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November 04, 2002 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-11-04

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November 4, 2002



Courtesy o firamax

He's got a gun!

'Comedian' reveals

Where did the Tigers hat go, Mr. Moore?

By Jenny Jeltes
Daily Arts Writer
Jerry Seinfeld fans might be won-
dering what the legendary comedian is
up to these days. After Seinfeld's hit
TV sitcom ended in 1998, he returned
to stand-up comedy and has been tour-
ing ever since. "Comedian," a docu-
mentary directed by Christian Charles
and produced by Jerry Seinfeld,
reveals what a comedy career is really
like and how one even gets started.
"Comedian" focuses on Seinfeld's
career through interviews with his
friends and other comedians, along
with several clips from his early gigs all
the way up to his recent Broadway
shows. It is interesting to look back on
the rise to fame Seinfeld made, starting

witnessed much of Seinfeld's off-stage
personality, he or she can see most of it
in these candid conversations. Seinfeld
is cool and calm for the most part, and
in no way "hogs" for attention. His
interview with Cosby paints Seinfeld as
the most humble of fans. Seinfeld sits in
awe of Cosby's endurance and his suc-
cessful two-and-a-half hour shows,
which is an exceptionally long time in
terms of stand-up comedy. Seinfeld
mentions how 45 minutes is a long
stretch for him to go without a break.
"Comedian" also introduces the audi-
ence to George Shapiro, Seinfeld's
agent. In one scene, Adams is shown in
an interview with Shapiro where the
agent asks the young comedian to work
under him. Adams is elated and finds it
hard to believe that Shapiro would actu-
ally be interested.

By John Laughlin
Daily Arts Writer
Michael Moore's latest film "Bowling for
Columbine" takes aim, shoots and hits at the heart
of one of America's largest dilemma's: -gun control.
While the film fails as a documentary in its inabili-
ty to maintain an objective viewpoint, it succeeds in
presenting a position that is highly educated, at
times, comical and always informative. Moore's
craftsmanship in piecing together various media to
gain total perspective and his questioning of the
root cause of such tragedies as Columbine is both
commendable and glorious.
The film begins by presenting that access to guns
has reached an apex in its absurdity. Moore enters a
bank that not only will let you sign up for a check-
ing account, but also, as a convenience, sell you
one of several hundred guns it keeps on hand. After
little time has elapsed, Moore emerges from this
strange duality bearing a rather large rifle. In need
of ammo and a haircut, he finds a place that caters
to just this type of complementary craving and gets
a trim and several boxes of bullets.
Shifting from home movies, to comedian Chris
Rock, to the Oklahoma City massacre, Moore begins
his quest for answers and everyone, it seems, has

their own opinion, with each believing his or hers is
the right one. Who is "right?" The constitution grants
Americans "the right to bear arms" but Moore
argues the very definition of the word "arms." The
town of Virgin is all but pure due to the fact that a
law was passed there mandating all to own a gun. K-
Mart and Wal-Mart both maintain free access to
munitions. Guns, so it would seem,
permeate America and this idea
segues into the Columbine shootings.
For the first time on the big screen,
one sees footage of one of the 74s BOWL]
smashing into a tower of the World
Trade Center. From this horrific COL
image that has become engrained in At Michi
every American's mind, Moore shifts
back to a compelling montage of 911 M
calls and security camera footage from
the Columbine shootings. The juxtaposition of these
two scenes creates a powerful mix of emotion and an
unreachable superlative of sadness.
After this scene, the film gains momentum and
shifts toward finding a cause. Moore questions
race, but marks fear as the cause for why gun-relat-
ed fatalities in America are the highest in the world.
At a time when everyone is pointing fingers either
at the media, video games, upbringing or Marilyn

Manson, Moore suggests the root of the problem is
more engrained in our society and in facets that
most would not like to ponder.
Moore embarks on a crusade with two Columbine
victims: One is in a wheelchair for life and both
must live with bullets left inside them. The three-

travel to the

gan Theater

K-Mart headquarters in hope of per-
suading the chain to stop selling bul-
lets in their stores. They are met with
opposition and given the run-around,
but their perseverance is unwavering.
They return the next day having
bought out a local K-Mart of all its
ammunition. Accompanied by many
members of the media, K-Mart issues
a very surprising statement. This event
instills Moore with the confidence he
needs and uses to confront to presi-

with his small audience
at the Gotham Comedy
Club in Manhattan where
he once completely "lost
his point," and is shown
staring at his notes in
silence trying to remem-
ber what his next line.
Next thing we know,
Seinfeld is seen giving

