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September 18, 1995 - Image 8

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-09-18

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8 -- The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 19, 1995

Angus' is a great big bore
Teen movie doesn't live up to its potential

By Prashant Tamaskar
Daily Arts Writer
By now you know the story. A
social misfit is secretly in love with
the prettiest girl in school, while
she doesn't even acknowledge his
existence. However, he is certain
that if given the chance he will be
able to win her heart.
Director Patrick Read Johnson
does not stray far from this oft-used
formula in his new teenage angst
film "Angus." High school fresh-
man Angus Bethune (Charlie
Talbert) is constantly tormented by
his more popular classmates because
of his weight problem and his talent
for science. This undesirable com-
bination appears to place him out of
the league of the girl of his dreams,
Melissa Lefevre (Ariana Richards
of "Jurassic Park" fame).
As a practical joke devised by

Angus
Directed by Patrick Reed
Johnson; with Charlie
Talbert and George C. Scotts
At Briarwood and Showcase
sition in the high school social hier-
archy has been established, the film
concentrates on his dilemma instead
of wasting its time on cheap juve-
nile humor.
Moreover, the movie should be
credited with attempting to present
a more intelligent view of this situ-
ation than is usually the case. And it
is nice to see that the true focus of
the film is to emphasize self es-
teem, rather than to manifest an
improbable romance.
The production, however, is al-
ready burdened by a lack of witty
dialogue and crude humor; it is un-
able to evoke true emotions in the
viewer. The writers do not ad-
equately document the real spirit of
high school, and the movie suffers
accordingly.
Finally, the stereotypical charac-
ters are all both predictable and
boring. Although Angus just wants
to be accepted for being himself, he
is not content with his own being
for most of the movie. That is, of
course, until.he realizes that Mel-
issa is also insecure, which sud-
denly makes Angus feel better about
himself.
Unfortunately, Angus's love is
not much more than a pretty face,
just as Melissa's boyfriend (our
main character's arch rival) Rick,
also turns out to be. Like all evil
popular jocks in high school films,
Rick is manipulative and remorse-
less; he has no redeeming qualities.

Other conventional characters in the
story include the strong and proud
mother, the eccentric grandfather,
the zany best friend and the
antagonist's spineless companions.
Mainly due to the presence of
three Academy Award-winning per-
formers in the cast, the acting in the
film is very credible. George C.
Scott plays Angus's unusual grand-
father whose advice to his grandson
is "screw 'em." Kathy Bates does a
fine job as the mother who suffers
Like al1evl
popular jockS in
high school fims,
manipulative and
remorseless.
with her son, yet is also proud of
him for his resiliency. The third
Oscar winner, Rita Moreno, plays a
meaningless character in a small
cameo.
These acclaimed actors do not in
any way overshadow some talented
young performers. All of the adoles-
cents are convincing in their roles,
and they seem to have bright futures
in show business. They, like the other
actors, cannot be blamed for the lack
of depth in their film or their charac-
ters. Unfortunately, far too much tal-
ent goes to waste in this film.
Although "Angus" has its ups
and downs, the peaks are not very
high, nor are the valleys too low. This
leads to a pretty ordinary two hours.
And even though Angus the character
ends up being a pleasant deviation
from the norm, "Angus" the movie
can't quite make the same boast.

Try them, you'll Lalka them, honest.
Laika' spacey music is out of this world

Run little Angus, runi!!
Melissa's quarterback boyfriend,
Angus is voted Winter Ball king.
This provides him with the oppor-
tunity to dance with the queen, who
just so happens to be his secret love.
Realizing that he is the focus of a
cruel prank, Angus is left to decide
whether or not to attend the Winter
Ball and risk further embarrassment.
Although the reason for the main
character's ostracism is his size,
the movie is not one long series of
fat jokes. Rather, once Angus's po-

By Andy Dolan
Daily Arts Writer
If rock music were to die an un-
timely death any time soon, the void
would hopefully be filled by bands
such as Laika. Along with a handful
of other bands such as Disco In-
ferno, Bark Psychosis and
Labradford, Laika create music that
is decidedly and deliberately out-
side the context of rock music, yet
remains every bit as powerful and
exciting.
"Our musical backgrounds aren't
that weird; I grew up in Chicago, so
I was into the music scene that was
going on there," stated Margaret
Fielder, Laika's vocalist and co-
songwriter. "We're more influenced
by the fact that we're dissatisfied
with what we hear, and that we want
to do something that we haven't
heard before. That's probably why
it sounds different. We just keep
working until we get somewhere
new."
Last year, following her depar-
ture from Moonshake ("I got
chucked out of that band!" she
joked), Fielder got together with
technical wizard Guy Fixsen, whose
production and engineering credits
include seminal albums by My
Bloody Valentine, Rollerskate
Skinny and Dog Faced Hermans.
Fielder and Fixsen share all
songwriting and technical credits
on Laika's debut album, "Silver
Apples Of The Moon."
Laika is augmented by former
Moonshake bassist John Frennett,
flautist Louise Elliott, and Rob Ellis

.AIKA
Where St.Andrew's Hall
When: Tonight
Tickets: Call 961-MEL T for more
infromat ion
Doors open at 8:00 p.m.
and Lou Ciccotelli on drums and
percussion, respectively. But along
with hypnotic (and psychotic)
rhythms, Laika's primary creative
tool is the sampler, which both
Fielder and Fixsen use extensively
in their song crafting to introduce
atmospheric sounds and rhythmic
complexity.
"Everybody uses samplers these
days, even the most standard, bor-
ing rock bands use samplers to do
boring things like re-triggering
snare drums. But the thing with a
sampler is, it's really just whatever
you put into it. We try to use it in a
lot of different ways. Sometimes
we start off with a drum loop, which
eventually gets replaced with real
drums by the end of the day. It's
also great for capturing sound ef-
fects, sounds around the house ...
the nice thing is you can sample
sounds and play them as if they
were a keyboard sound," explained
Fielder.
"We try to focus on melodies,
that's something that I thought was
lacking in Moonshake. You get the
contrast between the tension and
melody. We like fast tempos as well,
which adds tension into the mix."
Laika is currently on tour with

beat-wizard Tricky, with whom they
share a talent for molding their elec-
tronic-based music into a spectacu-
lar and visually exciting live show.
"Everything's done live, we trigger
all our samples live. Everybody's
got to be within the same ballpark
tempo, or it can go wrong, but it's
nice because you can change song
structures and change the lengths of
parts ... We also have both our
drummer and our percussionist,
Lou. We started out rehearsing with
just drums, but it became apparent
that although it was on the album,
we hadn't realized how important
the percussion was. So we get these
dual rhythms going," she explained.
Another element to their live show
is the addition of some guitar, which
appears only occasionally on the
album. "It wasn't really by choice,"
Fielder stated. "It was almost like
we did the record, and thought
maybe we'd put some guitar down,
but there really wasn't any room
left, But live, we don't have our
flute player, so there was more space
for some guitar. It's the kind of
instrument that works well in a live
context because it's physical ... and
it's loud!"
So maybe there's a little bit of
rock 'n' roll left in Laika after all.
But instead of making it the main
focus of their music, they've used
only a few elements that suit their
needs, and thrown the rest away. As
strange as it seems, that may just be
the way to propel rock music into
the future.
baby.
aW ay
a s
A"
t p . t
g.
.Wnn go?

'Angus, my name's Troy, not Petey like you insist on calling me.' 'Troy, Petey, It's all the same. Get lost kid, y' bother me.'

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