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January 09, 1989 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-01-09

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 9, 1989 - Page 9

The

Accidental

Tourist

no

bad

trip

BY MARK SHAIMAN
Macon Leary writes travel books
for those people who have to travel
but don't want to leave home. That's
just the type of guy he is. His wife
describes a member of the Leary
family as one who always hides
inside himself, and thus she wants to
be outside of their marriage. So
Macon's orderly and routine lifestyle
encounters an abnormality.
The Accidental Tourist is filled
with abnormal characters and
situations, and is itself an abnormal
film. Abnormally good. Few films
in the recent past have been able to
present such a meaningful look at
personal identity. A large amount of
this is due to Anne Tyler, whose
novel of the same name created the
* wonderful characters that co-
writer/director Lawrence Kasdan has
brought to life.
Kasdan is best known as the
creator of the ensemble film The Big
Chill, another story in which the
relationships between the characters
is more important than the storyline.
And The Accidental Tourist reunites
Kasdan with both William Hurt and
Kathleen Turner, whom he directed
in 1980's Body Ileat .
Both actors have matured since
then, and are now playing middle-
aged characters. It is Turner as Sarah
Leary who brings on Macon's
(Hurt's) mid-life crisis by leaving
him. He comes to realize that as
much as he has traveled, his life has
gone nowhere. A year earlier, his
son had been brutally killed by a
= hold-up man in a fast-food

restaurant, and this senseless act
only hinders Macon's attempt to
make sense of the world around him.
Coming into contact with Muriel
Pritchett (Geena Davis) doesn't offer
any solace either - at least not at
first. Macon doesn't like to talk, and
Muriel starts conversations by
answering questions that weren't
even asked. Macon recommends that
his readers pack a single, grey
business suit because it is easily
cleanable and would be handy in case
of a funeral; Muriel wears short
skirts and leopard skin outfits, and
Lee Press-On nails that are as long
as her heels are high. The only thing
they seem to have in common in the
M in their names.
But they also have in common
Macon's dog, Edward, which Muriel
boards and then trains. And while
trying to find himself, Macon finds
something interesting in Muriel. He
sees the side of himself that he has
kept inside and never let out, and.
through her he can explore his other
half.
William Hurt is splendid as the
befuddled middle-aged man who
doesn't smile for the first third of the
film, because in his life there is
nothing to smile about. But his face
is still full of expression,-displaying
the bewilderment inside him.
But after he meets Muriel he does
smile. And so does the audience,
because Geena Davis is just right for
the part. With such an eccentric
character it would be simple to
overact, but Davis plays it so
smooth that what could have been an
obnoxious character becomes endear-

ing, and it is not hard to understand
why Macon falls for her.
Within the framework of the film
is a parallel story that adds an
amusing twist. Macon's family is a
bit eccentric themselves, doing
things such as spending long hours
organizing their food alphabetically.
Macon's editor, Julian, is enamored
with the idea that people live like
the Leary's do, and gets himself
invited over for dinner. At first he
just wants to marvel at their odd-
ities, but then he finds himself
attracted to Macon's sister Rose.
Like Macon, Julian is concerned
with the state of his life - being a
nearly 40-year-old bachelor. 'As
Julian spends more time with them,
he comes to love them as they are.
The same happens to Macon regard-
ing Muriel. And on another level,
the same happens to the audience.
One of Macon's travel slogans is
"Less is More." Kasdan's filni also
follows this principle. Because
Kasdan concentrates so intensely on
the characters, they are more thor-
oughly developed than the two-
dimensional representations so
unfortunately common in today's
films. As far as movies are con-
cerned, Macon-before-Muriel com-
plained that they make everything
seem so "close up." But the new
Macon would think that a good
thing, and I bet he'd likeThe Acc-
idental Tourist, too.
TIE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST is
showing at Showcase Cinemas and
the Ann Arbor Theaters.

