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November 04, 1998 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-11-04

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Bulgarian band Bulgari plays tonight at the Ark. The band from
Bulgaria will play authentic folk music featuring bag pipes, folk
fiddle and flute in a fine venue ideal for folk sensations. The show
begins at 8 p.m., and tickets are $12.50 in advance. Tickets may
be purchased at Ticketmaster outlets, including the Michigan
Union Ticket Office and SKR Classical.

ef LGidta&tig

Tomorrow in Daily Arts:
Weekend, etc. celebrates the 15th anniversary of "The Big
Chill" by featuring a story that compares life then and now at
the University.
November 4, 1998


Tonight's 'Party'

set on mediocrity

By Erin Podolsky
Daily Arts Writer
"Party of Five," in its fifth inexplicable season
on FOX, is getting a generational boost this
evening. Granted, the promos for tonight's sweeps
kick-off episode display Charlie "perennially
unemployed-and-unshaven" Salinger (Matthew

Fox) being forced
Tonight at 9 p.m.

to make a choice between his
whiny pregnant on-again-off-
again girlfriend Daphne
(Jennifer Aspen) and his
unborn child due to medical
complications, but if you can't
figure out who he picks or
what happens to both of them
by now, you obviously haven't
been watching this tiresome
show long enough.
Scene after scene in this
evening's show rains down
like giant golf ball-sized hail:
they're clunky and bulky and
hurt like hell and you just
want them to stop.

show. It is frustratingly predicable and the charac-
ters are aggravating and unredeeming.
Where, then, is the value in the show? It's hard
to find, but there is a silver lining here somewhere.
I have found the truth at the core of this wretched
excuse for a series, and it is this: Watching "Party
of Five" makes us feel better about out own lives,
no matter how good they already are - there are
people that have it worse, and their name is
Salinger. There isn't an unpaid parking meter's
chance in Ann Arbor that so many tragic events
could befall such a besotted, attention-starved lot
as the Salingers in such a short period of time as
five years. Even if those five years seem like 20.
"Party of Five" makes our lives look good by
comparison, which isn't a bad thing. But that's all
it does, period. The story-lines are dragged out
long after they've been wrung dry of all their
interest; the characters aren't anybody you'd want
to know, much less associate with. The fragmenta-
tion of the family, with Julia off at college and
Claudia at prep school, has only served to make an
already disjointed show even more choppy.
Watching "Party of Five" is a similar experience
to watching that pot that never boils. It never
reaches entertaining greatness no matter how hard
it tries, unless you aren't looking. But since televi-
sion is about ratings and exactly who is looking.
well, this show is never going to rise up from the
ugly quagmire of mediocrity that it currently
resides in.

Courtesy of FOX
Kelly (Jennie Garth) will shed a few tears when Brandon (Jason Priestley)
_paves "Beverly Hills, 90210" tonight.
Pheads for
A a n e e
-a new z ip code

But there's no relief here.
Watch as Bailey (Scott Wolf) and Sarah
(Jennifer Love Hewitt) wrangle over abortion
issues. Watch as Ned (Scott Bairstow) and Julia
(Neve Campbell) carry on their not-so-secret
affair under the watchful eye of ex-hubby Griffin
(Jacob Smith). Watch as Kirsten (Paula Divicq)

Courtesy of FOX
Charlie (Matthew Fox) faces some tough decisions
about his unborn baby and its mother (Jennifer
Aspen) tonight on "Party of Five."
spends even more time with ex-fiancee Charlie
while her husband seems not to notice nor care.
Watch as Daphne, the pregnant ex-stripper, devel-
ops massive health complications in less than five
minutes. That's not even all, but I have to leave
some things unspoiled so that you can discover the
carefully constructed pseudo-angst for yourself.
"Party of Five," or as it might be called in an
accurate world, "Party of Crap," is not a good

By Aaron Rich
Daily Arts Writer
On a sunny day in Southern
California, a car pulls up to a white
-house and four Minnesota natives
step out. Not knowing exactly what
will become of their lives in this
Western paradise, the handsome
family sticks close together, fearing
the worst and praying for the best.
Eight years ago, there were four
members of the Walsh family living
.n posh "Beverly Hills, 90210."
Tonight's episode marks the turning
of the tide, as Brandon (Jason
'Priestley), the last of the ever-trou-
bled clan still in Beverly Hills, leaves
the zip code for a more swanky New
.York address to pursue his journalis-
-tic career.
The past eight years have been a

Tonight at 8 p.m.

true test of
character for
fair Brandon.
In the begin-
ning, the teen
who started
high school
more awkward
than most was
full of uneasi-
ness and cau-
tion for his
new neighbor-
hood. Not only
was his hock-
ey-hair way

producer Aaron Spelling. Brandon's
twin, Brenda (Shannen Doherty),
moved to London four seasons ago
to pursue her acting career - but
Brenda was a bitch, so we were more
relieved than distraught at her exit.
And then there was the emotional
departure of Dylan McKay (Luke
Perry). Everything in Beverly was
suddenly not as attractive, but from
episode one, we all knew that the
ever-rambunctious Alcoholics
Anonymous member could not stay
in the superficial town forever. Not
to mention the dozens of smaller per-
sonages who went on to other cities
over the years.
Priestley's withdrawal from the set
is bigger than any other before him.
He is not only one of the show's pro-
ducers, but his character is -the only
one who, week after week, acts and
reacts like a real human being -tnot
a TV marketing concoction. He is all
Part of our outrage at the end of
last season's wedding debacle rooted
in the fact that we all hope to find a
spouse like Brandon one day -
someone who will selflessly love and
provide for us while remaining end-
lessly attractive.
We should not be too sad. As is
typical of the teen-drama genre,
which "90210" spearheaded, the
moment an old character leaves, new
ones arrive to fill in the folds in the
bed sheets. This time we welcome
Matt Durning (Daniel Cosgrove), a
young idealist lawyer with a yen for
blond 20-somethings. He is a far cry
from the rest of the sexually abused,
over-libidinous cast, but he might
spice up the intellectual angle of the
plot. And how could we forget the
long-awaited return of Perry as
Dylan. There has definitely been a
void in the angst level of the stories
during his three-season hiatus.
Still, all these arrivals are bitter-
sweet, considering the additions
would not be necessary were it not
for the upsetting subtraction of
Brandon. Now, with only four of the
original cast-members still on set -
five including Perry - the ever-
sunny, problem-free burg is gray and
cloudy with our tears. Carpe diem,
friends. Tempus fugit.

