The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 10, 1996 - 9
Few laughs thrive in this 'Bogus' comedy
By Kristin Long
Daily Arts Writer
Some might say that the title of a film
is one of its greatest assets. It can attract
an audience or turn it away, and some-
times it even puts the entire film together.
*u have an idea of what to expect; you
get a feel for the theme - or maybe not.
From its title alone, "Bogus" presents
an indication of a slapstick comedy. The
word is often synonymous with films
like "Bill and Ted's Excellent
Adventure" or "Wayne's World." The
serious undertones of "Bogus" are hid-
den by the film's whimsical title. In fact,
it could not be farther from the spirited
comedy one might anticipate; "Bogus"
prompts more tears than laughs.
The story revolves around 7-year-old
Albert (Haley Joel Osment), a father-
less child who is faced with the experi-
ence of losing his mother Lorraine
(Nancy Travis) in a tragic car accident.
She was everything to him, and her life
and friends in a traveling magic show
were all he ever knew.
Depressed yet? Well, it gets worse.
With no other family to care for him,
Albert is forced to move to Newark,
N.J., to live with his mother's foster sis-
ter, Harriet (Whoopi Goldberg).
Unfortunately, Harriet and Lorraine had
been out of touch since childhood, and
this new living arrangement was hardly
a warm family reunion.
When Albert arrives, Harriet's life
takes a drastic turn. She lives alone in a
well-decorated apartment, and her expe-
rience with children does not rank her
among the most stable figures; she often
acts as a child herself, and sometimes
Albert even has a greater maturity level.
At Briarwood and Showcase
Albert's imagination runs wild as the
result of the traumatic events of his
daily life. The lack of a childish com-
panion unite him with his fictional
friend Bogus (Gerard Depardieu), who
comforts the boy as a pal and a parental
figure. Albert finds everything he could
want in his French ami - except for the
fact that his friend is not real.
The laughs created between Albert
and Bogus are rather infrequent, and do
little to lighten up the movie. Even as the
more humorous character, Bogus creates
only sporadic jokes, which become
fewer and farther between as the movie
evolves. He develops into the child's sec-
ond guardian rather than his playmate,
ruining the 'fun of such a creative pal.
As the, rigid and tense guardian,
Goldberg takes a giant leap from her
standard comedic roles. Her dramatic
style is actually a pleasant surprise. She
does not play the fun-loving, warm and
affectioilate personality of previous
films; rather, she embraces the pensive
aspect she usually counteracts.
The softer tones of the film come
from Depardieu who,; as the imaginary
friend, aims to show that both adults and
children need their fantastic friends to
survive life's rougher moments. He elim-
inates much of the depressing senti-
ments, but then, by the end, he becomes
almost as somber as everyone else.
Osment ("Forrest Gump") does a ter-
rific job as the boy trapped in emotion-
al turmoil. His innocent facial expres-
sions can influence one to laugh and
cry, even at the same time.
The film lacks in connecting the var-
ious characters into a single theme.
Many scenes and incidents occur with
little elaboration, and develop into noth-
ing of importance. The frequent holes
weaken the impact of the plot.
The pieces of "Bogus," unfortunately,
do not all fit together. The initial sad-
ness lingers throughout the remainder
of the film, and you are left to wonder
why such a drama has this flimsy name.
The realistic events and the abstract
scenarios do not overlap to form an
enjoyable fantasy. Instead, one destroys
the effects of the other, completely
missing a comfortable median.
-Whoopi is so bright!
That little Gump kid (a.k.a. Haley Joel Osment) helps good old Gerard find his
New George Michael album features same old singing, same old songs
Hmmmmm. That's interesting. I
hadn't realized it before, but George
Michael has more or less used his
voice the same way op most every-
thing he has done. The major thing that
changes is the music. And, depending
on what sorts of music you like, your
enjoyment of George Michael's songs
11 vary based on the music under his
Wham! was that empty pop music.
His first solo album was empty but
good sounding pop rock of a couple of
flavors. His second solo album was ...
well, I never heard the whole thing, but
that "Freedom" song was almost empty
Well, "Older" has an empty plastic
jazz score underneath Michael's ever
unchanging voice. Like the worst ele-
4nts of the "Blade Runner" sound-
track, the music is just so synthetic
sounding that you can nearly smell the
petrol run off.
"Older" is easy listening dance
music. Probably a fertile market con-
sidering how people's tastes change
with age, but it's just as boring with
George Michael as it was with Barry
Manilow, though admittedly not as gut
,, enchingly awful. At least it's a capa-
CLEVELAND (AP) - The Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame hopes to get a
little help from a friend.
