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January 19, 1994 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-01-19

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's

'Cabin Boy' takes a
*plunge overboard
By SCOTT PLAGENHOEF
Poor Chris Elliot. He developed into one of the most refreshing, consis-
tently amusing features on the old "Late Night with David Letterman" show.
The Fox network rewarded him with his own network program, "Get a Life."
Chris as a 30-year-old paperboy living at home with his bathrobed parents.
Regrettably, it was moved from time slot to time slot. A consistent audience
could not be found and was canceled.
* L It is lamented to this day.
Cabin Boy Two years later, Elliot is given the
Written and Directed by Adam opportunity to star in his first feature
Resnick; with Chris Elliot and Brian film and it turns out to be a an utter
Doyle-Murray piece of garbage.
"Cabin Boy" is not entirely
unamusing. Elliot provides all of the humor through his usual antics of
effeminate, man-child stupidity, yet there is too much working against this
film from the beginning.
Elliot stars as a spoiled, rich schoolboy, who after graduation, instead of
getting on a cruise ship which is to take him to his father's hotel in Hawaii,
accidentally boards the delicately named fishing boat, "The Dirty Whore."
End of plot.
The four crew members of the "Whore" are each old, fat and drunk. End
of character development.
"The Dirty Whore" itself poses the large problem of being a very limited
setting for the characters with little comic possibilities. End of humor.
Horribly under-budgeted, the sets, whose quality rivals the latest claymation
techniques, are unavoidably distracting. The effects, needed to incorporate all
the best sea mythology into the plot, seem taken from "Jason & the Argo-
nauts," "Clash of the Titans" or any other horrible "B" movie in which
*Japanese men in rubber suits ravage small villages and docks.
Elliot does bring along quite a few friends for cameos in the film. From the
obvious, his real-life and "Get a Life" pa as his father in the film, to the
curiously asinine, Ricki Lake as a statue on the front of the boat. As also may
have been expected, David Letterman does make a cameo, one of the
highlights of the film. Dave comes on early, doing virtually the same type of
persona he does every weeknight.
Another late-night personality, Andy Richter, makes an extended cameo
as the boat's initial cabin boy. Richter also provides some humor, but for the
most part Conan O'Brian's sidekick suffers through his best Chris Farley
* imitation.
Which brings us all back to Elliot. Elliot is the film and does his best to save
it, but one has to wonder even if he is surrounded by an inventive cast of
supporting characters can he have an extended film career? Probably not.
Elliot has one character- himself. His talents are perfectly suited for network
television and the opportunity to be himself every week. Sadly his humor was
and is perfect for a 30-year-old paperboy who lives with his bathrobed parents.

r *W 0
"Tommy" mixes the best of Broadway musicals with some youthful rock n' roll enthusiasm. Catch it at the Masonic Temple Theatre starting tonight.
'Tomy'rocks a new generation

Alfonso X El Sablo
Cantigas de Santa Maria
Astrde
In the late middle ages, Castilian
King Alfonso X became compelled to
direct the composition of over 400
poetical-musical cantigas in devotion
to the Virgin Mary, enlisting theprow-
ess of northern Spain's the greatest
troubadours and song-smiths. While
the subject matter is far from unusual
in Medieval music, this recording of
13 cantigas from the original massive
manuscripts infuses these bygone
tunes with vitality and vigor.
Melding sacred Medieval choral
singing with secular troubadour in-
strumentation, this recording com-
bines the force of monophony with
jaunty melodies and driving rhythms.
*The Galician-Portuguese lyrics of
these 13th-century compositions are
sung by La Capella Reial de
Catalunya, while Hesperion XX
adeptly supply the instrumental sup-
port.
While the authors of these songs
remain unknown, they voice Alfonso
X's intense devotion to the Virgin
Mary. "Muito faz grand'erro" relates
Alfonso's miraculous deliverance
from illness by having the Cantigas
de Santa Maria placed upon him. The
calm and vocal clarity of "Santa Maria,
strela do dia" honestly conveys
Alfonso's praise and idyllic courtly
love for Santa Maria.
Hesprion XX's mastering of con-
templative ballads and rousing melo-
dies gives these songs an umph that
the vocalists alone could not muster.
With instrumentation like this, these
tunes may just last another 700 years.
- Chris Wyrod
H. P. Zlnker
Staying Loose
Energy Records
No, this band is not an accordion
group and it is not a new age guru's
--supporting act (or if they are, their
' liner notes and sound are both deceiv-
ing). What they are, however, is a
complicated matter. At various times,
they sound like everything from light
Queensryche to '70's funk to an ill-
conceived mix of They Might Be Gi-
ants and Smashing Pumpkins. Not to
say that Zinker retains any of the

