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September 10, 1997 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-10

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Say anything
Take advantage of Wide Open Mic tonight at the Gypsy Cafe.
Singers, poets, comedians and musicians are all welcome. So if you
want to be heard, then hurry down to the Gypsy Cafe for an audience
who wants to listen. Festivities begin at 9 p.m. Located on
214 N. 4th Ave. Free. Join the fun!

Wednesday
September 10, 1997

9

'Star' shines bright
First-time director Arteta puts memorable cinematic experience on the map

By Julia Shah
Daily Film Editor
inobody ever said that life on the
streets of Los Angeles was glamorous.
Or that the shadowy and often revolting
vities on barely lit corners have any-
t gi n common
With Hollywood R
-t, the glitzy prof-
it-hungry machine l
that rules the city.
But in one of the
rnast powerful and .
engaging movies
of the year, the two paradoxical worlds
are juxtaposed and deconstructed with
*aralleled wit, insight and style.
In his first feature film, director
Miguel Arteta (who also wrote the
screenplay) creates a film that is neither
confined by conventions nor afraid of
exploring truth. He uses his rich and
memorable characters, including hope-
fil,, but streetwise Carlos (Douglas
Spain), his violent pimp father Pepe
(Efrain Figueroa) and the other offbeat
members of Carlos' dysfunctional fam-
ily; Xo play masterfully with viewers'
*otions, displaying the skill and effect
of a Carnegie Hall pianist. His plot, as
deiep and soul-wrenching as Carlos'
mournful eyes, carries the weight of a
deply disquieting drama that is offset
by.the light, zesty flavor of resilient
hope in the face of tragedy.

s
At1

Arteta explores life through the
eyes of a person trying to survive on
the streets, and "Star Maps" becomes
many things all at once. It is a drama
that deals with race and class issues,
as well as destructive interaction
between family
V I E W members. It is a
touching romance
Star Maps story about two
innocent young
**** people who fall in
the Michigan Theater love in a unrelent-
ing world. It is a
hilarious romp through the quirks and
delusions of its unique characters.
And amazingly, as the film explores
different styles and aspects of story-
telling, it continues to pleasantly sur-
prise as it becomes more complex and
spellbinding.
Spain as Carlos will be a face that
few people will forget after this
motion picture. His portrayal of a boy
returning from Mexico to Los
Angeles with the dream of becoming
a movie star is riveting and unforget-
table. Though his father employs him
to sell his body on the street corners
under the facade of selling star maps
(maps showing the locations of
celebrity homes), he never loses his
naive determination to achieve fame
on the silver screen.
To Carlos, sex with these male or

female clients is just another perfor-
mance, as illustrated when a "good per-
formance" in bed has him imagining
himself reveling in the triumph of an
Academy-Awards-type ceremony. But
his break finally comes when one of his
clients, a beautiful actress on a hit tele-
vision series, promises to get him a part
on her show.
Carlos' acting career is about to
launch, and Pepe refuses to let Carlos
out of his repulsive daytime job. Pepe
continues to terrorize the family, which
is also comprised of Carlos' kind and
responsible sister, his mentally unstable
mother and his eccentric younger broth-
er.
While Carlos' work for Pepe
reveals the life of a male prostitute,
his experiences with the actress and
the television studio allow Arteta to
satirize the nature of the industry.
"Star Maps" exposes television for all
its shallowness (the writers joke about
how exploiting an affair between an
illegal immigrant and a rich white
woman will promote social aware-
ness), its scandal and its impersonali-
ty. This brilliantly constructed jab at
the business is done in an impressive-
ly witty and amusing fashion, and the
result is highly effective.
As "Star Maps" progresses, audi-
ences never know what Arteta has in
store for them around the corner. But

while it is guaranteed that in this deteri-
oration of Carlos' family life, some
level of tragedy is in store, Arteta pulls
it off with one of the most amazing
movie endings in recent cinematic his-
tory.
Near the film's grand finale, I never
laughed so hard at a moment when
every fiber of my body was telling me
to start bawling. Just as he did through-
out the film, Arteta uses surrealistic
humor (this time involving a Hispanic
comedian and an astronaut suit) to off-
set the darkly disturbing aspects of the
story. Though this bizarre and risky
technique would normally threaten to
ruin a movie, Arteta manages to suc-
cessfully pull it off with astounding
results.
Rarely does a movie comeqalong that
is so many things and that has so much
to say.
"Star Maps" is one of the most hilar-
ious, most touching, most disturbing
and most intriguing movies I've seen in
a long time. After a summer that pro-
vided more soggy fizzles than fire-
works in movie theaters, "Star Maps"
will give people faith once again that
quality pictures are definitely still being
made.
"Star Maps" is a film that packs the
punch of King Kong. It is the one movie
this year that you definitely don't want
to miss.

