There is some life in “Old Dogs” but not muchBy FRANCIS NELSON
I’ve always been a big fan of Robin Williams and John Travolta, so when I saw the preview for the movie “Old Dogs,” I immediately made plans to see it, especially since I grew up on the Three Stooges and Looney Tunes, physical slapstick is one my favorite types of comedy. It’s like the old saying goes: “It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Then it’s hilarious.” The movie begins with a flashback to seven years ago as Charlie (John Travolta) tells an immensely personal story about his thirty-year business partner and life-long best friend Dan (Robin Williams) in order to impress several Japanese sports businessmen to work with their small company instead of a big name company. To be honest, the story didn’t really seem to fit the occasion and it was more of a quick and easy way for director Walt Becker to give the audience the background information that the audience needs to know in order for it to make sense that Vicki (Kelly Preston) suddenly shows up with two seven-year-old fraternal twins that she claims are Dan’s.
Without taking a paternity test, or even so much as checking to see if they even have the same eye color as he does, Dan leaps at the chance to be Daddy in spite of the fact that he is horrible with kids, which is the reason why he and his previous wife decided not to have kids in the first place. The magnitude of Dan’s ineptitude with anything under four feet tall is illustrated very early in the movie and in the preview when he nails some poor kid in the head with a soccer ball on accident. It may be the Three Stooges in me talking, but that was pretty funny since you know the kid didn’t actually get hurt. It’s not so much that Dan is bad with kids as it is he’s just accident prone all around. In fact, the reason why he has to watch Emily (Ella Bleu Travolta) and Zach (Conner Rayburn) is because he puts the usual babysitter in the hospital the day before Vicki goes to jail for two weeks as a result of chaining herself to a bulldozer as a sign of protest against progress.
I was a little confused as to how Vicki was able to come and go as she pleased, and even cross state lines, if she is supposed to be in jail, but then I remembered this is a Disney movie and on Planet Disney reality is routinely suspended in order to make way for convenient plot devices, even in movies that are supposed to be at least somewhat based in reality. The script is rather predictable, the same jokes are often used more than once in the film, and there isn’t much new in the way of plot or original comedy. Most of the movie is about Dan and Charlie trying to balance work with kids. Disney didn’t even leave the ambiguously gay angle alone, and the two friends were, every now and then, doing or saying something that would make strangers think they are an actual couple.
You’d think after knowing each other for roughly forty years, they would have figured out at some point that it’s not the best idea to be going around saying that the other “is my partner,” especially when taking a couple of kids to a scout camp. I was pleasantly surprised to see Bernie Mac in this movie (he did great), and even if the jokes were old and the slapstick was all stuff I’ve seen before, I still enjoyed it. However, I was expecting more from the guy who directed “Wild Hogs.” I’m no longer looking forward to “Wild Hogs 2: Bachelor Ride” as much as I once was. This movie gets three stars instead of two, but only because Williams and Travolta managed to breathe some life into an otherwise dead horse.
Featured Artist of the Week
Crab Orchard, Ky.
“My art is about confronting the viewer with images and forcing them to comes terms with them. The images, such as nude portraits paired with guns, may seem shocking to the viewer, but there is much more going on than shock value. There are relationships between the images which might seem ambiguous, but there are definite connections formally and conceptually. There are connections that are significant to me, but it is also up to the viewer to interpret their own.”
Nothing new from Lady GaGaBy MOLLY SHOULTA
Lady GaGa is a strange creature. Her music has been compared to Britney Spears, Beyonce, Madonna and even Rihanna, but her style has been compared to none other. Regardless of the platinum jackets from Mars and hairstyles from Venus, her music has taken the charts by storm, invading every dance mix on college students’ iPods since her debut album “The Fame” in 2008. Her newest album, “The Fame Monster,” released Nov. 23, mixes the old favorites and the new tunes sure to make their way to the top. The eight-song album kicks off with “Bad Romance,” a plea for a romance regardless of the revenge that comes along with it. Musically, the piece is solid, keeping listeners intrigued. She even goes into French to add some foreign flair. The song is a great start to the album and one of Lady GaGa’s newest and entertaining hits.
