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November 19, 2001 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-11-19

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 18, 2001


Rothbart uses the ordinary
to piece together magazine

By Robyn Melamed
Daily Arts Editor
"Finders keepers, losers weepers," is an expression Univer-
sity alum Davy Rothbart has literally learned to live by. At 8-
years-old, Rothbart was wandering through what he called the
"Dinosaur Museum," (the National History Museum) and
found a piece of paper filled with question marks. From then
on, Rothbart became fascinated with
things he found. In May 2000, he put
his notes, poems, grocery lists, pictures
and everything in between together to
Found form Found Magazine.
Magazine On Saturday night, Rothbart, dressed
Shaman Drum in a t-shirt and baseball hat, came to
Shaman Drum and explained exactly
November 17, 2001 what "Found Magazine" is all about.
Rothbart read a few of his favorite
found items, such as a grocery list that
read, "Beer. Meat. Dog Food. Baloney:'
Rothbart also joked that he has to
explain to people that the found items
he collects do not have to include pro-
fanity although many of them do. One
such note goes like this: "Hi Sherry, You have the sexiest eyes!
I'm gonna call you in a minute, and tell you what I would love
to see you do with those cucumbers. If it's OK with you. I
have a fantasy to tell you."
Although Found Magazine is all about written documents
and pictures, Rothbart does not put limits on this. In Ypsilanti,
he discovered what he believed to be a demo tape of a "rap"
band. He thought the tape was hilarious and wanted to make
this a part of his magazine. During his presentation, Rothbart
mysteriously "disappeared," and was replaced with a guy in
bright orange sweat pants and a beer in a brown paper bag.
With the help of a few pals, (one named DJ Monkey) the guys
performed the songs of the "Ypsilanti Allstarz," which is the
fabricated name of the actual writers of the lyrics. The perfor-
mances of "Taste that Booty Flavor," and "Wiggle on the
Flo(or)," got the crowd in hysterics.
After this performance, Rothbart called up 10-year-old Ann
'mercan Voic

Arbor resident, Noah, to read some of his findings. The audi-
ence was laughing as Noah announced that he recognized the
handwriting of "a kid trying to write like an adult." The note
Noah found read, "Can you please sell my son a pack of New-
port Lights?"
Another enthusiastic woman in the crowd stood up and
shared a love note she had found taped to a telephone pole in
Ann Arbor. She was also lucky enough to have solved the
mystery of who wrote the note, and coerced the man into join-
ing her for the reading of the note that evening at Shaman
At the end of the night, Rothbart encouraged everyone to
keep an eye out for found items. He thinks that Found Maga-
zine is a great thing because he is able to have something that
belongs to everybody: "It's about being open and focusing on
what's around you. All these people you never know will sud-
denly become part of your life."
If you would like to contribute to "Found Magazine," or
would like to subscribe, check out foundmagazine.com.

Courtesy of Miramax
A young Amelie doctors Mr. Crocodile (Left) while the elder Amelie offers a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down.
Tautou helps make Amelie' an
Ont1m1St1C cinematic delfrrht

By Todd Weiser
Daily Arts Writer
Add one part Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the masterful visual
director of cult hits "City of Lost Children" and "Deli-
catessen" (we won't mention "Alien Resurrection"), one
part romance, one part comedy and what do you get?
The answer is "Amelie," a refreshing, innovative varia-
tion of the mundane romantic come-
dy. If there is anyone who can prove
that a sweet, optimistically romantic
film does not have to follow all the
Amelie rules of the normal American
romantic comedy, it is Jeunet, who
Grade: B+ has crafted an odd and unique story
At Michigan following Amelie Poulain, a Parisian
Theater waitress trying to help the people
around her.
Audrey Tautou, who may become
your favorite actress by the time this
film is over, plays Amelie. Amelie
remains extraordinarily cute,
whether she is happily setting up the
sociopathic Joseph (Jeunet regular
Dominique Pinon) with the hypochondriac Georgette
(Isabelle Nanty) or being at her most evil, sabotaging
the clothes and apartment of inconsiderate boss Col-
lignon (Urbain Cancelier). We first meet Amelie as a
child; a ;narrator explains and comments on her life as
her mother dies and her dad keeps her indoors due to a
fictitious heart condition. Suddenly, Amelie is now an
adult but the narrator remains. It is this narrator who
introduces us to those around Amelie - her neighbors
in her apartment building and the co-workers and diners
at her restaurant of employment. This narrator is good
for many amusing anecdotes as he reveals the charac-

