De Niro’s new movie a disappointment

Sierra Gillespie, Production Assistant
Eric Momou, Entertainment Editor
De Niro’s new movie a disappointment
Sierra Gillespie
Production Assistant
2.5 out of 5 stars
Robert De Niro’s performance
in “Ever ybody’s Fine” is
impressive. It is absolutely not
his best work, but he is playing
a character with which he and
audiences are not familiar to
seeing him play.
Among De Niro’s countless
accolades, he has been
nominated for six Academy
Awards, winning two of them.
Unquestionably he is a quality
actor. However, his newest
character, Frank Goode, shows
De Niro in a different light,
one that shies away from his
normal role. His two Oscars
were for playing characters
completely opposite to his
current one. De Niro’s newest
character is a pushover in
Still, Frank Goode is an
admirable man. He has worked
hard his entire life to provide
for his four children and
their very broad aspirations.
Throughout his entire life he
has never formed a close bond
with his children--something
that he regrets deeply.
At the start of the film, all
Frank wants to do is get his
family into the same room. They
have not been together since
his late wife’s funeral, and, with
Frank’s recent retirement, he is
lonelier than ever before.
F r a n k p re p a re s f o r h i s
children to visit, only to have
them cancel within the first ten
minutes of the movie. Crushed,
Frank decides to visit each
of his children personally, in
hopes of convincing them to
come together for a visit.
Frank travels from New
York to Chicago to Denver to
Las Vegas to visit each of his
children individually. During
this time he meets each of his
children except one, David.
Throughout the entire film,
Frank’s children shy away
from the topic of David when
Frank is present, though their
conversations between each
other allude to the audience
that something is wrong with
David’s well-being. Frank
spends minimal time with each
of his children; all of them seem
to have excuses to cut the visit
short. He keeps an open mind,
however, and continues with his
Because of his deathly fear of
flying, Frank takes the long way
from city to city. He travels by
trains and buses mostly, though
at one point of the film he is
desperate enough to receive a
ride from a trucker.
Besides the conflicts with
each of his children, Frank
faces challenge after challenge
through the duration of his
impromptu vacation. This
provides mild humor and mild
heartbreak. Attempts to pull at
Worthwhile wait for Left 4 Dead 2
Josh Heath
Production Assistant
It was down to the four of
us. We had to combine our
resources, wits and talents.
That was the only way we
were going to survive the
madness that was thrust upon
us. It was the only way. “Left 4
Dead 2” (L4D2) was released
November 17. That was the
day that I joined forces with
seniors Joe Meeker, Douglas
Cole and alumnus Will Button
to go to the midnight release
of the game.
We had been planning to get
“L4D2” as soon as we possibly
could. Douglas and I had to
wait for a paycheck or two
to have the proper funds to
buy it, while Will did not even
want it. He wanted “Assassin’s
Creed II,” which was released
the same day. Then Joe had
mentioned that preordering
the game could save $10 on
the actual purchase, with the
preorder costing $5.
I volunteered to drive
the group in my beast of a
car, which had been freshly
painted in celebration of the
One Act making it to the state
competition. Having this all
planned out, we were going
to leave town around 11 p.m.,
anticipating lines waiting for
the items being released at
midnight. We were going to
Page 10
stand outside for around a
half-hour, buy our games, go
home, play a round and then
get ready for A.P. Econ in the
morning. It was going well.
But this was still during
the One Act season. And for
some of us in the One Act, it
is very exhausting. We were
still rehearsing until 6 p.m.
that night, and I was more
tired than usual. As soon as I
returned home, I fell asleep on
my couch, setting an alarm for
about 10 p.m., so I could watch
television for an hour before I
left to pick up the other three.
And yes, I did sleep until 10
p.m., but in doing so I had
skipped dinner. Douglas had
too, apparently, so he and I
hit up Burger King. Then, we
just hung out at my residence
until the clock struck 10:45
p.m. at which point we went
to retrieve the others.
