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October 29, 1996 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-29

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I

Urift IdtanDij

Take a trip to the 'Badlands'
In one of his earliest screen roles, Martin Sheen stars in "Badlands," a
1974 Terrence Malick thriller about a teenager who kills his girl-
friend's father. Over the years, the film has gained a cult following, and
it is playing tonight -just for you, film fan - at the Natural Science
Auditorium at 7:15. Don't miss it.

Tuesday
October 29, 1996

5

Weak 'Gillia
By Bryan Lark
Daily Arts Writer
Pretending to be a deep, complex exploration of
love and grief, "To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday" is
actually nothing more than a celebration of soggy sen-
timent and romantic stereotypes that banks on the
ence's appreciation of a good cry.
owever, the film fails to achieve the depth it
strives for and barely garners a sniffle, let alone all-out
"Steel Magnolias" tears. This is despite wrenching
performances by an exceptional ensemble led by Peter
Gallagher and Claire Danes.
Though she logs minimal
screen time, Michelle Pfeiffer R E
asGillian is the true star of this TO
overwhelmingly bland and pre-
tentious film. As the core of
stagnant, unsubstantiated
plot, Pfeiffer's Gillian is
charming, radiant, and, well -
she's dead.
When the two-year anniversary of Gillian's demise
in a boating accident rolls around (a day that also hap-
pens to be her 37th birthday), confronting her death is
not the first order of business for David and Rachel
Lewis (Gallagher and Danes), Gillian's husband and
daughter.
For David, every night is as momentous as Gillian's
hday - he spends countless hours in the surf with
Wspirit of Gillian, kissing and kidding with his love-
ly wife, while Rachel watches helplessly in agony her
father's delusional happiness.
Now occupying the Nantucket beach house where
Gillian spent her last few days in 1994, David and
Rachel welcome Gillian's analytical sister Esther

in' suffers birthday blues

ill
7

(Kathy Baker) and Esther's sardonic husband Paul
(Bruce Altman) for an observance of Gillian's legacy
on Labor Day.
Thrown into the firestorm of emotions that is the
Lewis household are Kevin Danford (Wendy
Crewson), who was brought to Nantucket unwittingly
to help David "get over" his late wife, and nymphet-
next-door Cindy (Laurie Fortier) who has all the
seductiveness of a 16-year-old Pamela Lee, but with
more wit and less plastic.
Despite a few humorous sidetracks into karaoke
and sand-castle competition, the
depressing weekend is all about
V I E W Gillian - David frolicking with
Man on Her her ghost on the beach; Rachel
th Birthday graciously harboring her own
pain to ease her father's; Esther
attempting to gain permanent
At showcase custody of Rachel and save her
from David's demented devotion
to Gillian.
Over the course of the weekend, facts are revealed,
relationships are re-evaluated and questions are emi-
nent.
Is David really crazy? Will Rachel be better off with
her aunt and uncle? Can Paul and Esther ever have a
love as strong as David and Gillian's? How can Kevin
escape the island of insanity? Why is such an insignif-
icant character as Cindy in this film? Does anyone
care?
Trying to juggle familial relations, coming of age,
forbidden sexuality, humor and heart, not to mention
the aforementioned questions in just about 90 min-
utes, "To Gillian" drops all of the balls in one mal-
adroit, if gorgeously executed, motion.

It is difficult to pinpoint what is actually wrong with
this cheesy film, seeing that all elements are presum-
ably in order - perhaps the order is just wretched.
Whatever makes "To Gillian" so brilliantly
mediocre, it is decidedly not the fault of the endlessly
appealing cast.
Gallagher, while a bit unbelievable as a grieving
widower and a capricious father, deftly conveys the
outward derangement and hidden distress of David.
Usually, when Gallagher is brought up in conversa-
tion, things like well-tailored, arrogance, one-testicle
coma guy and huge bushy eyebrows spring to mind,
not father and widower. Maybe that's just me.
If not for Gallagher or Gillian's birthday, then one
reason to celebrate is the overall greatness of Danes.
So heartbreakingly real and unabashedly astonishing
on "My So-Called Life," in "Little Women" and here
as the tortured Rachel, Danes is one of the best
actresses working today.
Making this film as a favor to her husband, pro-
ducer David Kelley, Pfeiffer is amazing as Gillian,
haunting every word and movement of the film.
Making her supporting role a star vehicle, Pfeiffer
does nothing for the good of the film by uttering
such cheese-laden phrases to Gallagher as "You're
OK, Mr. Man."
If anything good can be said about "To Gillian on
Her 37th Birthday," aside from the great cast and lus-
cious locations, it is that the film is better than
Pfeiffer's last vehicle, "Up Close and Personal," which
is not a miraculous feat by any means.
This "Birthday" is one in which you can simply
send money or your regards and not feel guilty about
your absence from the celebration. Don't worry, you
didn't miss anything.

Peter Gallagher consoles Claire Danes in "To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday."

