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March 14, 1996 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-03-14

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The Michigan Daily - Wede4, 4e. - Thursday, March 14, 1996 - 3B

Despite gore, 'Braveheart' ranks as best of 1995

Public Access
While everyone in America was
probably utterly thrilled to see the
buff, bare butt of "Friends"' master
thespian, Jennifer Aniston, on the
cover of a certain national magazine
last week, I was not.
It's not that I'm offended by the
presence of a buff, bare butt that
greets me at the 7-11. Hell no. I'm as
red-blooded as the next All-Ameri-
.In the immortal words of
4l ikely Republican Presidential
Candidate/Nominee Steve "Taxes for
everyone but me and my cronies"
Forbes, "A buttock is a buttock, be it
male or female. Seeing it at the 7-11,
be it in the flesh or on the cover of a
magazine, is always faboo."
It's not even the fact that "Friends"
is the most insipid, condescending
and hilariously unfunny television
show to grace the wee screen since
*ved By The Bell" (go ahead
sororities and South Quad, start the
letters rolling). It's not even the fact
that Aniston is possibly a worse actor
tban Pamela Anderson.
No, the problem with Jennifer
Aniston's buff, bare butt on the cover
of the magazine was the fact that it
reflected so precisely the nature of the
article inside.
Oh-so-subtly titled "The Girl
Send," 29-year-old alleged reporter
Rich Cohen's article glossed vaguely
over Aniston's career, her extensive
work on television prior to "Friends,"
her modest stage work, her dad's
=alling her "not interesting" as a
child, and then settled into what it
Ivas really gearing up to talk about: T
'. A.
Yep, Cohen spent about half the
article talking about the way her ass
ked in a pair of pants, drooling
Jalously as she hugged Matthew
Perry, speculating shamelessly about
what kind of underwear she was
wearing, and most pathetically,
commenting on the state of her "erect
nipples asthey poked up from her T-
shirt like little peaks," etc.
The problem with his disgusting
excuse for reporting is the realization
of the source of this blatant mi-
gyny. What magazine would you
imagine that this article came from?
Was it perhaps a feature in "Holly-
wood Hussies"? Nah. Maybe a profile
in "Hustler"? Nope. How about a
centerfold in "Penthouse"? Hmm.
Maybe "Playboy"? Respectable
actors are sometimes on the cover of
that. But no. It wasn't any of those
publications. It was good ol' "Rolling
This same reporter did a similar
*sservice when he recently inter-
viewed "Clueless" mega-babe Alicia
Silverstone. Throughout the supposed
Article on the state of her career, he
was preoccupied with her lips - their
texture, their size, what she ate, the
way she ate it, etc.
Clearly, Rich Cohen needs to get
But that's not really the issue.
The problem is the fact that there is
othing unusual about this practice.
When the media reports about
,women whom they perceive as being
non-sexualized in the public eye -
most women who are over 35, all

women who are overweight, many
women of color, all women who are
not heterosexual --the articles tend
to balance the woman's sexuality
with other qualities of her life, such
s friends, ambitions, interests and
er CAREER (which is the supposed
reason that the magazine is writing
about her at all).
But when women whom the media
perceive as being sexualized are
featured, what they do for a living
becomes secondary to their physical-
ity, to how horny they make the often
male reporter feel as he is talking to
them. This is not the stuff of objective
porting, nor is it professional. Yet,
''s accepted. It's even traditional.
It's been stated a million times that
women are esteemed by their beauty or
lack thereof, and that men are esteemed
by their status or lack thereof and that
the media is just reflecting this in its
portrayal of people. But here you've got
these women who possess both beauty
and status and they're still treated like
And here you've got anew age of
~eorters, 29-year-olds like Cohen who
Irenot part of the old school boys' club
of anti-female cultural news reporting
and they still spend an article talking
about tits instead of talent.
I'm not a fan of Jennifer Aniston.
"Friends" could be canceled tomor-
row and I wouldn't bat an eyelash.
But she arguably got herjob on that
show for more than just her ass, so
show a little respect.
- You can reach Alix at

