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February 14, 1994 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-02-14

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 14, 1994

Pucker up with
Ernest Hemingway
this Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day is not as bad as it seems, even if nobody loves you. Sure,
your friends who are continuing their fifth year of perfect relationships
frequently remind you that sex is better with another person. So what if nobody
sent you flowers, chocolates, or even bothered to call? This is a university, and
there are plenty of options for those who know love is just an excuse to be
Putzing around a bookstore on the most romantic day of the year is a great
way to remind yourself that love and the pursuit of higher knowledge do not
coexist. Borders has created the combination "Sex/Death" aisle for your
benefit, and placed it conveniently next to their "Addiction/Recovery" shelves.
Putzing around a bookstore on the most
romantic day of the year is a great way to
remind yourself that love and the pursuit of
higher knowledge do not coexist.
Knowledge is power and assures you of achieving your (non-romantic) goals.
There are a number of struggling writers who obsessed over unrequited
love and became literary giants. Who knew Ernest Hemingway would predict
the existential despair of John Bobbitt in the classic man-who-cannot-love
saga "The Sun Also Rises"? F. Scott Fitzgerald told us money can't buy love
even before the Beatles in "The Great Gatsby". He was probably wrong, but
you can pretend you accomplished something by reading it.
If you're looking for something more contemporary and with less literary
ambition, V.C. Andrews has made a fortune with her tales of incest, greed and
lust. "Flowers in the Attic" and the million sequels proved not only that you
can find love close to home, but that it is possible to write new novels five years
after you die.
Speaking of odd breeding, Fabio has "written" a new romance novel;
unfortunately I was unable to find it before the English 230 classes snapped up
the remaining copies. While Fabio admits the book was ghost-written, he
assures the general public that the general plot lines (man and woman meet and
fall in love; man looks like Fabio, wishes woman did) are all his own.
"How can I go on living when I am a loveless slug?" The answer: page 153,
"Dianetics." L. Ron Hubbard's classic on self-improvement is almost as
helpful as making up your own pseudo-scientific religious bible to follow. For
those inclined to seek more professional help, infomercial queen Susan Powter
discusses bad haircuts and her mantra "Stop. Move. Breathe." in "Stop the
Insanity." Yellingthe title alone assures immediate karmic improvement, and
may win you a date with Susan Powter.
Comic strips are a fun way to pass the day while your roommate has
occupied the room. Scott Adams has written several books on the mishaps of
male nerd epitome Dilbert and his talking dog Dogbert. "Dogbert's Clues for
the Clueless" is the latest volume, and includes the romantic line of the decade:
"I had a fascinating dream about you last night. It was a warm summer night
on the beach, the moon was full ... you appeared as a field rodent. I crushed
you with a big flat rock."
Horror writers have a way to make anyone feel better about their love life.
Robert McCammon's short story "Eat Me" (from the "Book of the Dead"
anthology) might seem like just another tale of boy-eats-girl, but it's filled with
a deep appreciation of zombies in love. Kathe Koja's "Skin" is the best novel
about sadomasochistic lesbian body-piercing performance artists I've ever
read; it touched that part in all of us. If you want to be a misanthrope for the
rest of your life, read Bret Easton Ellis's underrated "American Psycho," and
get sick enough not to want to touch anyone ever again.
So if you are still not convinced that Valentine's Day has something for
everybody, you might want to head to the bookstore and read the latest
Harlequin romance. It's right next to the copy of "Final Exit."

v_ k
In concert with Rodan and '68 Comeback last Wednesday, Rocket From the Crypt survived bad acoustics in the Union Ballroom and played a great show. .
Rocket From the Cryt is cPira now

This second concert presented at the Union by
UAC, featured three up and coming bands: the
relatively obscure, rockabilly-based '68 Come-
back, Touch And Go newcomers Rodan, and the

Rocket From the Crypt with
Rodan and '68 Comeback
Michigan Union Ballroom
February 9, 1994
San Diego-based, MTV-friendly "alleged punk
rockers" Rocket From the Crypt. That the show
was attended by the same 100 people that attend
all "alternative" shows and the poor acoustics and
sound system in the ballroom could have mired
many other bands in noisy tedium, but Rocket
From the Crypt delivered a blistering set that
blasted away the competition.
Rodan, however, were not quite so fortunate.