Will had the brilliant idea
of getting snacks at Kwik
Trip before we headed in,
for something to do while
standing in line, apparently.
And I needed gas anyway, so
we went into Kwik Trip and
bought six dollars of gasoline,
18 glazers, a half-gallon of
chocolate milk, cups and a Dr.
Pepper. And with that, we were
off to Best Buy.
We arrived at around 11:20
p.m. There was no line, so we
started one. First in line for the
first big game of the Christmas
season. But, standing around
drinking chocolate milk in
chilly temperatures was not
exactly the most fun thing to
do. I remembered, though,
that I had two balls in my car.
And we had the bright idea to
start playing dodge ball in the
parking lot. There were other
people—a few cars had people
sitting in them—but they just
sat and watched as we played
dodge ball for a half-hour,
at least. We finally called it
quits after Will, Joe and Doug
had each won a round. Joe
commented on Will after his
win, “Will Button is the worst
dodge ball player of all time.”
There was a lot of running and
a lot of laughs from the people
in the cars.
Finally, at exactly midnight,
the doors opened and the nowformed line went inside. To my
delight, there was a lot of swag
for “Assassin’s Creed,” “Star
Trek” and “L4D2”: sweatbands,
pins and posters. We got our
games, I got handfuls of swag
and we headed home to play
the Dark Carnival campaign
until around 2 a.m.
In Econ the next day, Mr.
Laubmeier caught me falling
asleep a few times, but, really,
it was worth it. We had banded
together, pooled our resources
and emerged triumphant.
Killing zombies had never
been so much fun.
The Purple Sage
the emotions of the audience,
do not succeed whatsoever.
The most laughter the audience
will experience is a forced
chuckle, and the most sadness
they will have is the sniffling of
their noses.
“Everybody’s Fine” is not
a holiday film. Although it
concludes with a Christmas
scene, the entire film does
not surround the holidays
as implied by the trailer. It
is a movie about family. It is
about how everyone claims
to be fine but, is truthfully
suffering in silence.
Kirk Jones, the writer and
director of the film, is a relatively
new director whose past few
movies differ incredibly from
“Everybody’s Fine.” Jones
takes an unusual direction
with the viewpoint of De Niro’s
When Frank first sees each
of his adult children, actual
children portray them. Toward
the end of the film, Frank
confronts each adolescent child
about their adult problems.
This scene is rather unusual,
but interesting as well. It
depicts perfectly how De Niro’s
character still thinks of his
children as adolescents instead
of adults and how he needs to
let them grow up.
“Ever ybody’s Fine” is a
mediocre film. It has its points
of greatness, but the majority
of it is just decent. De Niro’s
children, played by Drew
Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale
and Sam Rockwell, have either
good or bad performances.
Barr ymore plays her
character the same as every
other character she has had
since she was seven, a girl
with issues and a whiny voice.
Beckinsale ups the ante a bit
from Barrymore’s performance,
but Rockwell’s rendition is
clearly the best of the film,
aside De Niro’s.
De Niro is very convincing as
his delicate character, lending
the audience to empathize with
him greatly. His performance
brings the film to the level that
it is at, which sadly is nothing
to rave about.
I would like to return my friendship, please.
Comic by Luke Thering
December 23, 2009
Harris’ Almanac
Laura Meeker
Graphic Artist
2.5 out of 5 stars
Since reading the 2010
Farmer’s Almanac, I have
become disappointed that I
am not fearing for my life.
I suppose I should have
expected that the longrange weather predictions
for the great Midwest would
be the regular cold, wet
and generally gray the rest
of winter, and unpleasant
until some time in Spring
when you can expect the
End of Days. I am kidding.
Wisconsin will never be that
Benjamin Harris’ Almanac
is what you would expect
from the demographic:
“farmers, planters,
merchants, laborers and
gentle country folk.”
It really is useful if you
plan to pursue a career
as a farmer or laborer; it
provides helpful tips on
planting tables, animal care
and other subjects, but
does not quite live up to the
expectation of having crazy
astrological predictions.
