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October 23, 1998 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-23

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'Buffalo '66' hits Michigan
"Buffalo '66" plays tonight a the Michigan. The film about a
newly released ex-con, who tells his family that he's been working
out of town for the past few years when he has really been in jail.
His life is also disrupted by his plans to kill the football player
who caused him to lose a bet and get incarcerated. It stars
Vincent Gallo and Christina Ricci. The film begins at 12:15 p.m.


Monday in Daily Arts:
It's REM time at the Daily. Check out a feature on the
band as well as a look at its history.
October 23, 1998


Film shines in cinematic excellence

By Ed Sholinsky
Daily Arts Writer
Very few films today have any
magic. Few filmmakers can com-
bine serious subject matter with
whimsy, transporting audiences to a
magical place.
It's no surprise, however, that
with "Pleasantville," writer/director
Gary Ross manages such a feat.
Ross, who wrote the Oscar-nomi-
nated screenplays for "Big" and
"Dave," in the past has managed
difficult subject matter by setting it
within the impossible. The impossi-
bility of grow-
ing up over
night, or the
Plasantville of suddenly
filling in for
the president.

mance), enforces segregation, book
burnings and a sexist .practices,
showing that the '50s wasn't such a
wonderful time if you were different.
In addition to a strong story,
"Pleasantville" also boasts a tremen-
dous cast. As the two leads, Maguire
and Witherspoon give performances
that are sure to garner them a lot of
attention. Maguire, who broke out
last year with his role in "The Ice
Storm," looks to be a major player in
the near future. As does Witherspoon
("Twilight," "Freeway"), now that
she's finally found a role in which
she can showcase her incredible abil-
ity. Also, William H. Macy ("Fargo")
gives a wonderful performance as
David and Jennifer's TV dad.
Daniels ("Dumb and Dumber")
demonstrates what a gifted actor he
is, giving a nuanced and subtle per-
formance that might serve him well
come March.
But "Pleasantville" belongs to
Joan Allen. Allen gives a breathtak-
ing performance as the repressed
housewife, Betty, who yearns to
break out. For her portrayal of Betty,
Allen is a probable Oscar-nominee,
as she has given one of the year's
best performances.
On top of this, "Pleasantville" is
a visual wonder. Mixing complex
special effects with a solid story
(attention Michael Bay),
"Pleasantville" is incredibly beauti-
ful and an example of why special
effects are so special.
Even though "Pleasantville" is
not the year's best movie, it's cer-
tainly the year's most magical



At Briarwood
and Showcase
A '

Ross again
deals with the
telling his story
of individuali-
ty, love and tol-
erance within

Courtesy of NewLineCinema
Joan Allen serves Reese Witherspoon some black and white pancakes in the
new release "Pleasantville."

courtesy of University Musicdi Society
Bill T. Jones/ArnIe Zane Dance Co. performs In "We Set Out Early ... Visibility
Was Poor" tonight at the Power Center.
Company dances
through hitor

the framework of a '50s television
In this way, it could be said that
"Pleasantville" feels like "The
Wizard of Oz" meets "Leave it to
"Pleasantville" begins with the
four words every fairy tale begins
with: "Once Upon a Time." From
there, "Pleasantville" introduces
the '90s, a time of hopelessness,
AIDS and divorce. Compared with
the idyllic world of "Pleasantville,"
a '50s sitcom, the '90s resemble
This explains why David (Tobey
Maguire) spends all of his time
watching and thinking about
"Pleasantville." David, along with
his sister Jennifer (Reese "Yes that
was me on the rollercoaster in
'Fcar" Witherspoon), is a product
of a broken home, and he just can't
seem to fit in anywhere. Feeling
neglected by the real world, David
prefers to live in a fantasy world.
Jennifer, on the other hand, acts
out against society; she is, in her
own words, a "slut." Whereas David
represents the most unpopular ele-
ment of high school, Jennifer plans
on sleeping her way to the top of
the hierarchy.
The trouble starts for David and
Jennifer when they accidentally
destroy the TV remote control.
Since it's a new TV, there is no other
way to turn it on. Enter the TV
repairman (Don Knotts) from out of
nowhere with a magical remote
control. Though the "Reliable" TV
repairman seems like a bit of a

stretch - it is - it works well
within the context of the film. All
fairytales and fables have fantastic
coincidences that set the story into
motion, and there is no reason for
"Pleasantville" not to have them.
While fighting over the remote
(he wants to watch a "Pleasantville"
marathon, she wants to watch a
concert on MTV with a popular guy
from school), David and Jennifer
find themselves transported to
Though both are there reluctantly
at first, they both try to make the
best of Pleasantville in their own
way. David wants to live out the
fantasy he's longed for, while
Jennifer wants to live a normal '90s
life in the '50s. When Jennifer
starts to rebel, David tells her she's
supposed to follow the rules of
"Pleasantville" so she doesn't upset
their universe. She reminds David,
"We're supposed to be in color."
Jennifer refuses to follow the
rules of "Pleasantville," however,
and introduces sex to the town.
With that, Pleasantville gets its first
trace of color - a single rosebud
turns red. This is one of those
moments people remember in film,
a shot that defines why film is an
art. The shot is at once subtle and
From here, "Pleasantville" really
takes off. The film's best moments
are when Jennifer explains the birds
and the bees to her TV-mother Betty
(Joan Allen) and when David intro-
duces color to his boss Mr. Johnson
(Jeff Daniels). The light subject

matter of the first part of the film is
suddenly transformed with the shot
of the rosebud, as art and literature
and love and hate become part of
By doing so, Ross turns 'SOs nos-
talgia - an epidemic in '90s
America - on its head. When dis-
rupted, Pleasantville becomes a
place where the ills of the '50s come
to the surface. The town's mayor, Big
Bob (J.T. Walsh's final perfor-

