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July 25, 2013 - Image 5

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2013-07-25
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Thursday, July 25. 2013

RTS Thursday, July 25, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

for diehard Ryan Gosling ("The
Place Beyond The Pines") or Refn
fans. It never reaches the soaring
heights achieved by Refosling's
previous venture "Drive," yet
comes alive in its attention to set-
That setting is the seedy Bang-
kok underworld housing Ameri-
can expatriate Julian Thompson
(Gosling), a man seeking revenge
for the brutal, bloody slaying
of his brother, who, in turn, got
killed by a man seeking revenge
for the brutal, bloody slaying of
his daughter. Revenge is like a
sadistic game of pinball in this
fucked up world, bouncing back
and forth, smacking and kill-
ing everything stupid enough to
get in the way of the next body-
count-high-score. That is, until
Chang steps in and puts a period
to all the tomfoolery. And despite
the fact that no trials or regula-
tions even pretend to exist, our
righteous antagonist distin-
guishes himself as the difference
between vengeance and justice,
the man who always has the last
The movie itself is not so direct,
repeatedly skewered by extended
delays of dull, repetitive buildup
resulting in anticlimactic, often
disgustingly gory payoff, but
Refn's mastery of the visual and
visceral cannot be denied. The
shots look to have been plucked
from the walls of a Pulitzer prize-
winning photography exhibition,
boasting a certain indescribable
symmetry in every frame that
lets the pulsating, vibrant palette
engulf the action on-screen.
The end result is like watching
the background imbibe the fore-
ground. Whatever thin notion of
separation that otherwise might
have held our attention melts
away. It's woozy in the most beau-
tiful, mind-bending way perceiv-
able, and Refn is quick to mix us a
new drink every frame.
I'll let the hypnotic soundtrack
speak for itself. Yet, it's not
enough to save the film from
a tiresomely direct storyline

involving nothing more than an
easy, cut-and-dried, boring quest
for revenge. Revenge is meaning-
ful where there's some notion of
"hunter vs. the hunted" so that,
even at a marginal level, a game
of cat-and-mouse can develop,
letting our tensions rise and side
with a particular party.
"Drive" succeeded because it
played heavily on a forced trans-
formation of "the hunted" to
"the hunter," thereby setting up
its main stage thematic battle
between innocence and rage.
Here, it's like watching two con-
fused cats looking for each other.
Both want to set up the final con-
frontation but are too stupid to
figure out who they're supposed
to be fighting.
And never in my life have I
seen acting talent so completely
wasted. I mean, come the fuck
on Nicolas, you have goddamn
Ryan "Hey girl, my shirt fell off"
Gosling at your disposal, and you
give him a paltry fifteen lines at
best? Fifteen?!!?! What's worse
is he has no more than two-
count it, two - facial expressions
throughout the film: nonchalant
and sad. That's all. And let's not
forget that for a quarter of the
movie, his face is a pulpy, disfig-
ured mess. He doesn't smile once
- sigh.
Gosling's lackluster perfor-
mance is kind of (but not really)
offset by Kristen Scott Thomas's
(more reason for everyone to
see "I've Loved You So Long")
mind-boggling turn playing
what can only be described as
the "why did no one think of this
before" combination of "Real
Housewives of OC" cast member
meets mafia kingpin.
But alas, "Only God Forgives"
can never be forgiven for its ulti-
mate sin: It's neither thought-
provoking nor fun to watch.
It's a tired exercise in repeti-
tion, akin to the pinball known
as revenge in Bangkok. If only
Chang were there in the editing
room with his krabi to set things

Nice girls finish last

Thursday, July 25, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Escapin defini tion


