48- The Michigan Daily - ta4ie . -- Thursday, October 19, 1995
Keaton balances satire, sentiment
By kate Brady
For the Daily
In recent years, it has become more
and more common for actors to try
their hand at directing. This has given
some an opportunity for shameless
self-glorification, often in the form of
multiple close-up shots of themselves.
Others have produced films which
went on to become part of a long line
ofmediocre, easily forgettable works.
Some actors and actresses, however,
have viewed this trend as an opportu-
nity for exploration; they have even
created some worthwhile films. The
most recent addition to these ranks
brings more with her than just name
In her directorial debut, "Unstrung
Heroes," Diane Keaton displays a
great insight and talent for directing.
Her first effort demonstrates that her
abilities do not lie solely in front of
Keaton shows her real strength as a
director in the development of her
characters. The two mentally dis-
turbed uncles in this story - played
by Michael Richards and Maury
Chaykin - are dealt with in a realis-
tic way. The temptation to turn them
into wacky characters without real
dimensions is largely avoided.
The other central figures are simi-
larly well drawn. The poignant depic-
tion of the mother and son relation-
ship is both realistic and heartbreak-
ing. Even the role of the dying mother
(Andie MacDowell) is fleshed out to
show more than just a perfect, sweet
cause of grief. The mother is a real
person, who gets angry, smokes and
sometimes messes up dinner. It is
through MacDqwell's character that
Keaton's own voice can be heard the
Although Keaton spends this whole
movie behind the camera, her person-
ality manages to peek through in some
of the film's more memorable and
uniquely stylish moments. Early in
the movie, the mother and son dance
together in the kitchen to the tune,
"You Are My Sunshine," playing on
the old turntable. Stephen is reminded
by his mother to lift the needle before
it gets to the skip. Later, when the
family is making breakfast in the
kitchen, the same album plays. In a
nicely drawn scene, the skip in the
record this time suggests the action
which is taking place off screen.
Known largely for her comedic roles
- especially as the title character in
Woody Allen's classic Academy
Award-winning tale, "Annie Hall"
(1977)- Keaton does very nice things
with this bittersweet story. Blessed
with some truly funny and endearing
moments, it causes laughter and tears
to mingle. The tears the film inspires
are come upon honestly; they come
because the pain on screen is so real.
It should not be surprising that this
love her because she is like us, only
As a director, Keaton seems to seek
these same everyday, imperfect but
compelling personalities to populate
her movie. Luckily, she finds them,
and they are largely what make the
film so interesting.
Diane Keaton remains an incred-
ibly talented woman, both on and off
screen. Hopefully, she will continue
her explorations with directing, while
still doing what she does best -
:ave it in their ste
s as part of their
Horror appeals to your axe-wielding double
Diane Keaton: A picture perfect actress
actress and director can paint such a
nice picture. Keaton has years ofexpe-
rience as an actress to draw upon. She
has worked alongside some of the best
in her field and has marvelous work to
her credit as an actress.
She is perhaps best known for her
roles opposite Allen. From "Play It
Again, Sam"(1972) up through 1993's
"Manhattan Murder Mystery", she has
built up a reputation as one of the
finest leading ladies of her day. To-
gether with her good friend Allen,
Keaton has tried many different film
Keaton shows her real strength as an
actress who can be both funny and
emotional at the same time. In "Annie
Hall," one of her most beloved roles
(and one for which she received the
Best Actress Oscar), Keaton displays
her gift for finding the balance be-
tween humor and seriousness. It is this
same awareness that does not allow
"Unstrung Heroes" to sink into the
sentimental, sappy garbage it could
have easily become.
In this same role, Keaton portrayed
a spirited, interesting and real person,
complete with insecurities and a real
strange taste in clothes. Annie Hall is
so likable because she is real, and she
sometimes says stupid things ("La di
da, la di da") and drives badly. We
By Christopher Corbett
Daily Arts Writer
Waiting in line to see "Halloween
VI," I thought: "I hope it's scary. There's
nothing better than agood horror movie."
Horror films, like "The Village of the
Damned" and the upcoming"Hellraiser"
sequel, play throughout the year, notjust
duringthe Halloween season. I've seen a
lot of horror flicks over the years. Why
do I and so many other people see films
that, as Stephen King once put it, "Will
scare the hell out of us?"
We enjoy seeing someone who's the
"other" to ourselves. Murderers in hor-
rorfilms, like Jason in "Friday the 13th,"
are our opposites. We know we aren't
evil killers because we can see that clearly,
we don't do the things Jason does.
In"Fridaythe 13th,"agirl runs through
the woods, hopingtoescape from Jason's
clutches. Jason catches up with her, hold-
ing a gleaming power tool in his hand.
Audience: Morescreamsof"DO IT! DO
JlT!"than you'dhearfrom thesubliminals
on a Judas Priest CD.
The killer isn't lovely and delicious,
but vicious and malicious. Characters
like "Halloween"'s Michael Myers are
transgressors, and they fascinate us be-
cause they break our everyday rules.
In "Friday the 13th," Jason shoves a
spear through two people werejust having
sex on abed-the speargoes straight to the
floor. My friend responded, "That's cold! I
would've waited another minute or two."
It is a chance to vent. We can scream
and yell in the show during a horror film
the way we can't when stuck at work or
when a prisoner in Spanish class.
In "Nightmare on Elm Street," some
dork, after his buddies warn him about
Freddy Krueger (who has killed off some
of their friends), decides to lay down on
his bed. We can't wait for the gloved one
to work his magic and get rid of such
stupidity. And when the hand ripsthrough
the sheets and pulls the clown down, the
audience cheers, "YES!"
Fear, a powerful emotion, needs exer-
cise. Most of us know horror films are
make-believe. The films allow us to feel
scared in a safe environment.
As the girl in "Halloween" checks out
the noise in her basement, we diaboli-
cally, deviously reach toward our date
with a handful ofpopcornand say, "Oops!
Was that apiece ofyou that Ijust squeezed
when the killer popped out?"
Technical wizardry. We appreciate the
craftsmanship that goes into the making
of a "Nightmare on Elm Street" or a
"Hellraiser." Special-effects geniuses
work hard to fool us.
In "Halloween," a girl stumbles upon
an open window in her home. She's alone
in the middle of- wouldn't you know it
- nowhere. The lights go out and we
hear the eerie music as she walks stiffly to
the front door - BAM! Michael Myers
jumps out. My cousin's reaction: "I hate
it when they stab them in the head. It's so
fake. I say just cut the damn thing off."
I couldn't decide which reason forwhy
we see horror flicks fit the best. When my
friend later chewed me out for slamming
the door on her new GMC Jimmy too
hard, I noticed a peculiar shine in her
eyes. Maybe we are all psycho. And ifwe
got off like some people, do you think
we'd all start running around with axes,
turning each other into boxes of KFC?
Nightmare on Elm Street freak Freddy Krueger has clawed his way into the hearts
of psychos... er, movie audiences everywhere. In fact, he's Just one of many
horror film weirdos that your secret, axe wielding double can identify with. Just
be careful not to identify too closely.
C Hj E L POW
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