The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 13, 1998 - 13
Late Walsh may have
been last of waning breed
krMichigan player takes It to the rim at a virtual Crisler In EA Sports' extremely timely "March Madness '98."
Shallw ea Dnc? A Sports
miarches on in 'Madness '8
r The NCAA Tournament may start today, but March
Madness started two weeks ago. EA Sports is at it again, this
timn rc-entering the college basketball arena with "March
Most avid gamers remember - and some still play -
"Coach K" for the Sega Genesis. "Coach K" left us drooling
for more and the dawn of the newer systems heightened that
anticipation. Well, EA Sports has finally thrown college bas-
ketball dogs a big fat bone in "March Madness '98".
EA has jam-packed this CD with quite a few hype features.
The most prominent of these is the addition of the
'Momentum Meter' to the game. Making baskets raises the
meter and the stats of your team. Allow your opponent to go
on a run, and you'll have to nail a three or call a timeout to
1m things down.
'A Sports' trademark "T-Bar" interface for free throws has
been replaced with a new, innovative method. A randomly
moving basketball now has to be centered over the rim, and
accurately stop a distance marker from moving. Not an easy
task with Brickhands O'Neal, since the ball fights against
you depending on the players' stats.
The game also keeps a graph of score versus time to sec
how the game transpired. One button allows players to set
picks or take a charge - and it works very well. The players
often take an in-your-face approach to dunking the ball,
mining it down into an opposing player or two under the
A mammoth dunk might even send shards of what used
to be the backboard careening through the air.
During the season, two polls track your progress -- the
CBS Sportsline Poll and the EA Sports Poll. Updated daily,
the polls let you know exactly where you stand, but they hard-
ly ever agree - a familiar occurence to Michigan fans. EA
attempted to recreate most of the actual college court floors,
but some are a bit inaccurate. For instance, Crisler Arena's
hardwood looks 10,000 times better on the game than at
The game has 107 men's teams, representing most of the
<or conferences. The most noticeable omission is the
Midwestern Athletic Conference - sorry EMU fans. As a
Continued from Page 10
Jason, Mcdca killing her children - a woman of sorrow,
defeat and vengeance, which is not the focus of "Argonaut
In a sense, Wakoski revises our culture's interpretation
Athis myth by focusing on aspects of Medea that are
7 ten forgotten.
"I'm interested in the fact that this woman who breaks
every taboo ... Her only salvation in all that is that she
loves Jason. And then he of course betrays her," said
"In the story, she is a heroine, she is not a tragic charac-
video game first, EA has included nine of the top women's
teams into the mix. The women's teams are only available for
exhibition play against the other female squads, so squash
any ideas of taking the Lady Tarheels into battle with their
On the negative side of things, a few standards apparent in
other games are missing. The game has no player of the game
award and no season statistical leaders tracker. There is no
way to add or remove other people during the game.
Goaltending is called too frequently and sometimes the ball
moves too fast to keep up. The graphics are decent, but the
players are small. Very infrequently, a foul will be called, but
play won't stop. Finally, the commentator is silent for the
majority of the game - odd after the recent boom in color-
ful commentary in sports games.
Placing all the features aside for a moment, the most
impressive part of the game is the artificial intelligence -an
aspect normally placed on the back burner in sports games.
The computer-controlled players actually make smart deci-
sions on the court and as an extra special bonus, play tough
defense! Your computer teammates will make sweet cuts to
the basket in anticipation of a pass, and you may find your-
self in awe too long to dump the ball off in time.
In addition to the great Al, the control is very tight and
turns breaking ankles (in lay terms, faking someone out) into
a breeze. Of course, you can always pull up and make the
open 16-footer - usually not a good idea in most basketball
games. But, hey, unlike the players in those games, these guys
and gals actually have talent, so go for it!
Something else that keeps the game from going stale is
that at any point in time, even the worst team can give you a
run for your money. EA has captured the spirit of college bas-
ketball very well in that aspect. It isn't uncommon to be up by
20 midway through the first half, only to watch the game
become a nailbiter in the waning seconds. And for once, it
doesn't seem as though the computer is 'cheating'- it just
battles its way back into the game, bit by bit. On the other
hand, if you find yourself in a deep hole, hang in there and
you just may bite, kick and scratch your way to the lead.
EA Sports deserves quite a bit of credit for this gem.
Applause as well for not making "March Madness" be an
"NBA Live '98" clone with college jerseys. "March Madness
'98" will certainly keep players hooping it up until '99.
- Deveroui Q. Sanders
ter ... She's a figure of magic and sorcery and women
breaking the taboos.... supernatural laws or laws of
physics that we don't understand."
At another level, there's a personal identification with
Medea, at the same time that culture itself is altered. But
There is "the personal theme which is men promising
women what they want, which is usually love, in exchange
for power or the golden fleece or money," explained
"The woman doesn't deny this by becoming a warrior
or becoming like a man or denying her love, but somehow
continuing to do this and escape the worst of the tragic
The Baltimore Sun
That's the usual comeback at the men-
tion of J.T. Walsh.
