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April 04, 2002 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-04

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10B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend Magaine - Thursday, April 4, 2002
Black delights in 'Demolition Man'

The Michigan Daily - Weekend Maga

By Jeff Dickerson
Daily Arts Editor

"I'm sorry to say that the world
has turned into a pussy-whipped,
Brady Bunch version of itself run
by a bunch of robed sissies."
- Simon Phoenix
The year is 2032. Arnold
Schwarzenegger is President of the
United States (somehow) and Taco
Bell has taken over the fast food
industry and become fine dining.
Guns are ancient weapons, replaced
with glow sticks, and the police
have eradicated fatalities, or as they
refer to them, "murder death kills."
Sex is a no-contact sport, and fluid
transfers are out of the question.
This is the sad, sad world of "Demo-

lition Man."
The 1993 futuristic action flick
starring a post-"Rocky" Sylvester
Stallone, a pre-"Blade" Wesley
Snipes and a pre-"Speed" Sandra
Bullock found
its way into
theaters amid
heavy promo-
tional tie-ins
and advertis-
ing. It's a har-
rowing tale of
revenge, cryo-
genics and bad
one-liners. Movie goers were wooed
by the then state-of-the-art special
effects and the promise of a half-
naked Stallone, and the film earned
a strong $60 million at the box

John Spartan (Stallone) is an elite
cop whose arch nemesis, Simon
Phoenix (Snipes), serves as the bane
of his existence. After a mishap
involving the death of dozens of
innocent people
in a burning
building, Spartan
is frozen in a
cryogenic prison
t1 t along with
Phoenix. Years
later, it's Parole
time for Phoenix.
unfreeze the former serial killer and
let him on the streets. Smart. As one
might predict, Phoenix continues
killing people and Spartan must be
brought back to stop him, because
the modern police force is not fit to
handle violence. Upon his dramatic
return, Spartan spouts, "Send a
maniac to catch a maniac."
Phoenix's name is used for several
not-so-clever lines including,
"Simon says die" and "Simon says
bleed." That is great screenwriting.
"Demolition Man" is filled to the
brim with bad dialogue, bad jokes
and bad physical humor. Sandra
Bullock's character Lenina Huxley
(a reference to the classic novel
"Brave New World") is primarily
used as a source of humor with her
butchery of '90s lingo.
While the main stars of the film
are disappointing, the only joy in
"Demolition Man" comes from the
talented supporting cast. Comedian
Dennis Leary play Edgar Friendly, a

rebel who sounds remarkably simi-
lar to Leary doing stand up. Former
MTV stud Dan Cortese has a brief
but memorable role as the lounge
singer type performer at Taco Bell.
A pre-Julia Roberts Benjamin Bratt
plays a naive police officer named
Alfredo Garcia, a role that would be
the training ground for his perform-
ance in Steven Soderbergh's 2000
film "Traffic."
The real star of "Demolition
Man" is Jack Black, who brilliantly
fills the role of Wasteland Scrap #2.
While his screen time is minimal,
his presence is overpowering. His
performance is subtle, but well cal-
culated. It may take heavy use of the
pause button to even see Black on
screen, but those few frames are the
highlight of the film.
Maybe the problems with the film
can be attributed to the casting. Lori
Petty was originally slated to be
Lenina Huxley, but she backed out a
few days into the shoot to focus on
other efforts. Stallone pressed pro-
ducers to get martial arts legend
Jackie Chan to play the role of
Simon Phoenix, but Chan turned
down the role
because of his
refusal to play
Compared to
other early '90s
action flicks,
"Demolition Man"
doesn't hold up as well as
"Passenger 57" or "Judge
Dredd." Bad dialogue, over the top


i '
Al gtR Enjoy a night of percussion, electronics, and
& improvisation on Saturday April 6 featuring:
0 and Chenaux/Wallace
Show starts at 8 p.m.
Admission is $5, $3 for students, with proceeds benefiting
the Ann Arbor Hunger Coalition
Sunday evening Jazz Mass at 5 p.m.
Alternative worship featuring live music by Stephen Rush and Quartex


acting and sets that look like rejects
from "Timecop" make the film fall
flat, aside from the remarkable act-
ing job courtesy of Jack Black. For
Stallone fans looking for a more
entertaining film, seek "Stop! Or
My Mom Will Shoot" or "Rocky V"
Man" is
unworthy of
S viewings,
except for the
Sp hypnotic per-