I am not a learned
person on the subjects of
farming or astrology, of
course. The only Almanac
I have ever read before
Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac
was Benjamin Franklin’s
“Poor Richard’s Almanack,”
which was full of strange
but mostly true tips, such
as, “Fish and visitors stink
after three days.” Harris’
Farmer’s Almanac does
have its share of interesting
articles, however. It has a
page on the astrological
significance of each month
and articles on Mark Twain
and the cherr y trees in
Washington, but nothing
that has not been done a
hundred times before.
A final note on the book
would be that it is more
than 40 percent ads and
that is a lot, seeing as it is
a centimeter-thick booklet.
What intrigues me more is
that most of the ads seem
geared towards homeowners
and farmers. The writer of
the introduction claims a lot
of writers for the almanac
are losing their shirts, and I
can see why. I think it is time
they put their skills towards
a specialized monthly
publication rather than a
yearly guide that costs $6,
which I found at a grocery
store bookshelf.
In short, the almanac
was perfect in the time it
began, where books were
much rarer, more expensive,
and annual publications
or periodicals of any type
at all were scarce if not
nonexistent. This is not
as true in the age of the
internet, magazines and
weekly newsletters.
AFI an unfortunate letdown
Meghan Caulfield
2.5 out of 5 stars
AFI has recently released
their eighth studio album,
Crash Love. AFI is best known
for their songs “Silver and
Cold” and “Miss Murder.”
AFI was first founded in
1991. The original members
were still in high school when
they created the rock band
“A Fire Inside.” The members
of AFI include lead vocalist
Davey Havok, backup vocalist
and drummer Adam Carson,
guitarist Jade Puget and
bassist Hunter Burgan. Puget
and Burgan also double as
keyboardists and backup
Their first album,
Answer That and Stay
Fashionable, was
released a few years
later in 1995. Within
the next year, AFI
was already releasing
their next full-length
album, Very Proud of
Ya. After the release
of this album, the
band went through
a few lineup changes.
Burgan and Puget were added
to replace former members.
The band produced five
more albums in the span
of 10 years, including the
hit albums Sing the Sorrow
and Decemberunderground.
or an eager
feeling to
hear the rest
of the album.
T h e
“Beautiful Thieves,” tells
of people who benefit from
their social status, but a large
majority of the song is just
the repetition of the weak
chorus. The track “Too Shy to
Scream” has a catchy chorus
of “I die, if you only met my
eyes before you pass by/will
you pause to break my heart?”
This track achieves the goal
of keeping AFI’s listening
audience entertained. The
single, “Veronica Sawyer
Smokes,” tells a stor y of
having preconceived thoughts
of someone who does not
live up to their expectations,
someone who is not who you
thought they were. A tiresome
continuation, the same lines
repeat for far too long.
A track that is moving and
attention-grabbing is still able
to be found on this album.
“Okay, I Feel Better Now”
accomplishes this goal.
“Medicate,” the seventh single
on the album, is an exception.
It is catchy and reminiscent of
former AFI material.
While there are tracks that
are an exception to the dull
sound of the album’s songs
like “Darling, I Want to Destroy
You” and “Medicate,” it does
not fulfill the expectations
that were set for AFI. Songs
that are amusing, intriguing
and unique are the definition
of AFI. Sadly, most songs on
this album did not achieve
this goal.
The entire album has a
mysterious tone and does not
stray far from the same overall
sound. Listening to former
albums like Sing the Sorrow
makes one nostalgic for the
old, glorified AFI.
to wet a diverse appetite.
The menu dialect might
well come as foreign to the
average customer. Yet the
options are numerous, and you
may find yourself in the dire
situation of indecision. Of the
appetizers that the restaurant
offers, are Lumpia–two veggieimpregnated egg rolls with
carrot, bamboo shoots and
green onion. There is OtakOtak, an ethnic fish
cake, enveloped in
banana leaf and served
with garlic peanut sauce.
The restaurant also offers
an Indonesian improvisation
of chicken wings served with
tangy peanut sauce.