By Leah Zaiger
For the Daily
Everyone should set out early for
the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance
Company performance tonight.
With sync in their step, the dance
company will give a poetic perfor-
mance of "We Set Out Early ..
Visibility Was Poor." This highly
acclaimed performing group will
bring their modern styles and skills
to the stage of the Power Center for
one exquisite performance in Ann
Unlike a ballet, "We Set Out Early
Visibility Was Poor" does not have
one specific plot. "It has a lot of
depth and evokes many different sto-
ries for different people," dancer
Alexandra Beller said.
The 25-minute performance, with
vivid sets, radiating colors and mas-

Bill T. Jones/
Arnie Zane
Dance Co,
Power Center
Tonight at 8

terful move-
ment, is broken
up into three
The dance is a
journey through
history, and is
accompanied by
"L'Histoire du
Sodat," the
music of John
Cage and finally
a composition
by Peteris Vasks.

she was selected from an audition
425 women to join the Jones/Zany
dance company. "I love the company
because it is the most challenging,
rich work I have ever done or seen in
life," she said.
The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane
Dance Company was founded in
1982, as a collaboration between Bill
T. Jones and his late partner Arnie
Zane. It soon began performing
across the globe. The 10-member
group has performed in more than #
countries and 100 American cities,
presenting more than 50 unique
Jones has been highly acclaimed
and recognized for his extraordinary
choreography ability.
He was a 1994 recipient of a
MacArthur Fellowship. He began his
dance education at the State
University of New York
Binghamton (SUNY). While there
studied both classical ballet and
modern dance.
After returning from a hiatus in
Amsterdam, Jones returnedto
SUNY, where he established the
American Dance Asylum in 1973
working with Zane. Before founding
the company, the two performed
solos and duets internationally.
Zane, a native New Yorker, also
studied at SUNY Binghamton, whe
he joined Jones in 1971 collaboratii
in choreography.
He was the recipient of a several
awards, first for photography and
then for choreography in 1981. Both
awards were presented by Creative
Artists Public Service (CAPS).
Tonight's performance, choreo-
graphed by Jones, was created with
an interesting approach. He selected
his music carefully over a length
time, and videotaped improvisationaT
dance, later drawing from it and
recreating it. This allowed his
dancers to contribute some of their
own creative abilities to the show.
For some, the journey to Ann
Arbor is within itself a return to a
past time in personal history.
When asked how she felt about
returning to Ann Arbor for the per-
formance, Beller said, "I'm very
excited, I can't wait!"
Tickets for this evening's perfor-
mance of "We Set Out Early .
Visibility Was Poor" can be obtained
by calling 764-2538.

Courtesy of New Line Cinema
Michigan-native Jeff Daniels stars as Mr. Johnson, the man in charge of the
local diner in "Pleasantville."

'Pleasantville' takes over A2 for a day

By Ed Shoinsky
Daily Arts Writer
Walking down Liberty Street, towards State
Street this past Sunday, it was impossible to miss
the cars from an era gone by. Coming straight out
of the '5Os. it seemed as if this little corner of Ann
Arbor had rocketed back four decades.
One would almost expect to hear people saying
"swel" and "neat-o" above the a capella singers in
front of the Michigan Theater.
Alas, this was a one-day transformation to herald
in a special premiere of "Pleasantville." Originally
scheduled as only one screening to benefit Jeff
Daniel's Purple Rose Theater Company, an extra

show was added after the first sold out. Daniels also
hosted the show.
Before the festivities began. Michigan Theater
employees greeted guests, who paid S15 for tickets,
and handed out signed photos of Daniels. Once the-
ater goers made their way into the theater, they were
treated to '50s commercials, much to the enjoyment
of the middle-aged crowd. While commercials for
Tang, Ovaltine and GM played on the big screen,
patrons consumed free ice cream sundaes.
Just before the film began, Daniels came on
stage to introduce the movie. Speaking about how
excited he was about it, he apologized to the crowd
because "there'll be no toilet scenes in this movie."

For those of you who missed it, he was referring to
his hit film "Dumb and Dumber"
Daniels also informed the crowd that they were
seeing the film one day before the LA premiere,
and also pitched his Purple Rose Theater (it's "not
just for the blue hairs").'
Speaking of the positive buzz surrounding
"Pleasantville," Daniels commented that he was
"excited about what the fat guy and the bald guy in
Chicago said about it."
Though Daniels didn't stay throughout the
second showing of the film, the crowd seemed
generally pleased with the. movie, giving it sus-
tained applause.

As the company's most recent
work, "We Set Out Early ...
Visibility Was Poor" debuted at the
Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
in October of 1997, with its
European premiere at the London
Peacock Theatre in March of 1998.
The performance has often been
described as a "fusion of dance and
theater." Through fluid and creative
movement, the dancers communicate
a story of the continual movement
through history.
Beller, a dancer with the company,
will be returning to her alma mater
for the performance.
Beller graduated from the
University in 1994 with a Bachelor
of Fine Arts in Dance. She has been
with the company for three and a half
Prior to joining the ensemble,
Beller lived in New York, dancing
with seven smaller companies until

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