Track two takes the pace down a bit, but still proves to be a typical Lady GaGa song. Still soaked with eighties flair and amazing vocals, “Alejandro” takes it a bit of a slower pace for the artist. Perhaps not as catchy as the first, this track still shows Lady GaGa’s skills off. “Monster” picks the pace back up. The verses are a little boring and monotonous, but the chorus, bridge and all the in-betweens will keep your hips moving. It’s easy to understand the need for random lyrics for certain “themed” songs or rap tracks, but this one in particular has lyrics that are plain weird. The chorus is good, but the verses go out on some very shaky limbs. The “monster” theme has been apparent all the way back to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and even Rihanna’s “Disturbia,” but it’s harder to appreciate Lady GaGa’s take on the undead. While five of her tracks have taken the recording world by storm, this piece is definitely gutsy. Still, she pulls it off and only someone as quirky but as brave as the Lady could do it.
Lady GaGa is trying to take “Speechless” to the top next, and her piano skills are well shown-off. The artist attended NYU’s music school and her constant study and drive to succeed become obvious through this. Not your typical Lady GaGa song, it is very heartfelt and almost jazzy. Perhaps she is trying to appeal to a wider audience. This song may be the strongest on the album because it is so different from her other chart toppers thus far. Just when you thought you had heard it all… “Dance in the Dark” goes back to the Lady GaGa we all know and love. Even though each of her dance songs are similar, they are all unique in instrument blend and vocal quality. She uses lower pitch for some, faster outpouring of lyrics for others, and whatever other combination of technique she has made her name with.
Beyonce and Lady GaGa join forces on “Telephone” and quite wisely. The song seems weird at first, but proves to have fun lyrics and an entertaining beat. But wait—Beyonce begins halfway rapping?! Judge for yourself. She breaks out of it quickly enough, thankfully. The song is overall very well put together. “So Happy I Could Die” is not the best on the CD. Of course, it’s suggestive— after all, it is Lady GaGa. Not the best show off for talent. But a very dreamy feel, a mix of eighties pop and dance techno from today. Not bad, but sort of annoying after a while.
The last song could easily be mixed up with Christena’s Aguilera’s style, but the lyrics are definitely Lady GaGa. Foot-tapping beats and even some jazzy brass are intertwined to create one of the top songs on the CD. The melody may not be clearly defined all the time, but the urge to shake, rattle and roll is constant. “The Fame Monster” also comes in a deluxe edition with remakes and repeats of the Lady’s previous hits, including “Just Dance,” “Pokerface,” “Love Game,” “Paparazzi,” and “Bad Romance.” This particular make of it proves to be a mix of talent and fun. It is definitely worth the long lines this time of year for the subsequent dance party the CD can start.
Matt Hubbard shows off in LRCBy ANDY RUSSELL
I have seen a lot of good art in my time but I think that this tops it all. Matt Hubbard, a senior from Paducah, Ky., was the featured artist in the LRC’s Cochenour gallery. Hubbard has been working on his senior show all semester and was finally ready to showcase it to his professors and the rest of the student body. His exhibit featured some of his work and descriptions of each piece that he had up. His works were wood-cut prints and were pieces of wood that he had pasted a picture to and then carved out certain sections of the wood to make a picture appear in the wood. Afterwards he would put ink on the wood and make a print onto paper. He didn’t have his actual wood-cuts up, but he had the prints of the cuts in black frames with mats around them for a very nice finishing touch.
The title of the exhibit was, “Look Me in the Eye.” A lot of Hubbard’s pieces featured a relationship between a human and an animal. Some of the ones that I liked were a coal miner holding a canary and a snake charmer. Each piece he had displayed featured a short description of the piece and why he chose the picture he did. A lot of the pieces had to do with his relationship with his father and his family and they were all very heartfelt. When asked about his personal connection to the show Hubbard said, “Because it’s hard for me to express emotions verbally I look to images to speak them for me. Being able to have my show speak to my viewers for me was nauseating at times still, but the feedback and support that I got from friends and family was great. It was cool to see how they discovered something new about me, on top of discovering something new about themselves and how they too all related to one of the images.”
He was very excited to get his work out to the public for the students to see and was a bit surprised by some of their responses. “A lot of people commented that the images were very beautiful, but when they read what it was about they were taken off guard by something that was visually pleasing yet so meaningful. It was an amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything, and because of that I hope to continue to make art in the future.” Hubbard plans to keep his show up in the Cochenour gallery in the LRC for the remainder of the semester in hopes that more people will stop by and take a little inspiration from the works that he did.