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January 19, 1996 - Image 9

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

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ne micnigan uaiy - rnaay, January i, ib - y

,Totally Pauly is totally stupid

y Neal C. Carruth
Di1 Arts Writer
The months immediately following
the holiday season traditionally mark
a time when movie distributors and
studios unload their worst films. Any
film of quality was already released
in November or December for Oscar
*nsideration, So, critics and the film-
going public are stuck, for two or
threenonths, with a batch of movies
that ven Hollywood knows is ter-
One such film is "Bio-Dome," the
new comedy starring Pauly Shore and
5tephen Baldwin. Shore and Baldwin,
4Ais:ear's "Dumb and Dumber" pair,
J4yBud and Doyle, two hapless junior
loge students from Tucson. They
tieaway their time by playing paper,
scissors and by chewing their toe-
"r being dumped by their envi-
ro 1m'ntally-conscious girlfriends on
1 44 Day, they inadvertently get
ttjapd inside the Bio-Dome, a com-
plexthat houses a year-long ecosystem
study. The project is led by the over-
bearing Dr. Noah Faulkner (William
Atherton). Despite his initial qualms

F Blo-Dome
Directed by Jason
Bloom; with Pauly Shore
and Stephen Baldwin
At Briarwood
overhow thepresence ofBud and Doyle
might affect the homeostasis of the
closed environment, he decides to let
them remain as an example of con-
trolled chaos.
Also participating in the project are
four other scientists, including (BIG
SURPRISE!) two slinky temptresses
who almost make Bud and Doyle forget
about winning their way back into the
affections of their old girlfriends.
"Bio-Dome" is a bad idea brought
to full fruition. Most of the humor is
crude and sophomoric. We get the
usual "hilarious hijinks" and "zany
antics," such as Bud and Doyle
bungee-jumping from the ceiling of
the Bio-Dome or breaking into a stor-
age closet and gassing up on nitrous

oxide. One is hard-pressed to find any
humor in these situations.
And then, after nearly two hours of
brainless comedy and flatulence jokes,
this film has the temerity to get preachy.
Shore tells us that, "We have to listen to
Mother Nature." There's nothing worse
than a film that insults one's intelli-
gence and then tries to provide a mes-
The acting cannot salvage this sink-
ing vessel. Some consider Shore, the
once and future MTV veejay, highly
amusing. I find him annoying at best.
His vacant stare and "California val-
ley" delivery wear one's patience thin
after about 15 minutes. Baldwin, who
was excellent in "The Usual Sus-
pects," is now working with material
that is far beneath his ability. He de-
serves better projects than "Bio-
Atherton gives a silly performance
as Dr. Faulkner. The character goes
loopy when it appears that Bud and
Doyle have irrevocably destroyed his
project. He becomes a nutty bomber
who plans to undermine the others'
plans to salvage the Bio-Dome, espe-
cially after Bud and Doyle throw a

'ae t ya ea s n ec s-.- -
The always eloquent Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin star In the new insta-classic, "Blo-Dome."

party, letting in people and germs
from the outside. I am a bit concerned
because at the end of the film, Dr.
Faulkner escapes, hopefully not into

Perhaps mall kids or the recently-
lobotomized will derive some enjoy-
ment from "Bio-Dome." All in all, it's
a tremendous waste of time. I look
forward to a day in the distant future

when this current trend of "dumb and
dumber" filmmaking draws to a close.
At one point near the end of "Bio-
Dome," Doyle says, "Sometimes stu-
pid can be pretty cool." Think again.

Toni Morrison
Song of Solomon
Everyman 's Library
Alfred Knopf
There are probably few books that be-
gin as unusually as Toni Morrison's"Song
of Solomon." The opening scene features
man about to fly off a roof; in the
watching crowd is one woman singing to
him, and another going into labor. How-
ever,;readers will not know until they
finish-the novel just how important the
scene is; it unites all the main characters
who' aren't fully introduced until later.
Also, it contains the spellbinding inten-
sity that distinguishes the entire novel.
Morrison is the author of five other
gVels and the winner of the 1993 Nobel
ze.for Literature. "Song of Solomon"
i her third novel, originally published
in 1977 and recently republished in
hardcoveras part of the new Everyman's
Library Contemporary Classics collec-
tiontFor those who haven't read
Morrison, it stands as an excellent ex-
ample of her work.
The novel relates the story of Macon
Dead, better known as Milkman, and
'his extraordinary family. There is Ma-
Milkman's acquisitive and up-
wardly-mobile father; Pilate, Macon's
eccentric, estranged sister; and Guitar,
Milkman's best friend, who devotes his
life to achieving a strange form of racial
justice, among numerous others. It is
also the story of Milkman's delayed
coming of age; he spends much of the
novel as a selfish, immature man, but
slowly develops a sense of his heritage,
and of concern for his family.
Wdorrison's diverse array of charac-
ters is one noteworthy aspect of the
book. Everyone is described in depth;
life stories are given and personalities
developed foreven the most minor play-

