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July 21, 2003 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2003-07-21

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www.michigandaily.com A R T S

JULY 21, 2003


Who bought the CSIDVDs?

OK, I want a straight answer; who
did it? Come on, fess up, you're only
making it harder on yourself.
Honestly I don't know what you
were thinking. All I can say is I'm
really disappointed in you. I mean ...
holy crap!
For non-guilty parties, I came into
the Daily Arts clubhouse to check my
mail this week, only to be handed a
press release announcing that Para-
mount Home Entertainment will be
putting out "CSI: Crime Scene Inves-
tigation - the Complete Second Sea-
son" on DVD come Sept. 2.
You realize what this means.
If they've moved on to "Season
Two," then logically it means that
some of you out there actually went
out and bought "Season One." Why?
One, the show is still on the air,
both in original and Miami flavors.
Two, it's a hack "Law and Order"
knock-off, which, like everything else
on CBS save Dave, is for grandmas
who can't handle the fast-paced world
of "According to Jim". And grandmas
don't have DVD players!
Three, there are so many great
shows from the past that aren't in
syndication at all and we're stuck
with "CSI" and "Felicity"?
So here's five old favorites
of mine, classics of the
highest order, that I
personally demand be
put out in their
entirety on {
DVD now!
1. "The Y 1;.,f
Adventures of
Pete and Pete"

Surrealistic tall tales of the red-
headed Wrigley brothers in the
'burbs. Perfectly defines Middle
America as a bizarre world where
minor foes are vanquished daily and
families and friendships somehow
2. "The Muppet Show" CBS ('76-
'81) It's not too much to say that this
might have been the greatest TV
show ever. Pure entertainment that
didn't speak down to kids or up to
their parents. Universal, like the Bea-
tles or Shakespeare.
3. "The State" MTV ('94-'95)
Little remembered sketch comedy
masterpiece that deserves its place
with "Mr. Show" and "Kids in the
Hall" as a groundbreaking launching
point for smart satire.
4. "Northern Exposure" CBS
('90-'95) Actually I just need the
Fleischman years. How did some-
thing as quirky and philosophical as
this ever last so long on network TV?
Cause this good-natured, humorous
arctic cousin of "Twin Peaks" had
characters and charm to spare.
5. "Parker Lewis Can't Lose" FOX
('90-'93) I don't remember this blatant
"Ferris Bueller" rip-off particularly
well, but I want to see it again to
see if it still holds up. I
just remember hop-
ing that high school
would really be
like that,
pulling amaz-
ing scams with
best friends
and milking
the system for
all it was

'Vargas' avoi
By Joel Hoard
Daily Arts Editor
Peter Sollett's "Raising Victor
Vargas" captures all of the awkward
emotion of teenage romance with
frankness and humor while carefully
avoiding a cliched hoy-meets-girl
storyline. It unfolds slowly and
deliberately, allowing the relation-
ship between its title character, a 16-
year-old junior Casanova, and Judy,
a pretty but seemingly inaccessible
girl, to develop naturally.
Victor (Victor Rasuk) fronts as
the supreme ladies man, confidently
striding through his Lower East Side
neighborhood in a form-fitting
white tank top, showing off a vague-
ly Chinese tattoo on his slight but
developed biceps. Even first thing in
the morning, Victor, sporting a
suave Hugh Hefner-esque faux red
velvet bathrobe, has to look good
for the ladies.
When Victor is caught in the bed-
room of neighborhood slut Fat
Donna, word spreads quickly and
his image is tarnished. Not to be
Victor sets his s
sights on Judy Raising
(Judy Marte), Victor Vargasi
delivering pick-
up lines with the At the State Theaterl
suaveness of a Fireworks Pictures
tel emarketer.
Judy eventually warms up to Victor
enough to keep him around as a
"bug spray" to fend off her other
male admirers. With time, however,
Victor's front breaks down and a
real relationship begins to develop,
providing the film's true center.
Despite his constant macking, it's
hard not to like Victor Vargas.
Underneath the player fagade and
boyish good looks, there's a genuine,
earnest teenager in search of love.
Sollett artfully juxtaposes Victor's
teenage romance with scenes of his
home life, which he spends in a
cramped apartment with his old-
fashioned grandmother (Altagracia

ds coming-of-

Victor is a punk. Judy is a runt.
Guzman), his sexually confused
younger brother Nino (Silvestre
Rasuk) and his "fat and ugly" half-
sister Vicky (Krystal Rodriguez).
With all of her grandchildren's
interests in the opposite sex peaking
simultaneously, the kids' grand-
mother struggles to maintain control
of her household. Making her film
debut at 72 years old, Altagracia
Guzman closely resembles Martin
Scorsese's mother in "Goodfellas"
in looks, mannerisms and patterns
of speech. Guzman's lack of acting
experience only adds to her charm
and believability as a grandmother.
In one scene in particular, after she
catches Nino in the act in one of the
funniest self-love scenes since "Fast
Times at Ridgemont High," Guzman
recounts the event to a social worker
with the kind of bluntness and inad-
vertent humor that only a true
grandmother could possess.
Not to be outdone, Sollett's cast

of young unknowns brings an ele-
ment of authenticity to "Raising
Victor Vargas." Rasuk and Marte in
particular take on their characters
with confidence and sincerity, creat-
ing a pair of wholly believable
Shot on location in one of the last
hipster-free neighborhoods on the
Lower East Side of Manhattan, the
film provides a refreshing glimpse of
an ethnic community without dis-
playing constant images of drug use
and violence. While it is beautifully
photographed on film, "Victor Var-
gas" has the rawness of digital video,
now an indie staple, which only
serves to highlight its urban setting.
Throughout "Raising Victor Var-
gas," there is a clear sense that Peter
Sollett and his cast feel a real affec-
tion toward their characters. The
characters are so sincere and likable
that it's hard not to be drawn into
their world.

CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS (NR)...............1:15, 3:40, 7:15, 9:40
JOHNNY ENGLISH (PG).........................1:35, 3:35, 5:35, 7:35, 9:35
28 DAYS LATER (R)............................................1:10, 3:30, 7:10, 9:30
THE ITALIAN JOB (PG-13)......................1:00, 3:10, 5:20, 7:30, 9:45
LILYA 4-EVER (R).....................................1:00, 3:10, 5:20, 7:30, 9:40
LEGALLY BLONDE 2: RED, WHITE AND BLONDE (PG-13)........... 1:05,
3:10, 5:15, 1:20, 9:30
A MIGHTY WIND (PG-13)......................1:25, 3:25, 5:25, 7:25, 9:25

1:00, 3:00, 5:00, T00O, 9:30 I

(734) 994 1000 www.rpadstonetheaters.com d'mmanRa:allahomwA £4oAe 6psm, 04s $5.50!

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