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October 05, 2001 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-10-05

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Imagine all the people ...
In honor of John Lennon's 61st
birthday, Borders is exhibiting his
artwork presented by Yoko Ono.
Through Sunday. 5-9 p.m. Free.
michigandaily. com/arts

UAbfftri unatI


OCTOBER 5,2001



Uneven Joyride' not too
*good, not all that bad

Sobieski balances
her Hollywood
life with academia

By Lyle Henretty
* Daily Arts Editor
The problem with review-
ing a film like John Dahl's
"Joy Ride" is that it is impos-
sible to judge how others may

Joy Ride
Grade: C-
At Quality 16

react to a
film that
only sets
out to
m a k e
y o u
jump. If
d o n ' t
look too
and have

ever seen a horror movie,
than this film may drive you
into the depths of terror, near
the point of paralysis. The
Fangoria sect, those of you
that go to sleep every night
with a "Friday the 13th: The
New Blood" (signed by Kane
Hodder) poster hanging over
their beds, "Joy Ride" is not
going to rock your world. For
those that avoid extremes like
the plague, though, "Joy
Ride" is as good a time killer
as any, better than most of
the cinematic blasphemy of
the last couple of months.
Dahl is not exactly an
auteur, but his films have
always been distinctive. After
the interesting "Red Rock
West" and the (must avoid
pun) fairly poor "Unforget-
table," "Joy Ride" is surpris-
ingly un-ambitious, focusing
on a linear, old-fashioned-
story about unbridled
vengeance. Stud-of-the-week
Paul Walker ("Fast and the
Furious.") plays Lewis, a
stock college kid finishing up
his first year away from
home. He buys a car when he
finds out that love interest
Venna (Leelee Sobieski,
"Eyes Wide Shut") needs a
ride home to the East Coast.
On the way to pick her up,
Lewis must stop to bail his
dead-beat brother Fuller
(Steve Zahn, "Out of Sight")

out of jail for the umpteenth
Wait, isn't this a horror
movie? What's with all this
get-to-know you junk, bring
on the scary! Enter the CB
radio. Now, it's true that hav-
ing a CB radio in your car
fell out of favor during the
Reagan administration, but
Fuller (where did he get any
money?) insists on installing
one for the ride home. It'll be
Their skewed sense of
adventure leads them to pre-
tend to be a lonely female
trucker with the brilliant han-
dle Candy Cane. When the
scariest voice on the planet
(Ted Levine, Buffalo Bill
from "The Silertie of the
Lambs") answers over the
radio, they decide that it
would be a great idea to set
up a fake meeting between
"Candy Kane" and the voice,
"Rusty Nail." Why, they
don't choose someone a little
less terrifying is not clear.
When Rusty shows up look-
ing for his Candy, his disap-
pointment manifests itself
when he tears the jaw off of
some unsuspecting schlep.
This is the first act, and
before they even have a
chance to pick up Venna. For
the next two acts, the cat-
and-mouse paradigm ensues.
Rusty finds out who Candy
Cane really is, and one set-
piece after another leads the
trucker to Lewis and Fuller
(and later the lovely Venna),
and they escape in the nick of
time. Save for one blow-out
stunt with a semi, it's almost
impossible not to predict
what will happen next three,
maybe four, scenes in
Sobieski is a fine young
actress, who really shines in
the right role, but her Venna
is a two-dimensial piece of
eye-candy. Zahn has done
both. very good ("Happy,
Texas") and very, very bad
("Saving Silverman") in var-
ied roles. Here, he tries too
hard to be everything, funny,
scared, and a real human
being at the same time. He

actually appears to be think-
ing the whole time, trying to
figure out how to make his
character work, but his per-
formance ends up too
uneven. As for Walker, well,
Walker was in "Varsity
The film seems to believe
itself a guilty pleasure,
breaking up the "unrelenting"
(so sayth the press material)
terror with such excess as
Walker and Zahn forced to
walk naked into a coffee
shop. You may be waiting for
a follow-up explanation for
that, but there really isn't
one. Add to this a ridiculous
near-love-triangle that is
dropped almost as soon as it's
suggested, and you've got
yourself a screenwriter work-
ing his ass of to get the that
89 minute mark. So goes
"Joy Ride."

By Jenny Jeltes
Daily Arts Writer
At the age of 19, Leelee Sobies-
ki has a pretty outstanding reputa-
tion. With several films behind her
("Eyes Wide Shut," "Never Been
Kissed" and "Deep Impact"), and
the title role in the popular CBS
television miniseries "Joan of
Arc," the confident young woman
finds herself with yet another
opportunity to use her talent.
"The most difficult thing about
"Joy Ride" is that Stevedahn
("Saving Silverman) is really
funny. It's difficult to remain
scared when you are laughing so
Sobieski loved working with
Zahn and Paul Walker ("Fast and
the Furious"), but her biggest
attraction to the film was the direc-
"I just really wanted to work
with John Dahl ("Rounders"),
actually. It was two years ago when
I read the script." Sobieski said. "It
was a nice combination between
something that was really sus-
penseful and funny at the same
time and it was kind of 'real."'
Speaking of real, Sobieski is as
real as they get. Far from being
isolated in the film industry, she
has the hefty challenge of attend-
ing school at the same time.
After searching for colleges that
could be the most flexible in terms
of her other commitments, she
chose Brown University, which
would let her take off a semester
for her work. It must be difficult to
do both, but she is working hard
and handling it the best she can.
"Uh, it's going well. I'm here
right now. I'm not at school so it's
difficult. I just finished my paper
the other night for my history of
modern architecture class."
Along with this class, she is tak-
ing Japanese literature and society,
studio arts and a poetry class. This,
is far from surprising. With a
mother who paints and a father
who is a writer, it's no wonder this
girl is so artistically inclined.
When asked if she would like to
pursue other avenues, such as
directing, her response was "I want

