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November 25, 1991 - Image 8

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-11-25

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Page 8-The Michigan Daily- Monday, November 25, 1991

Fievel Goes West is a lucrative 'classic'

An American Tail:
Fievel Goes West
dir. Phil Nibbelink and
Simon Wells
by Austin Ratner
Steven Spielberg added animated
features to his repertoire of lucra-
tive productions in 1986 with An
American Tail, which grossed $47
million, the biggest box office suc-
cess in the history of animated fea-
ture films. With Kathleen Kennedy,
one of his two partners in Amblin
Entertainment, Spielberg acted as an
executive producer of another ani-
mated hit:Who Framed Roger Rab-
bit?, 1988's top grossing film.
In An American Tail: Fievel
Goes West, Amblin's and Universal
Studios' collaborated sequel to the
original Tail, Spielberg continues
his central role in the revival of the
animated film.
Fievel Goes West is not a future
classic - but Spielberg has a knack
for assembling works that have all
the humor, the feelings, the visual
flash and the satisfying resolution
to make audiences happier when they
leave the theater than they were
when they went in. Spielberg's
magic comes through in movies
about mice, dogs, cats and birds that
follow their dreams just like
people, and achieve them just like
people wish that they could.
As Fievel Mousekewitz and his
immigrant family move west from
New York in search of wide open
spaces, more American opportunity
and lots of cheese, their dreams be-
come the film's focus - Mama and
Papa Mousekewitz's dreams of a
better life, Fievel's dreams of be-
coming a hero and Fievel's sister
Tanya's dreams of being a singer.
The movie immediately estab-
lishes that its goal is not to tug on
your heartstrings. Fievel's sister re-

who what v
My definition, my definition of a
couple of boombastic hop cats is ...
the Dream Warriors. Why is the
band so Hip? 1) The Warriors are a
rap group from Canada. 2) Instead
of "borrowing" George Clinton
riffs like most other rap groups, the
Warriors sample Canadian game
show themes. 3) The Warriors are
not associated with Freddy in any
way, shape or form. And 4), the
Warriors have got a reeeeally cool
video. Need we say more? You can
see the band tonight at 8 p.m. at
Industry, in Pontiac, if you think
you're hip enough.

where when
Qe

0

Dream Warriors

turns from the window after mov-
ingly singing "Somewhere Out
There" (Linda Ronstadt and James
Ingram's smash hit from the first
film), only to report glumly,
"Papa, they're throwing fruit and
vegetables at me again."
The witty screenplay by Flint
Dille can maintain an older audi-
ence's interest, especially with the
comic talents of John Cleese, who
provides the voice of Cat R. Waul,
the civilized king-pin of some bad
guy cats. Also adding wit are Jimmy
Stewart as the voice of the heroic
but over-the-hill sheriff of the ani-
mal community out West, and Dom
Deluise, as the voice of Fievel's fat,
slapstick-prone best friend. Alas,
Jon Lovitz plays side-kick again,
even in a cartoon, but his rendition
of T. R. Chula, Waul's beleaguered
spider henchman, is hilarious.

Cleese is the movie's comic
centerpiece, and lines like "Which
would you rather have, the crouton
or the entire Caesar salad?!" and "I
have mentioned that I dislike being
referred to as 'Pussy Poos"' become
sources of high amusement coming
from him. When you're sitting in a
theater with a bunch of seven-year-
olds on a Friday night, you can at
least feel sophisticated when you
laugh at the jokes which go over
their heads.
David Kirschner's conception of
the Mousekewitzes and Charles
Swenson's story lend themselves to
a child's perspective. The clear divi-
sion of good and evil -- the eaters
(cats) and the potentially but never
actually eaten (mice) - casts the
conflict in romantically simplified
terms that kids can relate to. The
clash between dreams of indepen-

dence and fear of leaving the safety
of family returns to a theme well
adapted to a younger perspective -
growing up. "If growing up were so
easy, would it take so long?" Papa
Mousekewitz wisely intones to
young Fievel.
Fievel Goes West does rehash
character types from many of the
other films of its genre, and diffuses
its focus over too many characters
so that the drama is not as pointed as
it might have been. But Fievel will
certainly entertain, and can muster
enough Spielberg and Disney magic
to make you feel good.

