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March 25, 1997 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-03-25

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See Kubrick's 1964 classic "Dr Strangelove" on the big screen.
Starring Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden and Slim
Pickens, this Cold War black comedy explores sexual insecurity and
The Bomb. Don't miss the opportunity to see "Strangelove," winner
of 60 international awards, on Michigan Theater's screen. The film
will begin at 7 p.m. Admission is $5.

Tuesday
March 25, 1997

5

'Selena'

melts in cheese

Melodrama makes pop diva's life twice as long

By Bryan Lark
Daily Film Editor
Selena Quintanilla Perez was poised
to become the next great pop diva when
e was brutally and senselessly slain in
arch, 1995.
Sadly, Selena's greatest musical tri-
umph, the world- _
wide hit, "I Could R
Fall In Love," was
posthumous, rising
to the top of the
charts five months
after her death. At E
Also quite sadly,
e title of that song
ms up the biopic "Selena" starring
Jennifer Lopez and Edward James
Olmos -- I could fall in love with
"Selena' if it wasn't such a melodra-
matic chunk of biographical Velveeta.
Letting cheesiness get in the way of
the storytelling and emotion that should
rule a biography, "Selena" melts under
the enormous heat of attempting to
retell the tale of a tragic and enigmatic
op icon, never quite living up to its
tential.
Going into the film, one can expect
that it will turn to other recent biopics
for guidance and inspiration. One

ria

would expect, perhaps, a female "La
Bamba'" an abuse-less "What's Love
Got To Do With It" or even a less ambi-
tious "Buddy Holly Story." But what
"Selena" seems to become, surprising-
ly, is a Latino "Partridge Family."
Beginning oddly in 1961, "Selena"
first depicts the
r V i E W tough life of
A b r a h a m
Selena Q u i n t a n i1lla
(Olmos), Selena's
** father, as he
arwood and Showcase encounters preju-
- dice for being a
M e x i c a n -
American trying to make it in the doo-
wop industry. (Don't ask.)
Flash-forwarding to the early '80s,
Abraham, now incessantly chewing gum,
discovers that his youngest child Selena
can sing like a little Latina Barry White,
since her voice is so deep for her age.
Forcing his other children to learn
instruments and form the family band
"Selena and the Dinos," a travelling
Tejano, a unique hybrid of rock, R&B,
reggae, country and polka, that has
everything the Partridge's had, except
Danny Bonaduce.
Throughout these early years of the

film, the performances, namely Olmos',
are strictly movie-of-the-week, and the
over-the-top "I'm gonna be famous" and
"It's OK to be Mexican-American" fairy
tale is nearly unbearable, until we flash-
forward again - this time to 1989.
Now Selena is a voluptuous 18-year-
old, wowing crowds and belting out
tunes in both Spanish and English.
With Jennifer Lopez inhabiting the
role of Selena, the film takes off with
soaring musical numbers and now enjoy-
ably over-the-top drama, depicting
Selena's first No. I hit, her relationship
with bad-boy guitarist Chris Perez (Jon
Seda), her bus breaking down, her eating
habits and her strangely poignant bungee
jumping experience. The film also high-
lights her first and only Grammy Award,
her unfinished English crossover album,
her now infamous sold-out Astrodome
show and her betrayal at the hand of
Yolanda Saldivar, who has since been
convicted of Selena's murder.
I could fall in love with the arc of tri-
umph and tragedy that was Selena's life,
but the overlong treatment of the story
gets muddled in oozing melodrama and
cliche.
I could also fall in love with the music
of Selena. Infectious and undeniably

Selena (Jennifer Lopez) and her bad-boy guitarist boyfriend, Chris (John Seda), enjoy the crowd.

sappy, Selena's songs and performances
are the paramount factor that make the
film such a marginal success. From her
early hit "Coma la Flor" to the English
smash "Dreaming of You" to an unre-
leased disco medley, Selena's music is
her legacy, and it serves as the heartbeat
of the film.
I could most definitely fall in love
with Jennifer Lopez - in fact, I already
have. If the music is the film's heart

beat, then Lopez is its sexually charged
soul. Eerily emulating the slain Tejano
goddess, Lopez is all smiles and ambi-
tion, making us love and believe in
Selena, even if the rest of the film is
predominantly disposable.
Lopez is so outstanding as Selena
that the film becomes less of a tribute to
Selena than a launching pad for saucy,
spicy and above all, talented ex-Fly Girl
Jennifer Lopez, soon to be seen in the

big summer snake thriller "Anaconda,"
as a journalist and in Oliver Stone's"U-
Turn,' as a small town seductress. -
I could fall in love with "Selena"',d
you could, too, if only director Gregqry
Nava could've created a screen treatment
that is as evocative and explosive ag Ihe
short life of Selena - Selena only lired
23 years, but the overwrought, over-
cheesed, under-Jennifer-Lopezed ver-
sion of her life seems twice as long.

