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November 05, 1996 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-11-05

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday,Nr

November 5, 1996

Continued from Page 10
legal job within the next week. When
the con decides to avoid a federal peni-
tentiary, he finds himself in a different
sort of prison - the Dead Letter Office
of the U.S. Postal Service, where six
eccentric individuals have been
Immediately, the mood is set for a bit
of slapstick comedy, and underlying
meanings are not hard to decipher. The
film has little depth, but the lack of seri-
ousness makes this irrelevant. The stars
play their roles with
experience, taking the
comedic approach to a
sedate situation.
Tim Conway and -
Laurie Metcalf accom-
pany Kinnear in the
dungeon of the post
office. Conway is
Herman Doolcy, a for-
mer postal worker who
lost his route because
he bit a dog. Rebecca
Frtnzen (Metcalf) is a
former workaholic
whose nervous habits
and infatuation with
work mocks neurotic Greg Kinnear i
people in the labor this time aroun
Tom's other co-
Workers at the Dead Letter Office are a
bit of the questionable sort, but they are
decent souls with good intentions.
Handsome (Jon Seda) lives for soap
operas, in which he one day hopes to
star The director is Lucille Barnett
(Anna Maria Horsford), a more placid
member of the bunch. Idris Abraham is
1U days from retirement and avoids the
group's activities as much as possible.
Hector Elizondo also stars as Vladek
Vidov, the department's supervisor.
Elizondo once again mixes that author-
itative tone with the playful spirit -
and he does it successfully.
The plot plays off the selfishness in
society. By pure carelessness, Tom
sends his first paycheck to a group that
has sent a letter to God for some help.
His mistake sends him into shambles;
his attempt to eliminate his gambling
debt fails, while the mishap could make

him a dead Samaritan instead of a
financially secure one.
As more and more letters to God
flood the office, citizens raise more
eyebrows as to who is filling the sacred
role. Although the possibility of getting
caught magnifies Tom's troubles, it also
unites the team even more.
In addition to his business troubles,
Tom battles for the affections of a local
coffee shop chef. His subtle innuendoes
for single mother Gloria (Maria Pitillo)
are often more fluff than anything sub-
stantial, but it's the romantic twist that
completes the corny aspects of the plot.
With his innocent face and persua-
sive style, Kinnear
does a stellar job as
the con. Following
his impressive big
screen debut in last
year's "Sabrina,"
Kinnear struggles to
maintain his
comedic talent from
his "Talk Soup"
days. His interaction
with other characters
is not always stimu-
lating, as sometimes
he is more humorous
when he talks to
leading man The film's talent
lies behind the cam-
era as well. Gary
Marshall, the same
genius that brought us "Pretty Woman"
and "Beaches," directs the postal mis-
fits. Marshall unites the harsh and the
sensitive and creates a jovial product.
"Dear God" has a few remote simi-
larities to the Yule-tide classic "Miracle
on 34th Street." Instead of Santa Claus
being the key figure, however, God is
the figure who unites the people in
good cheer during the holiday season.
While "Dear God" does not thrive on
superior acting nor an astounding plot,
it does have good spirit and humorous
scenes that do not make it a complete
waste of time. The mix of Kinnear's
humor and Conway's nervousness
shows a great relationship, but the film
is not carried by these two alone. The
lofty tones relish on cheesy themes and
much sentimental fluff, but "Dear God"
is a fun comedy without excessive

Continued from Mlage 11
Counting ,ows
Recovering The Sattelites
Geffen Records
One thing is clioar. With its sopho-
more disc, Countivtg Crows was deter-
mined not to ct eate "August And
Everything After II ."
The band's debut was a popular target
of potshots, but be aeath the mudsling-
ing was one of the most emotionally
rich, infectious, enduring albums of the
decade. Yes, Adam Duritz whines, but
he whines with style:
The stylish whininig continues on the
long-delayed "Riecovering The
Sattelites," a heavier,, more streamlined
disc that doesn't hit the extreme emo-
tional highs and low s of "August," but
moves the band in a new direction.
The effect of a nw drummer (Ben
Mize), new guitarist (Dan Vickery) and
new producer (Gil Norton) kicks in on
the second track and lead single, the
brilliant "Angels of the Silences." It's a
wall of guitar noiw: worthy of Bob
Mould, sounds nothing like "August"
and drives home just the right amount
of resolve and regral: in a neat three-
minute package.
Other highlights include the
"Friends"-themed piano ballad "A
Long December," lonig-time concert
staple "Goodnight Elizabeth" and
Duritz's version of faRne-is-a-curse in
the jangly "Have You Seen Me Lately?"
His knack for compelling narrative,
which made "August"' a classic, isn't
as refined here, but it shines on
"Another Horsedrea.mer's Blues":
"Majorie's wingspan's all / feathers
and Coke cans and / TV dinners and /
letters she won't send ;and" is the sort
of character study that sets him apart
from the pack.
On other tracks, suchi as the uneven
"I'm Not Sleeping'" the lyrics aren't as
strong, and Duritz maket; the mistake of
over-emoting to compensate; good pro-
duction could have weeded this out.
But apart from this, aird the tendency
to ramble ("Mille r's Angels,"
"Recovering The Sattelites"), this disc
is a worthy successor t "August" -
innovative, cathartic, and lots of stylish
whining to boot.
Dave Snyder

Counting Crows with dreadlocked frontman Adam Durttz.

