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January 06, 2003 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-01-06

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Monday
January 6, 2003
michigandaily.com/arts
mae@michigandaily.com

ARTS

5A

Spielberg crafts smart, fun 'Catch'

By Ryan Lewis
Daily Arts Writer

"Catch Me if You Can" unites the
talents of three of the most dominat-
ing personalities in Hollywood to
create one of the most enjoyable
films of the year. Starring a baby-
faced Leonardo DiCaprio and the
untouchable Tom Hanks, Steven
Spielberg skillfully spins an intrigu-
ing yarn based on the true-life story
of Frank William Abagnale Jr. With a
story so unbelievable, it could only
have come from reality. It's hard to
believe it has taken this long to put it
on screen.
From the moment the opening
credits roll in a vintage 1960s style,
the film embraces the period with
retro titles and fabulous designs. All the pretty
Like last year's "Ocean's 11,"
"Catch" embraces its scenery and Jr. repeated
flash to the smallest detail. father asked
DiCaprio plays young Frank, a 15- Having ca
year-old New Yorker who loves his lars in nearl
parents and takes after his unfortu- FBI, led b,
nate father. When Frank Sr.'s (Hanks), beg
(Christopher Walken) business falls particularly
on hard times because of his scams Carl face ea
and cutbacks, the family life begins kid leaves C
to topple. His mother takes up adul- a mockery
tery and his father begins to show would-be ca
him the haphazard ropes of wooing and mouse g
and smooth talking (usually failing Taking c
dismally). One day, Frank returns reinvents h
home only to discover
that he must decide who
to live with because his
parents are divorcing.
Deeply scarred by the
news, he escapes to a CATCH ME IF
world he creates for the YOU CAN
sake of his father.
Checkbook in hand, At Showcase, Quality
Frank forges checks but 16 and Madstone
needs the pseudo-iden- Dreamworks
tity of a copilot to cash
them. Right away it is
_ abundantly clear that Junior has his charism

Out
mind o
Charlie
Kaufman

Courtesy of Dreamworks

y faces in the world would still not make up for "A.I."

ly asserts that if only his
d him to stop, he would.
ashed over 1.5 million dol-
ly perfect counterfeits, the
y agent Carl Hanratty
gins to follow the trail. In a
amusing scene, Frank and
ch other but the underrated
arl flabbergasted and made
of. Once he eludes his
pture the first time, the cat
game begins.
cover in Atlanta, Frank
himself as an ER doctor
with flawless creden-
tials. He meets a hap-
less candy-striper and
flies off to become an
assistant district attor-
ney in Louisiana, all
while cashing more
checks and slipping
through the fingertips
of Hanratty and his
troops. Everyone he
comes into contact with
becomes swept away by
na and falls for his act,,

flow and fun-filled plot prove an
exhilarating experience. The story
overflows with whimsical characters.
Sheen and Walken add spunk to the
story as their recognizable personae
make their performances increasing-
ly entertaining.
DiCaprio shines in his unabashed-
ly honest and ardent role, and Hanks,
as always, is at the top of his game.
These two shine as their relationship
fluctuates from cop-robber to father-
son. Their loneliness brings a joint
sense of attachment and Hanratty's
dedication to the case combined with
his compassion for Frank makes him
the figure that Frank wishes his
father resembled.
Although it might drag, Spiel-
berg always manages to resume the
fast paced adventure that makes it
so enjoyable. Down time between
evasive maneuvering allows for
many of the most touching and
humorous moments in the film,
and the fact that it's all based on
true events makes it ever more
enticing as the plausibility seems
to stretch beyond acceptability.
Technically flawless, smart and
engrossing, "Catch Me if You Can"
is definitely one of the most captivat-
ing films of the year.

