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January 24, 1996 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-01-24

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 24, 1996

Film leaves you'Screaming' for more

By Alexandra Twin
Daily Arts Editor
The past three years have produced
so many so-called "Generation X"films
that the term has become less of a genre
moniker than a sarcastic label thrown at
cliched films that pander to our age
group.
So why go see aniother one?
Everyone knows that "Reality
Bites" and "Empire Records" bit the
dust. "Before Sunrise," while of qual-
ity, left the box-office before the sun-
rise of its second day of release.
"Clueless" scored big this summer,

Kicking and
Screaming
Written and directed by
Noah Baumbach; with
Josh Hamiltion and
Chris Eigeman
At the Michigan Theater
but the teen-age set is not the post-
college set.
Educated, middle-class, smart and
bored. Slackers. Unaware of the fu-
ture buzzword damage he was caus-
ing, "Before Sunrise" director Rich-
ard Linklater unleashed a monster
When he named his debut 1988 film
"Slacker." Every under-30 director
since has been trying to replicate the
frenzy.
Enter 26-year-old Brooklyn, New
Yorker Noah Baumbach. While his
debut film, the critically acclaimed
"Kicking and Screaming," does con-
cern bored, post-college kids looking
for a purpose, it does not, repeat NOT,
succumb to the pathetic, listless whin-
ing and moaning of the majority of
post-"Slacker" films. Drawing more
from the subtly cryptic musings of fel-

low sarcasm-meister Whit Stillman
("Barcelona"), the movie is light, funny
and God forbid, poignant.
The film centers around the would-
be writer Grover (played by Josh
Hamilton and clearly Baumbach's on-
screen stand-in) and his garden variety
of liberal arts friends, including the
droll Chris Eigeman ("Barcelona") and
his sweet, retainer chompin' girlfriend
(Olivia D'Abo). Grover and pals move
away from aHarvard-esque school to a
house in the suburbs. They spend the.
subsequent summer and next fall argu-
ing, talking and attempting to figure
themselves out.
Yes, there are a ton of pop-culture
references, "meaningful relationship
discussions," skinny, grunge girls and
cute, preppy boys. However, there's
also a lot of genuinely interesting ban-
ter, solid acting and cryptic, clever dia-
log. Hell, they've even got the beatific
Eric Stoltz as Chester, a 27-year-old
perpetual student who can tell you ev-
erything about every class the univer-
sity has to offer 'cause he's taken them
all.
Never as biting or explosive as the
title would suggest, "Kicking and
Screaming" is fluff, but good fluff, the
kind you develop a taste for, the kind
that can evolve into something better
over time.

A 'squall' In A-squre
Do you like movies with lots of scantily
clad young men running around In the
hot, sweaty sun? Oooooh ... Do you
like flicks that star middle-aged hunks
like Jeff Bridges? Are you dying to see
an exciting action film about a group of
troubled teens who must save
themselves after tragedy strikes their
sailing trip? Well, the new film, "White
Squall," can satisfy all your cravings.
And It Is playing in a special sneak
preview tomorrow night at 7:30 at the
Showcase Cinemas on Carpenter Road.
Just stop by the Daily Arts office In the
Student Publications Building, 420
Maynard St., second floor, to pick up
your free pass to this wild event. Just
be there.

Josh Hamilton is alive and "Kicking."

The Fifty Greatest
Composers and their
1000 Greatest Works
Phil G. Goulding
Fawcett Columbine
Bach is best. Mozart's No. 2. J.
Strauss, "Mr. Waltz," is a pitiful No.
46. And Bellini, a mere honorable men-
tion in the Italy category, doesn't even
make the list.
Phil G. Goulding, aretiredjournalist;
ex-secretary of defense and author of a
book on the Pentagon, expands his rep-
ertoire with this, a user-friendly guide
to classical music. Written for fellow
non-experts in the field of music,
Goulding declared he'd forage against
the intellectuals and create the unpre-
tentious guide to classical music he
couldn't find. Here it is, in black and
white, the 50 greatest composers of all
time.
It's true, Goulding avoids discussing
the seventh diminution of the inverted
flatted minor modal key of eight double
sharps. Instead, repeatedly proclaim-
ing himselfa know-nothing of classical
music, Goulding created a clear but
over-simplified reference of classical
composers.
The book, which begins with a list of
the 50 best composers and the desig-
nated "Also-Rans," spans 620 pages
and six chapters. Goulding, with appar-
ent but cheesy enthusiasm for his new-
found interest, groups the composers
into four levels: Immortals, Demigods,
Composers of Genius and Artists of a
High Order. Each composer is given a
"special, easy-to-remember identity."
Chopin, for example, is "Mr. Piano."
Verdi is the "Most-Loved Opera Com-
poser." Donizetti, No. 43, would love
his identity as Mr. "Second to Rossini
in Pre-Verdi Italian Opera."
In chapter two, Goulding explains
the essence of music in 16 short pages.
The chapter is a much-scaled-down
version of "What to Listen for in Mu-
sic," a book written a few years back by
Aaron Copland, a famous American
composer Goulding is confident his
readers have never heard of.

