Respect 'Jason's' message
By JOSHUA RICH
Following in aline of fine and successful movies depict-
ing life in the big city ghetto, "Jason's Lyric" is achallenging
and impressive film. Like "Boyz N the Hood" and "Do the
Right Thing" before it, this movie brings its audience into a
world of poverty and violence. But it also adds a poignant
Directed by Doug
Allen Payne and
love story and
of relationships in
this traumatic so-
ing excellent di-
rection and screen
writing with im-
this film succeeds
in truly character-
izing the apparent hoodlums that live in the streets and the
people who love them.
The movie begins with Jason (Allen Payne), a young
man living in the Houston slums, remembering his child-
hood relationship with his brother, Joshua (Bokeem Wood-
One), and his father, Maddog (Forrest Whitaker). While
Maddog dearly loves his boys, he returns from Vietnam an
injured, abusive alcoholic who beats his wife and threatens
his family. Even though Jason is not troubled by his father's
acute behavior, this severely disturbs his brother. The film
cleverly uses this sequence as a reference point as it proceeds
to show the outcome of these two boys.
The brothers are shown next as young men, and in the
years that have passed, the boys have, as their mother states,
become "like night and day." Josh has been in and out ofjail.
e is a petty criminal who can not find direction or quality
his life. Jason, meanwhile, is a gentle young man with a
steady job and sound morals. His one tragic flaw is that he
loves and feels the need to protect his derelict brother.
The film follows this relationship to its climax. As Jason
falls in love with the beautiful Lyric (Jada Pinkett), Josh
become envious of his good fortune and becomes increas-
ingly violent and felonious. Although he and Lyric long to
Every single performance in the film
is believable and engaging, which
comes as a great surprise
considering the ensemble of
relatively unknown actors.
escape, Jason's concern for Josh keeps him in the neighbor-
hood where he doesn't belong. As Lyric wisely tells Jason
when it appears that he will risk his life to save Josh,
"Sometimes heroes have to walk away."
McHenry's direction of the film is generally solid. The
only main flaws are the occasionally confusing scenes and
a slow plot. These are overshadowed, however, by the film's
unconventional, yet refreshing manner of storytelling, and
its impeccable acting. This is the film's finest quality.
Every single performance in the film is believable and
engaging, which comes as a great surprise considering the
ensemble of relatively unknown actors. Fresh from a superb
debut in the HBO movie "Strapped," Woodbine plays Josh
with amazing daring and conviction. Never does he present
his character as a simple maniacal criminal, but rather as a
disturbed young man who simply can not do the right thing.
Throughout the entire film, Josh descends into the hell in
which he lives, and Woodbine is infallible in his conveyance
of this fall.
Payne is also impressive as Jason. He presents his
character as a successful and caring young man who is as
troubled as his brother, although not as severely affected by
their childhood traumas. Hence, thejuxtaposition of Wood-
bine and Payne on screen together provides a startling look
into the relationship of two very similar brothers who have
taken very different paths in life. Supported by a full cast of
talented actors, these two guide "Jason's Lyric" into the
hearts and minds of all that understand and respect its
message. Namely, that love and devotion are strongest in a
world of evil.
JASON'S LYRIC is now playing at Showcase.
While it may appear that Meryl is rowing a canoe, she is actually preparing to hit Kevin Bacon with two rolling pins.
Mey ues the" 'Rier Wild'
By PRASHANT TAMASKAR
For the last 20 years, Meryl Streep
has proven her acting genius by por-
traying a wide range of characters, re-
ceiving Oscar nomination after nomi-
FN- CRE IE-W_
The River Wild
Directed by Curtis
Hanson; with Meryl
Streep and Kevin
It seems that Wade and his friend
need someone to help them cross the
river into Canada in order to complete
a robbery. Standing in their way is the
"Little Niagara," a series of rapids so
treacherous that it's illegal for anyone
to even attempt to conquer it. Thus, the
protagonists must defend themselves
from their abductors and the power of
Streep is strong and courageous
acter is always believable, areal person
who never appears overdramatic. Ba-
con, although initially benign, has a
menacing look and attitude that never
permits full trust, making him an excel-
However, the real star of this film is
Robert Elswit, the director of photog-
raphy. He captures the beauty and splen
dor of the canyons of the Northwest so
effectively that it is often hard to pay
attention to the characters, who seem to
pale in comparison. These scenes will
excite you and capture your imagina
tion even if the movie does not.
