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January 11, 1993 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-01-11

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Page 8- The Michigan Daily -Monday, January 11, 1993

Levinson's 'Toys' is probably the worst movie of the year

Dy Camiio Fonteciiia
A question lingered in my mind
after departing the theater where I
Directed by Barry Levinson;
written by Valerie Curtin and Barry
Levinson; with Robin Williams,
Joan Cusack, Robin Wright.
and LL Cool J
viewed this movie: was Barry Levinson
attempting to make a movie for chil-
dren that would appeal to adults, or vice
versa? This clumsy film oscillates be-
tween stabs at deep thoughtfulness and

sheer immaturity. Inevitably, Steven
Spielberg comes to mind, and another
similar effort with Robin Williams,
"Hook." Unfortunately, hiding behind
"Toys"' wonderful crayola-colored fan-
tasy world are some not very interest-
ing characters and a very sketchy script.
When Leslie Zevo's (Robin Will-
iams) father dies, the Zevo Toys com-
pany is inherited by The General
(Michael Gambon), who wishes to ex-
pand production into the field of war
toys. Ithas been a lonc-standing policy
of Zevo Toys to abstain from the cre-
ation of this type of toy; but the ambi-

tious General slowly takes over the fac-
tory space so as to develop his secret
An indecisive Leslie acts too late and
almost risks killing all his friends, in-
cluding his high-on-life sister, Alsatia
(Joan Cusack), the defected Patrick (LL
CoolJ),son of theGeneral, and his lover,
Gwen (Robin Wright). In the (so-called)
climax of the movie, our cornered friends
pit all the old cute toys against state-of-
the-art, fully aimed miniature tanks and
helicopters manufactured by the mega-
lomaniac General.
'Do not be fooled by the
previews. Williams' comedy
is almost nowhere to be
After Leslie's friendly army has been
massacred, all that remains is a battery-
powered dancing couple, happily waltz-
ing away oblivious to the gear-hungry
weapons that are buzzing around them.
This is one of the few memorable scenes
before the movie comes to a complete
(and literal) crash. It's a happy crash,
though, so don't worry.
Do not be fooled by the previews.
Williams' comedy is almost nowhere to
be seen. Instead, it is replaced by bad
come-ons to Gwen, and a constant but
stagnant anxiety about the fate of Zevo
Toys. Although Williams impeccably
delivers his lines, the writing's lack of
imagination transforms him into a
choppy, inconsistent character. Most of
the time he is drowned out by the over-
powering presence of his home, the fac-
tory itself. Nobody is listening to him
when Tetris-like portions of a wall begin
closing in on him, in a claustrophobic's

visual nightmare.
Robin Wright is the non-entity of
this movie, but it's not her fault. She
serves the purpose of Leslie's romantic
interest, and perhaps the purpose of
having a pair of pretty eyes running
amidst smoldering toys, but not much
more. The pleasant surprise is Joan
Cusack, perhaps because she is a part of
the factory, one more of the toys, and
shares their unadulterated sincerity and
innocence. LL Cool J suffers from an-
other underdeveloped character, and
even when he is wounded I couldn't
bring myself to feel for his childhood
Michael Gambon, as is often the
case with the bad guys, is the most
focused character. His scene in the video
arcade, insanely blasting away at UN
vans in a came that penalizes you for
doing so, is a slap in the face and the
closest the movie comes to revealing
Bar-y Levinson's intentions: to con-
demn the passiveness with which we
accept the growing violence and intol-
erance ofour society, and the dilution of
happiness into materialism and power.
These honorable intentions fail be-
cause Mr. Levinson is too busy making
everyone in the audience feel guilty
about notbeing an idiot like Leslie Zevo
and for letting their children play Street
Fighter on the Nintendo. And for an-
other crucial reason: the war toys turn
out to be much more fascinating than
the ancient relics that Zevo churns out,
stuff that your grandparents used to play
with. Yes, yes, I know they're supposed
to symbolize better times, but some-
thing has to be wrong with the movie if
the good toys (and guys) are so dull. The
essential ideas are there, but a little
perspective would have helped this bril-
liantly packaged fiasco.
TOYSisplaying at Showcase.
- - i



