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November 02, 1995 - Image 13

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-02

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The Michigan Daily - W/e4 , 4e. - Thursday, November 2, 1995 - 38

+°4.
DEAN BAKOPOULOS
Sound and Fury
More co des?
The new Code of Student Conduct is
here. It's been submitted for
Regental approval. Some say it's better,
clearer and more freedom-friendly.
Vice President of Student Affairs
Maureen Hartford says it's more in line
with student interests. She says it's.
Ogased more on "values."
I know what I value, thank you very
much, Ms. Hartford. And I've read the
new code. I don't value it. I value my
bowling league. No mention of that in this
code. I value Halloween. No Halloween
in there either. I like cake. Not a word
about cake. You get my drift?
Sure you do. Because you might value
hardware stores or Diet Dr. Pepper or
Wanen Zevon albums, and there is no
mention of that in the new code. Or
maybe you value a little thing called the
U.S. constitution or state and federal laws
which the University has once again
proven that it doesn't value. It doesn't
utter how we rewrite this tiresome code.
It's bad. It's unnecessary. In short, all
that it does is allow the University, a
public institution, to exercise control of its
ujects."
To summarize the issue, Maureen
Hartford has a cushy administrative job,
probably rakes in nearly six figures. She's
a vice president. They put her in charge of
student affairs, a sort of parental unit for
the student body at large. So she merci-
lessly pushes this unnecessary, bureacratic
and oppressive code. Well, Hartford needs
to realize that we don't need anymore
parents, unless of course she takes us out
for free meals on occasion. Other than
that, the best way for Hartford to be a
vice-president of student affairs is to get
the hell out of our affairs, at least the ones
that we have outside of academics.
Honestly, I don't think I do anything
that qualifies as an "affair." I read a lot of
books. I write. I watch "TGIF" on ABC
:Friday nights. I take naps. I check e-mail.
:1 drink cheap beer and bowl. I don't think
my behavior, which is suspiciously quirky
>but unspectacularly average, warrants any
:set of "guiding values" written by student
politicoes and enforced by overpaid
administrators.
Still, the University is trying to guide
O'ur values. The new code stresses the
essential values of "civility, dignity,
diversity, education, equality, freedom,
honesty and safety." Now, I like to
think that pretty much everyone at this
University, myself included, likes to
live by those values. It's called
:humanity. People who disrespect these
Values will continue to disrespect them
4regardless of a code of conduct.
But after a group of dedicated, sleep-
Ideprive students worked so hard to
stop the code last spring, only to find a
crnew one this fall, I've given up. Let's
go code crazy. Code me, code you,
code everybody! Code him and her and
it and them. We need values people,
values! "But," you say, "the University
has been around for over a century.
Didn't they have some pretty strong
values around here, even before a
code?" Of course they did, but that was

in the dark ages when they still trusted
the University community to decide its
own values.
Now, we go code crazy. In fact, I hear
that soon we'll have some type of health
care code, which is still a rather vague
concept to me, except it means I will pay
MSA President Flint Wainess to be my
doctor, or something like that. Or maybe
Flint chooses my doctor for me, or maybe
I choose Flint's doctor, or maybe I go to-
Flint, Mich. to see a doctor. Whatever the
case, I came to this institution for its
reputation for providing excellence in
education and experience, not a kick-ass
health plan. Just like Hartford, Wainess
seems bent on exercising his power and
influence in an inappropriate manner. Can
you say "pet projects?" I knew you
could.
Anyway, Wainess' health care plan is
very similar to the code. It's just another
way the University can decide things for
me while keeping me safe, healthy and
chock full of wholesome values.
So, since Wainess and the adminis-
tration seem to be gung-ho on expand-
ing the University's "sphere of
influence," I'd like some more codes
please, some that will really safeguard
me against the real dangers in my life. I
drink too much caffeine, so could I
have a code that bans caffeine con-
sumption for short Greek guys? Oh,
~.a ' i;L],P nne that cv i can't run

Latest 'Batman' no caped crusader

By Joshua Rich Tim Burton's award-winning and cre-
Daily Film Editor atively original "Batman" (1989) -

We've all become so accustomed to
them by now. We even joke about them
from time to time. Movies are released
one after another - "Friday the 13th,
Part V" is followed by "Friday the 13th,
Part VI," "Lethal Weapon 2" precedes
"Lethal Weapon 3" and so on. In money-
driven Hollywood, where profit seek-
ing often outweighs creative expres-
sion and mass-market advertising can
diminish cinematic quality, the most
popular (and usually, the most profit-
able) movie to make is one that is part of
a greater string ofpictures. This is often
called the "movie franchise."
In essence, by making sequels to se-
quels to sequels, filmmakers are not
only continuing the same plot with the
same characters and the same themes.
Nor are they just continuing popular
story lines. More often than not, fran-
chise films are simple rehashings of
older movies.
Frequently, these films might as well
be the same movie as the one they
succeed. The only differences is that
they are just made a few years later than
their predecessors, with some different
themes and characters, but with the
same overall style and plot devices.
And the result usually isn't very pleas-
ing.
Such is the (unfortunate) case with
one of the most famed movie franchises
is recent memory, if not in all of film
history, the "Batman" series. One may
surely have expected that after an im-
pressively successful initial feature -
On video next
week.: ?3
Bad Boys
A Great Day in
Harlem
M ad Love
Miracle on 34th
Street (1994)
My Family