ers. In addition, Morrison introduces
characters in a highly interesting way.
A person will appear fleetingly in a few
scenes toward the beginning ofthe book,
to which the reader is unlikely to pay
attention. It only becomes apparent later
that these characters have pasts, family
connections, and are integral to the story.
This is the sort of book that must be read
at least twice; many details might seem
unimportant, but nothing in the novel is
random or without meaning.
Morrison's use of language is also re-
markable, catching the reader's attention,
and possessing the unmistakable ring of
reality. For example, she describes the
setting ofthe opening scene: "At that time
of day, during the middle of the week,
word-of-mouth newsjust lumbered along.
... Only the unemployed, the self-em-
ployed, and the very young were avail-
able - deliberately available because
they'd heard about it, or accidentally avail-
able because they happened to be walk-
ing at that exact moment in the shore end
of Not Doctor Street, a name the post
office did not recognize." With such a
first page, it would be extremely hard not
to continue reading the rest of the novel.
"Song of Solomon" creates an un-
usual and strange fictional world, where.
men can fly, women can cast spells, and
every mistaken course of action ends
up being the right one. Toward the
conclusion ofthenovel, Milkman visits
his ancestral home in Virginia in search
of a lost cache of gold. His quest is
occurring for all the wrong reasons; the
gold doesn't belong to him, and he has
already attempted stealing it.
Nevertheless, Virginia turns out to
be the place where, through a series of
clues and coincidences, Milkman dis-
covers his long-forgotten family his-
tory, and finally comes to maturity. In
one memorable passage, he finally sees
his grandfather's farm: "A farm that

colored their lives like a paintbrush and
spoke to them likeasermon. 'You see?'
the farm said to them. 'See? See what
you can do? Never mind you can't tell
one letter from another, never mind you
born a slave, never mind you lose your
name, never mind your daddy dead,
never mind nothing. Here, this here, is
what a man can do if he puts his mind to
it and his back in it."
"Song of Solomon" expresses that
exultation, as well as anger, bitterness,
jealousy, loyalty, humor and forgive-
ness. This novel seems to comprehend
everything about human nature, and
inexorably draws the reader into its
saga of family strife and eventual re-
demption. This work, let alone
Morrison's other novels, is worthy of
the Nobel Prize.
- Elizabeth Lucas
Evelyn McFarlane
and James Saywell
Villard Books
My uncle has an interesting habit.
Every night after dinner he'd write some
ultimately unanswerable philosophical
question like "What is the meaning of
life?" Or "If I had to kill one family
member, who would it be and why?"
Then he'd go fora stroll. Lost in thought
and contemplation over his chosen
topic, he was often gone for as long as
five hours. He never wrote.a book or
anything, but if he had, "If ..." would

have been a good name for it.
The philosophy behind "If ..." is
simple, but its application is perhaps
the most difficult thing in the world to
do. Authors Evelyn McFarlane and
James Saywell want us to think - to
truly think about our world, ourselves
and our true feelings, feelings so deeply
bottled-up we often times don't even
know they're there.
"If ..." is, at the simplest level, a
book of questions. Its dozens of queries
will make you laugh hysterically at their
absurdity, or seriously consider them
for a short period. Every now and then
you will read a question that will strike
you unexpectedly, that will lead you to
recall instances of joy and pain that
you'd tried so hard to either forget or
embellish to the level of Greek myth.
And then, before you even realize it,
you're thinking. Truly thinking. With
your mind, heart and soul you are pon-
dering the ways of a world that changes
so rapidly you are forced, more often
than not, to simply live; you're rarely
allowed to stop and contemplate why
life is the way it is.
These are the types of questions which
could stimulate a luncheon when conver-
sation is at a lull. "If you could alter one
physical characteristic ofyour mate, what
would you change?" is a question that is
sure to draw rapt response. Other good
ones: "Ifyou could have chosen your own
first name what would it be?" And "lfyou
had to name the most terrifying moment
of your life what would it be?"
Many of the questions in "If ..." may
seem stupid. "If you could eliminate a

singetype ofanimal for evermore, which
one would you choose?" may not strike
you as a question worthy of your time.
But try to answer. If you are true to
yourself you'll see that even the wacki-
est sounding queries this book offers
("If you could have any room in the
world become your bedroom, which
room would you choose?") could lead
you to critically examine your true self
in a way you've never done before.
If you choose to treat "If ..." like a

joke book, then the real joke's on you.
"If..." is as deep and as soul-delving of
a book as they come. Though small and
not a complicated read, "If ..." is not
always easy to digest. It is not meant to
be. And every time you have even a
slightly difficult time with a question it
asks, and you force yourself to come up
with a heartfelt answer nonetheless, then
you can stand proudly and know that
you have just grown a little bit more:
- Eugene Bowen

Sos Community Crisis Center
"feed a hungry child
help a homeless family find a place to live
* be there for someone who needs to talk
gain valuable work experience
Training starts in January call Kaly at 485-8730
U I0M G20Wfi0%ef00

FALL, 1995
ends January 22
Saint Mary Student Parish
The Roman Catholic Community at the University of Michigan
Thank you to the 242 students who pledged $9,290 toward our goal of
30 students and $10,000! Contributions for the Fall, 1995 Student
Campaign will be accepted through January 22. All gifts support the
new elevator which allows access for the physically challenged. If you
attend St. Mary's, please consider a gift to help us reach our goal.
Thank you! 1995-1996 Student Campaign Committee

Hop On the Band Wagonl
Leasing Now For Fall '96 " May-to-May Leases Too!
(313) 761-8000
Located at: 610 Church St., Ann Arbor
(next to Good Time Charley's)
Office hours from 9AM - 5:30PM Mon thru Fri
Saturday & Sunday by appointment

Student rush tickets ONLY $15!
Best known
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Sponsored by
(~ NORTHWEST with the lnn, rborSymphonij
February 17, 1996 8 p.m.
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor
Tickets available at UMS Box Office, Burton Tower, Ar
Or call 764-2538 for information.

(limit 2 per ID)


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