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January 17, 2002 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-01-17

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10B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend, etc. Magazine - Thursday, January 17, 2002

The Michigan Daily - Weekend, etc. Magazine

'Time Bandits' great adventure
for all ages, shapes and sizes

O h Jesus Christ, what a horri-
ble week this has been. So
Monday afternoon I go get
the mail, and sitting at the top of the
pile is my senior audit. I'm expect-
ing it to say something like "Dear
Ben, after taking care of business
for four straight years, you're look-
ing good to graduate this semester;
now get out there in the real world
and show those savages what a
Michigan man can do. Go blue!"
Instead, it tells me that I'm 54 cred-
its short of graduating, and that I've
fulfilled almost none of the require-
ments for the major I have declared,
Needless to say, after a brief
moment of ,denial I found myself
feeling confused, upset and very,
very vulnerable. "This is bullshit!" I
screamed to nobody in particular.
And it was; bullshit, that is.
Apparently, as it was explained to
me later, you can't just declare a
major at this school and then take
four years worth of courses to get
your diploma. A lot of the classes
you take have to be related to the
major you've declared, or in
University jargon, your "concentra-
tion." You can't just take RC cours-
es, and fail half of them. I mean
sure, I took a couple mini-courses
on, like, astronomy and what-not,

but who do I look like, Albert E.
Einstein? Physics! Honestly!
I declared physics at the begin-
ning of my
year mainly to
impress my
parents. I imag-
ined them on
the phone with
their friends,
beaming with
pride: "Oh Ben
is a famous
physicist now.
Goldstein he's working on
complex physi-
SiCk! cal .theories of
the universe"
(or whatever). And sure, I could
envision myself working in a profes-
sional physics lab for a few years
after graduation (doing whatever it
is physicists do) while pursuing my
true passions, saucemaking and per-
formance art. So right from the start
I knew that physics would only be
temporary anyway.
But now it looks like I won't even
be graduating, let alone graduating
with a degree in physics. And to
make matters worse, I wouldn't be
able to find a job in the field of
physics anyway. As my "academic

adviser," Joe Henderson, so bluntly
put it (and I quote): "No self-
respecting physics lab would have
you, Ben. You're way too unpre-
dictable, and you have a grade-
schooler's concept of responsibility.
In four years, you've managed to
humiliate not only the University of
Michigan, but yourself as well, not
to mention your parents, who have
shelled out four years of out-of-state
tuition, for what? For nothing."
Thanks for that, Joe.
But the badness didn't stop there.
When I realized what the senior
audit was telling me, like when the
realization sunk in and everything, I
called my girlfriend "D-Town Dana"
and told her all about it. After a long
silence, she told me that she had to
go, and that she'd call me later. I was
all "But I really need your support
right now, Deedee, I need you to tell
me that everything is going to be
OK." But she was like "Later."
I waited that entire day, but no
phone call. The next day, I tried call-
ing her, like every 15 minutes for 17
hours, tleaving messages nearly
every time, but nothing. I went over
to her house and threw pebbles at her
window like I always do when I want
to be let in, but she never came out.
I even called her aunt in Detroit to
see if she had heard anything from
her, but she hadn't; Dana, made an
orphan at age five by vicious gang
warfare, was raised by this aunt.
There was just no getting ahold of
D-Town Dana. My mind raced, con-
sidering scores of increasingly horri-
fying possibilities.
The next day I found out why she
had been acting the way she was. I
was moping around the Diag - for

the benefit of my readers who don't
live in Ann Arbor, this is a square at
the center of Central Campus where
students meet to protest bombings
and exchange narcotics for money
- and I'm basically doing laps
around it, too depressed to go to
class, and I see Dana, walking with
another man. So I roll up my sleeves
and get all up in the dude's grill and
I'm like "Hey Dana, so good to see
you, who's your friend?" you know,
just staring this dickhead down, not
even looking at her, and she's like
"Oh this is my new boyfriend, Rolf.
He's an international student."
I knew Rolf. I had a couple of RC
fingerpainting classes with him back
in '99. His accent, a confused mix-
ture of Irish brogue and Castillian
Spanish, was totally bogus. He was
originally from Canada.
"We've met," I said. "His finger-
painting is pedestrian and unin-
"Begorrah, I should thlit your
throat for that, laddy" he said, and
popped open his switchblade, one of
those cheap-ass Canadian ones, the
ones that'll jam up on you precisely
when you don't want them to. So I
pulled out mine, and Dana - show-
ing an incredible amount of bravery,
as far as I'm concerned, seeing as
me and Rolf were both showing our
blades - stepped in between us,
holding us both away from each
"Look, Ben," she said to me,
"your life isn't going anywhere. You
have no drive, ambition or mar-
ketable skills. Rolf, on the other
hand, is graduating. On time. What
do you got?"
I had, as it seemed, nothing.

