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January 15, 2002 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-01-15

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Dog eat dog ...
The Heidelberg is throwing The
Dog Slam, but promise poetry will
be slung, not canines. 8 p.m. $4.
*michigandaily.com/arts

R TS

TUESDAY
JANUARY 14, 2002

5

Promising

'Imagine

That' showcases

Azaria and Brook, forced laughs

By Rohith Thumati
For the Daily
NBC's "Imagine That" is the latest star vehicle

to hit the air - an
Imagine
That
NBC
tonight at 8

ominous portent for this show,
seeing as every other sitcom
featuring an established star
made for this season has
already been canceled, (Jason
Alexander's "The Bob Patter-
son Show," anyone?). Also,
"Imagine That" being a mid-
season replacement, which
are usually shows that the
network execs deemed were
not as good as the shows that
debuted (and cancelled) in
October, does not bode well.
However, unlike other shows,
"Imagine" features someone
who has actual comedic tal-

their characters well and already seem to have a
decent chemistry as a couple.
The only other writer who gets significant time
during the first episode is Kenny Fleck, played
by Josh Malina, who is like a slightly cooler ver-
sion of the character Malina played on "Sports
Night." Hopefully the other two writers, David
Pressman's Kooshman ("Stargate") and Suzy
Nakamura's Rina Oh ("Timecode") will get

flushed out as the season goes on - so far they
are just there to fill up space.
Receiving more time during the premiere is
Barb Thompson, the show's neurotic producer
who detests her own mother, played by Katey
Sagal ("Married ... With Children"). One of the
plot lines of the first show is how Barb steals an
idea (hopefully not a recurring theme - bosses
who take credit for their employee's ideas isn't
exactly a new idea) of Josh's about a doing a
sketch featuring an Italian 'wiseguy' therapist.
The idea for this, which probably explains the
title of the show, comes to Josh when he and his
wife go to see a marriage counselor, and Josh
imagines his therapist as a stereotypical Italian
mobster.
In the form of eye-candy, there's former Play-
boy Playmate Julia Shultz ("Rush Hour 2"), play-
ing another stereotype as Tabitha Applethorpe,
Kenny and Josh's attractive but not too bright
assistant. It is unlikely that her character will
progress much beyond that of "office hottie,"
though.
The premiere is fairly well written, although
the laughs are considerably forced in the begin-
ning (if only real people laughed when the
canned laughter does; those in TV business
would be so happy). It remains to be seen, how-
ever, if they'll take one-note characters like
Tabitha and Barb and make them multi-dimen-
sional. A show with plotlines based on a few
stereotypes and marital problems sounds too
much like every other sitcom that gets cancelled
with less than a season on the air.

America at it's finest. Inset: Author Schlosser.
ast Food' author
visits U for reading

ent: Hank Azaria, renowned for his work on
"The Simpsons" and "Tuesdays With Morrie." Of
course, he's also infamous for his failures
("Godzilla," "Mystery Men," his marriage to
Helen Hunt). How does this show rate amongst
the rest of Azaria's body of work as well as the
rest of the television landscape?
For a midseason replacement, this show is
rather promising. Azaria plays Josh Miller, a
writer on a sketch comedy television show, who's
having marital troubles with his super-driven
prosecutor wife Wendy (Jayne Brook, "Chicago
Hope").. Both Azaria and Brook seem to know

By Laura LoGerfo
Daily Arts Writer

t ,VLJI Lte VI 10

Apu's come out to play.

Cardiac arrest claims life of

Blow'
By Andy Taylor-Fabe
Daily Film Editor

director Ted Demme

Lynch thinking about Pabst Blue Ribbon.
.Director
Lynch to
head jury
at Cannes
By Lyle Henretty
Daily Arts Editor
It's been a good year -for David
Lynch. The "Twin Peaks"
director/scribe debuted his most
lauded, interesting work in years with
the neo-noir nightmarescape "Mul-
holland Drive." The film will be re-
released in order to generate more
Oscar-buzz later this year. On top of
this, he has just been named Presi-
dent of the Jury at the 55th annual
film festival in Cannes.
"Drive" has recently been named
Best Film of 2001 by the New York
Film Critics Circle, and the Los
Angeles Film Critics Association has
named Lynch Best Director. Lynch,
famous for such varied films as
"Blue Velvet," "Dune" and "The
Straight Story" will bring his less-
than-mainstream views to the inter-
national festival.
"I will do my best," Lynch told the
official festival website, "to help con-
tinue the festivals great tradition of
spotlighting and celebrating world
cinema through friendly competi-
tion."
The "friendly competition,"
though, becomes fierce when it
*comes the the festival's highest
honor, the Palme de' Or. Past win-
ners, such as "Barton Fink," "Pulp
Fiction" and "Dancer in the Dark"
went on to broad critical and finan-
cial success.
Many independent domestic and
foriegn movies are showcased and
picked up for American distribution
during Cannes. Big-budget films also
debut, hoping to generate box office
gold through good word-of-mouth.
Major film companies vie for the