are spread too thin musically and end
up having no force. Oh, well, the
music is fairly soft and it does have a
funky bass several times. Out of eigh-
teen songs, though, this has to be
expected. Perhaps the scattershot feel
of the album comes from the fact that
it is compiled from various tracks that
were either never released or only
available overseas. That doesn't make
it any better, though. Oh, and Evan
Dando sings on one track.
- Ted Watts
Doughboys
Crush
A&M Records
"Crush" is a decent pop-rock re-
lease from Canadian four-piece
Doughboys but is nothing overwhelm-
ingly spectacular. The musicianship
is capable, particularly Paul
Newman's drumming (not the actor
turned spaghetti sauce chef), and the
vocal harmonies are intriguing. How-
ever, with a few exceptions, "Crush"
falls flat.
The Doughboys are at best medio-
cre when they sound like late Re-
placements and the Goo Goo Dolls
("Fix Me" and "Tearin' Away"). This
isn't saying a whole lot, but then the
band isn't delivering anything new.
Their melodic ballads ("Neighbor-
hood Villain" and "Treehouse") are
boring and drag two minutes too long.
There are three really good songs
scattered throughout the record and,
ironically, the first is entitled "Shitty
Song." The fuzz guitar and distortion
spice up a song that would have been
just another boring ballad. "Every-
thing" is a rocker with strong rhythm
and chord progressions. "Summer
Song" is a good song that brings the
album to a close. However, unless
you're into midwest rock bands, you
won't find much to like about "Crush."
- Matt Carlson

By MELISSA ROSE BERNARDO
With the invention of rock 'n' roll,
the Broadway musical seemed to have
lost its identity. The young crowd was
jamming to rock, but the older folks
were buying the tickets to "Hello,
Dolly" and other commercially-ap-
pealing musicals. So a couple of au-
thors tried "rock musicals"; that is,
rock music to appeal to younger audi-
ences, watered down so as not to
alienate the elders. "Hair," "Jesus
Christ Superstar" and "Chess" were
all successful in their own right, but
they were billed as musical theater,
written by musical theater people.
Enter "Tommy," a rock musical
actually written by rock musicians -
more specifically, Pete Townshend
of The Who. Beginning in 1969,
"Tommy" has survived countless in-
carnations - an album (performed
by The Who), a concert, a classical
recording, a ballet and a film - the
latest being a smash-hit stage musi-
cal. (It opened on Broadway April 22,
1993, and won Tony Awards for
Score, Director of a musical, Chore-
ography, Scenic Design and Lighting
Design. It also broke day-after-open-
ing box office records.) Tonight
"Tommy" hits Detroit's Masonic
Temple for a three-week stint, and
promises to sweep audiences up in
the fervor of rock'n' roll of days past.
The first national touring com-
pany stars former MTV "VJ" Steve
Isaacs as Tommy. In a recent phone
interview, Isaacs discussed the show
and the role of Tommy.
"It's the story of a boy trying to
find himselfagainst odds that are from
inside him," Isaacs summarized. At
age four, Tommy witnesses his father
murder his mother's lover, and the
event drives him into a "deaf, dumb
and blind" state. So Tommy goes
through his whole life in this almost

