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October 05, 1993 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-10-05

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8- The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 5,1993

BooW
Believe it or not, Halloween is just around the corner again. Trick-or-
treating, parties and just generally goofing off in silly make-up and attire is
almost upon us once more. With the festivities, of course, comes the age-
old question of what to wear on this grandest of nights? University
Productions is going to make things a little easier for you this year with their
Halloween Costume Sale this Thursday and Friday at the scene shop on the
first floor of the Frieze Building. U-Productions will be selling costumes
from past performances -including costumes from the opera "Hansel and
Gretel" along with child-sized animal costumes. Everything you can
imagine, though should be available here- ties, wigs, shoes, make-up and
interesting hats. Event times are 5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. on Thursday and 3:09
p.m.-10:00p.m. on Friday. Cash and personal checks will be accepted.
New Purple Rose Season
Executive Director of the Purple Rose Theatre Company, Jeff Daniels,
will be launching their 1993-94 season with his new comedy "The Vast
Difference." Examining the changing roles of the American Male in the
'90s, "The Vast Difference" promises to take a humorous look at the a
man's conflict between his profession, marriage and the realization that he
has inherited his father's feet. The show will be previewed beginning this
Thursday night and running through next Thursday, October 14, with the
Opening Night to take place on Friday, October 15. Tickets for the preview
performances will be $10, and tickets for the Opening Night show will be
$25.00. Call (313) 475-7902 for further info.
Nice 'Do
Beginning this Thursday night at the Attic's New Center Theatre at
.7339 Third Avenue in downtown Detroit, will be "Beehive" a musical
tribute to the "girl groups" of the '60s. Featuring the successful rise of
young girls to lustful women singers, the show includes recapitulations of
soul and rock standards like Tina Turner's "River Deep - Mountain
High," Aretha Franlin's "Do Right Woman -Do Right Man" and Janis
Joplin's "Ball and Chain." "Beehive" recaptures the mood and spirit of the
'60s that saw all-women bands like the Chiffons, the Angels and the
Supremes come of age. The show will run until November 28. A very
special "talk back" session with the cast and director will take place
following every Thursday's performance. Student rush tickets are avail-
able at half price a half-hour before curtain. If you need more information
call 875-8284.

S

,Haven't we seen enough of Michael J. Fox as the cute, generic boy-next-door guy who falls in love with the beautiful young woman?
Fox's 'boyish charm isn't enough

By SCOTT PLAGENHOEF
In recent years, romantic comedy
has consistently been among the worst
genres in film. These movies feature
two attractive young people in outra-
geous situations discovering that they

FOR LOVE OR MONEY
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld; written
by Mark Rosenthal and Lawrence
Konner; with Michael J. Fox and
Gabrielle Anwar.
love each other. While the filmmak-
ers seek to legitimize themselves with
aheavy-handedmessage, the outcome
of the film is never in doubt. Such
pictures have persistedby drawing on
an audience which is charmed by any
happy ending and warmed by the as-
surance that love conquers all. Ro-
mantic comedies have degenerated
from the intelligence and wit of "The

Apartment" or "Breakfast at
Tiffany's" into 90-minute "Full
House" episodes without those damn
twins. "For Love or Money" is no
exception.
This particular version of the ro-
mantic comedy mold features Michael
J. Fox and Gabrielle Anwar as the
token attractive couple. The nutty situ-
ation is that hotel concierge Doug
Ireland (Fox) aspires to open his own
luxury hotel. He has the property; he
simply needs the financial backing.
Doug also happens to be in love with
the naive mistress (Anwar) of the
millionaire who is considering back-
ing the project, Christian Hanover. It
seems that if Doug can get Andy, the
mistress, to fall in love with him, he'
will have to choose his allegiance
between love or money. Which will
he choose? Will Doug get the girl?
Well, we certainly wouldn't want to
divulge the clever, surprise ending.
The audience shouldn't even care

who ends up with whom. The charac-
ters are left completely undeveloped.
All the audience is provided regard-
ing Doug isthathe is the Ferris Bueller
of hotel concierges. Doug has unex-
plained connections which serve to
answer all of the screenwriters' prob-
lems. This gimmick conveniently
short cuts any attempt at creativity
whenever a plot twist is needed or a
problem has to be solved.
The filmmakers seemingly as-
sume that the character is agreeable
simply because Michael J. Fox is por-
traying him. Fox's "boyish charm" is
a resource which has been tapped
without success for years, yet he is
still somehow given these vehicles.
Neither Fox's characters, nor his ap-
peal, have matured and we are again
forced to sit through his Alex Keaton-
Marty McFly routine. Kirk Cameron
hasn't been in a picture for years, why
the hell is Michael J. Fox still work-
ing?

