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July 16, 2014 - Image 7

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2014-07-16
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandailv.com


Texas Tragedy'Hellion' Strong cast saves
64lii FX's 'Married'

Art Fair A2 strengthen ties
6. " 4a T ..r

Jacob and vWes
Young director's small
town drama playing
at Michigan Theater
through Thursday
Daily Arts Writer
All happy families are alike,
yet despite what Tolstoy says,
broken families must be alike
too, because the
subject of deep- A-
rooted family
angst - however Hellion
removed from
the viewer's own IFC Films
life - almost Michigan Theater
always touches
an easy nerve.
"Hellion," Kat
Candler's indie Sundance debut'-
opens in a typical rural Texas
town during a high school foot-
ball game as Jacob Wilson (Josh
Wiggins) and his group of friends
destroy a car outside the stadium.
Amid a barrage of heavy metal, the
frantic cuts between the mania of
the game and fans and the boys
as they smash the car hint at the,
underlying anarchic impulses that
small towns rein in through com-
munity institutions like football
and its adjoining fandom.
But what happens when a per-
son doesn't grow up with these
institutions, existing in the impov-
erished periphery? Jacob Wilson
shows it isn't pretty. Through an
unsteady, handheld gaze, the cam-

era follows Jacob as he ends up in
a court-ordered juvenile facility
during the day, followed by unsu-
pervised dirt-biking and assorted
acts of delinquency in the evening,
the latter tinged with an almost
nostalgic "Sandlot"glow. However,
"Hellion" is quick to establish that
Jacob deviates far from the senti-
mental boys-will-be-boys notion
entrenched'in the myth of Texan
childhood. For the first third of
the movie we can only guess at the
source of this angst, as the narra-
tive structure isn't in a hurry to
explain a lot of the crucial details.
What's absent in plot backbone is
fleshed out by Josh Wiggins, whose
smoldering James Dean-like per-
formance wonderfully conveys
the messy knot of fear and sadness
that directs his actions. Even if it
takes a distracting amount of time
to discover why he is so angry, the
emotional truth and intensity of
Wiggins' performance draws focus
from the shaky background details.
Audiences will easily love the
impossibly cute Deke Garner as
Jacob's little brother, Wes, but the
real force comes from the conflict-
ing influence Jacob has on him. He
both shields Wes and inexplicably
draws him into his world, making
their eventual separation all the
more heart wrenching. Parental
neglect and tragedy have ingrained
Wes with an extreme passivity
that's uncomfortable to watch, the
foil to Jacob's stormy turbulence.
Being introduced to the two sib-
lings first also makes their alco-
holic father Hollis (Aaron Paul,

"Breaking Bad") much harder
to redeem, which makes the film
"Hellion" doesn't aim for neat
resolutions: the characters are all
flawed (except for maybe Wes).
Since the weight of the film comes
from the intimate, messy psycho-
logical character studies carried
by a talented cast, the various sub-
plots feel flimsy, especially with
Hollis. His original sin, which
fundamentally ruptures the fam-
ily, is never explored, and details
such as a house in Galveston and
his prior career as a baseball
player are trotted out but never
expanded upon.
Same with his strained rela-
tionship with sister Pam (Juliette
Lewis), who steps in as a surrogate
mother for Wes after an ill-timed
CPA visit: her role adds tension,
as an audience we rationally know
she's the better caretaker for acqui-
escent Wes, but emotionally we
feel Hollis's fury and paternal loss.
Despite all of this, the final
third of the film, which escalates
the plot, works. It's contrived
and dramatic, and too neatly
foreshadowed, but it whittles
the action into a razor-sharp
point that's unyielding and just
awesome. The last minutes are
ambiguous and unsatisfying in
the best way possible. Negating
some of the drama from the cli-
max, they manage to strike the
right chord between the tonal
grittiness of the movie and the
audience desire - or by this point,
need - for some shard of hope.

