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November 26, 2002 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-11-26

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Tuesday
November 26, 2002
michigandaily.com/arts
mae@michigandaily.com

ATS

5

MTV's smash 'The
Osbournes' returns

By Christian Smith
Daily Arts Writer
When the reality TV craze started a
few years back, no one could have
expected that former metal icon Ozzy
Osbourne would usurp the almighty
Jeff Probst's status as the genre's cul-
tural idol. Even less likely, when "The
Osbournes" debuted last spring on
MTV, who would have guessed that it
would become the unavoidable cultur-
al phenomenon that it did, becoming
the channel's most popular show in its
20-year history while simultaneously

a far more daunting task: Diagnosed
with colon cancer last summer, this
season will take us through the ups
and downs of her fight, covering her
radiation treatments and all. Mean-
while, Sharon's battle has thrown
Ozzy back off the wagon. While
whining about continuing his cross-
country Ozzfest jaunt, Ozzy tries to
drown his sorrow over his soul mate's
cancer by hitting the bottle again.
Additionally, in a move of all-too-
convenient irony, or a gesture of
goodwill, depending on how you
look at it, the family adopted another

spawning its own sub-
genre of television?
The Osbournes have
been a busy bunch
since the end of the
first season, winning
Emmys in between vis-
its to the White House
and Buckingham
Palace. And while we

THE OSBOURNES:
SEASON 2
Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m.
MTV

"main character,"
Kelly's friend Robert
Marcato, after his
mother passed away
from cancer.
Despite all these neg-
ative circumstances,
and Sharon's recent
claim on "20/20" that
this season would be the

can't blame the Osbournes for "The
Anna Nicole Show," Kelly
Osbourne's excruciatingly ornate
attempt to pervade the music industry
can only be attributed to the massive
success of the show's first season.
There is a glimpse of this on tonight's
second season premiere, as Kelly
masquerades at the MTV Movie
Awards, infecting those present with
her noxious cover of Madonna's
"Papa Don't Preach." .
But it's not only Kelly who is off
exploring new things, as everyone has
taken on a side-project of sorts. Jack,
of course, continues to double part-
time as a talent scout for Epic
Records, as any normal teenager
would. Matriarch Sharon has taken on

last, the Osbournes are contractually
obligated for two more, and the show
will continue for at least that.
It's obvious that the show won't
be the same as before - it can't be,
given the family's propulsion to
massive pop-culture celebrity status
- because all the simplicity is lost
with their awareness of this new-
found celebrity.
Most of the family's escapades
could have been followed this past
summer by simply keeping up with
the daily entertainment gossip, but all
the fun lies in bemusing in their asi-
nine exploits. Watching their effort-
less everyday interaction is what
made "The Osbournes" so special in
the first place.

Courtesy of HBO

HBO's acclaimed mini-series "Band of Brothers," or a deleted scene from "Drop Zone?"
HBO's 'BROTHERS'
LANDS ON DVD

s Courtesy of MTV
The Osboumnes look to be their usual happy selves.

PEARL JAM
RIOT ACT
Epic RECORDS
By Joseph Litman
Daily Arts Writer

By Todd Weiser
Daily Film Editor
HBO can pretty much do no wrong.
Last year, around this time, the
fourth season of "The Sopranos" was
delayed to give creator David Chase
more time to work on the upcoming
seasons of his Emmy-winning project.
Disappointed fans did not want to
wait another year for a new season
and sadly, the new season has not
proved worth the prolonged hiatus.
However, during those few months
last fall, at the normal Sunday at 9
"Sopranos" timeslot, HBO unveiled
an incredible 10-part mini-series
about a company of men who served
in World War II. Even when HBO dis-
appoints, it finds a way to be better
than everyone else.
Now, that mini-series, "Band of
Brothers," arrives in stores, and the
six-DVD set suitably matches the
supreme quality of the actual pro-
gram. If you've seen the episodes
then you've probably already
thought of buying the DVD set and
the lavish tin that contains the DVDs
surely will push you over the pur-
chasing edge. For those who have
somehow survived without witness-
ing the mini-series from creators
Steven Spielberg and Tom Hank,
then this is your chance.
Shot in that signature "Saving Pri-
vate Ryan" style, the series not only
echoes the Spielberg WWII drama
but surpasses it in quality and excite-
ment. The intensity and realism of
those first 20 "Private Ryan" min-
utes is once again imagined numer-
ous times in "Band of Brothers."
While the arrival by sea onto Omaha
beach in "Ryan" was violent and tur-
bulent, the view from above as seen

