"Mean Season" meanThe Mean Season. Starring Kurt Russell, Mariel Hemingway and Richard Jordan. Directed by Philip Borsos. Opened on February 15 at the Sack Pi Alley. Rated R.
In its genre, The Mean Season offers an unusually intricate and captivating plot. Based on the thriller novel In the Heat of the Summer by John Katzenbach, the story revolves around the relationship between a maniacal pattern murderer and a crime reporter for The Miami Journal.
After his first victim, Alan Delour (Richard Jordan) calls reporter Malcom Anderson (Kurt Russell) at his office to inform him that this is only the first in a sequence of five. It is the beginning a compelling symbiotic relationship. Anderson is the only link with the killer. He is exploited by the police, who wish to capture the psychopath, and by the killer who craves for public attention.
From the beginning, the film sets a frantic pace. Time-lapse photography of threatening cumulus-nimbus, vicious tropical winds and the helter-skelter news-room atmosphere are enough to bring any mortal to the edge of his seat, popcorn a-spilling, mouth gaping.
As the victims fall the film's rhythm changes. We learn more about Anderson and his relationship with elementary school-teacher Christine Connelly (Mariel Hemingway). Their love for each other is threatened by Anderson's unavoidable involvement with the killer. Eventually, Christine also becomes part of the macabre scenario.
It seems that Hollywood films rely on a series of well-established but frustrating film-making formulae; formulae which make us wonder upon exiting the theater why "the obvious thing to do" was not part of the course of action followed by the protagonists.
How many times have you caught yourself saying: "Why didn't she turn on the light?" or, "Why didn't he call the police?" The Mean Season is no exception. The ending is almost predictable (if you have seen enough films of this genre) and leaves us with a typical Hollywod reality. A shame. The original story seems to have a lot more potential.
However what is really irritating is the familiar (and needless) shower scene where we the audience can indeed verify that Mariel Hemingway's silicon implants, (engineered for her leading role in Fosse's Star '80) are sturdy and unquestionably "there to stay." Otherwise, the film is a worthwhile experience.
I would like to express my deepest thanks to the Lecture Series Committee for their screening of The Phantom of the Opera, Feb. 18, in Kresge auditorium. Having been the victims of much criticism for their pornographic films, they deserve praise and commendation for this imaginative venture.
The 1925 print of the classic was accompanied by the exalting efforts of organist John Kiley. The audience was able to relive the cinematic experience as it was sixty years ago. It was no wonder that the audience gave Kiley a standing ovation. Thank-you, LSC and Mr. Kiley, for what today is a rare and unique experience. I am sure, that I am speaking on behalf of all those who attended.