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January 06, 1999 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-01-06

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*Ogh to Wake the Dead
I aking Ned Devine' continues at the Michigan Theater. The
'hilarious new Irish comedy explores greed and friendship in the
story of a small farming town that collectively lies to a lottery
representative in order to claim a deceased villager's winnings.
Not for those who fear naked geriatrics. 7 & 9 p.m.

fbe idritmPat

The List! returns in place of Weekend, Etc. magazine,
which will appear next Thursday.
January 6, 1999


'Patch' ca
By Aaron Rich
Weekend, Etc. Editor
Early in "Patch Adams," the title character
puts tape on a leaky coffee cup to stop a drip,
and is given the nickname "Patch" for his
masterful surgical maneuver. On top of this,
he - who has checked himself into a mental
h ital - decides that the clinicians in the

n't find funny bone


At Briarwood and

asylum cannot help him
because they do not
understand his genius,
nor do they care about it.
We are immediately hit
over the head with refer-
ences to Milos Forman's
"One Flew Over the
Cuckoo's Nest" and the
older Robin Williams
hit, Penny Marshall's
It becomes clear after
ten minutes that this is
not a film of subtle sym-
bolism or acute irony.
The story of "Patch

the patient, not the disease" - and he tells us
and his classmates this mantra every chance
he gets (virtually every scene). This would-
be-revolutionary gets caught in a heated bat-
tle with the deans of his school and the
greater medical community who do not see
his cause as an ethical one.
"Patch Adams" follows in the tradition of
recent Williams films such as "Toys,""Jack"
and "Flubber" as an unadulterated showcase
of the actor's comedic skill. The problem
with all the films, though, lies in the story
between the silly, often ridiculous, punch-
lines. All four of these movies rely on over-
ly simplistic storylines (i.e. boy living in
man's body going to primary school, or man
with boy's soul running a toy factory). "Patch
Adams" is no exception to this fact. And it is
not especially funny.
So, apparently it was back to the basics for
director Tom Shadyac, best known for "Ace
Ventura: Pet Detective," and writer Steve
Oedekerk, the genius writer behind "Ace
Ventura 2: When Nature Calls." Patch Adams
finds love in fellow medical student Carin,
played by Monica Potter. He uses this rela-
tionship, like everything else in his life, to
push his love-all prescriptions. And Carin
sheepishly falls in line.
But this love affair is completely prepos-
terous and utterly unnecessary. It seems as if
the only reason why the intelligent and
attractive Carin would date Adams is because

he is the lead character of the movie. The
thought of spending any more gentle
moments with this medical blow-hard gives
us a headache.
In fact it seems the only reason Robin
Williams was cast in this role - for which he
is at least 15 years too old - is because he is
funnyman Robin Williams. He is perhaps the
,only actor who could do a tap dance with
bed-pans and get away with it. But it's sad
that he has to go that far.
Throughout the film, we are continually
knocked aside by overstated metaphors and
themes. Putting aside Adams' masturbatory
"love thy patient" line, we are never given
one moment to internalize or interpret any-
thing on the screen. There is no need for
interpretation anyhow, as all motifs are so
beat-to-death and over-explained by the film-
makers already.
The biggest problem with this film is the
character of Adams itself. The man who
begins the film in a mental hospital never
seems to get better. The neuroses from
which he suffers continue to hinder him well
after he thinks he is rid of them.
This is most noticeable when he sets up a
free clinic for the poor people living near his
rural Virginia cabin. He treats those in great
need simply by putting them in front of a TV
or blowing soap bubbles in their faces. It is
indeed the insane leading the incapacitated
and incontinent, so to speak.


lll Al/ i I




Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Robin Williams offers a human approach to medicine in "Patch Adams."

Adams" is not especially complex either. A
man at war with his inner demons decides
that his well-being depends on helping others
deal with their maladies. The thirty-some-
thB Adams enrolls in medical school where
he egins his movement for patients' rights
and conscientious medicine.
Adam's theory is that doctors should "treat

Adams never makes the slightest growth or
development. Even after he witnesses the
death of a friend directly caused by his
unconventional methods, he continues his
shenanigans, without even a heart-felt pause
of self-reflection.
"Patch Adams" is a painful slap in the face

to altruism and careful doctoring. The man's
ways are entirely sophomoric and out of con-
trol, and his relentless attitude is tiresome. It
is a shame to see an actor as talented as
Robin Williams stoop to such low levels. Let
us hope that he is able to convalesce from
this ulcerous film.

Rap trend dissected

3-D metal
X~iss show
y Ryan Malkin
Daily Arts Writer
"Welcome to the show!" bassist Gene
Simmons sang as the legendary classic rockers
Kiss took the stage New Year's Eve at the Palace
of Auburn Hills. After stripping off his shirt and
telling the audience what a great experience it
was in for, he told them to put on their 3-D
glasses. While the idea of a 3-D concert sounds
extraordinary, the results were not even in the
*me vicinity. Although several thousand
screaming Kiss fans dressed in black and silver,
much like the band members, loved every
minute, their appreciation didn't have much to
do with the special effects. Die-hard fans, with
their faces painted black and white, never sat
down, clapped and stood trance-like during the
show. The native New Yorkers knew exactly

