8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 5, 1994
'Spanking' doesn't monkey around *
By ALEXANDRA TWIN
Drawing on a twisted, cryptic fan-
tasy of the American suburban ideal
gone very very wrong, writer-director
David O. Russell has managed, in his
first feature film, to create something
of occasional, subtle brilliance and
something of a monster.
Although named after a masturba-
tory nickname, "Spanking the Mon-
Written and Directed
by David 0. Russell
'Owith Jeremy .Davies,
key" is not about the act itself, but the
sexual frustration surrounding it. Origi-
nally titled "Swelter," the film takes
place in the dead of summer, in Any-
where, America, with a 19-year-old
protagonist who can't get out of his
house, let alone get laid.
Ray Aibelli (Jeremy Davies) ar-
rives home from his first year of col-
lege to discover that his mother's bro-
ken ankle and father's general negli-
gence will keep him away from his
hard-to-get internship and very near
his mother. He is annoyed, pissed-off,
bored and mostly overwhelmed by the
breadth of the responsibility suddenly
heaped upon his skinny shoulders.
His father, Tom (Benjamin
Hendrickson), is a traveling salesman,
peddling self-help books and question-
able moral values. He picks his son up
from school, hands him the keys to the
car that is only to be used in emergen-
cies, tells him "brush the dog's teeth"
and "tough luck about your internship"
and then hops aboard a plane to who
Left alone with his mother and her
serious depression, Ray is torn between
wanting to be the good son and wanting
to be a normal, obnoxious 19-year old
who does not spend so much intimate
time with mom. As surrogate nurse and
constant companion, he does not have
His relationship with Toni (Carla
Gallo), a high-school girl down the
road provides some relief but not
enough. She is just too young and inex-
perienced to understand his situation.
Even his old school buddies seem child-
ish, infinitely distant from anything
meaningful to him now. He is over-
burdened, consumed, sweltered by his
mother's demands and the dire lack of
any real outlet.
As angst-ridden and turbulent as all
of this sounds, the film is quite funny,
treating sexual and emotional frustra-
tion with the same kind of on-target,
dark humor that "Heathers" did with
suicide. While more murky and in-
volved than that film, "Spanking" is as
likely to leave you giggling as wincing.
Although wince you will. Without
giving away the film's big "secret,"
one that is as upsetting, although argu-
ably more predictable than that of "The
Crying Game," it is safe to say that
Russell has truly exhumed the ultimate
family nightmare. Playing on the un-
derlying selfishness and over-involve-
ment of upper-middle-class, suburban
parents, Russell has torn a hole in the
status quo, shoved in a funhouse's dis-
torted mirror and forced us to watch
Considering that it was made on a
shoestring budget, filmed with short
ends of other movies' film stock left-
overs and a bunch of non-union actors,
to state that the film is an accomplish-
ment is unnecessary. Like the majority
of quality independent films, the genu-
ine excellence of the execution (led, in
this case, by Russell and Davies' ex-
traordinary, intricate performance) is
almost less impressive than the fact
that the film got made at all.
Yet it did. And whether it frustrates
or fascinates, or does both, as the case
may be, there is an argument to be
made that this is the most accurate, if
disturbing, portrayal of the so-called
young American experience to have
emerged-in a long while. Forget "Real-
ity Bites," this is the real stuff, messy,
neurotic and confusing.
SPANKING THE MONKEY is
playing at the State Theater.
Continued from page 5
sition from one song to another is so
smooth so as to be completely unrec-
In short, this is one CD that need
never leave your CD player. Jungle
music is the music ofthosein the know
in London and it is time you wised up
and found out why. Even if you know
from Jungle, this album will open your
eyes to new options and experiences.
- Ben Ewe=
The French hip-hop community is
now officially in full effect. After a
number of little-known efforts from
Northwestern College of Chiropractic
is now accepting applications for its next three entering classes.
