The Alarm (including Eddie Macdonald, Mike Peters, Twist, and Dave Sharp) politicize their recent recording Change, but it's to no avail.
The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 26, 1989 - Page 9
Next of Kin leaves
a miserable legacy
BY DAVID LUBLINER
Shame on you, Patrick Swayze. Enough is enough already. We loved
you in Dirty Dancing. We tolerated you in that abusive, violent film
Roadhouse. But you are beginning to test our patience. This latest effort
makes me wonder what's going to happen to you now.
Swayze's new film, Next of Kin, is the story of Truman Gates, a
Chicago cop straight from the hills of Kentucky who seeks revenge on
the mobsters that killed his brother. Swayze struts his Southern stuff on
the city streets, talking tough and acting smooth. Unfortunately, his Ap-
palachian accent sounds downright silly from the start. Helen Hunt
(Stealing Home) plays Jessie, Truman's soft-spoken, violin-playing wife.
She and Swayze are extremely mismatched here and their relationship is
completely unfounded. Come on Patrick, drop the gun and pick up those
dancing shoes again.
After his brother Jerrold is murdered by members of the Isabella crime
family, Truman takes charge of the investigation. While his family
members back home on the farm demand "an eye for an eye," he assures
them that he will handle it - his way. What other way is there, Patrick?
Adam Baldwin (My Bodyguard), continuing his forgivable habit of
playing brawny meanies, is Joey Rosselini, the right-hand man to mob
kingpin Papa John Isabella. Baldwin's portrayal of the ruthless killer is
terribly overacted and unconvincing. Things really get sticky when Joey
murders Truman's other brother Briar, who, despite Truman's warnings,
came to Chicago looking for revenge.
Liam Neeson, who plays Briar, is the only bright spot of the film.
His performance is subtle and understated, making his portrayal the only
one the audience can really care about. Michael J. Pollard (Roxanne) does
add a refreshing comic presence as Briar's landlord. His incessant whining
is only amusing up to a point, however.
After Briar's death, the entire Gates clan, consisting of various uncles,
cousins and brothers, takes off to Chicago for final retribution. They
bring with them an assortment of their own weaponry - guns, bows and
arrows, knives, etc. What follows is a war between the North and the
South, between the Chicago mafia and Southern pride. There is an unnec-
essary amount of blood spilled in the process, making the experience of
watching this movie even more unpleasant.
So Pat, I think it's time to head back to 1963 and to the Catskills of
New York. Start relearning the steps to the Mamba. It's time to revive
NEXT OF KIN is now playing at Showcase Cinemas. Bring a weapon of
Continued from page 7
novative sound degenerate into stan-
dard bar-band fare. The songs plod
along without much variety and
practically go in one ear and out the
other. A tip for listeners: if you lis-
ten to this while not paying com-
,plete attention, you'll know a side is
over if the room suddenly seems
The lyrics are more interesting.
Singer Mike Peters does a good job
of pounding tried and true clich6s
into seemingly honest songs. The
problem is that I'm not sure if his
concern for the troubled economic
state of his country convinces me; I
seem to have heard this sort of thing
a thousand times before. Take Big
Country's "Steeltown" and substi-
tute coal and you have the main idea
of most of Change. But then again,
they took the time to record a Welsh
version of the record, for release in
Wales only. And I have to give them
credit for sticking to their iden-
tity/roots instead of coming over
here and writing about Elvis and
deserts like U2 did. I suppose I can't
complain too much.
Again, the music is pretty stan-
dard and pretty boring. Sure, it's
tight and powerful, but there's some-
thing missing here. The main prob-
lem is that the songs just sound too
alike. With the exception of
"Scarlet" and the overblown "A New
South Wales," they sound like Bruce
Springsteen on a bad day. The per-
sonality of earlier songs like "The
Stand" or "Rescue Me" is all but
All in all, it is a fair to partly
cloudy effort. Instead of selling out
they took the "respectable" path, but
ended up pretty boring instead. I can
appreciate the fact that Wales is in
tough times with the decline of the
coal industry, but that gives The
Alarm no excuse to decline into me-
diocrity. This record had a lot of
possibility, but it was badly utilized.
Continued from page 1
Gould has adopted an unorthodox
view concerning the mechanism and
progress of evolutionary change. He
remains one of the chief advocates of
the theory of "punctuated equilib-
The standard view sees evolution
as a gradual and stately procession
toward increasing perfection, with
small variations in species being se-
lected for on the basis of fitness. On
this view, the evolutionary ladder
reaches its culmination in - you
guessed it - us. Homo sapiens, the
fittest of the fit. The theory of punc-
tuated equilibrium contends instead
that an exceedingly unlikely series of
mutations separated by extended pe-
riods of stasis resulted in the variety
of species alive today. The evolution
of humans was probably a mere ac-
cident, a glitch in the DNA. As
Gould writes, "We are an improbable
and fragile entity... an item of his-
tory, not an embodiment of general
principles." This is certainly humble
pie for those who would like to
think, like Hamlet, of man as "the
paragon of animals." And Gould de-
lights in debunking some of our
more inveterate pretensions, scien-
tific and otherwise.
Wonderful Life is the latest in a
series of nine books by Gould ad-
vancing this view and many others.
The subtitle alludes to the main pre-
occupation of the book, the long
misunderstood significance of the
1909 discovery of the Burgess Shale,
a fossil site containing a bizzare and
seemingly unclassifiable menagerie
of animals. Gould traces early efforts
to assimilate the Burgess fossils into
existing evolutionary schemes, ef-
forts, he says, which amounted to a
scientific comedy of errors. Despite
misguided attempts to "shoehorn"
the Burgess fossils into standard
classifications, Gould argues that the
whole significance of the Burgess
find lies in that the organisms defy
our classifications, that they are ut-
terly unlike any creatures alive to-
day. And accounting for such discon-
tinuities in the fossil record requires
a theory something like punctuated
Gould possesses another rare
quality among scientific writers: he
is readable. All of his books have a
decidedly popular appeal, and Won-
derful Life is no exception. Once
past the tedious anatomical descrip-
tions, Gould keeps technical jargon
to a minimum. The result is both
interesting and scientifically enlight-
UM News in
Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, who has just written Wonderful Life,
will speak tonight at Rackham Auditorium.
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