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March 29, 2002 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-29

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Dancemix 2002 ...
Tonight at the Michigan Theater,
Dancemix 2002 brings hip-hop,
breakdancing and jazz together with a
multicultural twist. 8 p.m. $6-$8.
michigandaily.com

RTS

FRIDAY
MARCH 29, 2002

5

Quaid and Morris talk
baseball, redemption

'American Fighter
Pilot' heavy handed
with patriotism

By Todd Weiser
Daily Arts Writer
Dennis Quaid is a movie star. Two years ago, Jim
Morris was a professional athlete. Starting today, in
cineplexes all over the country, these men have
become one.
"The Rookie" is a film so full of Disney good-
ness and inspiration that the words "true story"
make it too good to be true. Yet, the G-rated base-
ball tale comes straight from recent headlines. In
1999, a middle-aged high school teacher and base-
ball coach from a small town in Texas challenged
his team to win the division championship. If they
accomplished their goal, he would once again
reach for his, being a Major League Baseball play-
er. His name is Jim Morris and his 98 mile-per-
hour fastball got him into the majors and now, into
Hollywood.
"I was teaching in May and playing in the big
leagues in September," Morris said simplistically.
His story is an amazing one. At the time, it was big
news on many television stations, from ABC to
ESPN. One of those watching back then, Dennis
Quaid, is now with the man who he plays today, as
the two are on a tour across the country giving
interviews to promote the movie they are both so
proud of.
"I saw the television news magazine story ABC
did on him in '99. I thought it would make a good
movie at the time," Quaid remembers.

"It's a movie about second chances. We always
carry around these 'what ifs.' What if I had done
this or I wish I had done this. Jim is somebody who
actually went out and did it."
Back when he tried out for the Tampa Bay Devil
Rays, Jim was not trying to be a hero; he just want-
ed to avoid being a hypocrite.
"I really wanted to go. Not for me, but for the
high school kids. I'd made this deal about teaching
them hopes, dreams, aspirations and reaching as
high as you can, and then I'm offered a contract. If
I would have turned around and said 'Nah I don't
want to do that,' I'm teaching them the wrong les-
son. And I knew that I had to sign even though I
could fall on my face."
Happily, then for Morris, his team and his family
and now for Disney executives, Morris did not
embarrass himself. Morris worked his way through
the minor league system and earned himself a spot
on a big league team, becoming the oldest rookie
pitcher in forty years.
Morris' path to the big leagues touched everyone
around him, even the notoriously cold third-base-
men Wade Boggs.
"When I walked into the clubhouse Wade Boggs
came up to me and hugged me and goes 'That's the
best story I've ever heard in my life."'
Now, years later, the hard-working Quaid is
accomplishing his own goals by acting out the
dreams of another. All actors talk about making
good movies, films they can look back on years
from now and be proud of. Quaid's face lights up
when you mention his recent string of successes:
"Frequency," "Traffic" and HBO's "Dinner with
Friends." Quaid may have received a lot of press in
the past couple years for his marital problems but
he has quietly gone about his work and excelled
time after time.
Quaid sees a recurring pattern in the roles he
now chooses, especially for "The Rookie," but he
also notes a very simple guide to choosing roles.
"A lot of my stuff seems to have father-son themes
in it these days. I'm old enough to play a father but
still be a son. I feel really happy with the work that
I'm getting the opportunity to do. I'm interested in
making a million movies; I want to make movies
that I want to go see."
Quaid has tackled the difficulties of portraying
real-life people on the screen before, most notably
Jerry Lee Lewis in "Great Balls of Fire!" and los-
ing almost forty pounds to be Doc Holliday in
"Wyatt Earp." Morris towers over the leaner, short-
er Quaid, so Quaid opted against such a giant phys-
ical transformation.
"When I do real people, I feel I have an added

By Jim Schiff
Daily Arts Writer

If you watch CBS tonight, be fore-
warned: "AFP: American Fighter Pilot"
is patriotic times five. Tune in and you'll
be saturated in American flags, air force
uniforms and expensive warplanes. For

some of us, such imagery
addition to television pro-
gramming. For others,
"AFP" will feel like a bla-
tant attempt at post-Sept.
11 propaganda.
But unlike fictional-
ized military shows such
as "JAG," "AFP" is a real-
ity show-an inside look
at the sacred fraternity
that is the American Air
Force. And also unlike

is a welcome

AFP: AM
FIGHTER

Courtesy o Disney

Quaid, start the reactor.