'Soldier' d
By Matthew Barrett
Daily Arts Writer
Judging by his rippling muscles, Kurt
Russell must have spent quite a bit of
time building up his body for the science
fiction film "Soldier." Unfortunately,
this appears to be the only area of pro-
duction on which any extended effort
was made. After all, it's kind of tough to
imagine screenwriter David Webb
Peoples sitting in front of his computer
and racking his brain for a few hours a
day so that he could include things such
as jumping snakes in the movie.
"Soldier" centers around one soldier,
Todd (his name is tattooed on his face in
case one should forget), who was taken
fiom the hospital at birth to be trained to
fight for an unknown agency. As shown
through several montages, Todd and all
of the other lucky choices are trained to
feel nothing and become experts at the
art of killing. Who exactly the soldiers
work for and what they are fighting for is
never really provided, which is a disap-
pointment because it would have made it
much easier for the audience to relate to
the characters.
The story gets going when an officer
brings in a new group of supposedly
superior soldiers that are meant to
replace the adult Todd (Kurt Russell) and
the rest of his crew. These new soldiers
are better because they weren't picked at
birth, they were bred. A sort of
"American Gladiators" type contest
ensues and by the end Todd is beaten,
bloodied and left for dead. He is then 1
tossed into a space ship which dumps
him off at the waste disposal center.
One of the more unusual things about
Todd is that he doesn't really talk. Andi
while this may be an inspired idea from
screenwriter Peoples, it doesn't translate
on the screen. Russell doesn't speak a c
word until a good 30 minutes into the

At Briarwood
and Showcase

Todd is given the
old heave-ho,
which leads in the
film's soul search-
ing moment. A
misty-eyed Todd
(he does have
feelings) sits
alone and lets the
tears roll down,
discouraged that
he is no longer a
soldier or a part of
the waste commu-

mps out poor
movie, and when he does it's usually in and a heavy-h
the form of a one or two word grunt. His along. Anders
silence works for a while, but by the be of Todd m
middle of the film it begins to hurt the background,
story more than it helps it. times accordi
After his near-death experience, Todd The only a
awakens to find himself discovered by any directoria
the inhabitants of the waste world. He fight scenes.I
can't really express his emotions, and cut to the po
this makes him a near perfect match for who is about
the boy who can't talk who he befriends bullet and this
on the planet. Although the people there been standar
try to love him, Todd does his best to points also ar
keep freaking them out, mainly because less execution
of the nasty flashbacks he keeps having tussle. Fans
from his fighting days. Also, the fact that remember the
they see him honing his boxing skills Sergeant Slau
with a huge hunk of metal (come on, to see it slapp
why not a huge hunk of meat?) makes screen.
the soldier seem a little hard to relate to. As a film tf

The story is;
redemption o
audience doe
movie falls fl
also a big di
Russell, espec

handed score move the film
son's favorite shot seems to
walking away from a fiery
and he includes it several
rea where Anderson shows
al touch is in some of the
Occasionally, the film will
int of view of a character
to get hit with a fist or a
s spices up what could have
d slug-out scenes. Style
e in order for Todd's flaw-
of the camel clutch in one
of wrestling will fondly
move as the trademark of
Lghter, and it's pretty funny
ed on a bad guy on the big
hough, "Soldier" is a mess.
supposed to be about the
f a soldier, but since the
sn't care about Todd the
at on its face. "Soldier" is
isappointment for fans of
cially after his gritty perfor-

Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Kurt Russell stars In "Soldier."
mance in the smart action/thriller
"Breakdown." The fights are mildly
entertaining for awhile, but "Soldier" is
just another pointless, big-budget action
movie. May it be banished to a movie
dump equivalent to the wasteland dis-
posal center from the film.

out of fashion - there seemed to be
,no ice rinks around - but the good-
hearted Brandon was faced with a
barrage of foreign concepts, such as
ooking cool, driving hot cars and
dating the socially acceptable girl.
The Minnesota stud was ostracized
for not running with the in-crowd,
'and vilified for eating lunch by him-
Over the years, Brandon's sweet
facade would be adorned with sever-
al Ford Mustangs, a few major girl-
friends and alwaysathe sameElvis-
like hairdo. No, the Brandon of late
'is not the naive hick that he began as;
'he has grown and become a distin-
guished man with high political and
Journalistic aspirations - the model
son-in-law for any mother. ;
Major characters leaving the show
is not a new occurrence for executive

For a special effects-laden science-fic-
tion flick, "Soldier" is directed with little
style or flair by Paul Anderson. Paul
Thomas Anderson, the genius behind
"Boogie Nights?" No, Paul Anderson,
the genius behind "Event Horizon" and
"Mortal Kombat," and the difference is
as clear as day on the screen. Rather than
concentrate on the story, Anderson
seems more than happy to let explosions

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