Roiphe to
ead from
'Paradise'
By Elizabeth Lucas
Daily Books Editor
Twenty-eight-year-old author Katie
Roiphe ignited a storm of controversy
Lith her 1993 book "The Morning
fter: Sex, Fear, and Feminism on
Campus; a critique of the '90s feminist
movement. Her sophomore effort,
"Last Night in Paradise," is less polem-
ical but equally well-observed.
"Last Night in Paradise" is a look at
how national attitudes on sex and
morality have taken a conservative turn.
As Roiphe sees it, the pendulum has
swung from the freedom of the '60s to
new longing for rules and guidelines
- and the AIDS epidemic has come to
symbolize this need for caution and
restraint.
The book makes intriguing reading,
with an emphasis on description and
analysis rather than on proving a partic-
ular point. As
Roiphe said in an
interview with The
Michigan Daily, "I
nd of deliberately
rote a book that
couldn't be con-
densed into three
minutes on 'Good Morning America."'
This is an apt description. Part mem-
oir, part social criticism and part a
series of anecdotes and vignettes, "Last
Night in Paradise" covers a lot of
ground.
Roiphe said the book primarily grew
t of her interest in "morality, and the
Tay we search for morality. What are
the ways in which people make sense of
their conflicted feelings about sex? I
think AIDS is one of those ways."
The book includes several scenes

'Erma' explores light side of life

Forever, Erma
Erma Bombeck
Andrews and McMeel
Erma Bombeck was a warm and
funny person who was able to see the
little pleasures of life that most of us
take for granted while rushing
through our busy daily lives. Always
positive, she looked at things in a
light and humorous way, almost a la
"Seinfeld," but not quite as sarcastic
or bitter.
When Erma Bombeck died last year,
the world lost a powerful and beautiful
voice. A voice that made us laugh. A
voice that made us cry. A voice that
made us realize that life was something
that didn't need to be taken so serious-
ly.
But even though that voice is gone
forever, there is one last chance to relive
the words that changed our outlook on
life for the better.
In "Forever, Erma," Bombeck's
legacy is carried on in this collection
of her best works. The book is a trea-
sury of more than 190 of her best-
loved and most requested columns,
written from the '60s to the '90s.
From her first column, "Children
Cornering the Coin Market," written in
January 1965, to her last one, titled
"Let's Face It," from April 1996,

Katie Rolphe will read from "Last Night in Paradise" on Wednesday at Borders.

Bombeck made herself a household
name in articles filled with insight and
humor.
"Forever, Erma" relives the memo-
ries and rediscovers the magic.
The book is organized by topics such
as mothers, children and holidays, with
the articles within each topic in chrono-
logical order.
With Erma, we learn about and
experience the pains that come with
raising children, such as what cos-
tume to come up with when your kid
is a dangling participle in
the school play, or
how to deal with
the emptiness
that hits you :
your children
have grown
up and left.
With Erma, we
explore the little
mysteries of life, like why
washing machines have a tendency to
prey on single socks, or what the deal
is with shoulder pads. ("I always feel
as if.I'm Scarlett O'Hara wearing the
draperies with the rods still in
them.")
Though some of the articles were
written decades ago and don't really
apply to our lives today (does anyone
still have Tupperware parties?), there is
still a feeling created by "Forever,

Erma" that people of all ages will
appreciate.
Following the last article in the col-
lection is a tribute section with remem-
brances from friends, fans, family
members and admirers. This section is
the most moving part of the book, illus-
trating just how many lives Bombeck
touched.
As Phil Donahue put it at -her
memorial service, "She was real and
she brought us all down to Earth -
gently, generously and with brilliant
humor. She is the twenti-
eth-century political
figure and when
the scholars
gather hun-
dreds of
years- from
now to learn
about us, tlkey
can't know it -all
if they don't read
Erma."
The world lost a wonderful per-
son when Erma Bombeck passed
away, but through "Forever, Erma"
and the legacy she left behind,,she
will live forever in the hearts of
millions.
No one will ever be able to suni up
the lighter side of life with more.wit
and intelligence than' Erma
Bombeck.
-Julia hih

K
We

related to AIDS, such as a classroom
discussion of safe sex, and a chapter on
Magic Johnson's 1991 announcement
that he had AIDS. It also discusses ways
in which the public's attitude has
changed, going from the hedonistic
'60s and '70s to the safety- and health-
obsessed '80s and '90s.
_ _ _Part of this
change in attitude,
EVIEW Roiphe said, is due
atie Roiphe to baby boomers'
ednesday at 7:30 p.m. aging. "They went
Borders through the one-
Free night stands; they
had a great time.
But as they're raising their own kids
they think, I don't want them to go
through that."
However, this opinion is not only
held by parents. Some of the more strik-
ing scenes in the book feature teen-
agers talking earnestly about the evils
of unprotected sex. As Roiphe said, "I
think a lot of younger people feel that
they kind of want rules. I don't think
total freedom really makes people
happy."
Some people, certainly, are happiest

when operating under strict guidelines. In
"Last Night in Paradise," Roiphe illus-
trates this idea in an anecdote about
Christine, a young woman committed to
abstinence and religious morality. This
story stands out sharply from the rest of
the book, perhaps because, as Roiphe
wrote, "it's easy to feel, amidst all the tol-
erant, glossy fragments of advice,,a great
drive toward the stern, old-fashioned
morality that would pull it all together."
This drive toward morality is really
the focus of the book, and Roiphe stat-
ed that it would probably be no different
in the future.
"Last Night in Paradise" doesn't pre-
sent a pat conclusion, instead summa-
rizing again the contradictory forces of
impulsiveness and caution.
"If I had kids, I wouldn't want them
to be raised with this total culture of
caution," Roiphe said. "You have to go
through it yourself and make mistakes.
I don't feel like I have the answers - I
have the questions.'
While "Last Night in Paradise" is not
the last word on sex and morality, it's a
good place to begin thinking about
these questions.

*1

As Part of the Distinguished Lecture Series on National Research Policy
The Office of the Vice President for Research Presents

. The Role of the States in
Shaping the Nation's
Research Enterprise

-

Richard Celeste
Former Governor of Ohio
Wednesday, March 26, 1997, 4:00 p.m.
Rackham Amphitheatre

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