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October 01, 2001 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-10-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

One last big score ...
Ron O'Neal stars in "Superfly"
playing tonight at the Michigan
Theater. Gotta dig that big
white hat. $6.25 for students.
michigandaiiy.com /arts

zgtdigm n aig

OCTOBER 1, 2001


Jin's visit to Drum
ends the Waiting'

Stupid is as stupid does


'Zoolander,'just plain stupid

By Lisa Rajt
Daily Books Editor
It seems like everyone is always
Whether it's the populace of Ann

" v.
Ha Jin
Shaman Drum
Tonight at 8 p.m.

Arbor antici-
pating the
arrival of criti-
cally acclaimed
author and
Emory Univer-
sity professor
Ha Jin, or the
lead character
from Jin's sec-
ond novel
patience proves
to always be a
N o w.

12 elegant, neatly told short stories
, set in Communist China. Jin evokes
comparisons to Hemingway with
his simplistic style of storytelling,
and themes of nature, struggle,
death and the search for identity.
The list of accolades for "Wait-
ing" goes on and on: A New York
Times Notable Book, it won the
National Book Award, the
Pen/Faulkner Award and was a
Pulitzer Prize finalist. "The Bride-
groom" has received similarly spec-
tacular reviews.
Accompanying Ha Jin at Shaman
Drum tonight will be rising literary
star Dennis Bock, newly-minted
author of the highly anticipated
"The Ash Garden." A tale of the
bombing of Hiroshima in 1946,
Bock revolves three stories around
the ethical and moral fallout from
that act of war. Beautifully written
and almost certain to be a contem-
porary classic, this is definitely one
author to look for in the future.
The wait is almost over.

By Todd Weiser
Daily Arts Writer

Grade: C-
At Showcase
and Quality 16

Many will argue that a film that is supposed to be
stupid cannot be written off because it is what it tries to
be. However, stupid does not always, or even often,

equal funny, and in the case of
"Zoolander," written, directed and
starring Ben Stiller, it makes for a
film containing few laughs and
much head scratching. "Zoolander"
follows the recent trend of every
studio comedy in that it has an IQ
below 30, and you will most likely
be asking yourself after the film:
how did Ben Stiller take the course
that took him from his directorial
debut, the smart, perceptive "Reali-
ty Bites" to this silly, mind numb-
ing comedy?
"Zoolander" follows the adven-
tures of male super-model Derek

patience has proved itself a virtue
once again. After a period of "wait-
ing" several years, Jin graces fic-
tion readers all over the world with
"The Bridegroom," a collection of

Courtesy of Emory University and Vintage International
Ha An brings his own special kind of
fiction to Drum.

Multiple storylines promote
tension in 'Don't Say a Word'
By Wilbelmina Mauritz
Daily Arts Writer

Most people will probably dismiss "Don't Say a
Word" as a rip-off of Ron Howard's thriller "Ransom"
(1996) starring Mel Gibson. Are there similarities
between the two movies? Yes. They both involve the
issue of kidnapping children and demanding something
for their return. In the case of "Ransom," money was
demanded, but, in "Don't Say a Word," the demand is a
1 bit more complicated than just money; it involves psy-
chiatric help to a disturbed patient in a mental hospital.
That's a bit more intriguing than just money in many
"Don't Say a Word" starts out with a jewel heist gone
bad. Five men break into a bank in search of a red jewel
that is supposedly worh over $.l0 million. As the ren.,
break up into two groups during their escape, the larger
group, consisting of three men, realize that the jewel
that they have just stolen has been
stolen from them. They are more
than a little upset.
Ten years later, we see Dr.
Don't Say Nathan Conrad (Michael Douglas)
a Word a psychiatrist with the perfect life.
He has got a great practice right in
Grade: B+ the heart of New York City. He has
At showcase a beautiful condo where his wife,
and Quality 16 laid up due to a broken leg, and his
8-year-old girl wait for him to
come home every night. The night
before Thanksgiving, Nathan is
held up from coming home because
.; an old colleague of his wants him
to take a look at a new patient
(Brittany Murphy), a catatonic that has been buffeted in
and out of mental hospitals over the last 10 years after
she watched her dad get hit by a subway train when she
was 10 years old. This is the beginning of the end for
poor Nathan.
On Thanksgiving morning Nathan wakes up to find
his daughter missing and a man on the other end of his
phone line insisting that he won't get his daughter back
unless he can get the catatonic girl to release a 6-digit
number she's got locked away in her head somewhere.
Nathan has until five o'clock that day.
"Don't Say a Word" actually involves a few story-
lines within the main story. Each of the stories is told
separately, but they are intricately woven together.
Eventually, they all come together. At times, there are
moments of confusion where it almost feels as if there
were more to a certain sub-story that just got lost some-
where on the editing room floor, but those moments are
"Don't Say a Word" is a suspense-thriller. The best
thing about this movie is its ability to build and main-
tain tension. The very first scene is a perfect example
of this. It involves the group of thieves sitting in a van
waiting for the right moment to make their movie.