By ALEX INTNER It helps that they're surrounded
Daily Arts Writer by supporting players who are great
at what they do, especially with
If I were to tell you that FX has some of the meatier material in
a new comedy from the co-writ- the show as the season progresses.
er of "The Last Exorcism", and While Gelman brings a similar yet
that it's funny, calmer version of what he brought
I would forgive B+ on "Go On," adding a sense of loss to
you for giving the character that is, at times, quite
me a weird look. Married compelling. Slate, of course, is an
Andrew Gurland, . extremely talented actress, and she
who wrote a lot Series handles some of the heavier materi-
of independent Premiere - al in the series. She is married to an
features before four epsiodes older man, and the age difference
that horror film, screened creates some tension between the
created this sur- forreview couple. She handles the portrayal
prisingly humor- FX of this tension very well, providing
ous show forFX.
What he created Thursdays
is a sitcom that at10 p.m.
attracted a fan- Sometimes,
tastic cast. It hasa
some heft, but it doesn't break the all you need is
barrier between comedy and drama funny people
like other FX "comedies." What u n e Pe
results is a program that suffers being funny.
from some minor growing pains,
but ultimately is a good show.
The premise of the show is sim-
ple. Academy Award Winner Nat
Faxon ("Ben and Kate") and Judy some of the best scenes in the show.
Greer ("Arrested Development") One more note about the show
play Russ and Lina, a lower-middle - it's raunchy. Many scenes are sex
class marriedcouple. Theylive their joke after sex joke. There are some
lives, raise their kids, and crack shows that do this and fail misera-
sex jokes, like real couples do. The bly because they don't put anything
ensemble is rounded out by Jenny around those jokes. They just try to
Slate ("Obvious Child") and Brett be joke delivery machines. It takes
Gelman ("Go On") play friends with a couple of episodes for this show
whom the couple gets into wacky to work its way out of that hole,but
misadventures. as it goes it starts to add depth to
The cast is about as close to the characters, partially due to the
a murderer's row as you can get writing, and partially because of the
on TV nowadays, and they're the quality of performance these actors
best part of the show. Many of the are bringing to the table.
best comedies are, simply, funny Sometimes all a comedy needs is
people being funny, and this is a really good cast and some funny
the case here. Some of the show's stuff for them to do. In this case,
best moments are when the writ- the cast is extremely talented, to
ers allow the cast , which has great the point where they're making me
chemistry, to just sit back and talk laugh at even the crassest and repet-
to one another. Faxon and Greer are itive of jokes. As the show develops
believable as a married couple, and its characters, lead and supporting,
they do an excellent job showing the this could turn out to be something
minor ups and downs that occur in special. It's not at that level yet, but
any marriage. the potential is there.
Neither do we. #dailyarts

Francie Krawcke shows a Barred Owl to children at the Townie Party on Ingalls Mall Monday as part of a exhibit from the
Leslie Science and Nature Center.

Original Street Art
Fair hosts event to
say 'thank you' to
city residents
ManagingNews Editor
Monday, two days before the
Art Fair hit downtown Ann Arbor,
the organizers of the Original Ann
Arbor Street Art Fair held a party.
The Original Street Art Fair is
one of four fairs that make up the
full event.
Mostly devoid of the attributes
familiar to Art Fair attendees -
the only art that's sold is from kids
in the area during the Kids' Art
Fair, bands play and booths are
filled primarily by local businesses
and community organizations -
the Townie Street Party is also a
noticeably smaller event than the
hundreds of thousands of visitors
that flood the streets of Ann Arbor
for the actual fair.
In fact, in contrast to the actual
fair, it doesn't really attract people
from out of town at all. Instead, it's
primarily attended by Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor resident Derek
Davis, who attended this year's
Townie Street Party, said connect-
ing with other residents is one of
the highlights of the event.
"Just to see other residents, it's
cool to kind of see people that you
know from around town," he said.
"And the outside environment's

kind of neat, good music. It's very
Ann Arbor."
Ann Arbor residents Adrian
Cleypool and Gus Gustafon echoed
Davis's sentiment.
"The music, and seeingmore old
Ann Arborites - it works for that
especially well," Cleypool said.
Maureen Riley, Ann Arbor
Street Fair executive director, said
the event was started withthe goal
of strengthening bonds between
the community and the fair.
"It's an event that we put on to
involve residents in the prepara-
tions and fun of the Art Fair, and
to say 'thank you'," she said. "We
certainly know that Art Fair can
be an inconvenience to many that
work in the downtown area, and
we appreciate their willingness to
accommodate us and understand
the value of the Art Fair to the.city
and the economic impact we have
on our community."
Though the Townie Street Party
is only 10 years old to the fair's 54
years, that theme of strengthen-
ing community relations has long
been a defining factor of the city
and fair's relationship, as the two
figure out how to balance an event
that now draws roughly 500,000
people into the area, multiplying
Ann Arbor's population almost by
six as well as shutting down sig-
nificant portions of the downtown
City Councilmember Christo-
pher Taylor (D-Ward 3) said the
fair is without a doubt an impor-
tant Ann Arbor event.
"The Art Fair brings millions

of dollars, and hundreds of thou-
sands of people," Taylor said. "It is
a self-evident good for the econo-
my and the cultural vitality of the
Taylor, along with City Coun-
cilmember Jane Lumm (I-Ward
2) sponsored a measure this year
to allocate $10,000 to the Original
Street Art Fair in the fiscal year
2015 city budget.
He added that while a large pro-
portion of attendees are from out
of town, he thinks residents also
enjoy the fair.
"I think numbers demonstrate
that a lot of people come in from
out of town, and I think that's
great," he said. "I also think people
in Ann Arbor tend to like the Art
Fair. It's exciting, its vibrant - I'm
not sure that everybody loves all
the Art Fair all the time. I think
the residents of Ann Arbor value
the events and they like to take
part in the city and like to show
visitors what we have to offer."
Riley said when it comes to ben-
efits for the city, along with the
about $80 million in economic
impact it brings, the fair also plays
a big part in quality of life in the
"Almost every ranking that
comes out that puts Ann Arbor as
a great place to live almost inevi-
tably mentions the Art Fair as one
of the reasons," she said. "The arts
and culture in this community
are one of the major factors in the
quality of life here."
For the rest of the story, visit

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