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April 10, 1995 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-04-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

' (1Vtmru mC W*{44 I____________________________________

My So-Called Oddities Find New Life
Tonight MTV premieres two exciting programs. One's brand-new, the other's getting a new
airing. First up is "My So-Called Life," the critically-acclaimed show about being a teenager that
was unfortunately dropped by ABC this February. The show will run weeknights at 7 p.m. for a
month starting tonight. Then at 10 p.m. comes the latest installment of "MTV's Oddities." "The
Maxx" is taken from the comic book of the same name, and looks extremely interesting. So put
your brain on remote control and enjoy this evening of innovative programming.

Page 5



np. iv, A10


Depp makes 'Don Juan' come alive

yt ScOW Plagenhoef
*aily Arts Writer
Fantasy, destiny and tragedy
-rave long been regarded as congru-
-nt to romance. So when Johnny
)epp is perched, dressed as a 17th-
Century Spaniard, ready to splatter
timself on the ground, the audience
.s bravely asked to accept such a
N Don Juan
Directed by Jeremy Leven
with Johnny Depp,
Marion Brando and
Faye Dunaway
At Briarwood and Showcase
farcical site at face value. Confound-
ing reality with romance is consid-
:red mystical, almost enchanting.
Confounding reality with anything
-lse is simply confounding. If the
,uy's dressed as Napoleon, do we
really have a movie, or simply a

This scenario, which opens "Don
Juan DeMarco," is actually not as
contrived as would first appear. The
pressure of finding true love, the
yearning for it created by modern
culture does sometimes trigger one
to seek the shelter of fantasy. In
another contemporary film,
"Muriel's Wedding," this situation
works on screen. There is even an
established psychological affliction
known as Don Juanism. Yet Depp
does not suffer from Don Juanism,
the guy actually thinks he is Don
Juan, right down to the accent, sword
and feathered hat.
Despite the contrivances, "Don
Juan DeMarco" actually works in
places. Some audiences, the revel-
ers of the feel-good and the life-
affirming will even find it works in
all places. The reason for any of the
successes of "Don Juan" rests in the
casting. Screenwriter and first-time
director Jeremy Leven had the good
fortune to weave his little bit of
celluloid cotton candy with Marlon
Brando and, more importantly,
Johnny Depp, on board.
Resting on the positive side be-

tween the grounded, hidden pain of
Gilbert Grape and the ridiculous
showboating of his Sam character
in "Benny & Joon," Depp is at once
the center and the saving grace of
the film. Depp's flirtation with na-
ked sensitivity, the full realization
that his Don Juan has of him a tragic
nature, which none of his other strug-
gling romantics - save Edward
Scissorhands - ever accepted
seems to fly in the face of the image
of the character. A lesser actor would
have portrayed Don Juan with the
one-dimensional masculine heroism
that the character's name has come
to represent. Depp creates not a char-
acter but an individual. Not a glori-
ous personification but a tragic fig-
ure. He single-handedly cuts through
the sap that oozes from the script
and carves out in its place a
watchable film.
Brando, on the other hand. His
immediate impact is, of course, curi-
osity. The psychiatrist coaxing and
dissecting Depp's identity, and natu-
rally learning a little something about
himself in the process, seems an odd,
unheroic role for a screen legend to

After all these years, Marion Brando can still sweep a woman off her feet.

return with. It is. Yet this typifies
Brando. Like Depp, he is an eccen-
tric, attracted to the unusual. Unlike
Depp, he is disinterested.
"Don Juan DeMarco" will appeal
The Sths
Wasps' Nests
What do you get when you com-
bine intoxicating pop melodies, ironic
lyrics and a handful of famous people?
No, not another tribute album, but
rather the 6ths, the latest venture from
Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields.
The 6ths takes jangling chords to a
new level, reminiscent of the Light-
ning Seeds on mind-altering drugs,
and brings a much-needed change to
the experimental genre.
Incorporating 15 different singers
from some of today's most notorious
acts, Merritt produces an album whose
pop cliches and witty wordplay will
appeal to everyone. What's more, the
underground acclaim that the album
has received is more impressive in
light of the fact that Merritt's music
runs opposite to today's indie scene.
Perhaps this can be attributed to the
fact that Merritt claims inspiration in
the perfection that we call ABBA, or
maybe it's that his melancholy and
bittersweet imagery is unmatched.
Vocalists of bands ranging from
Superchunk to Sebadoh to Velvet
Crush all appear within the 15 tracks,
and all shine with an otherworldly
glow. But, even on an album filled
with top-notch tracks, there are some
that stand out from all the rest. "Fall-
ing Out of Love (With You)" is the
new "happy" song of the '90s. Dean
Wareham's voice (of Luna) makes
even the most depressed person find
solace in the bouncy beat. With face-
tious lyrics like, "You tried every
trick in the book, but I read that book
yesterday," the 6ths could make even
Morrissey mope more than usual. The
only fault to be found is that, at times,
the music can overpower the voices.
When Merritt combines each instru-
ment with electronics, the result is