by the featured Easy Company,
506th Regiment of the U.S. Army
101st Airborne Division is an infi-
nitely more thrilling and visually
breathtaking experience. If that
treacherous D-Day sequence in
episode two does not include enough
CGI paratroopers and airplanes in
the sky, then the Operation Market
Garden drop into Holland later in the
series will certainly delight the eye.
With a gigantic cast featuring at
least 100 speaking roles and centering
around a core group of at least 20 sol-
diers, a viewer can easily become lost
in the maze of names and ranks. Lt.
Dick Winters (Damian Lewis) and
company information officer Capt.
Lewis Nixon (Ron Livingston, "Office
Space") are the closest the viewer gets
to main characters as different
episodes usually focus on different
men of the company, but all usually
comes back to them. In a cast largely
made up of unrecognizable faces and

the late Stephen Ambrose, the mini-
series follows Easy Company from
the previously mentioned drop on D-
Day to their holding the line at the
Battle of the Bulge and finally onto
the raiding of Hitler's Eagle's Nest. It
all seems so amazing that one small
company (with one of the highest
casualty rates of the war) could
accomplish so much and be a part of

SINEAD O'CONNOR
SEAN-NOS NUA
VANGUARD RECORDS
By Niamh Slevin
Daily Arts Writer

Courtesy of HBO

Six of the 10,000 cast members of "Band of Brothers."

"One does not have to be a 'singer'
to sing." - Sinead O'Connor
Truer words were never spoken in
this case. O'Connor's newest exploit,
Sean-Nos Nua (an Irish saying loosely
translated to "The New Oldies"),
proves her acute self-critique if noth-
ing else. Although she attempts to
revamp classic Irish ballads and chil-
dren's songs, her signature wail effec-
tively ruins their previous melodic
charm. "Paddy's Lament" clearly con-
veys the sentiments on her vocal tech-
nique. She begins the tune in quiet
tones and then interjects with piercing
screeches, destroying the peaceful
meaning in most of the songs.
The two pieces she chose not to
bastardize, "Baidin Fheillimi" and
"I'll Tell Me Ma," connect the record's
intention with its reality. The simplici-
ty of the lyrics allows the music to
take the foreground here, incorporat-
ing contemporary style with tradition-
al Irish folk sound. Some tracks
feature a slight country twang while
others draw on subtle Caribbean
rhythms and modern pop sounds in

As the '90s recess further and fur-
ther into history, Pearl Jam's posi-
tion in popular culture becomes
more and more inexact. Are they
still a group at the vanguard of
music - revered yet reclusive
artists whose records are particular-
ly noteworthy releases? What if,
instead, Pearl Jam has become irrel-
evant, its music a vestige from a dif-
ferent time now lost in the milieu of
Linkin Park-rock?
The second conclusion is likely
correct and that melancholy truth
has been mostly promulgated by the
band itself. Often inaccessible and
disdainful toward the media which
cover them, Pearl Jam has alienated
those who have the power to keep
them salient. Yet most importantly,
many music fans have found PJ's
fourth, fifth and sixth albums to be
a sonic departure from their more
popular predecessors. Riot Act
seems as though it
will perpetuate this
bifurcation -
pleasing the devot-
ed fans while dis-
appointing more
casual listeners -
because the
record's overall
sound seems like
an amalgamation of
those more unique
ones respectively
explored on No
Code, Yield and Binaural.
Riot Act is extremely listenable,
and with the exception of the point-
less "Arc," all of the album's songs
will interest their audience. Tracks
like "Can't Keep" and "Love Boat

names, David Schwim-
mer stands out as Lt.
Herbert Sobel, Easy.
Company's original
commanding officer
before his in-the-field
mistakes propel Winters
into his position. In his
brief role, Schwimmer
delivers a surprisingly
nuanced performance.
Another key supporting
role is that of companyJ