At Showcase

Shapiro explains how he
simply enjoys working
with good comedians,
and Adams has a lot
going for him.
There is not a tight
chronological order in
which "Comedian" is

dent of the NRA, Charlton Heston.
The Columbine shooters were bowling the
morning of the day that many would never forget.
"Bowling for Columbine" attempts to search for
the reason why two teenagers would move from
throwing a ball down a lane to opening fire on
their classmates, but then evolves into a brilliant
social commentary that critiques part of the fabric
of America.

'V-, 'Santa 2' not so nice

By Stephanie Kapera
Daily Arts Writer
For the past eight years, since the
release of the original "The Santa
Clause," Tim Allen has been doing a
hell of a job as Santa Claus. He plays
football with the elves, drinks lots of
hot chocolate and has even encour-
aged the development of static-free
tinsel. Very impressive, especially
since he must have had to take a break
from his busy schedule of getting
arrested for drunk driving to fit all of
this in. Michael Lembeck's "Santa
Clause 2" avoids the obvious end-of-
December release date, attempting to
deliver some Christmas charm in
these not-so-festive November days.
This Christmas, Santa, known
outside of the North Pole as Scott

Christmas cheer all over the world.
The original film was fun because it
made Santa Claus a plausible reality.
Although this is the angle many
Christmas films take, "The Santa
Clause" was especially fun because
Tim Allen was our surrogate. Just a
normal guy who suddenly began to
order a deluge of food at staff meet-
ings, gained 50 pounds and ended up
in a fairyland known as the North Pole.
All our looming questions about the
machinations of the Santa myth were
fantastically explained away.
But eight years later, this delight
has dimmed; our thirst for explana-
tions was sated with the first film, and
all we are left with is a trite, unbeliev-
able plot, jam-packed with bathroom
humor and many references to rear
ends and flatulence that are sure to
make even children cringe.

advice to the up-and-coming Orny
Adams, who is starting to make a name
for himself in the comedy world.
"Comedian" surprisingly places
strong emphasis on Adams' career,
when one may have. expected the film
to focus primarily on Seinfeld. Adams
provides many entertaining and inform-
ative anecdotes, but we don't hear this
much from Seinfeld. One may be left
feeling somewhat let down by the
imbalance. Watching Seinfeld trying to
get Adams to relax, however, and stop
worrying so much, reveals the level of
confidence Seinfeld has with his career
and how it's important not to take his
craft too seriously. At one point, he wit-
tingly comments to the audience in one
of his routines, "So what have I been
doing lately? Nothing!"
Even though Charles intends on
showing the life of an up-and-comer, he
still finds time to include some of the
profession's all-time greats. Seinfeld
discusses the intricacies of comedy with
the likes of Colin Quinn, Jay Leno and
Bill Cosby, to name a few. If one hasn't

arranged, but it seems to
move successfully from the beginning
of Seinfeld's career to his life now. The
director demonstrates a great choice of
interviews and experience in knowing
what dialogue to incorporate to deliver
the greatest impact. Some lines and wit-
ticisms just stand out and are worth not-
ing, especially for those who love
Seinfeld's comedy. For example, Sein-
feld likens the feeling of being a stand-
up comedian to going to work wearing
only your underwear. He explains how
the situation is one in which it is
extremely difficult, if not impossible, to
stay relaxed and comfortable while on
stage. It feels quite unnatural.
"Comedian" is a celebration of com-
edy, and it is an honest assessment of
what the career is really like. It can take
years and years for one to finally be
noticed, and on top of that, one may
never feel completely satisfied with his
or her progress. Even Seinfeld admits
that his attitude is just that, proclaim-
ing, "This is not good enough." It is
most likely this attitude that has got
him to where he is today.

