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November 19, 1991 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-11-19

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Page 8-The Michigan Daily- Tuesday, November 19, 1991
Cliche South dulls Moon

The Man
in the Moon
dir..Robert Mulligan
by Gabriel Feldberg
The Man in the Moon is a tired
first kiss tale set in a banal
American Southland. The film has
little to say that hasn't been said be-
fore; it appears to have been
conceived by numbers.
The plot rarely deviates from the
standard end of innocence/end of
summer formula. Dani (newcomer
Reese Witherspoon) is 14 and some-
thing of a tomboy. When the 17-
year-old Court (Jason London)
moves into the farm next door,Dani
discovers love for the first time, and
Court hardly discourages her from
doing so. Court grows much colder,
however, when he and Dani's older
sister fall in love.
Romance, as it is rendered in the
film, is very conventional. The dia-
logue, which includes such thread-
bare lines as, "I think love should be
sojbeautiful" and "What's it like to
kiss a boy?", is trite and stale. It's
hard to believe that director Robert
Mulligan (To Kill a Mockingbird,
Summer of 42) would be suddenly

so uninspired as to shoot young
lovers running toward each other
from across a field in slow motion.
Syrupy violins and maudlin harps
play on in the background all the
while.
The South of The Man in the
Moon is just like the South of so
many other Hollywood movies: it's
all front porches and iced tea. The
film's got such a Northern take on
the area that no one bothered to
make sure all the actors were speak-
ing with the same regional accent.
That the cars in the movie have
Lousiana plates doesn't matter -
the characters in The Man in the
The South of The Man
in the Moon is just
like the South of so
many other movies:
it's all front porches
and iced tea
Moon are so generically Southern
that they could have blended in just
as easily on the set of Driving Miss
Daisy or Crimes of the Heart or
even Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Although it's from an original
script, The Man in the Moon feels
as much like a stage play as all three
aforementioned adaptations. The

characters talk with exaggeration.
Many of the actors act at one time
or another, but Witherspoon over-
does each love-struck pout from
start to finish. It seems no one told
her that facial expressions don't
have to be as big on camera as they
do on stage.
The Man in the Moon is not a
bad movie per se. A slightly unex-
pected twist toward the film's end
dissolves the halcyon mood and
gives it the teeth it was lacking for
the first hour and a half. Sam
Waterson does an excellent job in
the role of Dani's father, despite the
lines he's given.
Unfortunately, these good
points still aren't enough to salvage
the picture. What makes the film so
bland is that watching it feels
vaguely like sitting through dozens
of other movies just like it, all in a
row. There's simply nothing new
under the languid summer movie
sun. It's not that stories of first
loves are worn out - only this old
version of those stories is. Even
genre pictures, after all, should
probably have something to distin-
guish them from lemonade commer-
cials and After School Specials.
THE MAN IN THE MOON is
playing at Showcase.
CHANNELZ
Did Lee Harvey Oswald act
alone? And are today's investigators
of John F. Kennedy's assassination
as cute as Kevin Costner? Find out
tonight on PBS's Nova (8 p.m.,
Channel 56 Detroit, 30 Toledo),
which promises to explore the con-
troversy via photo enhancement and
3-D computer modeling.
Or if that's too serious for you,
try some sweetness and light from
big Chuck Bronson. "He's a Cop,
She's a Thief, Together they're run-
ning for their lives." Yup, it's
Murphy's Law (8 p.m., Channel
50).

NOTES
Continued from page 5
exciting parts of American culture
are derived vicariously from your
struggle, at times just for survival.
My introductory column said 0
that true change begins at the
bottom, that the Underground is
where it all starts happening. But
culturally, this has more to do with
the ugliest, strangest battle Ame-
rica has ever fought and continues to
fight - against all Americans -
the one for a comfortable, if
exclusive, self-identity.
'X DRUGS

"Are you talking to me? Are YUU talking to MT?' Un, wait, wrong
psycho. Sorry. "Come out, come out, wherever you are..."

