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October 03, 1996 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-03

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8B The Michigan-Daily Weekend Magazine - Thursday,October 3,4996


The Michigan Daily Weekend M

® State of the Arts

Bob Dole doesn't
like "Pulp Fiction."
He'll tell you that
right off the bat.
In Bob Dole's
mind, "Pulp
Fiction" is another
demonic film that
shows youngsters of
all ages how to do
some pretty naughty

things like rob, kill and shoot heroin. In
Bob Dole's mind, "Pulp Fiction" is a
reprehensible movie beset upon the vic-
timized American public that not only
teaches immorality but preaches that
there are benefits (and few conse-
quences) to such behavior. Bob Dole
may have a point. But he would never
make it in Hollywood.
Tinseltown, after all, embraced direc-
tor / phenomenon Quentin Tarantino's

independently-financed crime master-
piece as if it were the messiah when it
was initially released two years ago this
month. So Bob Dole should take a hint:
Going after a film that has earned more
than $100 million and become a popu-
lar culture phenomenon in the process
is not the way to gain many votes in an
But much like what the former sena-
tor from Kansas is trying to do with the

Joshua Rich
Daily Arts Editor


U.S. government, this movie has
already achieved in its own sphere.
"PulpFiction" has reinvigorated the
movie world by demanding that one
think while enjoying its excesses.
Since its release, "Pulp Fiction" has
become the envy of all in filmdom (as
well as the favorite whipping boy of
many a feisty conservative politician).
Hence, it did not take long for most to
announce "Pulp Fiction" as more than
just a film - as a feeling, an aura that
movie makers have tried to emanate and
production companies have tried to cap-
italize on for quite a while now. A
movie god, if you will.
Well, I don't buy it. This isn't the first
time we've been led to think that
movies can somehow thrive beyond
their 35-millimeters. "Citizen Kane" is
no more than the well-crafted story of
the rise and fall of a great man. Forrest
Gump does not symbolize the every-
man as he runs and runs and runs across
the country (stealing Oscars, as it might
be). And "Star Trek" I'm afraid to say,
does not give some sort of grand insight
into the realm of
human existence.
So why, then, America
should we gobble
up critics' and pub- need to
licists' proclama-
tions that this movie entertai
is the next "X" or
that film is the next
"Y?" Indeed, ever since it was released,
"Pulp Fiction" has been consistently
recognized as the "X" and "Y" in many
a publicity equation.
You want to pack your theaters? Just
tell 'em that the movie you're showing is
v" ,ir *tio9 But it shouldn't.
I have no doubt that "Pulp Fiction" is
an outstanding motion picture. It was
the best picture of 1994, and one of the
most notable films of the 1990s. If any
movie deserves to be envied or copied
or honored, "Pulp Fiction" is it.
And yet, publicizing a film as "The
next 'Pulp Fiction"' often does a disser-
vice to the new movie, let alone to the
viewer who hopes to see another slick
presentation of smooth criminals and
clever dialogue. Take as evidence some
recent films many have deemed "The
next 'Pulp Fiction"': "The Usual
Suspects," "Trainspotting" or "Fargo."
The publicity tag line may not have
hurt their attendance, but it certainly
isn't accurate. "The Usual Suspects"
has much more of a plot but many fewer
original characters and situations than

"Pulp Fiction." "Trainspotting" looks at
heroin addiction in a completely differ-
ent manner than "Pulp Fiction" "Fargo"
really has nothing to do with "Pulp
Fiction" except that both are about bad
guys and Tarantino favorite Steve
Buscemi appears in both.
We no doubt pack theaters to see
"Trainspotting" or "Fargo" thinking
they'll be "Pulp Fiction" reincarnated, and
we do find these movies kind of trippy
and cool in their own ways. Yet they are
nothing like Tarantino's gem (which they
probably make no attempt to imitate).
Americans need to be fed entertain-
Hollywood can no longer release a
movie and sell it on its own merits. We
are told to see "Pulp Fiction" because it
is by the director of "Reservoir Dogs."
We take a look at "The Rock" because
it is like "Die Hard" on Alcatraz. And
when a film comes along that is so orig-
inal that we don't know what to com-
pare it to - say, "Schindler's List" - -
we just give it an Academy Award and
send it on its way (even though the
name "Shoah" does
creep into our
US minds).
be fed enough, movies can
be considered good
wnent. or bad or somehow
special because of

Proposed F
V Albino Alligator -
~ The English Patie
~ Mother - Octobe
V Nightwatch -Oc
~ Swingers - Octo
~ That Thing You DE
~ The Chamber--(
~ Get on the Bus -
~ Some Mother's S
~ To Gillian On Her
V William Shakespe
V The People Vs, L2
V Dear God - Nov.
~ The Mirror Has Tv
V Jingle all the Way
VThe Crucible -
V Everyone Says I I
V Ghosts of Missis
Hialet - Decen-
VM arvin's Room -
V The Evening Star