BAND OF
BROTHERS

Picture/Sound: *****
Mini-series: *****
Features: ****I
HBO

1st Sgt. Car-

wood Lipton (Donnie Wahlberg). The
brilliant, young, unfamiliar cast helps
the realistic production feel even more
authentic as the absence of any real
star gives the viewer a band of men to
relate to, and not just a single hero (i.e.
Tom Hanks).
Based on the non-fiction book by

phoniness never makes its way into
the series; the War is presented as
realistically and complex as war really
is, with the audience deciding who the
heroes are, not the filmmakers.
Most of the bonus features could
have been seen by an HBO viewer
over the past year, but that doesn't
make them any less remarkable. Any

so many astounding
events in such a short
time but unlike "Saving
Private Ryan," the sto-
ries are all true. With
episodes directed by
such talents as Phil
Alden Robinson ("The
Sum of All Fears") and
Tom Hanks, that signa-
ture Hollywood/Spiel-
berg stamp of patriotic

4ualms over the lack of commentaries
should be silenced by the 30-minute
"Making of 'Band of Brothers'
which includes cast and crew inter-
views and wondrous behind-the-
scenes footage of the giant $110
million production coming together
with weapons specialists, uniform
specialists, snow specialists and more.
Also included is "We Stand Alone
Together: The Men of Easy Compa-
ny," the emotional documentary
which pieces together interviews with
the surviving soldiers and pictures
from their time served.
HBO broke ground with its Apollo
mini-series "From the Earth to the
Moon," assembling an all-star cast to
tell the NASA shuttle stories Tom
Hanks knows so well. "Band of
Brothers" also brings viewers to a dif-
ferent time - a time when some
ashamed young men actually took
their own lives when they were
deemed 4F, unfit for military service.
Produced before Sept. 11, Hanks and
Spielberg had no ulterior motives for
their production besides honoring a
group of men who would never dare
call themselves heroes, but deserve to
be so identified by others.

I

Captain" feature Eddie Vedder's
emotional and slightly pained
crooning that has served as both as
his distinguishing trait and a sound
many other artists have tried to
emulate (hi, Mr. Stapp). Meanwhile,
"You Are" and
"Green Disease"
showcase the fer-
vent interest the
band has in its
instrumentation, a
preoccupation that
has encouraged
such unique and
melodic songs as
"Parting Ways" in
the past.
To the album's
detriment, though,
there are no groundbreaking or chal-
lenging efforts like "Parting Ways"
on Riot Act. Instead of again find-
ing a new musical identity, as they
commendably and successfully did
on previous records, Pearl Jam

seems to have been satisfied with
inertia. This disappointing absence
of creativity makes some of Ved-
der's vocals sound hollow - the
tone exists without a credible impe-
tus, like he is going through the
motions - and some of the songs
sometimes boring - where is the
imagination? Riot Act is fine but not
exciting.
Having satisfied the stipulations
of their contract with their label
Epic, Pearl Jam is now at a Frost-
like career divergence: Continue
down the path on which they have
traveled or make a turn and find
something else. The uninspired Riot
Act makes the former seem tired and
inauspicious. The potential to forev-
er fade into musical obsolescence
makes the latter seem bleak. Perhaps
PJ can make their own third path
and next time return both energizing
and engaging.

SHORT TAKES

VARIOUS ARTISTS, CASH MONEY
RECORDS PLATINUM HITS; CASH
MONEY RECORDS
It's quite audacious for Cash Money
to release a greatest hits collection
just 11 years into its existence. It's
even more audacious when the num-
ber of tracks on the album outnum-
bers the roster of artists by 12. Every
track on the album comes from Juve-
nile, Big Tymers, B.G., Lil Wayne or
Turk. (Don't be fooled when you see
Hot Boyz and Cash Money Million-
aires listed, because they're just col-
lectives of the aforementioned.)
There are a few worthwhile tunes here
including !Juvenile's "Ha" and "Back
That Azz Up" and CMM's "Project
Bitch," but overall, the collection is
pretty unnecessary. * *
- Joel M. Hoard

ZAPPA PIcKS, VOLUME 1: JON
FISHMAN, VOLUME2: LARRY
LALONDE; RYKODISC RECORDS
In a pretty bizarre attempt to pro-
mote the immense Frank Zappa
back-catalogue, Rykodisc is releas-
ing a series of career-spanning com-
pilations put together by famous fans
of the late twisted genius. The choic-
es are solid, but idiosyncratic (both
expected when dealing with Zappa),
but who actually cares what Phish's
drummer Fishman and Primus' gui-
tarist LaLonde favorite song off Zoot
Allures is? Save your cash and just
buy a real Zappa album like Over-
nite Sensation or Sheik Yerbouti or if
you're desperate for an introduction,
try the more complete 'best-of',
Strictly Commercial. * * * -
- Scott Serilla

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