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September 28, 1998 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-28

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14A - The Michigar Daily - Monday, September 28, 1998

'Legend' filled
with empty plot
By Erin Podoisky ("Dawson's Creek") and the Brenda
Daily Arts Writer (Rebecca Gayheart, known as
Throughout the past several years, Noxema Girl), along with various
we have seen an explosion in teen other fourth-rate teen pin-ups.
slasher films, bringing an endless This time out, the supposedly hor-
parade of TV hotties onto the big rifying premise is a killer who mur-
screen during their summer hiatuses. ders each of its victims in a different
The latest addition to this tired way, according
genre is the third generation B-list to various popu-
horror dynasty wannabe "Urban lar myths.
Legend," a movie that is scary for all ** Conveniently,
the wrong reasons. Urban the details are
It should have stayed a mildly Legend readily accessi-
entertaining myth instead of pollut- ble in a cute lit-
ing perfectly good movie theaters. tle encyclopedia
"Urban Legend" stars Alicia Witt At Briarwood of urban legends
("Cybill"), Jared Leto ("My So- and Showcase available in the
Called Life"), Joshua Jackson C , school library.

it
b
r}

fR,

There's that
age-old one
about the dude
who sticks his
dog in the

microwave after giving it a bath.
Fraternity party hijinks or vicious
animal cruelty? You be the judge.
Remember the story of the baby-
sitter who got a phone call from a
killer only to discover he was calling
from inside the house? Wait a minute
- wasn't that another movie?
"Well, that really happened to a
girl in my home town," Brenda
announces in the urban legends class
that the stars are all conveniently tak-
ing. "Urban Legend" attempts to set
up a sort of reality within a reality,
but it ultimately all comes crashing
down in a pile of celluloid rubble.
Or what about the guy who parks
with his girlfriend in the middle of

Courtesy of TriStar Pictures
Alicia Witt and Rebecca "Noxema Girl" Gayheart star as Natalie and Brenda in the
thriller "Urban Legend."

courtesy of TriStar Pictures
Robert Englund makes a non-Freddy-
like appearance In "Urban Legends."

Wednesday Cheeseburger
Lunch Special
1/3 lb ground beef on
homebaked roll,
with lettuce and tomato,
served with fries
only 3 .a49

nowhere, gets out of the car to go to
the bathroom, and ends up hanging
from a tree? R.I.P. Jackson, who
appears to be playing the peroxide
blonde version of his "Dawson's
Creek" character and is the most
wisecrackingly entertaining aspect
of the movie aside from Leto's gor-
geous blue eyes and certain members
of the female cast's physical charac-
teristics. Naturally, Jackson dies lit-
tle more than 10 minutes after the
opening credits. This is a pity
because it leaves more empty screen
space for Noxema Girl to fill with
her scary big hair and scary big eyes.
As the film progresses, Noxema
Girl's eyes bug out further and fur-
ther. It is as if she was badly fright-
ened as a child and then (another
urban legend!) her face froze that
way. Yes, this means that she is, lam-
entably, still alive deep into the
film's latter half. More than that I
cannot say.
Witt, whose skin has a suspiciously
wax paper-ish, corpse-like cast to it
despite the fact that all outward signs
point to her as a live person, plays the
token "Oh, I'm so victimized" char-
acter who is being murderously
haunted by a past transgression.
Leto backs her up as Pendleton
College's resident radical journalist

who appears to care more about get-
ting a story than helping people.
Also along for the ride are "Elm
Street" alum Robert Englund as a
professor with a dark history, Loretta
Devine as the sole campus security
guard who uses "Foxy Brown" as a
motivational tape and John Neville
("The X-Files"'s Well Manicured
Man) as the well-manicured college
dean.
"Urban Legend" has been stocked
with plenty of pop culture references
that are designed to make the audi-
ence think that this is another witty,
self-referential scary movie. This
ruse wears thin as the movie wears
long - even Noxema Girl Brenda is
actually referred to within the film
as looking like, well, the Noxema
Girl. The film tries too hard and pro-
vides too little, right down to the req-
uisite open-for-a-sequel-if-the-
money-is-right conclusion. You can
almost see the little gears turning in
the writer and director's minds as
they cackle with glee that they are
sealing their financial futures by fill-
ing their sorry film with hot young
properties and franchise opportuni-
ties.
It's enough to make you want to
consume a snack of Pop Rocks and
Pepsi.

'Chambernaid'
sinks with'Titanic'
By Matthew Barrett high points is Marie pouing a bowl
Daily Arts Witer . of hard-boiled eggs on the lucky
The pulse quickens. Could it be? fella.)
The tales of Jack and Rose that Horty's talks at the bar begin to
never made the original film? Or grow in popularity and pretty soon
maybe a special collection of more everyone in town is coming to lis-
James Horner music that couldn't ten, including his wife.
be squeezed onto the first two When he is telling the stories,
soundtracks? Deleted scenes that Horty comes off as nothing more
James Cameron decided to release than an over-the-top loverboy, and
as a feature length flick? his lovable prose is too much for
No, sorry to disappoint, "Titanic" even the most romantic of viewers
fans, but "The Chambermaid On to swallow. Horty tells his loyal fol-
The Titanic" has nothing to do with lowing that when Marie passed out,
last year's smash hit except for the "I revived her with my tongue." The
boat. And this means no Leo! only defense that a writer can claim
The film, which is in French with on a line such as this is that some-
English subtitles, is simply another thing was lost in the translation.
meager pebble on the pile of all As bad as the foreign film is
things Titanic that has accumulated when Horty is telling stories and
since the film's release. flashing back to his hot night, it
"The Chambermaid On The gets much worse later on. Horty is
Titanic" centers around Horty discovered by a director at a bar,
(Olivier Martinez), a married, mid- and becomes involved in an absurd,
dle-class worker in France who traveling "Titanic" theatrical pro-
wins an all-accommodations trip to duction where he does little more
watch the Titanic set sail from than remi-
England in a local contest. nisce about
(Exciting, but not quite as much as his lost love.
seeing Jack Dawson slam down the (Maybe that's
winning cards.) Chambermaid what Cal did
Shortly after he arrives in on the Titanic after Rose
England, Horty is greeted at his d u m p e d
hotel door by Marie, a lonely cham-*him?)
bermaid on the Titanic looking for a At state In fact,
place to stay. (Sure she's a little there would
upset, but she can't hold a candle to a b s o lu t e I y
the tortured Rose.) That night, nothing posi-
Horty says he'll sleep on his chair tive about the
but the audience has a pretty good love story
idea where things are headed. (other than its
When Horty wakes the following short running
morning, the chambermaid is gone, time) if not
and all that he can find to remember for a beautiful sequence that takes
her by is a photograph taken short- place on a beach late at night. Horty
ly before she left. Horty returns wades out into a perfect pool of
home, but cannot focus and is blue water, and with lights shining
obsessed with images of the cham- down on it, the moment is breath-
bermaid. This leads to his pouting taking. A shot like this makes you
at the top of a tower and eventually wonder what writer-director Bigas
losing his job. Luna was thinking when he did the
These feelings of heartache are rest of the film?
only compounded when he learns But even the most brilliant of
that Marie is believed to have been beaches can't make this movie
among the victims of the ship's worth seeing. The story is a maze of
crash. twists and lies, all of which involve
Slowly his friends at the bar characters that the audience could-
begin to pry information out of n't care less about. Bottom line, this
Horty, and as he dishes on his hot movie is about as enjoyable as lis-
night the movie cuts to flashbacks tening to a James Cameron accep-
of the torrid romance. (One of the tance speech.
Read the Daily Online at
www michIgandaly.corn
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