I see the blood on the leaves.
'God Forgives'
wastes stellar cast

' You have ice queen eyes. One
look and I swear you could kill a
man. You're no nice girl, you're
a maneater."
I raised an
irritated eyebrow
at my co-worker,
thinking 1) Can'tj
you see I'm busy?
and 2) What does
that even mean?
What the hell NATASHA
constitutes a nice ERTZBISCHOFF
girl and why would
I want to be one?
And seriously, a Hall & Oates reference
with that maneater bit? Way to date
yourself, you old geezer.
But isn't that life? As a woman,
you're either labeled a maneating bitch
for being assertive and confident or
you're a blase nice girl whom no one
respects. It's a no-win situation. So
what's a girl to do?
In this time of moral crisis, I turn
to the Betch Bible - authored by the
Betches, Jordana Abraham, Samantha
Fishbein and Aleen Kuperman, the
creators of the satirical website
Betches Love This. Principally, "the
nice girl plays by the rules without
ever questioningthem. She's dull, lacks
depth, lets people walk all over her, yet
that are more shiny and interesting
than a nice girl. The Betches give me
three caveats for avoiding turning into
this one-dimensional pushover - don't
be easy, poor or ugly. My translation
- accomplish your career aspirations,
take pride in your image and don't let
men use you. Being a nice girl isn't
going to get you any closer to these
goals. In fact, nice girls perpetuate the
stereotype that "women are inferior,
that we're not smart or funny and we
should stay in the kitchen." Essentially
nice girls are the Sandra Dees of the
world, and who wants to be a goody
two shoes who doesn't drink, swear,
rat her hair or go to bed 'til she's legally
wed? I thought so.
Sandy's sheepish attitude about
boys - which is as retro as the '50s - is
disintegrating in modern culture. The
New York Times published an article
entitled, "Sex on Campus: She Can
Play That Game, Too," about the fall
of the nice girl lifestyle and the rise of
women in hook-up culture in tandem
with their academic aspirations.
The article features University of
Pennsylvania women who bravely say
what many of us are thinking - if men
can hook up and avoid burdensome
commitment, all while getting ahead,
why can't we? We really can play that
game, too. Even sweet Sandra Dee
realized that by the end of Grease,

using her new leather outfit and slick
attitude to put Danny Zuko in his
place. In fact, one anonymous woman
at UPenn refused to apologize for her
healthy sexual appetite and habits
because nobody will remember that
about her. More importantly, they'll
remember her transcript and her
accomplishments on campus. She's
kick-ass and definitely not a nice girl.
There's nothing wrong with that
- she's an admirable, modern-day
feminist pioneer.
Should we all turn
over a new leaf and
become nice girls?
Take a second and think - as a
woman - about whom you admire. I
admire Beyonee. At her concert this
past weekend, she emerged in a burst
of gold confetti, wind in her glorious
hair, wearing a bejeweled leotard. She
sung of girls running the world, the
epitome of women empowerment.
Why do I have such a girl crush
on Queen Bey? She's anything but a
nice girl - unlike Taylor Swift, who
sings about how countless guys have
dumped her or used her as a doormat
(take a hint, he's just not that into you).
Beyoned is a charismatic dominatrix
who sings fierce lyrics about boys
being far from irreplaceable, not
little ol' country ditties begging
some dude to realize that you belong
with meeeee. She's an icon, inspiring
women to never take shit from guys,
to be proud of your sexuality and to
never stop working hard until you've
made it to the top. You think Beyonce
would be where she is today if she
sang "Kumbaya" and wore a knee
length skirt? Psh, TSwift you can keep
your sneakers and your spot on the
bleachers, and I'll put on my high heels
and step into the spotlight.
Although the anti-nice girl
campaign is catching on, it does have
its critics. So, should we all turn over
a new leaf and become - dare I say it
- nice girls?
Nah. After all, nice girls finish last.
So the next time someone accuses
you of being confident, direct, having
too high of standards or a cruder
synonym, smile and say thank you.
Tell them maneaters are here to stay,
so watch out boys, we'll chew you up.
-Natasha Ertzbischoff can be
reached at nmertz@umich.edu.

lot has been said about
our generation.
According to the
we're a
youth, with
ADD and
to drugs, .
apathy and BEN
whatever. GLOGER
professional aspirations, but
also know that sex and marriage
exist. Guys like tacos.
For the most part, it's easy
to dismiss such characteriza-
tions as trite, trending journal-
ism. In fact, this publication
has already delved into the
ridiculousness of the media's
efforts to define our genera-
tion - multiple times.
However, that isn't to say we
aren't a product of our environ-
ment. We - as a generation -
are the primary participants in
the most rapid period of tech-
nological advancement human
existence has ever experi-
enced. These advancements
are radically reshaping our
social organization, keeping us
constantly interconnected and
informed. Furthermore, even
those marginally interested in
current political happenings
know that not only is polariza-
tion rampant, it's at its highest
levels ever.
Ultimately, it's our intercon-
nectivity that's driving this
polarization. Our lives are con-
stantly subjected to the influ-
ence of others, and tremendous
pressure exists to align along
prepackaged, Saran-wrapped
political ideologies that elimi-
nate our capacity for informed,
objective discourse.
If the politicians, news out-
lets, talking heads, pundits
and crab people alike are to be
believed, we can only be two
things: conservative or liberal.
In fact, you are neither.
You're a pure Michigander,
a Suburbanite and a City Kid. A
student, a fratstar, a hipster and
a Wolverine. You wipe sitting
down and standing, you put
your left foot in - and above all,
you just want to be accepted.
Like it or not, we're obsessed.

