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November 24, 1993 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-11-24

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RTS

Success
tastes like
Crow
By TOM ERLEWINE
This past winter, before they had
even released an album, Counting
Crows filled Van Morrison's vacancy
at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

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Counting Crows
August and Everything After
DGC

Induction Concert at the request of
Robbie Robertson. Mostbands would
wither in that intense spotlight, but
Counting Crows is no ordinary band.
,With their distinctive mix of strong,
straight-forward rock 'n' roll and tra-
ditional folk & country, they stand
apart from both the retro-country-rock
of the Jayhawks and Uncle Tupelo as
well as the spooky, ethereal folk-rock
of Red House Painters and other al-
ternative rockers. Instead, Counting
Crows combines the two genres into
a sound that is contemporary and time-
less, making their debut album, "Au-
gust and Everything After" a reward-
ing experience.
What makes "August and Every-

Counting Crows may just become one of the most important bands of the decade. Uh, huh.

thing After" particularly impressive
is how it builds and expands upon
rock n roll traditions, transforming
them into something distinctive and
original. Although there are plenty of
audible influences in their music,
Counting Crows never sounds like a
revival band - their sound is current,
with its roots firmly in the past. Count-
ing Crows is a splendid combination
- the mythic American rock 'n' roll
of the Band, the country-rock of Neil

Young and Gram Parsons, the mysti-
cal spiritualism of Van Morrison and
the spare isolation of R.E.M. and U2's
most introspective moments. Lead
singer Adam Duritz's songwriting is
remarkably accomplished; most
songwriters spend years to achieve
his detailed portraits and narratives
"August and Everything After" is
melancholy without being depress-
ing-it has a beautiful sadness that is
never alienating. Counting Crows

demands that their music be actively
listened to, not just used as back-
ground music. Because of their atten-
tion to detail, they have forged a rich,
unique sound that may make them
one of the most important bands of
this decade.
Counting Crows will play St.
Andrew's Hall on Saturday,
November 27. Doors open at 9
p.m.; tickets are only $5 in advance.
And, yes, it is an 18 and over show.

'Best Friend' bites
hand which feeds it
By CHRIS LEPLEY
As far as killer dog movies go, "Man's Best Friend," the latest Cujo-esque
melodrama to be churned out of the Hollywood horror mill, isn't a total loss.
The dog is very cute. There are some cute kids and they get killed! It isn't every
day that you can see a movie with cute kids who are annoying and then suffer
the consequences of being annoying. There should be some sort of award for
movies that provide gratification like that.
"Man's Best Friend" tells the story
of ditzy telejournalist Lori Tanner
Man's Best Friend (Ally Sheedy). Remember me? Lori
needs a story, and when she hears
Written and directed by John Lafia; through the grapevine that EMAX, a
with Ally Sheedy, Lance Henriksen local bio-engineering laboratory (be-
and MAX.
andMAX._ cause, of course, there are bio-engi-
neering laboratories on every street
corner in Hollywood) has been charged with cruelty to animals in its experi-
ments, she high-tails it on over there to sneak inside and find out what's really
going on.
What is really going on is that EMAX founder Dr. Jarret (Lance Henriksen)
was once a victim of urban crime,rand has spent years developing a genetically
perfect guard dog to prevent others from being hurt the way he was. The result
of all this tinkering is MAX, a big sloppy lovable dog who swallows cats whole
and appears in the nightmares of mailmen across the globe.
Lori sneaks into EMAX with her partner in crime, Annie (Trula Marcus).
Partners can never live in movies like these, and unfortunately Annie is no
exception. She's easily pegged as MAX-chow early in the film, it's only a
question of when he'll take that fatal bite.
Jarret has been giving MAX some nice drugs to keep him tame, but after
MAX follows Lori home and the drugs start to wear off, MAX starts to take
revenge for dogs everywhere. He chomps on a poor innocent little kitty-cat,
takes a few chunks out of the local paperboy and kicks the shit out of the
mailman. MAX also takes a dislike to Lori's husband Perry (Fredric Lehne),
and by the end of the film, there isn't much doubt who's going to be sleeping
in Lori's bed, and who's going to be sleeping in a little box in the back yard.
The writer/director of "Man's Best Friend," John Lafia,"was responsible
for the first two"Child's Play" films and his expertise in the killer-toy/pet field
is unparalleled. When MAX bites into somebody's arm or leg or kitten, it's
realistic as all hell, and this is thankfully one film that doesn't skimp on the
blood. You can never have enough blood.
Typically, the characters are poorly-drawn and one-dimensional, but hey,
it's a horror film. Not surprisingly, the dog is the most interesting character.
Henriksen's Dr. Jarret is suitably creepy and evil, but he never bites anybody's
arm off. Sheedy's Lori is brainless and, in the tradition of horror film heroines,
survives only with sheer luck, not through any real effort.
The pacing of the film is quick, and it's just smart enough and gory enough
to be a solid contribution to its genre - that being the 'insane animals who eat
people' genre. Expect some rampant picketing of this film, however, as soon
as people start training their dogs to eat the people they chase, we'll have ye
olde pit-bull argument re-surfacing.
Cat's are better. Even a genetically altered cat wouldn't bother to get up off
of the couch long enough to eat your husband. They're much, much safer.
MAN'S BEST FRIEND is playing at Showcase.