A recommended house
dinner favorite is Krakatau,
tempe (cultured soybean
cake) with chicken on a platter
of onion, mushroom and other
greens. Demonstrated showily
in front of the customer is a
steaming garlic sauce, poured
before serving. The total:
$15.95. In the realm of avian
delicacies, the restaurant
does not fall short. Indulge
in Bebek Bakar, half duck
accompanied with steamed
veggies and garlic sauce.
$16.95 for dinner.
For vegans or those with a
restraint on caloric options,
opt for the vegetarian menu as
this has fried alternatives. Try
Longtong Tahu, tofu à la vapor
with bean sprouts and peanut
sauce layered on rice cakes.
Gado Gado offers a plethora
of greens: carrot, cabbage,
broccoli, bean sprouts with
egg and tofu beneath a topping
of peanut sauce.
Zesty Sambal Goreng
Tempe, a sweet and sour
choice including lemon grass,
soybean cake and palm sugar,
nets you $7.95 lunch or a
$12.95 dinner. Vegetable Curry,
a cheaper dinner buy for $9.95
comes with carrot, cauliflower,
green bean and spicy curry.
Having been inquisitive
about an Indonesian change
in cuisine, I was skeptical.
Yet, by no means did it fail
in the customer service, the
eye-awing décor, time and
Between the 2006 release of
Decemberunderground and
the release of Crash Love
this year, AFI produced a live
album and an EP that was
never released.
The much anticipated
album, Crash Love, is mainly
a disappointment. The tracks
are bland and repetitive.
Listening to each song you get
the feeling that you have heard
it before--just by a different
name. The meaning and
behind the
are hard to
T h e
It does
not build
Bandung: Indonesian cuisine on Williamson Street
Eric Momou
Entertainment Editor
2.5 out of 5 stars
Perhaps, if one were to
appease their culturally
impartial taste buds, they
might well consider Bandung
Restaurant, located in
downtown Madison--a red
brick edifice at 600 Williamson
Street off South Blair Street.
Adjacent to a compacted
collection of businesses, the
scrunched Bandung seems
a tad bit shabby as it stands
alongside the Monkey Bar Gym.
The potential customer may
understandably be amongst
the average passersby. Aside
from its emboldened label,
the structure is by no means
ostentatious–rather it caresses
a quaint, reclusive quality.
It is important to consider
that unlike the 24-hour fast
food restaurant, Bandung
opens solely for lunch and
dinner. Although you may
select delivery as an option,
December 23, 2009
note that in the time interval
between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. the
restaurant remains closed.
I learned this early through
experience, having ventured
at 4 p.m. and coming back
at a later time–schedule
accordingly. However, my
discouragement was swiftly
Upon entrance, one is greeted
with overwhelming
ethnicity: masks
and mural-like
paintings plastered
lavishly upon the
walls of orange. There
is an atmosphere of
tranquility and serenity,
not too different from
Africana – another respectable
restaurant on the UW-Madison
campus. By little more than
candlelight, occupants enjoy
their feasts, the ambrosia of
which is sharp and hunger
inducing. The studio lights
instigate solemn reflection
and mystery in the mind of the
food enthusiast. Here, even a
person in solidarity can feel
special amidst a haven free
from the oppression of the
mundane. Airs of panpipes
play from the bar which serves
specialized wines and spirits.
It is impor tant to note
h o w e v e r, t h a t t h e r e i s
a difference between
conventional Asian and
Indonesian. For one not well
acquainted with the
cuisine, it is reminiscent of
Chinese in look. An abundance
of vegetables and fried
delicacies are commonplace,
yet the Indian-like savor
presents itself alarming in
terms of spice. Astoundingly,
the servings are filling, despite
appearing relatively small
in portion. Curry, a prime
component in westerner
cooking delivers a salivary kick
The Purple Sage
Page 11
Top 5 guaranteed, best of the worst media sensations
Joe Meeker
Opinion Editor
Luke Thering
Copy Editor
We have compiled a list of web video,
movies and music sensations worthy
of being called the best of the worst.