ters' likes and dislikes (which are accompanied by the
appropriate images including embarrassed parents and a
montage of the orgasms of Paris).
Amelie herself enjoys skipping stones and assembles
quite a collection during the film. She is also unsure of
her place in life; not having many friends as a child, she
remains introverted in her affections as an adult. A tin
box containing the important possessions of a boy from
the '50s is her catalyst to a possible new life. Amelie
decides to change other people's lives for the better with
inventive and entertaining schemes. One of these plans
brings her closer with Dufayel, an artist neighbor (Serge
Merlin), who cannot leave his home due to brittle bones.,
Dufayel reminds Amelie that while helping others is
good, she must remember to not hide from her own feel-
ings and destiny. Amelie's destiny may lie in the hands
of mysterious Porn-shop worker Nino, who becomes
Amelie's new project. Alright, this does sound a little
sappy, but great performances and unique visuals keep
the films from wallowing in sentimentality.
"Amelie" starts off very strong with exciting cameras
and fast paced editing, but in the middle, it lags for a
while. The narration is noticeably absent during this por-
tion as stories slowly unravel. Sustaining our interest
during this sluggish portion is the wonderful Tautoui. Sho
is simply irresistible with her big brown eyes and
charming undertakings. Tautou is sure to pull a Benini
with this role, garnering an Oscar nomination and very
possibly, a win. The cinematography is also exceptional;
continuing Jeunet's reputation for sensational, unforget-
table images.
While "Amelie" may not live up to all the genius that
has been bestowed upon it, this film still makes for a
very pleasurable viewing experience and will introduce
many unaware American4 to the magnificent talents of
Audrey Tautou and Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

Cour tesyof Iou dMa zine
One man's garbage is another man's career plan.

's' brings forth

the brightest of literary writers

By Lisa Raft
Daily Books Editor

It's like sneaking a peak at your
birthday presents before the big event
actually occurs.
Reading "Best
a.",. New American
Best New Voices 2001" is
American exciting; you are
basically getting
Voices the inside scoop
2001 on the most
Baxter et al promising writers
of the coming
Grade: A- years. These indi-
Harcourt viduals will be
winning the
National Books
Awards and the
Pulitzers, receiv-
ing countless
-___^ __ honors and teach-
ing in university
English departments of schools that

our children will attend.
Yet this collection of short stories
still has to prove itself, being a mere
infant among more well-established
short-story anthologies. And although
the series just celebrated its second
birthday, it seems wise beyond its
years. The selections are indeed very
good, guided by the quirky taste of
guest editor (and University English
professor) Charles Baxter.
The works are diverse, to say the
least - as they should be in a well-
rounded short story collection. The
reader is able to catch a glimpse of
Cambodia through the eyes of a twen-
ty-something freelance journalist; bury
his roommate's dog after accidentally
letting it die of heat-stroke; attend an
"intervention" for their boyfriend's
alcoholic father; attend a reception as a
flamboyant artist.
The stories are audacious, at times
jubilant in their exploration of relative-
ly uncharted territory in the world of

literature. The reader is not examining
marriages gone wrong, or a twenty-
something's search for identity, all stan-
dard fare for a work of literature.
Instead, the reader is fully, briefly,
transported to places they perhaps have
never ventured before.
Imagine, for example, that you are a
child whose mother is dying of cancer,
dragged off to a strange house on
Thanksgiving filled with odd, "leafy-
haired" children and new-age adults.
What could possibly happen? You'll
never know how terribly wrong a din-
ner pt' ban gii w " tfad "Pil-
grims" by (Ann Arbor native) Julie
Orrin er; the chillingnightmarish end-
tig w ik1elys tay witfyou or the rest
of your life.
How does it feel to be a brilliant,
imaginative - and sinister - Filipino-
American teen with a dysfunctional
mother and an absentee father? Read
"Superassasin" by Lysley A. Tenorio to
find out.
Experience living in Korea as a
newly married (and soon-to-be-wid-
owed) American wife in Zoey Byrd's
"Of Cabbages," or meet a mysterious
man in a deserted Italian villa.
Peruse this collection slowly. Read
each story one at a time, leaving room
in between to process and feel, letting
the characters sink into your uncon-
scious. Each one is entirely unique and
stands firmly planted on two feet, with-
out a hint of hesitation or uncertainty,
confident it will make it to the top of
the literary ladder.