But the movie should be enough to
entertain. Although the resolution is
not extremely convincing, the majority
of the film is. The idea of people being
held hostage on a raft facing raging
waters is a fairly engaging notion. And
with Meryl Streepmaintaining herusual
standard of excellence, it is rather hard
not to enjoy.
THE RIVEKWiLD i3sTpdYing at
Showcase and Briarwood.
Red Hot + Country: A Benefit
for AIDS Education and Relief
A truly fine example of what hap-
pens when a benefit album is created
from one genre of songs and a com-
pletely different genre of music. Like,
let's cram together all the biggest names
country music and make them sing
ongs their parents listened to.
The fourth in a benefit series called
"Red Hot+ ...," the album is not with-
out,merit. For example, Sammy
Kershaw does James Taylor's "Fire
and Rain" arguably better than ol' J.T.
himself. His voice makes one wonder
where the hell he's been hiding it for
last two years. Seriously, it's the best
song on the disc.
0 And Crosby, Stills & Nash team up
with recent State Fair headliners Suzy
Bogguss and Kathy Mattea to do an
authentic "Teach Your Children."
The Johnny Cash /Brooks & Dunn
team is a cross-generational dream
come true, but they could have chosen
a better song than "Folsom Prison
Blues." Not red. Not hot.
But blues seems to be the underly-
g theme of all but the first two songs.
Tash goes solo on a practically suicidal
version of "Forever Young," during
which you can easily picture him sing-
ing from the corner of a prison cell.
Willie Nelson is pining for Patsy in his
dreary "Crazy" (I heard it sung better at
Karaoke by some drunk guy the other
After a few songs nobody's ever
heard of done by artists of comparable
popularity, Dolly Parton wakes up the
mix with "You Gotta Be My Baby;"
someone pulled it out of the closet, but
Dolly is just perky enough to liven up.
And she means it.
It's a good cause, and best of luck.
Too bad the Friars already stole the
title "Random" from these guys,
- Michelle Lee Thompson
The History of Our World Part
One: Breakbeat & Jungle
Ultramix by DJ DB
Regardless of what you call this
type of music: Breakbeat, Jungle,
Ragga Rave, etc., it is the sound that is
sweeping Europe. Jungle is heard ev-
erywhere in the West Side of London:
streaming from the windows of cars, in
clothing stores and especially at clubs.
With much of techno music either be-
coming hopelessly clich6d or pitifully
commercial, there has been a void in
underground dance music that is being
filled by Jungle.
Breakbeat music derives its name
from the rhythm tracks, which are sped
up breakdancing music; much in the
same way that House music is sped-up
soul music. Breakbeat has the type of
originality and innovation that marked
the earlier techno and dance music.
The Break DJs are perhaps some of the
most experimental DJs today.
This album provides an easy intro-
duction into the history of Jungle mu-
sic. The album starts out with "Mr.
Kirk's Nightmare" by 4 Hero and does
not slow down until the last track-the
aptly named "A New Breed of Ravers"
by DJ-SS. This album has no slow or
boring moments. Each track is impor-
tant to the whole and entirely danceable.
DJ DB mixes so adroitly that the tran-
nation for her work. If the thought of
her as a river-guide leading a group of
people through a wild rafting adven-
ture-thriller seems a bit far-fetched, do
not be alarmed. In "The River Wild,"
she once again displays why she is
thought of by many to be the finest
female actor on the silver screen.
Streep is Gail, a teacher for the deaf,
and a mother of two. As a birthday
present for her son Roarke (Joseph
Mazzello), the family decides to travel
out west to white water raft. At the
inception of their journey, Roarke be-
friends Wade (Kevin Bacon), who,
along with a cohort, is also planning to
voyage down the river. However, they
run into trouble when they "lose" their
guide. Gail, an ex-ranger, agrees to
assist them, only to be taken hostage.
I :f~ ~ II ~tA~fJI ~I ~I ~1 Fi~iT~ ~ ~L*!gIcWU
See RECORDS, Page 8
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