Courtesy of Columbia
Bill Cosby is rolling around in his grave. Oh wait, he's still alive.
Murphy'sbc i ISpy'


By Ryan Lewis
Daily Arts Writer
Just like the 1960s television pro-
gram from which it takes its title, "I
Spy" takes a superstar athlete and
pairs him with a secret agent. Other-
wise, there are few similarities. It uti-
lizes the once challenging premise of
a black/white team to create a movie
pseudo-Jackie Chan/Chris Tucker.
Where it succeeds in envisioning the
charisma and camaraderie vis-A-vis
"Rush Hour" with the talents of Eddie
Murphy and Owen Wilson, it falls
short in its attempts to actually surpass
the quality of its predecessors.
This time around, the concept has
Murphy as Kelly Robinson, an unde-
feated boxing champion, and Wilson as
Alex Scott, a James Bond wannabe
secret agent. When the world's newest
and most dangerous secret weapon -
an ultimate stealth bomber
- is stolen from the U.S.
government, Scott is sent
in under civilian cover *
with Robinson. The plane
is presumed hidden in I
Hungary where the gov- At Sho
ernment suspects billion- Qua
aire Arnold Gundars Co
(Malcolm McDowell, "A Co
Clockwork Orange")
hopes to sell the plane to the highest bid-
der amongst a who's who of internation-
al most-wanteds.
Murphy and Wilson have great
chemistry in the grand tradition of Hol-

increasingly harder to separate. The
plot's greatest attribute is that it never
explains who belongs on what side.
Other spies are double agents or triple
agents. Rachel (Famke Janssen, "X-
Men") is in charge of the spy base, but
is introduced as a suspiciously shady
character; and Carlos (Gary Cole,
"Office Space") is the poster image of a
super agent who Scott would love to
emulate but he can't trust be trusted.
Outside of the star duo, the film fal-
ters with the rest of its characters.
McDowell's Gundars remains terribly
underdeveloped, and the usually won-
derful Janssen gives a mediocre per-
formance even though her character is
really only on screen to strut around,
looking as sexy as can be. Cole pro-
vides a humorous addition to the cast,
but has too little screen time to gener-
ate any real purpose.
Director Betty Thomas ("Private
Parts") never fully real-

Calvin, has a whole new
lems. His son Charlie
(Eric Lloyd), now a
teenager, is on the
naughty list. Charlie
hates his Scrooge-like
principal (Elizabeth
Mitchell), and in order
to show his discontent
with the establishment

set of prob-

At Showcase and
Quality 16

Maybe we're just
older now, but without
rose-colored glasses
"The Santa Clause 2" is
downright shoddy. The
costumes look like they
came from the sale rack
at Halloween USA, the
backdrops at the North
Pole look like the paint-
ed backdrops from a
play and not one line in

r :::
!'? st


wcase and
lity 16

izes the potential of the
film. Lacking the style
of great action movies
and the sleekness of the
"Rush Hour" films, she
only puts enough sense
into the film to achieve
the maximum potential
of the comedy. What

breaks into the school I
gym with a can of
spray-paint. To make matters worse,
Santa discovers a clause in his con-
tract (the "Mrs." clause) demanding
that he get hitched before Christmas
Eve. With only 28 days to go, the
process of "deSantafication" has
already begun; Santa's beard begins
to disappear and his gut shrinks
back to its normal size, despite the
fact that he still eats lots and lots of
So Scott does what any decent
Santa would do: He moves back in
with his ex-wife and her new husband.
His absence from the North Pole has
disastrous effects, when the substitute
Santa (also played by Allen) turns out
to be a psychotic dictator intent on
filling every stocking with lumps of
coal. In between games of Go Fish
with his ex-wife's new daughter Lucy
and episodes of binge eating by every-
one's favorite reindeer Comet, Santa
still manages to fall in love and spread

high school

the entire script elicits even a chuck-
le. All this aside, however, the
movie's concept is still mildly enter-
taining. Allen looks like he is having
fun reprising his role, and adding to it
the role of the spastic substitute who
gets some of the movie's best scenes.
Those audience members who are
willing to leave their intelligence, taste
and eye-rolling muscles at the door
will find themselves at least mildly
entertained and, at best, recharged for
yet another holiday season.


could have turned into a
visually pleasing gun battle through the
use of antiquated sets instead remains
uninteresting. Thomas does, however,
produce a few hilarious sequences,
including a hysterical bonding moment






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