8B -The Michigan Daily-- W"4.,4,4. -Thursday, April 11, 1996
By Prashant Tamaskar
Daily Arts Writer
'It is hard to imagine that a man with
James Earl Jones' resounding voice and
plominent physical stature could be
overlooked. Unfortunately for the Uni-
(,ersity graduate, this has been the case
throughout his career. Although Jones
is well respected by the film commu-
nity, he continually fails to receive the
recognition that he deserves as one of
America's finest actors.
In a career that has spanned more
than 30 years, Jones has only received
qne Academy Award nomination. This
was for the lead role in "The Great
White Hope," a 1970 film based on the
life of Jack Johnson, the first African-
American heavyweight boxing cham-
pion. Jones' success probably had much
to do with his familiarity with the part;
four years earlier, his role in a play of the
same name brought Jones many acco-
lades. Based on his performance in the
as the newcomer of the year for 1970.
However, the rest of his career can be
described as steady but unspectacular
in terms of critical or public acclaim;
this is surprising, considering the high
quality of many o "the films in which he
tIas appeared. A short list of films in
which Jones has starred include "Roots,"
"Conan the Barbarian," "Field of
Dreams," "Coming to America," "The
Hunt for Red October," and more re-
cently, "Cry the Beloved Country" and
Jones' amazing voice goes largely unheard in Hollywood
"A Family Thing."
So why is this actor, who has prob-
ably never been given a poor review,
largely ignored? A couple of interact-
ing factors are responsible for-this seem-
The single most important reason for
his lack of recognition may be Jones'
meal ticket itself-his voice. After all,
Jones has arguably the most famous
and distinctive voice in all of Holly-
wood. And, it can always be heard,
whether watching television oramovie.
Along with many commercials, it can
be caught nearly every hour on CNN.
Moreover, anew generation of children
may recognize the deep roar of Cimba's
father, Mufasa, in Disney's box office
smash "The Lion King," as that ofJones.
But, to most people, especially ages
40 and under, Jones is Darth Vader.
Never mind the fact that the credits of
"Star Wars," "Empire Strikes Back"
and "Return of the Jedi" list David
Prowse as the most evil villain of them
all. It was Jones who brought the voice
to the character; it was Jones who
brought the personality to Vader; and it
was Jones who gave him life.
Unfortunately, this role is one that he
will never escape. On talk shows, Jones
often discusses people's inability to see
him as anything but Darth Vader. Sadly,
the role that has brought Jones the most
fame, may also haunt him for the rest of
Yet, in reality, Jones is far more than
a voice, and would be just as effective
an actor with a different one. His range
is what separates him from others in his
field. Jones has the ability to bring a
remarkable sincerity and earnestness to
his characters. They display emotions
in a reserved manner and are genuine,
Jones can also skillfully bring come-
dic qualities to the screen. His charac-
ters often display dry senses of humor,
as in "Field of Dreams," or are over-
bearing and abrasive, as in "Coming to
Finally, he is the perfect authority
figure. Granted, his voice definitely
helps in these roles; still, however, it is
not the only reason that he is cast in
these parts. Frankly, Jones is physically
intimidating. He is convincing in promi-
nent political positions ("Sneakers,"
"The Hunt for Red October," "Patriot
Games" and "Clear and Present Dan-
ger") because he is obviously someone
not to mess with. But his ability to
display friendly emotions enables Jones
to also play father and grandfather fig-
ures, as in "Cry the Beloved Country."
The other factors that prevents Jones
from receiving the recognition he de-
serves are the numerous cameos that he
makes in films. He obviously loves
what he is doing, and his appearances
document it perfectly. That's why he
was in "Naked Gun 33 1/3" or "Meteor
Man." Jones certainly likes to show up
in odd roles in goofy movies, making
James Earl Jones shows off his boxers in the recent film "A Family Affair."
him more endearing to.the public. Un-
fortunately, they also divert attention
away from his ability as a performer.
After all, wouldn't Meryl Streep's repu-
tation as an actress be slightly tarnished
by appearances in "Naked Gun" movies?
Yet, Jones probably doesn't mind the
perception of himself - or else he
would do something about it. He enjoys
acting, and people enjoy watching him.
