Year of the American at the Oscars
by Daily Film Staff
The 65th Annual Academy Awards droned on
Monday night for nearly three-and-a-half mind-
numbing hours, yielding few surprises and a string
of unfortunate production numbers.
The theme of the night was supposedly Year of
the Woman, though a more accurate title might be
Year of the American, as despite the big British
products which garnered a slew ofnods, only Emma
Thompson took away one of the major prizes.
The only surprise of the night came with Best
Supporting Actress, somehow snagged by Marisa
Tomei ("My Cousin Vinny"). Hello. We won't even
mention the people that could have been / should
have been nominated for the category. We like
Marisa Tomei just as much as anyone, and she did a
The only surprise of the night
came with Best Supporting
Actress, somehow snagged by
Marisa Tomei ... Hello.
nicejob, but shedidn'tdeserve an Oscar. Judy Davis
and Miranda Richardson acted circles around her in
their films. However, they aren't from the grand 'ole
U.S. of A. We do have to say, however, that Marisa's
hair and dress looked nice, but she should have
ditched those gloves.
At this point, things fell into predictable patterns.
But that's not necessarily a bad thing, as Gene
Hackman justifiably took Best Supporting Actor
honors forhis masterly performance in "Unforgiven."
Hackman's always-excellent work is so naturalistic
and unpretentious that he often does not get recog-
nized. But Hackman's character was such acomplex
mix of puzzling honor and plain meanness that it was
decidedly the most involved and original portrayal
of those nominated.
And now, Emma who? Once again the typical is
still typical. Emma Thompson's ("Howards End")
best performance was probably her classy accep-
tance speech. And yes, we all agree thatshe shouldn't
have been paid for her somewhat empty perfor-
mance in the endless "Howards End." What's up
with Susan Sarandon or Catherine Deneuve?
There were only two real choices for best actor
and the guy who deserved it lost. Now Al is a
wonderful actor and of course very sexy, but he did
not top Clint or Denzel Washington's Malcolm X.
Okay, three Godfathers, but "Scent of a Woman"?
And "Hoo-haa?" No, "Asshole!" was far better. But
there's noreal argument with an academy that has no
idea what acting is.
The Oscar for Best Picture/ Best Director was
like a western omelet without the green peppers.
Clintdeserved BestPicture for the great"Unforgiven"
more unanimously than any film since "Platoon"
took the honors in 1986. That mally wasn't too
controversial or surprising. But giving the Man With
No Name the medallion for best auteur was only
slightly more bearable than Nell Carter's atrocious
rendition of "Friend Like Me." BestDirector should
have been a toss up between Robert Altman and
Spike Lee. Hell, everyone has their opinion. Lee
wasn't even nominated for his brilliant "Malcolm
X," but Altman was all but forgotten as a contender.
Oscar didn't seem to know what to do with "The
Crying Game," so it did the traditional and gave it
Original Screenplay honors, just like it did last year
with the too-hot-to-touch "Thelma and Louise."
Oscar sometimes get the guts to nominate "differ-
ent" films, but when was the last time one of these
Aside from the actual awards, let's get to why
everyone actually watches - to see how the stars
look. No one looked as bad as Juliette Lewis from
last year, but someone tell Diane Keaton that "Annie
Hall" is over. There was abeard theme for the night,
with Joe Pesci (he was under there somewhere)
sporting the ultimate one. Al Pacino wins "Most
Beautiful" hands-down for his perfectly trimmed
beard combined with his grateful misty eyes. Robert
Downey Jr. and Tom Hanks tie for the we-don't-
really-know-what-that-is-on-your-face, but they
looked nice anyway. Finally, it's safe to assume that
anyone in the singing deals looked like hell. ButTim
Robbins and Susan Sarandon decidedly win the
award for Best Looking P.C. couple of the year.
Apart from watching which stars made a fashion
faux pas and who uses the stage to make what P.C.
statement (when will Richard Gere return to this
planet?), the real fun of the night was Billy Crystal's
emceeing. Unfortunately, it was not up to par with
last year. Of course, the three people in Iowa who do
not know the "big secret" of "The Crying Game"
were probably pissed athim for revealing it. ("Those
eyes, those thighs ... SURPRISE!"). Too bad.
What we want to know is who sat there and said,
"Oh, we've just got to get Nell Carter to sing 'A
Friend Like Me!"'?