Fridays a
CB

responsibility to try and get them at least right in
spirit. You know, I don't really look like Jimmy
Morris ... I told him, 'You better start looking
more like me.' But I did want to capture his spirit.
He's just this ordinary guy who did something
extraordinary."
Morris, having now seen the film numerous
times, is very proud of the performance Quaid
gives.
"Dennis did a great job," Morris fondly compli-
ments. "In between takes he would come and talk
to me. And what really impressed me was ... I
would tell him something, and he would go back
while the cameras were rolling. He said it word for
word."
Quaid is a little more critical of himself, not
willing to accept total praise for this role or any
other one.
"Well, I never feel like I1100 percent get some-
thing. I feel like I'm always trying to raise my
basic level of mediocrity. Sometimes we're bril-
liant; sometimes we're not so good, but there's this
basic level that we're always sort of operating at,
our average. I try to raise my average all the time."
This philosophical view on his craft can be
applied to almost any field. Morris, who ended up
playing two years of pro ball, now travels the
country giving inspirational speeches. Quaid is
still an actor, but the film's theme of second
chances may inspire him to take up another pro-
fession one day.
"My big dream is I'd like'to be on the Senior PGA
Tour. It's not too late either. I got years to go."

"JAG," "AFP" is consistently com-
pelling, offering both a refreshing per-
spective on the genre and some of the
most stunning camerawork in recent
memory.
"AFP" takes place at Tyndall Air
Force Base in Panama City, Florida,
where three young men are about to
undergo a 110-day training session on an
F-15 Eagle airplane. Each man, selected
from a class of eight students, must con-
quer academics, flight simulators and
actual test flights to pass the course.
Obstacles along their way include stiff
military buffs with names like "Bean,"
"Shark" and "Stump," showering them
with petty insults and nicknames of their
own (the trainees are all named
"Boner").
The first installment of the show runs
for eight episodes, focusing on the three
men and their flight instructors. Hailing
from all parts of the country, Lt. Todd
Giggy, Lt. Marcus Gregory and Lt. Mike
Love were admitted to the program out
of an applicant pool of 5,000. According
to a teleconference with producers Tony
Scott ("Top Gun") and Jesse Negron, the
three were chosen because "they had the
most interesting stories ... you watch
them change from the everyday guy next
door into trained killers."
Unfortunately, only one of the charac-
ters, Lt. Giggy, is remotely entertaining
to watch. A swaggering 24 year-old with
bleach blonde hair, Giggy is ridiculed by
the crew-cut Air Force guys from the
very beginning. In the first episode, he is
unable to make it past the flight simula-
tor tests and performs poorly in academ-
ics. When the men go to the bar for
some beers, they refer to him as a "sev-
enth grader in a uniform" and a "pretty
boy." Shaking his confidence and ability
to concentrate, the viewer can see the
tough military regiment through his

eyes. Lts. Gregory and Love )a devoutly
religious man and a father of two,
respectively) offer little humor or depth
to the show, at least outside of Gregory's
vomiting on one of the test flights.
The real star of "AFP" is the training
course itself, an authentic behind-the-
scenes look at one of the nation's promi-
nent Air Force bases. The flight
simulator alone warrants
viewing the show. In the
first episode, "Stump"
.* tests the pilots with air-
plane emergencies, such
tERICAN as brake failures and
PILOT engine fires, similar to the
ones they could encounter
t 8 p.m. in actual flights. "AFP"
is really takes off when the
students fly the planes:
The aerial shots are noth-
ing short of breathtaking, employing
cameras both inside and outside of the
cockpit. With producers Scott, Negron
and "Gladiator" director Ridley Scott at
the helm, it is not surprising the visuals
are so impressive.
While "AFP" was filmed entirely
before Sept. 11, the producers claim the
event had little effect on the show. "Our
project would have stayed the same,"
said Negron. "What changed was people
became much more interested in who
our warriors were and who is defending
our country." The military has classified
some information, such as whether any
of the show's pilots were sent to
Afghanistan. On the whole, though,
Negron admits the Pentagon was thrilled
with the show. "It's important to them
that the American public sees this with
the black eyes in it-that this is the way
our warriors are made,"he said.

Courtesy of Disney
Jim Morris and Dennis Quaid, not Randy Quald.

Carson Daly wants to control the universe

By Christian Smith
Daily Arts Writer
These days, it seems like people
can't get enough of Carson Daly. And
who else can better help get the coun-
try through these tumultuous times
than the titan of the show that has
served as a launching pad for much of
the teen pop refuse that has taken over
radio stations across the globe?
While maintaining his
daytime job at MTV
doing the teenybop-
per screamfest
"Total Request
Live," in addition to
his own nightly radio
countdown program,
Daly becomes the
newest addition to the
ever-changing late-night
talk show lollapalooza.
Tonight, in a special
one-hour Friday
episode, he takes
on the leg-
endary Sir .
E o t o n
John. HiI'm Carson Daly, and I'm

The 28 year-old Daly brings his
everyday good looks and hackneyed

persona to NBC with
"Last Call," a post-
"Conan" half-hour
gabfest. After a CBS
development deal went
sour, NBC execs lured
him over and apparent-
ly had enough faith in
him to commit to
"Last Call" for a full
L year. The show is
filmed before a

