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April 14, 2000 - Image 12

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-04-14

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Manson would be proud...
"Beautiful People," a Bosnian film fol-
lowing a series of storylines connected
to the turmoil of Eastern Europe. Ar
the Michigan Theater, 7 and 9 pm.

TS

r

FRIDAY
APRIL 14, 2000

12

michigandaily.com /arts

Heavenly Norton elevates

'Faith'

By Erin Podoisky
Daily Arts Writer
The idea that a movie that at. its very
foundation is little more than the oldest
joke in the book (well, okay - the oldest
joke since Jesus) could be mildly enter-
taining, let alone laugh-out-loud funny,
is a frightening
one. On a scale of
ยข hone to petrifying,
it comes in some-
Keeping where around the
the Faith same ranking as
the idea that an
Grade: A- actor not only can
At Quality 16 never give a bad
and Showcase performance, but
can direct, too.
All bets are off
k with "Keeping the
Faith," actor
Edward Norton's
("Fight Club,"
"Primal Fear") directorial debut. The
romantic comedy goes far beyond its
rabbi-and-a-priest-walk-into-a-bar

premise and becomes something
greater: The rare movie that is funny
and touching and sexy and happy. And
original, surprisingly, wonderfully orig-
inal in this low period in the history of
the romcom that brings us formulaic,
absolutely predictable drivel such as
"You've Got Mail" and "Return to Me."
"Keeping the Faith" is formulaic and
predictable, too, but not until its final
hour and only because it is of a genre
and is not an anomaly; its non-com-
formist bent resides in its ability to
make us laugh, to present new pairings,
new ideas - and best of all, new jokes.
Brian Finn (Norton) and Jake
Schram (Ben Stiller) have been best
friends nearly forever. When they are in
the sixth grade, Anna Reilly (Jenna
Elfman) shows up in the neighborhood
and completes their threesome. "Anna
used to call us two micks and a yid. She
was gonna make t-shirts," Brian says.
Who wouldn't love a girl like that?
Sadly, Anna moves away a few years
later, never to return - until the boys are
pushing 30 and pulling for the Lord.

Yes, unbelievable as it may seem, Brian
becomes a priest and Jake a rabbi. With
Anna back in town to run a Wall Street
stalwart, the two men find themselves
in puppy love all over again with sun-
shiny Anna. Problems abound: Brian's
got that pesky vow of chastity to worry
about, while Jake is all about Anna's sex
appeal - it's her shiksa appeal he's got a
problem with.
Complications ensue, naturally, but
I'll not spoil any of them for you here;
given that "Keeping the Faith" is the
best movie released so far this year, you
ought to discover it for yourself. I'll say
only this: The movie has the best use of
the ubiquitous Santana/Rob Thomas
collaboration "Smooth" ever recorded
on film or television.
As an actor, Norton can do it all:
Twitchy sonsabitches with something to
hide, long-suffering lawyers, Gen X-er
who's mad as hell and not going to take
this anymore and now romantic come-
dy. Norton, unequivocally the best and
brightest of his generation of actors,
proves himself an extremely capable,

possibly gifted director with Stuart
Blumberg's script in his hands. The
movie has something to offer kids and
adults of all ages and sizes and creeds,
with plenty of religious in-jokes. What
keeps "Keeping the Faith" from true
comedic perfection is Norton's indul-
gence, which as a first-timer behind the
camera is understandable - the movie is
his baby and he wants his baby intact.
So the film does run a bit on the long
side at over two hours - this is forgiv-
able only because the characters are so
lively and fleshed-out, because the
comedy is such a hoot, because the
romance is truly believable.
"Keeping the Faith" is being market-
ed very similarly to "There's Something
About Mary," with the commercials
highlighting the slapstick physical com-
edy. Do not be fooled (or, rather, do be):
Like "Mary," "Faith" has a lot more to
offer than a couple of pratfalls. Jake and
Brian fancy themselves as modern guys
doing God's work for the new millenni-
um, concentrating on making worship
fun. That's something they neither for-

Rabbi Ben Stiller and Father Edward Norton are The God Squad.

get nor give up on during the course of
the movie, even when their elders chas-
tise them. "Keeping the Faith" never
forgets it either, making the house of
worship known as the local movie the-

atre more than a destination sought out
of boredom. It makes it a warm, wel-
come, communal place to laugh. And
love. And maybe get a little praying
done on the side.