1. “The Room”
“The Room” is a terrible, terrible
movie. All of it is terrible: the editing,
writing, acting, plot, cinematography,
sound and set design. And it would be
just that–irredeemably terrible and
thus not worth our attention–were it
not for one Tommy Wiseau. Mr. Wiseau,
the writer, director, producer and star
of “The Room,” is mysterious. He hails
from somewhere in eastern Europe and
has a very poor grasp of the English
language, but has been notoriously
coy about his origins and especially
how he raised six million dollars of his
own money to finance his masterpiece.
Wiseau’s hilariously mangled
line readings, frequently
poorly dubbed voices,
numerous dropped plot
threads and the main
characters’ propensity for
football all contribute
to a rich, mangled
and hilarious piece of
work. Thank you, Mr.
Wiseau, for creating
the best worst thing.
2. John Daker
Peoria, Illinois is home of John
Daker, a YouTube sensation whose
voice is as full as his expressive, agile
eyebrows. He serenades the camera
with a stream of emotive consonants
and vowels, which supposedly create
two songs, “Christ the Lord Is Risen
Today” and “That’s Amore.” In the clip,
music teacher Maria Cooper Unsicker
features the sub-par musical talents
of her students--John Daker being the
most entertaining. His performance
is preceded by a less than eloquent
introduction by Unsicker, in which she
substitutes the more common “um”
or “er” with “BUURHHH” sentencejumping, rendering each thought
incomprehensible. The shot then cuts
to a blank, wistful and balding John
Daker center stage, followed by a
short piano introduction to their first
selection--upon which he misses his
very first cue. He goes on to murder
all but a few lines of lyrics while still
maintaining musical integrity by use
of powerful eyebrow positions and a
commanding stage presence. It is sad
and painfully comical.
3. “Aventuras Vascas”
For those not in Spanish V, this
movie gem is probably unfamiliar.
“Aventuras Vascas” is a madefor-classroom mini drama filled
with love, danger and practical
lessons for the common Spanish
student. Two British students, Sophie
and Richard, stay with host families in
Getxo, Spain to improve their Spanish
skills and have a good time. Sophie
is an obnoxiously dedicated student,
while Richard has trouble asking his
host grandmother for a towel and at
other times slips into daydreams. The
students are entertaining on their own,
but when other colorful characters are
added, the movie really takes off. The
character that truly steals the show
is the deeply troubled Joseba, who
pawns off spoons which he steals from
his own house, uses that money to
make bets and undergoes a miraculous
change of heart to bring the story to
a close. So, brush up on your Spanish
and watch this informational and
touching movie. It will change your life
for the better.
4. “Troll 2”
What happens when a director with
a shoestring budget, amateur actors
and a tenuous grasp of the English
language goes to rural America to
make a horror flick? “Troll 2”–which,
surprisingly enough, is completely
unrelated to “Troll”–may not be the
worst movie of all time, but it comes
close. Highlights include a male lead
played by a local dentist, a group of
goblins wearing burlap sacks, some of
the worst special effects and editing,
choice bits of dialogue like, “You don’t
piss on hospitality!” and the best
movie scream of all time. “Troll 2” is
an absolute mess, a hodgepodge of
bad acting and writing–but everyone
is so obviously unattached from the
project that it all sort of works. They
do not care, and neither should you,
so just revel in the muck. “Troll 2” is
pretty uniformly terrible, but also a
joyous thing to behold.
5. The Poops
If you try to treat “The Poops” as a
band you are going to be disappointed,
if not disgusted. None of the members
know how to play their instruments.
Their vocalist never learned how to
sing, much less how to talk. What
can you expect from songs named
“Glooberdy Booger” and “Zoop Zoop
Kazoo?” They would be silly, avandt
garde children’s musicians did their
works not make the listener, palpably
uncomfortable. Unlike bad movies or
television, bad music is often harder
to find funny. There is less inherent
humor in it, and so, listening to “The
Poops,” for many, will remain a painful
experience. But view “The Poops” not
as a band, but as an art piece–some
grand commentary on the human
condition and the nature of man–and
suddenly “Glooberdy Booger” is not
only tolerable but hilarious. With a
lyric like “Snakes snakes snakes...get
me away from these snakes snakes
snakes” how could their album not be
complementing augmentation.