Their mumbling female bassist, scrawny, screaming
guitarists, waves of feedback and spoken-word in-
terludes are just a little too reminiscent of Sonic
Youth circa 1987. It's been done before and done
better, but at least Rodan imitate the best; their art-
punk meandering is pretty good, if not original.
Their play list consisted of most of their debut
album, "Rusty," including such songs as "Milk,"
"Tooth" and "Shiner." Alternately arty and graceful
or arty and screechy, their set was overly long for an
opening band at nearly an hour and a half. The
audience responded accordingly; Rodan got a mixed
but mostly tepid reception.
The surprise appearance of the evening was '68
Comeback, who were a good hour late for their
opening slot. However, better that the Comeback
came late than never-their mix of blues, rockabilly
and punk had good melodies and guitar stylings.
Unfortunately, the worse-than-average sound qual-
ity turned their twang thang into clunky, near inde-
cipherable noise, and slurred beyond recognition the
lead singer's Memphis drawl. Their 28-minute set
was mostly wasted on the rather uptight audience,

who found the age and white-trash quality of the
band unamusing. But '68 Comeback managed to
move a few: as one enthusiastic concertgoer e-
claimed, "Boy, I wish my dad was in a band!"
After an interminable wait, Rocket From the
Crypt blew the crowd away with force and vol-
ume. Their material sounds even better live than
on their albums "Paint as a Fragrance," "Circa:
Now!" and their singles collection "All Systems
Go!" The horns, a trademark of their sound, gained
more clarity and mixed with the guitar in a cool,
loud way. They played most of the material from
"Circa: Now!" including the singles "Sturdy
Wrists," and "Ditch Digger," and the album tracks
"Don't Darlene," and "Killy Kill."
All in all, the band shone as brightly as the
disco balls hanging from the ceiling. Along with
their swell outfits, their novel use of horns (bands
such as Frank Black, Mighty Mighty Bosstones,
and the Cows are some of their brass-playing
peers) and traditional indie screaming will justify
the band's rocketing into the alternative main-
stream. A fun, if exhausting show.

'Like Water For Chocolate'cooks up passion

The Daily
wants you
to write for fine arts,
Call 763-0379.

Recommending foreign films to
some people is like asking them to eat
their broccoli without cheese sauce.
They abhor the thought of subtitles
and immediately fall victim to the
stereotype that foreign films mean.
Like Water for
Written by Laura Esquirel; Directed
by Alfonso Arau; with Lumi Cavazos
and Marco Leonardi
weird and have no place in their do-
mestic movie repertoire.
Fortunately for all viewers, the
Mexican film "Like Water for Choco-
late," subtitles and all, does every-
thing in its power to convince the
most patriotic moviegoer that even
Hollywood has rarely produced a film
so rich in romance, imagination and
pure entertainment.
"Like Water for Chocolate" is
based on the novel by Laura Esquirel
and follows its lead quite closely. Tita
(Lumi Cavazos) has the unfortunate
fate of being the family's last daugh-

ter and is therefore barred from mar-
riage in order to care for Mama Elena
(Regina Tome) in her old age. She
accidentally falls in love with the
charming Pedro (Marco Leonardi),
but the dictatorial Mama will have no
breaking of rules and works to keep
Tita single and virginal. In order to
remain close to his beloved, Pedro
marries her less desirable sister,
Rosaura (Yareli Arizmendi), and
moves into the family house, now
under Tita's domestic care.
What makes "Like Water for
Chocolate" such an original is its abil-
ity to integrate Tita's magical cook-
ing ability with the hardships of her
virtual imprisonment. She quickly
learns that if she cannot have Pedro in
the physical sense, she can at least
enter his soul through the passionate
culinary concoctions that are whis-
pered in her ear by the ghost of Nacha
(Ada Carrasco), Tita's only source of
motherly affection.
As the basis for a successful film,
this all may seem a bit far-fetched.
But in fact, it seems that the unrealis-
tic aspects of the film are where its
beauty lies. Once under the spell of
"Like Water for Chocolate," the audi-
ence finds it easy to abandon reality in

