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January 09, 1991 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-01-09

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Page 8-The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 9, 1991

Depp as a different kind

f heart Continued from page 7
ably want to skip the rest of this

dir. Tim Burton
by Michael John Wilson
Edward Scissorhands is a fairy tale
about what happens when
Frankenstein invades suburbia. Ed-
ward (Johnny Depp) is the unfin-
ished creation of a mad scientist
(Vincent Price) who died before he
could give Edward hands. Instead,

Edward has foot-long scissors for
hands that make him dangerous on
the outside despite his sensitive inte-
rior. When he enters a suburban
neighborhood, it makes for a funny,
touching, though ultimately flawed
film with the distinctive vision of
director Tim Burton.
Like Burton's other films
(Beetlejuice, Batman, Pee Wee's Big
Adventure), Edward's strengths are in
its creations of setting and charac-
ters. The suburb and its residents are
hilariously weird though very real.

The town we see is actually one
winding, treeless street, lined with
pastel-colored houses and green grass
under a towering blue sky. At the
end of the street is a cul-de-sac at the
base of a huge mountain with a cas-
tle atop it.
To this castle and to Edward who
descends from it, the residents are to-
tally accepting. Nothing seems to
faze these people, not even a guy
with scissors for hands. Instead of
being horrified by this Frankenstein-
like monster, they accept him, help
him and, in some cases, even grow
attracted to him. It's this unexpected
reversal that makes the film's first
half so much fun.
Edward is accepted into a family
by Avon lady Peg Boggs (Dianne
Wiest), who uses her cosmetic ex-
pertise to cover up his facial scars
caused by accidentally cutting his
own face. Eventually, Edward be-
comes popular with the neighbors
and finds creative uses for his scis-
sorhands, like cutting shrubbery
sculptures or wild hairdos. In these
episodes, the film is at its amusing
peak; yet like other Burton films, it
begins to falter when it gets down to
the necessary business of plot.
The story revolves around Ed-
ward's unrequited love for Peg's
daughter Kim, played by Winona
Ryder. Kim is a typical blond cheer-
leader with a stereotypical football
played bully boyfriend, played by -
believe it or not - Anthony
Michael Hall. Hall has pumped (or
is it plumbed?) up considerably since
his effective portrayals of geeks in
movies like Sixteen Candles, and his

new image is hard to swallow. His
bully character Jim is too unlikable,
so extreme that the film's final se-
quences are failures.
Apart from Hall, however, the
film's cast is superb. The most low-
key, oblivious suburbanite is the
great Alan Arkin as Peg's husband
Bill. Eating dinner with Edward, Bill
nonchalantly asks him, "So, this
must be quite a change for you, huh,
Ed?" Wiest (Parenthood, Hannah and
Her Sisters) is excellent as usual,
and Ryder and the cast of neighbors
that includes Kathy Baker (Clean &
Sober) also fit well into Burton's
unique world.
But the most brilliant casting
move of all is Depp in the role of
Edward Scissorhands. Surprisingly,
despite his teen idol image, Depp
gives a profoundly moving perfor-
mance. His Edward is sad and sym-
pathetic, tragically unable to touch
anyone without hurting them. Much
of the effectiveness of Edward comes
from the costume design and makeup
that give him his scarred white face,
black leather body, messy hair and,
of course, his scissorhands.
Above all, however, it is Depp
who makes the character so memo-
rable. He rarely speaks, but when he
does, he's quiet, tentative and weary.
And the eyes - ah, the dark, sad,
tragic eyes. Long after this film's
weak plot has faded from memory, it
is these eyes and the whole character
of Edward Scissorhands that will be
fondly remembered.

overpriced release.
-Richard S. Davis
Teenage Fanclub
A Catholic Education
Neither Dinosaur Jr. nor a clever,
Klaatuan imitation, Teenage Fan-
club, like the cheese, stands alone.
Unlike some varieties of cheese and
the pleisiosaur found by Japanese
fishermen in 1979, Teenage Fanclub
doesn't stink.
Their debut album, A Catholic
Education, blows Neil Young's
back-to-stentorian-basics Ragged
Glory back to the Cambrian Period,
and it makes the 1990 supergroup
model Dinosaur Jr. (perhaps entering
those last Cretaceous days of their
creative existence) look paler than
the limited edition white vinyl of
their sole 1990 release.
'Teenage Fanclub use roughly the
same paleontological formulas as
Dinosaur and the ragged Neil Young:
two or so loud guitars playing
catchy, frustration-laden riffs, plus
bass and drums. Norman Blake (not
the champeen bluegrass guitar

picker, thankyouverymuch) even de-
livers his lyrics in a laconic Youn-
gian voice that J. Mascis kind of
popularized among indie types.
But where two sources of
metaphor for J. are the instruction
booklet for Hasbro's Wiggly
Weirdies Laboratory and the Cure,
Norman draws on unclouded feelin*
regarding relationships, public
images, growing up - all the
goodies. Sometimes Norman doesn't
even sing, as on the life-affirming
instrumental "Heavy Metal I" or the
keep on trucking lesson in
perseverance of "Heavy Metal II."
Teenage Fanclub is a great band.
A Catholic Education is a great al-
bum. Its title track is so great th
Teenage Fanclub does it twice, sot-a
to drive home the point that this
isn't just some concept album about
fear or angst or frustration. A
Catholic Education is one of last
year's better albums dealing with
life, love and the oscillations
therein. Hopefully these five lads
from Glasgow are in love with each
other, so no revolutionary working
rifts tear the ranks of the Teena4
Fanclub just as everyone jumps on
the Fanclub bandwagon in three
more months or so.
-Greg Baise


with some background in these areas:
Folk Jazz Classical Music





being shown at Showcase.


Telephone 763-0379 for More infOrMatiOn

Need the hot news fast?
Find it in the Daily.

Hot hip couple Johnny and Winona look pretty happy now, but they
haven't had to deal with the new, mean, obese Anthony Michael Hall yet.


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