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September 11, 2002 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-11

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Wednesday
Septa er1, 2002
michigandaily.com/arts
mae@michigandaily.com

ago

jm OaUv
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9

NO INDUSTRY IMMUNE
ep , 2002 changed every- the reality that became America, events in the time after the attacks.
ti prtshalted play, schools being delayed numerous times. A Musicians put on a benefit perform-
e ou t the only thing thatreality that no country should'v had ance, "Concert for New York" The
kept runnin was the horrific to face. show featured talent from every eche-
imagery being played out across Jokes stopped being funny. Ion of the pop spectrum. The event
news broadcasts on nearly every Artists delayed albums, neo- was organized by none other.than Sir
ihannel. Every facet of life was garage rockers The Strokes held Paul MeCartney and featured the like
altered, soniehowin shme fashion. back their overly hyped debut Is of David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Elton
The.. . ..ntriment.in.dustry was This It so the native New Workers.John and Eric Clapton amongst scores
;ex.. pti. Money seemed to stop could remove the track "New York of other musical talent.
mattering as networks lost millions in City Cops" from thiealbum. In the days surrounding Sept. I1 ,
advertisin solely because they electn.. one of the most touching post- the separationt between celebrity and
ed to minimize mrcial breaks, Sept, it moments, Dave Lettertnen's simpleton.Normal people became
Movie executives shelved their finan- tearful retu dto late night television David.Bowie's "Heroes" if just for
#ial edeavors and held movies like set the standard for how all entertain- one day. And for one day, everyone
* "Cilatera Damge" back from box ment would function in a post-Sept. was on the same page.
Television'most prestigious 11 world. His choking exchange with
night the Emmy', took a. ackseat to Dan Rather outclassed all television - Luke SzArs.Edito
Civic eatre
uts on e yll'
By Christine Lasek
Daily Fine/Performing Arts Editor _

Michigan Theater

to host

'

Alum's 'March' premiere

By Todd Weiser
Daily Film Editor

Childhood friends often make
pacts to stay friends forever and
maybe even work for the same busi-
ness as adults. Some dreamy-eyed
children talk of being famous and
making a movie together. These
youthful fairy tales never work out,
right? Well actually they do some-
times and "March," premiering
Thursday night at the Michigan The-
ater, is proof.
Director James Mercurio,
actor/producer Sean Kanan and
writer Dean Morini were all teenage
friends who jointly dreamed of
movie glory. Their dreams are nor-
mal but their success is unique. Also
special is their connection to the
University of Michigan. Both Mer-
curio and Morini were once students
here in Ann Arbor, making movies
and writing novels.
Mercurio received an M.A. in
film from the University of Michi-
gan (when that program still exist-
ed) and received the prestigious
Hopwood Award for screenwriting,
an award also won by famous alums
playwright Arthur Miller and direc-
tor Lawrence Kasdan. Both Mercu-
rio and Morini recall their college
days with fine remembrance, even
citing specific examples that still
inspire them today.
Mercurio remembers seeing a 70-
millimeter print of "Apocalypse
Now" at the Michigan Theater and
collecting bottles from the streets to
afford meals at Zingermann's. Mori-
ni recalls writing a 300-page novel
at one computing center and then
pissing off fellow students during its

printing, all the while protesting
that, "Yes, it was for a class. I
promise."
"March" tells the story of Julian
March (Kanan), an insurance sales-
man with a wife and son, who is
also having an affair with a cowork-
er. When Julian's attempts to end
the relationship don't go as expect-
ed, he continues to hide the infideli-
ty from his wife.
Matters become a little more
complicated when Julian's son's
teacher, Angela, who knows of the
affair, moves in with the March's
after her home burns down.
At the center of the film is a
strange connection between Julian
and Angela and how she plays a
silently prophetic role
in Julian's life, becom-
ing the catalyst that
leads to the dramaticI
collapse of Julian's M
house of cards. At theI
Director Mercurio Th
immediately became
attracted to the story Set. 1
not only because his Student/Si
life-long friend wrote $5.50 fo
it but also due to an
attraction to its mes-
sage and the way it would be told.
He said, "I think 'March' asks
hard questions about people's ability
or inability to face the truth in their
life. And how if we don't deal with
our shadow, it deals with us."
He continues, "Very few people
are making movies for adults, aimed
at adults that respect the audience.
We made an intelligent and complex
drama whose ultimate meaning isn't
completely clear until the film's last
few frames."

