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January 26, 1999 - Image 8

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-01-26

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'Gods and Monsters' runs through Thursday at the Michigan
Theater. Vanessa Redgrave's surprise win at Sunday's Golden
Globe awards was well-deserved. You too can see her comic turn
as a German maid in the dramatic film about "Frankenstein"
Director James Whale. Tonight through Thursday at 9:15, as well
as 7 p.m. tomorrow and Thursday. $5.25 for students.

mwet £iOut ak

Come back for an interview with Russell Banks, the writer
whose books "The Sweet Hereafter" and "Affliction" have
recently hit the big screen.
Tuesday
January 26, 1999

Dil ert steps from page to screen.

The Washington Post
Leave it to Scott Adams to complain
- in a typically deadpan manner - that
the adaptation of his comic strip to televi-
sion is going too smoothly.
"Everyone has been rational, disap-
pointingly so," he said. "I was hoping that
I would get far more fodder" for the daily
comic strip.
Adams is not in need of ideas. He
logged years in the pocket-protected
underbelly of workplace inanity. And he
gets hundreds of e-
mails each day
from readers who
want to pass on
their stories of cor-
porate geekiness.
He also knows
UPN the frustrations of
Hollywood are lit-
Mondays at 8 p.m. t e different than
that experienced
by the potato-
shaped engineer
j he created.
"The absurdi-
ties of the
Hollywood situa-
tion comedy are completely unique,"
Adams observed. "It's unlike the real
world, where you make the beta version
of a product and if it doesn't work, you
ask yourself if it was a good idea. In
Hollywood, you shoot a pilot ... and if it's
not a top-20 show, you just throw it
away"
That essentially happened two years

ago, when a live-action Dilbert adapta-
tion for Fox was scrapped before being
aired.
. Don't expect the animated "Dilbert,"
which premiered last night at 8 on UPN,
to become the television equivalent of
Dilbert's mythical Gruntmaster 6000
product.
In addition to the off-the-wall creativi-
ty of Adams, "Dilbert" is steered by co-
creator Larry Charles, a former writer
and producer for "Seinfeld" and "Mad
About You." The series features high-
energy music by Danny Elfman and a
voice cast that includes Daniel Stem,
Chris Elliott and Larry Miller.
"Dilbert" also has strange dream
sequences, the traversal of time and
space, and, at least in the premiere, more
gunfire and nudity than a typical episode
of "NYPD Blue."
"It's a heady, seductive, God-like expe-
rience that I was not able to achieve in
live-action," Charles joked about writing
for the series.
As expected, the show remains true to
the comic in its attack on management
incompetence, endless meetings and -
Adams' "personal hell" - the prolifera-
tion of the cubicle in the workplace.
Rest assured, Adams' rant does not
emanate from a small, high-partitioned
space in Elbonia. The large, windowed
office of his Danville, Calif., home has a
drawing table and several computers, plus
a pool table and television. There, sur-
rounded by character cutouts and assorted
Dilbert-related products, he finishes cre-

I . +. I

I
I

T

s

714
Courtesy of Co umbia Tr star Te yn
Dilbert now has his own television show, which debuted last night on UPN.

Courtesy of New Line Cinema
'Rush Hour' may not be film art, but at least It tries to be entertaining.
Rockd
mnakevideo debut

ating the strip each morning by 9.
But it wasn't always so.
For six years, Adams drew the strip
while working at Pacific Bell. What did
he do there as a consultant?
"Apparently not enough, or I'd still be
there,' he joked. "It was part of the
'Dilbert' phenomenon in real life, where
people have jobs that they couldn't really
describe. Not that they didn't know; it's
just that it was so unfocused that once
they finished explaining it, you were
either dead or ready to shoot them."
Adams's nebulous job situation was
good for the strip's creative process. "The
worse my day was, the happier I got," he

said. "It was just like money in the bank."
When one strip was a bit too accurate,
Adams said, he was nearly fired.
Adams now spends most of his time
presiding over the Dilbert empire. The
strip is read daily by 150 million people
in 1,900 newspapers and on the Internet.
There also are 11 comic reprint collec-
tions and countless calendars and com-
puter-related merchandise.
Despite his success, Adams is catul
not to become a source of worker ridicule
like the Pointy-Haired Boss. "My goal in
life is not having any employees," he said
"So far I've been able to contract oul
everything that I need."

