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October 29, 1992 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-10-29

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Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - October 29, 1992

A guide to mining
your manners

by Michael Thompson
As relatively unknown as director
John Sayles is,. he certainly takes on
large themes in his films. "City of
Hope" showed the slices of almost 30
lives while still paying attention to
important themes of community and
morality. Sayles' earlier film
"Matewan" is no exception.
Matewan (1987).
Directed and written by John Sayles;
with Chris Cooper, James Earl Jones
and Mary McDonnell
Set in a small mining town in the
late 1800s, the film tells the story of
the local citizens trying to challenge
the mining establishment. However
typical the story sounds, Sayles deliv-
ers a powerful film filled with believ-
able characters and situations. lie capi-
talizes on the idiosyncrasies of all
small towns rather than exploiting
them like David Lynch tries to.
The story begins with the arrival
of union man Joe Kenehan (Chris
Cooper) who struggles to bring all the
different workers together to form a
union. Unfortunately too many of
these people want to fight for what's
right instead of working for it.
The film features fine perfor-

mances from a group of mostly un-
known actors. Mary McDonnell
shows promise in her pre-"Dances
with Wolves" days. Chris Cooper is
totally convincing as a man trying to
change things through work rather
than violence. University graduate
James Earl Jones delivers a strong
performance and director Sayles has
an amusing cameo as a town preacher.
All of the film's characters have
lives of their own. Several characters
are strong enough to be the subjects of
their own movies, but Sayles never
lets any one person dominate the
screen. There is no one main charac-
ter in this film, no specific good guy.
But you know who to like and who to
Sayles takes on the problems of
unions, unfair and unethical treatment
of workers, racial tension and the price
of violent solutions. But he never lets
any event overshadow another. In fact,
Sayles seems to cover all the possible
While not out to make any specific
conclusions or all encompassing state-
ment, Sayles' Matewan, along with
Barbara Kopple's "Harlan County,
USA," are two great stories of the
people who fought for union rights.
MATEWAN is playing in MLB Lec.
Rm. 2 tonight at 7:30 p.m.


"I know it was you Fredo!" Whoops, wrong DeNiro movie. Trust us, if you have to go see "Night and the City," just close your eyes and think, "Godfather."
When bad films happen to good actors

11 -,, . I is ammoomm ME

by Alison Levy

Oh, the pain. A long string of

Mary McDonnell is a tad sweaty perhaps, but awfully,good in "Matewan."

bombs (most recently evidenced by
"Candyman," "Under Siege" and
"Consenting Adults") has caused
people to speculate about the decline
and fall of the film industry. Butnot to
worry, I've figured the whole thing
Night and the City
Directed by Irwin Winkler; written by
Richard Price; with Robert De Niro,
Jessica Lange, and Alan King.
out. We are not witnessing the extinc-
tion of quality motion pictures, but
the advent of a whole new genre:
Films that Suck. "Night in the City" is
no exception. Its terrible acting, weak
plot, and slow pacing are sure to make
it a classic in its category.
Irwin Wirikler's remake of the
little-known 1950 film revolves
around Harry Fabian, a small-time
ambulance-chaser and barfly who
Continued from page 1
a review of "The House at Pooh Cor-
ner" that "Whimsy-the-Pooh," and
particularly the word "hummy" made
her throw up. Well what can you
expect from a woman who had sex
with her date during a party because
she was bored? It is really not surpris-
ing that Pooh would not entertain her..
Another critic, Roger Sale, criti-
cizes Milne and all of his characters in

dreams of making it to the big time as
a boxing promoter with fighters like
Jeff "Moshe Dayan" Katz. But things
go wrong when he has a hard time
raising the cash and big time pro-
moter Boom Boom Grossman is out
to get him. Somewhere in there is the
love story between Harry and the lo-
cal bartender's wife Helen. Well,
that's the plot, I think, but it doesn't
really matter because you'll never get
that far before needing a nap.
One of the biggest mistakes was
turning the project over to producer,
oops, I mean director, Irwin Winkler
("Guilty by Suspicion"). After hav-
ing done such a fine job producing
films like "Raging Bull" and
"GoodFellas," Winkler should have
left the directing to Scorsese. But then
again, Marty would never have di-
rected this abysmal script.
Since he doesn't have the real
thing, Winkler attempts to imitate his
mentor every once in a while and the
results are annoying and obvious.