"Well, if you're done being a jack-
ass, we have to go now. Rolf is tak-
ing me to Gratzi, one of the many
places you never took me to when
we were dating. He says the creme
br l6e is to die for."
Rolf winked at me, a greasy
Canadian wink, and they were off. I
was this close to cutting them both
with my switchblade. Heartbroken,
enraged, and not knowing what else
to do, I walked home. On my way
home, I was hit by a bus and then
Shaken, and bleeding profusely
from the forehead and upper thighs,
I went to ask my dad for advice. You
can usually find my dad standing on
the corner of State and Huron, hold-
ing his hat out to people and mutter-
ing under his breath. He's a really
friendly guy; I love my dad.
Anyway, what he told me was that
every one of us has our bad weeks,
from the lowliest Ann Arbor pan-
handler to Nelson G. Rockefeller,
and when we have one of these ter-
rible; horrible, soul-rending, never-
think-it's-gonna-end kind of weeks,
all we can do is grit our teeth, put on
a smile and soldier on.
He told me that there are only two
things guaranteed to us in this life,
death and taxes. Then he told me
that cockroaches have laid eggs in
his head. Then he asked me for
My dad is such a kidder! Like
father, like son, I guess. I gave the
old man a quarter and a nickel and
walked home, standing tall, chin up,
a new-found sense of confidence
carrying me along.
- Ben Goldstein can be reached at

Coffee sh
burrito sh<

etc. Films from the vault
By Jeff Dickerson
Daily Arts Editor
Midgets. Robin Hood. Time trav-
eling. Agamemnon. The Titanic.
British folk.
Any of these alone would make
for an interesting cinematic endeav-
or. It might even win Best Picture
(see 1997): Combine all these ele-
ments with a dash of Monty Python
humor and you have Terry Gilliam's
1981 masterpiece of. children's fan-
tasy, "Time Bandits."
"Time Bandits" tells the story of
Kevin, a young boy with a wild
imagination and parents who are
more concerned with television and
kitchen appliances than their only
child. One bloody British night
Kevin lies is bed only to be violently
awoken by a knight in shining armor
mounted to a "Lord of the Rings"-
esque stallion. The next day Kevin
finds a small army of midgets (little
people, dwarves) perusing his per-
sonal space. From this point on
Kevin inadvertently joins the band
of time traveling thieves from
ancient times to present day
"Time Bandits" includes. many
scenes worth cataloging, none of
which are more justified than the
ending to the 116-minute long film.
The conclusion is so absurd it has
solidified itself as possibly the
greatest film ending of all time.
Some will scratch their heads, others
will laugh in torrential glee.
One of the most endearing character-
istics of the film is the talented cast.
Sean Connery is superb as Agamemnon
and even better as a fireman. That's
right, Sean Connery as a fireman. Ian
Holm ("Alien," "Brazil") is a memo-
rable Napoleon, who rambles on when
intoxicated about history's great short
leaders. "Monty Python" members John
Cleese and Michael Palin give rousing
supporting roles but none of the acting
tops that of David Warner ("Teenage
Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of
the Ooze") as the Evil Genius. Warner's
rendition of the technology-obsessed
devil is so over the top it blends

flawlessly with the bizarre set
Terry Gilliam started his career in
the sketch comedy troupe Monty
Python as an animator. His first direc-
torial effort was 1975's "Monty
Python and the Quest for the Holy
Grail." Some of his more acclaimed
efforts include "Brazil," "The Fisher
King" and "12 Monkeys." Known for
his inventive camerawork and satirical
writing, Gilliam has become
Hollywood's dark child. He was'once
quoted as saying, "'One Of'
Hollywood's Greatest Visionaries?'

