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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 4, 1991)
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Jodie Foster and Adam Hann-Byrd co-star in Foster’s direc
torial debut, “Little Man Tate.”
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Continued from Page 9
tion of the ozone layer, world hunger
and violence in the streets. He’s a
second-grader with a burning ulcer.
Fred’s greatest problem is his lone
liness. He yearns to be a normal kid
and have friends to play with that
won’t call him names or think he’s
strange. His mother tries to help by
using a strong sense of humor and her
abiding love. Sometimes though, Fred
is impossible for her to understand.
Enter child psychologist Jane Gri
erson (Dianne Wiest of “Edward
Scissorhands”). Herself a child prod
igy, Grierson has a special affinity for
Fred and wants to enroll him in her
institute for gifted children. Here the
conflict arises. Grierson wants to
develop Fred’s intellect and Dedc wants
to nurture the child in him.
This conflict is also the weakest
part of the film. The struggle between
Dede and Grierson ought to become
more important as ihe story progresses,
but it lacks the depth needed to make
the audience feel empathy.
Moments of conflict are merely
interjected into Fred’s story. They are
not long enough or frequent enough
to become an important part of the
Without the development of this
conflict the subplot gets less and less
important until the film deals mainly
with little Fred. As a result, neither
Foster’s nor Wiest’s characters are
This is especially true of Dede. It’s
obvious Foster had difficulty work
ing both sides of the camera. Cer
tainly no flaws can be found in her
acting. She has shown herself to be a
consummate actress with boundless
range. Foster is very good in “Little
Man Tate”; she simply hasn’t given
herself a full character.
Foster’s Oscar-winning portrayal
of a rape victim in “The Accused”
and her startling, emotional perform
ance in “Silence of the Lambs” prove
she can pull audiences into a film.
Unfortunately, this hasn’t trans
lated into her directing style — at
least not yet. The character of Fred is
interesting, but without effective
conflict, the movie becomes a two
hour character sketch.
Foster’s future as a director is not
to be discounted, though. She knows
her way around a camera and elicits
strong performances from her cast.
Helping a child succeed in the lead
role is an accomplishment for any
director, regardless of previous di
- Hann-Byrd is a delight as Fred.
His timing is excellent and his eyes
convey a loneliness that draws the
viewer in. His expressions are illus
trative and little dialogue is needed to
express Gred’s thoughts and feelings.
Hann-Byrd is aided by screenwriter
Scott Frank, who created a dynamic
Wicsl, one of the most talented
actresses in Hollywood, gives a solid
performance as Grierson. She stretches
the little information about her char
acter into a portrait of loneliness of
“Little Man Tate” confronts an
interesting subject and the acting is
top-notch. Although the direction is
somewhat flawed, it is a good film
with some strong moments.
With a little more experience, Foster
may yet be able to give moviegoers a
€ S, 14 m"
The weekend's top-grossing
. „ 6. “The Butcher’s Wife" $2.4
1. "House Party 2" $5.0 million 7. “Little Man Tate" $2.0
2. “Curly Sue" $5.0 s. “Deceived” $1.8
3. “Other People’s $4.1 9. “Ernest Scared Stupid" $1.6
Money" 10. “Ricochet" $1.5
4. "The Fisher King" $2.5
5. "Frankie & Johnnie" $2.48 prorn the Associated Press
Continued from Page 9
As for pickups, well, where can
you find a more durable vehicle? And
until they get around to paving the
city streets there’s just no alternative.
Myth: The Midwest has no cul
Fact: This is the same kind of stand
that allowed earlier, Eurocentric people
to think of aboriginal races as “sav
The truth is that the Midwest has a
culture as valid as any other. It’s just
harder to notice because it's so bland.
Before you react too strongly, stop
and examine — this is the kind of
thing we need to hear.
There’s a fast food establishment
where I come from whose advertising
slogan is: Food just like Grandma
used to make.
It’s true, I see someof you smiling,
(use only if they smile) most of us ale
this same kind of tasteless paste grow
ing up. And, truth be told, many of us
still prefer it.
I know when I go home on my
infrequent visits 1 can pul away more
than my weight in casseroles.
Another myth is that Midwestern
ers dislike ethnic groups.
The truth is that Midwesterners
are themselves an ethnic group, like
People who are generally gregari
ous and kind may come off cold when
confronted with strange cultural val
ues. Especially on their own turf.
There is a widespread feeling that
strangers should learn to speak
English” — to do in Rome as the
Romans do. This feeling is not lim
ited to white America, as any widely
traveled person can tell you.
I remember the first time I went to
Los Angeles. Talk about a communi
cation gap! And that was just the
It’s a myth that (Think of more
And in closing I'd like to say ...
(Make “in closing” gestures.)
Midwesterners are not inbred, un
dereducated ogres as they are some
times portrayed in the East. It is
important that we not let others dic
tate our cultural self image.
It was our people who made the
Great American Desert into the bread
basket of the world, produced Willa
Cather and the “Prairie Schooner.”
They built and progressed where
others thought it impossible to live;
cleared the prairie — of natives, it’s
true, as well as red-grass. But that in
itself was quite an accomplishment,
when you think of it. It’s just not the
kind of thing we’d want to do today.
People had other ideas then.
We Midwesterners have things to
be proud of. We no longer have to be
ashamed of being dull white people
with no history and no heritage. We
have a heritage.
It may not be the kindest, gentlest
heritage or the most colorful, but it is
Thank you for allowing me to speak
with you today. And have a happy
BaMrMgc it a senior English major an4
Daily N«tra*aa A*E columnist.
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