The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 18, 1996 - 9
By Kristin Long
Daily Arts Writer
So you want to see a good love story
one that will make you laugh and
cry; one that even your date will enjoy
because it touches that sensitive side in
--just the right way? If you thought
"Feeling Minnesota" would be the per-
fect flick, keep looking because it isn't.
It may have good-looking stars like
:Keanu Reeves and Cameron Diaz, but it
lacks a decent story and any chemistry
between its actors. The film is set in
none other than Minnesota where one
might think the sky is always gray and
Jthe people are always bitter.
At Briarwood and Showcase
Reeves stars as Jjaks, a man who can-
jaot seem to live his life free of crime.
.~Jjaks (pronounced Jacks) has not led
the most prosperous of lives, consider-
ing his mother (Tuesday Weld) chose to
raise his brother instead of him. As a
result, he spends most of his time in and
out of jail.
Out of prison, he returns to his home-
town to attend the wedding of his broth-
,,er Sam (Vincent D'Onofrio), for whom
he has never felt much endearment. The
two fought a great deal when they were
,.younger, as many brothers do; however,
most boys mature and stop throwing
things at one another sometime in the
* adolescent years. Unfortunately for
these two, childhood dilemmas have not
.,been resolved, and the two spend half
the movie wrestling and heaving rocks
at each other's head. When Sam marries
Freddy (Diaz), the devilish babe who
actually loves Jjaks, things only get
'Heavy' stands firm
By Prashant Tamaskar
Daily Arts Writer
A beautiful young woman whisks
into town, and as a result, everyone's
life changes significantly. Think you've
seen this one before? You probably have
- since it's been done countless times
prior to James Mangold's "Heavy."
Nevertheless, Mangold's incomplete,
yet thoughtful and poignant film man-
ages to succeed as more than just a
vehicle for rising star Liv Tyler.
Tyler plays Callie, a recent college
dropout who finds work as a server at a
restaurant in typical small-town
America. She is hired by Dolly (Shelley
Winters), the owner of the establish-
ment, whose son Victor (Pruitt Taylor
Vince) is the cook. Vic is enamored of
Callie, but alas,
he is reticent,
overweight and RI
stands no chance
with the lovely
waitress, who, to
worse, also has a boyfriend. A character
film, "Heavy" deals primarily with all
of the relationships between Callie, Vic,
Dolly and Delores (Deborah Harry),
who has been working at the restaurant
for 15 years.
Victor is smitten with Callie for obvi-
ous reasons. Her beauty and exuber-
ance breathes a little life into his other-
wise stagnant existence.'She is kind to
Vic because he is caring and sincere, in
contrast to her moody, insensitive, gui-
tar-playing boyfriend. However, it is
apparent from the beginning that noth-
ing will probably amount between the
two. In fact, the film focuses more on
how their interactions serve to shape
them, as opposed to featuring a fairy-
We also learn a lot about Victor
from the way that he deals with his
oppressive mother. Dolly is by no
means tyrannical; however, she
coerces Victor into believing that
working at the restaurant his whole life
is what he was meant to do. And, too
worried about displeasing his mother
to object, Victor has quashed most of
the dreams he once had. In a nice
touch, the director documents all of
this over an extended time, allowing
the viewer to piece together the puzzle
of the character.
Although no one at the restaurant
seems content with the way life has
unfolded, Delores seems the most dis-
satisfied of all, especially after Callie
arrives. Stricken with the handicap of
middle age, Delores despises Callie
because the young waitress is the rein-
carnation of what she used to be
Moreover, there is a great deal of ten-
sion between Delores, Dolly and Victor
that, although unexplained, seems to
have resulted from an adulterous sce-
nario involving Dolly's late husband.
As mentioned before, the characters
in the film are not partaking in the most
satisfactory existences. Their moods
are well reflected in the cinematogra-
phy. Many of the scenes are shot in the
cold, lonely night, or during a gray,
rainy day. But when Victor is in contact
with Callie, the photography appears to
VIEW techniques are
used in modera-
Heavy tion, and thus,
*** manage to be
At Ann Arbor 1 & 2 more effective.
