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February 22, 1996 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-22

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4- The Michigan Daily - WVee4e, 4e - Thursday, February 22, 1996

'Saturday Night Live' alums' careers dying slowly

By Jon Petinski
Daily Film Editor
Remember when you looked for-
ward to staying home on a Saturday
night? A night out on the town could,
atone time, be easily passed over for
a solid episode of "Saturday Night
Live."
After all, what could be better than
curling up with a hot, buttery bag of
popcorn, a blanket and an hour and a
half of some pretty damn funny co-
medic sketches?
We all know the skits from televi-
sion - everything from David
Spade's recent "And you are ... ?"
and Adam Sandler's "Opera Man," to
Kevin Nealon's "Weekend Updates,"
to the wood-paneled basement party
with Wayne and Garth.
We don't have to stay home any-
more to see them. "Saturday Night
Live" is making its leap from televi-
sion to the big screen.
Lucky for us. Instead of staying in
to.see our favorites - among them,
Sandler, Spade and Farley - we must
pay six bucks to see the old acts once
broadcast for free.
So where did this recent trend be-
gin? The answer is simple: With
"Wayne's World, Wayne's World,

party time, EXCELLENT!" Mike
Meyers and Dana Carvey certainly
hammed it up for two hours on the big
screen; their ridiculous logic and many
"Sheaahhhh rights" were funny for
the 30th time, if not the 1,000th.
Still, the success of the original
"Wayne's World" movie not only
paved the way for a less-successful
sequel but also for a whole slew of
"SNL" invasions that, over the past
month and years, have been taking
over cinema as we know it.
INVASION NO.1: It all started with
"The Coneheads" several years ago.
Starring Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtin,
an eccentric (to say the least) family
walked around with penises on their
heads as they tried to cope with a
strange lifestyle on a new planet.
Big mistake: As we soon discov-
ered, "The Coneheads" should have
stayed put on NBC. Now, periodi-
cally, we are forced to remember this
flop as it appears on HBO over and
over again.
INVASION NO. 2: "Billy Madi-
son," anyone? In this lackluster 1995
film, Adam Sandler plays some rich kid
who goes back to elementary school to
impress his dad. His silly antics and
school-kid stunts triggered little, if any,

Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtin In the
spectacularly lame "Coneheads"
movie.
laughter from film audiences.
So what does Sandler do? He makes
"Happy Gilmore." Same story, dif-
ferent setting; first, we see Sandler
with an elementary-school bathroom
pass, and now he's shifting gears with
his hard-hitting golf swing.
Maybe he's cute ... and maybe

Sandier's pranks are even (as we pain-
fully admit) fun to watch at times. But
somehow, his act is more fun when
Sandler is doing what he knows best
- "Opera Man" and other skits on
television.
Hey, we don't even mind if he sings
once in awhile, but by putting himself
on the big screen yet again, Sandler is
doing nothing but adding to the repre-
hensible "SNL" trend of fomer cast
members who can't make it in the
movies (for further evidence, see be-
low).
INVASION NO. 3: Here, we are hit
hard by the double whammy acting
efforts of-- you guessed it - Chris
Farley and David Spade. In 1994, this
duo teamed up in a feeble attempt to
make us laugh with "Tommy Boy."
Unfortunately, for many of us, two
hours of watching Farley as the Big
Stupid Loser Boy and Spade as the
Scrawny Smart Dorky Dude did not
do the trick (despite the efforts of our
younger siblings to convince us they
did).
Much to our dismay, this pair was
also responsible for INVASION NO.
4. In case we didn't laugh the first
time around, Farley and Spade gave
moviegoers another chance with their
latest release "Black Sheep," or more
accurately "Tommy Boy - Part
Two." How nice of them.
But wait ... there's more. Remem-
ber Stuart Smalley (you know - the
dude who sits in front of a mirror,
whispering, 'I am a 10 and gosh darn
it, people like me')? How can we.
forget about his movie "Stuart Saves
His Family?" Enough said. "Stuart"
can just be added to the list of flops
contributing to the downward spiral
of "SNL" on the big screen.
Didn't it all seem much more funny
when the sketches were just 10 min-
utes long? Suddenly, we're in the the-
aters for two hours, and we are, in
most cases, not laughing.
And where is this trend going? Dare
we ask? From a takeoff of Jack
Handey's "Deep Thoughts" to "The
Gap," we can only - with fear -
guess what's next.
One thing is certain, however. De-
spite the change from "SNL" televi-
sion to "SNL" cinema, the audience
remains the same. Not long ago, we
stayed home on Saturday nights to see
them. Now, we are still staying home
- this time to avoid their takeover of
our local theaters.

An older, wiser Bob Seger attempts a career resuscitation with his new album,
"It's a Mystery."
Older, wiser Seger hits the
road (again) with new record

one's favorite 12-step veteran, Stuart Smalley (Al Franken, shown here in the movie version of his "SNL" skit).

