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February 18, 1994 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-02-18

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 18, 1994
Pass the 'Chips,' please
'Blue Chips' overcomes predictability with action

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By KEN SUGIURA
Watching "Blue Chips" is a little
like watching its star, Shaquille
O'Neal, post up for one of his thun-
derous dunks.
Most of the time, you have a de-
cent idea of what's coming, and you
aren't surprised when it happens. Even
Blue Chips
Written by Ron Shelton; directed by
William Friedkin; with Nick Nolte,
Shaquille O'Neal and Mary
McDonnell.
still, just like an O'Neal rim-rattling
jam, the movie proves to be entertain-
ing all the same.
The story of a down-on-its-luck
college basketball team, "Blue Chips"
takes a look into the high-pressure,
oft-hypocritical world of big-time ath-
letics. While the issues presented --
payoffs, slimy boosters, etcetera -
are nothing new to the average col-
lege basketball fan, and the plot is
rather predictable, "Blue Chips" is a
likeable movie due to its realistic bas-
ketball action, amusing cameos and
an intriguing inside peek at the world
of the college game.
It is another superlative achieve-
ment for writer / producer Ron

Shelton, who had a hand in the excel-
lent sports-based films "Bull Durham"
and "White Men Can't Jump."
"Blue Chips" centers itself around
the mythical Western University Dol-
phins, a once-proud team that hangs
all kinds of championship banners
from its arena's rafters but has fallen
on hard times of late, posting its first
losing season in years at the film's
outset.
The fall from the top is attribut-
able to the fact that the Dolphins'
coach, the stressed-out Pete Bell (Nick
Nolte) is steadfast in his desire to run
a "clean" program, refusing to lure
recruits to campus with cash and in-
sistent in his demand for his players to
be model student-athletes, attending
class and earning diplomas.
By refusing to cheat, Bell cannot
land the all-stars, settling for the cli-
che "good kids," nice guys who try
hard on the court and do well in the
classroom, but are second-rate
ballplayers. Their inability to pro-
duce wins has the boosters and alumni
unhappy and the media calling for
Bell's head.
Nolte's character, volatile but truly
concerned for the welfare of his play-
ers, closely resembles Indiana's Bob
Knight, after whom Nolte modeled
his characterization. (Knight actually
has a cameo role, coaching his Hoo-

siers in the climatic game.)
Following the season, Bell and his
staff decide that in order to get some
wins, it will need some top recruits, or
in recruiting parlance, blue chips.
The search ends with three pros-
pects, the ghetto-dwelling Butch
McCrae (Anfernee Hardaway), farm
boy Ricky Roe (Matt Nover), and the
unknown diamond-in-the-rough from
backwoods Algiers, Louisiana, Neon
Bodeaux (O'Neal).
It becomes apparent, however, that
in order for their services, they will
require something in return from Bell.
For McCrae, a new home and job for
his mother; for Roe, cash and a tractor
for his dad; for Bodeaux, anew Lexus.
As boosters and the recruits them-
selves remind Bell of the hypocritical
nature of college basketball -
coaches get six-figure salaries and
shoe endorsement deals, the players
who earn the wins and wear the shoes
get nothing -the temptation of land-
ing the three players on his team and
reviving the program finally proves
too great.
Like the Dolphins, "Blue Chips"
too is made a winner by the three
recruits. O'Neal and Hardaway, who
both play for the NBA's Orlando
Magic, and Nover, who played
collegiately for Indiana, had no prior
acting experience, but the three de-

Nick Nolte gives Shaquille O'Neal some acting pointers, which apparently paid off in "Blue Chips."

liver decent performances. The star is
Hardaway, who shines in a scene in
which he tells Bell that he is homesick
and wants to leave school.

Other cameos include Knight,
Larry Bird, announcer Dick Vitale
and a host of former college greats in
the basketball footage, including

Bobby Hurley and former Wolver-
ines Eric Riley and Demetrius Calip.
BLUE CHIPS is playing at
Briarwood and Showcase.

Wonder Stuff keeps tradition alive in mainstream

By THOMAS CROWLEY .1
Lyrically, singer/songwriter and
guitarist Miles Hunt of the Wonder
Stuff as always been brash. Songs
like "Astley in the Noose" and "It's
Yer Money I'm After, Baby" have
ranked Hunt and the Wonder Stuff
among the best of Britain's cheeky
guitar-pop outfits.
The tradition continues on the
Stuff's latest LP, "Construction for
the Modern Idiot" which features 12
new songs performed in the band's
typically anthemic style, but written
with a slightly different objective than
some of the older tunes.
"I just thought that maybe I over-
generalize and never really hit the
nail on the head in a lot of my early
stuff," Hunt said, "so I wanted to get
in tighter with the subject - you
know, start a story off, explain what it
is, and then finish it off."
For Hunt, "Construction for the
Modern Idiot," was a project which
allowed the band to write and record
their new material in a way which
they hadn'ton theirlast album, "Never
Loved Elvis" and pull taut the loose
ends of their song structures.
"With the third (album)," said
Hunt, "we hadn't really bothered to
do any rehearsing or finishing off of
the songs before we went into the
studio, which is stupid, really. We
knew that we needed to get that done
before, so we built a studio, rehearsed
in there for a bout six or seven months,
and wrote those songs."
The result of their latest recording
session has yielded a strong collec-
tion of consistently clever rock songs
set amidst fiddle, accordion, sitar and
organ accompaniment. Themes range
from a venomous attack on the
pedophilic Man-Boy Love Associa-
tion in "I Wish Them All Dead" to a
contemplation of art versus
commerciality in "On the Ropes."
With Hunt's new songwriting ap-
proach has also come a change in his
attitude toward fans. Hunt was once
regarded as intolerant and unap-
proachable. The confrontational
stance taken by Hunt in past years
was not always confined to his songs.
Often, fans eager to obtain an auto-