Al Pacino isnot only the best actor on the planet, but also the best-looking.
Guess what? It's a turtle movie
Q: What's Rob and Peter and Gor-
don all over?
A: Mr. Reality.
Gordon Brown, who pens the tracks,
sings background vocals, and strums
the 12 string is the driving force behind
lead vocalist Peter Scherer and Rob
Tanico, on acoustic bass. Mr. Reality,
the culmination of parts, combines to
form an eclectic blend of traditional
sounds with innovation. These are
friendly songs that make you ask your-
self if you haven't heard them some-
where before. Yet, you know you
haven't, and that edge is whatmakes the
band worthy of attention
We have experienced what is being
r sung about on these tracks, like on
"Anonymous," where the woman the
man wants is with someone else, and he
can'tgetupthenerve to sayhelovesher.
And we've grown up in the decaying
suburbs described on "In My Yard."
Lyrically, the tracks grab you, and the
music is a pleasing blend of ballads and
more up-tempo beats.
On this, their self-titled debut al-
bum, this acoustic trio finally presents
to the masses their raw vocal-guitar
combination that until recently hadbeen
monopolized by the Jersey shore.
Sounding the New Violin
W 4What Next? Recordings
Horsehair and metal can make a
pretty tumultuous couple if untied ef-
fectively. In this case, Malcolm
Goldstein mediates their relationship,
exploring the understatements and
subtleties of their interaction. Although
he usually bides his time defending the
social and musical validity of free-
improvisation through sound and print
(seehis book "Sounding the Full Circle,
Sounding the New Violin" places
Goldstein in more rigid contexts. He
takes on six compositions for solo vio-
lin, each written from dissimilar van-
tage points but united by Goldstein's
affinity for the obtuse. Stretching from
John Cage to Ornette Coleman, this
eclectic collection interweaves some of
the most unconventional approaches to
composition, employing new systems
of notationand expanded tonal vocabu-
Throughout each piece, Goldstein
maximizes the limitless subtleties
opened upby the violin's unfrettedneck.
In the other hand, his bowing plays with
the multiple levels of overtone texture.
Sure, hemakes his fiddle scream likeits
in heat, but his controlled manipulation
of these torturous shrieks creates
re(de)fined lucidity and beauty.
Twice removed from its poetic
source of inspiration, Cage's "Eight
Whiskus" contains blurred remnants of
meter andmelody. Thehushedharmon-
ics fade in and out of characteristic
measures of silence. Most passages are
devoted solely to subtly shifting a single
note's overtones by altering bow pres-
sure. (Nifty eh?);
Goldstein's own chaotic composi-
tion is dedicated to the memory of
Morton Feldman, the early twen-cen
composer who inverted the structural
basis of Western music by derailing
linear melodic progression. Feldman
disassociated each note from its neigh-
bors, isolating each to a unique "mo-
Of all the pieces, Oliveros's "Por-
trait of' provides the most freedom for
self-expression. Goldstein mustproceed
through nine stages of self-description,
spinning a musical web of rumination.
Coleman's "Trinity"is themostlyri-
cal tune. A melody progresses, subtly
divertedby overtone shifts, bowing tech-
niques and the occasional improv. In-
hovers and darts with an untraceable
logic. Tenney's "Koan" uses repetition
to focus the listener's attention on the
minimal tonal changes.
Sure these compositions are enough
to give your cat a nervous disorder. But
luckily, your brain isn't the size of a
walnut (regents excluded). Deep listen-
ing reveals levels of intricacy you never
Robyn Hitchcock has been record-
ing pleasantly quirky pop since his days
as the frontman as the British outfit Soft
Boys in the late 1970s, and has rarely
disappointed. His latest release though,
with the Egyptians backing him, leaves
a trifle to be desired. "Respect" has
more of an acoustic flair to it than the
lush sounds of 1991s "Perspex Island,"
but lacks thatalbum's catchy song struc-
tures and Beatlesesque hooks.
Many of the songs willbe familiar to
those who caught Hitchcock on tour last
year, and indeed, two of the best cuts on
"Respect"date from thatperiod: "Arms
Dead" ("And God said 'Oh, ignore him!