By Matthew Barrett
and Kristin Long
Daily Arts Writers
Feel the need for speed? Then
today, sprint down to your local video
store, head for the new releases,
search for the "R" section, reach out
your hands and
a grab hold of the
potent peach
New On named "Rush
This Hour." Starring
Video This Jackie "Who's
Week the man?" Chan
and Chris
"Rock" Tucker,
this wannabe funny, buddy flick def-
initely falls short of the mark.
Although funny at times' don't
expect any Oscar nods come Feb. 9
(unless it sneaks in for Best
Cinematography or Best Special
Effects).'
Also recently out on video is
"Buffalo '66." Vincent Gallo plays a
released criminal who cooks up a
scorching story to convince his fami-
ly that he was never in jail, but rather

a secret agent for the C.I.A. His dys-
functional family will make you long
for the days of the angel-like Brady
Bunch. Look for Christina Ricci who
continues to blossom from her
"Addams Family" days, and is well
on her way to becoming the new
Parker Posey.
Documentary fans are in for a spe-
cial treat, with the release of "Kurt and
Courtney." While we all dig their
bands, this movie is far from nirvana.
Budding rock stars beware: Fame isn't
always a wooden basket full of peach-
es, as anyone who sees this would
know. Fans of Cobain's band will be
disappointed to know that none of its
music is included in the film.
And finally, "Smoke Signals," the
first film written, directed and pro-
duced by Native Americans. This
coming-of-age story involves two
Native Americans making a trip to
look for an estranged father. In a
world of movies that are just blowing
smoke, this lone light stands out like
a snap lighter among a bunch of
matches.

Ferr6' amilies discover selves

Book

Eccentric
Neighborhoods
Rosario Ferre
Plume

. I____________________I_________

Glacier National Park
Where do you see yourself this summer?
Choose A or B?

-

Rosario Ferr's seductive narra-
tive voice is not in the least bit hin-
dered by the use of her second lan-
guage, English. She manages to
expose, and in some cases, unearth
the deep cultural roots and blood
ties that bind families together in
her novel "Eccentric
Neighborhoods."
"Eccentric Neighborhoods"
traces the development of two
Puerto Rican families from their
beginnings on the island. The Rivas
de Santillanas family represents the
elite Sugar Cane industry on the
Island, whereas the Vernet family
rises to wealth through hard work
and the manufacturing of concrete.
The two families seem as if they
would be at odds with one another
culturally. Yet, the marriage of
Clarissa Rivas de Santillanas to
Aurelio Vernet provides the link
that brings the two family sagas
together.
The first half of the novel con-
centrates on the Rivas de
Santillanas family and the second
on the Vernets. Each chapter intro-
duces another colorful member of
the family in such a way that the

reader feels like he is being fed bits
of gossip juicer than an overripe
mango. Being let in on family
secrets has its good and bad points,
however. Though the reader
becomes an honorary member of
the Rivas de Santillanas and Vernet
families, he also experiences each
tragedy or betrayal as if it has been
done to him; the
bright tropical
colors so
prevalent in the
early stories
dissolve into
deep shades of
foreboding as the
novel continues.
Outside of the family
sagas presented in the
book, "Eccentric
Neighborhoods" is also inter-
esting for its sense of history. Ferre
traces the development and decline
of the sugar cane plantations, the
Spanish occupation, the American
invasion, industrialization and the
often violent quest for statehood.
This crash course in Puerto Rican
history is made all the more effec-
tive by the roles of the Elvira, the
narrator, and her relatives.
Since Ferre chooses to empha-
size history so much throughout the
novel, one would think that the
book would follow a semi-linear
framework, but it does not. It is a

