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October 14, 1999 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-10-14

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Inspector' Busch
v Writer Frederick Busch reads from "The Night Inspector."
This fiction writer comes to the University as part of the Visiting
Writers Series. Rackham. 5 p.m.

UOlie HdIja ?d
L41

Tomorrow in Daily Arts:
Check out Brad, Norto and soap, all part of Erin Podolsky's
ass kicking review of "Fight Club."

iQA

Thursday
October 14, 1999

*-0

Eclectic Jimmy's Chicken Shack
hits MTV success after 10 years

By Gautam Baksi
For the Daily
Jimmie Haha, lead singer of Jimmie's
Chicken Shack, feels content in seeing
his face on MTV with their latest single,
"Do right". He simply replied, "It's about
time!"
After touring and playing in his native
Baltimore/DC region for almost 10
years, Haha has been waiting for his tal-
ents to be noticed. With a eclectic mix of
rock, ska, punk and even a little bit of
swing, Jimmie's Chicken Shack is a band
with broad musical tastes. Their latest
release, "Bring Your Own Stereo,"
sounds no different.
The constant changing song styles of
"Bring Your Own Stereo" are all well
written, ranging from the ska/pop "Do
Right" to the catchy swinging style of
"Lazy Boy Dash" Above all else, the
band sounds like they have fun playing
music.
With their first album titled, "Pushing
the Salmonella Envelope," this is defi-
nitely a band that does not take them-
selves too seriously. "Our music is for
people with ADD. We want to confuse
people," said Haha.
What does this 30-year-old frontman
think about his rock 'n' roll high life with
five or six shows a week? Eloquently put,
"Anyone who complains about this life

needs to be bitch-slapped."
The most often-asked question to the
band comes in reference to the origins of
their name. Jimmie's Chicken Shack was
the name of a small restaurant frequented
by Malcolm X. With three band mem-
bers sharing a variation of the name
"Jimmie," majority ruling won.
Growing up, Haha cites The Beach
Boys, Black Sabbath and Bob Marley as
his idols. Although each band member
listens to starkly different styles of music
(from metal to drum and bass), their
combined efforts result in eclectic and
fun songs.
Currently, Jimmie's Chicken Shack is
on tour with Fuel, a much heavier band,
but Haha said they have no trouble with
the crowd. Already, Jimmie's Chicken
Shack has toured with the likes of 311,
Luscious Jackson, Everclear and even
Jewel.
Because each of Jimmie's Chicken
Shack's songs sound like a different band,
it's easy to find-something for everyone.
Is Haha worried that fans will be alienat-
ed because of the variety of their songs?
"Alienate 'em! Fuck 'em!," he simply
answers. "They should try to stretch their
musical tastes." Often called "mutt-
rock", the band may be the answer to
those who like the new cross-over fusion
music scene but prefer something not as

heavy or angry as Limp Bizkit. Haha
admits he prefers fans in concert to listen
to their music more and spend less time
elbowing their neighbors. .
After playing the east coast continu-
ously, Haha said there is a huge Mecca of
great artists waiting to be tapped. "If it's
not honest, it doesn't fly there ... (That's)
Not frustrating, miore motivating."
Now that the band has received some
national recognition, Haha thanks MTV:
"The power of MTV and radio is
unmatched. But we've always been a live
band. That's where you get it."
In fact, the live show is also where
Jimmie's Chicken Shack develops new
styles. Several songs off the new album,
including the very impressive
"Spiraling," were written on tour. Most of
their songs originate from extended jam
sessions. "Waiting," one of only two
tracks on "Bring Your Own Stereo"
longer than four minutes, is one such
song born from a jam session.
What can we expect next from the
Chicken Shack? If history repeats itself,
their next record will be completely dif-
ferent. "Could be polka," Haha said. For
those of you living in fear the band may
sell out, fear not.
"I wanna tour with the Backstreet
Boys", Haha said. "If you're gonna sell
out, do it big!"

Courtesy of Castle Rock Films
Michelle Pfeiffer wonders why it's so cold in the room. Maybe a stale 15-year marriage or the presence of hubby Bruce Willis?
Reiner tells bland 'Story of Us'
with tired cliches, melodrama

By Ed Sholinsky
Daily Film Editor
What is there to say about a movie
that has nothing to say? What is there
to say about a movie that is more
obsessed with Rob Reiner's ass (no I'm
not kidding) than it is with telling the
principle story?
Essentially "The Story of Us" is a
movie we've all seen about a million
times about a stressed out couple trying
to save their fairy tale romance. And,

The Story
of Us
Opens Fri. at Showcase
and Briarwood

guess what.
oops, can't give
away the ending.
From the trail-
er though, it
seemed as if
Reiner would be
able to breathe
life into this life-
less subject as he
has done with so
many other
romantic come-
dies - "When
Harry Met Sally
"The

garbage like "Ghosts of Mississippi"
and "The Ghost and the Darkness."
Reiner's problem is that he treats
divorce too lightly, making the movie a
trite, stale insignificant piece of film-
making. Instead of exploring the ins
and outs of a 15-year relationship,
Reiner reduces Katie and Ben Jordan's
(Michelle Pfeiffer and Bruce Willis)
marriage to a series of fights. As a
result the movie is like watching your
parents fight.
Of all the moments from a marriage
Reiner presents only the fights, making
you ask the question why are these peo-
ple together, rather than why are these
people breaking up.
Largely this problem stems from the
fact that the film is set during the sum-
mer when Katie and Ben are physically
splitting - they split emotionally years
before. At the point when a couple is
breaking up we already know some-
thing went wrong with the marriage,
but "The Story of Us" doesn't show us
what or how. The few and far between
flashbacks hardly ever show the couple
without children or show them happy.
All these problems are amplified by
the dull script from writers/producers
Alan Zweibel and Jessie Nelson. There
are only one and half scenes with any
vitality in the film, which are mixed
with weak dialogue and cliched roman-
tic comedy scenarios.
In the only completely inspired scene
in the film Katie and Ben go over their