By Christopher Corbett
Daily Arts Writer
As a welcome change of pace from
the lukewarm and leftover feel of
"Apollo 13," "Pocahontas" and
"Clueless,""Braveheart," when itcame
out last May, became perhaps the big-
gest surprise (and greatest pleasure) of
The film tells the story of William
Wallace - when English imperials at-
tack his Scottish homeland, he arrives.
And lopping off an English soldier's
sided battle ax just goes to prove that he
did not come to funk around.
In "Braveheart," Mel Gibson takes
no prisoners. We get a lot of chopped
heads flying across the way, impaled
bodies landing on wooden spikes, ar-
rows slicing through shields and into
people, garrotings, scaldings with mol-
ten tar and throat-cuttings.
Brutal, yes, but Gibson handles the
savageness with wit, with a keen eye.
We don't get blood for the hell of it; we
get it because the soldiers are at war in
the 13th century story - when armies
fought hand-to-hand. Gibson's battle
scenes wallow in the violence, giving
the fights a terrifying grandeur.
For the most part, the camera stays
low, among the swords. The intensity
of the violence peaks when we see
blood splatter the camera after a ham-
mer knocks a man's head apart. They
are warring, and it is not pretty: The
battle scenes -thanksto stellar special
effects - rank among the best on film.
Scenes linger in the mind: Wallace,

blood smearedacross the blue war paint
on his face, stands against the sky, his
nostrils flaring; armed men charge from
the left and right of the screen and spill
into each other; majestic green moun-
tains cradle Wallace as aboy; Wallace's
lover Murron closes her eyes, strapped
to a post in the center of the town
square, helpless, surrounded by heart-
less, armed English troopers.
Gibson hands us quiet, understated
moments here. Most of the little details
in "Braveheart" feel right and suck us
into the reality of the story. After a :r
battle, a young man writhes among the
many lifeless bodies;mortally wounded
and dripping with blood, his mouth
moves without a sound, in pain. Gibson -
pans over the boy, and we only see him
for a moment, off to one side of the
frame. But the sense of loss and the
absurdity of war registers and sticks
with us. "Braveheart," on the whole,
dodges melodrama.
The film slips, however, with a ro-
mantic-tragedy ending, which feels Mel Gibson directed and starred in 1995
overly sappy after the gruesome, bar-
baric battles earlier. The ending doesn't
come off poorly; but it does end up Wallace makes us root for him as he
giving the film an uneven tone. Like- steps up and leads the sorely-needed
wise, Gibson has drawn some flack for rebellion.French-born Sophie Marceau,
his rather tasteless handling of the En- as Princess Isabelle, withherstatuesque,
glishKing's foppish, waifishson, Prince sublime, upright presence is a crucial
Edward (the King gives his son's male beauty, and we fall in love with her
courtier the heave-ho - literally - when she says the best line of the year
which, as filmed, often brings giggles ("The king will soon be dead and his
from the audience). son is a weakling ... who do you think
But Gibson's deft direction serves to will run this kingdom?"). And sinister,
saturate thealready intensely clear char- subtle King Edward the Longshanks
acters. His full-throated, energetic - (Patrick McGoohan) becomes so sala-

the role that did it for him. Here, crazed,
he massages his ass, blows chunks, and
snogs a bird. Doesn't this guy have any
self-respect? But of course: He's the
one pulling up to the bank in the cherry
red Ferrari to deposit his $20 million
check for acting in this film.
"The Prophecy" also arrives. AL
WAYSrent a Christopher Walken flick.
Yes, you can look at him and know
something is amiss, peculiar, awry ..
He RULES! Don't even look at the box
Why bother?Justgrabit and GO! YESI
"Clockers," Spike Lee's latest di
rectorial effort, spasmed at the box
office. Perhaps he's running out of
creative juice, because this film does
not have the snap of a "Do the Right
Thing," nor the luster of a "Malcolm
X." Hopefully, his upcoming "Girl 6"
"Assassins," starring Sylvester
Stallone and Antonio Banderas. Hu-
"The Baby-Sitters Club," starring
Kevin Costner's daughters. Oh, Lord.
what is this? Look, if you have acam-
era, some film and some actors, why de
you have to make something like this
There's absolutely no need. Just don't
do it.
"Muriel's Wedding," starring some
overweight, annoying woman. If some
one put a gun to my head.

s "Braveheart."

ciously wicked that we love to hate him.
These three characters packa punch,
which helpsto stack "Braveheart" up as
perhaps the finest film of the year:
Gibson has received several Academy
Award nominations for his efforts -
including Best Director and Best Film.
Also new on video:
"Ace Ventura 2." Jim Carrey reprises

