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October 14, 1986 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-14

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Tuesday, October 14, 1986

Page 5

'Deadly Friend':

Who needs enemies?

By Geoffrey Riklin
Wes Craven botches his latest
film, Deadly Friend, because he
is incapable of either sustained
seriousness or sustained comedy.
Paul Conway is the young boy
who gets the ball rolling. He's your
average 15-year-old ultra-genius
who happens to have constructed a
robot along the lines of R2-D2,
with the added attraction of artificial
intelligence (about which more
later). Upon moving into a new
town, Paul makes friends with
Samantha, a young girl whose
father abuses her severely, and
Tom, the kid down the block. Paul,
it should be noted, is in medical
school and casually does things that
would win him a Nobel Prize.
All goes well enough until
Samantha's father beats her up and
kills her. Paul comes to the rescue
by sticking his robot's brain into
Samantha's, bringing her back to
life, minus a personality, plus a
killer instinct. And what hijinks
ensue!
It's a shame that Craven can't
decide what he wants to do with
this movie, because he has some
acting talent to work with.
Matthew Laborteaux, who played
Albert on Little House on the
Prairie, performs fairly well, as do
Kristy Swanson (Samantha),
Michael Sharret (Tom), and the rest

of the cast.
Craven, to his credit, does have a
slight sense of humor, but while
there is no law against science
fiction films being funny, Craven's
jokes usually pop up at the wrong
time, in the middle of scenes that
should be serious. Hitherto, Craven
has directed horror films for the
most part, and in a few scenes he
throws in some gore that is entirely
unnecessary.
Craven also overlooks certain
obvious plot failures. If Paul really
did create artificial intelligence it
would be one of the great scientific
breakthroughs of all time. Craven
treats it as something pedestrian.
Another problem is that after
doctors declare Samantha brain-dead,
they remove her from life-support
systems less than twenty-four hours
later. Few doctors under those
circumstances would ever remove a
patient after such a short period
Again, during the operation after
Samantha is injured, a doctor says
that the injuries probably weren't
caused by a fall, as Samantha's
father claimed. Any competent
doctor or coroner can distinguish
between an injury resulting form a
blow such as the one administered
by dear old dad, and that resulting
from a fall. Obviously, in such a
case, legal action would promptly
be taken against the father. None is.
Finally, Paul steals Samantha's
body from the hospital in order to

revive her. One would think that
the police would be a bit curious
about a missing body. There is no
indication that they are.
Craven's action scenes are
boring, and the climactic scene is
astoundingly melodramatic. The
postscript is either stupid or a joke
aimed at the. makers of the Friday
the Thirteenth movies who keep
bringing Jason back to life. And,

lastly, the characters in this thing
could be played by a cast of
geniuses and they still would be
stereotypes.
Craven should choose his
material much more carefully.
Even in the hands of a competent
director, Deadly Friend could
never be more than mediocre. In
the hands of Craven it's a disaster.

LONDON
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" Business/Economics
" Engineering
" Human/Health Services
* Journalism/Communications
* Performing Arts
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The pre-robotic Samantha (Kristy Swanson) is terrorized by her drunken
father (Richard Marcus) in the new movie "Deadly Friend."

NAME
ADDRESS
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STATE ZIP

Books

Q Art/Architecture; Q Business/Econ; Q Engineering; Q Hum/Health Serv;
L Journ/Comm; Q Performing Arts; Q Politics 21
Return To: London Internships, 143 Bay State Rd Boston, MA 02215 (617) 353-9888

The House on
Moon Lake
BY FRANCESCA DURANTI
Random House
$15.95
181 pp.
Stephen Sartarelli's translation
of The House on Moon Lake
has finally brought the highly
acclaimed work of Francesca
Duranti to the attention of the
American literary scene. An in-
triguing story, The House on
Moon Lake provides obvious
reasons for Duranti's accolades.
The plot focuses on the character
of Fabrizio Garrone, a frustrated
translator of scholastic manuscripts.
Duranti describes his thoughts:
"Sure, he was considered a good
translator; but did anyone give him
credit for his training, taste, and
talent as a man of letters?" To

change this image, Fabrizio un -
dertakes a search for an Austrian
novel which he sees as an undis -
covered classic. With its translated
publication and his subsequent
writing of the author's biography,
Fabrizio gains respect and fame in
his field.
This fame however, does not
help Fabrizio's other, more
disturbing problem. Revealing the
psychological bent of the novel,
Duranti describes, "Of all these
ghosts the one that haunted him the
most was the desperate feeling of
exclusion- he on one side of the
glass, everyone else on the other,
suspended in a different, hostile
element." As Fabrizio searches for
the novel, this 'ghost' also
develops, until Fabrizio completely
retreats from society.
Duranti's clear structure divides
the book into three sections, each
showing Fabrizio's growing
exclusion. The first, 'Fluvia,'

named after his girlfriend, concerns
his rejection of her because of his
fear of commitment. In the second,
'Maria,' he begins his withdrawl
from society through his obsession
with the fictional character of Maria
Lattner. Finally, in the third
section, 'Petra,' a mysterious
woman embodies Fabrizio's
confusion: "Was he nothing more
than a powerless onlooker caught
between Maria and Petra as they
exchanged roles?" Fabrizio is lost
from society, for he has confused
fiction with reality.
In The House on Moon

Lake, Francesca Duranti has
written an intriguing novel. The
study of Fabrizio's retreat from
reality adds an eerie psychological
dimension to an otherwise simple

plot.
-Lisa

Magnino

WEEKEND
MAGAZINE
Fridays in The Daily
763-0379

PART-TIME EMPLOYMENT -
NIGHTS
The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts is interviewing students
interested in working for a fund raising telethon calling LS&A alumni across
the country. The telethon runs five nights per week, Sunday through Thurs-
day, October 26 through November 20. You work two of the five nights
available each week with some opportunity to work additional nights.
Hours: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. First three weeks
8:00 to 11:00 p.m. Fourth week
Pay: $4.00 per hour
LS&A STUDENTS PREFERRED
call 763-5576 for an interview
The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity, Affirmative Action employer
Stand IP Coiedy
presents comedian
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a WEDNESDAY
OCTOBER 15

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Freedom Now!
The Anti-Apartheid Struggle in South Africa
a talkby SUSAN MNUMZANA

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