time in marriage counselling and recall
a therapist who told them their were six
people in bed every time they had sex
- them and their four parents. This
takes off to their parents (Red Buttons,
Betty Whit, Jayne Medows and Tom
Poston) magically appearing in bed
with them and fueling an argument. If
only half of this inventiveness had been
applied to the bulk of the film, sitting
through "The Story of Us" would have
been worthwhile.
Rather what we get is Willis - who
is on a new career path this year with
"The Sixth Sense," "Breakfast of
Champions" and "The Story of Us" -
trying his best to give a pulse to the
material and Pfeiffer hamming it up in
her third strike - after "Deep End of
the Ocean" and "William Shakespeare's
A Midsummer Night's Dream"- since
she returned to the screen this year after
a long hiatus. Rita Wilson, Julie
Hagerty and Reiner all lend abysmal
supporting performances with only
Colleen Rennison and Jake Sandvig (as
the Jordan kids) and an uncredited Paul
Reiser in a small supporting role retain-
ing their dignity.
"The Story of Us" cares not a lick,
though, about giving its actors juicy
roles. Instead it rides tired material to
its maudlin, ill-conceived, down right
idiotic, yet strangely predictable end.
And instead of giving us a new portray-
al of onscreen marriage it rests on
stereotypes, cliches and melodrama.

By Erin Podolsky
Daily Arts Writer
The tube in 1910 London is packed. A
woman, clearly upper class, gets on this
mode of transportation that is beneath her,
filled to the brim with working men in
hats and coats. There is no seat for her. At
the other end of the car, a middle class
gentleman rises, silently offering his seat
to her. She silently accepts. The train
arrives at a stop. She exits. He follows. She
rounds a corner. He as well. They ride on
the same elevator. Is it coincidence? They
do not acknowledge each other's presence.
They pass a first floor, and a second.
By the third floor they are wrapped in a
breathtaking kiss of passion, their charade
of silent anonymity forever broken.
"The Wings of the Dove," one of the
better films of 1997, makes it way to DVD
with little to recommend it other than the
film itself. In this case, it is enough. Kate
Croy (Helena Bonham Carter), eyes drip-
ping wet, black passion and pain,
telegraphing love and guilt and an
unspeakable horror that she and her lover,
Merton Densher (Linus Roache), commit
against innocent, dying American heiress
Millie Theale (Alison Elliott). Kate and
Merton love each other above class dis-
tinctions and family directives-or at least,
Merton does. His repeated entreaties for

On 'Wings' of Carter
comes new DVD

Kate's hand in marriage are thwarted by
her aunt's threat that should she speak to,
let alone marry, Merton again, she will be
left penniless.
When Kate meets Millie, a plan crys-
tallizes in her desperate heart. She sets up
Merton and Millie, makes Merton party to
her machinations. It is simple to Kate:
Millie will fall in love with Merton and
leave all of her money to him.
Subsequently, Merton will be wealthy and
can marryKate. All their problems solved.
What Kate doesn't account for is the
ensuing paranoia that overtakes her when
she leaves Merton and Millie alone, or the
uncompromisingly subjective qualities of
the human heart. Love can destroy as
much as it sustains. The three fall victim to
this truth, but two survive. At the end, only
one is left decimated and shattered. The
greatest tragedy of all is that for all her
efforts, Kate cannot let go of the forces
that shaped her until it is too late. And it is
not enough to save Merton's love.
"Wings of the Dove" offers lush Venice
settings and drab gray London as its set-
tings. Both look good on the DVD. The
soundtrack is encoded in Dolby Digital
5.1 although it has few if any directional
effects and pours forth sound mostly from
the front three speakers. As is usual for
Disney's DVD efforts, there is but one

S.
'

American President" and "The Princess
Bride." But he hasn't, proving once
again that Reiner can only handle seri-
ous subject matter when adapting
Stephen King ("Stand By Me" and
"Misery") or Aaron Sorkin ("A Few
Good Men"). Otherwise, when tackling
lofty subject matter - that would be
divorce in "The Story of Us" - he gets

Courtesy of Miramax
Helena Bonham Carter embraces in 'Dove.'
bonus item on the disc, a production fea-
turette that appears to have been made as
Oscar propaganda. While it offers a bit of
history and analysis of author Henry
James' source novel and the ideas that
shaped this production of the film, it is0
often less than insightful. An audio com-
mentary by director lain Softley would
have been more interesting given the visu-
al acuity his shooting style demonstrates.
It's the kind of movie you watch on a
cold, rainy day when you're feeling cold
and rainy inside. The hot fires ignited by
the lovers, the delicious intrigue and tragic
end to it.all create a mood of oppressive
pain. It's good to open yourself up to that
feeling now and again. "I fake passion.. I
fake conviction,' Merton impassively@
shares with Millie. She doesn't believe
him. Neither does "Wings of the Dove."

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