October 24, 2003
'U' ALUM PRODUCES SUNDANCE HIT
'Ho-Tep' is ho-hum
By Jennie Adler
Daily Arts Writer
By Ryan Lewis
Daily Film Editor
Life is funny sometimes, especial-
ly when something sets you apart
from normal. Somehow the story of
"The Station Agent," a magnificent,
receiving The Station
tribution from Agent
Miramax, has Opening next week
followed a simi- in Ann Arbor
larly strange and
unexpected path to find recognition
that its characters trek through to dis-
cover each other.
Mary Jane Skalski, a University
graduate and independent film
producer, labored with the film
from its beginning stages. Travel-
ing to New York City after college,
her career took her down an unex-
pected trail. She began producing
on the east coast indie circuit, her
first feature credit for work on
Edward Burns' "The Brother's
After five years functioning under
various producer labels for marginal-
ly received films such as Tori
Spelling's feature attempt "Trick"
and the Frank Whaley-directed "The
Jimmy Show," Skalski landed a pro-
ducing gig on "The Station Agent."
A small but touching story about a
hermit-like dwarf, it explores human
relationships by uniquely focusing
on a trio that seems to exist outside
the social sphere, which drew her
talents to the fray.
With the lead male roles filled by
usually supporting cast members
Peter Dinklage and Bobby Can-
navale joined by the extremely tal-
ented Patricia Clarkson, production
finished and "Agent" made its way
into festivals. Having now garnered
such awards as the Sundance Film
Festival's Audience Award, Special
The King has not left the building.
He's in Mud Creek, Texas. at the Shady
Rest residence home. In "Bubba Ho-
Tep," a crazy but funny film by director
Don Coscarelli ("The Beastmaster"),
Elvis (Bruce Campbell, "Evil Dead") is
alive but not so well.
Tired of the pills, women and friends
of the old-folks home, Elvis finds
Sebastian Haff, a top-notch Elvis imper-
sonator, and switches lives. Their con-
tract, however, burns up in a trailer
and Jack's random extensive knowledge
of ancient Egypt, they battle Bubba -
wheelchair, walker and all.
But Jack is no ordinary grandpa -
he believes that he's JFK. The only
problem being Jack's black. He claims,
"They dyed me this color," to hide him
for unknown reasons. It's hard not to
feel sympathetic for Jack - at least
Elvis has the looks to back up his secret
Elvis and Jack are enough to make
the movie complete, but with the added
twist of a raggedy-looking mummy, you
have to suspend your disbelief too far.
Bubba is neither fearsome nor neces-
sary with Jack and Elvis' colorful per-
At first glance, "Bubba Ho-Tep"
seems like one big costume party with a
decked out Elvis, and a Tuxedo-wearing
"president," but underneath the cos-
tumes of Elvis and Jack, these two his-
torical icons make quite the pair. Jack
claims that "they" filled his mind with
sand while Elvis contemplates the "boil
on his pecker." Even with their candid
humor, Elvis and Jack explore aging,
family and loneliness that makes
"Bubba Ho-Tep" far from a joke.
Courtesy of Miramax
I thought she died.
Jury Prize and Waldo Salt Screen-
writing Award, Skalski's project is
poised for theatrical success and
already has a strong critical support.
Of course, the surprising success of
"The Station Agent" hasn't halted
Skalski's career in the least. Her next
film "Mysterious Skin" is currently in
the post-production stages and her
now-recognized presence in the inde-
pendent world will certainly lead to
bigger and even more lauded projects.
Though the path she has taken cir-
cuitously lead her into the spotlight,
she has certainly set herself apart by
becoming successful in an often
tumultuous and disheartening inde-
pendent film world.
and Elvis never
gets the chance to
reclaim his life.
This is only the
beginning of the
absurd plot, based
on a short story by
At the Michigan
cult author Joe Lansdale. Elvis and his
friend Jack (Ossie Davis, "Grumpy Old
Men") discover a mummy, Bubba Ho-
Tep, lurking in the empty halls of Shady
Rest. With Elvis' mind-reading powers
under the rug
Get into the Groove with Stomp-like group
By Justin Weiner
Daily Arts Writer
Some films deliver their message
with a heavy hand, loudly and repeat-
edly pounding their lessons into the
audience's mind. Others, like Claude
Berri's "The Housekeeper," take a
more subtle approach. The audience
As the pair quickly progresses from
friends to lovers and finally a figura-
tive sort of married couple, one sens-
es the plot's immature, unrealistic
quality. It is evident that the passion
will soon end; it is only a matter of
how and when this will occur.
Perhaps the best way to describe
"The Housekeeper" is that it is a film
best watched alone. It slowly and
inconspicuously meanders through
Jacque's life, but delivers interesting
thoughts on love and relationships.
Take this film at face value and you
will be bored, but contemplate its mes-
sage and it will waft through your
mind for some time.
By Sarah Peterson
Daily Fine Arts Editor
As of late, the campus has been covered with
posters containing catchy slogans like "We don't
cuddle after we bang," and "Bang without the
STDs." The group responsible is Groove; think
Stomp and make the members all University stu-
dents and you'll get a clear picture of what these
musicians are all about. Come
Saturday night, using trash
cans, lids, brooms and drum Standing
sticks, this group will be rock- Room Only
ing out rhythmic masterpieces Saturday at 8 p.m.
at the dance marathon benefit $6 at MUTO
concert "Standing Room $8 atthe door
Only." At the Mendelssohn
According to founder/direc- Theater
tor Lev Gartman, this group
has been in the making since he arrived at.
Michigan three years ago. He was in a Groove-
type group in high school and wanted to get one
Curtesy o fGroove
equipment), the auditions were the hardest part.
"I'm no pro, but based on the talent and poten-
tial I saw, I went through the hardest part so far.
I was trying to be inclusive with making the
group, but here I had to narrow it down and be
The audition process ended with the group
being about 20 people large, and in the words of
Gartman, "I have a wide range of talents." No one
is taught how to play a trash can, or how to use a
broom to make music, but the members of this
group play like they were born into the position.
"I just keep getting impressed," Gartman said,
"this group throws down some ridiculous beats."
This.Saturday will mark only the second per-
formance of this group, but they are ready. "I am
looking forward to immediate rock-star status,"
commented Gartman with a laugh, "and then I
will take Groove on tour." Whether or not Groove
is bound for stardom, it is obvious that from the
posters to the overall atmosphere, Groove is a
group all about having fun. "I want to entertain,"
Gartman said, and on Saturday night that is
exactly what the group intends to do.
One big happy family.
search for mean-
ing in "The
viewers will find
At the Madstone
.started here on campus, but the time never
seemed right. Finally though, he got everything
together, and now students can be seen wander-
ing around campus carrying brooms and trash
cans with purpose.
Auditions were held about a month and a half
ago to find the musical talent that would make
up the group. Gartman explained how of all the
obstacles he had faced putting this group togeth-
er (finding practice space, getting together
Set in France, "The Housekeeper"
follows the life of Jacque (Jean-Pierre
Bacri) during a brief relationship with a
young woman named Laura (Emilie
Dequenne). Jacque, having just separat-
ed with his wife, lives a lonely, docile
life in Paris. He hires Laura to be his
housekeeper and though he is initially
reluctant, they begin a passionate affair.
The above summary aside, this
film is not a love story. Although
Jacque is lonely and seems to long
for companionship, the affair begins
on Laura's whim, fueled by her
youthful exuberance, not his desires.
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