t was April. Our last month as stu-
dents at the University of Michigan.
Feeling a bit sentimental, the three
of us (myself, my twin brother Reuben
and Danny the East Quad comedian)
decided to have a little adventure.
"But what kind of adventure?"
Reuben and I asked simultaneously, as
we have a habit of doing.
"Photo scavenger hunt!" Danny
shouted, quickly scribbling down a list
of quirky people, places and things. It
was a pitifully lame idea, but we decid-
ed to humor him, knowing that we'd
surely ditch him at some point during
the day. We grabbed some disposable
cameras from the pile in the closet,
hopped on our razor scooters and took
off. One final thrill ride. For friendship.
For freedom. For the Maize and Blue,
God damn it.
Things started out smoothly. Here
are some of the things we found:
"A sorority girl" - Danny found one
running down Washtenaw with a water
bottle in one hand and vomit in the
"A GEO member who barely speaks
English" - Cheating a bit, Reuben met
up with his girlfriend, Math 115 GSI
Xian-Xian Wen, who was in the Arb
marveling at obese squirrels.
"Jesse Jackson" - On the steps of
the grad library, talking to Agnes
Aleobua. Aleobua was cutting a fine
figure in her Levi's Engineered Jeans
and "Michigan Vaginas" T-shirt. I took
their photo and ran.
"Ben and Reuben's father" - The
corner of State and Huron, of course.
Me and my bro snapped him at the
same time, the camera flashes giving
the poor man intense Vietnam/acid
"The ugliest possible human beings"
- Danny got a truly repugnant shot of
Dave Guipe and James Yeh, making out
with each other outside of NYPD, ziti
and pizza sauce smeared obscenely on
their ample breasts and greasy faces.
That's about when me and Reuben
ditched Danny, who is pretty much

used to it by now and didn't seem to
care. So we were just cruising around,
and guess who I spy with my little eye
at the Diag among the drug dealers and
protestors but Rolf, that son-of-a-
Canadian-whore international student I
had been trying to get even with for
some time. He was chatting with
crooked Metro Detroit Modeling "tal-
ent scout" Jack Torse. "Get a few good
shots of this," I said to Reuben.
I walked over to Rolf and tapped him
on the shoulder. He turned around. "I
am the living incarnation of your
death," I said.
"What's all this aboot?" he said, and
then I brutally pistol-whipped him. Me
and Reuben sped off, much to Jack
Torse's lip-licking dismay.
As we were on our way towards
more adventures, I saw a vision of raw
sexuality waving at me from the side-
walk. I slowed my roll. It was Val, D-
Town Dana's luscious friend from D-
"Sup, baby?" I said.
"Ben, I've been looking all over for
you. You gotta go home. Dana's lost it!"
"Never mind about her. Are you free
right now?"
"This is serious! Go home!"
I apologized to Reuben for my
abrupt departure, leaving him to throw
his mack down on the smokin' hot Val,
and sped home, on the way passing my
friend Blake, Effeminate Boy, academ-
ic advisor Joe Henderson, film profes-
sor Peter Bauland, some drunk cheer-
leaders from Texas on Spring Break,
Dirk and his friends (Mark, Eddie,
Brock, Reed, Chest and Philip
Seymour), the altitudophile I met on
the Millennium Force at Cedar Point
and Delilah, host of Cool 107's "The
Delilah Show," all of whom I greeted
with a head nod.
D-Town Dana was waiting for me in
my room when I got home, which was
in shambles, the desk turned over on its
side, the drawers pulled out, all the
sheets off the bed, the 1108 Thugz and
Skim Milf posters in tatters. Dana was

in tears. She was also, more important-
ly, pointing a gun at me. From the hall-
way, Joyce, Brooke, Brooke's fiance
Eric, Hannah, Courtney and Ashu
looked on in horror.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," I stammered.
"I knew it. I knew it Ben, you cheap
"What? What's wrong? Is it red
frowny face week already?"
"I found this in the trash, you bas-
tard!" She was holding up a stained,
crumpled post-it note.
"Grocery list."
"It's not! It's secret lovers code to
another woman! Do you think I'm stu-
pid? I know what 'Hefty Cinch Sacks'
are! Asshole! And corned beef? Corned
"Seriously, Dee-Dee, it's just a gro-
cery list. You're blowing this way out of
"Blow this out of proportion, bitch!"
Dana closed her eyes and squeezed the

"Noooooooooooooo!" screamed
...my head jerked up and I was in my
booth at the parking garage, my heart
pounding, some white dude in a yellow
Volkswagen Beetle impatiently beep-
ing his horn at me.
I checked my face for bullet holes.
There were none. "What a crazy, horri-
ble dream; I said to the empty booth.
"I don't have a twin brother, and I lived
in West Quad my freshman year. Who
were all those weird people? What does
it all mean?"
I opened my booth's window to take
the ticket from the fruity white guy in
the beetle "You're gorgeous," he said.
"I know, sir, I know. That'll be
And that's when I saw it. On the
booth's floor, there was a shopping bag
full of pennies, with a copy of the uncut

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