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October 13, 1997 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-13

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Pass it around
The word is out on the brilliant new documentary "Weed." Check out
all the marijuana mayhem of the 8th Annual Cannabis & Hemp Expo
of Amsterdam in Doug Wolens' unique film. "Weed" explores the fas-
cination with the recreational drug as people from all walks of life
descend upon Amsterdam - where pot is legal. See it today with a
stoner you love. Mich. 8:30 p.m. $5 for students.

Tuesday
October 13, 1997

5

Houston,

we have a problem

Lack of humor, horrendous script launch kiddie flick 'RocketMan' into world of catastrophe

By Matthew Barrett
For The Daily
"Houston we have a problem." Yes, and so does
UcketMan," a movie that is just one big problem. Bad act-
g and directing, along with an awful
script, make this a truly unbearableE
film. RI
"RocketMan," directed by Stuart.
Gillard ("Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
III"), is nothing more than a slight vari-
ation of what has become the typical
children's movie these days. A lovable, At g'
bumbling, idiot savant is forced to do
the impossible, as he falls in love with the beautiful but unat-
nable girl.
The premise gets no help from a horrendous script. It tries
to make things funny, but they aren't. It tries to build suspense,
but it doesn't. It tries to make us care about the characters, but
we don't. All the characters in the movie are one dimensional.
There is little background information given on them, and no
attempt is made throughout the movie to develop them.
The movie's plot is fairly simple. Fred Z. Randall (Harland
Williams) is the designer of NASA's first spaceship to go to
Mars. One of the astronauts scheduled to go gets injured, and
Randall ends up going. The rest of the crew, Commander
ild Bill" Overbeck (William Sadler) and Mission Specialist
Ve Ford (Jessica Lundy), are less than thrilled about the idea
of Randall coming. But after they get up into space, they find
it harder and harder to resist his lovable ways. Once the ship

Bria

arrives on Mars, trouble ensues, and you can only guess who
saves the day.
Williams is able to squeeze a few funny moments out of the
script. His downfall - the constant barrage of"It wasn't me"
whenever his character does something
wrong - becomes incredibly annoying
V I E W after the first few times. Despite this, he
EocketMan shows that he could be the right role away
from becoming a star.
* Beau Bridges is the only other actor who
is able to get anything out of his character.
arwood & Showcase He plays former astronaut Bud Nesbitt, the
lone believer in Randall's abilities.
Another problem with "RocketMan" is it wants to be
"Apollo 13" for kids, but it comes nowhere close. They use the
line "Houston we have a problem" several times, and the sto-
ryline of hell breaking loose once they reach space is straight
out of Apollo. The space shots in this movie are nothing com-
pared to "Apollo 13". Ron Howard used not a single shot of
NASA footage in his movie. "RocketMan" uses NASA
footage for the liftoff, and once they get into space, the shots
look very unbelievable. They cut comers, and it shows.
People in the movie industry always gripe about making
movies for kids, only to be passed over for big-budget action
movies. The reason they are passed over is movies like
"RocketMan." I don't know a person over the age of five who
would get anything new from this movie that they hadn't
already seen. It is pointless, humorless and virtually pleasure
free.

Lost in space: Fred Randall (Harland Williams) and Ulysses go ape in the unevolved kids comedy "Rocket Man."
Pa"rt '1moef rn musiC1o

No talent allowed in this Treehouse

h IgL 0lihtsa ii . u EstoChi
highlights Estoni~an.Choi~r

Ireehouse
obody's Monkey
Atlantic
"Nobody's Monkey," the latest
release from Treehouse, inspires very
little except tolerance. Listening to this
album is like listening to the radio at
low volume while you're doing
dishes. It serves its.pur-
we and it's unobtru-
sive, but it's nothing
that hasn't been done
a thousand times -
before. While
"Nobody's Monkey"
is a better option than
total silence, at times
the album is so boring I
forgot it was actually playing.
The quartet of Treehouse houses
toguitars, a mandolin (an interesting
touch), bass and drums. The strength of
the lead singer is what pulls the album
through, as his voice was the only thing
that caught my attention. Treehouse's
brand of pop is tight and catchy, with
man messo mm so:'a

weepy lyrics a la Toad the Wet
Sprocket, but the clangy guitars and
predictable bass lines are reminiscent of
everything else that has had air time on
the radio inthe last year.
As much as I resisted, I did find
myself tapping a foot or nodding my
head rhythmically at times, but it was
only when I wasn't groaning at the pre-
dictability and sappiness of the
lyrics. Lines like,
"Daddy from inside /
Please stay close to
me / Escape in the
corners of my
mind," made me
double check the
CD case to make
sure I wasn't listen-
ing to Jewel or Tammy
Wynette. Tracks like
"Hangin' On" and "Daddy
Inside" brimmed over with gonna-
make-it-through-this-world-on-my-
own-type lyrics that were bland and irri-
tating.
If you want easy, listenable, not-too-
threatening, pathos-driven pop, then