Is a

Puff Johnson
Puff Johnson attracted me immedi-
ately with her album cover. On it we see
her at both her most innocent (with a
rainbow of hair barrettes) and her most
seductive (wearing a sheer, black night-
gown). In fact, she vaguely resembles
Janet Jackson back in her days as Penny
on "Good Times." And with one of the
sweetest R&B voices I've heard in
some time, Johnson sings an interesting
mixture of innocent sensuality that is
bound to knock your socks off.
Songs like "Love Between Me &
You," "All Over Your Face," "God Sent
You" and "True Meaning of Love"
exemplify her romantically shy singing
style. You can virtually picture her try-
ing to express her feelings to her soul-
mate, yet unable to look him in the face
because she knows how overcome she
would be by the power of his eyes.
One song which deviates from the
I'm-so-in-love-with-you theme, heavily
laden upon "Miracle," is the well-done
"Outside My Window." Beginning with
a softly-played portion of Marvin
Gaye's "What's Goin' On,' this song
expresses sadness over the suffering of

this world while focusing on working
together toward positive aims. "As I
look inside my window / I see some-
thing I can't believe," goes the song's
refrain. "And if I close my window /
what will the future bring?"
"Miracle" is a tight LP. The lyrics, the
singing, the music - it's all well-pack-
aged. It is one debut album worth a lis-
ten, and a second and a third.
- Eugene Bowen
Linda Perry
In Flight
Linda Perry has survived her 4 Non
Blondes years to come out with a sound
that is strikingly beautiful and homely
while at the same time powerful enough
to knock you out of your seat.
"In Flight" showcases Perry's voice
throughout, ranging from crooning rag-
time to singing a soft love song. Her
vocals are enough to run a chill down
your spine as she howls madly in one
measure and then resumes her compo-
sure in the next.
Occasionally, in the first eight songs

of this 12-track LP, she allows her
music to fall into a rut. Stylistically, it'is
often reminiscent of something from
MTV's Unplugged, but this just sup-
ports the album's down-home feel.
"In My Dreams" opens the recs.
with Perry crying out. The song cont'
ues with a low, melancholy background
of drums and bass. Singing over this
background, Perry gives us her beautiful
contra-alto in all its glory. The next seven
songs are all embodied in "Success'"
line of "Will success fail me? / Will'it
make me free?" Perry is exploring, the
fear of failure and loneliness while
searching for a way out in these tracks.
"Taken" and "Machine Man" are a
bit of a departure from the former
and fall format. They remain so t
throughout, with Perry singing in a
quiet, love song manner. "Fruitloop
Dream" is the biggest deviance from
the common musical thread present on
the disc. Opening with a guitar and
piano ragtime sound, this song almost
makes you want to stomp your feet in
time with the music.
The album closes with "In Fligh"
The song's organ sound is uplifting
the point that you want to start the disc
over again just to reach the climax of
the last track. - "
- Jack Schilaci

Graduation is a very hectic time and this notice is
to inform you that this semester Graduation
Announcement Orders will be taken:

Afterlife' CD-Rom flies high

10:00 a.m. to 4:04) p.m.
Wednesday through Friday
November 6,7, acd 8
Michigan Union Bookstore


PC and Macintosh
Afterlife, one of the newest games
put out by LucasArts, proves once
again that the multimedia giant is at the
top of the heap when it comes to cre-
ative and innovative CD-ROM games.
As a "Demiurge," your job is to create
two distinctly different afterlifes: heav-
en and hell. As with other simulation
games, you plot out the land for differ-
ent structures, roads, ports and housing,
but, come on, this is heaven and hell
we're talking about! This is not just
planning a city, state or country - this
has got to be unique.
Now, if you happen to be one of the
many people who simply despise simu-
lation games and think that they are a
huge waste of time, don't dismiss
"Afterlife" yet. What other sim game
would have "bad things," including the
Disco Inferno, the Bats out of hell and
the Paradise Pair of Dice? No, this par-
ticular game is all based in fantasy,
making it fun for any player regardless
of personal tastes.
You begin the game, if you choose
the "easy" level, with lots of money and
plenty of time to start building before
the game hits you with too many "bad
things." After carefully zoning for each
of the fates (ranging from lust to sloth),
the player must also include Topias (for

communting demons, Distopias, and
angels, Utopias), T-Centers (traini
centers for the above) and Karmas-
tions, used for sending souls back to the
planet for reincarnation. If 'you plan
well, both afterlifes will receive plenty
of souls and your fate structures will
flourish into places like the Brahmatic
Bovine Bliss Ranch and the 666
Pennants Over Perdition Theme Park.
Of course, you might also run out of
money, have a terrible disaster on either
the planet or your afterlife and *
other number of terrible occurrences.
Along to help you with your plan-
ning are Aria and Jasper, an angel and a
devil who make fantastic sparring part-
ners. These two, no matter how annoy-
ing at times, can be very helpful in
warning you if your afterlifes are about
to go haywire. Their adviceis infinitely
Another unusual part of the game is
the already established scenari a
where an afterlife is already built bu
totally inefficient for one reason or
another. Obviously, your job is to fix
what's wrong. For all of you English
majors out there, there is even a hell
constructed like Dante's Inferno, circles
and all.
Afterlife is a brilliantly put together
game. It easily manages to be literary
and intelligent while still managing to
be a lot of fun. So, quite literally, go
hell, or heaven, and start building.
- Lise Hanwin

Michigan Union
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health Care Administration is a rapidly growing field that demands
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at Rush University in Chicago combines a unique practitioner-teacher
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one of the most prestigious health care facilities in the world.
" Availability of scholarships and financial packages.
* The vibrant city of Chicago, home of great culture,
food and entertainment.
Association of University Programs in
Health Administration

wN *


November 11-14
November 15,18-20
FirstFlnnr Michiean Union



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