XTC
Rag & Bone Buffet
Geffen
Over the past few years, a major trend in the rock music industry has
been the "three R's": Retrospectives, Reissues and Rarities. XTC's Rag &
Bone Buffet falls into the latter category - although one could also argue
that it's a reissue, since the album was previously available in England for 0
quite some time. Only recently has this domestic version been released,
which really pissed off those of us who bought the $20 import disc. (You'd
think I would learn to wait ...)
A surprisingly tight collection of rare singles and previously unre-
leased material spanning the whole of the band's 14-year recording career,
Buffet is a must for any XTC fan; but it should also appeal to the uniniti-
ated listener. For many groups, rarities = bad, which is probably why
they're rare in the first place. In this case, however, rarities = good - much
better, in fact, than anything on 1989's mediocre Oranges and Lemons,
XTC's most recent album. Most songs on Buffet have good, strong
melodies, as well as bountiful hooks and harmonies; and, perhaps more im- 0
portantly, main singer/songwriter Andy Partridge's annoying howling
noises are kept to a minimum.
The arrangements are also much more daring than on the band's regular
releases: "Extrovert" features a driving horn section, "Heaven is Paved
with Broken Glass" opens with backward guitar chords and "Looking for
Footprints" ends in a long instrumental fade out. It's almost as if the
members of the band knew that they weren't going to use these songs and as
such felt free to experiment. (The excellent results indicate that they
should experiment more often.) Not to worry, though - there's plenty of
"usual" XTC, too.
Some of the more interesting of the album's whopping 24 tracks are a
single version of "Respectable Street" with cleaned-up (more re-
spectable?) lyrics; a nearly a cappella dance mix of the catchy "Cockpit";
"Take This Town," a super-charged whistler (the middle section of which
might be the only three-chord XTC song in existence); "Thanks for
Christmas," a feel-good holiday ditty recorded as the Three Wise Men
(produced by The Good Lord); and "The History of Rock 'n Roll,"
Partridge's album-closing 22-second thesis on the evolution of rock music.
Clearly, Buffet has been dying to be released for a long time now.
Unlike many acts' rarities collections, this one stands on its own as one of
XTC's best albums. As to why these songs - in many cases superior to the@
album cuts - weren't given more attention in the past, I can only plead ig-
norance.
On behalf of record company executives, that is.
-Alan Glenn

AN AMERICAN TAIL: FIEVEL
GOES WEST is playing at Showcase
and Briarwood.

THE MICHIGAN DAILY
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OPINION & PHOTO

EVITA
Continued from page 5
the audience.
Evita's personality demanded
constant attention, with the per-
formances and the staging revolving
around her actions. Even in the
shadow of Peron (Steve Goebel), she
took the forefront to sing the fa-
mous proclamation of her power,
"Don't Cry for Me Argentina."
The continual presence of Che

(Danny Gurwin), however, re-
minded everyone of the realityof
Evita, for this woman was not al-
ways the "Santa Evita" proclaimed
by the people. Che was a part of a
minority lurking among the masses
which actually opposed Evita, but
whenever he spoke up, he was conse-
quently stepped on or brushed aside.
In this sense, the dramatics were
monitored, yielding to a certain
reality and reminding the audience
of Evita's selfishness and short-
sightedness.

Evita's balanced pit orchestra
was consistently powerful, given
the difficulty of the score. Without
spoken dialogue, the continual ac-
tion exhausts those merely watch-
ing it.
Evita reflected an incredible
amount of effort and enthusiasm.
The ensemble, the principle roles
and the set came together to cry out
their own version of "Don't Cry for
Me Argentina" with painstaking
power.
-Sue Uselmann

I

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Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) play
there a God?" in the spooky, ooky, 2 Legit 2 Quit Addams Family.

OOKY
Continued from page 5
movie would have been to make it
something along the lines of
Wednesday and Her Parents. This
re-working would most likely have

outraged fans of the New Yorker
cartoonsand the TV show, but then
again, this movie might upset them
just as much. There just isn't much
fun in freak for freak's sake art.
THE ADDAMS FAMILY is playing
at Showcase and Briarwood.

I

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Sales & Service - Forbes Cleaners - Pat's Par 3 Golf - Wolverine Fitness Centre - Goodyear - Spartan Tire - Ann Arbor

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