'With the third (album)
... we hadn't really
bothered to do any
rehearsing or finishing
off of the songs before
we went into the
studio, which is stupid,
really. We knew that
we needed to get that
done before, so we
built a studio,
rehearsed in there for a
bout six or seven
months, and wrote
those songs.'
- Miles Hunt, guitarist
of the Wonder Stuff
graph would receive nothing short of
a harsh dismissal from the frontman.
Thoughtful reflection and a growing
familiarity with his fanbase via their
letters have signaled a change in
Hunt's attitude.
"I suppose it's just me getting a
little bitolderand appreciating people-
a bit more," Hunt said, "I write a lot of
letters every month to kids that write
to us, and I suppose having a bit more
of an understanding of the people
who like the band, I don't feel quite so
strange now when I meet people on
the street."
Half-way through the Wonder
Stuff's American tour, Hunt is quite
content with the impact the band has
had internationally, and of the posi-
tive reaction from the press. He still,
however, considers his songs to be
first and foremost for his own benefit.
"Whether it makes any sense to any-
body else doesn't really matter ... it's
designed for our ears, really."
THE WONDER STUFF will invade
St. Andrew's Hall tomorrow night,
February 19. Tickets are only $8.50
in advance; if you're 18 or over, the
doors open at 9 p.m.

RECORDS
Continued from page 5
dependably sensitive ballads, it's no
surprise that "So Far So Good" is just
that - good. The album opens with
the '80s classic "Summer of '69,"
then moves from the slower "Straight
From the Heart" to the Tina Turner
duet "It's Only Love." The album's
tempo progresses in this way, rising
and falling in degrees, so that the
ballads, including "Do I Have to Say
the Words" and "Heaven," arrive in
just the right spots.
All the hits are here, from 1983's
"Cuts Like a Knife" to newest chart-
topper "Please Forgive Me." Other
songs, like"This Time," "Run to You"
and "Heat of the Night" gain new
energy from their position on the col-
lection and sound better than ever.
Basically a worthwhile album - if
you like Bryan Adams, of course.
-- Kristen Knudsen
David Bowie
Singles 1969-1993
Rykodisc
After all this time, it might be a
little too easy to forget that at one time
David Bowie was the most daring,
innovative musician in rock 'n' roll.
Over the past decade, he has seemed
a little lost, bouncing between unin-
spired efforts like "Tonight" and
"Never Let Me Down" and the mis-
understood experimental guitar-rock
of Tin Machine. With last yea'r's
"Black Tie White Noise," he recorded
his strongest album since 1980's
"Scary Monsters (And Super
Creeps)," but it got lost when his
record label folded shortly after its
release. All of these factors taken
together (along with his recitation of
the Lord's Prayer at the Freddy Mer-
cury Tribute Concert) have made
Bowie appear as abefuddled old clown
instead of the savage hipster that he
once was. Fortunately, Rykodisc's
two disc collection, "The Singles
1969-1993," elegantly salvages his
recently tarnished reputation.
Taking the single-disc collection,
"Changesbowie," one step further,
"The Singles 1969-1993" gathers all
of Bowie's hits, which are still strik-

ing in their musical range and depth.
From the folky "Space Oddity" and
the epic pop of "Changes" through
the glittery hard-rock of "Ziggy
Stardust" and "Rebel Rebel," the
white-soul of "Young Americans" and
"Golden Years," to the cold yet mov-
ing synth explorations of "Be My
Wife" and "Heroes" back to the dance-
rock of "Let's Dance" and "China
Girl," there isn't a bad song in the
batch. And the B-sides and forgotten
songs are even better. Such overlooked
gems as the gorgeous "Drive-In Sat-
urday" and "Life On Mars?" are just
as impressive as ignored latter-day
singles like "Loving the Alien" and
"Absolute Beginners." Throughout
the two discs there isn't a slow mo-
ment and there's not a song that
doesn't testify to the fact that Bowie
was a true pop visionary.
- Tom Erlewine
Bailter Space
B. E. I.P.
Matador
Bailter Space's latest EP finds
them treading ground between neu-
rotic and psychotic indie-rock. After
opening with the calm, three-chord
pop stylings of "X," the album then
plunges into the angst-ridden nervous-
ness of "Projects," with its fiery, feed-
back-riff stylings which seem to sim-
ply break free and lose control several
times throughout the song.
"Robot World" and "E.I. P.,"taken'
from Bailter Space's latest album,
have more of an experimental, almost
industrial feel to them, but still retain
the same mood of anxiety through-
out. The samples of metallic rume
blings on "E. I. P." and the pained",,
anguish present on "Robot World"
add a mood of coldness and severityi
to the ever-present feeling of immi--
nent breakdown.
The best moments on "B. E. I. P."
are those where the simple song struc,-
tures that they utilize are pushed to
the brink of collapsing in a wall of
noise and feedback and suddenly res-
cued at the last minute. On nearly
every track, this technique is utilized
to its fullest extent, making "B. E. I.
P." a brilliant taste of anxiety-ridden
rock.
- Andy Dolan

The Wonder Stuff is among Britain's best "cheeky guitar-pop outtits."

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