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February 01, 1993 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-02-01

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Page 8- The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 1, 1993

Noisy Medicine
By Andy Dolan
If you've read anything about Medicine lately, you probably have an idea
that they sound almost as nice as a chainsaw cutting through sheet metal. You've
probably seen them described as "mind-roasting", "eardrum-perforating" and
downright "noisy". Well, frankly, all of these things are true, but they only tell
half the story. If your ears survive the first few listenings, you will most likely
discover some absolutely beautiful melodies lurking amidst the noise. But it's
not until you finally get your head around the idea that the noise and the beautiful
melodies are really working together to create a perfect balance that the real
listening experience begins.
As songwriter I guitarist Brad Laner explained, (That idea) is constantly
working in my head, that is, trying to balance the noise aspects with the song
aspects, because there's nothing I love more than a great song, but I also love
noise. Different people respond to noise differently ... (but) we're not playing
noise to be annoying, we're playing noise because we think it sounds really
Unfortunately, several reviews of Medicine's debut LP, "Shot Forth Self
Living", have insinuated that the group borrows too much of their sound from
other noise /melody artists such as My Bloody Valentine and Curve. "Some
people are hell-bent on making comparisons," said Laner, "but I think as time
goes on, people will begin to see us for what we are, rather than what the English
press says about us."
As far as their musical technique goes, Medicine has a much different style
of noise-making than those groups. Instead of using effects pedals, Laner uses
a 4-track tape recorder for his guitar distortion. "I just turn it up to the absolute
maximum ... (and) I have no way of turning it off on stage, so it's a matter of
working around (the distortion) to get the sound."
Medicine have just begun their first headlining tour, promoting their debut
LP "Shot Forth Self Living," and this will be their first time in Detroit. "We said
(to our record label), 'look, we don't care what you have to do, we have to play
in certain cities,' and Detroit was definitely one of them," said Laner. He
described playing live as "kind of ajoyful thing...we want it to be more than just
a band playing, we want to take people someplace..that's the best thing for us."
In the future, the band plans to take their sound even further away from the
mainstream. "The next album will be more experimental and more pop at the
sametime... (but) there will definitely be some hard-to-figure-out stuff coming
from us... I'm planning for the next album tohave kind of ahalf-hour psychotic
noise freak-out," he said, as if the current album somehow lacked "psychotic
noise." Check out the second track on the album, "Aruca," to understand what
he's talking about.
Despite all of this talk of experimentation and noise freak-outs, Laner
explained their creative drive as simply stemming from the fact that, "We just
love playing music ... it's fun, it's a license to be a little kid again, to just pick
up an instrument and make it howl!" Experience this "howling" first hand, and
be prepared to have your senses twisted in a truly disorienting way.
Medicine perform Tuesday, Feb.2 with Wig and Dusk at St. Andrews Hall.
Tickets are only $3.00 in advance (p.e.s.c.), 18 and over welcome. Doors
open at 9:00pm. For more information, call 961-MELT.
Write for Arts
For info about music, books, fine arts and
theater staffs, call 763-0379


Two stars of the movie "Sniper" demonstrate the Nanci Griffith method of discussion: I'm right, you're wrong, so shut up and don't ask any questions.
Condescending 'Snier' shoots itself down

by John R. Rybock
At times, it can be difficult to respect Hollywood
when it treats the audience like an idiot. A perfect
example is the new film, "Sniper," which one wants
to respect as a fresh variation of an old story. Yet,
from the beginning, the audience condescended to.
Essentially, the plot is simple. Veteran sniper
Tom Beckett (Tom Berenger) is sent into the Pana-
Directed by Luis Llosa; written by Michael Frost
Beckner and Crash Leyland; with Tom Berenger
and Billy Zane.
manian jungles to take out a drug lord who is
financing an upcoming coup. His spotter, and sec-
ond gun, is Richard Miller (Billy Zane), young man
sent by the National Security Council with rank on
Beckett. They are then sent out into the jungle, one
a version of a city slicker, the other a country boy.
Are there going to be conflicts? Will the "city
slicker" not be as qualified as need be? Will he have
to pull rank using a gun? The answer is an obvious
"yes." Such sins of predictability can be forgiven if
the film is entertaining enough - which this one is.
However, when back-to-back scenes set up a bla-
tantly obvious plot turn, it is a slap in the face to the

audience's intelligence. We know what we should
expect; we do not need it underlined.
When the audience gets past its anger at the
filmmakers, they can settle down to acliched, yet fun
film. For those unfamiliar with sniping (is that an
actual word?), it is basically the opposite of John
Rambo. One shot, one kill, from several hundred
yards away. Because of such distances, snipers do
not get to know their targets, except for what the
dossier says. This isolation is kept up by the film-
makers, who do not have the bad guys in any scene
without the good guys, nor do we hear anything from
them unless the heroes can, too.
Instead, the evil of the film is in both of the
heroes. Beckett is the veteran, numb to everything,
and Miller is the rookie, with his first taste of the
hunt. Each is human, containing both the good and
the bad within themselves. Tom Berenger's perfor-
mance is typical, similar to his role in "Platoon," but
with more humanity. Billy Zane ("Dead Calm") is
able to keep pace with the veteran Berenger, giving
us a fairly clear idea as to his reluctance, and later his
desire, to shoot.
Unfortunately, the filmmakers chose to end with
action, which is opposed to the rest of the film. The
rest of the film can be fascinating, especially the
scenes when two snipers are after each other in the
woods. It creates a quiet, deadly cat and mouse,

