The Michigan Daily - u4e'4 , e. - Thursday, January 25, 1996 - 3B
Anticipation builds; films disappoint
'Waterworld' not quite a financial wash up
ma)iy s z world
ancy Reagan was your
curmudgeony, clueless old
aunt, warbling about "Just say
no to something that she had never
tried. Barbara Bush was a sweet, harm-
.'less grandma, whose lulling quality set
he tone for an ineffective presidency.
r. ut with her commitment to children,
her interest in health care reform, and
her attractive, yet unpolished beauty,
Hillary Clinton is the only first lady in
most of our memories who is not only
not older than most of our mothers, but
in a lot of ways, not that different. How
refreshing to once again see, as in the
time of Jackie Kennedy, a first lady
who so clearly speaks to and is in sync
with her generation's women.
No, I'm not kidding. Hillary Clinton
isa role model whom most people are
shamefully passing over so that they
can take their place amidst the growing,
conservative, collective "public opin-
" an opinion that cuts down women
Clinton. Yet this situation is not
y sex-based. Both men and women
$beharshly criticized her lifestyle, her
iw rk, her strength as a communicator
her involvement in the affairs ofher
band. Notoriously conservative New
k Times essayist William Safire has
'Z ld hera "compulsive liar" and many
.Women, Democrats and Republicans
" alike, are reluctant to affiliate them-
selves with her. To support Hillary, has,
of late, acquired the same stigma of
* ffiliating oneself with the word "femi-
:'nism." It's the kiss of death, at least
' Granted, Clinton has had her share
!flegitimatecontroversy. Whether or
snot she misled the American people,
Bob Dole, William Safire, etc. in not
releasing all existing information (or
;whether there was a miscommunica-
lion at the top that still hasn't been
fuly unraveled), the response to her
'comparatively minor misdeed has.
been so overblown and gleefully
yseized upon by the right wing as to
'bring to mind the ludicrous, commu-
Oist witch hunts of 'S0s McCarthy-
era America. In a nutshell, it's pa-
thetic and inappropriate.
Were she any one other than the
President's wife, this kind of scrutiny
(would never be applied to her.
Yes, we expect perfection from our
;leaders, even going so far as to sabotage
:a campaign ifsomeone has, God forbid,
ever committed a human error like
psmoking a joint or thinking of being
gnfaithful to their spouse.We elect them,
e pay good tax dollars, and we expect
them to create an ideal that we, as flawed
people, can never hope to live up to.
This is called hero-building. This goes
with the territory. But just as quickly as
people love to build heroes up, they
love, even more, to tear them back
cdown, when even they can't live up to
the impossible ideal. The time cycle of
=build-up to tear-down has shortened
onsiderably in the last few years.
Clinton is one of the easy, early casual-
While men are often subjected to the
same treatment, and this is not an issue
strictly of sexually based expectations,
it must be acknowledged that as a grow-
ing numberofwomen are enteringhigh-
level jobs, they are the ones most readily
being tapped for criticism and hypoc-
What remains unanswered through-
ut all of these attacks is why the
media and people in general are so
much harder on public women then
public men. It seems like a joke, con-
sidering that she's married to Maury
"Tabloid" Povich, but think about
what happened to outspoken anchor-
woman Connie Chung.
In a time where the All-American
girl still prevails (see: BULLOCK,
ANDRA and ANDERSON,
AMELA) in most people's minds,
women like Clinton are a threat. In her
40s, Clinton is not. only our only first
first lady to have built a substantial
career for herself outside the White
House, but is at the forefront of the first
generation of women to insist that both
By Joshua Rich
Daily Arts Editor
At some point during the late pro-
duction stages of the highly antici-
pated science-fiction epic,
"Waterworld," director Kevin
Reynolds and star Kevin Costner
stopped speaking to each other. Like
a divorcing married couple, the two
longtime friends said they had "irrec-
oncilable differences." They couldn't
work together any longer.
And the whole film world laughed.
This was not necessarily because it
was just another case of two gargan-
tuan Hollywood egos clashing. Such
tension-filled collaborations often
result in some of the most outstanding
and heralded productions to come out
of Los Angeles-"Apocalypse Now"
or "Jaws," for example.
No. This situation was much more
amusing because, even after they had
had a similar falling-out during the
production of "Robin Hood: Prince of
Thieves" (1991), these two profes-
sionals were letting their personal
problems adversely affect an already
severely troubled movie.
"Waterworld" was doomed ... or so
we all thought.
The fact is: Every year the anticipa-
tion about certain movies builds up so
greatly that, in the opinions of Holly-
wood and the general public, such
films are able to do nothing except
succeed phenomenally or fail miser-
ably. In 1995, alone, we saw this ex-
ample repeatedly ring true.
Long-awaited films like William
Friedkin's "Jade" - which, along
with "Waterworld," is new on home
video this week - or Quentin
Tarantino and friends' "Four Rooms"
bombed because audiences and crit-
ics were expecting a greatness that
these pictures could not achieve. This
is regardless of whether they were
able to provide a moderately accept-
able plot and story. Ron Howard's
"Apollo 13" and Disney's "Toy
Story," on the other hand, fulfilled
everybody's hopes; these movies were
quite good, and they became huge
As it stands in the world of Holly-
wood publicity and profit making,
these situations are the norm; the battle
is decided before the war is ever
So when we hear about a film as
thoroughly plagued as "Waterworld,"
our thoughts may travel back to other
such infamous failures of the past.