Ted Demme, film and television
director, died Sunday from
unknown causes after playing a
celebrity basketball game at the
Crossroads School in Santa Moni-
ca, California. He was 37 years old.
Paramedics rushed Demme to the
UCLA Medical Center, where he
was pronounced dead. Although he
died of a cardiac arrest, the exact
cause of death has not yet been
determined. According to Lieu-
tenant Cheryl MacWillie of the Los
Angeles County Coroner's Office.
Demme most recently directed
"Blow" (2001), starring Johnny
Depp and Penelope Cruz. The film
is a glamourized but gritty and
tragic biography of George Jung,
the man who had a large hand in
establishing the cocaine market in
the United States in the 1970's.
In 1999, Demme directed "Life"
with Eddie Murphy and Martin
Lawrence, as well as the short-
lived and highly underrated televi-
sion series "Action," starring Jay
Mohr.
He also directed "Beautiful

Girls" (1996), starring Timothy
Hutton, Matt Dillon, Mira Sorvino,
Uma Thurman and Michael Rappa-
port. This comedy concerns a
piano player (Hutton) who comes
dhome to his small hometown to
face his past and his friends, most
of whom are having serious crises
with their love lives. This surpris-
ingly poignant and well-written
film was also one of the first
appearances of Natalie Portman,
who had made her first appear-
ances in "Heat" and "The Profes-
sional" (1995, 1994).
In 1994, Demme directed the
hilarious and dysfunctional "The
Ref" with Dennis Leary, Kevin
Spacey and Judy Davis. This film
about a holiday season kidnapping
and a family from Hell is one of
the funniest Christmas movies
ever, and illustrates Spacey's comic
proficiency before he dove in with
"American Beauty."
Demme also directed Dennis
Leary's comedy specials, "Lock 'N
Load" and the now legendary "No
Cure for Cancer," a powder-keg of
sardonic, biting comedy and indig-
na'nt anger that is a staple of home
video viewing.

The Golden Arches of McDonald's
enjoy such ubiquity that the restaurant
has earned a familiar nickname, Mickey
D's, an innocuous title more appropriate
for an uncle than for a corporate behe-
moth.
Yesterday evening, crowds of Ann
Arborites listened attentively to a reading
of "Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of
the All-American
Meal," a brutally
honest critique of
the massive fast
Eric food industry, by
Schlosser its author, Eric
Borders Schlosser. The
hardcover edition
Jan. 14, 2002 of "Fast Food
Nation" leapt onto
the New York
Times bestsellers
list last year and
demanded reader
response.
Mr. Schlosser
reveals what lurks behind the burgers
and fries we consume without thought
but by impulse. As we drive through
unfamiliar landscapes or feel frazzled at
the end of a long day, we turn to the
Golden Arches to satisfy our immediate
hunger for food and for comfort just as
Pavlov's dogs began drooling at the bell's
ring. But our instincts lead us to take for
granted what we greedily devour;
although the meal may be quick, fast,
and dirty, what costs do such a meal
exact that remain hidden but hold such
dire consequences for millions of Ameri-
cans?
This engrossing and often grotesque
account not only grabs the reader's inter-
est immediately and refuses to let go but
also provides crucial evidence for the
responsibilities fast food industries have
traditionally shirked in favor of their bot-
tom line.
Mr. Schlosser leads the audience
through training for McDonald's
employees, where the corporation
instructs "we cannot trust people who
are nonconformists, we will make [them]
conformists... in a hurry." We tour flavor
factories that produce the "french fry"
taste, and slaughterhouses where migrant
workers receive worse treatment than the
cows they kill, and the cows they butcher
are often dismembered while still alive.
We discover four-year-olds participating
in "pajama parties" where kids stay
awake late with marketing executives to
divulge the toys and foods that would
attract them to Mickey D's.

