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September 15, 1993 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-09-15

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Trivial banter kills 'Kalifornia'

Thanks to the over-abundance of exploitive talk
shows, Americans are now used to strange and
unusual topics. Subjects such as lesbian nuns and
pets who have contracted venereal diseases from
Written by Tim Metcalfe; directed by
Dominic Sena; with Brad Pitt and Juliette
their owners no longer warrant a second glance.
However, serial killers such as Charles Manson,
Charlie Starkweather and Jeffrey Dahmer still draw
awe and media coverage. Dominic Sena's film,
"Kalifornia" explores the mystifying topic of psy-
chopathic homicides while merging it with an ever-
popular road motif.
Brian is a post-graduate writer who needs to
quickly cough up a book about serial killers, seeing
as how he's already spent the dough he needs to

make the journey by car with his would-be
Mapplethorpe photographer girlfriend, whose
graphic sexual shots just aren't selling well. In order
to pay for their little trip they advertise at the local
college for a ride share and end up bringing along
white trash ex-con Early and his bumpkin girlfriend
Adele. By the way, Early also happens to be a serial
killer, so besides kicking in for part of the gas, he
should also be able to help out with factual insight
into the mind of a serial killer.
First of all, let's deal with the problem of the set
up. It's a great idea, but it takes away from the
suspense a little when the audience realizes in the
first five minutes that Early is a serial killer, a device
which ultimately saps the script of a more complex
conclusion. Also, the narrative is a flashback told by
Brian. Sort of tells you about his fate doesn't it?
Another huge flaw in the film is that it spends too
much time worrying about trivial banter, mystical
frivolities like the doors of perception, and pet
cactuses, instead of capitalizing on the main theme:
serial killers and their victims. Instead of wasting
time during the set-up, the director should have spent

more time frightening the audience and luring them
away from Early by exploiting the killing grounds
they visit along the way.
Also, one would assume with a cast including ex-
lovebirds Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis that the acting
would be first rate. Rong with an R. It's awful. David
Duchovny's Brian has the personality of tapioca and
the physical presence of a flea. His girlfriend is even
worse. She's mean, ugly and comes across as a black
leather bitch. Not very good for people who are
supposed to be the sympathetic victims. Even Pitt's
over the top performance as Early is like a down and
out caricature of Chuckie Manson. Only Lewis
shines as naive Adele, who garners laughter and
applause every scene. The only problem is that her
performance is so out of sync with everyone else's
that it draws too much attention to itself as acting.
Other than that, there's nothing really notewor-
thy about the film - not the bad photography, the
stupid soundtrack, the unrealistic dialogue or the
static camerawork. All in all, Kalifornia is like krab
with a k, cheap, artificial, gross, and utterly tasteless.

Pyscho killer Juliette Lewis used to be innocent with C. Thomas Howell in "That Night"

I i


Etta James


The Morning After:
Sex, Fear and
Feminism on Campus
Katie Roiphe
Little, Brown
The way today's American culture
is going, it will not be long before the
answer to "Have you read the book?"
becomes "No, I'll wait for Oprah to do
a show." It is true that watching the
authoi appear on "Larry King Live"
gives you a thirty minute Cliffs Notes
version, but often the book is more
rewarding than a sound byte. "The
Morning After: Sex, Fear and Femi-
nism on Campus," by Katie Roiphe, is
not such a book.
In "TheMorning After,"Ms. Roiphe
goes after the current rape-crisis culture
in America. Roiphe's main concern
throughout the book is valid - that the
current rape-crisis mentality is actually
casting women intoroles that early femi-
nists sought to break them out of, spe-
cifically, as the weaker sex needing
rescuing. Roiphe understands the work
of early feminists, her mother, Anne,
having authored "Up the Sandbox."
There is not enough of what makes this
book good. Ms. Roiphe briefly touches
on the reasons that the "1 in 4 women
are raped" statistic can be questioned.
But throughout, there is no hard
evidence that something is drastically
wrong, as she would like the reader to
come away believing. No solutions to
the perceived problems are offered, and
the bulk of the book offers only anec-
dotal evidence, ones that leave more
questions than answers. She offers two
tales of women who were found to have
lied about their rape experiences. And
the question she leaves us with is, "So?"
Of the thousands of rapes reported, and
many more unreported, exactly what
are two false tales supposed to show us
about the whole picture?
Another question raised, especially
after reading the book, is what are Ms.
Roiphe's qualifications? As a 1990
graduate of Harvard, and an English
Ph.D. student at Princeton, what in-
sights are her experiences supposed to
grant us?
While her concern that the rape defi-
nition is too broad is valid (by the defi-
nition, I have been raped several times