Steve Martin drills humor
into dark~comedy Novocaine'

If~ ~ ~ ~~. y91tin111keprgn...
c~~~ll:i usie sen w .*r

By Jenny Jeltes
Daily Arts Writer
After seeing "Novocaine," direct-
ed by David Atkins and starring
Steve Martin,
you will never
view a dentist's
office the same
Novocaine way again. A
Grade: B+ funny and cre-
ative script
At state Theatre leaves the audi-
ence very
amused and
curious as to
how the film
'..lx will end.
Dr. Frank
Sangster has


everything - a beautiful fianc6
(also his dental hygienist), a secure
dental practice and a bright future.
But things go horribly wrong when
Susan (Helena Bonham Carter), a
young and vulnerable drug addict,
comes in for a sore tooth. Finding
the seductive girl very attractive, he
makes two mistakes he prescribes
her a strong narcotic against his bet-
ter judgment and he then he finds
himself fulfilling his steamiest sexu-
al fantasies, with her in the dental
chair. His immoral decision only
intensifies when he finds his nar-
cotics supply completely gone the
next day and a suspicious govern-
ment official waiting in his office.
Frank knows Susan raided the
office. Here is a chance to come
clean and allay rumors of selling the
drugs (a severe threat to his licensed
practice), but he makes an even big-
ger mistake by covering for Susan,
claiming he doesn't know how they
This little lie inevitably creates
new lies, and what started out as
something very small soon becomes
a huge burden - kind of like tooth
decay. The crucial plot elements in
"Novocaine" delightfully involve
teeth, which somehow act as a cohe-
sive force within the film. As the
plot thickens and tension builds,
Frank finds himself in over his head
- running from the police and deal-
ing with his loser brother Harlan
(Elias Koteas), who recently moved
in, and hunting down Susan in a
motel room, only to find her with
Scott (Duane Ivey), a crazed and
psychopath brother of her own. And
on top of all this, after coming home
from work, Frank finds Scott dead
in his hallway. Where do teeth fit in
to all of this'? That is for you to find
What makes this film successful
is not just the tricky plot, but also
the many moments that make this
thriller/mystery also a comedy.

Atkins creates an excellent combina-
tion of suspense and humor, an
right from the start, one realizes this
is not a film to be taken with com-
plete seriousness. Once you let some
absurdity set in, some scenes are
outright hilarious. And much of this
has to do with Martin. His reactions
and idiosyncrasies cause most of the
laughter. Taking the life of a dentist
- a seemingly low-risk and
extremely stable lifestyle - "Novo-
caine" flips this, stereotype inside
out and upside down, makin4
Frank's faulty decisions just as
addicting as his patient's drug habit.
One flaw in this film lies in the
character's motivations. Although
one knows that Jean (Laura Dern),
his fiance, is overly meticulous and
a little obsessive at times, Frank dis-
plays no discontent with her, openly
or privately. In fact, the fi'rst few
scenes of the film characterize their
relationship as quite sweet. Becaus4
of this, Frank's immediate involve-
ment with Susan is not only unusual,
but also somewhat doubtful. Aren't
there usually some difficulties or at
least a little dissatisfaction within a
relationship that can then lead to
such behavior? This is not the case
with Frank. He has sex with a
patient just out of the blue, and she's
really not all that attractive. On the
other hand, this action is perhaps
part of what makes the film a come4
dy. His behavior does not make any
sense, and his decisions create much
of the humor within the film.
There is also a great balance
between leaving speculation, yet
explaining enough so that things
make sense. You won't be bored. The
ending is somewhat satirical and
very clever. It is satisfying, and it
makes you laugh the way an inside
joke would. Frank lets the audience
in on his plan, allowing one to fol-
low him through his mess and at the
same time, know that he'll find
some way to get out of it.

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