. Blame rests solely on
when tal- That must evaluate a relationship. first-time writer/director Tom
ented actors 'a Immediately though - later that Gormican and his incredibly
deliver what Awkward day, in fact - Jason meets the lackluster script. Admittedly,
can only be Moment girl who changes everything, there are a couple mild laughs
described as and Daniel discovers he's falling here and there, mostly deliv-
supremely Qualityl6 for an old friend. ered by Teller, but certainly not
unfunny, and Rave It is through this premise that enough to sustain, let alone war-
uninspired Focus the film digs deep to raise such rant, an entire movie.
jokes. That important, philosophical ques- And through it all we are
awkward tions as: is it better to lie to your expected to forgive the tackiness
moment when the film embraces friends or your girlfriend? And is and misogyny when our protago-
the very formula it tries so hard stealing okay and without reper- nists realize what it really means
to mock. That awkward moment cussions as long as it's commit- to be in a relationship, which
when I agreed to review this ted as a romantic gesture? includes the obligatory "I was a
movie. jerk, but now Itlove you" speech.
I thought "That Awkward And what of the titular
Moment" might have real prom- awkward moment, you ask?
ise, that it might be a romantic 'Aw kw ard' lives It's more like a one-time gim-
comedy for guys that subverts mick that is introduced only to
the clichs of the genre while up to its name. be ignored a third of the way
being, you know, funny. But through the movie. But the most
alas, it wasn't meant to be, as awkward moment will be when
"Moment" fails to break free you have to explain to your sig-
from a predictable plot and The three leads are way too nificant other why you thought
throwaway jokes. talented for this film - even "Moment" would be a good date
Michael B. Jordan ("Fruitvale Efron. The actors carry a cer- movie. And I'm talking Tom
Station") plays Mickey, a doc- tain charm that really makes Brady failing to score a high-five
tor whose wife announces she one hope that the film might rise or watching "Black Swan" with
wants a divorce. Searching for above its unoriginality and, one your grandparents levels of awk-
solace, he turns to his friends could argue, slights of misogy- ward.
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I remember pulling as hard
as I could, little 11-year-old
fingers digging into little
plastic grooves on either side
of the videotape case. That
yellow-blue
ticket stub
mocked me,
egging me
on. It was
calling me
fat, weak
- unde-
termined, AKSHAY
even - in SETH
its own,
inanimate
way, but no
matter how hard I heaved,
I couldn't weasel the damn
tape out of its pliable shell.
That was the first time I
said "fuck you, Blockbuster"
out loud.
Pause. Before dismissing
middle-school Akshay as yet
another surprisingly foul-
mouthed Indian child, let's
get one thing straight: Jim
Carrey and "The Mask" were
hiding behind the plastic
confines of that godforsaken
Blockbuster ticket stub. Any-
one would've been upset. To
make matters worse, it was
Saturday, and I knew scruti-
nizing my father's unwieldy
attempts at hurling a bowl-
ing ball in the vague direc-
tion of 10 unsuspecting pins
could never top the sensation
that accompanies watching a
putty-faced psychopath going
chick-chicky-boom on top of
a police car (it's very nice ...
so full of spice!).
I digress.
Like Blockbuster, the
stubborn videotape case is
gone - adrift behind an ever-
expanding cloud of techno-
logical advancement, and a
eulogy for listless evenings
spent trying to sneak glimps-
es at the nonexistent adult
video section is long past due.
Growing up, my family
didn't have much. Most week-
ends were spent at home, and
though it never really mat-
tered what we were doing
- whether it was playing vid-
eogames or crowding around
our bulky TV for NBC's latest
miniseries version of what-
ever Stephen King story they
deemed worthwhile - I lived
for trips to the local Block-
buster.
I loved films. No other
form of art made me sit,
mouth agape, and think the
way movies did. The first
time I remember crying with

a smile
watchi
of the'
ing the
in Roy
Earth,
behind
on abn
All t
with u
eotape
lenges.
check.
week b
being t
happer
determ
one of
the wh
VCR. T
tic ant
throug
cinema
one lee
for tho
of Satu
more a
I'd be
tick an
imagin
in my t
Yo
Befo
into th
childv
ing thi
HAND
whena
went.:
lem. H
impres
heart"
freedo
In a
my cin
well ui
buster
profes
betwe'
The
One
noon a
aids, b
McRib
red co
passed
boyant
of mov
screan
it be?I
my par
Blockb
Ronal
IfI
my wa
version