Most first-time filmmakers find it
hard to acquire enough financing
for their film, especially with a
first-time writer aboard, but Mercu-
rio and Morini were lucky; old
friend Kanan is now one of the
biggest stars on daytime TV, work-
ing on "The Bold and The Beauti-
ful" as bad boy Deacon Sharpe.
Kanan, who made his made film
debut in "The Karate Kid III," and
co-producer Jessica Hammerschlag
easily raised enough money from
private investors to satisfy the final
budget number, which Mercurio
will not reveal besides saying that it
is under $1 million.
Besides Kanan the film also stars
Cynda Williams ("One False

The Ann Arbor Civic Theatre will be opening its 2002-
2003 season with a performance of the Tony Award-nomi-
nated musical "Jekyll and Hyde." The show opens
tomorrow and will be running all weekend right on central
campus at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre behind the
Michigan League.
"Jekyll and Hyde" is based on the 1886 novella, "The
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," written by Robert
Louis Stevenson. In the musical version, the story takes place
at the turn of the century in London. Dr. Henry Jekyll is a
brilliant scientist distraught over the death of his father. In this
state of mind, Dr. Jekyll believes that he has discovered the
existence of two states within every human psyche, one good
and one evil, which are constantly in contention for control.
Appearing before the board of Governors at St. Jude Hos-
pital where he works, Jekyll presents them with his theory
and asks for a subject on which to test his formula. The Gov-
ernors, however, turn him down and scorn his hypothesis. In
desperation, Jekyll tests the formula on himself, buthis exper-
iment backfires, and Jekyll gives life to his alter ego Edward
Hyde. Hyde is an evil and murderous being, who lets loose a
reign of terror on unsuspecting London, fighting Jekyll for
sole procession of the body.
There is also a subplot in "Jekyll and
Hyde" that revolves around the shadowy dif-
ference between love and lust. There are two
female figures in the play that seem to illus- JEKY
trate the two halves of Jekyll. Emma Carrew H
is Jekyll's fianc6, and the daughter of one of
the Board of Governors. There is also Lucy, At the 1'i
who is a prostitute drawn to Jekyll, but vic- TI
timized by Hyde. Although in the original Sept. 1
novella the role of women is practically non- Sept.
existent, its addition into the musical paves $10-s
the way for the most beautiful music in availabl
"Jekyll and Hyde."A
The music of "Jekyll and Hyde" was written Ann Arb
by Frank Wildhorn, with book and lyrics by
Leslie Bricusse. It is a dark gothic/romance horror tale set to
soaring melodies and florid lyrics. "Jekyll and Hyde" was
originally produced in 1990, but made its Broadway debut in

ARCH
Michigan
eater
2,7 p.m.
6.25 for
enior/Child,
r members
went on to

Move") as the straight-
forward Angela and
Rena Sofer ("Keeping
the Faith") as Julian's
coworker/coadulterer.
"March" played the
opening night of the
Lake Arrowhead Film
Festival and premiered
at the American Film
Market where it
received great
response, and then
screen at Cannes. Now

coming to Ann Arbor, Mercurio can-
not think of any better location for
his filmmaking debut to play.
"Ann Arbor has the best audience
in the world for independent films;
filmgoers here appreciate meaning-
ful and thought-provoking films. We
made a movie aimed at that audi-
ence," he said.
Following the screening will be a
Q&A session with Mercurio,
Kanan, and Morini.

I
fLl
Y
Me
'he
2-3
15
2C
e
or C

1997. Many famous stars have donned the dual personality of
Jekyll and Hyde, including Sebastian Bach, the former lead
singer of the heavy metal band Skid Row.
The members of the Ann Arbor Civic
Theatre are now adding their names to this
impressive list of productions. The Ann
L AND Arbor Civic Theatre is a non-profit commu-
DE nity theater that has been in operation since
1929. They produce comedies, dramas, clas-
-ndelssohn sics and musicals, providing the citizens of
ater Ann Arbor and surrounding areas the
14, 8 p.m. opportunity to participate in all aspects of
, 2 p.m. theatre, including production, performance
), tickets and appreciation.
at MUTO Wendy Sielaff directs this production, and
ivic Theatre the cast includes some University students.
Although Jekyll and Hyde is renowned for
being a powerful and hauntingly beautiful
musical, the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre will only be adding to
this reputation with their careful portrayals of the characters
as well as an outstanding lighting design.

First two seasons of 'Mr. Show
full of sketch comedy laughs.

Courtesy of MGM

Rod snapper, very tasty.

By Ryan Blay
Daily TV/New nMedia Writer
It's a sketch comedy show so quirky that its creators
chose the unusual path of releasing its first two seasons
together on DVD instead of separate (granted, there are
only four episodes in season one and six in season two). It's
"Mr. Show," and it's damn funny.
So who are the deranged creators and stars of Mr.
Show? Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, two unknown
comedians who in 1995 began their four year stint on
HBO. Odenkirk was a writer for "Saturday Night Live"
and "The Ben Stiller Show," while Cross, a fellow "Stiller"
writer, had a bit part in "Destiny Turns on the Radio."
Soon, they gained a strong following thanks to the absurd-
ly quirky sketch comedy and their appearances in every-
thing from "Just Shoot Me" to "The Drew Carey Show" to
"Men in Black 2."
Going places "Saturday Night Live" and "The Kids in the
Hall" would never dream of, thanks in large part to being on
HBO, the duo created such infamous sketches as "The
Altered State of Druggachusetts" and "Family Owned Adult
Video Store." Cross now has his own standup routine ("The
Pride is Back," highly recommended for all "Mr. Show" fans)