I've got all your albums'/ I said 'Yes,
but who's got all the tunes?"'). With the
good, though, must come the bad, and
with the bad comes "The Yip Song,"
which careens at full-tilt boogie into
silliness and "Wafflehead,"which strives
too hard to be odd and dark to be effec-
tive. Theremaining songs toe thelineof
mediocrity contentedly, hitting occa-
sional highs ("The Wreck of the Arthur
Lee") but rarely descend into the depths
of the unnecessary.
"Respect" is not a total waste of
studio time, butcoming as it does on the
heels of "Perspex Island" and
Hitchcock's amazing, but sonically po-
larized, solo album "Eye," it's bound to
leave one a bit wanting. Pick it up to
complete a Hitchcock collection; other-
wise feed on an earlier release, such as
"Fegmania!" or "Eye.'
Love Is Murder
Singer-songwriter Michael Hall's
'Love Is Murdei" is a promising folk-
rock album, full of Randy Newman,
Richard Thompson and John Hiatt in-
fluences. Hall's songs often show po-
tential but are often underdeveloped.
His characters are undefined at times,
lacking incisiveness and detail ("Let's
Take Some Drugs andDriveAround"),
See RECORDS, page 8
by Chris Lepley
Hello, class. The film we'll be dis-
cussing today is "TeenageMutantNinja
Turtles III," a riveting saga of young
love and courage in the face of impos-
sible odds. Any questions? Do you ac-
tually want to know whatit's about? By
this stage you should either like the
turtles or hate them, depending on your
usual response to intense media and
product placement blitzes. Do you re-
ally need some information on the plot
before you decide to take your younger
siblings to see this movie?
Okay, there are these four turtles,
you see. And they've been mutated by
glowing green toxic ooze (see "'MT
Teenage Mutant Ninja
Written and directed by Stuart Gillard;
with Elias Koteas, Paige Turco and the
voice of Corey Feldman.
II" for details) so that they approximate
the mental and emotional maturity of
human teenagers. Oh, yeah, andthey've
been taught martial arts by their sensei,
Splinter(JamesMurray), who also hap-
pens to be a rat (darn that pesky ooze,
it's everywhere!). Splinter, being the
renaissance rat that he is, named the
four turtles after Renaissance artists.
Each one is color-coded, so you can tell
them apart (but only in the movies and
onTV,because the comics areblackand
white):there's Leonardo or "Leo," who
sports a blue mask, Raphael or "Raph"
who wears red, Donatello or "Don,"
purple, and Michaelangelo a.k.a.
"Mikey," who wears orange.
In this latest TMNT installment, the
turtles have to travel backwards in time
to 17th century Japan in order save their
friendApril (another competentprofes-
sional woman who can't tie her shoe-
laces without the mutants' help, played
by Paige Turco) from the clutches of an
evil Japanese warlord, Lord Noringa
(Sab Shimono) and a mercenary En-
glish trader, Captain Dirk Walker (Stuart
Wilson). Captain Dirk is especially evil
because of his accent.
Lord Noringa has a son, Prince
Kenshin (Henry Hayashi) who doesn't
agree with his father's war-mongering.
Noringaisjustaboutreading tohave his
son killed when the Prince justhappens
to discover a neat little scepter which,
when you twist it, allows him to travel
through time. Purely by coincidence, in
the future, April has just bought that
very scepter for her antique shop, and
before you can say "the laws of physics
be damned," April and Kenshin have
switched places in time.
With a little tinkering, Donatello
(Corey Feldman), the budding engineer
of the turtles, has figured out the scien-
tific formula for time travel, and with-
out even a slight pause to debate the
rationality of what they're planning,
they're off to the past to save their
The turtles show up, are captured,
save somelives, become big heroes and
have big fights with lots of real samurai
warriors. There's the typical last-minute
confrontation with the big villain, and
the typical teary good-bye at the end.
And that's about it. Like all sequels; this
movie pales in comparison to the origi-
nal, but all in all, the film delivers what
it promises. The humor is inane, and
definitely geared toweldpre-teens. But
then, so is the humor in such classicsas
"Bill & Ted'sExcellentAdventure" and
"Falling Down," so that's not a criti-
cism. Find a small child, offer them
candy until they get into your cart then
take them to see this movie.
It's a turtle movie. If you need to
know more than that, you've been iso-
lated from popular culture for way too
long, and you might look into installing
cable television underneath your rock.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA
TURTLESIIIis playing at Showcase.
"TMNT II" is a riveting saga of how New Line Cinema makes lots of money.
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Robyn Hitchcock demands "Respect" with his latest album.
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