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December 10, 1997 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-12-10

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 10, 1997 - 13

Director Waters puts 'House' on market

By Bryan Lark
Daily Arts Editor
Mark Waters, director of what may be
the first cinematic incest comedy, "The
House ofYes," is weird. Or at least that's
what his mom thinks.
"I showed this movie to my mother
and my aunts, who are 60 years old and
live in Indiana, and I was very amused at

their budgets and say 'Sorry, we really
couldn't do much.' I wanted to not have
that. With 'House,' it had so many things
going on that I found appealing and it
worked on so many levels, even when it
was a play - as a great black comedy, as
a greek tragedy with serious dramatic
overtones, and as a kind of suspense
thriller."

how much they likedi
it, 'Well, you know,
there's not too much
cussing in it or any-
thing. Sure, it's
weird, but you're
weird - and it's
funny.' That's my
mom, though,
who's a little biased."

it. As my mom put

More than

N E NTERVIEW
Mark Waters
irector, "The House of Yes"
Opens Dec. 18 at the Michigan Theater

anything, however,
"House" is a come-
dy, with Josh
Hamilton and Tori
Spelling (that's
right Tori Spelling)
in support and with
Parker Posey over-
acting delightfully

The Suicide Machines will play St. Andrew's Hall on Saturday, Dec. 27.
Suicide chines to
deliverker show

By Colin Bartos
Daily Arts Writer
With the exception of a few bands,
etroit hasn't quite been a hotbed of
Vusical talent. Recently, though, some
Detroit bands have gone on to bigger
and better things, and deservingly, the
Suicide Machines
has been one of the
biggest success sto- PA
ries.
The Suicide Suit
Machines, named
after Detroit's S
favorite son, Jack
evorkian, started
back in 1990. They released a couple of
records on their drummer's label, Old
Skool Records, before catching the
attention of L.A.'s Hollywood Records.
Since the release of "Destruction By
Definition" last year, the Suicide
Machines have caught national atten-
tion as one of the leaders of the so-
called Third Wave ska invasion.
The Machines don't play typical ska,
,Wough. It's more of a hard-edged
yper-punk attack, laced with a little
ska and reggae sensibility. There's no
horns, with the exception of two songs,
and it's not goofy, yet the Suicide
Machines have been grouped in with
the likes of Less Than Jake, Reel Big
Fish, and the Mighty Mighty
Bosstones. Guitarist Dan said the
group's a little tired of the label.
"I think ska, as it is today, what's
een popular in the recent past, is just
inda slowly going out. I think people
have had their fill of the goofy ska with
the horns and all of that. It's kind of
like at the tail end of that, and I think
it's time for something new to break
out."
At the time they started, though, the
Machines were the newest thing going
in Detroit.

"I can tell you as far as punk rock
goes, when we started back in like '90,
you know it was really hard to get a
show," Dan said. "That's when the hip-
hop thing was huge." It seemed like it
took forever for the Machines sound to
catch on, but when it did, it spread like

REVIEW
cide Machines
Saturday, Dec. 27
t. Andrew's Hall, Detroit
Tickets only $8
intense live shows

wild fire. Gaining
the respect of
national punk and
ska heroes like
Rancid and the
Bosstones, the
Machines got
noticed for their
unbelievably crazy,
and their melodic,

energetic punk rhythms.
Now that two singles, "No Face" and
"S.O.S.," have enjoyed MTV airplay
and a stint on this summer's Warped
Tour went extremely well, the Suicide
Machines have broken through, to an
extent.
It seems now, Detroit's punk scene is
even starting to get noticed. The
Machines' new album is set to drop in
April, which should increase the buzz
even more.
This Christmas, the Machines will be
back in their hometown to rock St.
Andrew's, just as they blew out the
Magic Stick for three straight nights
last Christmas.
This time, though, they're bringing
along a 16-track mobile studio, and
recording the show for a live album
due, hopefully, this coming year. If you
missed them at the Warped Tour this
summer, you can't afford to miss them
this time around.
Come see an amazing show, be a part
of a live taping, and have some fun.
Support your scene and support the
Suicide Machines, a true, heartfelt band
that deserves whatever success comes
to them down the line.

Whether it's his mom or the critics and
audiences of last year's Sundance Film
Festival doing the talking, 33-year-old
Mark Waters has been listening to praise
for his controversial directorial debut for
nearly a year, praise that at first caught
the modest director off-guard.
"It's hard to have perspective on the
work you're doing and say after all this
work I'm doing, does it suck. When I got
the call from Sundance that said that the
movie was the only entry that had a con-
sensus from the programming commit-
tee and they all loved it, I was like, huh,
maybe it doesn't suck."
But the story of "The House of Yes"
begins long before Waters was brushing
shoulders with Bob Redford and the
assorted independent elite of Park City,
Utah.
A playwright and stage director by
trade, Waters' Sundance aspirations of
making it as a film director were only
cemented when he saw Wendy
MacLeod's hilarious and eccentric play,
"The House of Yes." Inspired by his
desire to adapt the play, Waters attended
the American Film Institute's film school.
Waters, as a
director, was
attracted to the
story of one strange
household as it
struggles comed-
ically through one
s t o r m yt
Thanksgiving
weekend because
of its ability to be
produced on a rela-
tively small scale,
with just five
actors, a few sets
and a few million
dollars. But Waters
vowed to think big
even as his finan- Parker Posey Is Ken
cial backers were ackie- Pin "The i
thinking small.
"Even though it
had an economy of means, it wouldn't be
a small movie. A lot of first time features
were almost apologetic for not being
entertaining because they would use