bit disturbing when in one chapter a
character is alive and well and in
the next they have been dead 40
years. As a result, the novel can be
difficult to follow. It also takes a
few chapters for the reader to real-
ize who Elvira is and that the dia-
logue is in effect her memoirs.
Ferre has a powerful command of
language that helps shape her
characters into living,
breathing people. Her
concise descriptions
course through the
novel like hot blood
and create an
intense reading
experience. The
strength and
resilience so
prevalent in
Puerto Rican his-
tory infiltrates each person in the
novel, almost as if the characters
could not exist without the land or
vice versa. On the other hand, the
tempestuous natures of the two
families also leave the reader feel-
ing raw and unfulfilled. It would
have been nice if Ferre focused a
little more on the triumphs of
Elvira and her family instead of the
tragedies. Nonetheless, Ferr6's
book is a stunning tribute not only
to family, but to the extended fami-
ly of Puerto Rico.
-Kelly Lutes

A. Commuting in bumper to
bumper traffic?
A. Spending the summer with
the same old crowd?
A. Spending hot & humid
summer nights next to an
air conditioner?

B. Sharing a trail with a mountain
goat as you hike through snow
capped glacier peaks?
5. Meeting your new best friend
under the "Big Sky" of Montana?
B. Watching millions of stars & the
northern lights on a clear, cool
August night?

If you answered "B" to any of the above, choose a summer in the
"Last Best Place".
St. Mary Lodge & Resort
(Glacier Park's finest)
We will be on campus January 29, 1999 interviewing for our 1999
summer season. Call (800) 368-3689 to schedule an interview.

instructs
on being
naughty
The Cheater's
Handbook: The
Naughty Student's
Bible
Bob Corbett
ReganBook
Author Bob Corbett doesn't advocate
cheating. He's not against learning
(although this seems to go against his
scheme of stealing a semester's worth of
credits from a university). In fact he
even dedicated the book to a teacher
(and no it's not his cheating mentor).
Really, he's just giving out advice, so
that when exam-time draws near, read-
ers of his "The Cheater's Handbook:
The Naughty Student's Bible" w e
prepared.
And for the record, Corbett equates
walking into a test without a cheatsheet
to jumping off an airplane without a
backup parachute.
Corbett is very well versed in the art
of cheating and he gets the book rolling
by examining the various types of
cheatsheets. There's the Classic, the
Double Classic Deluxe, the S th
Sheet, the Cyberpunk and of cours he
much beloved Bag O' Tricks. Other
than content, the most important thing
about these sheets is that they're edible.
Corbett's advice when the teacher is
approaching: eat the evidence (getting
caught is worse than a slight case of
lead poisoning).
The main source of humor in the
book is Corbett's deadpan descriptions
in sections like "Rewording Book
Chapters Into Papers." The a o
seems to have attempted, pull or
heard about every possible way to take
shortcuts in school. It is in his new
guide where he elevates cheating into
some kind of elaborate art form.
Anything and everything about
cheating is discussed ranging from whit
to wear (hats and glasses are good) to i
list of mail order term paper services.
Many diagrams are included for ~
ners, including one which should~a
laugh out of anyone that's ever made aT
that could look like an F if nped be.
There is substantial downtime
throughout the book, though, where
Corbett attempts and fails at comedy.
The subject matter of the book is funny

i. a

Coming Thursday in
Weekend, etc. Magazine:
The Michigan Union Pool Hall
The diloma you
canwear.

MY ARMYROt SCHOLARSEI
PUT ME IN THE HOS' ULLASTFS TM

Army ROTC scholarships Army h
nav off twrice- rith mnnev of mna

hospital. Hundreds
Qinrr Qf- n A u in

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