Killstreaks have also evolved
tremendously. Stepping away from
the simple presets, you now have the
capability to select your own personal
killstreaks. Starting a mere three kills
without dying you can be awarded a
simple Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV
or radar) stretching to an impressive
25 successive kills resulting in a game
ending tactical nuke to wreak havoc
on your enemies (and your own team),
killing everyone in the match.
Titles and emblems are the sole brand
new addition to MW2. Titles are just
another way to individualize yourself.
Titles range from ‘Team Player’ to
‘Dishes are Done’ to ‘Accident Prone’
and literally anything in between.
Emblems are essentially the same
as titles but are simply small memes
to go along with your title. Emblems
consist of anything from dog tags to a
biohazard symbol.
The multiplayer mode brings all
of these enhancements together to
make an incredible experience that
keeps you playing even after clocking
more than three days of gameplay.
The longevity is truly what makes
MW2 such an impressive game–pulling
together millions of players and pitting
them violently against each other while
still making an amazingly enjoyable
Now, take a bigger look at the industry.
IW has not changed anything. The vital
gameplay remains unchanged and
reserved. Taking no leaps or bounds,
IW has remained in its wheelhouse to
continue outputting the same game
that simply looks nicer with a few new
enhancements to previous features.
Matches max out at nine-player
teams. Coming in January, MAG is
boasting an unheard of 256 players
in a single match. MAG has shifted
the scope of the traditional First
Person Shooter from a solo operation
to eight-player squads. Four squads
make up a platoon and four platoons
make up a company, creating an
unbelievable 128-player team led
by the highest ranking player in
the match. Already on the market,
“Resistance 2” for Playstation 3, boasts
60-player matches.
Friends are usually a predominant
force for online gaming. While MW2
does offer friend capabilities, their
functionality is poor. Failing to join
parties is an annoyance that can
be frustrating. Clans are fairly nonexistent. Players are allowed to input
a clan tag, however this clan tag does
virtually nothing, nullifying the use of
the word “clan.” There are no leaders,
no member list, no ranking of members
for the clan system--just four abstract
characters that hold no meaning.
“Modern Warfare 2” is a simple
game with the complexities of a
t r a d i t i o n a l ro l e - p l a y i n g g a m e .
Customizability, gaining levels and
earning achievements all pull players
toward a truly aesthetically pleasing
game. However, seeing it as more than
just something to look at, MW2 lacks
the limit-pushing breakthroughs that
make the gaming industry such an
incredible industry.
‘Modern Warfare 2’ an awing improvement
Brian Lenz
Web Page Manager
2.5 out of 5 stars
“Modern Warfare 2” (MW2) smashed
records on numerous fronts. Across
three platforms $4.7 million copies
were sold worldwide.
Second, Infinity Ward (IW) claimed
eight million active players within the
first five days after MW2’s release,
constituting the largest army in the
world. Most importantly, MW2 has its
main focus once again centered around
the diverse multiplayer that keeps the
game playable and replayable.
Weaponr y: the most important
equipment for any infantry. Fifty-one
unique weapons spread the styles
of play far beyond the normal range
of traditional warfare games. Each
weapon can be customized further
with eight attachments and eight
skins. Attachments increase accuracy,
firepower or even allow for wielding
two weapons for double the power but
at the cost of half the accuracy.
Perks have come a long way from
their introduction in “Call of Duty
3” where players acquired certain
abilities based on their preset class.
Even more abilities are now augmented
by perks ranging from quicker reload
times to remaining invisible under
enemy radar. Each of the 16 perks
have a corresponding ‘pro’ category
enhancing the ability or adding
Page 12
The Purple Sage
Comic by Shay Corless
December 23, 2009