enduringly to those who eat romantic
fantasy up with two spoons. Surpris-
ingly, it may appeal to others as well.
Leven's script is a bit too contrived to
fully embrace, his direction is too

slick and glossy to be impressed with
(at times the exotic settings more re-
veal a travel video than anything else).
Yet Depp's performance is a bit too
impressive to ignore.

that all of the instruments are unrec-
ognizable, making for a richly magni-
fied sound that is beautiful but a bit
For those who are disappointed in
the "lack of variety" in music today,
look for "Wasps' Nests." Stephin
Merritt has used his technical ability
to bring together elegant phrases, strik-
ing musical arrangements and clever
lyrics. The result is a stunning album
that will attract longtime indie admir-
ers and new listeners alike.
- Lise Harwin
Give Me Something Hard I
Can Take To My Grave
Oblivian Entertainment
I've never been a big fan of dance
music. Something about the inhuman

vapidity of these soulless tune-smiths
yanks at my musical maw. The fact
that any two-bit hack with a two-
dollar Casio and a one-dollar haircut
could wreak as little havoc as
Braindead Soundmachine remains
beside the primary truth that
99.999999 percent of all dance music
is written, recorded and performed
with about as much conviction as a
sick Catholic priest in a room of nu-
bile young schoolboys.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,
I present to yo'u Exhibit A in the case
of the People vs. Hokey Music: Track
number two, "Devotion." Braindead
Soundmachine treats us to the vocal
sample of "Spit in my mouth" looped
continually throughout the sparsely
decorated song. Hmmm. Tasty offer,
but I'd rather take a platter like that
from an Iggy Pop or an Al Jourgensen,
See RECORDS, Page 8

he Friars put on one entertaining - and surprising -- show this past weekend.
Friars revea their genuine



Don't ship your clothes home this spring. We'll store
your coats, jackets ... everything
with cleaning.
We'll keep it all 'till fall insured safely all summer long.

Sy Melissa Rose Bernardo
Daily Theater Editor
During an interview which pre-
*iewed the Friars' 39th Annual Best
Concert Ever, the Friars promised a
'revealing" concert. They weren't kid-

- The Friars
Rackham Auditorium
April 7, 1995

revealing move, theFriars alsorevealed
themselves as a strong, dynamic and
musically near-perfect group.
The Friars were on Friday night;
their comic timing was impeccable,
their vocals strongly intertwined, their,
solos powerful, their debut songs
smooth, their pitches consistent and
their tempos almost flawless.
The Friars structured this concert
with a good eye and ear. This was the
strongest opening in recent memory,
and the rest of the program was just
the right combination of "the old, the
new and the ugly," as the Friars said
in an interview.
The show began with the requisite
not-so-strong skit (though it didn't go'
on for too long), but segued easily into
the oldie "Come a Little Bit Closer,"

with soloist extraordinaire Dave Hoey
and comic genius Tom Vesbit strutting
his stuff in a festive floral dress. (The
on-stage removal of said dress also
caused quite a stir, especially when the
audience got a glimpse of Vesbit's, um,
enhancement garment.)
Once all the Friars were back into
their tuxedos, the comedy and great
music never let up. But that doesn't
mean the Friars didn't get serious.
When they weren'tgiving away prizes
to audience members, or spraying
See FRIARS, Page 8




In the "Eye of the Tiger (Friar)"
Sumber, the Friars dropped their pants
:o reveal satiny yellow boxer shorts
Kith big ol' smiley faces. But in addi-
Jon to this unprecedented physically

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