MEMOIR:

FALL 2004:

A Satisfying Newbury Lunch
When It Felt Like Home

SPRING 2003:

The Big Boys
The Fine Art of Urination and Defecation Al Fresco
The Golden City
Inside Looking Out
Roxbury
The Soup Game

FALL 2002:

All the Hearts
Footsteps

SUMMER 2002:

Being Family

SPRING 2002:

An Alternative to the Common Use of Forks
Memoir Lead
Two Weeks in New Mexico
Untitled
Zeroes

FALL 2001:

The Anti-Valentine's Girls
Play

SPRING 2001:

Amour de Soi
The Day Music Let Me Go
The Force
Lucky Me, I'm Gifted
My Green Canyon
A Painful Passion
Point of Departure
Sail the Sea
Smile and Nod

FILM REVIEWS:

FALL 2004:

Lola Takes Us For the Sprint of Our Lives

FALL 2002:

Arlington Road: A Thriller with Thought
A Big Fat Fairytale Wedding
Border Patrol: The War Against Drugs Continues
Not the Stereotypical Shoot 'em Up Gangster Flick
Punch Drunk Love

SPRING 2002:

The Complexity of Artificial Intelligence
Monster's Ball
Monster's Redemption
Royalty Runs in the Family

FALL 2001:

A Hard Day's Night: A Rock 'n' Roll Joyride That Never Runs Out of Steam
Too Many Potholes in Riding in Cars with Boys

SPRING 2001:

Requiem's Melody Lingers
New-and-Improved Horror

FEATURES & PROFILES:

FALL 2002:

In The End, Everything is Crystal Clear
A Match for Success
They Will Follow Him
A Very Bostonian Hotel
What's an A?

READINGS:

The CO201 program hosts special Coffee House Readings periodically throughout each semester. These stories have each been selected by 201 professors for reading.

SPRING 2002:

Death and Board Games
Luxembourg
Resurrection of a Ghost
The Tool Man

FALL 2001:

Bits of Daylight
Leona's House
This is Spinal Tap: No Need for Painkillers
The Toad and the Giant

SPRING 2001:

The Movies
Solving the Equation: The Trials and Triumphs of International Adoption
Yaglafant

ESSAYS:

FALL 2002:

Her Face is Red
Smoking a Cigarette
Stories and Lies
Sumit Ganguly: He, She & It

PROPOSALS:

Proposals are group projects in which 201 students propose and create an ad for a non-profit organization or cause.

SPRING 2002:

Christian Solidarity International

CONTEST WINNERS:

SPRING: 2007

Riches to Rags... to Riches
Man of the House
A 'Special Education' Defined

SPRING: 2006

#71952
For Never Was There a Story of More Woe, than This of Mr. Thomas A. Marcello
Pei-yeh Tsai finds harmony in opposites at the keyboard

SPRING 2005:

Colorado Peaks and Iraqi Deserts: A Paramedic's Story
The Consequences of Drunk Driving
America, Open Your Eyes

SPRING 2004:

A Fine Balance: The Life of an Islamic Teenager
A Genetic Link to Identity: Dr. Bruce Jackson and The Roots Project
Rebel With a Cause

COFFEE HOUSE READINGS:

FALL 2004:

The Amah’s Revenge
Circle in the Sand
It’s How I Walk
School Bus

SPRING 2002:

Death and Board Games
Luxembourg
Resurrection of a Ghost
The Tool Man

FALL 2001:

Bits of Daylight
Leona's House
Nonfiction Story
This is Spinal Tap: No Need for Painkillers
The Toad and the Giant

SPRING 2001:

The Movies
Solving the Equation: The Trials and Triumphs of International Adoption
Yaglafant

A BIG FAT FAIRYTALE WEDDING

BY MICHELLE SPIEGELMAN

“I so badly wanted to be like the popular girls,” whines Nia Vardalos -- and so it goes -- the ugly duckling becomes a beautiful swan and lives happily ever after. This story has been told time and again, but just when we thought we couldn’t sit through one more – writer/actress Nia Vardalos surprises us with My Big Fat Greek Wedding. She may hand us a fairytale we know, but it is a modernized version served on a plate with relevant characters, realistic family dilemmas, and laugh-out-loud comedy.