'UHF' makes its long delayed
debut on special edition DVD

MR. SHOW: THE COMPLETE
FIRST AND SECOND SEASONS

Picture/Sound: ****
Series: ****
Features: ****

By Ryan Blay
Daily TV/New Media Editor

I HJO
routinely shown on HBO or Comedy Central.
The first two seasons are excellent, but don't reach the
heights of its third and fourth seasons. Season one is
especially brilliant, notably the episode "We regret to
inform you." Each "Mr. Show" episode is a half hour
long and contains more laughs than most sitcoms do in
their entire lifespan.
Along with their two seasons worth of sketches, the two-
disc set includes an entertaining array of extra features for
"Mr. Show" fans.
The 10 commercials for the show, aired originally only
on HBO, are funnier than most extras on other DVDs.
Oddly titled and brief featurettes "Fuzz: the Musical,"
"Before it was a show" and "Thd Best of Mr. Show: the
incredible, fantastical news report" also appear. If it's not
obvious by their bizarre names, they are, like everything
else on the sketch comedy series, amusing and oddball.
Dave and Bob wisely provide a commentary track on
every episode, and unlike many commentaries, their
thoughts are actually worthwhile to listen to while you
watch. Other actors join them at times to provide more
inside jokes and other information that seems to be for their
own amusement. Most of their comments have little or
nothing to do with what is happening on screen, but it is
highly entertaining nonetheless.
"Mr. Show" is prepped to make its debut on the silver
screen, with the release of their feature film "Run Ronnie
Run." The film focuses on Ronnie Dobbs, a regular charac-
ter on the show who has a talent for getting in trouble with

The most interesting thing by far
about listening to "Weird Al"
Yankovic's commentary on the DVD
of "UHF" is not his humor, although
that is at sharp (or dull to some peo-
ple) as it normally is. No, the
insights about death, fish and the
super-low budget used to create the
fine piece of satire is what makes
the commentary
worthwhile.
"UHF" is a comedy
about the TV industry. UHF E
It's not intended to
inspire change like any Picture/Sound:
of Michael Moore's Movie: ***
comedies; rather, it is Features: **
simply a vehicle for
Weird Al to create MG]
some goofy skits and
play some amusing songs.
Yankovic, who also co-wrote. the
script, is George Newman. George is
a dreamer who one day inherits con-
trol of a UHF (ultra high frequency)
TV station in the basement of the
ratings. With a little imagination,
and the help of some friends, New-
man turns his Channel 62 into the
No. 1 station in town.
Victoria Jackson ("Saturday Night
Live") portrays George's girlfriend,
Teri, while Michael Richards ("Sein-

bizarre ideas that fuel the movie.
The movie, when it debuted in
1989, initially did poorly, making
just over $6 million. As Yankovic
notes, it is "the 2,253rd highest
grossing film of all time" Debuting
opposite "Batman," "Lethal Weapon
2" and "Dead Poet's Society,"
among many other quality films,
"UHF" was out of the theaters in
two weeks and "Driving Miss
Daisy" took home the Best Picture

DVD
1: ****

Oscar (Yankovic wryly
calls that the saddest
moment of his life). Yet
it has remained, as Al
mentions at least four
times, a "cult classic,"
albeit not with the
strength of "Rocky
* Horror Picture Show."
At the time, critics
panned it. Yankovic
me of the more harsh

the decapitation of a hand and more
fromn the TV studios were wisely
eliminated. Sadly, Al failed to keep
the potential breakout hit, "Those
darn homos." I wonder why.
While he (Levey has hardly a
word to say) and a few guests
appearing for the commentary (not
to ruin the surprise, but Michael
Richards shows up and they call up
Victoria Jackson in an amusing bit)
mocks the deleted scenes and a few
sight gags from the movie that just
went on too long, its obvious how
much fun Yankovic had filming in
Tulsa. They loved him so much that
they kept up a "Spatula City" bill-
board for an entire summer, much to
the confusion of passers-by, and
were given fish from the famous
"Wheel of Fish" segment. Jackson
tells of her pleasure and the "honor"
of working with Yankovic as
George's girlfriend.
On a limited budget, they could-
n't afford to hire Buddy Ebsen for
the "Beverly Hillbillies" - part of
George's dreams. Yet their fans
came unexpectedly. Dire Straits'
Mark Knoppfler insisted on playing
guitar on one song, and so he did
(the music video combining the
"Beverly Hillbillies" theme song
and Dire Straits' "Money for Noth-
ing" was actually well-liked even by
critics who disliked the movie). Dr.

reads

reviews over the closing credits, and
notes that when Rex Reed had to
review "UHF" and a Yahoo Serious
film in the same week, he nearly lost
all of his hair. Roger Ebert similarly
panned the film for its lack of intel-
ligence. Still, it continues to make
people laugh to this day.
The extras on the one-disc DVD
are hit-or-miss. The brief behind the.
scenes vignette is amusing, but far
too short to be informative. The pro-

.,

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