humor. It even degenerates into such
hilarious gags as the requisite wacky
"Three's Company"-like mistaken
identity scene.
Director Barry Sonnenfeld's mor-
alizing against avarice is absolutely
artificial. Andy, the subject of the
struggle between love and money, is
charmed by Doug's connections just
as she is attracted to Christian's pock-
etbook. The things that these men can
do for her seem to be the attraction.
The audience is left to this assump-
tion because the emotions between
Andy and Doug are so ambiguous.
There are no moments in which you
feel they are in love and, furthermore,
Doug does nothing to lead you to
believe that Andy should fall in love
with him.
"For Love or Money" is a film
built around the delusion that Michael
J. Fox is still America's sweetheart.
Fox is probably better off returning to
TV sitcoms rather than attempting to
continue being the featured player in
romantic comedies which are neither
romantic nor comedic.

6)
S

The film's attempts at comedy are
equally tiring. The film perpetuates
recycled, stereotypical characters -
'94-12'2 senile elders, oppressive bosses, ho-
t .__CUN T -F 8:3c to 9 mosexual fashion designers - for

V~ E~~V ~ El L.V7!

Understanding
Comics: The Invisible
Art
Scott McCloud
Kitchen Sink/Tundra
The back cover of this book has
the usual impressive array of high
powered quotations. The book
"Deconstructs the secret language of
comics," it is "rare and exciting,"
"cool and quirky," "a landmark dis-
section and intellectual consideration
of comics" and "quite simply the best
analysis of the medium that I have
ever encountered." The really curi-
ous thing about this batch is that they
are absolutely right.
Unless you have been in a literary
slumber for the past decade or so, you
know that the comic book medium
has finally begun to move beyond its
self-imposed meager ambitions as
silly pop / kiddy entertainment and
into the realm of fine art. That's right,
nowadays comic books equal art, and
they're not just for adolescents any-
more. Artist Dan Clowes produces
comics surrealistically indecipherable
enough to make Dali proud, Art
Spiegelman's comic book "Maus" hit
the New York Times bestseller list,
and English students spend their time
deconstructing Alan Moore's "Watch-
men.
What we seem to have here is the
birth, or at least the recognition, of a
new artistic medium. Butas McCloud
points out in the beginning of "Un-
derstanding Comics," "Atone time or
another virtually all the great media

have received critical examination, in
and of themselves. But for comics
this attention has been rare." The char-
acteristics of the comic book for.
which differentiate it from other me-
dia, and the advantages and possibili-
ties these differences offer for conmc
book creators, have never received
much scrutiny. So, Scott McClod
has set out to rectify this inattention
by beginning a vocabulary for the
form as well as examining its artistic
history andgiving thereaderglimpses
of its possible future.
McCloud does all this, quite ap*
propriately, in a 215-page comicbook.
Working from within the form heis
examining allows McCloud to
smoothlyslipin examples of the some-
what lofty concepts he discusses.
Under a different author these con-
cepts, such as closure and time frames,
could easily be lost in the midst ofa
lot of academic gobbledygook. For-
tunately, McCloud stays far awa4
from that sort of excess. The book
brims with down-to-earth explana-
tions and examples. His simple, illus-
trative style and friendly, conversa-
tional tone further aids the reader by
allowing him to concentrate on the
matter at hand without distraction.
For comic book readers or anyone
with even an inkling ofcuriosity about
the form, this book is highly recom-
mended. For anyone who has even'
considered writing or drawing comic
books, this book is an absolute must.
McCloud considers page layouts, ar-
tistic styles, symbols and symbolism,
movement within the panels and from
panet to panel, oozens orner ni-
ances of the form and, most impor-
tantly, the way it all affects the reader.
Anyonewho thoughtthatcomics were
limited to the likes of Superman anp
the X-men will be amazed at thecom-
plexity, subtleties, and shear unex-
'plored potential that exists within toe
form.
Closing the book McCloud states,
"Ignorance and short-sighted busi-
ness practices will no doubt obscure
the possibilities of comics from time
to time as they always have. But the
truth about comics can't stay hidden
from view forever and sooner or late4
the truth will shine through." With
this book, McCloud has taken abig
step toward revealing that truth.
Nick Arvin

Michael J. Fox and Gabrielle Anwar play generic sweethearts.

. _ _._

1

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