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April 16, 1997 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-04-16

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See a sneak peak of "Eight Heads in a Duffle Bag." Starring Joe
Pesci, this film follows the troubles of a mobster, whose luggage
(containing his latest victims' heads) ends up in the wrong hands.
Brought to the University by Cinema Guild, the free screening will
begin at 8 p.m. in the Nat. Sci. auditorium. Passes will be distributed
on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Wednesday
April 16, 1997

Love makes 'World' go round

By Prashant Tamaskar
Daily Arts Writer
A love affair with a writer can be a
wonderful, heartbreaking experience.
Director Dan Ireland thoughtfully
brings this idea to fruition in "The
Whole Wide World," the poignant,
true story of the relationship between
Novalyne Price, a Texas school-
teacher, and Robert Howard, the
famed creator of
pulp classics like
"Conan the
Barbarian" and The
"Red Sonja."
,. Set in the
1930s, the film
opens when
Novalyne (Renee Zellweger), herself a
hopeful author, is introduced to Robert
(Vincent D'Onofrio) by a mutual
friend. The attraction is immediate,
and despite being warned of his pecu-
liarities, she starts spending a lot of
time with him.
Although things go smoothly at first,
Robert's opinions and behaviors begin
to tear them apart. His cynical view of
mankind facilitates a social ineptitude
that embarrasses Novalyne. Moreover,
w his criticism of her writing, which he
K"+ feels is worthless because of its focus
on the troubles of everyday life and not
the fantastic, does not help foster their
union.
They finally break up when Robert,
vXcaught up in his individuality and in
deviating from society, refuses to com-
mit to Novalyne in a conventional man-
Top: Novalyne Price (Renee Zeliweger) and Robert Howard (Vincent D'Onofrio) have an affair to remember in Dan Ireland's ner. She dates another man, but still has
"The Whole Wide World." Bottom left: Director Dan Ireland works with D'Onofrio. Bottom right: Novalyne and Robert enjoy strong feelings for Robert, who himself
their love In nature's wild. is heartbroken. The two remain in close
Daniels' directorial debut makes for success

contact, and the rest of the film concen-
trates on their ever-changing relation-
ship.
The interaction between the duo
could be better developed in "The
Whole Wide World," which is surpris-
ing considering this element is the pri-
mary focus of the movie. Their bond is
an unusual one, and it is a bit difficult

to comprehend.
EVIEW
Whole Wide
World
At Ann Arbor 1 & 2

Director Ireland does
not elaborate
enough on the ini-
tial attraction
between Novalyne
and Robert.
Rather, he quickly
pushes them
together, and then

concerns himself with their seemingly
inevitable dissolution.
Yet, the film is successful because
their detachment is so stirring.
Although their love may have been
confusing, the pain that both
Novalyne and Robert feel is genuine,
bringing authenticity to their relation-
ship. And, the audience is put through
an emotional tug-of-war as the lead
characters constantly mend their
problems, only to sever their ties
again.
As individuals, Novalyne and
Robert are adroitly developed, featur-
ing a complexity of emotions not nor-
mally associated with that historical
period. The lively Novalyne occasion-
ally displays the almost servile femi-
nine etiquette expected of her, but
more often is aggressive and takes ini-
tiative. Ambitious and stable even
when stricken with grief, she thankful-
ly is not portrayed as a damsel-in-dis-

tress.
Renee Zellweger, who won the
National Board of Review award for
Best Breakthrough Performer for her
work in this movie and "Jerry
Maguire," is effective despite an
inconsistent Texas accent. She is par-
ticularly convincing in scenes where
Novalyne and Robert are having diffi-
culties, conveying emotions to the
proper extent without reverting to
manipulative dramatics or underact-
ing.
As played by Vincent D'Onofrio,
Robert is an awkward but engaging
character, whose love foretelling stories
is only matched by his loathing of-the
people around him. His hatred is pre-
cipitated by the town's view of him as a
lazy eccentric who fails his parents by
wasting time writing instead of working
at a "real" job.
D'Onofrio nicely captures the charm,
sensitivity, anger and crudeness that
Robert exhibits at any given moment.
With his hearty chuckle and discom-
forting mannerisms, the actor helps
make the varying course of the relation-
ship seem like the only logical progres-
sion.
Although the film is occasionally
uncertain about where it wants to go,
"The Whole Wide World" uses intelli-
gent character development and the
talent of its stars to engross the audi-
ence.
The realistic expression of emotion
and Ireland's deft direction in the sec-
ond half of the movie lend believability
to a romance that on paper seems about
as implausible as a "Conan the
Barbarian" story.