on my face was after have sprung up out of thin
ng "Close Encounters air that very moment. Or
Third Kind," and see- more realistically, teleporta-
melancholy triumph tion technology would finally
Neary's eyes as he left be tweaked to let me zap
and his mundane life over to the closest Block-
I to stake his existence buster. But alas, we live in
ormality. an imperfect world. Casually
hose shelves, lined walking through shelves of
niformly-dressed vid- titles was soon replaced with
s and DVDs, were chal- standing stone-still in front
. I was only allowed to of a glowing red interface,
out one, maybe two, a quietly mouthing arguments
'ut even if it ended up about which movie was most
he last thing that ever worthwhile.
ned in my life, I was I thought about Blockbust-
ined each and every er less and less, until finally,
those tapes would see it faded from my conscience
irring insides of my altogether, and the only
There was a roman- person to blame was Block-
icipation in strolling buster. The stupid company
;h this labyrinth of refused to compete with the
a, eyes darting from new kids on the block, expos-
dge to the next, looking ing the chinks in armor that
se perfect two hours would eventually lead to its
rday night. There was inevitable demise. I missed
nticipation in knowing the cool young professor,
back in a week, able to but the coolness had long
other entry off of the disappeared. Age had taken
ted bucket list of titles its toll and embarrassingly,
head. he wasn't even attempting
to hide the marijuana usage
anymore.
For the second time in my
u brought it life, I said, "fuck you, Block-
buster" out loud, only this
fn yourself. time, there was an added
interjection of, "get your shit
together."
Blockbuster never got its
re long, I transformed shit together. Soon, Netf-
e obnoxious cretin- lix would forever change
who enjoyed scream- the game, and even though
ngs like "YOU CAN'T the old man attempted to
LE THE TRUTH" throw his hat in the ring
asked how a math test with Blockbuster Now, it
Ezekiel 25:17? No prob- was too little, too late. After
orrible Henry Callahan bankruptcy-plagued years of
sions? Check. "Brave- irrelevance, the video store
level declarations of wheezed its last breath and
m? #YOLO. keeled over, DVDs and vid-
blur of magnetic tape, eotapes bleeding out of its
ematic schooling was bloated corpse.
nderway, and Block- It was a slow, ugly, can-
was the cool young cerous death, but I'll never
sor smoking joints forget you, Blockbuster. You
en lectures/screenings. were my first teacher - the
n it all changed. first medium for my appre-
fateful Sunday after- ciation of film. Without you,
t the local McDon- I probably never would have
etween mouthfuls of felt the need to learn how to
, I spotted the strange ride a bike. Without you, I
ntraption. It could've wouldn't be writing this col-
I for a weirdly flam- umn. Without you, I wouldn't
t ATM, but the wall be the person I am today.
'ie titles next to it So for the third and final
ted otherwise. Could time in my life, I'll say it out
Did I not have to beg loud: "fuck you, Blockbuster."
rents to take melto the The added interjection? "You
buster anymore? Was lived a good life."

d McDonald Jesus??t?
could've had it exactly
y, another, blue-yellow
n of Redbox would

Seth is cursing out
Blockbuster. To join in,
e-mail ake@umich.edu.

MOVIE REVIEW
Timeless 'Polar Bear'
By KAREN YUAN and another moment quietly cut- into Forbes' past, the film some-
Daily Arts Writer ting kiwis into flower shapes for how feels restrained. Wherever
a flu-ridden daughter. So whythe a heavy blow could be dealt,
"Infinitely Polar Bear" is a hell did Maggie marry him, asks instead Forbes introduces a
deeply personal movie - not Amelia? quick and saccharine caress to
really in the way when some- Well, it was the '60s. Everyone smooth the scene over. Cam's
one whispers was having a mental breakdown. manic depression feels watered-
a secret in "Infinitely Polar Bear" is fas- down and never as dangerous
our ears, but tidiously period-conscious. The as the film initially insinuates
more in the Infinitely film is set in 1978, and at every through Maggie's concern over
way we stum- Polar Bear moment it remindsus with flared leaving the children in his care.
ble upon their Sundance pants, race and gender issues and A welcome effect of this is that
stash of VHS Ruffalo in Day-Glo booty shorts. "Infinitely Polar Bear" doesn't
home videos, Screeening Despite all the details, the mes- only follow Cam's illness. It's not
each marked Comedy Central sages still resonate in 2014. Per- a mental health PS0A. Or rather, it
with a cryptic haps it's the gender issues, still is, but at the same time focuses
yet relatable relevant in the 21st century, or on a slice-of-life dynamic with-
white label - the dialogue, which revolves in a whole family, not just Cam
when dad took us fishing, when around events in the Stuart being 'infinitely polar bear' - the
mom left for NYC, Faith's mer- microcosm of four and never nickname Forbes' own father
maid dress, the night we cried gave to his illness.
together. The slice-of-life tone may
The film is director Maya be at the expense of Ruffalo's
Forbes' feature debut and based M ovie exists incredible acting, however. Ruf-
on her childhood with a bipolar falo pulls out all the stops and
father. beyond the '70s. gives a truly nuanced perfor-
Maggie Stuart (Zoe Saldana, mance as a loving yet tormented
"Star Trek: Into Darkness"), father. The scenes in which we
determined to lift her family can visibly see him build up in
out of poverty, leaves for gradu- quite acknowledges other news a volcanic rage are some of his
ate school in New York City and beyond their little world. The best as an actor. But his inten-
appoints her husband Cam- result is, again, an intimate and sity is let down by the film's
eron (Mark Ruffalo, "The Kids oddly timeless feeling. stubborn domesticity. Mount
Are Alright") to look after their Throughout the movie, Forbes Ruffalo never erupts. The movie
two children, Amelia (Imogene throws in Super 8 home-movie isn't about his character's tor-
Wolodarsky) and Faith (Ashley footage, grainy and beautifully ment - it's about a happy ending
Aufderheide), in their Boston handmade, with close-ups of for the Stuarts, which may leave
apartment. But there's one little Faith's laughing face or birds in some in the audience confused,
thing: Cam is manic-depressive, summer trees. It toes the line but since the Stuarts never seemed
at one moment rabid in a red never enters Instagram territory. to completely despair in the first
Speedo streaking across the yard Although we're peering deep place.

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