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March 16, 1992 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-03-16

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ALRTS
The Michigan Daily Monday, March 16,1992 Page 5

Not just Simple-
Minded Smiths
" James unites and takes overthe USA

by Annette Petruso

he Manchester, England-based
James has a public identification
problem.
When James had its first wave of
success in the mid-'80s, the band
was unshakably linked to the Smiths
because Morrissey once said that
James was his favorite band. This
"taint," if you will, has basically
passed ... well, almost, says James'
guitarist Larry Gott.
"I don't know. We keep getting
asked questions about in newspa-
pers," he says. "I mean, he did say
we were his favorite band, but that
was in 1985. It's like we've changed
a lot since then and he has. I'm sure
he's got different tastes in music
now."
The other, perhaps more deadly,
James comparison is to Simple
Minds. Though the Smiths identifi-
cation has some basis (both are from
Manchester and Tim Booth shares
Mvlorrissey's penchant for introspec-
tive lyrics), the Simple Minds link is
a knock-down. ,
Simple Minds became (and still
I is, if the band still exists) overblown
and overwrought after "Don't You
(Forget About Me)," in the States
especially. While Booth shares
Simple Minds' vocalist Jim Kerr's
self-involved charisma, and both
bands have large memberships,
James hasn't yet been massively
successful in the USA probably be-
cause they haven't performed an un-
original song for a hit teen movie

soundtrack.
Gott remains unphased by the
critics' Simple Minds cutdowns.
"That's their opinion. It doesn't
bother us at all. I think it was meant
initially as an insult in one review
we read in England, 'cause we knew
the guy who did it and it seems to
have spun off ever since then.
"I don't think (James) does
(sound like Simple Minds). I think
there are a couple of little tiny ele-
ments in the album that could be re-
lated to Simple Minds. One is the
chorus of 'Born of Frustration,' and
the other was ... the drum beat in the
song 'Seven,' or 'Blow Me Away."'
While James' new album, Seven
(no relation to Pearl Jam's Ten),
doesn't have the expressive esoteric
qualities of their last release, Gold
Mother, it is obviously not a Simple
Minds rip-off. Booth's vocals may
evoke a Bono (in check) in his
"ooohs," or a Morrissey (in mucho
check) in subject and reflective into-
nation. And the rest of the band may
not be spectacular at creating inno-
vative guitar-and-keyboard-pop at-
mosphere.
But what saves Seven from the
doom of mediocrity is Andy
Diagram's trumpet, and on one
track, Saul Davies' violin. Wanna
really figure out what one of James'
songs is about? Listen for the trum-
pet, the key to the emotional state of
every song.
For example, at the beginning of
"Live a Love of Life," Diagram's
trumpet line sets the tone for the rest

The many members of James (1-r David Baynton-Power, Larry Gott, Jim Glennie, Tim Booth, Mark Hunter, Andy Diagram, and Saul Davies) are really nice
unpretentious guys, like Simple Minds, right? Except for Booth maybe - check his introspective, I-am-a-deep-thinking-artist look.

of the song, playfully mimicking the
religious figures Booth sings about.
"It's about organized religion re-
ally and (lyricist) Tim's aversion to
all organizations that deal with reli-
gious matters," Gott explains.
"The idea of a prophet being
turned into a profit kind of thing. It's
something that's definitely one of
his pet subjects at the moment. He's
promised he's not going to write any
more about it. He thinks he's exor-

cised his ghosts now ..."
Hopefully James as a band has
done the same. The group has been
together for such a long time, but has
never broken out in a major way be-
cause of record company problems
and bad career moves. After their
original drummer left (before Gold
Mother was made), the band re-
placed him with four new members
which totally changed their sound.
This shift is something they are

still trying to come to terms with,
especially in how to successfully in-
tegrate their new members' talents.
And Gott himself visited the States
for the first time ever in January and
was robbed at gunpoint within an
hour of his arrival.
Still James trudges onward:
Seven was at number two for several
weeks on Britain's album charts.
"We've never been in any rush to

get there, that's not the game for us,"
Gott says. "The game is enjoying the
journey, rather than getting there in
the quickest time possible."

.,

JAMES plays at St. Andrew's Hall
tonight. This is an all-ages show, so
doors are at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are
$7.50 in advance at TicketMaster
(p.e.s.c.). For more information, call
961-MELT.

who what where when

4

The great Atlantan columnist, Lewis Grizzard, is wont to say, "Darlin', don't sit under the grits tree with anyone but
me." Vincent (Joe Pesci) has clearly adopted a similar devotion, both to his lady love, Lisa (Marisa Tomei) and to
that wonderful southern delicacy, grits. Grits represent one of the only elements of fine culture in My Cousin Vinny.
Pesci' s Super in his new comedy

