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January 19, 1996 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-01-19

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

J1E II~i~Ign&U A 'Collage Concert
Come on in to hear some home-grown classical ditties. The School of
Music is presenting a collage concert featuring acts from many of its
classical disciplines. The free show is tonight at Hill Auditorium at 8:15. 4
Page 8
January 19, 1996

Don't hold your breath for 'Exhale'

Sy Kristen Okosky
)aily Arts Writer
It's another movie your boyfriend
,vill refuse to go to, but this time, he
nay actually have a point.
"Waiting to Exhale" covers a year in
the life of four close female friends.
Yes, it's another one of those damn
chick flicks. Though their situations are
different, their quest is the same - to
find partners who will respect them and
share their lives.
Savannah (Whitney Houston), a suc-
cessful producer, is in love with a mar-
ried man and afraid of ending up alone.
Bernadine (Angela Bassett) is a mother
oftwo who finds out that her husband is
leaving her for his young, white office
Robin (Lela Rochon) is a competent
businesswoman who always dates los-

Waiting to
Directed by Forest
Whittaker; with Whitney
Houston, Angela Bassett
and Lela Rochon
At Briarwood and Showcase
ers, and Gloria (Loretta Devine) is a
divorced mom finally ready to enter the
dating scene again.
From this introduction, the film seems
to have the makings of a good story
(which, by the way, the novel by Terry
McMillian is). And it is strong in the
sense that it explores an area of life that
most Hollywood films tend to stay away
The film has some humorous mo-
ments, like when Bernadine makes a
bonfire of her cheating husband's be-
longings, including his car. Savannah
has some funny insights into her less-
than-satisfying men like "Now I'm a
keeper at the damn zoo" and "God's got
a lot of explaining to do."
The sex scenes are all comical; the
four women are virtual non-participants
in some kind of bizarre and pathetic
male-mating ritual.

To its credit, "Waiting to Exhale"
also has atalented cast, including minor
parts played by Gregory Hines and
Wesley Snipes. Angela Bassett is in-
credible, as always, and even Whitney
Houston improves from her previous
role in "The Bodyguard" (a somewhat
dubious distinction).
Considering what they must work
with, all the women give fine perfor-
mances. Which brings us to the major
problem with the film - what's there
to work with, anyway?
Plain and simple: The script lacks the
power ofthe novel. Information about the
characters is not conveyed through ac-
tion, and the film relies on awkward voice-
over narration aimed at no one in particu-
lar. Are the women talking to themselves,
the audience or the wall? Apparently,
most of the time, they are talking to
anyone or thing that will listen.
The dialogue is extremely heavy-
handed. During an important scene,
Bernadine tries to explain her feelings
to Savannah: "It's amazing what can
happen when you let a man take control
of your life."
Granted, this is the message, but the
writers could have come up with more
subtle, insightful dialogue to make the
point. As an audience, we are not given
credit for our intelligence. Instead, we
are hammered over the head.
We are also not given enough back-

Four talented, vivacious actors and one good director do not a good film make.

ground to understand why the charac-
ters feel and act as they do. For this
reason, Savannah could just as well be
the woman who stole Bernadine's hus-
band. Also, Bernie turns around and
becomes this type of person when she
starts seeing other women's men. There
are reasons for it, but the film certainly
doesn't clue us in.

Almost all the men are cardboard
caricatures, and the film is highly male-
centered and anti-male.
The theme of exhaling (a time when a
woman can relax and feel secure with
herself and her man) is good. But this
thread, which could hold the four stories
together, is never developed and used
only at inappropriate comic moments.

Although positive, the ending is a let-
down. The characters are not particularly
sympathetic, andtheplot never quiteman-
ages to pull us in. We never really see the
spark that draws these women together.
Despite its potential, "Waiting to Ex-
hale" falls flat. If you're looking for an
in-depth exploration of real women's
lives, don't hold your breath.

'Exhale' director Forest Whittaker.

'Eye for an Eye' for the same old story

Various Artists
DefJam 10th YearAnniversary
Def Jam Records
Def Jam Records is celebrating its
10th birthday, and it's giving the gift.
"10th Year Anniversary" is a whop-
ping four-CD, 60-song release featur-
ing some of the greatest releases in Def
Jam history. It doesn't take a rocket
scientist, let alone a music reviewer, to
tell you that "10th Year Anniversary"
would be adored by any hip-hop lover.
The songs offered, both old-school
and new, speak for themselves: Disc 1:
LL Cool J, "I Can't Live Without My
Radio"and "Going Back to Cali"; Slick

Don't take Redman's hat.