Douglas Spain stars as Carlos in "Star Maps."

global' misses groove

'Fire' cools down hot summer

Global Grooves
Vprious Artists
Geffen
-While an album of remixes isn't nec-
essarily going to provide an earth-shak-
in ;display of musical genius, it might
nice to hear some sort of effort at
genuine creativity.
Global Grooves, a new
album of techno mixing
and electronica, does-
n't seem to have it. In
an attempt to remix
oid, club hits and .
incorporate artists
not normally in the
hno realm, Global
Oroves fails to show
igenuity, excepting a few
sylized drumbeats.
The songs used in their entirety with
new backbeats and overdubbed lyrics,
like Lisa Loeb's "Stay" and Cher's "The

Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)," are
surprisingly good. Hearing the driving
beat Juan Patino mixes into the "anticipa-
tion mix" of Stay makes you forget
Loeb's horn-rimmed-glasses-good-girl
image and entices you to boogie down.
The samples, though, of really good
songs, like Noa's "I Don't Know" fall short.
The poetic imagery of the song, with a
woman described as a bright, burning
flower, fighting her way through con-
fusion, is enough on its own,
with a plain simple melody.
So, the funky bass kick
and strange synthesized
bump-and-grind feel
Dekkard injects is just
a needless complica-
tion.
And then there's the
humdrum done-before
selections. Pete Lorimer and
Richard "Humpty" Vission give Raw
Stylus's "Believe In Me" a jungle treat-
ment that screams "Where have I heard
this before?" Still, there are some dance-

Lisa Loeb
able selections. Though "Lay Down Your
Pain" by Toni Childs and "Love Him
Anyway" by Sherree Ford-Payne share
the same bongo drumbeat, they are still
easy to groove to. And Rabbit In the
Moon has remixed Garbage's "Queer"
into a reverberating, repetitive tune, rem-
iniscent of beeping garbage trucks,
which is still somehow intriguing.
In giving a second chance to all of
these songs, the DJs should have tried
harder not to parody the originals with
new bass beats. These Global Grooves
need a bit more of the world in them for
the title to stand up.
-Stephanie Jo Klein

The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES -- Six million dollars and change put
Steven Seagal's toxic villain thriller "Fire Down Below" atop
the weekend box office chart and proved summer is definite-
ly over in the nation's theaters. ,
Hollywood's dog days of summer traditionally follow
Labor Day and the start of school. The top 10 movies only
took in S37.6 million over the weekend - compared to the
S37.1 million that "Air Force One" alone earned in its July
debut.
"Fire Down Below," starring Seagal as a kick-boxing fed-
eral marshal in Kentucky, was the only new film released
nationally last week.
Demi Moore's "G.I. Jane" was second with $5.3 mil-
lion, bringing its total after three weeks to $33.6 million,
figures compiled by Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.
showed.
"Money Talks," a comedy with Chris Tucker as a fast-
talking con man, was No. 3 with $4.9 million in its third
week.
In limited release, "The Full Monty" earned $769,954 at
44 locations for a $17,110 per-location average. "Fire Down
Below" had a $2,600 per-location average.
Disney's "Con Air" passed the $100 million mark after
14 weeks in release. It was one of four $100 million-plus
movies still in the top 20.

The top 10 movies at North American theaters Friday
through Sunday, followed by studio, gross, number of theater
locations, receipts per location, total gross and number of
weeks in release, as compiled by Entertainment Data Inc. and
Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.:
1. "Fire Down Below," New Line, $6.1 million, 2,336
locations, $2,600 average, $6.1 million, one week.
2. "G.I. Jane," Disney, $5.3 million, 2,016 locations,
$2,650 average, $33.6 million, three weeks.
3. "Money Talks," New Line, $4.9 million, 1,994 loca-
tions, $2,452 average, $29.9 million, three weeks.
4. "Hoodlum," MGM, $4 million, 2,020 locations,
$2,004 average, $15.9 million, 2 1/2 weeks.
5. "Air Force One," Columbia, $3.9 million, 2,468
locations, $1,565 average, $159.3 million, seven weeks.
6. "Conspiracy Theory," Warner Bros., $3.3 million,
2,204 locations, $1,513 average, $67.4 million, five
weeks.
7. "Excess Baggage," Columbia, $2.9 million, 2,211
locations, $1,291 average, $10 million, two weeks.
8. "Mimic," Miramax, $2.8 million, 1,959 locations;
$1,437 average, $20.8 million, three weeks.
9. "Cop Land," Miramax, $2.6 million, 1,874 loca-
tions, $1,399 average, $39.7 million, four weeks.
10. "Men in Black," Columbia, $1.8 million, 1,491
locations, $1,209 average, $237.3 million, 10 weeks.

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