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April 10, 2003 - Image 19

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-04-10

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16B - The Michigan Daily - WIeekend igazine - Thursday, April 10, 2003
Michigan is more than popcorn and a movie

The Michigan Daily - Weekend Maga
Niamh Slevin sat down to review "MyBig PE dVIWt be and c
Fat Greek Wedding," one of the most pop-
. By Jason Roberts the movie's comic relief, this cast of
ular date movies of the year. The two weigh in on Daily Arts Editor stereotypes, er, characters, produces
battle of the sexes to determine the winner. enough inane chatter that one would
Ic it n c nic tha "°M Bia b baly haem r fi l i nt to

By Charles Paradis
Daily Weekend Editor

Hanging gracefully of the entrance on East
William Street, a large marquee of yellow and
white lights displays the shows and events running
for the day at the Michigan Theater. Names such
as "Cowboy Bebop" are just as likely as "Lord of
the Rings" to shine above the pavement.
The wooden box office outside is staffed
by just one or two attendants wearing tradi-
tional red vests, white shirts and black pants.
The tickets are not the fancy computerized
ones you'd find at most chain movie theaters.
You won't find the date, rating or even the
name of the show on your ticket. Instead
you'll be handed what looks like it came from
the fair or from a game of skeeball. There is
just one concession stand selling all the tradi-
tional amenities required for the proper
movie going experience - candy, sodas and
popcorn, with real butter.
Two majestic staircases ascend to the bal-
cony level from the grand foyer. Slightly over
a third of the movie-goers in the main theater
sit in the balcony. The lights begin to dim and
as the theater darkens, the screen lights up as
you sittate yourself in one of the 1,700 cush-
ioned seats.
Unlike the flashy multiplexes that dominate
many local movie listings, the entertainment at the
Michigan Theater begins once the moviegoer walks
in the door. The ambience of the theater draws in
the patrons and holds them longer than the film.
Why has this theater with just two screens won
the Best of Ann Arbor Best Movie Theater Award
so consistently?
"I think a lot of it has to do with the venue
here," Amelia Martin, house manager at the
Michigan Theater, said. "When you come to the
Michigan Theater, it is not just about the movies,
it is about the experience. It's about walking in

Casey Affleck and Matt Damon.
While such high profile celebrities would gen-
erally attract a lot of attention, the travels in the
desert of the two include little dialogue and the
movie was panned by most critics. This did not
deter the programmers at the Michigan Theater,
though. Martin said they "were proud" to have
taken the risk and aired the film.
Posters from movies such as "Secretary," and
other films that have slipped under the radar of
the public scene, deck the walls of Martin's
office. The Michigan Theater has remained
committed to showing these films as an outlet
for art in Ann Arbor.
Right up the street from the Michigan Theater
is another on of Ann Arbor's popular cinemas, the
State Theater. While the Michigan and Sate The-
aters are separate businesses, they do have a con-
nection. In 1997 the management of the Michigan
Theater was asked by the owners of the State The-
ater to help program and market the theater.
While the programming of the State Theater
falls under the province of the Michigan The-
ater, the two do not always show the same
type of films.
The differences in programming are a result
of the different crowds that visit the theaters.
With the immensely popular midnight shows.
the State Theater is able to attract a very differ-
ent crowd than those who go to the Michigan
Theater to see the more artsy films. Martin said
that more students go to the State Theater and it
has its own style.
"The State Theater has a different feel than the
Michigan Theater," Martin said. "It has its own
personality. It is a more funky environment."
With the palatial feel and wide variety of films
and shows, it is no wonder that the Michigan The-
ater was once again voted the best theater.

is t any surpr se tat iviy tsg
Fat Greek Wedding" is the number
one best-selling romantic comedy
of all time? Once you begin looking
at it, it becomes fairly obvious that
the answer is a big fat "No." Why?
Because it contains the same ele-
ments that have made any other
"Love conquers all" story a success
in the past. She falls in love with
him. He falls in love with her. The
two overcome an obstacle in their
way and everything is resolved in
the end.
And as the credits roll, a large
number of helpless boyfriends,
dragged unwillingly to the theater
by their girlfriends, gouge out their
Excuse me while I vomit.
As if the refried plot isn't bad
enough, writer/actress Nia Vardalos
insisted that her insane group of
Greek relatives come along for the
ride. Included to generate much of

pronauiy nave more lunl istening to
someone run their fingernails down
a blackboard. Am I missing some-
thing, or is it supposed to be funny
when Toula's father, Gus, insists on
spraying every ailment of his with
Windex? Or when her cousin Ange-
lo and his sister bicker at each other
every time they're on screen?
Oh man, lemme wipe that tear out
of my eye; I'm laughing way too
hard here.
And that isn't the half of it. Let
me tell you about my major hang-up
with this romantic comedy
imposter: It's complete and utter
suspension of belief. You cannot
convince me, no matter how hard
you try, that Ian, Toula's man of
men, would have put up with all of
the abuse from her family while
never, ever, not even once, batting
an eye. He has his own wedding
planned for him. Toula's cousins
threaten hint incessantly. He gets

