The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Friday, March 30, 2007 - 5
After 9 11,
he ali ng
By NORA FELDHUSEN
Daily Arts Writer
Charlie Fineman has blocked out all memory
of his former life. He spends the majority of
his time riding a motorized
scooter through the streets
of Manhattan, listening to
'70s rock and playing "Shad- Reg
ows of Collosus" - a video
game with an exceptionally Over Me
His depression is under- At Quality 16
standable. Charlie (Adam and Showcase
Sandler, extending his Columbia
"Punch Drunk Love" foray
into serious drama) has lost
his entire family in the Sept. 11 attacks, and he
suffers from an acute form of post-traumatic
stress disorder. "Reign Over Me" doesn't deal
with the event directly, but rather dives head
first into the prescient issues of its aftermath.
Charlie is so far gone he can't even recognize
Alan (Don Cheadle, "Hotel Rwanda"), his old
college roommate, when he runs into him one
day on the streets of New York. Alan tries to
rekindle their friendship and Charlie, though
hesitant at first, gradually begins to let him in.
Together, the two basically avoid their prob-
lems. Charlie literally blocks out his demons
with some oversized headphones, but Alan
latches on to Charlie's craziness as an escape
from his monotonous home and work life.
It's Cheadle's understated performance that
carries much of the film. Director Mike Binder
("The Upside of Anger") brings a subtle inten-
sity to the Alan and Charlie's friendship - the
two ride around on Charlie's scooter, have a jam
session and play video games, all of which illus-
trates the superficiality of their friendship (and
Main St. to host puppets
Sunday at 4 p.m.
On Main Street
This semester, LSA Prof. Mark
Tucker took a community project
to its next level by founding the
Street Theater Art (START) Proj-
ect. Replacing a Lloyd Hall Schol-
ars Program class's mural work
with the construction of 14-foot-
tall puppets, Tucker originated
what he hopes to be Ann Arbor's
newest annual parade. "Festifools"
welcomes community puppet mak-
ers, artists and volunteers, and will
take place Sunday in downtown
Tucker chose April Fool's Day.
for the event because he wanted to
make a lasting impression.
"We want this parade to stay in
people's minds," said Tucker, who
used to be the Art Director for the
Michigan Thanksgiving Parade.
His LHSP class and volunteers
have been meeting at an off-cam-
pus art studio to build papier-mache
puppets for weeks. Other artistic
groups are invited to make puppets
for the parade as well.
"We're inviting other communi-
tygroups to come bringtheir wacky
creations. No one has seen what the
others are making," Tucker said.
"What's more, we don't know what
the audience's reaction with be."
As with any new idea, the START
Project has had difficulties with
fundraising and with finding a
space to work. But the freshness of
the project more than balances out
the start-up problems. The parade is
the first of its kind; there are no pre-
conceptions for it.
The START Project creates an
environment where students con-
nect and interact with the Univer-
sity community. Tucker believes the
experience and community-aspect
of the START Project reaches
beyond an art class.
"We are watching people dis-
cover a multitude of things that
they can't discover in the classroom,
especially an appreciation for art,"
Tucker said. "This event goes past
personal motivation; the public
aspect is what's driving it."
This couldn't possibly be more depressing than "Hotel Rwanda" - or "Little Nicky."
provides Binder with a viable reason to wander
Manhattan with an old-school soundtrack).
When Charlie and Alan begin to confront
each other's problems, the film loses its foot-
ing. The substantive level of their relationship
- Charlie's post-traumatic stress and Alan's
attempt to help him - is not as well-written
or acted as its fun-loving surface. When Char-
lie finally tells his story, it's a tear-jerker, but
almost in a manipulative way: It's not the act-
ing that makes you cry, but merely reference to
the death of Charlie's wife and daughters juxta-
posed with the universally tragic events of Sept.
11. In a court hearing about Charlie's sanity, the
judge reminds us to think about how Charlie is
dealing with his grief in his own way.
In the beginning of the film, we avoid the
burdensome emotional problems along with
Alan and Charlie, and by the end are explicitly
told what to think about the characters and
their situations. Binder takes on some heavy
themes, but in the end, he reverts to trite mor-
als to wrap them all up with a delicate frame-
work of current events.
"Reign Over Me" is also too hesitant to
address Sept.11 directly and instead offers snip-
pets of terrorism and the Iraq war that don't
RESPONDING TO SEPT.11
Despite its overwhelming media presence, the tragedy
receives little more artistic mention other than grim
allusion. Finally, some notable post-Sept.11works:
"Extremely LoudandIncredibly Close"(2006)-Jona-
than Safran Foer's noveltakesa child'seye view as9-year-
old Oskar Schell recoversfrom hisfather's death.
"The Good Life"(2006) - Two Manhattanite couples
navigatetheir own relationship problems during the post-
Sept.11 chaos in the latestwork from "Bright Lights, Big
City"author Jay McIneney.
"The 25th Hour"(2002)-Some refer to this Spike Lee
joint aslthe first film about Sept.11, and for good reason.
Edward Norton's last day in New York City chartsthe many
peoples that make upthe city with Spike's signature frenzy
- and a fresh sadness.
fully relate to the rest of the film. This story is of
the aftermath, and Binder seems too ambiva-
lent to makea statement about the actual event,
a hesitancy he could have avoided by stickingto
his characters and giving them more believable
closure in the first place.
24 hours of bliss, music
2nd Annual 24-hour ISIM Concert
Friday at6 p.m. through Saturday
at 6 p.m.
$5 for an all-day pass
Shame on you if you missed last
year's 24-hour extravaganza of
great fucking music. The Interna-
tional Society of Improvised Musi-
cians was founded right here at our
fair University, and you can rest
assured the musicians are going to
bring it hard starting tomorrow at
Five bucks nets you an all-day
pass. Each act has an hour, so we're
talking 24 different musicians who
run the gamutof musical aesthetics
- there has tobe something in it for
you no matter what side of the bed
you sleep on.
So catch a show in the early eve-
ning, drink your face off and sober
up to mellow jazz. It's more than
The Cantebury House is located
on East Huron Street at the corner
of Thayer Street. It's one of Ann
Arbor's most intimate venues -
perfect for such an eclectic show.
ANDREW SARGUS KLEIN
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