Hip Hop America
Nelson George
The idea of rap as a passing trend has
been exchanged for the idea of rap as a
cultural phenomenon. Nelson George's
"Hip Hop America" provides rap, and
the hip hop culture that it sprang from,
with the historical criticism and analy-
sis devoted to other forms of music.
In this book, George explains that rap
came from the streets of the Bronx and
Brooklyn. Rap was only one of the
products of the original hip hop move-
ment. Hip hop culture, which originally
came from the streets, was first defined
by graffiti artists, break dancers and in
some small part what was then rap
music. Whereas break dancing and
graffiti became outdated, rap evolved
and changed to appeal to consumers,
finally achieving the status of being
thought of as a cultural product, not a
fad. In his new book, George analyzes
and explains the origins, influences of
and history of rap music and hip hop
George has been the voice of rap crit-
icism even before people identified
themselves as rappers. He came from
Brooklyn and saw the beginnings of hip
hop culture and wrote about it from the
start as a journalist at the Amsterdam
News, Billboard Magazine and The
Village Voice.
The book incorporates the observa-
tions ofajournalist with the knowledge
of a cultural historian and enthusiasm
of a fan. In addition to providing a com-
plete timeline of events that shaped the

beginnings of hip hop culture, George
explains why they happened. He was an
insider in the business before it even
became profitable. At times this makes
the book seem more authentic, but can
also appear as though George is just
trving to write about his friends. There
is an entire section devoted to Russell
Simmons, the producer and owner of
Def Jam records. Simmons was one of
the major people involved with the
early years of rap, but by presenting
him as a friend Nelson George makes it
seem like a favor.
The book does make many things
clear, like the idea of scratching, the
role of women in rap, and the appeal of
rap to all races. George explains why
rap became more violent and con-
cerned with drugs - rap was merely
representing a culture and that whatev-
er was going on in the culture was por-
trayed and sometimes glorified by rap
Since rap was thought to be a passing
trend, the idea of marketing is impor-
tant to the subject and covered thor-
oughly by Nelson George. The strength
of the book is that all of the information
about the subject is in one place and
intertwined with a personal narrative
from the author. The personal anec-
dotes serve, for the most part, to estab-
lish a time in history when a certain
artist or producer became popular.
The book is written for people with
some understanding of the music indus-
try and a basic knowledge of rap music.
It is written well enough, however, so
that anyone could read it and gain an
understanding of the culture George
writes about.
.-Caitlin Hall

Courtesy of Mercury Records

what buttons to
Palace of
Auburn Hills
Dec. 31, 1998

push on the drunken Kiss
clones, saying "Detroit was
the first city that welcomed
us with open arms."
Detroiters recognized some-
thing in the band while the
rest of the world was still
trying to judge the band by
its cover. Playing on New
Year's Eve is the least we
could do," Simmons offered.
After the speech, the crowd
exploded into applause. And
as the band started playing
"Detroit Rock City," the
applause erupted once
While the band's playing

Kiss rocked Detroit city on New Year's Eve.
lovers world wide 20 or so years ago, now those
tricks no longer effect the audience. It's like see-
ing a magician pull a rabbit out of a hat when we
expect more, like a car. Even the 3-D effects
were incredibly outdated. The idea is amazing,
but for the most part all we get is a bunch of
pre-recorded sequences that weren't much more
than the band members pointing their instru-
ments into the audience, and of course the
Gibson guitar manufacturer logo. How much
does Kiss get for that product placement?
To make the most of the audience's dollar,
Kiss decided not to give even a second break.
Instead it got a constant droning that left a hum-
ming in the ears of every listener until the fourth
quarter of the Citrus Bowl.
Each member played a five minute solo while
the other musicians rested, leaving most of the
audience begging for more and the remainder
begging for midnight.
As the New Year approached, Simmons said,
"let's take a look at our clock." The image of a
wall clock, much like those found in elementary
school, was plastered on three huge screens.
Obviously a pre-recorded image, but they tried.
Once the clock hit 12, confetti poured from the
rafters and Kiss gave the audience what it had


wanted the whole night; in unison the band
began singing "I want to rock and roll all night.
And party every day..." This seemed to be more
than the Kiss fanatics could handle as the audi-
ence began to roar with them. Finally, Kiss
stopped playing, even if it was just for a few
moments until the encore.
While the idea of a 3-D concert is fine, the
execution of Kiss's Psycho Circus left much to
be desired. Although most of the audience
seemed to enjoy the performance, it got old
after a song or two, and the audience members
probably would have been just as happy seeing
the on-stage pyrotechnics that Kiss used in the
'80s. It seems that Kiss hasn't made any
changes to its stage show aside from a screen
behind them that offers 3-D images. This past
New Year's Eve performance was a lackluster
show that only true Kiss fanatics could enjoy.
For the rest of us, meaning just occasional fans
or those interested in checking out the 3-D, all
we received were pounding ear drums and the
knowledge that Kiss shows are definitely not
for the occasional listener. They should have
had a disclaimer at the ticket window reading,
"Four album minimum to enjoy this perfor-


was not, by any means, bad, it was down right
However, an aroma of cheese lingered in the
air from the beginning of the night to the con-
cert's final chord. While the explosions and
smoking guitars captured the attention of music


What do these people have in common?
Marc R. Cohen
Professor, Near Eastern Studies
Princeton University
Ivan Marcus
Professor, Jewish History and Religion
Yale University
Natalie Merkur Rose
Coordinator of Jewish Family Life Education
Jewish Family Service, Seattle, Washington
Robert S. Schine
Dean of Faculty, Professor, Jewish Studies
Middlebury College
Stefanie B. Siegmund
Assistant Professor, History
University of Michigan


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