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January 20, 1995 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-01-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

2I

'F***ed Up' real g**d

By ALEXANDRA TWIN
With one foot in the door and
one foot in the gutter, filmmaker
Gregg Araki -like his new wave
of no-budget playmates - has
given life to the seething, often
dormant belief that the best things
in life are those that you build

Totally
F***ed Up
Written, directed
shot, edited and produced
by Gregg Araki
yourself. Or in the case of guer-
rilla filmmaking, those that you
write, direct, shoot, edit and
scrape up the money for yourself.
Let "Totally F***cked Up" be
the example.
Like 1993's "The Living End,"
"Fucked" is a no-budget, serrating,
caustic and overly-ambitious foray
into the lives of young lesbian and
gay individuals in L.A. Unlike its
predecessor, which was something
of a gay Bonnie and Clyde,
"Fucked" lacks a standard narra-
tive structure and therefore the lim-
iting conventions such a set-up nec-
essarily carries.
I Arranged like a post-punk, ga-
rage rock documentary, the film, in
its 15 individual segments, traces

the lives of four men and two
women, just on the eve of gradua-
tion and so-called real life. Yet "Re-
ality Bites" this is not. No one's
beautiful, no one has a convertible
and no one knows just what they'd
do with their life, if only they could
find a means of funding it.
They're normal, fucked up teens
dealing with all the stigmas of the
age with the additional challenge of
being openly gay in an often
homophobic world. "It's the alien-
ation generation," says one charac-
ter early on, and it's clear that she is
not only talking about the homo-
sexual teen experience.
Andy (James Duval) is some-
thing of a disaffected loner. If his
slightly overwrought performance
seems to be too much of a nod to the
"Sideburns" acting generation
(a.k.a. Luke "I'm the new James
Dean" Perry), let it be so. As the
group's resident buzzkill, Andy
gives the fractured story both a fo-
cus and a sobering element. While
the other characters flit in and out of
far more difficult circumstances
(losing a longtime lover, getting beat
up, being unable to conceive a child
or find a job), it is Andy who seems
to bounce back the slowest from the
steady punches he's thrown.
Michelle's (Susan Behshid)
mother sends her to a psychiatrist
to get "cured" when she tells her
mother about her girlfriend
Patricia (Jenee Gill.) Steven (Gil-

The Office of academicMulticultural9nitiatives
is now taking applications for
Student Leader
positions for the King/Chdvez/Parks
College Dag Spring Visitation Program
Application Deadline is 17anuary 2, 1995
Student leaders accompany visiting middle school
students throughout the day serving as guides
and role models while providing information about
the college experience. Student leaders usually
work in teams of three. They should be fairly
outgoing individuals and have a keen interest in
and commitment to helping students underrepresented
in higher education develop personal motivation for a
college education. Many positions are
available, and scheduling can be flexible.
applications and job descriptions can be obtained at
The Office of academicMulticultural 9nitiatives
104273leming Yeuilding, first floor.
3For additional information contact
3elton Rogers at 936-1055

Andy, the stereotypical slacker loser, does his impression of "The Thinker."

bert Luna) loves his immensely
devoted boyfriend Deric (Lance
May) but can't help toying with
him, testing his devotion, even
having an affair with the more
independent Brendan (Craig
Gilmore, the very cute dude from
"The Living End.") Tommy (Roko
Belic) can't get beyond the redun-
dancy of his meaningless one-
night stands. Andy is not all that
comfortable with his sexuality.
From the group artificial insemi-
nation party scene, to the which
movie-star do you fantasize about
("Tom Cruise is the Rock Hudson
of the 90s") sequence, to the occa-
sionally graphic sex scenes to the
scary, angry A.I.D.S statements,
"The government has created a
genocide against its own people and
no one's stopping them," the film
offers a direct, if sardonically

skewered portrait of Teenage
America.
Not without its flaws, like most
no-budget productions, "Fucked"
suffers from a certain overall seedy,
under-developed quality (which is
not altogether out of place in light
of the narrative), an amateurish cast
(most were non-actors prior to film-
ing) and the frustrating presence of
Araki, an obvious, startlingly origi-
nal talent who hasn't yet come close
to perfecting his technique or ap-
proach.
Yet, never mind the edges.
Lurking within them is something
quite interesting and promising.
It takes a little while, but if you
wait for the hit to kick in, you'll
find it's worth it.
Totally F***ed Up is playing at
Angell Hall, Auditorium A, this
Saturday only at 7p.m. and 9 p.m.