AN ATTEMPT AT 'ADAPTATION'

By Luke Smith
Daily Arts Editor

whatever skills of persuasion that his
father severely lacks. Walken's eerily
amusing performance projects the
always one-step-away paradigm to
which his character is bound. Frank

even the apprehensive father-in-law-
to-be played by Martin Sheen.
Spielberg balances the suspense,
drama and comedy in superb fashion.
Start to finish, the film's exuberant

Reality returns: 'Celoree'
Joe Millionaire' make premieres

It's a movie about flowers.
More like a movie about a book
about flowers.
To begin, all but one of the main
characters in the second Charlie
Kaufman/Spike Jorize vehicle are real
(the writing/directing tandem last
worked together on 1999's "Being
John Malkovic4"). Despite garnering
screenwriting credits for the film,
Donald Kaufman is not real. The
other characters are
byproducts of artistic 6
liberties taken by Char-
lie Kaufman. **
From Kaufman's
adaptation of Susan ADAP
Orlean's "The Orchid At Si
Thief" (New Yorker
piece, turned novel), we Col
see a film that maybe,
at some point, wanted desperately to
be about flowers. Charlie Kaufman
would have us believe that.
Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage)
slouches, his hairline and waistline
are inversely related, with the latter
expanding in middle age. His identi-
cal twin is his emotional foil. Donald
Kaufman is the kind of adult who still
punctuates his sentences with "bro"
and thinks that come-ons like "you
look hot tonight baby" work (and they
do). Charlie's desire to craft a script
devoid of stereotypical fluff becomes
Donald's "Psycho" meets "Silence of
the Lambs" thriller.
While Donald speeds through
his Robert McKee (Brian Cox)
taught screenwriting course, Char-
lie is bogged down adapting
Orlean's "sprawling New Yorker
shit" into a script.
Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep) wants
so desperately to care about some-
thing that she ultimate turns her cre-
ation of "The Orchid Thief" into an
obsession with John LaRoche (Chris
Cooper). LaRoche is an autodidactic
redneck to Orlean's primmed and
proper New York intellectual. She fol-
lows him through Florida tracking his

T
ho
un

obsession with orchids, his ability
renounce his waxing and waning pas-
sions. She is trapped as a writer and
LaRoche is her escape; he becomes
her passion.
These two plotlines exist separately
bound only by the Kaufman brothers'
script, with much of the
Orlean/LaRoche plot happening sig-
nificantly earlier in the film's ficti-
tious chronology while
simultaneously serving as the script
Kaufman wrote.
"Adaptation" unquestionably por-
trays some of the year's
finest acting, in
arguably the year's
** finest ensemble. Nico-
las Cage's performance
ATION as the Kaufman twins,
wcase despite being a techno-
logical feat, returns
nbia Cage to top form.
Meryl Streep's Susan
Orlean (nothing like the real Orlean)
is damaged and convincingly wound-
ed by the barriers she has built
between herself and the world. A Hol-
lywood guru of sorts, Robert McKee,
is poked at by Kaufman's script and
Brian Cox's hilariously accurate por-
trayal. Chris Cooper's John LaRoche
is the finest performance of the
ensemble. Sans three front teeth, and
some 20 pounds lighter, Cooper's
gangly intellectual-hick (should such
an oxymoron exist) is a "fun charac-
ter," as Valerie (Tilda Swinton), a film
executive, points out throughout.
Making his bones with skateboard
and music videos, it is no surprise that
Jonze's lone weakness as a director is
in his use of sound. The film's score,
by Carter Burwell, is nothing out-
standing, and his use of sound and
music pales in comparison to the
films of his contemporaries, like P.T.
Anderson's 2002 film "Punch-Drunk
Love." As a feature-length filmmaker,
Jonze holds himself in check, far
more than with his music videos (he
directed the Beastie Boys "Sabotage"
and Weezer's "Buddy Holly").
The filmmakers would have us
believe that "Adaptation" is the inter-

section between reality and fiction, a
place where we, like voyeurs, watch a
man struggling with a script for a
movie, a movie that somehow you're
already watching. It is a manipulating
voyage contrived and calculated each
step of the way. But "Adaptation" is,
at its core, about the difficulties asso-
ciated with the process of adapting,
albeit a literary work, or within our
lives.
"Adaptation" is ultimately about
failure and one's inability to adapt.
LaRoche calls adaptation "a pro-
found process. It means you learn
how to thrive in the world." Charlie
Kaufman isn't thriving in the world
and he is failing to adapt. Early on,
Kaufman challenges himself to
write a script devoid of Hollywood
convention, or McKeeian principles.
He simply wanted to write a script
about flowers. He failed. "Adapta-
tion" isn't about flowers at all and in
its saddening conclusion -we see that
Charlie Kaufman failed to adapt
"The Orchid Thief" into the film he
wanted to make. Instead, with the
help of his brother Donald, he gave
us something much, much better.