Finally, after chapterthree's 50-page And yes, "Go the Distance," a re-
lesson in music history, each composer titled and republished collection49
is profiled. A knowing media-man, short stories, returns to the author s
Goulding fills the 500 pages of chapter usual subject. But in Kinsella's fic-
four with hundreds of gimmicks and tion, baseball is like an endlessly fac-
sound-bites of information. He lists the eted diamond, every novel and short
composer's most famous pieces, sug- story supplies a new variation on this
gests the best recordings to buy and theme.
adds hundreds of eye-catching boxes of "Go the Distance" contains some
trivia. of Kinsella's most memorable varia-
You can learn from a casual glance tions. No one could forget a title like
that Haydn's wife "was continually in- "Reports Concerning the Death of t
viting the clergy to dinner," or that an Seattle Albatross Are Somewhat 3
American record company once offered aggerated," the tale of an extraterres-
a prize to the living composer who trial who poses as a Mariners. mas-
would best complete Schubert's "Un- cot. Nearly as amusing is "Diehard,"
finished Symphony." After reading a in which a baseball fan gets a perma-
chapter about musical instruments, fol- nent hold on the best seat in the sta-
lowed by one on discography, you're dium.
done. However, Kinsella is equally adept
In politely raging against the intel- at serious topics - a troublemaking
lectual musical experts, Goulding nearly player in "Punchlines," a man's memo-
emulates their alleged smugness. In re- ries of childhood baseball games in "K-
sorting to visual tricks and treats to Mart." Also, fans of Kinsella's earn
keep his readers entertained, Goulding novel, "The Iowa Baseball Conf'
gears his writing to apatheticswith two- eracy," have the bonus of two new
second attention spans. Also, with prices stories involving that novel's narrator.
of CDs leaving me broke, it's difficult A strong point throughout the book
to trust the recommendations of some- is Kinsella's use of first-person narra-
one who's claim to fame is a proud lack tion. Nearly all the stories are told
of musical knowledge. with this technique, although their
Notably absent from the profiles are narrators are highly differentiated
American and recent 20th century com- characters.
posers. The audience Goulding is try- One story, "The Valley of the
ing to attract might find works by Schmoon," is told as a middle-a4
Gershwin, Glass, Copland or Bernstein coach's monologue: "Where have all
more likable than typically classic"clas- the nicknames gone from baseball,
sical"music. Classical musicians aren't Artie? Just look around the league'... .
all European and dead. Guys like you who make halfa million
Despite this shortcoming, this book a year and are gonna make a million
gives a good, readable overview of want to be addressed as Mister, not as
history's most famous classical com- Nosey, or Pinky, or Preacher, or Death
posers. Goulding's work would make a to Flying Things. No offense, Artie,
good reference for that music history that's just the way ofthe world. But I'm
paper you'll have to write when you get gettin' more and more out of touch with
around to taking the class. the world every year."
- Emily Lambert "Go the Distance" is definitely$
cused on baseball, but it's not neces-
Go the Distance sary to be a fan of the game to enjoy
the book. It offers humorous, reflec-
W. P. Kinsella tive and always well-written stories,
SMU Press all of which are told from a slightly
If readers were given a word-asso- offbeat perspective. And if nothing
ciation test, exactly one term would else, readers of "Go the Distance"
come to their minds upon hearing the will never look at the San Diego
name "W. P. Kinsella." Needless to Chicken the same way again.
say, that word is "baseball." - Elizabeth Luq
Write for Daily Arts. Come to the Daily's Mass
Meeting tonight at 7 o'clock in the Student
Publications Building, 420 Maynard St.

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