which will end only when the first (and only) shot is
fired. While a Stallone film fulfills a prepubescent
audience's dreams, having the hero running through
the woods, firing ahundred pound gun single handed,
this film, like the art of sniping, is more subtle. The
audience can appreciate that the sniper will wait days
to take one shot, and the camouflage used to hide can
be extraordinary, as when Berenger is camouflaged
in an open field, and a truck rolls right past him.
Other than the filmmakers as a whole talking
down the audience, the only real problem with the
film is some of the direction. Most of the work by
Luis Llosa is a fine, basic, don't-let-the-direction-
interfere type of approach. But the moments when
Llosa does try to be cute are the worst in the film.
Slow motion shots of a bullet flying at the camera are
old, and seemingly unrealistic. It seems doubtful that
anyone would be able to see a bullet coming. And
when one is hit, especially in the head, by a bullet, it
is very quick. Slow motion shots of this come off as
"Sniper" is adecent film. It is entertaining enough
for the audience to forgive all the little sins in the
film, and if they can separate the sins of the filmmak-
ers from the film itself, and they have a taste for the
slow pace of a sniper, this movie will end up being
fun for them to watch.
SNIPER is playing at Showcase and Briarwood.

'How U Like Me Now'? Not very much
Disappointing, disastrous low-budget film from fledgling African-American director



The Office of Minority Affairs
is now taking applications for Student
Leader positions for the
College DSpring
Visitation rograng
Application deadline is February 5, 1993
Student Leaders accompany visiting middle school
students throughout the day serving as guides
and role models while providing information about the
college experience. Student leaders usually work in
teams of three. They should be fairly outgoing indi- 4
viduals and have a keen interest in and commitment to '
helping students underrepresented in higher
education develop personal motivation for a college
education. Many positions available,
flexible scheduling.
Applications and job description can be obtained at
The Office of Minority Affairs,
1042 Fleming Building, 1st Floor.
For additional information contact
Felton Rogers at 936-1055


By AlisonLevy
Just when low-budget indies are all
the rage, and it seems like first-time and
fledgling renegade directors can do no
wrong, Darnell Williams pops on the
How U Like Me Now
Written and directed by Darnell
Williams; with Darnell Williams and E
Salli Richardson.
scene with all the prerequisites for suc-
cess: his own script, a teeny-tiny bank
account, a director's chair and his very
own part. However, just because you
have all the right ingredients doesn't

mean you come out with a tasty cake.
Good thing no one gave Williams any
more money because it would be wasted
on this abysmal movie.
Williams' theme-heavy debut film,
"How U Like Me Now" examines the
familiar territory of relationships in the
nineties from an African-American per-
spective. Burdened by arambling script,
odious acting and various technical
mistakes, this hip-comedy-wanna-be
comes off as nothing more than adisap-
pointing student film.
The fragile story centers around
underachiever Thomas (Williams) and
his fast-track girlfriend, Valerie (Salli
Richardson). Heading in separate di-
rections, conflict arises between his self-


ishness and her aspirations. Various
friends and acquaintances on each side
are thrown in toexamineAfrican-Ameri-
can life from every perspective from
homosexuality, interracial dating, and
ancestral identity.
Trying to capture all these issues is
Williams' biggestmistake. Unlike most
twenty-something ensemble films, Wil-
liams fails to maintain a central story
line. By side-tracking to the others, no
one character or story is fully devel-
Interestingly, one of
Williams' obvious aims
is to eliminate
stereotypes about
males, but his loose
story recklessly creates
other sterotypes.
oped, thereby creating small theme-
centered sketches and shallow portraits.
Interestingly, one of Williams' ob-
vious aims is to eliminate stereotypes
about African-American males, but his
loose story recklessly creates other
sterotypes, especially focusing on
women. In one very short scene, Will-
iams effectively and humorously slices
through the familiar and false assump-
tions about young African-American
males. However, he skims over interra-
cial dating in a prejudicial manner and

writes off women as gold-digging
whores. In comparison, the African-
American males appear somewhat well-
rounded, while whitemen and all women
are portrayed as cardboard cartoons of
broad generalizations. On adeeper level,
Williams blatantly subscribes to the
Freudian fears that the female body is
the castrated male and therefore some-
thing disgusting and dirty.
Technically, the film is a mess. There
are several scenes near the opening that
are overexposed for no aesthetic rea-
son. Also included are severaljump cuts
that aren't stylistically credible and ap-
pear as careless continuity errors. Will-
iams neglects to try anything interesting
or innovative with the camera. With all
the medium two-shots, the movie looks
like itisastaged comedy sketch on film.
Unfortunately, there is very little
comedy in the movie due in part to a
largley untalanted cast. Even DeSica
had better luck with his actors by pluck-
ing them from the streets. But Williams'
castmates seem to emulate his back-
ground in soap operas (Jesse in "All My
Children") by copying the plastic and
melodramatic style, while mugging
every chance they get. The only thing
worse than the acting, if there could be
anything worse, is the underlying
soundtrack singing the praises of peace,
love, and brotherhood - purely nause-
HOW U LIKE ME NOW is playing at

~ ~


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are invited to attend an informative presentation:
Monday, February 1, 1993

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