Geena Davis (as Muriel Pritchett)
company at the movies, and judging
their fans.

and William Hurt (as Macon Leary) have
from the quality of The Accidental Tourist,

plenty of
so should

Rainy Man
Continued from Page 8
Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) is Ray's brother. He
is a flashy, wheeling ard dealing luxury car salesman
who has just learned that his father left him nothing of
the $3 million dol'.rs. Out of anger and greed, he sets
off to claim his share and unexpectedly meets the
brother he never knew he had. What follows is a six-
day cross country drive in which Charlie developes a
"connection" with Ray.
Beyond its entertainment value, Rain Man is an
educational and important picture which is gripping
and sensitive. It addresses a rare mental disorder head
on with a documentary-like approach. Levinson
triumphs by creating a perfect balance between a
psychology lesson and a motion picture with com-
mercial appeal. He reveals the working minds of these
two characters with a frightening clarity and shows
their growth as they accept each other for what they
are.
The glory and celebration of this film is Dustin
Hoffman. He is what makes Rain Man work. The
other characters are almost meaningless in comparison
to the grandeur of his portrayal, even Tom Cruise.
Cruise's role is a particularily undemanding one, and
when his character becomes pivotal to the storyline -
when Charlie stops using Ray for his own greed and
comes to love him as a brother - this happens so
suddenly and so unbelievably that it breaks the streak
of magic which the film has enjoyed so well to that
point.
Levinson is a master at relationships and bringing
characters into our hearts. He implements both of

these skills in Rain Man with a professional flair and
subtlety. There are a few tender moments which gloss
the film's texture and intensify an already high-quality
work. The bathroom scene in which Raymond reveals
that he was the "Rain Man" in Charlie's childhood is
emotionally powerful as well as distinctively soft.
Another touching memory occurs when Charlie
teaches Ray to dance in Las Vegas. These are the
scenes in which Ray peeks out from his inner world
and shows his true self to us.
The end of the film, however, is somewhat
inconclusive, which is another of its strengths. The
psychologists ask Ray whether he would like to
remain with Charlie or return to the sanitarium, and
even after a week of living with his brother and
growing to accept him, he is still unable to understand
the question or its implications. This leads one to ask
whether Ray has been changed by his "renegade" week.
Although the answer is indeterminable, this is the
most brilliant aspect of the film. It defies the
conventional live happily-ever-after ending and pro-
vides a realistic conclusion to a meaningful motion
picture.
Rain Man is a film trapped in its own world as
much as Raymond is. It is filled with meaning and
significance, with educational and entertainment value,
and a glittering performance by one of the premier
quality actors of our time, Dustin Hoffman. It is a
film that requires that we give of ourselves to find the
benefits in it which make it so special. It's a movie
about people and relationships and in the make-believe
world of movies, reality is a close companion to the
Rain Man.

PASS*
IT
AROUNDI.

0

To meet your deadlines
kinko'rs

Open 24 Hour
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761-4539

the copy center
s Open 24 Hours Q
1220 S. University M
747-9070 6

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ichigan Union
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CLASSIFIED ADSI Call 764-0557

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,,

* TEXTBOOKS
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AND RECOMMENDED BOOKS
FOR AIL COURSES
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THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.
RECEIVE UP TO 50% OF
LIST PRICE
SCHOOL SUPPLIES
COMPLETE SELECTION

.

RAIN MAN is now showing at the
Theaters and at Briarwood.

Showcase

LIL

p

-J

Student Humanitarian Service Award
Call for Nominations
The Student Humanitarian Service Award is designed to recognize and honor five
students' outstanding contributions to public service and to support their continued.
efforts. to address social needs within the community. Five awards of $1,500 will
be granted to undergraduates whose college or university is an institutional member
of Campus Compact. The University of Michigan is a member, and may nominate
one candidate for these awards. The award money will be used to further humanitar-
ian activities as directed by the recipient.
To nominate a student, please complete the form below. Students are encouraged to
nominate themselves. All nominees will then be asked to submit two short essays
(250 words each) about their past service activities and their proposal for a future
service effort. The University of Michigan nominee will be selected by a committee
here on campus and their name forwarded for consideration for the awards.

A .4

4.

* REFERENCE AND LEISURE READING:
NEW AND CLASSIC TITLES IN
ALL SUBJECT AREAS. EXTENSIVE
LAW, MATHEMATICS, AND
COMPUTER SCIENCE SECTIONS.
OKSTORE
CONGENIAL

IrlMICHIGAN UNION B0u

CLOSE

CONVENIENT

OPEN DAILY ALL SEMESTER
ON THE GROUND FLOOR OF THE MICHIGAN UNION

Deadline:

Monday, January 23, 1989 (5:00 p.m.)
Project Community
2205 Michigan Union

Nominee's Name:
Address:
Phone:4C

r

MONDAY THROUGH THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
-

9:00 am
9:00 am
10:00 am
12:00 pm

- 7:00 pm
- 5:00 pm
- 6:00 pm
- 6:00 pm

*.
4,

Please describe the service activity in which the studentI
mately 100 words) during the previous year.

has been engaged (approxi-

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