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February 14, 2000 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-02-14

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dJ~efore' Bertolucci's big break

The Michigan Theater screens
Bemardo Bertolucci's "Before the
Revolution" at 7 p.m.
michigandaily.com/arts

fyz Sit~ant

MONDAY
FEBRUARY 14, 2000

5A

K

Leo, Boyle
sun burn
on 'Beach'
By Erin Podolsky
Daily Arts Writer
Fear not, Leo lovers. I am happy to inform you
that not only is the esteemed Mr. DiCaprio drip-
ping wet for a great portion of "The Beach," but
that he is also half-naked for a good 118 out of
120 total movie minutes.
Somewhat a modern version of all those island
paradise-gone-horribly-wrong tales you had to
read in high school - although the Beach-
dwellers all appear to be high school graduates,
"Lord of the Flies" apparently wasn't in their
curriculum. "The Beach" sees Richard
(DiCaprio), a slight loner with "well-defined
thumbs" that betray the hours of video game
playing he's engaged in, arrive in Bangkok with
the intention of doing something "different"
with his vacation. Different arrives in the form

'Peanuts' creator
Schulz dies at 77

The Associated Press

"Peanuts" creator Charles M.
Schulz died on Saturday, turning his
farewell note in Sunday papers into
an epitaph for both a comic strip and
its creator.
Schulz was 77, and died in his
sleep at about 9:45 p.m. at his home
in Santa Rosa, said his son, Craig
Schulz.
He was diagnosed with colon can-
cer and suffered a series of small
strokes during emergency abdomi-
nal surgery in November 1999 and
announced his retirement a few
weeks afterward.
Schulz had seemed fine earlier in
the day and had gone to his daughter
Jill Transki's home in Santa Rosa.
Only his wife, Jeannie, was with
him when he died, Craig Schulz
said.
His wildly popular "Peanuts"
made its debut on Oct. 2, 1950. The
travails of the "little round-headed
kid" and his pals eventually ran in
more than 2,600 newspapers, reach-
ing millions of readers in 75 coun-
tries.
His last strip, appearing in Feb. 13
Sunday editions, showed Snoopy at
his typewriter and other Peanuts reg-
ulars along with a "Dear Friends"
letter thanking his readers for their
support.
"I have been grateful over the
years for the loyalty of our editors
and the wonderful support and love
expressed to me by fans of the

comic strip," Schulz wrote. "Charlie
Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy ... how
can I ever forget them ..."
It ended with his signature.
Over the years, the Peanuts gang
became a part of American popular
culture, delivering gentle humor
spiked with a child's-eye view of
human foibles.
Sergio Aragones, a Mad magazine
cartoonist and friend for more than
30 years, called Schulz "a true car-
toonist."
"In a couple of centuries when
people talk about American artists,
he'll be the one of the very few
remembered," Aragones said. "And
when they talk about comic strips,
probably his will be the only one
ever mentioned."
He was to have been honored with
a lifetime achievement award on
May 27 at the National Cartoonists
Society convention in New York.
"Peanuts," meanwhile, had
remained an intensely personal
effort. He had had a clause in his
contract dictating the strip had to
end with his death. While battling
cancer, he opted to retire it right
then, saying he wanted to focus on
his health and family without the
worry of a daily deadline.
"Why do musicians compose
symphonies and poets write
poems?" he once said. "They do it
because life wouldn't have any
meaning for them if they didn't.
That's why I draw cartoons. It's my
life."

of Daffy (Robert
The Beach
Grade: C-
At Briarwood, Quality 16
& Showcase

Carlyle), a grime-covered,
crazed man who gives
Richard a map to the urban
legend-esque Beach just
before slitting his own
wrists.
While any good American
citizen traveling abroad
would A) not understand
Daffy's Scottish brogue; B)
worry about smoking the
laced-with-god-knows-what
pot Daffy's dirty, grubby
hand tosses over the wall
that separates their rooms;
or C) take a cue from
Daffy's clearly maniac state

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Francoise (Virginie Ledoyen) and Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio) bask in the sea and look hot in "The Beach."

