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January 08, 2002 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-01-08

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Booked for Lunch
Monthly series featuring local
authors. Today's author is Grace
Shackman. It's all happening at Ann
Arbor District Library around 12:10.
michigandaily.com /arts

aJbeAFidjibm &l
ARTS

WEDNESDAY
JANUARY 8, 2002

Sissy Spacek
shines 'In The
*Bedroom'
By Jenny Jeltes
Daily Arts Writer
Well-told stories don't need exaggeration or overempha-

Tolkien's epic stands the test
of time, influences culture

By Ryan Blay
Daily TV/New Media Editor

One Ring to rule them all, One
Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in
the darkness bind them.
The real star in J.R.R. Tolkien's
"The Fellowship of the Ring" is not
Gandaif the Grey, nor is it the evil

sis; all they need is honesty and a willingness to explore
all dimensions of a problem, situa-
tion, or person. Director Todd Field
delves into the human condition so
deeply that one is inevitably remind-
In the ed of just how complex all humans
Bedroom are. But he eases into the issues,
allowing the audience to experience
Grade: B the ups and downs of his characters,
feeling their pain while realizing just
At Michigan Theater how natural, yet debilitating, pain is.
"In the Bedroom" tells the tragic
story of the Fowler family that lives
in a New England lobster-farming
town in Maine. Matt and Ruth
Fowler (Tom Wilkinson and Sissy
Spacek) have one son, Frank (Nick
Stahl), who is spending his last sum-
mer before college at home. Frank's parents, however,
especially his mother, are a bit concerned that he will
become too attached to his girlfriend, Natalie (Marisa
Tomei), who has two sons and an abusive husband from
whom she is not yet divorced. But they don't let it worry
them too much, hoping that it is simply a lighthearted and
short-term relationship. They realize this is true when
Frank soon breaks it off with Natalie, but things take a
drastic turn when he comes over one afternoon to protect
her from a visit by her angry husband, Richie (William
Mapother). When Frank is killed by Richie, the Fowlers
must deal with the anger and also the unfair judicial sys-
tem, as Richie is let off on bail and is walking free around
town just like everyone else.
The talent found in "In the Bedroom" lies not in its
action or sequence of events, but rather the way in which
the characters are portrayed. Neither the writer Robert
Festinger nor Director Todd Field distort the raw emotions
and feelings of the Fowler's, rather, they tell the story with
such brutal honesty that the film can be disturbing, but
also very realistic. The simple reality of the situation is
what makes it really hit home.
The performances of both Wilkinson and Spacek are'

t
7
1
l

Sauron or even
The
Fellowship
of the
Ring
J.R.R Tolkien
Grade: A
Ballantine Books

They're all going to laugh at you.
incredible, and the dynamics of their characters' relation-
ship and dealings with the murder of their son leave one
constantly tuned in to their intensity and whirlwind of
strong emotions. This film can be draining, so be prepared
to watch a tragic and difficult drama. The questions that
are raised by the Fowler's reaction to their son's death and
their subsequent actions are complicated and unsettling, to
say the least. "In the Bedroom" painfully explores the pas-
sion for revenge and the intense anger and blame resulting
from the murder of their son.
The acting in "In the Bedroom" results in the inost
excellent portrayal of such a family, yet when one is mes-
merized by the interactions between Spacek and Wilkin-
son, for example, the attention to the foundation of the
story may go unnoticed. On the surface, the story may
seem sufficient to carry audiences until the very end, but it
seems that it is the actors, and not the premise of the film,
that gauges one's interest. The story itself is very typical
- a tragic murder and loved ones' subsequent passion for
revenge. The story is told very well, but this doesn't mean
that it is a deep revelation, or even that is that original. By
the end of the film, your impression may simply be the
result of a brilliantly executed description. Call it a pro-
found statement of an obvious fact. This leaves a mixed
reaction to the film's value, and I'm not so sure if the bril-
liance of a performance can overshadow the lack of merit
in a story. On the other hand, the film feels compelling
and interesting, so this has redeeming value.

the young (well,
young for Hob-
bits) Frodo Bag-
gins. The ring is
the key player,
controlling the
lives and for-
tunes of two hob-
bits, a great
wizard, and the
creatures near to
them. Forged in
the name of evil,
the ring controls
all of the lesser
rings, giving the
holder invisibili-
ty and near invin-
cibility.
When Bilbo
Baggins (the
hero of Tolkien's

wraith in the process. Every time
Frodo puts the ring on, he falls a little
deeper into their world. With the
wraiths on his heels, Frodo and his
small band of allies race to various
havens and eventually toward the dark
land of Mordor.
The venerable Aragorn (also called
Stridet), descended from the ancient
kings, accompanies the earnest
Frodo. Boromir, another man, joins
with Gimli the dwarf, Legolas the elf
and Gandalf to form the titular Fel-
lowship with the four hobbits. They
must overcome mountains and
treacherous roads to reach their
quest. But the greatest danger may
come from within; the greatest thrill
comes from reading to see if they
will dissolve like Arthur's Knights of
the Round Table before they com-
plete their quest, or if they can stick
together to support Frodo in his
quest.
Naturally, the nine don't have to
face the journey without some help.
Bilbo gives Frodo some gifts and
advice, and the great elf queen Gal-
adriel lends counsel and insight into
the minds of the fellowship. They
need all the help they can get against
the orcs, uruks, and other baddie
creatures.
Those who have seen the movie
(one of the few movies that actually
improves on the book) but haven't
read the novel might be in for some
surprises. For instance, Gandalf isn't
as omnipresent in the book as he is in
the movie. Also, the occasional break
into song can impede reading. But
the way in which Tolkien painstak-
ingly explores the mythology of Mid-
dle Earth is impressive. Rather than
simply putting forth characters, he
goes into the minutiae of Hobbit life,
detailing the Hobbits' fear of the sea,
passion for stories, and so forth. By
doing so, Tolkien adds to the charm-
ing fantasy he concocted.
One of the nice things about the
"Lord of the Rings" and "The Hob-
bit" is that both children and adults
can enjoy them. Adults may notice