Despite all of
does have numerous shortcomings.
Due to the strained relationships there
is not a comfortable moment through-
out most of the film. Yet as it plods
toward an ending, the tone begins to
change. Staying constant would have
better served the movie.
Also, many of the events that take
place seem a bit contrived and are used
as artificial mechanisms to advance the
film. However, this is not too disas-
trous, since plot is not the real focal
Finally, although the film devotes
most of its time to its characters, some-
thing is missing. That is, we leave the
movie theater not completely under-
standing their respective psyches, as if
some crucial information was withheld
from the audience. This can be frustrat-
ing, although in many ways it con-
tributes to the realism.
An intelligent, ambitious, yet flawed
work, "Heavy" had a difficult time
finding nationwide distribution -
despite the presence of Liv Tyler, who
has been overexposed since the Cannes
Film Festival. And in all probability,
most of those who do see the movie
will be watching to see why someone
with such limited experience was on so
many magazine covers this summer.
Upon viewing "Heavy," they will man-
age to see a pretty decent film with a
pretty decent actress.
"Hey Cammy, my career is going down the tubes. Please hold me."
These psychotic individuals lead
rather corrupt and indecent lives; even
the initial love scene between Jjaks and
Freddy is a bit on the provocative side.
The two meet at her wedding reception,
and following the introductions, they
make their way to the bathroom to meet
each other a little more. Granted,
Freddy only married Sam because she
owed money to the town gangster, but
still - perhaps a little decency!
When Jjaks (who got his name as a
result of a typographical error on his
birth certificate) finally has had enough
grief from his older sibling, he decides
to leave town - but not alone. He and
his lover take to the open road headed to
Las Vegas - where Freddy can live out
her dream as a showgirl in the Vegas
Their only problem, however, is Sam,
whose twisted mentality adds the
excitement to the dull drama. The plot
attempts to imitate a peculiar assort-
ment of films, such as "Pulp Fiction" or
"Get Shorty," but lacks the innovative
style and techniques of Quentin
Tarantino and Barry Sonnenfeld.
"Feeling Minnesota" also lacks qual-
ity in the acting category. One has to
wonder why Reeves turned down offers
for "Speed 2" to make this film. And
then we wonder why he did not forget
acting altogether and stick to his band.
After her impressive role in "She's
the One," Diaz does nothing extraordi-
nary. She fits her role as a street-smart
woman, who always manages to find
This flick also features Dan Aykroyd
as Ben, the sinister town cop with a
secret lust for Freddy. He has a heavy
Minnesota accent, which one might
think extends from somewhere in
Canada, and it does not match well with
his role. Many of the other characters
also carry local dialects, except Jjaks
and Freddy, who sound as if they grew
up in the land of sunshine instead of the
land of a thousand lakes.
The highlight of "Feeling Minnesota"
is more in its soundtrack than its plot.
With songs by Minnesota natives like
Bob Dylan and The Replacements, the
ballads are the only aspects of the film
that actually fit the locale.
It is written and directed by Steven
Baigelman, who found the title for his
feature film debut in a Soundgarden
song. The song has a line about a man
who is so disappointed by what he sees
in the mirror, he says he's "looking
California and feeling Minnesota."
With weak acting and an even weak-
er plot, "Feeling Minnesota" does not
have the emotion to make a success.
The characters do not fit the scenery,
and the scenery does not fit the actors.
"Feeling Minnesota" makes you feel
nothing but anger for wasting good
money and precious time.
Did you miss our mass meeting last night?
Do you still want to write for the Daily?
Our final mass meeting for new staffers will be held
tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the
Student Publications Building,
420 Maynard St.
Courtney Love and Vincent D'Onofro star in "Feeling Minnesota."
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