There are a few clever cuts, but they
are so few and far between that they
scream "Scorsese-wanna-be!" The
slow-paced editing enhances the bore-
dom felt by the audience. Almost all
of the shots are close-ups, but the
scenes last forever.
All genres have certain elements
in common. In the Western it's guns,
and in the musical, it's songs. One of
the strongest motifs in the Films that
Suck genre is good actors giving bad
performances. In this case the honors
go to Robert DeNiro ("Taxi Driver"),
Jessica Lange ("Tootsie"), and Alan
King. DeNiro's Harry isn't that bad,
it's just that he's not great. And
Lange as Helen is so fake with her
New York accent and trashy waitress
act that you want to slap her. Thank
God in the film someone does. The
relationship between the two princi-
pals has about as much warmth as
their relationship in "Cape Fear." And
Alan King has a hard time pulling off
the evil menacing role; I kept waiting



Audio-1 O's of items, VCRs, TVs, etcj


ooh just is, but everywhe

for him to -crack a joke.
Another common thread in the
Films that Suck genre is a weak and
predictable screenplay. In this case
it's a real disappointment and tragedy
because the movie was penned by
Richard Price ("Sea of Love," "Mad
Dog and Glory"). None of the charac-
ters or relationships are interesting or
fully developed. There is a lot of
unexploited comic potential but it is
buried under a load of pointless plot
garbage. Then again, Pricejust might
be a brilliant pioneer in this emerging
cinematic movement. Let's hope not.
Only Regis Philbin's comic cameo
and Tak Fujimoto's ("Silence of the
Lambs") gritty cinematography lend
any redeeming value to the film. I can
only await the next entry in the ever-
popular genre that is taking over the
film industry. Pray for "Bram Stoker's
NIGHT AND THE CITY is playing at
are intrigued by him, or grown ups
who have not really grown up remi-
niscing about days gone by, the fact
is, for some reason he fascinates a lot
of people and just makes a lot of
others happy. As Hoff puts it in the
"Tao of Pooh, "Pooh just is" and it
seems that he will continue to be for a
long, long time.
Continued from page 4
mumbled, you aren't going to hear it
because you aren't supposed to. You
and Harry have to wait until Coppola
wants you to know what's going on.
It's frustrating, but never tiring.
"The Conversation" has some
strong messages about privacy and
paranoia, but Coppola manages to
entertain you with these ideas, rather
than cram them down your throat (see
Stone, Oliver). Besides, it's a great
way to satisfy your Coppola fix while
waiting for "Bram Stoker's Dracula."

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Located in the Courtyard Shops at
North Campus Plaza

"Fairy Tales and After: From Snow
White to E.B. White" (1978). Sale
himself admits that he loved the sto-
ries as a child, but now finds them too
disturbing, "I loved the Christopher
Robin books, but find only intermit-
tent pleasure in them now, and when
they fail to cast their old magic spell,
I am not just bored but offended."
He suggests that the Winnie-the-
Pooh stories are hierarchical, with
nasty old Christopher Robin domi-
nating Pooh and Piglet. He goes on to

say that he now enjoys seeing Rabbit
the "neofascist" get told what is what
by Eeyore. Don't we all. These are
very adult definitions and interpreta-
tions placed on a children's story.
Everyone seems to be in agree-
ment about the success of Milne's
stories as children's literature. The
criticisms of Milne's stories, ironi-
cally come out of adult interpreta-
tions and expectations.
Whether it is children who simply
love Winnie-the-Pooh, or adults who

N~s {including big screens),
camcorders, VCRs, sound systems
215 S. Ashley
1/2 black N. of Liberty
pick-up and delivery available

- /

Wednesday, November 4
1:00 - 5:00 pm
Michigan Union
Graduate and Professional School Day
* Recruiters from degree programs in business, liberal arts, science,
social service, communication, public & international affairs will
be available to answer your questions
* Compare costs & content of programs across the country
Preconference Highlights:


Conference Briefing Book
* Research participating institutions & their " Octob
admission requirements Caree
Graduate School or Work Experience:
Which Comes First?
6 To am frm n asllC.tz' Pvn -r ' 'c n iz v .ent*

ber 1 - November 4
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" Demystify the process of preparing for * October 22, 4:10 - 5:00 pm
& applying to MBA programs Career Planning & Placement
It Pays to Go to Graduate Schook
" Uncover the many options & types of aid * October 27, 4:10 - 5:00 pm



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