executive producers. Not surprising
considering some of the scenes look
as though they were taken from
"Magical Mystery Tour."
Thank the Supreme Being for the
boys at The Criterion Collection.
"Time Bandits" is available in an
impressive DVD release, but be
wary. There are two versions of the
film available on DVD, one pro-
duced by Anchor Bay and the other
by Criterion. Depending on how
cheap you are, the Criterion version
is the only way to go. It includes a
commentary track with director
Terry Gilliam,
as well as
actors John
Cleese, David
W a r n e r,
Michael Palin
and Craig
Enthusiasts will
also enjoy a
brief video
montage and
the theatrical
trailer. If you're
the type of indi-
vidual who
drives to Taco
Bell at midnight
to score some
free stale pizza,
perhaps the bare
bones Anchor
Bay edition
with it's $20
price tag is
more suitable
than its $40
" T i m e
Bandits" is an
film for both
Courtesy of Handmade Films children and the
Illiam's imagination. young at heart.

By Will EI-Nachef
Daily Arts Writer

A coffee shop in our hometowns
was just a place to get a cup of joe.
But step into a cafe in Ann Arbor and
you'll feel it pulsate. Here, a caf6 is
a living system, with patrons playing
roles as if they were the Golgi appa-
ratus of something biological.
A seat in the middle of any cafe
will plunge you right into this living,
breathing system. From here, it's
possible to see the homeless man
using the free internet access while
he's sipping the most expensive
drink on the menu.
Don't let this paradox be distract-
ing because from here, you can also
see that cute, young couple walk in.
Everything seemed cute about them
when they came in hand-in-hand,
sharing their thrifty "coffee of the
day." They begin, as usual, with the
smiles and the anecdotes of the day,
purring over one another.
A sudden coolness passes over the
guy, like a lingering and isolated
draft, but the girl is still smiling
about the last thing they laughed at.
He just looks at her, a few seconds
pass, and his hands are on her folded
arms which are on the table. He
starts speaking very quickly and qui-
etly through pursed lips, obviously
about something he's been meaning
to say, and she responds only with
little, sad head nods. She sinks for-
ward more and more with each of his
terse words until her face is lying in
her arms.
He stops talking, leans over to give
her a kiss on her dropped head, and
says that it's up to her. Eventually, she
lifts her head back up with the song of
a new conversation, and they resume
the first performance.
Ahead, hanging plants and a book-

TODAY is the
OIP Summer Study Abroad Fair
Michigan Union Pendleton Rm
3 to 5 pm
Learn about U-M's spring/summer study abroad
programs in Brazil, The Dominican Republic,
England, France, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Mexico,
Spain, Turkey and more!
Talk to representatives from U-M departments
about other international summer
opportunities through Michigan!

'Time Bandits' Escher-esque poster shows G

I'm Not Even A Hollywood director!" non-sensical "Monty
The "quiet Beatle" himself George will keep older viev
Harrison provides his song "Dream while dazzling kids wit
Away" from his 1982 album "Gone of its child protago
Troppo" for the end credits. Not only unknown to most cine
does he provide a portion of the sound- "Time Bandits" is the
track, but Harrison is also one of the movie of the last 25 ye

The twisted,
Python" humor
wers entertained
th the adventures
nist. Relatively
ema aficionados,
premiere midget


1 .80

One of the best LSAT tutors
in the nation is offering her
first Ann Arbor Workshop
on logic games.
Seating is limited. Call today for
information and screening:
(313) 600-8366
(734) 368-3361
By: Mayssoun Bydon, J.D.
On: Friday, January 25, 2002
GRE students welcome

IAttention Grad
Thought there' w
as a free lunch
Your Alumni Association wants yot
about how the Association should
graduation. We'll even provide yoi
give us feedback in an informal se
The meetings will take place from
Jan. 23; Friday, Jan. 25; and Mc
Center, 200 Fletcher St. (next to tI
Call Caroline Gregory at 763.741
your spot today!


For more information, please contact the
Office of International Programs
G513 Michigan Union


Courtesy of Handmade Fims
Look out.little people: t's Evil Genius..

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