Robert Redford takes his place among cinematic icons

By Bryan Lark
Daily Arts Writer
Once upon a time, when motion
pictures were young and going to see
a film was a major happening, Holly-
wood was populated and ruled by
cinematic icons. Greta Garbo. Clark
Gable. Joan Crawford. Bette Davis.
Cary Grant. Katherine Hepburn.
These stars were more than just
renowned entertainers. They were at-
tractive, talented gods and goddesses,
worshipped for their diverse on-screen
personas and glamorous public ap-
pearances, while their private lives,
for the most part, remained private.
The level of stardom icons of film
history shared owed much to that
shroud of mystery provided by audi-
ences. People saw their beloved stars'
performances exclusively in movie
houses, not stars' scandals incessantly
on "Hard Copy," "Extra" and "Inside
However, that was the past. In
today's society of inquiring minds,
screen icons are hard to find and even
more difficult to worship. To live and
endure as an icon takes much emo-
tional stamina, self-confidence and
evasion of fame and tabloid photog-
raphers. One candidate who meets
the criteria is Robert Redford.
Frequently labeled as press-shy,
Robert Redford has lived in the pub-
lic eye for nearly four decades, per-
forming in that coolly intense, boy-
ishly handsome way that has become
his unique style.
Supporting numerous environmen-
tal and social charities, Redford has
used his talent and sex-symbol status

to gain awareness for worthy causes,
not to gain lucrative movie deals and
underwear campaigns.
Despite gaining recognition from
several films in the '60s, Redford first
became a household name by starring
alongside fellow screen icon and salad
connoisseur Paul Newman in "Butch
Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."
Though teaming again with
Newman in the Oscar-winning "The
Sting" proved one of his greatest suc-
cesses, Redford enjoyed much criti-
cal acclaim and many box-office hits
as a singular presence in the '70s. A
prestigious list that includes "All the
President's Men," "Jeremiah
Johnson," "The Candidate" and "The
Electric Horseman," Redford's films
during this decade justified his mete-
oric rise to fame.
Leaving his outstanding perfor-
mances in the aforementioned films
aside, the Redford image, the strong-
willed yet romantic hero, was most
greatly impacted by his three roles in
"The Great Gatsby," "The Way We
Were" and "Three Days of the Con-
The immense impact of these roles
is partially due to the female com-
pany he kept and had such amazing
chemistry with - Mia Farrow, Bar-
bara Streisand and Faye Dunaway,
If any doubters of Redford's star
power or talent remained at the end of
the '70s, they were quickly proved
wrong by his directorial debut, the
stunning "Ordinary People."
This film gave Redford his only
Academy Award to date, bestowed

upon him much respect from the film
industry, and enabled him to start the
Sundance Film Institute in 1981. The
institute and subsequent film festival
showcases independent films and
filmmakers that normally would not
gain recognition.
Following "Ordinary People," the
remaining nine years of the '80s were
just as financially and creatively ful-
"The Natural" and "Out Of Africa"
proved that audiences still loved Rob-
ert Redford as the leading man in
sentimental romances.
Riding the wave of romance,
Redford stumbled a bit by assuming
that audiences wanted to see him be
romantic with Daryl Hannah and
Debra Winger, a decision that made
"Legal Eagles" extinct. If "Legal
Eagles" was a slight stumble, then the
miserable "Havana" was a slip-and-

fall accident.
In true Redford style, he rapidly
regained his footing as a star in 1992.
Beginning with the techno-thriller
"Sneakers" and continuing with the
breathtakingly beautiful "A River
Runs Through It," in which he di-
rected the heir apparent to his tal-
ented, quirky pretty-boy style, Brad
Pitt, the present decade renewed
Redford's position in Hollywood.
Next, for some unknown reason,
Redford chose to star with Demi
Moore and Woody Harrelson in "In-
decent Proposal," a film that made
millions of dollars and was repeat-
edly called "controversial" and "hot-
button" - everything but "a good
1994 allowed Redford to make a
marvelous account of the loss of
America's innocence with "Quiz

Redford's most recent screen tri-
umph, the narratively shallow but sty-
listically gorgeous newsroom drama
"Up Close and Personal," openedu
the top spot in theaters.
If nothing else, this film was a les-
son in screen chemistry (betweer
Redford and quasi-icon Michelk
Pfeiffer), and made blatantly clea
that Americans will pay to see Rober
Redford make love, liver spots an(
Yes, he is aging and makes som<
mistakes, but being an icon of cinem;
and historical figure of popular cul-
ture, Robert Redford can do no wrong
Regardless ofwhetherhis next filr
wins 18 Oscars or he chooses to direc
Pee-Wee Herman'snext venture, Rob
ert Redford is a cool, reclusive starec
old, who has definitely earned hi
place alongside Gable, Garbo an

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