(April 1995, September 1995, January 1996)
General requirements at time of entry include:
+ At least 2-3 years of undergraduate college in a health science or
basic science degree program. (Inquire for a complete list of specific
- A minimum G.P.A. of 2.5. (A more competitive G.P.A. is favored.)
" A personal interest in a career as a primary care physician.
° Northwestern College of Chiropractic offers a rigorous four year pr:fessional
education. Our focus on science, diagnosis, chiropractic methods, patient
care and research provides our graduates with the tools they need to work
as primary care physicians in the health care environment. NWCC is fully
accredited by North Central Association
of Colleges and Schools and the Council
on Chiropractic Education.
Call: 1-800-888-4777 or 888-4777'
Write: Director of Admissions We invite you to join us at CA R E E R
2501 West 84th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55431
Cail to make a reservation
the likes of Lionel D. and Soon E MC,
M.C. Solaar has arrived with his first
American release. After the multi-plati-
num "Que Seme Le Vent Recolte Le
Tempo" (He Who Sows the The Wind
Shall ReapThe Tempo) Solaar ispoised
to make an impact on the international
Get out your French/English dic-
tionaries hip-hop fans, 'cause "Prose
Combat" is an album that will make
you anxious to learn a new language.
Not understanding a single word the
man says (except "Superstarr"), this
album is still a landmark. The samples
are absolutely, positively some of the
best this year - funky, melodic, bass
filled, clean, rough (with a touch of
French smooth) andjustplain slammin'.
Lyrically, nothing sounds forced at all,
Solaar has found a flow that far sur-
passes "Que Seme." If you understand
French this may be a classic, if not just
enjoy the music.
qie qUniversit of Michigan
Piursay, October 6
For more info:
Priya 213-0034 or Nick 764-4776
Naomi Wolf is at the forefront of the new wave of feminists in America.
Who's afraid of Wolte
Renowned feminist causes
controversy and admiration
By KIRK MILLER
Give credit to Naomi Wolf for one
thing; she's extremely controversial.
Ever since the 1993 publishing of
"Fire With Fire," her call for a new
definition of feminism, she has trig-
gered heavy debate between feminist
leaders and within the mass media. In
the space of one week the "New York
Times" hailed her as both "What Su-
san B. Anthony was to the first wave
of the women's movement, and Betty
Friedan and Gloria Steinem were to
the second, Ms. Wolf may be to the
third," and as "contradictory... [mak-
ing] dubious oversimplifications."
Karlyn Keene Bowman of the Ameri-
can Enterprise Institute simply said
she was "wrong." However, Wolf has
a few barbs of her own; she is no fan
of Camille Paglia or many other
women's movement leaders, and criti-
cizes them frequently in her new book.
Wolf argues for the end of "victim
feminism" and the beginning of a
"nower feminism" that "hates sexism
without hating men." So those who
oppose abortion or lesbian rights
would not shunned, but welcomed as
a different voice with a common goal.
To achieve this goal of equal repre-
sentation and access to health, job
opportunities and money, she hopes
women will band together, to finan-
cially support political candidates,
something she thinks they haven't
been doing enough.
Now that she is a staple of
Women's Studies classes and a best-
selling author, she is out to spread her
gospel. "It is little wonder that so
many women aren't sure what femi-
nism means," she writes. "They rarely
get to hear it articulated, let alone
tested and defended in a free forum."
au t } f
Intel Corporation Is
Comig To Campus
Naomi Wolf will be speaking 7:3
Thursday in the Shorling Audito-
rium in the School of Education.
The event is cosponsored by the
Women's Studies Program and
Put the paper
chase behind you...
* Open House
Tuesday, October 4th 5:00 P.M.
* Office Hours
Wednesday, October 5th
Finish all your
reports with us!
1 or loss
Veo, Spiral or Glue
65# covers included
Do lar Blrl
611 Church Street
- 1:00 P.M.
Michigan Business School
Paton Accounting Center
We look forward to
speaking with math,
economics and statistics
I U I
rsity of Michigan