This Book Sucks
Created by Mike Judge
Written by Sam Johnson and
Chris Marcil
MTV Books/Callaway/Pocket Books
The title says it all. "This Book
Sucks" is the inevitable printed trans-
lation of MTV's highest rated pro-
gram, "Beavis and Butt-head." It's a
potpourri of tasteless jokes, misogy-
nist art-work and poor grammar. If
you don't like "Beavis and Butt-head,"
you definitely won't become a fan by
reading this book.
After the "introsucktion," we are
introduced to the cast of
"caricatchers," or "some of the people
in town who we especially like to
whale on." There's Mr. Buzzcut, who
"was in some war, like M*A*S*H, or
whatever." Another of their teachers
is Mr. Van Driessen, a hippie reject
who "was at like that thing in the '60s.
That concert. Freedom Rock. The one
where Jimi Hendrix was killed or
something.
The rest of the book is a no-brainer.
There's a map of Beavis and Butt-
head's town, with a map key to de-
scribe what happens in each place.
Tom Anderson's house is easy to find,
"just look for a house with a big sign
spray painted on it." And there's al-
ways The Sound Silo, a "sucky music
store. They sell college music and
everybody wears big ugly glasses like
that english dude, Abbot Costello."
The book is occasionally educa-
tional. There's a list of "Guaranteed
Effective Pickup Lines" which in-
cludes "Uh, do you like come here
often, huh huh. I said 'come'."Or: "If
I was like the last man on earth I bet
we could do it in public." My per-
sonal favorite: "What's your sign? Is
it 'Yield?' Huh huh huh huh." It's
doubtful whether any of these would
work, but it's always worth a try.
What isn't worth a try is the "Ac-
tivities Section," which is sub-titled
"activities suck. Here's what we
mean." There's a truly impossible
word-find, where the included hint
goes something like "Can you find
the hidden words? Hint: No." And
there's a connect-the-hots that does
not make a picture. Really. Don't try
it. Don't let it suck you in. The only
passably fun activity is the "Let's
Color" section, which allows you to
finish decorating Mr. Anderson's
house after Beavis et. al. have already
spray-painted "burn me" and "spank
the monkey" onto it.
The "Hysterectomy of the World"
is very enlightening. Highlights in-
clude the invention of fire, Roman
times ("Orgies were cool"), the year
Ozzy was born (1870) and the '60s
("Zep kicks psychiatric '60s music's

