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June 16, 2008 - Image 9

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2008-06-16

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Monday, June 16, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

9

Li Wayne hits big Nolaughing matter
By BEN VANWAGONER ular appearances on NPR's "TI

his

Rapper proves his
worth with latest'
By CHRIS GAERIG
Daily Arts Writer'
There are very few things that
can be said about Lil Wayne's Tha
Carter IIIwith any sort of certainty.
This record, in the short time it's
been leaked and properly released,
has been called
everything from ** *
a basic failure
to Wayne's dec- Lj Wayne Perhaps I am, indeed, the hest rapper in the
laration as the
greatest force Tha Carter 111 proved to most that Wayne was truly
in pop music. Cash Money one of the best MCs alive - you'll be
And yet the only sorely disappointed. Rather than
thing that can be trying to raise or conform to the
gleaned from Tha Carter III's early standard of what a great rapper is,
sales reports and all of the critical Wayne reinvents the game. On Tha
chatter is that this, in the words of a Carter III, Wayne's seen recycling
friend, is an "indisputable event." someofhis rhymesfromrecentmix-
After months of hype generated tapes, a fear of many die-hard fans
by downloadable mixtapes, Tha looking for more cut-throat verses.
Carter III had one hell of a ceiling. But he only does so when trying to
Through alliterative masterpieces jump through the hoops everyone's
and club bangers, Wayne had raised set for him, trying to meet tradition-
the stakes for all rappers, but mostly al expectations - these scarce, vari-
for himself. When you're the self- ous moments, then, become more of
proclaimed "best rapper alive," a side note than a detriment or sig-
you've seriously gotta come with it. nal of Wayne's ineptitude.
Tha Carter III is Wayne's prophecy- Where Wayne truly shines is
fulfilling response. in his stylistic divergences ("Dr.
If you're looking for more show- Carter," "Phone Home," "La La,"
pieces like Tha Carter II's epic "Tha etc.). On these tracks, Wayne is seen
Mobb" - a track that invariably pushing the limits of what a main-

stream rap powerhouse can do. The
incredible Swizz Beatz-produced
"Dr. Carter" is a improvised, jazz-
driven concept track about Wayne's
M.D. MCing while attempting to
save unnamed victims of hip-hop
failure ("Respect is in the heart /
So that's where I'mma start/And a
lot of heart patients don't make it"),
culminating in his boisterous claim,
"Welcome back hip hop, I saved
your life."
An equally impressive produc-
tion job is done onthe heady "La La"
(David Banner) - not to be confused
with the mixtape-released "La La
La." The minimalist production fea-
tures a wooden xylophone accompa-
nied by a child La La-ing the melody
alongside a sporadic bass pulse.
Wayne's lyrics aren't particularly
See LIL WAYNE, Page 10

Associate Arts Editor
People were packed together
like Tetris blocks, squeezing into
every space available and a few
that weren't.
I was led into a corner by Lisa, a
representative from Borders mar-
keting.
"Let's get off the floor," she said,
"We'd rather not have people see
this."
The clandestine act was simple:
She slipped a yellow bracelet from
her pocket and put
it around my wrist,
using her body as a David;
shield to hide what
she was doing. The if ran
bracelet would
allow me to enter
the event, held upstairs.
"Just ... you know, we ran out
of bracelets before noon," she
explained gravely. "You can go
ahead and try to find a place in
the front - just squeeze in, it gets
pretty crowded with 400 people
in here." She said she was afraid
that people would be angry if they
saw me being given a bracelet,
media or not.
David Sedaris isn't normally
one to foster rage. Sedaris is Amer-
ica's leading humorist, a writer
who's been widely praised for his
almost painfully personal, cyni-
cal tone. In 2001 he was named
"Humorist of the Year" by TIME.
Sedaris is most famous for his reg-

C
e

American Life" with Ira Glass,
which have made him almost a
household name.
But last Monday at Borders,
as hundreds of bracelet-bearers
jostled for position while many of
the less fortunate begged employ-
ees downstairs for a way in, no one
was laughing. One Canadian cou-
ple was yelling at a manager.
"We drove four hours to see
him!" the wife screamed as the
manager motioned helplessly at
the empty braceletctable.
She wasn't the
only one - a feel-
Sedaris ing of general hos-
tility permeated
form. the downstairs,
where embittered
latecomers flipped
throughSedaris'newbook,"When
You Are Engulfed in Flames."
Sedaris would love it, and prob-
ably did. He sat calmly at a table
upstairs, a tiny, droll man in a
striped blue shirt. He was sign-
ing books for the lucky few that
got there early, chatting away and,
apparently, blissfully unaware
that managers were fighting for
their lives downstairs.
The event wasn't much to speak
of, really. He read a few (hilari-
ous) passages from his new book,
answered some questions (includ-
ing one on the meaning of life), and
smiled around at everyone. Yet,
somehow, in the unassuming style
See SEDARIS, Page 10

More questions than answers in'Happening'

By SHERI JANKELOVITZ
DailyArts Writer
"It appears that there is an event
happening." This line is repeated
throughout "The Happening,"
without any explanation of what
is actually going on. But it's some-
thing bad. Something very bad.
The movie opens in Central
Park, where pedestrians start
acting very strangely - walk-
ing backwards, talking funny and
1 eventually killing themselves in
brutal fashion.
We'reintroduced to ElliotMoore
(Mark Wahlberg, "The Departed"),
a high school science teacher who

has been having some marital dif-
ficulties with his wife Alma (Zooey
Deschanel, "Elf"). Elliot and Alma
try to flee the 'event' by rail, when
the train inex-
plicably stops,
strandingthem
in the middle The Happening
of Pennsyl-
vania. From AtQualityl6
there, they join and Showcase
a small band of 20th Century Fox
survivors and
try to outrun
the unseen menace.
Several characters toss out the-
ories on what's causing the insan-
ity: Some say terrorists, some say

the government, but the theory the
movie wants us to accept is that
the Earth has finally had enough of
us and is having its vegetation kill
us all. The movie wants to make
you wonder, "What if our planet
suddenly decides to
turn on us, punish-
ing us for the centu- W hen
ries of abuse?" rk
Without any true strike
"gotcha!" moments
to speak ofthrough-
out this entire film, M. Night Shy-
amalan has learned how to use
dread to his advantage, leading
the audience to constantly expect
terror even when there might not

c

be any. He's also learned how to
kick up the creep factor. It's here
in droves; there's something truly
unsettling about watching some-
one calmly slit his wrists with a
shard of glass.
The film is far
from perfect, and
nature there are several
moments that
s back. should be dead
serious but instead
incite a giggle from
the audience. Others may be frus-
trated with the film's total lack of
explanations given, but that's the
point. These are real people who
are utterly confused about what's

going on and there's no wise old
professor or psychic woman to
explainthis phenomenon, although
there is a botaniston the news who
explains that this might justbe the
beginning, a prelude to something
far more catastrophic.
Overall "The Happening" is
pretty effective, and though the
characterdevelopmentneedswork,
this film will still freak you out.
Because Shyamalan directs it,
there will be many out there who
expect a twist ending. Well, don't
- there isn't one. What there is is
a message every environmentalist
will cheer for: It's not nice to fool
with Mother Nature.

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