the similarities between Hobbit and
human flaws (greed, fear of change),
perhaps reading too much into the
story which Tolkien did not intend as
a social commentary. Children have
been reading the books on their own
since the book's conception nearly 50
years ago (although they may strug-
gle with some of the language).
Anyone who has seen "Star Wars"
can see the enormous influence
Tolkien had on science fiction and
fantasy. From the wise council of
Gandalf (even more like Obi-Wan in
the movie version) to the mission of
the insecure but sincere Frodo (Luke
Skywalker anyone?), filmmakers and
authors have paid homage to
Tolkien's memorable characters and
storytelling for years.
To miss out on reading "Fellow-
ship", and the rest of the series would
be a shame. The country was swept
up with the "Harry Potter" phenome-
non recently. But without Tolkien,
there probably would not be a Harry
Potter. Before Voldemort, there was
Sauron. Before Harry, there was
Bilbo and Frodo.

"The Hobbit") leaves Frodo the ring,
Gandalf reveals to Frodo that he must
go to Mount Doom, where the ring
was created, and throw it into the fire
to destroy it, preventing Sauron from
regaining power.
Bilbo is a typical hobbit - short,
stout, pleasant and peaceful. Hobbits
enjoy eating (often six meals a day)
and desire stability. They distrust
adventures and the creatures that
bring them - including Gandalf. But
desiring to leave the Shire he resides
in, Frodo takes the sizable burden and
sets off with his trusted companion
Sam Gamgee and his friends Merry
and Pippin.
Danger follows Frodo and the ring
everywhere. Nine ring-wraiths --
evil, black riders - seek to regain the
ring and turn Frodo into a fellow

Low-brow'Not Another Teen
Movie' ends up being just that

By Wilhelmina Mauritz
Daily Arts Writer
At a time when teen movies are
coming out weekly, all the while

Not
Another
Teen
Movie
Grade: C-
At Quality 16

decreasing in
originality and
wittiness, here is
"Another." How-
ever, "Not
Another Teen
Movie" has a bit
of a twist to it, in
that it knows it is
not original; it
does not try to
be. In fact it tries
its hardest to be
the least original
movie out there
while at the same
time makingefun
and ripping off
of every single

other movies, they never seem to know
when to end a joke. They drag them
out until they aren't funny anymore,
and many of them were not even all
that funny in the first place.
One good example would be the
foreign exchange student who is the
obvious parody of Shannon Eliza-
beth's character in "American Pie."
Her name is Areola, and the first time
we see her she is naked. Sure, it was a
little stupid but it was also comical
considering that was its point. The

problem is that good old Areola is
naked for the rest of the movie. At that
point, the joke is not funny anymore
and simply seems degrading and in
very poor taste.
All-in-all, "Not Another Teen
Movie" is just what it says it is not:
another teen movie. For anyone who
has seen all the movies this film shad-
ows, and is not expecting too much,
that viewer will probably share a few
laughs and yet find still find this movie
is fairly forgettable.

1

*

The'OfficeC of New St Progrc+"
is now recruiting for
summer 2002
Orientation Leaders
M cicytge' aw D (ffreste
New Student and Parent Orientation Programs
Employment Dates: May 27th - August 9th, 2002.
Compensation: $2700 stipend plus room & board in
South Quad

teen movie that ever existed.
"Not Another Teen Movie" follows
the same structure that "Scary Movie"
did with its spoof of horror movies. It
uses "She's All That" as the base
movie and then blends together a
smorgasbord of random scenes and
parodies from an array of other films.
If you were to list all the movies it
pokes fun of and mocks, you would
probably come up with a list of at least
i20 movies ranging from the classics
like 'The Breakfast Club" and "Six-
teen Candles" to more recent ones like
"10 Things I Hate About You" and
"Cruel Intentions."
One could not go so far as to say
this movie never cracked a good joke
or hit one of its many parodies right on
the mark, because it did more than
once. There is a great scene making
fun of "She's All That" where three
guys wander around their school try-
ing to pick out the ugliest girl to trans-
form into the prom queen. They spot
all of these deformed individuals such
as a hunchback, an albino hippie, and
a set of twins that are connected at
their heads and claim they would all
be too easy a mark. Suddenly they see
Janey Briggs, who is obviously beauti-
ful but they decide she is the right girl
since she has glasses, wears a ponytail

*

Work

Schedule:
New Student Program: Leaders work 3 days a week
with early morning through late evening hours. Some
weekend work may be required.
Parent Program: Leaders work 4 days a week from
approx. 8 AM - 5 PM.

Eligibility: Must be an enrolled undergraduate student in good
academic standing. Leaders may not be enrolled in classes
during the 2002 Spring and Summer Terms.
Application Process: Interested students can pick up an
application at any of the Mass Meetings or at the Office of
New Student Programs (3511 Student Activities Building)
after November 12. All applicants must attend a group
interview on January 19, 2002. Selected applicants will have
an individual interview. Final selections will be made by
Fehrarv 13. 2002.

*

*

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