Prolific French writer/actor Jean
Poiret died of a heart attack early on
Saturday. He was 65. -Poiret is most
famous for penning and performing
in the controversial La Cage Aux
Folles, a musical farce dealing with
transvestite and homosexual cabaret
singers. "We face life, though it's
sometimes sweet and sometimes bit-
ter ... with a little luck and lots of
glitter."
You wanna be in a (successful)
heavy metal band??!! Anthrax is
sooooo desperate for a new lead
singer to replace Joey Belladonna
that the band is canvassing the na-
tion in search of him (or her?).
Interested parties should send a tape,
bio, photo and, if possible, a video
to: Anthrax, c/o Crazed Manage-
ment, 210 Bridge Plaza Drive,
Manalapan, New Jersey 07726. Hey,
maybe you can "Bring the Noise"
with Public Enemy too! If you get
the job, call us first.
The School of Music offers two
concerts Monday at 8 p.m. for those
of you whose tastes exceed Anthrax.
A Composer's Forum will be held
in the Recital Hall, and a Student
Harpsichord Recital will be held in
the Blanche Anderson Moore Hall,
both located in the School of Music.
Both boast complimentary admis-
sion, i.e. they're free. Take a mid-
study break and enjoy the expansive
nature and expansive music, only lo-
cated on North Campus, only in
spring thaw.
This weekend at the Detroit Film
Theatre, check out some classic Ja-
panese film noir. Black Lizard, a hip
1968 film starring and written by the
great Yukio Mishima, centers
around the drag queen leader of a
Tokyo crime ring, played by infa-
mous female impersonator Akihiro
Maruyama. Director Kinji Fukasaku
has been compared to Pedro Almo-
d6var and John Waters, and re-
spected critic Vincent Canby called
the film "a hoot," so it's gotta be
good. Showtimes are Friday and
Saturday night at 7 and 9:30, and
Sunday at 4 and 7. Call (313) 833-
2323 for more info.

It's here, it's here! Sure, you get
neat eggs on Easter, delicious
matzoh on Passover, and you get to
... fast on Ramadan. But we all
know that the real holiday this
season is Saint Patrick's Day on
March 17. This year, honor art with
a glass of dyed beer in your hand
and a greenish tinge in your cheeks.
If you always wanted to sing your
favorite Irish folk song or recited a
poem, even do some really great

stand-up comedy (NOT) in public,
this is your chance. The North
Campus Commons will host A n
Irish Ceili at 8 p.m. Audience
members are invited to join in the
entertainment, or simply enjoy the
tomfoolery of others. Remember, the
Irish have produced many an artiste,
such as James Joyce, Bobby Sands,
and of course, Sinead O'Connor.
You could be next.

My Cousin Vinny
dir. Jonathan Lynn
by Michelle Phillip
M ost people can tell how bad a
movie is by its television commer-
cials. For some odd reason (perhaps
this is a slick marketing ploy),
Twentieth Century Fox decided to
make My Cousin Vinny look like a
really shitty movie. This strategy
may actually prevent audiences from
seeing a hilarious film.
Vincent LaGuardia Gambini (Joe
Pesci) is a new attorney who re-
cently passed the bar exam (after six
tries). Vinny's cousin Bill Gambini
(Ralph Macchio) and his roommate
Stan Rothstein (Mitchell Whitfield)
are roadtripping through the South.
They are arrested for murder when
they inadvertently - confess to a
crime. Caught between a rock and a
hard place, they call upon Vinny's
legal "expertise" to help them out of
this jam.
Vinny is not a typical attorney,
by any means. His New York sense

of style and mannerisms put him at
odds with the trial judge, Cham-
berlain Haller (Fred Gwynne, who
played Herman Munster on The
Munsters). However, their clash is
not limited to an obnoxious
Easterner versus a dumb hick. My
Cousin Vinny presents two very dif-
ferent ways of lives without playing
on a Northerner's prejudice of the
South.
Actually, My Cousin Vinny does
it just once - when Stan says, "It's
the South! They have the Klan!
They're inbred! They sleep with
their sisters!" - but it's funny as
hell.
Marisa Tomei (Lisa Bonet's
kooky roommate from the very first
season of A Different World) steals
the show as Vinny's quick-witted
and sharp-tongued fiancee, Mona
Lisa Vito. Lisa, as she is called in
the film, is not a "bimbo" who hangs
on Vinny to make him look good.
She is feisty and intelligent. She
knows how to put Vinny and others
in their place. Tomei and Pesci have
a great repartee which makes them a
believable and likable couple.

My Cousin Vinny is a fast-paced,
cohesive story that is balanced
nicely between comedic and serious
moments. Vinny doesn't stumble his
way through the case. He is very
committed to winning the trial.
Often he is shown working dili-
gently, although he does run into his
share of obstacles.
The film is a refreshing take on
the comedy genre. It does not de-
pend on five or six jokes that quickly
become old. My Cousin Vinny is not
stupid-funny - it's clever-funny,
full of double entendres and witty
sight gags. One actually has to use
some lateral thinking to understand
the humor.
My Cousin Vinny creates humor
not only through dialogue, but also
through action (Vinny eatin' grits for
the first time), use of sound, and
juxtaposition of shots. You won't
have to do any heavy duty thinking,
but you will have to pay close atten-
tion, because details that seem extra-
neous at the time will come back
later in the film. All these elements
are used for some good laughs.
See VINNY, Page 8

After the departure of Joey Belladonna (far left) from Anthrax, you too
could be the new lead singer! They get the best sex therapy of all the
bands, and Lord knows, those wacky heavy metal stars could sure use it.

TOHiBA

i

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