1
a
,n'

By Evelyn Miska
For the Daily
This weekend, Chelsea's Purple Rose
Theatre was full of prostitutes, tran-
sients, retirees and hotel employees -
in actor and director Jeff Daniels' latest
production of Lanford Wilson's play
"The Hot L Baltimore."
Set in the decaying Hotel Baltimore
in the '70s, the play gives a glimpse of
undesirable people's hopes and dreams.
The play opens when the residents of
The Hotel Baltimore are given a one-

month notice before the hotel will be
torn down. The characters making up
this ill-favored cross section of society
have hearts, dreams and convictions
just like everyone else.
"The Hot L Baltimore" was written
by Lanford Wilson, who was a founding
member of the Circle Repertory
Company in New York City and a resi-
dent playwright there from 1969 to
1995. "The Hot L Baltimore" debuted
in 1973 and won the New York Drama
Critics Circle Award and the Obie

Award for Best New Play.
This 25th production by the Purple
Rose Theatre Company also marks Jeff
Daniels' directorial debut. Daniels, per-
haps best known for performances in
such movies as "Speed" and "Dumb
and Dumber," is in his sixth season as
Executive Director of Purple Rose. In
addition to a reputable acting career,
Daniels has also written six plays for
Purple Rose, including "The Tropical
Pickle" and, most recently, "Apartment
3A."
"The Hot L R1
Baltimore" had a
cast of 15, thus
making it the
largest cast ever Purp
assembled for a
Purple Rose pro-
duction. As previously mentioned, the
characters are comprised of prostitutes,
retirees, transients and hotel employ-
ees.
The three prostitutes were played
by Kate Peckham, Sandra Birch and
Gina Hieber. Peckham's character was
a girl of about 19, and even though
her trade was less than desirable, her
personality was incredible. Peckham
was outstanding; she created a char-
acter who was full of life and passion.
Her inability to sit still and her habit
of talking a mile a minute never let
the audience forget that this jaded
prostitute was also a teen-ager with
feelings and emotions.
Birch played the character of April
Green, a woman in the same trade as
Peckham's character, but with a person-
ality as different as night and day. Birch
portrayed a cynical and coarse prosti-
tute who likes to act as if she doesn't
care about anything.

By the end of the play, though, the
audience sees a glimmer of a good and
caring heart buried underneath all her
protective armor. Birch was extremely
convincing in her role, and she created
a wonderful mixture of raucous comedy
and touching sentimentality.
The retirees were played by Bee
Vary and Leo McNamara. Vary
played Millie, a quiet and gentle old
woman who also happened to be
clairvoyant. Millie charmed the audi-

EVIEW
The Hot L
Baltimore
le Rose Theatre
April 12.1997
who, when upset,
the broom closet.

ence, and she was
excellent as the
wise and caring
grandmother type.
McNamara played
Mr. Morse, a
grumpy and com-
plaining old man
goes and hides in

The staff of the hotel was played by
Joseph Albright, Wayne David Parker
and Mary Pettit. Albright's character
was the night manager of the hotel,
and was perhaps the most human of
the hotel staff. While the Peckam's
incessant chatter often got on his
nerves, it was easy to see he cares for
these people, no matter what their
occupation.
"The Hot L Baltimore" is an incredi-
ble show. Wilson's play gives the audi-
ence a slice of society not commonly
seen.
While the characters may not be the
most upstanding members of the com-
munity, Wilson artfully traces their
hopes and dreams. With an outstanding
cast and an incredible script, "The Hot
L Baltimore" was a unique combination
of tragedy and comedy, and definitely a
show not to be missed.

ACCURATE FAST PROFESSIONAL
Receive $2 off a resume package with this ad.
One per customer. Not valid withi other offers. Expies May 9,1997
Grade A Notes at Ulrich's Bookstore
549 E. University 9 Second Floor " CALL 741-9669

"The Hot L Baltimore" graced the Purple Rose Theatre Company stage Saturday.

_ : _ a1 . > -

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