and stay as far away from the Beach as possible,
Richard is sick of being a good American citi-
zen. Lonely and horny, he recruits a French cou-
ple his age staying in a nearby room to seek out
the Beach. They're looking for adventure, too, so
the trio sets off with enough sexual tension to
power a small city.
Along the way Richard makes sure to plant the
proverbial first act gun that will reappear in the
third as his Achilles heel, making a copy of the
map after being expressly told not to do so. He
slips the map to a couple of stoners he briefly
hangs out with, even though it's painfully obvi-
ous that they are the wrong kind of people to be
leading to the Beach. Their reemergence late in
the film as intruders on the island sets up direc-
tor Danny Boyle's most unsuccessful experi-

ment. One part Kurtz and one part Willard of
"Apocalypse Now" with a smattering of "Super
Mario Bros." thrown in for good measure (liter:'
ally), Richard goes undercover to stop them. In
the process, he loses his humanity and, of
course, realizes the true evil of the Beach and its
inhabitants - the horror, the horror!
Richard fits right in when he arrives at the
Beach - suspiciously so. It seems that he is
sublimating his own personality in order to bet-
ter mesh with those around him, throwing him-
self wholeheartedly into the commune-like
atmosphere that the Beach dwellers have creat-
ed. Shifting between "Lord of the Flies"
extremes Ralph and Simon. Richard has the time
of his life. "The Beach" has plenty of Ralphs and
Simons to go around, but it has a distinct lack of
Piggys. Then again, this is Hollywood. The
Piggys don't get callbacks.
After wetly freezing to death in "itanic." it
fooks like DiCaprio put a stipulation in his con-
tract that he could under no circumstances make
another ice watery movie anytime in the near,
future. He has turned up now in "The Beach,"

where the weather is always balmy and the water
is clear and blue. It's unfortunate that Leo hasn't
realized that naybe the key to his movie prob-
lems is the water itself - never mind that the
stuff covers 70% of the Earth's surface. For
DiCaprio, good old 1120 is turning out to be act-
ing Kryptonite.
DiCaprio has as little chemistry with his
female count ,rpart (or anybody else in the
movie. for that matter) as Boyle's camera does
with any thing it sees. Bovle and the rest of his
crew have been sinking lower and lower with
each subsequent film after the creepy "Shallow
Grave" and "Trainspotting." the movie that
tacked the chic onto heroin, first with the decid-
edly mediocre "A Life Less Ordinary" and now
"The Beach." Whither Renton'? Boyle assigns
DiCaprio an opening voiceover monologue
along the lines of Ewan McGregor's
"Trainspotting" statement of purpose, but poor
Leo lacks the cadcncc and the rhythm to make
his own speech anything more than oddly fat.
Bovle, and "The Beach" as a whole, suffer the
same malady.

Irrelevant narration in
Kind' lacks explanation

By Sarah Curry
For the Daily

Ken Foster makes a canny observa-
tion within one of his own stories: "We

The Kind I'm
Likely to G et
Grade: D+
Wearn o"row& Comnpa

STOP BY DAILY ARTS TOMORROW AFTER 1 P.M. TO PICK UP FREE
PASSES FOR A SCREENING OF CURTIS HANSON'S LATEST FILM
"WONDER BOYS." SUPPLIES ARE LIMITED, SO GET HERE ON TIME.

might as well be
in any dark room
right now."
In his short fic-
tion collection
"The Kind I'm
Likely To Get,"
Foster tries to
capture the mind-
set of disoriented
(he takes offense
at "aimless")
twenty-some-
things. In the
process, he shows

that with a grim enough attitude the sit-
uation of one's life can become irrele-
vant.
Many of the 14 stories follow Mary
and John. Their relationship started by
accident; it was a misunderstanding. By
the time Foster begins writing about
them, the relationship is over, but not
really. They spend their lives wanting to
meet, trying not to meet, and being
unhappy when they meet.
The rest tend to place the same gen-
eral situation against a variety of back-
drops: A party where everyone has to
wear red dresses; a man moonlighting
as a gigolo, an office space. The details
of life are dwelt upon, but the big issues
are never tackled.
In general, Foster's narration is full of
See FOSTER, Page 10

I

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