place of the more interesting concept
of imagination. Consequently, when
Tita's rose petal meal drives her sister
Gertrudis (Claudette Maille) into a
very heated orgasmic state and her
tears of agony cause Rosaura's entire
bridal reception to retch after eating
the cake in which they dripped, Tita's
temporary liberation is transferred
onto those observing it.
Visually, "Like Water for Choco-
late" is as effective as Tita's edible
masterpieces. The unglamorous,
cramped image of Tita sweating or
crying in her kitchen captures the
smell of the food and the desperation
which drives her to please Pedro, even
if it is through his stomach. And the
ever-present backdrop of the remote
Mexican ranch is a fitting setting for
both the untamed passion between
Tina and Pedro and the antiquated
tyranny of Mama Elena.
Although much of the film's power
comes from its visual effects and the
repeated use of the supernatural, the
subtle interactions between charac-
ters provide a necessary contrast.
Cavazos and Leonardi create one of
the most passionate screen relation-
ships but do so primarily without
touch. In one scene, Tita bends over,

reveals her untouchable breast to
Pedro and with no other stimulation,
triggers an impressive display of
sexual tension between the two for-
bidden lovers. This is only one ex-
ample of many scenes that make "Like
Water for chocolate" one of the
steamiest films around.
Even though Tita and Pedro's
struggle is the main vehicle of plot,
director Alfonso Arau succeeds at
creating high intensity even when they
are not under the spotlight. Maille's
spirited portrayal of Gertrudis, the
quintessential liberated woman, is so
energetic that she virtually jumps out
of the screen, while her uninhibited
sexuality cleverly counters Tita's at-*
tempt to conceal her lustful urges.
Adding yet another dimension,
even Rosaura, Pedro's consolation
bride, gets a piece of the action. As if
forced to suffer for Tita's heartache,
she acquires an incurable flatulence
that Pedro confesses is ruining thei
sex life. Miraculously, amongst thO
flair of "Like Water for Chocolate,"
even such bathroom humor earns an
originality that makes it hilarious.
is playing at the Michigan Theater
on Monday and Tuesday.

'Bad Seed' personifies hokey horror without ski masks

"She's a murderer, but she's my
little girl." Now that's a devoted par-
ent. How out of place would that
The Bad Seed
Directed by Mervyn LeRoy; with
Nancy Kelley and Patty McCormack
attitude be today? Yet, how out of
place is this film today? Unlike mod-

ern horror films, "The Bad Seed,"
made in 1956, is a film that contains
no blood, no gore, and no ski-masked,
dysfunctional lunatic-chasing bikini-
clad camp counselors around a de-
serted island while they scream bloody
murder. It also has no male lead. It
also has a reasonably direct plot. It
also happens to be so much more
frightening, hokey and enjoyable than
any recent horror film could ever hope
to be that to miss it would be an
absolute travesty.
Yes, hokey with a capital "H."

Everything is spoken in that quick,
whispery, melodramatic tone so in-
dicative of the '50s. The little girl is
endlessly polite to a mama who calls
her "darling" and a papa who greets
her daily by asking, "What would you
give me for a basket of kisses?" to
which little Rhoda joyously replies,
"A basket of hugs!" Yet the sense that
something evil is brewing beneath all
this superficiality gives the film an
edge so eerie that you positively cringe
every time Rhoda flashes one of her
Kool-aid smiles; she is wonderfully
Eight-year-old Rhoda (Patty
McCormack) is a good girl. She minds
her mama, helps around the house
and works hard in school. Trouble is,
she's a little snoiled. She doesn't like

it when people won't give her what
she wants. However, she's so sweet
and good-natured that most of the
time they do. And if they won't? Well,
Rhoda isn't afraid to assert herself.
She usually gets what she wants, one
way or another.
Even though an older woman with
whom Rhoda used to spend a great
deal of time had mysteriously died in
Rhoda's presence, Mama sees no rea-
son to be alarmed when a rival class-
mate of Rhoda's, a boy who had just
received a metal much coveted by
Rhoda, also mysteriously dies in
Rhoda's presence. However, the good
sisters of Rhoda's school are not so
blind. Neither is the boy's mother. It
is at this point that their ultra-perfect
See SEED. Pae 11



V Y A./' . . a ..r

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