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April 13, 1999 - Image 5

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-04-13

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Senior Days sponsors a "Creative Dating Workshop." The
program will look at ways to make a good impression and
approach the dating scene with confidence. Angell Hall
Auditorium A. 7 p.m. Free.

ARTSmx&U

This weekend, the University's department of musical
theater will present Leonard Bernstein's musical masterpiece
"Candide." Come back to Daily Arts for an interview with
director Brent Wagner and musical director Ben Whitley.
Tuesday
April 13, 1999

A

5

Woods impresses in 'Paradise'

By Ed Sholinsky
Daily Film Editor
Two years ago director Larry Clark shocked
America with his mediocre exploration of New
York youth, "Kids." Clark seemed more con-
ced with shocking than telling a coherant
story in his debut, but in his sophomore effort,
"Another Day in Paradise" Clark's visual acu-
men and his storytelling
ability come alive.
"Another Day in
Paradise" chronicles the
lives of two heroin-addict-
*Pa ed thieves, Mel (James
Woods) and Sid (Melanie
Thursday at the Griffith), who take two
ihigan Theater teenagers, Bobbie
7 p.m. (Vincent Kartheiser) and
Rosie (Natash Gregson
Wagner), under their wing.
After Mel saves Bobbie's
life - Bobbie botches a
robbery and gets beaten by
a security guard who he
accidentally kills - with a little TLC and hero-
in, he decides he might be able to use Bobbie in
a burglary.
long the way, Mel, Sid, Bobbie and Rosie
me a family, embarking on shopping sprees,

nights on the town and drug wholesaling.
The dynamic between Woods, Griffith,
Kartheiser and Gregson Wagner never falters, as
the four actors bring life to these characters,
instead of reducing them to stereotypes. Woods
refuses to create a one dimensional representa-
tion that a lesser actor might have of Mel. Mel
knows that one day his heroin addiction is going
to bring him and Sid down, but does nothing to
get from under it. In Bobbie, Mel has found the
son he and Sid can't have, and he delights in
teaching him about being a man.
Sid too finds a daughter in Rosie, who is preg-
nant with the baby that Sid can't have. The pair
delight in buying clothes and doing drugs (Sid
shooting heroin and Rosie snorthing meth
because she fears the needle) as they form an
instant bond.
As things start to come undone, though, the
happy family turns dysfunctional as Mel slips
into a drug and alcohol induced rage. This is
compounded when the content foursome blow a
wholesale drug deal to a group of Nazi bikers,
who Mel insists on selling to despite the fact that
he's Jewish.
Larry Clark has a real eye for detail, and man-
ages tell the story with an intensity rarely seen in
film. His perchance for the gruesome only helps
this movie that gets inside the characters and

their addictions and tendencies towards vio-
lence.
Clark doesn't glamorize or judge the charac-
ters, but rather lets their story unfold before the
camera. It's easy to realize that theirs isn't a pret-
ty story, but Clark manages to find both the
beauty and ugliness in their rise and fall.
Clark is aided by the incredible performances
by his primary cast. The extraordinarily talented
Woods bounces back from October's "John
Carpenter's Vampires," and gives one of, if not
the, best performance of his career. Woods never
misses a beat, conveying both Mel's evil and
desperation. Though there was no chance that
he'd been nominated, Woods deserved an Oscar
nomination for this movie.
Griffith has also never been better, but that's
not saying too much. It's a positive step to see
her walking on the dark side for a change -
something we haven't seen since "Body
Double"
Kartheiser switches gears from the kids'
movies he has been doing ("Masterminds,'
"Indian in the Cupboard") and shines in
"Another Day in Paradise." His performance is
complemented by Gregson Wagner's turn as his
girlfriend. The two have more romantic chem-
istry than Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, while
maintaining the grit required for their roles.

James Woods and Melanie Griffith star in "Another Day in Paradise."

This movie isn't flawless, however. Griffith is
not a great actress and never will be. Despite the
overall strength of her performance, she slips
quite noticably at times. Also, for a pair of long
term heroin addicts Woods and Griffith look ter-
rific. They have none of the physical symptoms
that would accompany their substance abuse
problem. While this doesn't derail the story in

any way, it does take from the film's authentici-
ty.
Still, "Another Day in Paradise" ranks with
the best films of 1998, and ranks only behind
"Out of Sight" and "A Simple Plan" for the best
crime film of the year. With its wonderful cast,
direction and script, "Another Day in Paradise"
is a "Bonnie and Clyde" for the '90s.