"Heaven's Gate"(1981), "Howard the
Duck" (1986) and the daddy of them
all, "Ishtar" (1987), are just a few of
the critical and box office bombs that
have exploded onto the screen. But
while the unfortunate "Waterworld"
was unfairly dubbed such names as
"Fishtar" and "Kevin's Gate" well
before anyone had an opportunity to
see the movie, this film does not com-
After all, the main problems of its
predecessors are what appeared on
the screen -- not what occurred be-
forehand. All of these were movies
that audiences and producers alike
waited a long time to see. All failed to
earn much money. But their problems
went much deeper than that.
"Heaven's Gate" was the long-
awaited project by director Michael
Cimino following his Oscar-winning
classic "The Deer Hunter" (1978).
This new western had a remarkable
cast. Yet it also had financial troubles,
namely that it cost WAY too much
money to produce. On top of all of
this, it was overly long and poorly
made. "Howard the Duck" experi-
enced similar difficulties in that it
was a major film, executive produced
by cinematic titan George Lucas, that
wasn't very good.
And "Ishtar," while costly and lack-
ing any significant chemistry between
its stars, Warren Beatty and Dustin
Hoffman, was actually not terrible.
(Admit it: Have you actually had the
courage to see this film and say so?)
Still, "Ishtar" has never been able to
shake its bad reputation.
Maybe "Waterworld," too, will al-
ways be hurt by the negative gossip
surrounding it. Nevertheless, when
one looks at this film and its expen-
sive production, one will find a flop
of little resemblance to the aforemen-
tioned forefathers of cinematic disas-
ter. In fact, maybe this is not a flop at
all ... hmmm.
Let's consider this theory.
For starters, "Waterworld" cost
about $175 million to make. To earn a
profit it would, at the same time, have
to have become one of the highest-
grossing movies of all time - an
entirely unrealistic goal to set. But
gross profits don't indicate anything
about a film's overall take -"Forrest
Gump" (1994) and "Batman" (1989),
two of the most popular films ever,
are both supposedly profitless. They
are still in the red, especially after
paying all their wealthy actors and
entirely essential publicists.
"Waterworld," on the other hand,
made more than $70 million domesti-
cally, and much, much more world-
wide. It is one of the most popular
American exports of the year - the
highest-grossing movie ever in Is-
rael, as a matter of fact. So what is
REALLY a financial failure?
We must also remember that mil-
lions of Americans went to see this
film. Like "Ishtar" before it,
"Waterworld" simply was not so bad.
Contrived? Yes. Problematic? Cer-
tainly. Horrible? Not in the least.
Plagued by bad weather and faulty
set construction, along with Costner
and Reynolds' spat (which was over
nothing more than how to edit a film
that, even in its final state, still con-
sisted of superfluous scenes and could
have been much shorter),
"Waterworld" was a goner as far as
Hollywood believed. Further, it was
Kevin Costner: "'Waterworld' grossed HOW much?"
delicious fodder for all the gossip
columnists and tabloids looking
through the peepholes.
If nothing else, Hollywood, audi-
ences and critics alike, all disapproved
of the fact that the makers of
"Waterworld" had the audacity to
spend so much money on such a risky,
if not occasionally flawed film. But
so goes the blockbuster-oriented,
movie making mind set in this, the
100th year of the motion picture.
The money spent on "Waterworld"
could have paid for "E.T." to be made
100-times over, or "Clerks" or any
other exceptionally low-budget film.
Maybe those cheaper films are bet-
ter. But that is simply not the way
things work nowadays - movies cost
A LOT of money. Maybe they cost
too much, but that's the way it is. And
until we come to accept this irrevo-
cable fact, "Waterworld" may never
be recognized as a film that, unlike
many others, actually managed to stay
Coming to video Jan. 30:
"Desperado" - Antonio Banderas stars as a sexy mariachi
who's as skilled with a gun as he is with a guitar.
"Something to Talk About" - Julia Roberts appears in
yet another sappy, romantic comedy. Come on, Julia! Fall in
love with another co-star, star in another sentimental movie
You're starting to get predictable.
THE HONOR OF YOUR
PRESENCE IS REQUESTED.
If you've achieved a Grade Point Average of 3.0
or higher and have at least 12 credits, but no
more than 95 credits, we invite you to rush for
membership in Phi Sigma Pi, a national coed
honor fratemity. Leam what membership can
mean to you by attending an organizational
meeting at the time and place listed here. If
you've got the grades and the desire to belong,
the honor will be ours.
If you have any questions or if you cannot make
the meeting, but are still interested please call
Greg at 995-8610
DATE: January 25, 1996
TIME: 8 PM
PLACE: Lecture Room 2,MLB
NATIONAL HONOR FRATERNITY
Linda Florentino stars in the not-so-
precious film "Jade."
FROM PIRTILAN TOO
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