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April 14, 1992 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-04-14

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 14,1992- Page 9

MELON
Continued from page 5
It would be difficult to classify. I
would say alternative in the sense
that it's not Top 40 radio music. But
it would be difficult to pigeonhole."
The music may be hard to de-
scribe, but, perhaps surprisingly, the
name Blind Melon does make sense.
"It came from Brad, the bass play-
er's father," Graham recalls. "It was
a term in his circle of friends when
they were younger -like a greeting,
you know, like 'What's happening,
e,120
Continued from page 5
Kowalczyk developed no stage pres-
ence, and though he, like the band,
loosened a little by the end, he
moved like a robot.
PiL blew everyone else on the-
bill off the stage. Though Johnny
Lydon is about 15 years older than
the boys in Live, he projected a
*strong personality; the way
Kowalczyk, in theprime of his
youth, should have been able to do.
Though not the best PiL set ever,
Lydon & Company were alive, for
chrissakes, and actually into playing
loud, (relatively) hard music.
The minor use of tapes by PiL
can be forgiven solely because
Lydon offended the aging audience
constantly, especially when he
pulled a tampon out of his butt and
tossed it to the worshipping masses.
The fact that an old punk rock icon
remains the best that MTV alterna-
tive has to offer depresses me.
BAD II could've stolen the night,
but Mick Jones and band decided to
be weird instead of just play their
songs competently. A DJ spun be-
tween songs (it's getting out of
Tuesday
Pitcher Night
Bud Light $4.50
Fosters $5.00
(Underground Only)
9 pm-Close
Live
jazz
10-12 pm
No
Cover

Blind Melon' - that sort of thing.
"What it meant in that application
was sort of a not-likely-to-succeed
sort of person," Graham relates.
"With us, it's come to mean just, ba-
sically, ambiguity would be the
biggest thing we're about. One thing
is, obviously, we write about our-
selves. We write about ourselves but
the way we do it can be taken may
different ways, lyrically, by many
different people.
"I would say Blind Melon is am-
biguity," he concludes. "These days,
that's what it's come to mean."

Apted films Native American life sensitively

Thunderheart
dir. Michael Apted
by Michelle Phillip

hand, this DJ at shows stuff), and
BAD II did something unique which
verged on dance/techno/rock. It
seemed like some radical concept I
wasn't appreciating. I was wrong.
The distractions of extra people
milling on stage, the heavy use of
tapes, and the band's uncertainty
about what they were really playing
made for a boring set.
. Again, the idea that Mick Jones,
aging punker, is on an alternative
tour is heinous. Alternative, new
music means new ideas and new
blood. MTV (or the person responsi-
ble for this monstrosity) didn't
bother to consider either of these
concepts.
One of many disgruntled patrons
yelled at a kid with a spanking new
BAD II T-shirt nn. "Why did you
buy that T-shirt? You're only mak-
ing them richer." Why did I waste
my time attending? I'm only encour-
aging them to do it again.
-Annette Petruso

Thunderheart stars Val Kilmer as
Ray LeVoi, a Native American Fe-
deral Officer sent to investigate the
murder of a reservation member in
Badlands, South Dakota. LeVoi is
chosen by his superiors because his
father is half-Sioux, and they feel
this will help him deal with the
people.
But LeVoi is ashamed of his her-
itage, and as a self-hating Indian, he
tries to separate himself from Native
American culture. When he arives
in South Dakota, he's teamed with
Frank Coutelle (Sam Shepard) an
FBI agent known for getting the job
done. The two men are given three
days to "mop up a sensitive opera-
tion."
On the reservation, LeVoi and
Coutelle are thrust into the middle of
a battleground. A group of militant
Native Americans known as the
Aboriginal Rights Movement
(ARM) are waging war against the
Federal government to reclaim lost
tribal lands.
LeVoi wants to make sure
Coutelle and others don't mistake
him for these troublemakers, so he
acts like a hard-nosed professional
by kicking the butt of the very first
Indian he meets. This, of course,

turns out to be Walter Crowhouse
(Graham Greene) of the tribal police,
who is also investigating the murder.
LeVoi and Crowhouse represent
the clash of cultures in Thunder-
heart. Crowhouse uses tribal meth-
ods to search for clues, while LeVoi
scoffs at him, saying, "I flew in from
a place called the 20th century."
In order to make headway on the
case, LeVoi has to gather informa-
tion from the people he detests. But
the members of the reservation have
misgivings about LeVoi' s presence
as well. Maggie Eagle Bear (Sheila
Tousy), a school teacher and activist,
sees rightthrough LeVoi's tough fa-
cade and tells him to take a hike.
However, an elder known as
Grandpa (Chief Ted Thin Elk), is not
so quick to dismiss LeVoi, bringing
the agent into the world of mysti-
cism. Grandpa's visions about Le-
Voi encourage him to accept his Na-
tive American ancestry. He begins to
have his own visions, which snap
him out of his self-deprecating be-
havior.
The film's turning point comes
when LeVoi finds out what his pre-
cious government has been up to -
the Feds have been strip mining
uranium, which contaminated the
reservation's water and made the
people sick.
Kilmer delivers an effective and
sympathetic performance as LeVoi,
a man who has to come to terms

with who he is and what society has
made him. Kilmer does the job well
by slowly transforming before the
audience's eyes, torn between doing
his job and doing what's right.
The film's other fine performance
is from newcomer Tousy. She and
Kilmer have a good rapport, creating
sexually-charged tension. The pair
has a good, albeit tense, scene
together when Maggie's son is shot.
LeVoi goes out of his way to help
the boy, and this act garners a mo-
dicum of respect from Maggie.
Aside from cheesy one-liners and
bad puns, screenwriter John Fusco
does a nice job of balancing the
main plot (finding the killer) and the
subplots (Ray and Maggie; the vi-
sions; water contamination), making
them work together without making
anything seem farfetched. The vi-
sions are also set up well, so when
LeVoi begins to have his own, they

aren't unbelievable.
Although director Michael Apted
(35 Up, 28 Up, etc.) does a good job,
he does go a little overboard with the
symbolism. The film's final scene of
LeVoi standing at a crossroad seems
unnecessary, since five minutes ear-
lier, he told Crowhouse he wasn't
sure what he was going to do with
his life. But Apted handles the task
of presenting modern day Native
American life on the reservation del-
icately and sensitively.
Thunderheart takes the simple
Bad White Man versus Good Indian
story that has become popular in
Hollywood in recent years and gives
it a new level of awareness. The film'
presents complex issues and doesn't
offer any easy solutions.
THUNDERHEART is playing at Br-
arwood and Showcase.

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