Walsh, who appeared in more than 60
films, died Feb. 27 of a heart attack at the
age of 54. Most recently he played the
scheming husband in John Dahl's "Red
Rock West," the scary pedophile in "Sling
Blade" and the trucker terrorizing Kurt
Russell in "Breakdown." His career capi-
talized on his ability to convey innocence
and malignancy simultaneously; he
almost never stopped working in 33 years.
And most filmgoers probably have a
difficult time conjuring his face.
J.T. Walsh was a supporting actor, the
guy who thanklessly keeps the plot mov-
ing; keeps the spirit of the production on
point; gives hazily written characters the
stamp of individuality without stealing
thunder from the lead players; inspires
those players to a higher level of work. All
while suffering the ignominious, yet
unavoidable, moniker of "second banana"
Walsh epitomized a classic type on
which supporting careers are built: the
villain. With his uncanny blend of inno-
cence and malice, anonymity and men-
ace, he embodied the banality of evil, just
as Christopher Walken personifies its
alien, more psychotic aspects, and James
Woods its haunted, wounded side. He was
a torch-carrier in the grand tradition of
Akim Tamiroff, Richard Widmark and
"The thing that's too bad about J.T.'s
early death is that he didn't have much of
an opportunity yet to show what he could
do outside the villain," said Kurt Russell,
who worked with Walsh on four films.
"He could do anything. I always saw
'Breakdown' as the coup de grace of
those kinds of roles for him. I always
hoped to do something with him in the
future that turned the tables, with him
being the lead."
"Unnoticed." "Invisible." "Totally
believable?' These words and phrases are
the stock in trade of the supporting actor
who, if he's good, is at once distinctive and
unseen. And Walsh's passing invites reflec-
tion: Whither the career supporting actor?
He hasn't disappeared, of course, but
he seems in increasing danger of extinc-
tion, reduced to a wispy walk-on or a
stereotype, by the stars and special effects
that are driving movies. More of a movie's
budget is going to pay for astronomical
star salaries and special effects; a charac-
ter actor who made $50,000 a week five
or 10 years ago is being offered a fraction
The Golden Age of the supporting
actor was the late '30s and '40s, when the
studio system was in full force. MGM's
motto was, "More stars than there are in
heaven." It could easily, if less poetically,
have said the same for co-stars.
Each of the eight major studios had
actors under contract whom they
employed on their pictures and traded out
to other companies. Supporting roles
often were used as a farm system to
develop promising talents and help them
find their right level.
Some went on to stardom (James
Stewart, Gary Cooper and Clark Gable all
got their starts in support; later, Harrison
Ford carried on that tradition). Others,
who lacked "star quality" but had a facil-
ity for playing a multitude of characters or
just one type, made up the studios' stable
of reliable supporting players.
But there were also the great character
actors who transcended type. Think of
"Casablanca" without Lorre or Claude
Rains or Sydney Greenstreet. Think of
"Citizen Kane" and "The Third Man" with-
out Joseph Cotten. Imagine what the great
films of the '50s would have been without
Karl Malden, Arthur Kennedy, Anthony
Quinn and the pre-push-up Jack Palance?
It's difficult to conjure their present-day
counterparts. (For that matter, it's difficult
to name the '90s version ofThelma Ritter,
Celeste Holm or Eve Arden. It's not fair to
ask Joan Allen and Joan Cusack to cover
courtesy of ParamouNM
Actor J.T. Walsh (background), who died of a heart attack on Feb. 27, lends some
menacing support to Kurt Russell In last year's sleeper hit, "Breakdown."
Gene Hackman, bless him, still toils in
the vineyards, occasionally breaking out
into lead roles; his current turn in
"Twilight" is characteristically restrained,
unfailingly focused. Tommy Lee Jones is
a towering example of the art: He can't
carry "U.S. Marshals," but everything he
appears in as a supporting actor benefits
incalculably from his ballast.
Hackman and Jones' best contempo-
raries have vaulted into another stratos-
phere altogether: Dustin Hoffman, Jack
Nicholson and Al Pacino - if he can
overcome his tendency toward camp -
share that alloy of presence, command
and sexuality known as star power, but
they also share the character actors great.
est assets: the willingness to submeige his
organic sex appeal long enough to
become a character, a problem that
plagues many contemporary actors.
Kevin Spacey, who won the 1995
Oscar for "The Usual Suspects," has the
silkiness of a modern-day Claude Rains.
Samuel L. Jackson, like Nicholson, is
able to handle both lead and support.
Gary Sinise, Oliver Platt, John C
Reilly, Don Cheadle and Vincent
D'Onofrio can be counted on to bring
energy and solidity to an institution that in
the eyes of most young actors is merely a
Time will tell whether Hollywood
consistently can create roles worthy of
their talents. In the meantime, next time
you're at the movies, take a little time to
look at the guy keeping the whole
cockamamie cavalcade going. And try
to remember his name, so that at least
one less career will be relegated to
Student filmmakers are looking for extras for their film, "Final Cut." The action takes place in the audi-
torium of East Hall on Sunday. Filming begins at 11 a.m. and continues until 4 p.m. Free pizza and inter-
esting cameo appearances will be present. For details or any inquiries please e-mail director Jeremy
Horelick at firstname.lastname@example.org.