Hooker plays
the Mfichigan
By Gautam Baksi.
Daily Arts Writer

Indian dancers to grace 'U'.

By Jennifer Gates
For the Daily
The Dances of India Troupe per-
forms the classical ballet "Vahini" at
the Mendelssohn Theater on Sunday.
The ballet, while founded in tradition, is
also founded upon the non-traditional
personal histories of those who will
make it possible. Such persons include
the director and choreographer Malini
Srirama and the student dancer
Stephanie Messina.

Srirama, born and raised in India, has
been a dancer since the age of five.
Although she loved to dance, "at the
time that I was living," she said, "I was
not supposed to dance professionally. I
was supposed to marry. My family was
not interested in me as a professional
dancer." It was not until she came to
America with her husband 25 years ago
after their arranged marriage that
Srirama, with her husband's permis-
sion, put aside her masters in Zoology
and Information Science, and focused

on what she really wanted to do -
dance.
Perhaps because she was originally
denied approval to follow her heart,
Srirama was attracted to choreograph
the piece that she will present on
Sunday. The Indian ballet "Vahini, or
"sacred female flowing river," is an
approximately 2,000 year-old India*'
legend involving gypsies, (portrayed by
guest performers Troupe Ta'amullat),
and a princess who fights, literally, to
See BALLET, Page 14

They say when John Lee Hooker plays the blues, you
can hear three instruments. First, there's his guitar.
Acoustic or electric, Hooker's trademark fingerpicking
is unlike anyone else's in the music industry. Some
solos consist of just one chord that Hooker bangs away
repeatedly until even the notes themselves are exhaust-
ed from effort. Second, there's the tapping of his foot.
Hooker's stubborn leg is always declaring its presence,

a
J AN
John Lee
Hooker
Michigan Theater
April 27 at 7:30 p.m.

playing the part of metronome on
stage. Finally, there's Hooker's
voice. Raspy, dark and naturally
intrinsic to the blues, dozens of
musicians still strive to re-create
the passion and expression that
Hooker generates when he sings.
Needless to say, Hooker's solo
repertoire requires no accompani-

ment.
At 80 years young, Hooker is
still the "King of Boogie Woogie."
For the latter half of the 20th
Century, he has played more than a
lifetime's worth of blues. His blues
ain't pretty, they sure ain't clean,
but they are without a doubt immortal. Hits like "I'm in
the Mood," "Boogie Chillin"' and "One Bourbon, One
Scotch, One Beer" are established classics often imitat-
ed, but never duplicated.
Playing only a handful of North American cities
before he departs to Europe, the chance to see Hooker
play in Ann Arbor is an incredible opportunity to see a
living legend right here at home. With its small capac-
ity, the Michigan Theater is an intimate venue in which
one may be able to get an up-close glimpse of Hooker
himself. Like any great blues musician, Hooker's
freestylin' blues solos come to life on-stage. His studio
standards, albeit illustrious, still miss the essence of a
live performance.
Hooker was most prolific in the late '40s through
'60s. In these 30 years, he released hundreds of unique
recordings under various pseudonyms and labels.
Never content under the binding contract of a single
label, Hooker continuously wrote and recorded at a fer-
vent pace. His style was unmistakable, and his solos,
like the songs surrounding them, were short and repeti-
tious.
As for his lyrics, Hooker in humble, honest and uni-

