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September 22, 2000 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-22

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 22, 2000 -9

Uff-key 'Duets' is
strictly amatuer

'Rebels' documentary dispels
myths of tumultuous, sixties

By Leslie Boxer
Daky Art sriter
Karaoke is a great time: It is the
perfect mix of a few drinks, friends
embarrassing themselves, strangers

earnestly pouring
Duets
Grade: F
At Showcase

their soul out over
a Debbie Gib-
son tune, some-
t h i n g
r e s e m b l i n g
music and, if
you are lucky,
someone giving
a shouting ren-
dition of "Ring
of Fire." We all
know that
karaoke, like
many other pas-
times has its

priest turned cab driver (Scott
Speedman), a woman who gives sex-
ual favors to pay her way across the
country (Maria Bello), a karaoke
hustler (Huey Lewis), an over-
worked salesman (Paul Giamatti), a
Vegas showgirl (Gwyneth Paltrow)
and an ex-convict (Andre Braugher).
As the film progresses, we watch
their random encounters in anticipa-
tion of the championship contest.
In addition to the characters being
flat and uninteresting, the plot is
also in desperate need of some revi-
sion. the commentary that director
Bruce Paltrow tries to make is that
the country is experiencing a cultur-
al void that allows its citizens to
tune out certain individual plea-
sures. This statement is made in a
movie that uses dialogue like, "I'm
different now, I sing" and is totally
incongruous with the style of the
film,
Bruce Paltrow conveys his theme
blatantly - karaoke saves the day. It
is what brings together an estranged
father and daughter, it is the bond
that makes one man give his life for
another, it is the playground for
love-birds, and it can mend a broken
marriage.
"Duets" tries to be too many
things and fails at all of them. It is
at times a comedy, but not really
funny, at times a drama that is too
melodramatic, and at times a
romance, yet never succeeding at
that either.
The film was supposed to be

crowds of devotees - sometimes
we admire these people, sometimes
we pity them, and sometimes we just
lain laugh at them.
This counterculture of karaoke
regulars seems to be the perfect
place for a mockumentary (faux
documentary) that would follow the
lead of such movies as "This is
Spinal Tap" and "Waiting for Guff-
man." This was what I hoped
"Duets" was going to be. i was
wrong. The film took everything
comical about karaoke and made it
ridiculous and boring.
This is the story of chance pair-
ings of duets who are all after a
55000 purse at the national karaoke
championship. There is a dropout
Visrr
WWWMICHIGANDAILY.COM

P"otoUcourtesyofH roIUmywHJPicures
Paltrow makes love to the microphone
like a karaoke pro in 'Duets.'
released last spring yet was stalled
because of editing arguments
between Bruce Paltrow and Disney.
The end result is not a film that
exhibits better editing but instead
one that looks like installments were
duct taped together.
The one interesting thing is that
all of the actors, save Braugher, did
their own singing and sounded good
(with the exception of Huey Lewis,
the one musician). It is hard to
believe that Gwvneth Paltrow is not
only beautiful, talented anM thin, but
she also has a pretty decent voice.
This movie is terrible. The only
thing it proves is that Huey Lewis.
with no News in sight. has a bad
voice. I would not suggest paying to
see this film, or even renting it
you're better off going to Belmark
Lanes for karaoke and a night of
cosmic bowling.

Rebels With
a Cause
The Michigan
Theater
Sunday, 7 p.m.

By Leslie Boxer
Dally Arts Writer
"Rebels With a Cause" is a docu-
mentary that chronicles the emotional
and political history of the '60s. It is a
film that focuses on those who were at

the heart of the
civil rights
movement and
the protests
against the Viet-
nam War - the
students. The
Students for a
Democratic
Society (SDS)
was a group out
for social justice
and change that
was initiated on
college campus-
es nation wide.

and that distortion is destructive.
Everyone believes the myth that the
press puts out there that the '60s was a
time of just sex, drugs, and rock and
roll. The reason to make a film like
this is to take back our history and tell
the true story." This is precisely what
is so wonderful about "Rebels," it is a
narrative by those who lived through
the time period and who were integral
members of the SDS telling their own
stories in their own words.
Interestingly, the SDS and the stu-
dent movement in general have an
intimate connection with Ann Arbor
and the University of Michigan. SDS
essentially started here, in Ann Arbor,
under the leadership of Alan Haber. In
1959, Haber was hired to work for the
Student League for Industrial Democ-
racy, a relatively inactive organization
that was founded in 1905 by Jack
London and Upton Sinclair. Under
Haber's leadership, the Student
League was transformed into the SDS
and adopted his more activist politics.
The organization, which started by
simply appealing to people on a per-
son-to-person level, grew out of
Haber's networking with other cam-
puses. ie recruited campus leaders
and slowly the organization expanded.

When the students began question-
ing the government's motives behind
the involvement in Vietnam, the
organization grew to sponsor a
25,000 person March on Washington
in 1965.
In addition to chronicling the
events of the '60s Garvey feels that
her film offers an important expla-
nation of a time period that is very
much alive today. She sees similar
concerns and questions being raised
today as was seen decades ago.
"The '60s is with us in a lot of
ways," Garvey said, "the social ram-
ifications of the civil rights move-
ment and women's movement have
changed the world. People are being
influenced in their daily lives by
issues from the '60s and they are
curious as to the history behind
these events."
Moreover, Garvey believes that the
same frustrations and desires to
improve economic and social condi-
tions that existed in the '60s are still
very much alive today. She hopes that
students as well as adults in their 30s
and 40s will see the film and allow it
to empower them to ask questions and
understand the rich history of this
tumultuous time period.

The group was well known for its
involvement in the anti-war movement
yet was also instrumental in voicing
the opinions of students for over a
decade on a wide variety of issues.
The producer/director of the film,
Helen Garvey, said the film is impor-
tant because "the history of the time
period has been distorted by the media

F S

s #im behr
Qs and AWIII, documentorl
filmm~aker, iNCIudeAACFeenint
of critically-acclaimed ile*
"Ameri4can Hollow,'

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