The script, loosely based on her life, is an adaptation from Vardalos’ one-woman comedic act. Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks enjoyed her play so much they helped produce the film. My Big Fat Greek Wedding does not have an innovative plot, but Vardalos tells her story with a twist of wit that will leave audiences with aching sides and daylong smirks.

Fotoula ‘Toula’ Portokalos (Nia Vardalos) and her family -- father Gus (Michael Constantine), mother Maria (Lainie Kazan), older sister Athena, and younger brother Nick, live in the suburbs of Chicago in a home that her proud father modeled after the Greek Parthenon complete with Corinthian columns and guarded by statues of the Gods. Toula’s father believes in two things: Greeks should educate non-Greeks about being Greek, and any ailment from psoriasis to poison ivy can be cured with Windex.

Toula’s father repeatedly tells his thirty-year-old daughter, “You better get married soon. You’re starting to look old.” Toula’s soul purpose, according to her father, is to marry a Greek man, make Greek babies, and feed them all until the day she dies. Toula spends her days and nights working in the family restaurant Dancing Zorba’s, however; she wants to take classes at the nearby college. Unfortunately, her father fails to see why women should be further educated.

Toula’s mother says she’ll talk to her father about college, and she offers this to calm a very upset Toula: “The man is the head [of the family], but the woman is the neck and she can turn the head any way she wants.” Toula begins to take computer classes. And thus her physical and emotional makeover begins. She trades glasses for contacts, dresses in fashionable clothing, curls her hair, applies some makeup, and just like that – a new woman.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding’s all instrumental soundtrack is not ordinary, for it mostly contains unrecognizable Greek folk music. The folk tunes capture the essence of the film through Toula’s feelings. The beginning of the film houses beats that are shy and hopeful, but as the film plays on the music becomes more upbeat and joyful, as does Toula. Toula’s family get-togethers include dancing, shots of liquor, yelps of “whoopah,” and upbeat tones of the folk music all of which add to the film’s Greek flavor.

On the morning of the wedding, about two dozen of Toula’s female aunts and cousins are helping her prepare for her big day. The women are half-dressed and frantically running around the house in desperate searches for cover-up, nail polish, blow dryers, and shoes; it appears chaotic, but under the surface of its rowdiness is director Joel Zwick leading a well-orchestrated dance of women doing what they are best known to do – “getting ready.”

Zwick sets up many of the scene changes through a window shot, zeroing in on a window and bringing us closer and closer to the action happening inside. Alfred Hitchcock, who thought people loved to be voyeurs, also used similar kinds of window shots.

When Toula starts dating Ian Miller (John Corbett), Zwick uses their romance to spark the audience’s need for voyeurism. At the end of Toula and Ian’s date, we peek in on their goodnight kiss through the dashboard of Ian’s Jeep. Zwick keeps us at window’s distance from the couple, but we get closer with sound; we can hear the squeaky crunches of the leather seats and the heavy breathing of the couple.

After only a few handfuls of dates Ian proposes, and the audience discovers just how irritatingly perfect he is. It seems there is nothing this contemporary Romeo wouldn’t do for Toula. The non-Greek Ian even agrees to be baptized in a kiddie pool in the Greek Orthodox Church so that Toula’s parents can see her married in their church. Zwick constructs a humorous scene coupling a beautifully ornate and serene church with a plastic pool covered in colored fish.

Toula and Ian’s romance is annoyingly perfect in its idealistic flawlessness, but it is a fairytale. Regardless, Vardalos and Corbett are still convincing and perform brilliantly together. It is satisfying to see sexy John Corbett paired up with a more ordinary woman like Vardalos rather than a predictable Hollywood star like Sarah Jessica Parker (Corbett played Parker’s boyfriend in HBO’s Sex and the City).

Vardalos writes the characters of nagging woman, specifically Voula (Andrea Martin) and Maria, so well that the audience can immediately associate them with one’s own family members. “Tell me what to say. But, don’t tell me what to say,” says Voula. “Perfect,” responds Maria. Martin and Kazan shine in their performances: they are persuasive and hysterical in delivering Vardalos’ well-crafted lines.

This movie offers no surprises – it sticks to the ugly duckling story – the-one-day-my-prince-will-come ballyhoo. Beyond that flaw, this movie is entertaining. Vardalos’ use of family humor is what all will love about this movie. My Big Fat Greek Wedding – in all its fairytale flair – will warm the hearts of families everywhere.