Courtesy of Pointblank
John Lee Hooker rocks it baby, rocks it all night long April 27.
versal voice. His vocals were filled with wrenched,
raspy emotion and grit. There were no sugarcoated,
over-produced albums or compilations of hits. In the
post-war blues circuit of Detroit, Hooker had already
become a success.
But even with an established career spanning the mid-
dle part of the last century, Hooker has not relinquished
his passion for the blues. He has recorded dozens of
albums with legendary artists around the world. His 1998
"Best of Friends" release features truly impressive per-
formances of classic Hooker hits with Eric Clapton,
Robert Cray and Jimmie Vaughan, as well as new songs
written with Carlos Santana. Hooker's long-time admirer
and proteg6 Bonnie Raitt plays slide guitar and sings
alternating verses on "I'm in the Mood," resulting in quite
possibly one of the greatest blues duets ever recorded.
The album has since gone on to highlight Hooker's mas-
sive regaining popularity within a younger crowd of lis-
teners. On his Grammy winning "Supernatural" release,
Santana praised Hooker's work, claiming it set the foun-
dation for his bold endeavor.
Though it may be erroneous to say that John Lee
Hooker is reinventing the blues, it is true that he is
opening them up to a new audience. With his dignified
style, dark glasses and unmistakable beat, John Lee's
old leg certainly won't be the only one tapping when
he plays the blues at the Michigan Theater on the 27th.

'Psycho' songs
Sle WtsOU
, ,
superficiality
Somewhere in America, Huey Lewis is pissed. Last week
the '80s pop music icon forced a recall on the "American
Psycho" soundtrack to remove his classic ditty "Hip to be
Square," a song that main character Patrick Bateman refers to
as "personal statement about the bandit self." Yes, it's safe to
say, Huey is a little afraid of this primed "Psycho."
Opening in theaters today, American Psycho" has already
received its fair share of controversy, from anti-violence groups
boycotting its Toronto shoot to a Florida
lawyer threatening a lawsuit against the
Grade: B. film. So why shouldn't the soundtrack
'American join in on the hair-raisin' fun?
Sadly Koch Records had to remove
Psycho' Sdtrk. the Huey Lewis and the News track and
Various Artists its hilarious accompanying Patrick
Koch Records Bateman monologue. What you're left
Reviewed by with is a group of rather intense, some-
Daily Arts Editor times bland industrial songs mixed with
Christopher Cousino a little electronica and vintage '80s pop
to keep the blood flowing.
And so it does, as Bateman adds in "Monologue 3": "My
nightly bloodlust has overflowed into my days. I feel lethal, on
the verge of frenzy. I think my mask of sanity is about to slip."
Christian Bale's icy, chilling and at times hilarious voice of
Bateman are a special bonus. Three monologues appear in the
liner notes, but there may be more ... hint, hint.
Equally exciting is the inclusion of such classic '80s tunes
like New Order's "True Faith," Information Society's "What's
On Your Mind" and M/A/R/R/S' "Pump Up the Volume."

These are inherent sounds to the urban materialism of the late
'80s; they're mod, they're hip, they stretch the line of gothic
and industrial with a little electronic groove.
Dead on arrival, however, is the latest abrasive industrial-
goes-pop entry: Dope's annoying cover of Dead or Alive's "You
Spin Me Round" Crafting the song in a fashion very much
similar to the original, Dope's loud, grinding guitar riffs and
edgy vocals only make the original seem that much more alter-
native and yes, that much cooler. Other music discussed in
begrudgingly funny detail throughout the film by Batemart
such as tunes by Phil Collins and Whitney Houston, failed to
make the soundtrack album cut as well. (Is that really a bad
thing though?)
The "American Psycho" soundtrack does offer at least two
decent new tracks, one being the latest blend of twisty elec-
tronic erieeness from the legendary David Bowie. Bowie's
spooky, minimal vocals bolster a chilling tone in the remix of
"Something in the Air."The other, John Calc's beautiful, flighty
score, adds a sense of reflective melancholy to an otherwise
dark, disgusted world of one screwed up Wall Street urbanite
Whether the film scares you or not, the soundtrack probabl5
won't as it's rather tame. But maybe that's the point. The dark-
ness isn't always overt - it may lie under the surface of us all.

I

U I

I

The Zippori Archaeological Dig
Spend six weeks in Israel touring,
learning and digging deep into your
past on one of the most exciting
Israel college programs of the year.
For $2000 the program includes the following:

. Six credits at the University of Michigan

; .Yi r:t;2'' .....................::: ?. n rf s > > .s srf rs n N rs rs s . f t L- r'f

~ , .. :

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