autistic state, enduring numerous other
torments and traumas. He is molested
by his uncle, abused by his cousin, his
parents plan to give him away, but
eventually he uncovers a hidden tal-
ent - playing pinball. Tommy be-
comes famous for being a "Pinball
Wizard," and when he wakes from his
deaf, dumb and blind state, discovers
that he has become a superstar.
Isaacs finds many challenges in
the role of Tommy. "My personal
challenge is to every night try some-
thing a little bit new to give the inner
life of the character more depth," he
said. The structure of the show
"Tommy" is also a challenge for him.
"It's kind of this new hybrid of musi-
cal theater show. It's not your average
'Phantom of the Opera' or 'Show-
boat' kind of a vibe. It moves really,
really quickly, so there are some physi-
cal demands," he said.
But the pace of the show also
poses a challenge for the audience. In
"Tommy" there are no pauses for
scene changes, nor are there those
ubiquitous spots for applause after
huge numbers. Additionally, there is
about a paragraph of actual spoken
dialogue in the whole show.
"The show is structured so that
you just sit down and watch it and
experience it. And because it moves
so fast, it doesn't spell anything out
for you. You have to really watch
what's happening on stage, listen to,
the lyrics and put the pieces together,"
Isaacs explained.
"Tommy" is also in a peculiar
position in musical theater history, as
most critics and audiences admit it is
caught between genres: So is it musi-
cal theater or is it rock 'n' roll?
"Now it's definitely both and
they're both intertwined. Pete
(Townshend) is gifted enough that he
came up with something that could

survive many different interpretations
... from being a record to being a
ballet to being a movie. The play is
much more taking 'Tommy' seriously
as a dramatic piece, and it just hap-
pens to be told with rock music in-
stead of any other kind.
"So this is pretty much the first
'rock musical,' because it was a rock
musician who wrote it. I think
'Tommy' now has pretty much run
the gamut of descriptions," Isaacs said.
Isaacs, along with many theater
critics and aficionados, would like to
see more rock musicians writing mu-
sicals. "I think the theater could use it
right now," he stated, "Broadway is
100 years old this year, and this year
on Broadway they've got so many
revivals it's not funny. So I think if
this can really inspire some rock mu-
sicians to get pretentious and really
push the envelope and find out what
they're made of, that would be great."
Perhaps it already has. Elton John has
just completed a rock musical for
Disney, and rumor has it that Billy
Joel has one in the works.
If rock musicians are inspired by

the power of "Tommy," so too are the
audiences. "('Tommy') really taps
into your emotions in a real potent
way. I think it's really great that this
kind of piece inspires younger people
to come check it out ... And then
people like my parents age can come
and kind of relive their past and see
where 'Tommy' has come from since
'69," Isaacs said.
Audiences are waking up and
smelling the vibrancy of "Tommy."
Perhaps what we've been breathlessly
awaiting has finally arrived - the
rock artist who will liberate Broad-
way from the second raters. Greet-
ings, Savior.
TOMMY will play at the Masonic
Temple Theatre (500 Temple
Avenue, Detroit) tonight through
February 6. Performances are
Tuesday through Saturday at 8
p.m., Sunday at 7:30 p.m. and
Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Tickets range from $25 to $47.50.
Call (313) 645-6666 or any
TicketMaster for tickets. Call (313)
832-2232 for directions or more
information.

LS&A SCHOLARSHIP
LS&A Scholarship application for Spring-Summer 1994 and
Fall-Winter 994-1995 are now available
In 1402 Mason Hall
To qualify for scholarship consideration, a student must be an LS&A
un ergraduate and have completed one full term in LS&A. Sopho-
mores must have a U of M grade point of 3.7 or better and Juniors
and Seniors must have a G A of at least 3.6. The awards are based
on financial need and academic merit.

MORTAR BOARD
National Senior Honor Society
Since 1918
Dedicated to scholarship,
leadership & service.
Interested Juniors can
pick up information sheet at
CIC desk, North Campus Information
Desk or Room 4115 Michigan Union.
Information sheet due January 28, 1994
??Questions call Leah at 764-0078

-You Can Have More Fun...
at the 18 'Ā«rganizations which comnprise the 'superstructutre that is [.C
We'r., the largest student org<,anization qt the Univ esits of Mlichigan1.
The Unit crsity Acti ities C ontor has something for you..

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