ass"). And for any college student
who's getting sick of Ramen noodles,
just check out a few of B&B's reci-
pes. Try "Pudding Fun," which is
basically putting "choklate puding"
on a pair of clean underwear, then
eating the "puding" off of the under-
wear in front of Beavis after you've
bet him 10 "dolers" that you'll do it.
Aside from the concept of this
book being a media ploy to suck
money away from the millions of
eager consumers who make Beavis &
The biggest missing
element from the book
is the two boys'
critiques of music
videos. The boys' spur-
of-the-moment
comments about
popular culture are too
much a part of their
appeal to be ignored.
Butt-head popular, the book can't
capture whatever it is that makes the
show funny. Reading 'huh huh' on
the printed page just isn't a substitute
for Mike Judge's maniacal laugh.
The biggest missing element from
the book is the two boys' critiques of
music videos. The boys' spur-of-the-
moment comments about popular
culture are too much a part of their
appeal to be ignored. Unfortunately,
this book ignores those comments.
Without them, the book is just a mas-
sive collection of like, too many
words, dudes.
- Chris Lepley
The Right Word: A
Collection of All-
Occasion Romantic
Verses
Darold Gholston
Gholston Design, Inc.
Rather than providing poems for
any and every romantic moment, as
the title suggests, "The Right Word"
teaches two important lessons: be
wary ofpoetry labeled "all-occasion,"
and be even more wary of self-pub-
lished authors. Without the guidance
of a good editor, books get published
that could use some editorial stream-
lining. This is one of those books.
Gholston's poetry does address
all facets of romantic relationships.
However, I would hesitate to share
these poems with anyone Ireally love.
The fusion of poetry and self-help is
an interesting idea, but not one that
lends itself to original expressions of
love. The poems end up sounding
more like a "How To" book. The

opening poem, "Meet Me," ends with
the lines, "Here's my number. If
you're / interested, I will welcome
your call." Shakespeare and Keats,
you have nothing to fear.
The poems are divided into sec-
tions ("Tangible Love" and "Broken
Dreams" are two) that highlight vari-
ous stages of relationships. Each sec-
tion opens with a note from the poet
explaining what the section's poems
discuss. The self-help style of
Gholston's poetry rings loudest here,
overpowering Gholston's insights into
his poems. Worst of all, though, is
that his advice offers nothing new or
particularly insightful. The introduc-
tion to the second section, "Tangible
Love," urges the reader to "Nourish
the moment with quality time. No one
does it better than you." This is not a
romantic revelation.
At times Gholston's poetry even
fails to live up to his own advice. In
the poem, "Forever Falling," the poet
writes, "You're what I've been wait-
ing for / a strong, yet giving type."
Nourishing the moment and type-cast-
ing your lover do not strike this reader
as a good romantic mix. When
Gholston does meet the terms of his
own romantic agenda, he comes across
like a Country-Western nightmare.
In a few instances Gholston's po-
etry "transcends the boundaries of
greeting cards," as his introduction
promises. When the poet begins "Hard
to Resist" with the lines, "Hello su-
perstar model type, / How are you
doing today?" the poem resounds with
sarcastic humor. Unfortunately these
moments are a precious few, with the
majority of the poems falling into the
Hallmark school of poetry.
Another poem, "Unfair," begins
well. The poet contrasts "you" being
apart from "me" with famous couples
of history. His list includes interest-
ing pairs like "Edison and the light
bulb" and "Bell and the telephone,"
but soon sinks into a muddle of corn-
ball poetry with "Bacon and eggs"
and "Macaroni and cheese." As with
his romantic advice, this poem sounds
too much like something that's been
said many times before.
What may well be the most re-
vealing moment comes in the open-
ing lines of the poem "Heart of Re-
spect." Gholston writes, "I have come
to the realization / that mere words
alone can't reveal I how deeply my
heart feels." These lines may rever-
berate with more truth than the poet
realizes. The reader should take these
words to heart. If you can't express
your feelings of love yourself, you
will do well to turn to poetry. But you
will do even better to turn to a poet
other than Darold Gholston.
- Matthew Thorburn

This movie bites as bad as the dog. Cujo lovers will get a big kick.
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