Zoolander (Stiller). Derek is the king of the catwalk,
having won the male model of the year award at the
VH I Fashion Awards for three consecutive years. Derek
is the stereotypical model, vain and stupid, but Derek is
also an aging superstar, and new kid on the block,
Hansel (Owen Wilson, "Shanghai Noon") is prepared to
eclipse Derek's stardom. Hansel is just as stupid as
Derek, but he enjoys extreme sports and adopts a Zen
lifestyle. Hansel's defeat of Derek at the VHl Awards
throws Derek into an assessment of his own life and
career as a supermodel. Derek wants to discover his
roots back home in Southern New Jersey, declaring,
"I'm pretty sure there's more to life than just being real-
ly, really good looking, and I plan on finding out what
that is."
But here is the part of the plot that is a little tricky to
comprehend, so follow along closely if you can. Derek's
retirement has caused a damper in the plans of fashion
designer Jacobim Mugatu (Will Ferrell). It seems that
the new prime minister of Malaysia is being elected
based on his anti-child labor views, and the fashion
industry, particularly Mugatu, who has many sweat-
shops in the country, view the new executive as a threat.
And since male models have been behind every known
assassination of the past 200 years (don't ask), Derek
has been picked to off the new president. Also in on the
conspiracy is Derek's agent Maury Ballstein (Jerry
Stiller, Ben's dad) and Mugatu's assistant Katinka
(Milla Jovovich).
Taking two whole paragraphs to explain this film's
plot is too much a compliment for Stiller's script, but
there is one more character who must be introduced:
Matilda Jeffries (Christine Taylor, Ben's wife). Matilda
is a Time magazine reporter investigating the world of
modeling and is especially interested in the mysterious
Mugatu. Along the way, actually in the middle of a
giant orgy featuring Swedish dwarves and a Buddhist
Tenacious D rc

Courtesy of Paramount
Look, everybody, we can blame Andy Dick on this guy!
monk, Derek falls in love with her.
For his main cast and a non-stop series of cameos,
Stiller has brought together all his family, friends and
even acquaintances. These random appearances make
for some of the most enjoyable scenes from the film.
David Bowie is obviously the only person who could
referee a "Walk-Off" between Derek and Hansel, Billy
Zane does his best to deter confrontational Derek from
the showdown with Hansel, Natalie Portman proclaims
that Derek is just too good looking to date and Fred
Durst is one of the many who enjoy the final catwalk
appearance for Derek as he fights the mind controlling
power of the '80s dance hit "Relax" as it tells him to
kill the Prime Minister.
The strange thing about "Zoolander" is that as bad as
it may be, you still sit through the film trying as hard as
you can to enjoy it. At this time, this country needs a
great comedy where you can leave your brain at home
and just enjoy yourself for a couple hours. Stiller is not
attempting to make "Godfather" or "2001: A Space
Odyssey" here (although he parodies both films, one
successfully and one not), he just wants you to laugh at
the stupidity of his character and the situations around
him. Occasionally, he is successful, especially in scenes
involving both Stiller and Wilson, but most of the time
the jokes fall flat. This usually occurs when the film
tries to parody itself by being so bad that it is actually
funny, but it constantly just comes off as lackluster
If you do go see "Zoolander," take a careful look at
the shots of the New York skyline; even though the fiati
was shot months ago, the World Trade Center towers
are missing. After the recent tragic events, the filmmak-
.ers..ad the towers digitally edited out. While,it may,
seem weird to not see the towers in certain shots where
you know they belong, it would most certainly make
you feel weirder if they were there.

)cks socks off

tonight at Detroit's State Theatre

By Luke Smith and Lyle Henretty
Daily Arts Editors
Tonight, Tenacious D rocked the
State Theatre in Detroit. Acoustic
comic-rock duo Jack Black and
Kyle Gass dropped trau and kicked

C~our tesy Vof hItncentury rFox
C'mon, Mikey, she could be your granddaughter!
There isn't a lot going on, but all the same, the audi-
ence still has this feeling of mounting tension. There is
a feeling that something really big is about to blow, but
you're just not sure what or when.
The worst thing about "Don't Say a Word" is the
occasional black-and-white nature of both the charac-
ters and the plot. Here are the bad guys, horrid to the
core. By contrast, the hero is left alone to save the day,
made even more apparent since his wife is stuck at
home in bed due to her broken leg.
Even many of the settings in "Don't Say a Word" are
magnified and blown out of proportion to create a more
exciting backdrop. For example, the psych ward, as is
usually the case, is the most awful, disturbing place. It
really makes one wonder why psychology is so popular
a field these days if places like this are portrayed as the
spot where one might end up. Is it really necessary to
make the mentally ill appear more like animals than
humans? The answer is probably not. It does, however,
add a sense of creepiness to the whole aura of the
movie. This is exactly why it was done that way.

Tenacious D
State Theatre,
Tonight at 7:30 p.m.
song that made"

ass in the
show they have
yet to play. The
much anticipat-
ed show is to
promote the
release and sub-
sequent recall of
their epony-
mous debut.
The "greatest
and best song"
of the evening
was clearly
"Tribute," the
The D the media

- but fellas, you better. listen too!)
"Karate," (a song nearly as danger-
ous as a Daniel LaRusso "Crane"
kick) and "Kylfe Quit the Band"
(don't worry kids, the song is of his
triumphant return).
The D first gained notoriety
through their short-lived HBO
miniseries, which featured the boys
busting funnies (and their much-
maligned belts) for six action-
packed episodes.
Another highlight of tonight's
show was their brilliant telling
(through song) of the life of a little
guy named "Wonderboy." This is
also the band's first single, which
can be seen in a Spike Jones' direct-
ed clip, should resurrect them from
the mucky-muck of the underground
music scene. The performance of

the song this evening was probably
the most rousing part of the show.
The D refused to speak with The
Daily after tonight's concert, and
who were we kidding, we (weren't)
aren't worthy. Despite the snub, we
couldn't have been happier with the
concert which has not yet taken
place. See you there tonight.
~-i"I- ..-- - .-.-

Courtesy of Epic
The D searches for inspiration.

whoremongers that they will be
tonight. Other songs may have
included "Fuck. Her Gently," (a
serene acoustic ballad for the ladies

How far north, south, east, and west can you
travel from Ann Arbor and still take Michigan

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