But let's hope that when his lengthy
career is finally over, he will be remem-
bered for his versatility and sincerity,
and not for "This is CNN" or "Luke...
I am your father."
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DROP EVERYTHING! Stop by the Daily Arts room
(2nd floor of the Student Publications Building at 420
Maynard St.) between 12 noon and 5 p.m. today to
win free prizes and passes for "Brain Candy," the new
Kids in the Hall film that opens tomorrow.
So what do you have to do? Write your name on
a piece of paper and drop it in the Enter To Win box.
Who knows ... maybe tomorrow, you will be the
proud owner of a "Brain Candy" shirt, CD, tongue
depressor, (you know - jellybeans) or even a free
pass. Just keep in mind that the supplies are limited.
The sooner you get here, the better.
Free billiards. Satellite sports.
Food & drink specials.
April 12 and the 2nd Friday
bf every month. 89X DJ Kelly Brown,
contests, giveaways & more!
Continued from Page 11B
Kids were so concerned with ensuring
that the film ended with a-moral (which
is quite weak, by the way), that they
forgot to make the conclusion humor-
This disappointing ending does not
completely diminish the high level of
comedy, which typifies most of "Brain
Candy." There are some nice satirical
jabs at greedy corporatism, the manipu-
lation of science for financial ends and
consumers' susceptibility to fads.
Unfortunately, there are a few touches
which are disturbingly cruel or, at least,
in very bad taste: One such example is
McCulloch's Cancer Boy, a swipe at
the sort of perpetually optimistic, bald-
headed, cancer patient with the weary,
croaking voice that one might see in a
TV news human interest story. There
were more gasps than laughs when this
character came on screen.
But, by and large, the comedic acting
in "Brain Candy" is superb. Each of the
principal actors plays several roles, wi
four of the five crossing the gender line,
as was common on their series.
McDonald is given the least opportu-
nity to show his talents, spending most
of the film as Chris Cooper, a less-than-
likable character. McCulloch,
McKinney and Thompson all have as-
tonishing range, each playing at least six
distinct and well-developed characters.
McCulloch is very funny as the sen@
tive Alice and as the hard-as-nails adver-
tising executive Cisco. McKinney, for-
merly the infamous Chicken Lady on
"Kids in the Hall" and currently on "Sat-
urday Night Live," is extraordinary in
each of his guises. Best among them are
the arrogant, laconic Don Roritor and the
hyperactivetalk show host Nina Bedford.
Thompson is quite impressive as an ear-
nest old lady named Mrs. Hurdicure and
the repressed Wally.
While "Brain Candy" is probably n t
the best or the funniest comedy you'll
ever venture upon, the film's humor has
an endearingingenuity that makes it worth
seeing. And, after all, comedy isprobably
the best cure for depression.
c ane s
Recreational Sports needs:
Don't send your winter clothes home--
Store them for the Summer!
Lifeguards, Entrance Monitors, Eouipment Room
Staff, and MORE!!L
Work at the CCR5, IMSD & NCRB.
Daytime, Evening & Weekend hours available.
Pay range is $4.70+$5.50/hour.
Spring Term hours run May 7+Jurne 21
* Summer Term hours run June 22+ August 20
For details contact:
Lorelei, 763-3084/Idm@umich.edu or
at the CCRB.
Application Deadline: April 25, 1996
332 Maynard St.
across from Nickels Arcade
s o f. u i o l
for their participation in the 1995-96 Pe
Alcohol & Other Drugs...
Catherine Hora Body Image...
Jenna Levy Kristal Aliyas
Nicole Mauskopf Jill Bradstrom
David Reimus Ruth Buckmaster
f : Tammy Rothleder Eleanor Chang
Bryan Salisbury Gina Colston
r, Laura Stuart Rachael Cooper
Ashu Tyagi Ingrid Huebner
Co-Coordinators: Stacey Kleinbaumn
Ryan Fringer Andy Magiera
Adrienne Moore Katie Miller
Wendy Wyte Sehnita Joshua
- i _,ttf , ]rtcrit R
Stress & Time Management...
Safer Sex.-- Kimberly McKanders
Lisa DeBruine Karla Sanchez
Samir Gupta Tamra Syrett
Jenna Levinson Coordinator:
Crystal Martin Matt Chow
A = a L