Gospel's
McClurkin
returns to
M1 ot+owna
*Eugene Bowen
Daily Arts Writer
Donnie McClurkin is coming home.
And the 35-year-old associate minister
of Detroit's Perfecting Church and
founder / director of the New York
Restorations Choir has just tacked on
the title singer / songwriter to his list of
accomplishments with today's release
of his debut self-titled gospel album
arner Bros., ***).
.),riginally from Amityville, N.Y.,
McClurkin's childhood - a story of
his journey from suffering to salvation
- is one which sparks feelings of sad-
ness, anger and awe at the power of
God's deliverance.
"My family was totally dysfunction-
al;' McClurkin said in a recent inter-
view with The Michigan Daily. "My
mother was a backslider and a drug
user; my father an alcoholic. I lived in a
lent home. There would actually be
hts in the street, situations where my
two sisters and I would have to pull
mother and father apart."
\PREVEW
; Donnie
McClurkin
Appearing tomorrow at 5 p.m. at
God's World Record store in Detroit.
But he remembers that throughout the
horror, the church and God were always
there for him. Various events in his life
have strengthened McClurkin's belief in a
higher power.
That is why producing this album
was so important to McClurkin.
"Doannie McClurkin" is a nine-song
thank you to God for all He has done.
"I want to make God proud of me' he
d: "I want God to look at me and
ile, to trust me with exactly what he
tells me to do. I want to be just like Him,
to have His heart for people, His com-
passion. I want to ... minister Jesus to
(others). I could care less about fame:'
So why a self-titled album?
"Because I think the phenomenon of
Donnie McClurkin is really simply
explained. Not because (I'm) a great
singer; 90 percent of artists out there
sing better than me any day. The
'enomenon is that I understand Jesus
and the calling of God, so I can say to
people that I know the Anointing is
going to come."
"Donnie McClurkin" certainly has
some religious songs worth shouting
.hkrtirt In the cnirt of such MackL o vsn

Parker's 'Here Lies' comes to life
Production recreates Algonquin Round Table majesty

Dy Evelyn Miska
For the Dailvy
The Arena Theater was the proud host of some very fash-
ionable people for this weekend's performance of Dorothy
Parker's "Here Lies." The members of the Algonquin Round
Table congregated around an appropri- _
ately round table and the play was off
and running. RE
The small cast of eight, staged and
directed by Karina Miller, made con-
tinuous jabs at the difficulties often
arising between men and women.
The action moved from the rowdy
group seated around the table, to a num-
ber of monologues and dialogues, beginning with the selection
"From the Diary of a New York Lady." Heather Adams played
a very convincing New York Lady, telling the audience all about
her week - the high points and the low points - constantly
emphasizing things with the phrase "What can you do'?"
From there, the play moved on to "A Telephone Call," in
which Carrie Keranen desperately awaited a phone call from
her sweetheart. Keranen's character went from begging God
to make the phone ring, to cajoling Him with sweet words,
and finally moved to making threats if he did not call. Well

I1

played, Keranen showed the male contingent of the audience
the thought process of an extremely agitated woman.
"The Waltz" showed the audience the inner thoughts of a
woman (Stephanie Bernstein) forced to dance with a man
when she did not want to. The constant motion of the waltz-
ing became distracting, though, and
made it difficult to hear all of the
V I E W monologue.
Here Lies "The Last Tea" (Jennifer Moore, Jay
Cramer) "Dusk Before Fireworks"
Arena Theater (Adams, Matt Witten) and "The
oct. 25.1X996 Sexes" (Keranen, Kevin Brewer.) All of
these selections were quite similar,
which unfortunately caused things to
become tedious by the time "The Sexes" was reached.
"Just a Little One" brought the audience to a speakeasy,
where a woman (Stephanie Bernstein), again, is conversing
with her sweetheart. Bernstein convincingly showed the audi-
ence how quickly emotions and ideas change as one drinks
more and more alcohol. She went from pleasant to hysterical
all in a matter of minutes.
"You Were Perfectly Fine" brought the audience to "the
day after." A man who had been very intoxicated the previous
See HERE LIES, Page 8

JOIN THE MOST PROMISING
PROFESSION OF THE 21ST CENTURY
fl~OM EA~ TEACXEE
Prospective Teacher Education Meeting
Thursday, November 7, 1996
Whitney Auditorium
Room 1 309 School of Education Building
Call 764-7563 for more information.
TePsychology Peer Advisors Present
TeFOCUS GROUPS
Fall Term 1996
APPLYING TO GRADUATE SCHOOL IN
PSYCHOLOGY
Approaching the Application Process: Writing the Personal Statement, Arranging
for Letters of Recommendation and Preparing for Interviews
Wednesday, October 30, 19%6,7:00-9:00 PM, 4th Floor Terrace, East Hall
eRefreshments will be served at all events. * Faculty Members and Graduate
Students will be available to answer your questions and discuss these issues.
* RSVPto the Peer Advising Office at 647-3711 * 1346 East Hall
http://www/personal.umich.edu/~hsy/PeerAdvising.html
ALL ARE WELCOME!!
Enter East Hall by the Ps cholog Church St. entrance.
The elevator is to the f'eft. Go to the fourth floor
-p and follow signs to the Terrace.

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