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The Hartford Courant
Bob Seger is back on the road after an
eight-year absence. For rock 'n' roll
warhorses, the road has tended to mean
a lot of young folks screaming their
heads off on the bus and staying up all
hours of the night and a certain amount
of spitting up.
That's true again in 1996, but this
time it's because Seger is bringing along
his two kids, ages 3 and almost 1.
"They're out on the road with me,"
Seger said over the phone from Phila-
delphia while preparing for the tour's
12th show.
"It's great. I see a lot more of them
out here than I do when I'm rehears-
ing," he says. "We put the rifle head-
phones on 'em, which can knock down
30 dBs, and bring 'em right up on
stage - and they just grin away at
Dad."
Rifle headphones? It seems to fit in
with a lot of the other imagery on his
18th album, "It's a Mystery," his first
new studio effort in four years when it
was released last fall.
In addition to the single "Lock and
Load," it includes the Tom Waits' song
"16 Shells from a 30-6," "Hands in the
Air" and a bit more gunplay in "Man-
hattan."
"It wasn't a conscious thing," Seger
says. "I did a lot of reading when I had
the kids. You hear things like 135,000
kids go to school every day with a
handgun in this country, you know what
I mean? So I guess this stuff was on my
mind because my kids are going to be
going to school, and their future in
general was on my mind.
"I wrote one song that didn't make
it to the record that the band abso-
lutely loves called 'Crossfire,' yet an-
other gun reference. But I didn't re-
ally realize there were that many gun
references until people like you started
pointing it out.
"'Lock and Load,' I just started
singing it one day," Seger says. "The
way I was perceiving it was: 'Time to
get serious' - a metaphor for that.
Time to hunker down and do your
best."
Seger is hunkered down in part as a
reaction to having kids. Responsibili-
ties at home have made him concen-
trate on his craft to get things done
quicker.
"You gotta have a lot more focus
because you don't have nearly the
time you used to have," he says. "I
was used to having huge chunks of
time to do stuff and got pretty spoiled
in that regard. So now you really have
to focus on what you're doing - if
you want to be a good parent, that is."
His tour is attracting a wide range
of ages; it runs to May and may con-
tinue in late summer outdoors.
"I wasn't sure the fans would come
out," he says, although most shows
have been selling out. "I knew I'd
lose some people on this album be-
cause it's a very different album for
me. I used to write about relation-
ships, and now, with the kids,.I'm

writing about national problems."'
Also, his work has been wholly
rejected by MTV.
"It's simply age discrimination,
says Seger, 50, author of "Rock an
Roll Never Forgets."
"I hate to say it, but it's the only
thing that I can think of: 'Well, what
are you going to do?' Radio's the
same way; you got your 'alternative."
Not that he's saying, "Today's
music ain't got no soul."
"I think Oasis is very interesting.
They're coming off a little arrogant,
which I don't think is going to help
but I think they're quite good," Segt
says.
"I loved Nirvana. That was really
sad, because I thought that guy (Kurt
Cobain) really had it. He seemed to
really have rock in his spirit."
Seger says he was amused by Pearl,
Jam's much-publicized problems with
Ticketron as the band tried to hold
prices to $18. "The fascinating thing
on that is that we never charged mor
than $18. Ever. And here it was fiv
years after we had been off the road,
and he couldn't do it. That killed me.
That's how much everything
changed."
Seger's own ticket prices are up to
$26 and $32 because "everything is up
- hotels are up, sound and light costs
are up. I think we're eminently reason-
able." Seger forged his career as a
regional star from Detroit, with local
hits such as "Heavy Music" and "Ea
Side Story" in the late '60s.
"We had like 10 Top 10 records in
Detroit before 'Ramblin' Gamblin'
Man' went national," he recalls. That
was in 1968. But his career never really
hit its stride until after his "'Live' Bul-
let" album 20 years ago, followed by
"Night Moves," at which time he was
already lamenting that "Sweet 16's
turned 31."
What was it about the Motor C1
that grew such an unusually energetic
crop of rockers, from Ted Nugent and
Iggy Stooge to MC5 and Sponge to-
day?
"I used to always say way back in the
'60s that people worked very hard, so
they tend to play hard. And they tend to
want something with energy; you can
see that in the Motown stuff," he says.
And the rock bands, he adds, were all
pretty much high energy."
Hitless for most of this decade,
Seger's voice has still been heard on a
regular basis; at every wedding party,
for sure, with "OldTimewRock & Roll,"
and during every televised sporting
event where there's a Chevy truck ad.
At a time when most roots rockers
were stridently refusing to sell their hits
to Madison Avenue, Seger agreed to let
General Motors use his "Like a Rock"
as a way to boost the sagging Detr4
economy in 1990 - and it's been use
ever since.
"It saved a lot ofjobs in my area, and
that's exactly what we set out to do," he
says. "It wasn't a moneymaker, per se.
So I feel good about that aspect of it."

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