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January 12, 1999 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-01-12

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gWritersSraieg 7omorrow in Daily Arts:
Helen Vendler lectures. Vendler presents this year's University's U Read DailyA t fort a review of Stephen King s latest novel,
.Marc and Constance Jacobson lecture, "Robert Lowell and EBag of BAnes. a
Oepressive Form." Rackham Ampitheatre, 5 p.m.
!CR TJanuary 12, 1999

'60 Minutes II' enters
crowded prime time

'Gravesend' falls flat with
weak characters and plot

The Hartford Courant
HARTFORD (AP) - Does America need another
prime-time newsmagazine?
At CBS News, positive thinkers will tell you: "If
it's called '60 Minutes,' the answer is yes."
No one, however, is making any bold predictions
about "60 Minutes II," which begins Wednesday.
Not even Jeff Fager, the show's executive produc-
er.
"I think there's room for another '60 Minutes,'"
says Fager, former executive producer of the "CBS
Evening News" and a producer for "60 Minutes"
from 1989 to 1994. "I don't know if there's room for
another 'Dateline.'"
There's no getting away from it - prime time is
crowded with newsmagazines, and even a "60
Minutes" logo outside of Sunday nights could get
lost in the competitive shuffle.
Besides five nights a week of "Dateline NBC" on
the peacock network, ABC News is about to go to
three nights a week of "20/20" (adding Mondays
beginning Feb. I to Wednesdays and Fridays). ABC
is also about to launch a news hour called "ABC
News Thursday Night" (Jan. 14), and, of course,
there's CBS's "48 Hours," Fox Broadcasting's "Fox
Files"..
If that's not enough pressure, Fager also has the
weight of the "60 Minutes" mantle to contend with
- the challenge of creating a new program while
remaining true to the revered original.
No wonder "60 Minutes" creator and executive
producer Don Hewitt, whose
top-rated groundbreaking TV
newsmagazine has lasted more
than 30 years, told CBS's top
60 brass that he thought "60
Minutes I Minutes II" was "a lousy idea."
Unfortunately, admits Hewitt,
CBS "I had no choice. You know, they
Wednesday at 9 said, 'We're gonna do it.'"
Hewitt says he has since
changed his mind, calling the
news spinoff "a genuine journal
and not a time-filler masquerad-
ing as a newsmagazine - which
is what most of the (other shows)
are."
The show will have the substantial talents of
"Evening News" anchor Dan Rather, Middle East
correspondent Bob Simon, PBS talk-show host
Charlie Rose as well as former CBS London corre-
spondent Vicki Mabrey to draw on, with updates on
classic "60 Minutes" originals from Mike Wallace
and the gang.
But will it be enough?
"I think they'll do very well," says "Dateline"
executive producer Neal Shapiro. "It's a great time
period." Other offerings that night at 9: "Party of
Five" on Fox, "3rd Rock From the Sun" on NBC and
"Drew Carey" on ABC.
"We can carve out our own identity while carrying
on a great name," says Rather, who was co-editor of
"60 Minutes" from 1975 to 1981 and calls the new
show "60 Minutes Plus."
"I have no illusions," he says. "This program may
not do well right out of the box." On the other hand,
"given time, if we can increase the value for our
stockholders by making this a program that does well
in prime time ... at a cost which is far below what
any entertainment program would cost, you know,
that's a factor," Rather says.
That, in fact, is the heart of the matter, in the
minds of many industry watchers.
With the entertainment side of network television
failing miserably by most standards, and audience
levels continuing to erode, the Big Four are plugging

By Adiin Roshl
Daily Arts Writer
"Gravesend" wants to be a movie that is hard-hitting and
in-your-face, like "Menace II Society" and
"Trainspotting." Through its central cast of four angry yet
bored young men, Ray (Michael Parducci), Mikey
(Thomas Brandise), Chicken (Tom Malloy) and Zane
(Tony Tucci), the movie chronicles a night of events that
goes terribly wrong, beginning with the accidental murder
of Ray's brother by Zane.
Despite its unending supply of
Murphy's Law scenarios and attempts
to be like the aforementioned movies,
"Gravesend" lacks the realistic and
Gravesend sometimes tender acting of "Menace
II Society" or the wit of
"Trainspotting." Instead, it abounds
with overacting, weak plot twists and
On Viea cliches.
Viewers just cannot feel any sym-
pathy for the main characters, as the
succession of tragic incidents that fol-
low these four men were all self-
inflicted. The four could have avoided
more trouble after Ray's brother's
accidental murder, but they did not.
After two more dead bodies, an attempt at armed robbery
and the assaults on many supporting cast members, the
boys finally start talking about how, "You can't just keep
acting the way you do and expect to just say sorry at the

end." Certainly those who are looking for lots of whinin
and little common sense are in for a treat with this vi<
The biggest flaw of this offering lies in its reliance W th
belief that an overt amount of screaming and macho postu
ing will provide the "dark gritty edge" needed to carr
through the story's tale of a night of awry events. The po
trayal of the night's hijinks is done in such a bland and bo
ing mannerthat all the screaming and macho insults offere
throughout the movie only serve to stimulate the viewer
irritation and hope for this movie's quick end.
Viewers are simply not given much to chew on with It
movie's weak plot and central cast of characters. The fot
young male leads are all flat and boring bad boy chaiei
that have been played way too many times before. f te
Zane, the belligerent one who punches before he thing
Ray, the more sensible one who is dragged into the chac
and is bound to stay with his friends despite his commo
sense. Chicken, the one who means well but cannot seht
to get things right, and Mikey, the silent misundersto
one who eventually snaps in the movie.
Attempts to temper all the manly posturing by showin
each of the young men's background fails miserably
depicting them beyond their two-dimensional quality. A
their backgrounds were so cliched and boring that viewe,
just can not feel anything beyond indifference for theaw
acters.
Little sympathy is earned for the cast of characters;s
when the movie finally does make it to its "oh-so-shodk
ing" finale viewers are not concerned. By then, they 4
just glad the movie is over.