The Office of $cademicAMulticultural 9nitiatives
is now taking applications for
Student Leader
positions for the King/Chavez/Parks
College Day Spring Visitation Program
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.
4pplications and job descriptions can be obtained at
The Office of 4cademicAMulticultural 9nitiatives
1042 7leming Yuilding, first floor.
.Jor additional information contact
ON9S CHEA'THAMS at 936-1055

Rick, "Children's Story"; Beastie Boys,
"Paul Revere"; 3rd Bass, "The Gas
Disc 2: Beastie Boys, "Brass Mon-
key"; Method Man and Mary J. Blige,
"You're All I Need"; Onyx, "Slam";
Oran "Juice" Jones, "The Rain";
Redman, "Tonight's Da Night"; Nice
& Smooth,"Sometimes I Rhyme Slow."
Disc 3: Public Enemy, "Fight the
Power"; Beastie Boys, "Fight for Your
Right"; Redman and Method Man,
"How High"; LL Cool J. "Mama Said
Knock You Out", Nikki D, "Daddy's
Little Girl."
Disc 4: Erick Sermon, "Stay Real";
Domino, "Sweet Potato Pie" and "Getto
Jam"; Warren G, "Regulate"; Method
Man, "Bring the Pain"; LL Cool J,
"Jingling Baby" and "Rock the Bells";
Public Enemy, "Can't Truss It"; South
Central Cartel, "Gang Stories."
With attacks on rap at an all-time
high - far beyond the anti-rock'n'roll
movement ofthe'60s-Def Jam stands
as a bulwark ainst the agitation revved
up by politicians more interested in
winning votes than in improving the
lives of Americans. The interest that
this box set will surely receive serves as
a testament to this fact. Hats off to the
Def Jam artists - and the real rap
artists worldwide who remain true to
the heart of hip-hop.
- Eugene Bowen
Multi-personality Tabletop Va-
Carrot Top Records
Every influential band has its own
Spinal Tap - a group formed by fans
that emulates (unconsciously or not)
the original band in its own music. The
Breeders have Veruca Salt, the Beatles
have Oasis, and now drone-poppers
Stereolab have Flowchart.
Like Veruca Salt and Oasis, Flow-
chart has the best of intentions when
they copy Stereolab. Unlike those
groups, however, Flowchart adds al-
most nothing new to what they're simu-
See RECORDS Page 10

By Jennifer Petlinski
Daily Film Editor
"What do you do when justice fails?"
This is the question that director John
Schlesinger asks his audience in his
latest film, "Eye For An Eye." Sure,
we've all seen the advertisements for it
- "that big question," the strange
shadow of a psychopathic killer in the
distance and Sally Field aiming a gun at
absolutely nothing and looking consti-
pated at the same time.
After each time we see this advertise-
ment, we are all thinking the same exact
thing - didn't we see this story on
some Sunday Night Movie or After
School Special just a couple weeks ago?
OK, so the story has been done be-
fore-and, indeed, this does turn out to
be the film's biggest flaw.

Eye for an Eye
Directed by John
Schlesinger; with
Sally Field and
Kiefer Sutherland
At Briarwood and Showcase
Karen McCann (Sally Field) seems
to have everything - the understand-
ing husband, the two perfect children,
the high-paying, rewarding job, a
swinging social life and a car phone.
After all, what more could anyone
And, as you might have guessed
from her freaked-out look on the com-
mercials, Karen's life suddenly changes

when her 17-year-old daughter is mur-
dered by Robert Doob, a delivery man
(Kiefer Sutherland).
Naturally, this is where the car phone
fits in. When caught in traffic on tire way
home from the office, Karen calls h*
daughter Julie. Within the first five min-
utes of the movie, Doob rings the door-
bell and Julie is raped and murdered,
while her helpless mommy hears the
entire tragedy through her phone.
The scene is a powerful one; audience
members might begin to feel a little bit
better about paying to see something
that will probably be offered for free on
NBC next week. Well, maybethis wasn't
the made-for-TV movie we thought
was going to be. No - at this poin
we're pretty confident that we might
even be able to'recommend this one to
our friends. In short, the compelling
nature of this scene has brought us o the
edge of our seats and pulled us right into
the heart of the plot.
Too bad that this scene is the best part
of the entire movie. After a while, we do
start to feel as if we have seen this story
somewhere before. First, Karen eries
until all her make-up comes off and she
starts to look old. Then she goes through
the paranoia stage, when she thinkA ev-
eryone is out to get her younger daugh-
The police, naturally, as in most of
these tales, are no help at all. Although
they catch the delivery man (Kiefer
Sutherland), he is set free - because of
a legal technicality. And guess What?
Karen gets pissed.
So she tries to take the law into h*,
own hands. Karen snoops into the
psychopath's life and he starts .messing
with hers. And here comes the big ques-
tion: What's Sally Field going to do,
now that justice has failed? Uhh well, -
she does have a gun in her hand and
she's been working out ... how are we
supposed to answer the question, if it's
already been answered for usr
The actors' performances, however
compensate for the plot's pr itbilit
and lack of originality. E rs is
See EYE age 10

Perennial wounded Tweetle bird Sally Field bites the bullet ... again.


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