Mass Meeting
7:30 p.m.
Be There.

i refouse EXPIRES 1/17193 i
... ...........- . ................. ........... -


vovie Star also Sings
Have you ever seen that weird
movie "Alice's Restaurant"? It's
an anecdotal trifle that's got lots
of sixties peace and love and
some (gra.vy music and stars folk
music star Aro Guthrie, whose
father Woody, aside from being a
folk music star himself, had a
movie made about him too called
"Bound for Glory." Anyway, if
you never got over the sixties or
if you just like folk music, you
can see Arlo himself tonight at
the Ark. le's oot a new record
called "Son of the Wind" in
which he sinus several of his
father's famous songs. The
concert begins tonight at 7:30 pm.
Call 763-TKTS.
The Michican Theater is
showing lots of Bergman movies
now. The latest, "The Naked
Night," which is showing tonight
at 4:15 and tomorrow night at 7
pm, is also known as "Sawdust
and Tinsel." That's what Leonard
Maltin calls it anyway. Call 668-

Robin Williams tried to trick you into seeing "Toys" but it's not working.
Michaels graces U-Club
by Kim Yaged
"I don't do period jokes."
Felicia Michaels and her high-pitched voice grace the U-Club tonicht with
their presence. Perhaps this is not a terribly auspicious occasion for the 1992 Star
Search SI100,000 Comedy Champion, but it's changing the face of L.aughtrack
Laughtrack, the campus' bi-weekly stand up comedy show, has been incitinc
chuckles from the student body since 1981. But, Chris Curtis, Laughtrack's
producer, sites this as the first show being headlined by a female comedian.
Michaels herself has been circling the comedy circuit for well over six years
now but hit hic with the 1992 Star Search. As a result, she is slated to star in a
sitcom set to air this summer on iFox. In addition, she is hoping for a spot on an
I BO special. But it all started way back when...
"1 was one of those people who could come up with a good comeback but
about three days later," she explained. Michaels' first opportunity to perform on
stage was instigated by a dare from her boyfriend at the time who was a stand up
comedian. She has since parted ways with him but not the stage. With a new
boyfriend under her belt and an ability to ignore her dislike for flying, Michaels
is touring clubs and college towns around the country.
Other than waunting to be "a strong perfomer as a man," M ichacls just wants
to be "the best darn person [she] can be." But, wait, about that first comment. No.
Michaels isn't saying she wants a sex change. She just wants to be recognized as
a good comedian, not a good comedian "tor a woman." She indicated this as her
only obstacle thus far. "SometimesIletup oil stage and I can hear people in the
audience say, 'Oh, a woman.'
But the mnen aren't the only ones occasionally turning up their noses. "My
show's kinda 'blue,' so I hope it doesn't offend anybody ... Dirty ... it's kinda
sexual." Michaels said that some "feminists" are annoyed by the content of her
show. However, she believes, "If i'm saying it and tdinking it, then other people
are saying it and thinking it, and I'm just a reflection of what's going on."
FE'LICIA MCHAELSpeifoers tonig- t at he t U-Club rit/I VoUr' bs!" Josh
Berg and student conmedians Chiris Curtis, Justin London ail Joel Zinmmer.

U. of Michigan Seniors
Interested in
Investment Banking Opportunities with
Please Send Cover Letter, R6sume & Transcript to:
Mr. Jon Q. Reynolds, Jr.
Lazard Freres & Co.
Suite 2400
2 North LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60602
Information about Lazard Freres & Co. is available in the Career
Planning & Placement office. For questions about the analyst
position, please call either of the following individuals:
Jake Reynolds
(312) 704-6012
!"Y " I


Your Uncle Sam. Every year Army ROTC even pay a flat rate for textbooks and sup-
awards scholarships to hundreds of talented plies. You can also receive an allowance of



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