to be a director, a painter, a writer,
a mother, an actress ... lots of
So how must it be for her, walk-
ing around campus, knowing that
many know of her already?
"It is a little strange at first. But
everybody that's there is interest-
ing. Everybody there has a goal of
their own ... something they want
to do ... something they're inter-
ested in ... something they've
already done. You know, lots of
things going on in their minds. It's
kind of a momentary shock. But
then it goes away really fast and
everyone jumps back into their
regular lives, which is great."
One might wonder how it
waslike for her working with leg-
endary director Stanley Kubrick
("The Shining," "Clockwork
Orange") in his final film "Eyes
Wide Shut."
"It was incredible. It's definitely
going to be one of the most incred-
ible experiences of my life. He was
so kind and nice and open. Really
open. People say he controlled
everything ... was a control freak.
That's not true. If you are making a
film, you want to control every-
thing ... down to the poster."
Sobieski encountered some
minor difficulties on the set of
"Joy Ride."
"It was challenging to drive in
"Joy Ride" because I don't have
my driver's license."
"Joy Ride" was also filmed with
three different endings.
"In one of the endings, I got to
shoot the guy. That was really
challenging because I'm really
scared of guns. It was the first time
I've ever held one and that was
kind of a little scary..."
As for the moment, Sobieski is
churning out some more roles. In
"My First Mister," a drama/come-
dy, she plays a nerdy golf girl who
falls in love. She also stars in
"L'Idote," a French film that will
be released in the United States
with subtitles.
In addition, she stars in the
upcoming series "Uprising," which
is about the rebellion of the Jews
in the Warsaw ghetto who held
back the Nazis in 1943.

Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
Bouncing off dramatic roles like "The Skulls" and football favorite "Varsity Blues," the studly
Paul Walker (Top) checks into the new thriller "Joy Ride." Meanwhile, LeeLee Sobieski, Steve
Zhan and Paul Walker are stuck dumb by the killer's game.

Director Dahl takes time
out to enjoy the open road

By Jenny Jeltes
Daily Arts Writer
When one thinks of a typical "American road movie," per-
haps "Easy Rider" comes to mind, or perhaps little at all,
since very few films have recently dealt with such a theme.
However, director John Dahl brings us "Joy Ride," and he
succeeds in putting the loneliness and isolation of the open
road back in the spotlight.
"I grew up in Montana so I spent a lot of time driving up
and down empty, lonely roads, hitchhiking; I was fascinated
with trucks from an early'age - so given the opportunity to
make a movie in that environment, it was pretty appealing to
me, and I love taking a good road trip every now and then."
Dahl, who also directed "Rounders" and "Red Rock West,"
pretty much stumbled into directing.
Growing up in a virtually nonexistent artistic community, it
was not until he attended film school for animation that he
found he enjoyed film, and there directing.
When asked what was so appealing about the thriller ele-
ments in "Joy Ride," the incredibly relaxed director replied, "I
think that my favorite element is the suspense. Once you cre-
ate a situation in which you can play with the suspense of a
situation, it's a lot of fun as a filmmaker to put in that kind of
situation. Like at the end in the motel ... it's fun to have that
opportunity to use film in that way."
Many funny moments of the film must be attributed to the
actors. It seemed an easy task to pick such young and eager
stars like Steve Zahn, Paul Walker and LeeLee Sobieski.
"I think that all of these three people are really good, tal-
ented young actors that have long careers in front of them.
The most obvious thing to say really is that as a director, if
you get the best actors, you can get your hands on it, makes
your job a lot easier."
Dahl was particularly attracted to Zahn, who he originally
wanted cast in "Rounders" as the part Edward Norton ended
up playing.
"I thought that he could be great at playing the likeable,
asshole brother, for lack of better words. The thing is that he
could remain sympathetic throughout those turns in the story.

ble at some point, and understanding that relationship or dra-
matizing it is kind of difficult. And Steve had that right sort
of combination, I think he's really a gifted dramatic director,
but he's also incredibly funny. So that was a main draw to
The balance between frightening and funny situations is
balanced well in "Joy Ride;' and Dahl felt it was very impor-
tant to get the audience laughing, despite a fear of what
would happen next. He felt that it made the experience that
much more intense.
So what's next?
"Well, now I'm working on an independent film that my
brother and I wrote called "Worst Case Scenario." It's about
entertainment lawyers. It's sort of a black comedy. Well, let's
put it this way: It's funny to me, but I imagine that it's kind of
a suspense thriller to everyone else."
- .

Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
.. . . . .. . " ". ____ ___ !._ 11 .__..,!J- it

Courtesy of Tentieth Centuy oA M- mqw r

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