Hard-singing Melissa Etheridge is
scheduled to return to Cleveland on
Oct. II for a concert to benefit the hall.
Etheridge was one of many artists who
*rformed at the grand opening in front
of 57,000 people a year ago.
"This is something we want to do
every year. We want to stage an annual
concert to benefit the museum," hall
spokesman Tim Moore said last week.
Cleveland beat out Memphis, Tenn.,
and New York City as the site of the
hall, a $92 million glass-and-chrome
pyramid on the shores of Lake Erie
with interactive displays, theaters and
ts of memorabilia.
Do you want
to write cool
Come to one
of the Daily's
bly executed version of that sort of
thing, and it does have some strong
rhythms. Some day we'll all probably
really like this. Pray that that day is far
- Ted Watts
A lot of bands that
build a name for
themselves and make
known on stage with
high energy shows
don't always translate
in the recording studio.
Bouncing Souls didn't
have too much of a problem
putting its live sound on record, but too
bad they don't have that much talent.
Not to say that "Maniacal Laughter"
is a bad record; it's actually pretty good
... if you take it at face value. One can
tell right off by looking at the CD cover,
with a cartoon of some ghouls on the
front that look like the band, that this is
not going to be a very serious record.
Also, if you heard Bouncing Souls'
debut, "The Good, The Bad, and the
Argyle;' you already know from songs
like "I Like Your Mom" and "These Are
the Quotes From Our Favorite '80s
Movies"that they don't take themselves
all thAt seriously. They're just havin"
fun, and it's totally what turns this
record from being a disastrous mockery
into a good punk record in the style of
Rancid, or the Clash.
The disc has 12 songs, which clock in
at a whopping 23 minutes long ... it's
almost over by the time it starts. From
A the first riff of "Lamar
Vannoy," about an old
school punker (complete
with Oi! chorus), to the
last crash of "The
Ballad of Johnny X,"
the record never
slows down a bit.
A lot of the songs
are written out like
stories, from the tale of
the glory of a punk show in
New York City ("The Freaks,
Nerds, and Romantics"), to the tale of
love at a newspaper distribution center
("Quick Chek Girl"). The anthemic
"Here We Go" spins the tale of a voyage
across the country on tour.
There's even an ode to bikes, "The
BMX Song," which cracks me up every
time I hear it. With its catchy riffs and
lyrics like "If I had money I'd buy a new
BMX ... but I don't know how I'm
gonna eat next," the songs sum up the
band's whole attitude toward playing.
Solid is not a word I'd use to describe
"Maniacal Laughter," and it doesn't
seem like the band practices all that
much, but it's still a fun record. If you
want to see the true genius of Bouncing
Souls, see them live. Otherwise, don't
over 'analyze the shortcomings of the
record and just listen to it if you want to
hear some fun, catchy punk music.
- Colin Bartos
Kwest tha Madd Lad
this is my first album
Weighing less than your average
thigh, hornier than Pee-Wee Herman
and with more naps than a pre-school,
Kwest tha Madd Lad has come out with
his first LP.
Don't think of Kwest as a young
Luther Campbell wannabe. (Looking
at Luke's position right now, who'd
want to be like him?) While every
song on his 18-cut debut, "girls, sex
or some combination of the two,"
Kwest's music isn't the usual shake-
dat-booty stuff that everybody in
Detroit seems to go ape over.
Kwest, a native of Queens, is
deeply grounded in the hip-hop
underground. His music reflects this.
And while he tends to act silly on
throughout "this is my first album,"
sometimes Kwest makes a valid point
about life and relationships.
"Daddiez Home" talks about a boy
and a girl caught "playing adult" by
their parents. "Butta-Few-Co" is a song
about young girls who look a lot older.
"Disnexone" hits on those girls that be
fly as hell ... except for that ONE
FLAW (e.g. bad breath, fine body but
face like Shabba, seven teeth, you get
All these songs bring out to light the
social-life truths of teens and young.
adults in urban American society and
Kwest adds some of the funniest and
weirdest interludes I've heard in awhile.
"Kwest's Theme Song" is probably the
theme of many brothas (even if they
won't admit it); "Everyone Always Said
I Should Start My Album Off with a
Bang" is a good li'l interlude for all you
no-ass-gettin" fellas to j-o to.
Everybody's gotta hear "A Day in the
Life of My Asspipe," 'cause it is most
- Eugene Bowen
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