University alum Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" makes its U.S. silver-screen debut this fall.

what they, them-
selves, are. Just because they bear some
relation to other films doesn't make
them any better or worse. Just because
your favorite actor or director made a
movie doesn't mean it's awesome. Just
because some doofus at the State
Theater decides to tell you that "Quentin
Tarantino's 'Curdled"' is coming soon
iu t "rf: don't live the hype
(Tarantino's production group, A Band
Apart, simply financed the film that will
be opening later this month). And don't
think that it will be any good.
But please accept this: Movies are
movies. The primary purpose of "Pulp
Fiction" is to provide entertainment
(albeit in a superior fashion to most
before it). Distributors may get you into
a theater by telling you a movie is like
"Pulp Fiction," but don't let them mis-
lead you into thinking the knock-off
flick is anything special. Think for
yourself when you go to the movies. To
raise "Pulp Fiction" or any other movie
as the standard or the deity of cinema
for all others to follow is ridiculous.
And if God is what you're seeking, read
the Bible. Bob Dole would like that.

Continued from Page 128
Hemingway and Sandra Bullock form
the basis for "A Farewell To Arms," in
Jon Voight fight to save a burning, all-
black town in "Rosewood" and Alec
Baldwin and Whoopi Goldberg fight to
bring down Medger Evers' killer in
"Ghosts Of Mississippi."
5. Make 'Em Laugh
Starting in late October with Albert
Brooks' "Mother," a comeback vehicle
for nerky Debbie Reynolds, such sup-
posedly hilarious
scenarios as
Whoopi Goldberg
masquerading as a
white man in "The
Associate" will
keep viewers
rolling in the
aisles. Ex-"Later'
host Greg Kinnear
as a con man
answering letters in
"Dear God," Bill
Murray and an ele- Best-seller "Sleepers
psant in "Larger screen this fall.
Than Life," Arnold -
Schwarzenegger searching for a covet-
ed toy in "Jingle All The Way" and John
Travolta as a drunken, womanizing fall-
en angel in "Michael" will likely have
viewers holding their sides and gasping
for air - and that's not just those with
heart ailments!
6. Require Kleenex
Touching, generally tear-jerking
films are indigenous to fall, with this
year's native weepers - "The English
Patient;' a World War II romance fea-
turing former "Schindler" Nazi Ralph
Fiennes, Barbra Streisand's troubled
ugly-duckling parable "The Mirror Has
Two Faces," "Marvin's Room" with
Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton and
Leonardo DiCaprio as part of a dys-
functional family and, at last, Shirley
MacLaine in the sequel to "Terms Of
Endearment," "The Evening Star."
7. Go Classic
Remakes and adaptations abound in
the form of Nicole Kidman, in Henry

James' "The Portrait Of A Lad," and
the live-action "101 Dalmations" that
has Glenn Close vamping it up as
puppy-lover Cruella DeVil. The heav-
ily-hyped first American filming of
Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," with
uu;tu ""LeCwis exorcising i1
its from Winona Ryder, Kenneth
Branagh's mercilessly complete, near-
ly four-hour "Hamlet" and Leonardo
DiCaprio and Clare Danes asdoomed
lovers in Mexico City with guns,
drugs and loud music in the psyche-
delic update of "Romeo and Juliet"
round out the classic remake genre.
8. Dare To Be Different
never mi-- ioc
mainstream, check
out these off-beat
intriguing little
films bound to
make slight rip-
ples, if not waves.
Jennifer Tilly and
Gina Gershon are
lam in "Bound"
dames and marti-
nis rule the lives of
"comes to the several L.A. bach-
elors in
- -- "Swingers" and
Ewan McGregor finally lands state-
side as a morgue attendant suspected
of foul play in "Nightwatch." Kevin
Kline and Sigourney Weaver tackle
suburban angst in the '70s in "The Ice
Storm," Kevin Spacey takes a bow as
director with "Albino Alligator" star-
ring Matt Dillon and Faye Dunaway
and Peter Gallagher wishes, as anyone
would, that Michelle Pfeiffer were still
alive in "To Gillian On Her 37th
Birthday." Wit, Italian food and
Isabella Rossellini are plentiful in
Stanley Tucci's "Big Night," Spike
Lee takes us to the Million Man
March in "Get On The Bus" and
"Kissed" reveals the finer points of
Now that Hollywood's fall roster has
teased endless audiences eager to spend
money and whetted the appetites of
Academy voters, it's time to visit the
concession stand, stop talking, enjoy
the show and above all ... let it snow.y

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