as a melodramatic, insane woman
obsessed with Jackie-O, who happens to
have an illicit attraction to her twin
brother and a penchant for bodily harm.
Sure, this doesn't sound much like the
subject matter of a mainstream comedy, a
problem that never dawned on the liberal-
minded Waters while making the movie.
"It's funny that people bring this up a
lot. I think that from living in San
Francisco for five years, nobody there
would say, 'Oh, this is controversial.'
There, it's just like 'Oh yeah, sure.
Kennedy obsession, incest, fine, whatev-
er."'
Kennedy obsession and incest are just
two of the many themes dealt with in
"House"'s rather short 90-minute span.
This no-holds-barred, nearly all-inclu-
sive subject matter within the span of the
film stems from the film's fast-paced,
wordy dialogue.
The shotgun script, adapted for the
screen by Waters, contributes to the
melodramatic, stage feeling that Waters
was attempting to create. The dialogue
also rings of old screwball comedies, a
resemblance that was not achieved by
accident.
"In preparing for
this movie, when I
was working with
the actors in partic-
ular, I showed them
Howard Hawks
movies and Billy
Wilder movies and
said we're not
going to be doing
this kind of more
modern method-
based style of act-
ing where people
sit back and take
long pauses,' said
Waters. "Instead,. I
wanted them to be
nedy wannabe really picking up
isedyf Yes."bon their cues and
se of Yes." completely going
for this dynamic,
ballistic ping-pong with the dialogue."
The fast-paced table tennis match of
words is mastered by the versatile Parker
Posey in the film, allowing for a kind of

whacked-out, sped-up, '90s version of
"The Philadelphia Story," another
sophisticated comedy featuring a dys-
functional family and a cavernous man-
sion. Only in this version, Posey stars as
both the conniving Cary Grant and the
lovestruck Katharine Hepburn. Waters
also likens Posey to those cinema gods
and goddesses of old.
"The reason I cast Parker Posey is
because I felt she had a kind of movie
star presence that was like oldermovie
stars. I like to think of her being a young
Kate Hepburn crossed with a young
Audrey Hepburn. If Kate were around
today, she probably would've been cast
in this role by me."
All right, Mark. But would Kate have
agreed to star in a film with such ques-
tionable morals? Waters believes that in
today's climate of everything-on-the-
table Jerry Springers and Oprahs, "we've
even reached the point as a society where
people like me can do an irreverent, kind
of comedic take on incest, not that sin-
cere, overly precious movie-of-the-week
type of film."
A movie of the week "The House of
Yes" definitely is not - not with a title
that bizarre, even if a Spelling is
involved. Where did the play acquire
such a peculiar name that is never fully
explained in the film?
"Wendy MacLeod was visiting this
family and she remembered being very
impressed and - also disturbed and
seduced by their extreme glamour, wit
and wealth,' explained Waters. "Then
she went into the bathroom of the house

Mark Waters made a controversial splash at Sundance last year with his Incest-
and Kennedy-obsession-fueled "The House of Yes."

and somebody had written on the wall,
'We are living in a house of yes.' This
just got her mind going and made her
think of Edgar Allen Poe and pornogra-
phy and the freedom of the upper class-
es and gave her this queasy but interest-
ing feeling that spawned the play."
Waters interprets the title in a slightly
different way.
"For me, it means a place without
boundaries, a place where porousness
develops between people so that they
flow into each other in ways they would-
n't do outside of the house. I think it is
really because of the insularity of the
family, where they never leave their
hometown and they tend to just sleep
with each other."
Waters, unlike his characters, has left
his hometown in rural Indiana, to build
upon his groundbreaking footing upon
Hollywood soil. But is Hollywood ready
for Mark Waters and his arsenal of
taboos? Why does Hollywood need
another independent director willing to
be brutally frank? Mark Waters -justi-
fy your existence!
"Why not is the proper answer- why
shouldn't I exist? I'll just say that I'll
always try to do something that's a little
out there and a little bit weird, something
you haven't seen before - and that can't
be a bad thing."
So in the end, being weird with "The
House of Yes" just may give Mark
Waters longevity in the fickle film
industry. Incest, Kennedy obsession,
murder - a weird comedy only a moth-
er could love.

. . . . . . . . . . .

m-.j

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