this family of pictures would continue
to be of high quality, if not thoroughly
well-crafted entertainment.
But as many have observed and sub-
sequently come to realize, the stan-
dards of the original have been severely
compromised with the releases of its
sequels. After all, "Batman Returns"
(1992) and this summer's blockbuster
hit "Batman Forever," new on video
this week, have certainly not been up to
par.
While the first sequel was a more
sincere attempt to recreate the original
film with different villains - Jack
Nicholson's Joker was replaced by
Danny DeVito's Penguin and
Catwoman Michelle Pfeiffer - the
whole production paled in comparison.
Michael Keaton remained the super-
hero, creator Tim Burton still directed
and Batman's struggles focusing on his
dual personalities and their conflicts
with the outside world and each other
continued. Really, though, we had had
enough already. This film proved to be
entirely unoriginal and, all in all, quite
boring (one of the most horrifying ad-
jectives in the movie-making world).
In this thriving industry, however,
where money talks and decisions are
usually dictated by the outlook of their
financial return, one should not have to
question why plans were immediately
made to create another film following
this mediocre sequel. "Batman Re-
turns," as it is, made money. A lot of
money. And, as is usually the case, one
good thing - or one profitable thing -
deserves another.
Hence, we have "Batman Forever," a
film that may be likened to all giant
monstrosities of the 20th century: the
Hindenburg, the Titanic, the Hubble
Space Telescope. It is a film so flam-
boyant and grotesquely over-hyped that
it was always destined to fall well short
of the lofty heights it was said to be able
to reach. After repeated viewings of
lengthy trailers in the theaters and on
TV, after huge marketing campaigns of
action figures and stuffed dolls, and
nauseating promotional tie-ins with fast
food restaurants, the American public
was in for a letdown.
"Batman Forever," as it turns out,
was a disappointing dud of a film. Hav-
ing lost inspirational and creative leader
Burton as director (veteran Joel
Schumacher of "Flatliners" fame took
over) and the always underrated Val

Kilmer's usurpation of Keaton's role as
the title character, the resulting movie
became a diffuse mishmash of elements.
The film sports banal special effects,
over-the-top performances (Jim
Carrey's unbridled antics should al-
ways warrant him a movie all his own)
that are as unbelievable as they are jam-
packed into the movie, and most impor-
tantly, a completely absurd and unin-
teresting plot.
Yes, this is the child of the original
"Batman," and it should have been a
whole lot better. But as we saw with
"Batman Returns," the desire for profit
and popular appeal almost always wins
out over the quest for a sound produc-
tion and solid acting. Accordingly, big
name stars like Carrey, Tommy Lee
Jones, Nicole Kidman and Chris
O'Donnell were all thrown into a movie
whose plot foundations could only sup-
port two of them; the intricate and ex-
hilarating special effects, as well as the
moderately illuminating screenplay
were sacrificed in order to quickly pro-
duce an appealing and financially suc-
cessful product.
Unfortunately, we often find the big
name stars, the Carreys or the Kilmers,
draw us to movies. And if they appear
in a flick that looks and sounds just like
one we already enjoy, then that's all the
better. But the actual quality of the film
- whether it really is good, whether it
will make us think, whether it really is
worth putting down a few bucks to see
- is often forgotten. Yes, fine films in
movie franchises do exist, but the "Le-
thal Weapons," the "Star Wars" pic-
tures or even the "Godfather" series are
very uncommon.
In the end, we are left in an ironic
cycle of average-to-poor movies con-
stantly churned out to make a buck.
The only way it will stop is if consum-
ers cease watching these films and the
movie franchises eventually go bank-
rupt. After all, the "Halloweens" and
the James Bond pictures,just to name a
few, keep making money ... what bet-
ter reason to make more?
For the time being, though, the
"Batman" series remains a major verte-
brae on the financial backbone of its
production company, Warner Bros. Pic-
tures. Sure, you can bet on another
installment in the life of the prince of
darkness. You can also bet that, as much
as you will be encouraged and per-
suaded to see it, any new film in this
series will probably not be worth your
interest.

Tommy Lee Jones decides which is his better side in Joel Schumacher's"Batman
Forever," In video stores this week.

Other recent releases:
"The Cure" - This time, Brad "The
Client" Renfro spurns the advances of
that wild Susie Sarandon (come on, lay
off him: The boy is only 13!) when he
finds out that his friend has AIDS.
"Exotica" - Another stripper flick.
Oh, God. Stop kidding yourself already
... bite the bullet and check out some
real chicks at the "Vu." Get out, go to
Ypsi. You owe it to yourself.
"Jury Duty" - Uh, like this movie
stars Pauly Shore and, uh, like it sucks!
Heh heh heh.
"The Santa Clause" - Tim Allen's

big break movie made millions at the
box office and finally made him re-
spectable enough that "Tool Time"'s
Pamela Anderson doesn't throw up ev-
ery time she sees her sickeningly stupid
former co-star. Oh, if we could all have
such success ...
"Stuart Saves His Family"- A nec-
essary affirmation: "I'm Stuart Smalley.
I'm good enough. I'm smart enough.
And doggone it, people like me even
though my movie blows."
"Swimming with Sharks"-Villain-
du-jour Kevin Spacey stars in this low-
key drama in which he perfects his
talents for frowning, scheming and look-
ing mean.

I v

U U

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