"Nobody's Monkey" may be right up
your alley. But if you want to be excit-
ed, turned on and surprised, look else-
where.
- Gabrielle Schafer
Brian McKnight
Anytime
Mercury records
The crooner has always been an R&B
tradition, and each generation of music
has always had at least one male voice
that could always melt even the coldest
hearts.
The torch has been passed down
from Nat King Cole to Marvin Gaye,
and then to Luther Vandross. It seems
now that the torch has been passed to
Mercury recording artist Brian
McKnight, and with "Anytime" as the
follow-up to his debut album, he tries
not to disappoint.
Having a hand in writing and produc-
ing a number of the songs on the 12-
track album, McKnight displays all of
his immense talents, combining to
make the very mellow, but heartfelt
sound that has become McKnight's
trademark.
McKnight sets the tone of the album
from the outset, with a reminiscent
piano playing behind his smooth voice
on the title track "Anytime."
This is a perfect song to show what
Brian McKnight is capable of as pro-
ducer, songwriter and singer. In fact, the
relaxed groove of "Everytime We' Say
Goodbye,' the slow and sensuous "The
Only One For Me," and the simple but
soulful "I Belong To You" all prove that
six of the seven songs McKnight did
mostly by himself are the best on the

Love is ... Brian McKnight.
album.
In contrast, three of the five songs
McKnight did in collaboration with
other producers are among the album's
worst. I
The album's first single "You Should
Be Mine" is a juvenile effort on his
part, and the annoying addition of Bad
Boy artist Mase adds to the fact.
"Jam Knock" uses the baseline from
Nu Shooz's "I Can't Wait" ad nauseam,
and further proves that McKnight's tal-
ents are much more geared toward slow
jams than uptempo party songs.
McKnight himself falls victim to cater-
ing to the wrong audience, writing and
producing the hopelessly lame "You
Got The Bomb."
I personally feel that phrases like
"You Got The Bomb" do not belong in
R&B, and after hearing McKnight's
song, you will agree. Fortunately, these
songs are the exception, and not the
rule.
As McKnight ends the album with
what is obviously his strongest song
("When The Chariot Comes"), the lis-
tener will appreciate being given a laid-
back music session that makes the
album easy to listen to over and over
again.
Despite its flaws, "Anytime" is a
solid effort from Brian McKnight, and
immensely helps to further secure his
title as heir apparent to the crooning
legacies of Cole, Gaye and Vandross.
- JuQuan Williams

By Emily Lambert
Daily Arts Wnter
Hill Auditorium held a sparse
crow d Thursday evening at a perfor-
mance, the first of two, by the
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber
Choir. Midterms and an early week-
end seemed more enticing than a con-
cert of mostly religious music, and
plenty of seats sat
empty in the large E
hall.
a udi ence Esto
members who
came were decid-
edIy older, and
what drew them
to this particular concert is a mystery.
Maybe they had fond memories of the
choir's 1995 concert, one of the best
presented by the University Musical
Society in the past few years.
Or maybe the draw was Mozart's
"Litaniac," which began the program
and segued without break to his bet-
ter-known "Ave verum corpus."
Though technically good, this rendi-
tion by the choir and the Tallinn
Orchestra proved .dryly academic.
Soprano Kaia Urb was its saving
grace, especially in "Agnus Dei,".
where she soared through wide leaps
with ease and an endearing but
reserved charisma.
Few came to hear what was on the
second half: Music by contemporary

Estonian composer Arvo Part. "He's
modern!" one audience member whis-
pered to another after hearing
"Trisagion," an electrifying piece for
string orchestra. But just as was the
case two years ago, Part's music
brought out the ensemble's best.
"Trisagion" drew punches with its
droning, clashing start. Short phrases

EVIEW
nian Chamber
Choir
fill Auditorium
October 9, 1997

built in intensity
and led to an
impassioned
musical conversa-
tion between the
orchestra's high
and low voices.
I itanv" the

three-year-old commission of the
Oregon Bach Festival, drew the most
involvement from listeners and per-
formers. From the unsettling begin-
ning - where the sound of mezzo-
soprano Malena Ernman hovered over
an undercurrent of strings, chimes
and choir- to the surprising Amen at
the end, the piece captivated.
The central section was indeed its
heart., The mostly stepwise melody
never strayed far, intriguing listeners
with non-Western melody and harmo-
ny. Equally intriguing was the unusual
quartet of soloists with mezzo, two
tenors and a bass. Part may be modem,
but his music skips generation gaps. If
it was Part's music the audience came
to hear, it was in the right place.

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Warning: This Treehouse is shoddily put together and could be harmful to children.

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