Cortesy rtBSNews
Dan Rather will host the new "60 Minutes lI,"CBS's
newest attempt In the newsmagazine genre.
holes with news.
"Behind almost every television newsmagazine,
there's a failed sitcom," says Hewitt. "The sad fact of
life is that in no small measure, television has gone
out of the entertainment business - which they used
to be very serious about, and they did very well -
and into the news business, which they're not very
serious about and they don't do very well."
Shapiro, perhaps the greatest beneficiary of that
trend in news, concurs, though only to a degree.
"I think there's some truth to that," he says. "But
I'm not alarmed by it at all. In all due respect to my
colleague Don Hewitt, there's no shortage of places
for new entertainment shows to start. There are 500
channels. If the networks feel like they want to
devote more hours to news and information and one
less hour to 'America's Stupidest Videos,' I don't
think that's anything to be upset about."
Even Fager parts company with Hewitt on the idea
that newsmagazines are on the rise because enter-
tainment is in decline.
"I don't buy that at all," says Fager. "That argu-
ment - and Don has made it - makes it sound like
television 20 years ago was brilliant all the time. I
happen to think there's more good television on now
than there was 20 years ago. But I also happen to
think that there's an appetite in America for news.
What's wrong with that? You don't have to find a
cynical reason."
Based on the ratings and mostly negative assess-
ments of this television season, however, there
wouldn't seem to be much support for Fager's theory.
At Fox, Catherine Crier, host with Jon Scott of
"Fox Files," says, "I must admit I don't watch much
entertainment television because there's nothing
there to watch.
"I think there's a real tussle between entertainment
and news in terms of getting ahold of air time," she
says. "And certainly entertainment programming
will snatch it back if they have successful program-
ming."
Right now, she says, they don't.
Says Hewitt: "It gets back to the fact that the net-
works are bankrupt. Not as much for money as for
talent. They don't know where to find another Jackie
Gleason, another Lucille Ball, another Milton Berle.
So what they say is, 'Well, let's do it on the cheap
and dirty. We'll keep throwing all these news-
magazines on."'

Williams dances onto vide
By Matthew Barrett
and Erin Podolsky
Daily Arts Writers
Ryan Phillippe stars in "54": the
Ryan Phillippe story. Phillippe plays
a brainless stud from Jersey who
finds happiness as a bartender in the
big city. Any hints of talent that the
actor may have displayed in "I Know
What You Did Last Summer" were
eliminated by the vacuous presence
of Neve "Mmmm, mmm, good"
Campbell. Also appearing are Salma
Hayek as a coat check girl with a
heart of gold and Mike Myers as the
club owner with a wallet of gold.
Things start off well, but we're not
saying.whether or not they stay that
way.
Not satisfied with just being a
state capitol
Latin-lover boy r
Chayanne -AL
New On steams up the
screen with
Video This Vanessa L.
Week Williams in "
"Dance With
Me." By the end
of this two hour plus dance lesson
you too will know how to do the fox
trot with the best of them. Do they
save the best for last? Only a trip to
the rental counter will give you the
answer.
Rule No. 1: After "You've Got
Mail," Parker Posey may not do any
movies with budgets of more than
$30. Good thing that "Henry Fool"
rings up at a bargain-basement price
of $29.95. Posey struts her thing as
the horny sister of garbage man
Simon Grim. When Henry Fool, an
out of work epic poet, moves into
their house he takes the near mute
Simon and makes him a star of the
poetry world. Hal Hartley has never
made a finer film. Courtesy of Mandalay Entertainment and Artisan Entertainm
3.14159... It's not just a number, Chayanne and Vanessa L. Wiliams heat up the dance floor in "Dance With Ie"
it's a movie. Pull up to the table and (above) and Sean GuNette ponders the universe In "P1."
wedge out a slice of this delicious headaches are so bad that they paranoia poster boy Trum
mad scientist stock market tale. Shot require the intervention of a power Burbank in "The Truman Show
in black and white, "Pi" is the story drill. Ask no questions. Accept your real
of a mathematician whose Bringing up the rear is media ty. Just rent the movie.

REGISTRAR'S BULLETIN BOARD
DATES TO REMEMBER
Last Day to:
Tues., Jan.26 Withdraw From Winter Term-with payment of the $50
Disenrollment Fee and $80 Registration Fee.
Drop Classes-with a reduction in tuition. NOTE: Some units (Law,
Medicine and Dentistry) begin classes on a different academic
calendar and this date will vary for those units.
Last Day to access touch-tone to process election changes.
Beginning:
Wed., Jan. 27 Withdraw From Winter Term-pay half tuition, and $80
Registration Fee through Tuesday, February 16. This fee adjustment
applies only to complete withdrawals from the term and not to a
reduction of credit hours.
Tues., Feb.16 Withdraw From Winter Term-pay full tuition and fees.
Students Graduating in May
Students anticipating April 30, May 1 or 2, 1999 graduation should make applications for
diplomas at the earliest possible date in order to ensure inclusion in the graduation program
and the timely receipt of diplomas. Diploma applications are available through the
individual's school.
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