with our status and statuses. A
Facebook friend count may no
longer matter, but even if we say
otherwise we damn well expect
numerous birthday comments
from people we haven't talked
to in years. An un-liked status
is a blemish, and even those
who denounce social media still
do so in an effort to categorize
themselves as that guy.
It's only human to want to
feel connected and a part of
something, but it's clear that
our hyper-connectivity has
taken this to extreme levels. As
a result, we've become infatu-
ated with labels and definitions,
and in doing so have convinced
ourselves that there are only
two ways to view any event.
But you're the conglomera-
tion of a series of vastly differ-
ent experiences and thoughts
uniquely your own, and you're
not easily quantifiable.
It's a polarized world out
there, and we must remain
vigilant in separating the ide-
ologies from the facts, reality
from sensationalism and take
each issue on an individual
basis. To identify with the
label of conservative or liberal
limits the intellectual develop-
ment of yourself and - akin
to the many so-called experts
cryingMillennial - allows you
to hide behind trite and coun-
terproductive talking points.
I fail to see why just because
you prefer conservative
monetary policy you must
also oppose increased gun
legislation and human-induced
climate change. Likewise,
where's the connection
between redistributive
wealth practices, marijuana
legalization and pro-choice
policies towards abortion?
These issues are simply
not related. Some aren't even
inherently political. Yet, it has
become increasingly convenient
for politicians and media outlets
to convince you they are. Their
jobs are significantly easier
when the world exists on a
binary scale, where there's no
middle ground, no truth beyond
theirs or fallacies beyond that of
their opponents.
Just as we subscribe to our
favorite Instagram and Twit-
ter accounts, so too have we
made politics a form of enter-
, tainment. We tune into what

we want and drop the rest out.
In doing so, we've forgone any
hypothesis, drawing similari-
ties between events that are
nonexistent and reinforcing
media outlets that proudly tout
their biases, creating an atmo-
sphere of us against them.
This past Saturday was the
one year anniversary of the
Aurora, Colorado shooting.
Unfortunately, there probably
will be another, similar case to
that of State of Florida v. George
Zimmerman. The "nuclear
option" showdown was only an
appetizer for this fall's budget
shouting contest. I remember
each side's viewpoint on all
these events, but I never remem-
ber talking about them. There is
no analysis - only the pursuit
of ammunition to use against
the oppositions. Proactive con-
versation is either nonexistent
or comprised of predetermined
ideological fodder.
not easily
Our interconnectivity has
the potential to engage our
generation in unprecedented
ways, enabling social discourse
that truly represents view-
points from all spectra. We're
an incredibly creative genera-
tion - already leveraging our
abilities for civic betterment in
ways past generations couldn't
even dream of.
But process drives
outcome, and we must resist
those who would hijack
our interconnectivity to
exploit our intense desire for
acceptance, to ignore those
whose job it is to sell finalized
and uncompromisingopinions.
We're Millenials - we lack
hubris and like tacos, alcohol
and casual hookups. We escape
definition - we're neither blue
nor red and we have the capac-
ity and means to rise above
the polarization. We just need
to start using our tools on our
own terms.
-Ben Gloger can be reached
at bgloger@umich.edu.

Winding Refn
follows 'Drive' with
gory, repetitious film
Daily B-Side Editor
A krabi sword whistles though
the air, its path washed in red-
dish neon glare as it makes the
slow, weighted journey to a man's
outstretched arm. Nicolas Wind-

ing Refn ("Drive") forces us to
watch, but as the crescendoing
beat tightens to a standstill, we
pull away. The blood spurts, the
screams come, yet we're looking
elsewhere. We're looking into the
face of Lieutenant Chang (Vitha-
ya Pansringarm, "The Hangover
Part II"). We're looking into the
face of God.
Chang is a personification of
pure justice, uninhibited by the
overhanging limitations of law
and order. As an agent of death

answering only to his own tem-
pered code of ethics, he becomes
the natural source of conflict in a
film totally defined by its savage,
Polanski-esque treatment of set-
Chang also becomes one of the
few redeeming features of "Only
God Forgives." Pause. Before
jumping to any early conclusions,
it's worth noting that though
lukewarm, this is not a terrible
movie, completely worth the tick-
et price and 90-minute run-time

@Mi Chd a ilya r s

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