John Singleton's 'Higher Learning' teaches tolerance

By PRASHANT TAMASKAR
When John Singleton burst onto the
Hollywood scene in 1991 with "Boyz
N the Hood," most believed that it was
just the beginning of a long, successful
career. Yet, when "Poetic Justice," his

Higher Learning
Directed by
John Singleton with Omar
Epps, Kristy Swanson

ers.
The story begins with the introduc-
tion of a new freshmen class at the
fictional Columbus University, a large
state college in California. The movie
centers on the lives of three first-year
students: Malik (Omar Epps), a track
star from the inner city, Kristen (Kristy
Swanson), a young woman from Or-
ange County, and Remy (Michael
Rappaport), a white male from Idaho.
Although Singleton touches on
many aspects of college life, such as
rape and sexuality, the primary focus of
the film is racism and how it affects
everyone. He directly parallels the plight
of two young men, until there is an
inevitable explosion. What sets Single-
ton apart from most directors is his
ability to portray characters in such a
way that the audience views their situ-
ation with the concern they would a
family member.

Epps plays Malik as a kid with a
good head on his shoulders, who needs
a little bit of guidance. Swanson is
almost too natural as the wide-eyed
California girl who gets the full college
experience. However, the most impres-
sive and disturbing characterization is
provided by Rappaport. Nearly every-
one can empathize with him in the
beginning; as all he wishes to do is
make a few friends. However, his lone-
liness causes him to join a white su-
premacist organization. His acceptance
by this small group eventually controls
his behavior and dramatically changes
the young man who early in the film
was playing a video game with Epps'
character. Singleton powerfully cap-
tures the demise of a promising person
who becomes a victim of our conflict-
ing society.
Meanwhile, Ice Cube, as an out-
spoken pro-black student, serves as the

opposite extreme of the white suprema-
cist group. Although his beliefs on learn-
ing and education are positive, his bit-
ter, angry view of society is not the type
of influence Malik needs to make it at
the university. However, Fudge's ef-
fect on the young man is superseded by
Professor Phipps, played by the remark-
able LawrenceFishburne.Hechallenges
Malik to help his people by first helping
himself.
Once again, John Singleton shows
why he is one of Hollywood's best
directors. Although he has a significant
message to relay, he does not sacrifice
his characters in order to achieve his
goal. This allows for a strong relation-'
ship to grow between the audience and
the characters, creating an emotionally
draining film.
"Boyz N the Hood" was not a fluke.
Higher Learning is playing at
Showcase.

RICHARD D. ALEXANDER
Theodore H.-Hubbell Distinguished
University Professor of Evolutionary Biology
and Director and Curator of Insects.
Museum of Zoology
EVOLUTION
AND THE
ARTS
Explaining
the Luxuriance
of Human Social
and Mental Activities
in Darwinian Terms
Wednesday
January 25, 1995
4:00 pm
Rackham Amphitheatre
Reception follows
All lectures are open to the public

second film, was released last year,
many of these same people proposed
' that the first film was a fluke. However,
with his latest effort, "Higher Learn-
ing," an intelligent drama about life on
a college campus, Singleton may be
able to finally silence all of those doubt-
HOBBIT
Continued from page 8
stagework on the actors. Instead they're
helping to create the play. They inter-
nalize it. They're motivated by it, and
the result is natural acting."
YAG faced another challenge: how
to create a fantasy world of trolls,
goblins and wizards which previ-
ously existed only on the printed
page. Roe once again relied on the
creative juices of the cast.
"They've come up with all sorts of
ways to characterize different super-
natural beings-original music, light-
ing, masks andpuppets," she said. One

of the more innovative ideas: beatnik
spiders. Don't ask.
Although Sue Roe's Young Actors
Guild can do theater using more tradi-
tional means, you don't need a magic
potion to figure out which method she
prefers. "I think this is how everyone
should do theater."

THE HOBBIT plays January 20-22
and 26-29 at the Performance
Network (418 W. Washington).
Showtimes are Thursday and
Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at
7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets are $6 adults, $4 hobbits.
Call 663-0681

I

THE
WEEK

N
CHA NG
HEY! Let me see your
resume buddy!

University of Michigan
School of Music
Friday-Saturday, January 20-21
50th Annual Midwestern Conference on School
Vocal and Instrumental Music
The many free performances include:
" Men's Glee Club, Fri. 11 a.m., First Congregational Church
" All State Honors SSAA Choir, TTBB Choir, and Orchestra,
Fri. 7 p.m., Hill Auditorium
" Ann Arbor Youth Chorale, Sat. 11 a.m., Rackham Lecture Hall
" All State Honors Symphony Band, Jazz Band, and SATB Choir,
Sat. 7 p.m., Hill Auditorium
Sunday, January 22
Guest Recital: Siglind Bruhn, piano
" Schoenberg: Opus 11, nos. 1 and 2, and Opus 25, no. 5
" Music of Webern, Berg, and Messiaen
" Messiaen: 20 Regards sur l'enfant Jesus, nos. 1-9
Recital Hall, 4 p.m., free
Tuesday, January 24
University Philharmonia Orchestra
Gary Lewis, Michael Webster, conductors
" Copland: El Salon Mexico
* Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Haydn

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