By Christian Smith
Daily Arts Writer

When "The Bachelor" debuted last
spring, it became a modest hit, a sole
bright spot in ABC's depleted lineup.
This season, it detracted the number
of viewers from NBC's "The West
Wing" by over 30 percent. For those
of us who can't wait a few months

Michel when he decided to continue
dating another women. This time,
Rehn, a 29 year-old physical therapist
and former Miami Heat cheerleader,
gets to turn the tables and have 25 men
vie for her affection. For those not
familiar with the original "Bachelor"
series, it is quite simple. "The Bache-
lorette" follows the same format, as
Trista is introduced to 25 attractive and

W until a new batch of
ABC's wildly popular
reality/dating show
returns, viewers will
have to settle for two
"new" series about the
same thing; one, FOX's
"Joe Millionaire," is a
complete retread and the
other, ABC's "The
Bachelorette," though
justifiable as a "Bache-
lor" spin-off, is just as
inexcusable.
Those who watched
the first installment of
"The Bachelor" will be
familiar with both the
rules and the contestant
of "The Bachelorette,"

M
THE
BACHELORETTE
Wednesdays at 9 p.m.
ABC
JOE MILLIONAIRE
Premiere tonight
at 9 p.m.
Airs regularly
Tuesdays at 9 p.m.
FOX

successful men and has
to whittle them down
week-by-week to a sin-
gle few - and then
eventually, to a final
one. In a slight change,
the men who accept the
roses offered by Trista as
a pass to the next round
will then move into the
Los Angeles 'bache-
lorette pad' with her.
"Joe Millionaire,"
which debuts tonight at
9 p.m. on FOX, also
takes the original formu-
la of "The Bachelor,"
having a slew of women
compete over a man
they know nothing

tle twist. The titular Joe is no million-
aire, but in fact 28-year old Evan Mar-
riott, a construction worker whose
annual salary is a piddling $19,000.
As the series opens, the 20 women
competing for the prize are whisked
off to a chateau in the French Riviera
where Evan has just undergone a
makeover and received intensive
training in order to camouflage him-
self as a denizen of the upper-class
(i.e. wine-tasting, horseback-riding).
Each episode follows Evan as he
'courts' the various women, and tries
to maintain a rich man's facade, end-
ing with a "Bachelor"-style elimina-
tion. But the true test comes after he
narrows the field down to one
woman, when he must then reveal his
true identity to her.
Though "Joe Millionaire laughably
attempts to disguise itself as a satire
of reality shows wrapped in an age-
old morality tale, at least the concept
only allows it to happen one time.
And while nothing can be as hideous
as hearing one more "the most dra-
matic rose ceremony yet," it will be
interesting to see if Trista can find
true love in what will surely be a real
frat-fest. As long as "The Bache-
lorette" and "Joe Millionaire" don't
take themselves as seriously as "The
Bachelor" did, we're in for quite a tel-
evision treat this new year.

Courtesy o Coumbia
Sprawling New Yorker feet.

Ni

A look at the
underside of U of M

Ike Michigan Leekeeper's Association is looking for
candidales fop the 2003 Michigan honey Queen.
Tie Dageant will Iheld at MSU on MarchI 76, 2003.
call810-797-5914
Deadline to apply: January 31, 2003

which takes over the old "Bachelor"
timeslot Wednesdays at 9 p.m. Last
April, more than 18 million viewers
watched Trista Rehn get to the final
round before being dumped by Alex

about, except the fact he recently
inherited $50 million. But for those
who aren't satisfied by this simple
pseudo-reality concept, the producers
of the show have cooked up quite a lit-

www.universitysecrets.com

I

the University Musical Society presents

.g i ExrTj,
0~un

the 2003 Winter Season Half-Price Student Ticket Sale!

At the annual Half-Price Student Ticket Sale, students with valid ID can purchase HALF-PRICE TICKETS
to any show in our winter season. This extremely popular event draws hundreds of students every year
- last year, students saved nearly $100,000 by purchasing tickets at the Half-Price Student Ticket
Sale! Get there early - some performances have limited numbers of tickets available.

Saturday, Jan 11
loam - 1 pm
Power Center

i

I I

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