through coercion), what really finally
comes through is anger, anger on Ms.
Roiphe's part that the sexual freedom
experienced by earlier generations has
become dangerous, both through vio-
lence and disease.
In the end, all the book does, and can
do, is polarize the issue. People who feel
that rape is being overplayed will see it
as an affirmation of their views, while
those who are concerned over the issue,
especially those that know a victim, will
see it as a blatant and dangerous attack
against a serious problem. And nothing
will be changed.
- John R. Rybock
The Myth of Male
Warren Farrell, Ph.D.
Simon & Schuster
You really cannotjudge a book by its
cover.'Though that is acompletely over-
used cliche, it is completely applicable
to "The Myth of Male Power" by War-
ren Farrell. The title may lead many to
think that it is a female bashing book, an
assumption that would be erroneous.
Rather, the basic premise of the book is
that while set societal roles which
trapped women are also trapping men,
males must make a break as women
Over the past quarter century, Mr.
Farrell hasbeen inaunique position. He
has been elected three times to the Board
of the National Organization for Women,
an honor no other man shares. He has
broken clear of the set thinking that
society has trapped many people in, and
offers a new perspective into the rela-
tionships between men and women.
To begin with, Mr. Farrell did what
was absolutely necessary in this book
- define what he means by power. It
boils down to simply, control overone's
own life. That is the context in which he
puts the book, and the context in which
he makes an excellent case for the need
of a "men's movement."
Toward the end of showing the dif-
ference in power between men and
women, Farrell pulls up some disturb-
ing statistics - men make more, but
women have greater net worth; suicide
rates for boys and girls under nine are
identical, but for men over 85, the rate is

1,350 percent higher than women of
equal ages; in 1920, a women lived one
year more than a man, but in 1990, the
difference was seven.
The first chapter of "Male Power" is
full of other similar statistics, and other
analogies, such as the women's slogan
"my body, my choice," and the Selec-
tive Service's "A man's got to do what
aman'sgottodo."("Whatif 'A woman's
gottado...' were written across the body
of a pregnant woman...") As the author
points out, the first chapter will have the
reader thinking "Yes, but..." However,
past the introduction, the author takes
The basic premise of the
book is that while set
societal roles which
trapped women are also
trapping men, males must
make a break as women
on those "yes, but..." questions and
clearly constructs his argument.
Using both statistical and anecdotal
evidence, most predominantly from the
Bible, Mr. Farrell clearly illustrates how
the roles of men and women became
fixed out of necessity - how couples
are increasingly moving from his Stage
I living (for survival) to Stage II (for
love), where 'equality,' in the sense of
doing the same things, is more feasible.
What adds credence to his theories is
how they echo theories presented in
both political science and psychology
Throughout his book, Mr. Farrell
does not attack feminism. A long time
worker for women's groups, his real
goal with this book is to promote true
equality. He does attack certain aspects
of feminism, specifically those that tend
to place women back into "weak" roles.
But through it all, he wants men, the
disposable sex (the sex we send off to
warand into burning buildings), tobreak
out of their molds. He does not call for
men to sit around a fire banging drums,
but rather for society to treat men equal
as women.
- John R. Rybock

Etta James should need no introduction. Ever since 1955, when she recorded her first hit "Roll With Me Henry" when she was
only 17, James has been a dominant vocalist on the blues and R&B scene. The great majority of her classic sides were recorded
for the seminal Chicago label, Chess Records; most of these have recently been re-issued by MCA Records on the aptly titled
double-disc set, "The Essential Etta James." After leaving Chess, her career sagged a little until 1967's terrific "Tell Mama."
James was relatively quiet until the late '80s, when she reemerged with a solid string of recordings for Island; her recent Elektra
release "The Right Time" proves that James's voice is as strong as ever. If you haven't heard any of her music, you owe it to
yourself to pick up "The Essential Etta James" and to see her Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival performance with the Blues
Disciples at the Michigan Theater this Saturday at 8 p.m. (tickets are $20.00, available at all TicketMaster outlets and at the
Michigan Theater Box Office). After the show, the Michigan Theater will host a small after-concert party with a cash bar, desserts
and live music by Koke McKesson and the Eddie Russ Trio; there are a limited number of tickets only available at the Michigan
Theater Box Office.

needs a
Call 763-o
more info

If you're looking for a job with a lot of style,
shop around.... AT BRIARWOOD.
Our 6th Annual Job Fair will be held Thursday.
September 16 from 1-6 p.m. in Briarwood's Grand Court.
*Participating Briarwood merchants will be taking
applications in the Grand Court.
*Full and part-time employees for management and
staff positions will be recruited.
*To apply, simply fill out a form at the registration
table and leave a copy with the stores.
*Call 761-9550 for additional job fair information.

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