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July 28, 2008 - Image 9

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2008-07-28

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Monday, July 28, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

9

Ak

Shun these 'Brothers'
By ANNIE LEVENE and have the boys bunk in the same
DailyArts Writer room. The paper-thin plot proves
point that filmmakers assume
people will come to the theater
There is a popular piece of just because Judd Apatow's name
advice that parents tell each other is somewhere in the credits (not
to qualm fears about horrifically to see Ferrell do more of his asi-
poor behavior in children. One nine stunts - that's old hat by this
says to the point.)
other, "They'll "Step Brothers" relies heavily
grow out of it." > on Ferrell and Reilly to produce
Such is life; as laughs, but even typically funny
we grow older, Step Brothers comedians like these two can't
we grow wiser At Quality16 change a turd into gold. This is the
and, hopefully, and Showcase kind of movie that uses an actor
get the hell wearing a Chewbacca mask as a
away from our Columbia gag and assumes the target audi-
parents. Unfor- ence will find that particular gag
tunately, for equally funny three times in the
Nancy Huff (Mary Steenburgen, span of 95 minutes. Other comedic
"The Brave One") and Dr. Robert "gems" include school children
Doback (Richard Jenkins, "The making the 40-year-old men lick
Kingdom"), their sons refuse dog poop and what is probably the
to move out and most certainly saddest excuse for fake testicles
refuse to grow up. ever seen onscreen.
Nancy and Robert meet at a What made past "Frat Pack"
convention films appeal-
where he wins ing was the
her over by Lame, juvenile humor tongue-in-
declaring he cheek humor,
would like to sinks an already the asides or
stick his head floun F r s cultural ref-
between her ndering Fe'rrea ship' erences that
breasts. (Just _ _made the
a hint, boys: movies more
This line will probably not go over than just comedies with gross-out
as well in real life.) The one glitch gags and swear words. Instead, the
in the blessed union? Both have makers of "Step Brothers" seem to
adult sons, Brennan (Will Ferrell, see their R-rating as an open invi-
"Semi-Pro") and Dale (John C. tation to have the characters drop
Reilly, "Walk Hard: The Dewey F-bombs.
Cox Story"), squatting at home. It's not only the humor that is
The suppos- dumbed down, but the acting as
edly hilari- well. Ferrell's been milking his
ous solution man-child character since the days
to the prob- of "Zoolander," but as the years
lem? Move pass - and Ferrell's girth contin-
in together ues to grow - the whole charade
becomes a lot less funny and even
embarrassing.
Reilly and Company also do
little to add any sort of semblance
of clever humor to the film. Adam
Scott (TV's "Tell Me You Love
Me"), as Breenan's high-achiev-
ing younger brother, is a less
entertaining version of -Bradley
Cooper's character in "Wedding
Crashers" - complete with the
ass-kissing friends - but highly
forgettable and without any real
reason to be in the story other than
COURTESY to add a little more obnoxiousness
COLUMBIA to the screen. Although the char-
acter is lame, at least Scott com-
See BROS, Page 10

The 'hip' kids

ya _ As
dd s
You can't see them, but all of these people are wearing Chucks.

By David Watnick | Daily Arts Writer

Pitchfork Festival
has ups and downs,
as well as kids to
laugh at
Hipsters and hippies. It may be
difficult for the socially antiquated
to understand where the distinc-
tion occurs, but other than their
unwavering support for Barack
Obama and a frequent affinity for
pot, do these two (sub)cultures
really have anything in common?
Certainly not in their choice of
music festivals.
While hippies had burned
all their meager income earned
working at college town bur-
rito and sandwich shops earlier
this summer at tune-in, turn-on,
camp-out, drop-out festivals like
Bonnaroo and Rothbury, the hip-
sters waited until last weekend's
Pitchfork Music Festival in Chi-
cago to filter out of their urban
apartments (or parents' houses in
the suburbs) for their own musi-
cal gala.
This was my second straight
year attending Pitchfork. While
I was again impressed with the
unmatched assortment of indie-
rock acts, this year it was with
a much more curious eye that I
gazed upon the hipster pilgrimage
lineup.

Hype.
Hype governs the hipster uni-
verse (see: Sufjan Stevens, Arcade
Fire), and there's no better place
to see much-hyped bands-than at
Pitchfork. This year's hype band
of choice was Vampire Weekend.
Unimpressed with its self-titled
debut from this past January, I
figured I'd let these four Columbia
grads determine their fate in my
mind - like any great band - on
the stage.
They failed. Seriously, what am
I missing? Their record wasn't ter-
rible; it wasn't offensive, it wasn't
pain-inducing. It was just pedes-
trian. It was thin; it gave me noth-
ing to sink my teeth into. And live,
even from the front row, Vampire
Weekend even more bland. I had
to wonder whether it was really
a four-piece band because its col-
lective impact was about as pro-
nounced as a music box. Its riffs
are cute, as are its melodies. And
maybe it is, too. But I really don't
care that front man Ezra Koenig
looks like Joaquin Phoenix. Nor
do I care that he plays his Gibson
with a quarter. This world already
has one Paul Simon, and I think
that's enough.
Skepticism.
Unfortunately, hype misadven-
tures of the past and present have

left me skeptical that any new
band garnering rave reviews is
an unworthy flavor-of-the-week.
Tragically, this prejudiced attitude
caused me to unconsciouslyignore
The Hold Steady for four albums.
Pitchfork exposed the mistake in
my skepticism.
The Hold Steady was unequivo-
cally my favorite show of the week-
end. While Vampire Weekend was
wholly unequipped to capture
my attention, The Hold Steady
refused to let it go. Uninhibited by
his un-hip, middle-aged, bespec-
tacled appearance, vocalist Craig
Finn animatedly commanded the
audience with a passion that, if
he had been wearing a unitard,
might've rivaled Freddie Mercury.
Coupled with his band's shimmer-
ing rock'n'roll, the performance
was as inspired as it was awe-
inspiring.
Just Pretend.
While The Hold Steady's bom-
bastics perfectly legitimized audi-
ence lunacy, mosh-pit euphoria
abounded at nearly every show,
called-for or not. Not to suggest
that there should be limits on
shows at which the audience is
allowed to have fun, butI couldn't
quite grasp where people got off
going crazy at a concert from
experimental noise duo.Fuck But-
See PITCHFORK, Page 10

A

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