LAST CAL
CARSONI
Mon.-Thu
2:35 a.
NBC

studio audience of 75 people, but
comes off looking more like a
dressed-up high school gym with
folding chairs for the audience.
Unlike other late night shows
though, which feature mono-
logues, skits and whatever the hell
Craig Kilborn does on his
show, "Last Call" wastes
no time getting
intimate with
the guests.
And with

trow to Snoop Dogg dropping by for a
visit, Daly has no problem getting
big-name stars on the
show, most likely the
result of hosting MTV's
Ar flagship show for over
three years now. But,
L WITH "TRL" has unfortunately
DALY had some less practical
rs. at effects on Daly's
im. demeanor. He actually
sounds articulate, but he
also uses such juvenile
vernacular as 'sic' and
'phat' to describe some artists' work.
While this may be fine for a Petey
Pablo type, these are hardly appropri-
ate evaluations for a highly regarded
performer such as Elton John.
Regardless, Daly has already
proven himself a masterful interview-
er, far better than the horrendously
awkward Jay Leno. Much less dim
than one would expect, he's not afraid
to ask questions that others (read:
Leno) tend to shy away from. Despite
this, Daly does have a tendency to be
a little too generous in critiquing the
work of certain celebrities. Either
that, or he has inexplicably found a

way to tolerate Kid Rock's most
recent effort.
Daly's knowledge extends far
beyond the likes of O-Town and Jay-
Z, and his indifferent SoCal attitude
and sarcastic cleverness often makes
the interviews flow easily. The one
drawback, besides Daly's constantly
fidgeting hands, is the god-awful
timeslot. Unfortunately, it airs at 2:30
in the morning, and Daly's "TRL"
fanatics surely won't stay up to watch
him talk about something other than
the latest Britney Spears video. Most
of those still up at that hour are horny
college insomniacs who would proba-
bly rather be watching ... the latest
Britney Spears video. Luckily, for
those who don't get their daily Car-
son fix or simply can't get enough of
him, E! has acquired the rights to
broadcast the previous night's
episode at 6:00 pm. And for those of
you who can't foresee a future with-
out "TRL" and Carson Daly, you
should know that "Last Call" is prob-
ably NBC's way of grooming him to
one day take over for the infinitely
inferior Leno, hopefully sooner rather
than later.

Writer/director Billy
Wilder dead at 95

Courtesy of CBS
Sorry Goose, but it's time to buzz a tower.

By Lyle Henretty
Daily Arts Editor
Famed film writer/director Billy
Wilder died Wednesday night of
pneumonia in Beverly Hills. Wilder,
who was the third famous person
(after Dudley Moore and Milton
Berle) to die Wednesday, was 95 years
old. The auteur was responsible for
such ground-breaking films as 1944s
"Double Indemnity" and 1960s "The
Apartment," as well as such comedy
classics as "Some Like it Hot" and
"The Seven Year Itch," both starring
Marilyn Monroe.

Wilder began his career with "Mau-
vaise Graine" in 1934 and continued
directing until 1981 with "Buddy,
Buddy." He got his first Oscar nomina-
tion in 1940 for "Ninotchitka," wining
his first (of three) for "The Lost Week-
end" in 1946.
Wilder was known for his wry sense
of humor and ability to volley between
dark dramas and light comedies, though
many believed the "Apartment," a dark
comedy about adultry, to be his finest
work. Wilder was also the first director
to pair comedy legends Jack Lemmon
and Walter Matthau in 1966s "The For-
tune Cookie."

Courtesy of MTV f r o m
1. Gwenyth Pal-

a massive tool

New Englander short stories
'Relief' from novel boredom

By Kiren Vaijee
For The Daily

Judaism is not merely a religion,
but a culture, a way of life. Many of
us living in Ann Arbor can attest to
this fact. And so, for anyone that
has always wanted to take a class on
this ubiquitous culture but has yet to
find a class that fits into the "no
class on Monday, Wednesday and
Friday" schedule, Nathan Englan-
der's "For the Relief of Unbearable
Urges" comes thoroughly recom-
mended.
This collection of short stories is

FOR THE
OF UNBE
URG
By NathanI
Vintage]
both heart-

This same juxtaposition of humor and
tragedy is present in "The Tumblers,"
"Reunion" and "The Gilgul of Park Avenue."
"The Tumblers" once again
addresses WWII, but more specifi-
cally, the Holocaust. A group of
Hasidic Jews avoid the trains
RELIEF meant to take them to the concen-
tration camps by accidentally
ARABLE boarding a train of circus folk. The
ES group is mistaken for acrobats and
Englander they are forced to keep up the dis-
guise in order to stay alive.
Books "Reunion" examines a modern day
man's descent into madness and
his misadventures in and out of a mental hospi-

o r
the Refief
Cnbearable

ing an insanely boring Anthro 101 lecture.

If you're looking for an extraordinary

the job for you. The job of Wilderness

I I

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