The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, November 11 1993 - 3
Wouldn't sitting on buns o' steel be uncomfortable?
My housemates wear signs on their
lapels. "Kick my butt at your own
risk," they read. No fashion statement
these, but rather, a measure taken to
protect potential kickers.
You see, my housemates have
Buns Of Steel.
nme. mav ak. wpre thev hnrn
Housemate Two), nor when they de-
cided that Tamilee needed to get out
once in awhile ("I'll take her to the
bar tonight, you take her tomorrow,"
Housemate Three would whisper to
Housemate Four), but rather when
they started begging me to interview
Tamilee under the auspices of The
"She's created 10 aerobics tapes.
She's hosted ESPN's Fitness Pros.
She's been nominated for Instructor
of the Year three years running. She
has her Master's degree for chrissake!
And yet, The Daily has never tried to
get an interview with her. I think
something fishy's going on here," they
would shout at me upon my arrival
home each evening.
And I began to wonder myself.
After all, she was host of Buns of
Steel: The Original, Buns of Steel
Two, Buns of Steel Three: Buns and
More, Buns of Steel Four: Advanced,
Buns of Steel Five: Beginners, Abs of
Steel, Abs of Steel Two, Arms and
Abs of Steel, Legs of Steel and Thighs
of Steel. And she had her Masters (in
metallurgy, no doubt). Certainly
Tamilee could not have simply been
overlooked. What was The Daily try-
ing to hide?
The Higher-Ups denied any such
cover up, and I sensed no tension
among them when I announced that I
planned to track down and interview
Tamilee Webb, MA. I made a couple
ofphone calls, and so began my quest.
The ESPN Public Relations De-
partment directed me to Fitness Pros'
headquarters in the great state of Ar-
kansas. Trembling with nervousness,
I dialed the number that would con-
nect me with the legendary Tamilee
Webb, MA. "Tamilee no longer works
for us," drawled the Arkansasnian at
the other end of the line, "And I don't
know where she is."
I, being only a recent convert to
the Tamilee religion (and only by writ
of journalistic curiosity), took the
news in stride. But I knew my
housemates would need the news bro-
ken to them gently.
We met as a group that night, and
I told them that Tamilee seemed to be
missing. "What have they done with
her?" cried Housemate Five. "I bet
Jane Fonda's got her!" shouted
"She's probably just on sabbati-
cal," I suggested, hating to see my
extended family in such pain, "I bet
she's filming Buns of Steel Six: Su-
per Buns, as we speak." This light-
ened the mood, but satisfied none of
Adding insult to injury, our VCR
broke soon after, right in the middle
of Buns of Steel Four. Just as Tamilee
was offering her most solemn advice
("Don't forget to breathe."), the tape
turned itself off, trapping Tamilee
Webb, MA, inside.
There she will remain, until my
housemates can scrounge together
enough money for VCR repair. But
each day, as their buns revert back to
the flesh that they once were, Tamilee
becomes less of an imposing pres-
ence in my home. Which if you ask
me is a good thing. When all is said
and done, Buns just shouldn't be Of
The late River Phoenix in "Mosquito Coast." We're getting a little misty.
ePhoenix sustains 'Mosquito Coast'
By JON ALTSHUL
1986. The timing couldn't have been better. One year after the release of
Witness," the Peter Weir/Harrison Ford tandem seemed indomitable. Weir
rved that he could strike gold without Mel Gibson, while Ford proved that he
could do more than play swashbuckling comic book renegades.
Throw in a young River Phoenix, fresh off a sublime performance in Rob
einer's "Stand By Me," and the formula seemed complete. How could the
:chemistry behind "The Mosquito Coast" falter?
Somehow itdid. Audiences weren't
ready for a quasi-imperialist drama set
in the jungles of South America.
:Strangely, "The Mosquito Coast,"
leaps out as the only void on Ford's
What Ford aficionados have failed to
discover, however, is that"Coast"ranks
as his 11th best film - behind "The
0 Fugitive," "The Frisco Kid," "The
Conversation," "Apocalypse Now"
and,of course, the combined "Star
Wars" and "Indiana Jones" trilogies, but still light years ahead of either "Ameri-
can Graffiti" or "Blade Runner."
0 Clearly, suchcomparisons are ultimatelymeaningless.In fact, "TheMosquito
Coast" is such an aberration from the archetypal Ford blockbuster that any
analogy belies the film's wonderful poignancy. The picture represents a water-
shed point in Phoenix's career as well. The dramatic medium proved perfectly
cdinducive to the late actor's hauntingly mature talents, enabling him to avoid the
inauspicious paths traveled by his "Stand By Me" co-stars.
"My father dropped out of Harvard to get an education," Charlie Fox
(Phoenix) narrates as the picture begins. Indeed, his father Alle (Ford) is
something of a counter-culturist. An inventor by trade, Alle entertains himself
with brash, aloof soliloquies about the moral decay of modern-day America. His
utterdisdain for contemporary society, in all its user-friendly guises, prompts Alle
to pack up the family's belongings and move to a small town on the Mosquito
Coast of Central America.
What Allereally craves is an experimental micro-society, autopia upon which
he can test his self-absorbed theories. Slowly his tyrannical choke-hold over the
town that he has virtually created re-invents itself upon his laughably submissive
family.The end result is a picture deeply layered with stunning camera work,
wildly insightful political diatribe and two magnificent performances from Ford
and Phoenix, as the son whose unflappable belief in his father takesa violent turn.
Credit goes largely to Phoenix who is burdened with maintaining the film's
sanity in the face of his father's fastidious paranoia. His reclusive, introverted
glares provide a capable foil for the unnerving chaos that surrounds him.
In fact, the off-screen relationship between the two leads was so strong that
Ford asked Phoenix to appear as the young Indiana Jones in 1989's "The Last
Crusade." Indeed, their similarities are hardly cosmetic. Both have been terrifi-
cally meticulous about choosing their roles, opting for quality before quantity.
And both have been equally successful in down-playing their undeniable sex
appeal in order to concentrate on their characters.
"I loved him like a son," Ford stated after Phoenix's recent death. Judging by
their chemistry in "The Mosquito Coast," it's not hard to understand why.
with such buns? Or did the Bun Fairy
arrive sometime later in life, chang-
ing their glutei to granite with one
wave of her wily wand? Alas, neither
are the case. My housemates came
upon these buns not by birth, nor by
magic, but rather by VCR.
Since the semester began, seldom
has a visitor to our home not been
confronted by at least one resident
writhing around under the direction
of Tamilee Webb, MA and host of a
whole series of Steel tapes.
Tamilee, unbeknownstto my land-
lady, became the eighth member of
our seven-person house. She needed
no room of her own, no refrigerator
space, no time in the shower. All she
asked was a little space on top of that
VCR, and a thorough rewinding after
every use. My housemates were only
too happy to oblige.
I sensed something was wrong not
when they started to speak of Tamilee
as if she were their friend ("I'm hang-
ing out with Tamilee tonight,"
Housemate One would say to
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