Schlosser was surprised and pleased
by the popularity of "Fast Food Nation,"
his first book. "At first, no one wanted to
publish the book, it wasn't obvious there
would be a significant readership," Mr.
Schlosser recalled. Once published, the
first few readings on his publicity tour
were sparsely attended, but by the end,
bookstores he visited depleted their
inventory to meet the requests of hordes
of customers.
The national attention now drawn to
the book gives Mr. Schlosser hope that
the injustices of the fast food industry
may be alleviated, if not corrected with-
in five or 10 years. I asked what a typi-
cal student could do to fight the
sprawling tentacles of fast food chains.
He reasoned that one need "not be pure-
ly greedy or just live a life of total mon-
klike abstinence... [but] I'm betting
where we are right now, there's a deli
and there's a pizza place, and there's a
sandwich shop that serves food that's
inexpensive and not made by a national
chain."
Schlosser explained that citizens
express their opinions with their votes,
we can convey our collective disap-
proval through our stomachs, by refus-
ing to patronize corporations that
manipulate us virtually from birth to
"covet" what they peddle. I avoid the
word "food" when describing the prod-
uct the chains sell, since so much of the
meat used in hamburgers is tainted with
salmonella, a bacterium introduced to
food through animal fecal matter. When
we refer to a Mickey D's hamburger as
shit, we tell more truth than we realize.
These horror stories even apply to the
ground beef you find at the local Kroger,
and surely, as Mr. Schlosser points out,
"even if you don't but a loved one does
consume hamburger, then it affects
you."
Despite the outrage his book inspires,
Mr. Schlosser offers reason for opti-
mism, "Sales [at McDonald's and other
fast food chains] were flat in the year
2000 in the United States, and not good
in the year 2001. They basically have
run out of places to open in this coun-
try...mad cow disease in Europe and
Japan has really made people think
about food differently, and they're really
questioning the system of agriculture
and distribution now."

Demme with Penelope Cruz.

His other directing credits
include "Who's the Man?" (1993)
and "Monument Ave." (1999).
Demme also directed several
episodes of the television drama
"Homocide: Flife on the Streets" as
well as "Robert Altman's Gun." He
was one of the producers of the
1998 thriller "Rounders," starring
Matt Damon, Edward Norton and
John Malkovich.

,
Original SOundtrack gives new
life to early Gibson classic

By Jeff Dickerson
Daily Arts Editor

Mel Gibson has in his 20 years in the film business
established himself as one of Hollywood's leading

Mad Max
Special
Edition DVD
MGM

men. The Australian native has
played such memorable roles as
William Wallace in the 1995 Best
Picture winner "Braveheart" and
Martin Riggs in the "Lethal
Weapon" biracial buddy franchise.
It was in 1979 when Gibson went
from drama school grad to interna-
tional star.
"Mad Max" gained international
acclaim for its innovative car chas-

their friend with the frightening moniker. As events
unfold, Max's occupation and personal life collide
head on, aided by massive explosions and classy
Aussie violence.
Director George Miller was in medical school when
he picked up his first movie camera. Shortly there-
after he decided to drop the doctor routine and
become a film director, resulting in a most unconven-
tional filmography. Since "Mad Max," his first feature
length film, Miller has gone on to direct "Lorenzo's
Oil," the brilliant box office bust "Babe: Pig in the
City," as well as the "Mad Max" sequels "The Road
Warrior" and "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome."
Made for a mere $400,000, "Mad Max" is one of
the most profitable films in motion picture history.
The relentless low budget action film
grossed over $100 million worldwide. It
held the highest profit-to-cost ratio for
nearly 20 years, until "The Blair
Witch Project" phenomenon hit teens
s across America in 1999.
MGM has finally released an ade-
quate version of the influential film
.r.on DVD. In previous releases, the
original audio track was replaced by a
dubbed track with American
actors, as studio heads were
worried the Australian accents
would be too problematic for
American viewers. For the
first time, Mel Gibson's

es and unique cinematography. The
Australian film, quickly established itself as a quin-
tessential post-apocalyptic action film. Stunt dri-
vers sped upwards of 150 mph to produce
authentic sequences for the film. The crew includ-
ed professional motorcycle racers and an expan-
sive cast of stunt men, ensuring the most genuine
recreations of speed possible.
In the not too distant future, Gibson
stars as Max Rockatansky, a police
officer in the Main Force Patrol
(MFP). Max is a family man, with a
loving wife and young son. After a
hard day at the office slaying glam
rock biker badies, Max comes

I..

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