FEAR
Continued from page 5
like Kathy Bates' great performance
in last year's similarly-flawed
Misery, DeNiro's real, gripping
Max Cady is undercut as he becomes
a demonized comic book villain.
And for these same reasons,
Cape Fear is good, but not great,
even as just a thriller. To Scorsese's
credit, he did manage to balance sev-
eral tritely predictable mur-
ders/beatings with some truly dis-
turbing scenes of violence. The cam-
era lingers on the gore, cancelling
out any glorification or cheapness
that comes with most big screen
killings.
Like Scorsese's best work -

Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, the "Life
Lessons" segment of New York
Stories, and Goodfellas - Cape
Fear is vivid, excessive and well-
acted. But imagine Travis Bickle be-
ing brought to justice by a SWAT
team at the end of Taxi Driver. Or
Jake LaMotta coming out of retire-
ment and going the distance one
more time at the end of Raging Bull,
with "Eye of the Tiger" blaring in
the background. Or paranoid coke-
head Henry Hill being gunned down
by a rival gang at the end of
Goodfellas. As a great artist, Scor-
sese is a great innovator, and coming
from a great innovator, Cape Fear
is a great disappointment.
CAPE FEAR is playing at Fox
Village and Showcase.
L~~'I ~i mi a i aJ I

Continued from page 5
whereas, granted, I do incredibly
embarrassing and sexist characters
on stage ... It's embarrassing for
men. They don't want to admit do-
ing it, and they don't want to be go-
ing down that path, but I think it's
worth looking at.
It's the way men look at life.
Men look at life in terms of accu-
mulating power, and once they have
enough of it, they don't need to do
anything else. ... I think there's
other things going on that to rye
they are more interesting, where it
all comes from in the first place.
Fear, and trying to pull out power.
Fear, it seems to me to be one of
the - I mean, it's like a spiritual ;
sickness. You get afraid enough and
you will start moving toward
things that are not really the best
things for you and for other people.
The things that happened in Iraq, it
seems to me, are symptoms of fear
that Americans have in general
about their lives. I couldn't go
down to the parades because they
scared the shit out of me, because it
was like, you know, I looked around
and I thought, 'Now I know how
Hitler, whatever he did, came to
power. This is how it happened.' I
mean, Adolf Hitler looked like Dan
Quayle to most people in 1929 or
'30, when he started getting serious.
He was just some goob.
MICHIGAN DAILY

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SPRING TERM

IN

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and your host
Jeff Goad

NEW HAMPSHIRE

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for more information
call 763-1 107

and student comedians
Toli Shabashov
Eric Kurit

The University of Michigan 's Office of Minority Affairs &
IN HIGHER
EDUCATION presents
IN HIGHER EDUCATION:
CAN WE MEET THE CHALLENGE?

01

Order of Omega
The returning members of Epsilon Lambda Chapter

NEW ENGLAND LIEITATRE PROGRAM
Earn credit as you study
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Thursday, November 21 st
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Aud. C Angell Hall
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION. CALL 761-9579

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Wednesday, November 20th, 1991
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Location: Kellogg Auditorium
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Jill Alpert

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Barbara Klein
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Deborah Knitt
Laura Linn

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Jamie Moser
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Tanya Skorina
Erika Soby
Julie Younglove

examine and clarify the issues that divide,
and will deliver concrete strategies for

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Admission is free

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Would like to welcome its new members,
1991-1992
Juniors

Maria Anagnos
Tanya Benenson
Rachel Blum
LaShawn Boyce
Cheryl Cains
Andrea Chomakos
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W. Edward Elwood
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Jennifer Corney

Amy Hagen
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Lisa Harrell
Franz Herbert
Kay C. Hope
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Matthew Kleiman
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Daniel Mathisson

Michael Rice
Brendon Riley
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Jim Round
Monik Sanghvi
Jeff Sarafa
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