The Michigan Theater has more to offer than your average multiplex.

the doors and you feel like you are in this luxuri-
ous, magical place. You look up and the ceilings
are gold and you feel like you are in this wonder-
ful magical place. It becomes less about what
you are doing and more about the experience of
being here.'"
Built in 1928 as a movie palace, the Michigan
Theater operates in 2003 by continuing the tradi-
tions upon which it was founded. With daily
shows, performances by bands from major labels
and a smattering of shows performed by Universi-
ty students, the Michigan Theater's variety is as
unique as the building itself.

Some students may be timid when they do not
recognize the names displayed on the marquee.
They haven't heard of these films and the prospect
of subtitles is too much to handle. The so-called
"artsy films" may seem imposing, but the Michi-
gan Theater makes it easy for any moviegoer to
step outside his or her comfort sphere of a normal
weekend blockbuster.
The Michigan Theater has long prided itself on
displaying the types of movies you won't find
anywhere else. These artsy films, include
"Gerry," a recent film by Gus Van Sant, staring

CJourtesy of IFC fims
"My Big Fat Greek Wedding" was the most successful romantic comedy ... ever.
Sbut still sweet,
sexy and_ loveable


By Niamh Slevin
Daily Arts Writer


- WSince 1972
Open 24 Hours
127 washers and dryers
S UJb4
- 0

There aren't too many women who
would actually claim romantic come-
dies are mind-blowing pieces of cine-
matic genius. Most of us freely admit
they are cheesy as be damned.
At best, they are feel-good pick-me-
ups reserved for the end of a hectic
week or relaxed evenings with a signif-
icant other. While it may not be the
"sexy thriller" of the year, "My Big Fat
Greek Wedding" breathes a little vitali-
ty into an already cliched genre.
True, the plot isn't entirely believ-
able at times. The movie's heartthrob,
Ian (John Corbett, Sex and the City),
puts up with a barrage of Toula's (Nia
Vardalos) overbearing relatives, a
litany of criticisms regarding his reli-
gious and cultural background and a
rather lengthy dunking in a pool of
holy water, all for this one simple,
strange girl. Not only does he tolerate
this treatment, he doesn't say boo
about it.
But, think of it from our perspective.
How fair would it be for Ian to take his
aggression out on Toula, who is
already stressed out and mortified by
her family's antics? That would entire-
ly defeat the purpose of the comedy.
Besides, if a girl is concentrating on
how sweet and sensitive the guy on the
screen is, it should really serve as a
reminder of the loveable man sitting
next to her.
And that can only bring good

prospects for the boys.
So, if women know how utterly
implausible this story is, why do they
still force their boyfriends to sit
through it? Don't get me wrong.
Women don't delude themselves into
thinking the guy beside them is the
mirror image of this fantasy man.
We know perfectly well how many
faults our man has, and we keep a run-
ning inventory on all the stupid things
he's done. This huge ball of sappiness,
which makes many a single girl cringe,
has a mesmerizing effect on our psy-
Secretly, we crave that kind of unbri-
dled affection and grand-scale
romance inherent in "Greek Wedding,"
but we're willing to settle for a nice
snuggle at home and the knowledge
that our boyfriends have managed to
indulge our appetite for corniness.
"Greek Wedding" has its good
moments too. As far-fetched as it may
be, the plot actually does produce some
funny situations with its slapstick-like
humor. Toula's aunt takes the cake when
she tells the story of her lump's biopsy
and the discovery of her twin to Ian's
yuppie suburbanite parents.
However, the lamb roast on the front
lawn and the mumblings of Joey Fat
One follow close behind.
Honestly, guys. If she even plants a
smooch on your cheek or, if you're
extra lucky, asks you back to the bach-
elorette pad, can you really complain
that you had to watch a mere ninety
minute flick in return?

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