Comedy 'Foolish'
jsn't all too fuinny

'Loud' makes for lush DVD life

By Laura Flyer
Daily Arts Writer
Giovanni's Club just wouldn't be
the same without Foolish Waise.
When Foolish steps on stage and

grabs hold of the
* Foolish
At Showcase
name given to him

microphone, the
crowd relaxes,
smiles reappear,
and hearty
l a u g h t e r
emerges. Dave
Meyers directs
his first movie
on solid ground,
as "Foolish" has
its moments of
hilarity emanat-
ing from the nat-
urally talented
Eddie Griffin,
who stars as
"Foolish," a
ever since he was

pie, about a selfish "muthafucka"
from his childhood who had stolen
his toys. Years later, when he asks for
a ticket to one of his stand-up shows,
Foolish rejects him, saying, "Where's
my G.Y. Joe? Where's my Sit 'n'
Spin?"
Frustratingly, the life of Foolish
isn't all laughs. He wants to reach out
to audiences, so long as everyone fol-
lows his rules. He won't listen to oth-
ers telling him what to do - especial-
ly big-shot producers who think he's
willing to cross-dress for a movie.
"It's not about the money," he says.
Foolish only wants to have a good
time.
While Foolish fights the hardships
of making it big in the entertainment
industry, he also has to deal with
relationship and family issues. His
brother, known as "Fifty Dollah,"
(rapper Master P) always has an
advantage over him, being wealthier
and managing to steal Foolish's ex-
girlfriend away from him.
But Fifty also engages in some
fairly shoddy business at a car deal-
ership, a.k.a. undercover conglomer-
ation of hard-core criminals. He, too,
has to battle with the tensions of
what's expected by him versus what
he wants to be in society. Though his
diamond-studded glasses, gold
chains and fluorescent overcoats

By Erin Podolsky
Daily Arts Writer
New Line has taken one of its less successful films from
1998 and turned into an excellent DVD. "Living Out Loud"
didn't score with audiences last fall, but it should find new
life in the hands of avid DVD watchers, thanks to a disc
chock full of goodies that includes everything from a direc-
tor's commentary track to a bundle of deleted scenes.
Starring Holly Hunter, Danny DeVito and Queen Latifah,
"Living Out Loud" is a Chekhovian story of love lost and
friendship gained in the cement jungle of New York's upper
east side. It goes the unlikely route of the non-standard
happy romantic ending, instead leaving its characters
untethered and, in some ways, better for it. They don't need
people to get through life with, because the important les-
son that they must learn is to rely on themselves.
Writer/director Richard LaGravenese lays down his
analysis of his work with energy and interest.
Especially interesting is his discussion of his decision
to rearrange the order of several scenes that were meant
to be flashbacks and how stunned he was by an idea
he'd had about shooting that he was able to bring to the
screen without compromise through the mastery of his
cinematographer, John Bailey.

The deleted scenes include a flashback to Judith's
(Hunter) youth, where she is played by up-and-comer
Rachael Leigh Cook. LaGravenese also dropped a full-
length performance of "Lush Life" by Latifah that proves
that she's more than just another hip-hopper. Also on the
disc are readings of the two Anton Chekhov stories from
which "Living Out Loud" takes its inspiration, "The
Kiss" and "Misery."
"Living Out Loud" is a fairly quiet, non-effects heavy
film, so the Dolby Digital soundtrack doesn't get much
chance to perform. But that quiet is precisely the film's
charm - things sneak up on the viewer, stealthily work-
ing together to create a small, personal film with small,
personal performances. Watch for a crucial cameo by
Elias "Casey Jones" Koteas.
New Line has set the standard for DVD content with
its Platinum Series discs for "Pleasantville" and
"Boogie Nights," but with titles like "Living Out Loud"
and "American History X" it has chosen to include lots
of special edition content without the special edition
nametag. NFilm fans should know that "Austin Powers
2: The Spy Who Shagged Me" is already in DVD pro-
duction and should be the jewel in New Line's 1999
DVD crown.

Courtesy of Robert Isenberg
'Dice' Clay makes a "Foolish" cameo.
make the fashion statement he's look-
ing for, dealing drugs and killing
people isn't so cool.
"Foolish" has some pitfalls, howev-
er. Often, the audiences reaction to
Foolish's jokes are not in sync with the
degree of hilarity at that point, almost
as though Meyers realized he had to
add some extra shots in the scene to
add variety, but the continuity didn't
match up correctly.
As stubborn as Foolish is supposed
to be, sometimes his grating charac-
ter acts out in strange ways. When he
lands an interview with a production
company for a lead role in a movie,
his comic timing is off and bitterness
about the prospect of playing a cross-
dresser goes a little astray.
Still, about half of "Foolish" con-
sists of long stand-up bits, of which
certain parts are very funny. Even so,
the pacing of the film is strong
enough to sustain entertainment even
during the bland moments.

a wee boy in the 'hood.
Although Foolish says "muthafuc-
ka," "white boy" and "ass" about
every four seconds during his
comedic routine, it's not all about
homie lingo in this film. He also
spews out some pretty bitchin' jokes,
and makes some valid criticisms
about the ludicrousness of American
st otypes and the absurdity of cer-
people's daily rituals.
Foolish tells one story, for exam-

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