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September 19, 1995 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-09-19

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

Simpsons
premiere
goes back
to the future
By Ted Watts
Daily Arts Writer
The new television season has begun,
and we're in the midst of the resolution of
cliff hangers. "The X-Files" may get its
second of three parts on Friday, but Sun-
day wastheresolution of"The Simpsons."
Look back over the vast abyss known
as summer reruns. Waaaaay back. Star-
ing back at you is the season finale of
"The Simpsons." The episode began with
the ever-in-trouble Bart writing "This is
not a clue - or is it?" over and over on the
blackboard. This was, in fact, the first
clue (not counting the teaser ads) that the
episode was going to be a mystery.
Especially odd things began to hap-
pen. Oil was discovered under Spring-
field Elementary. Nuclear powerplant
owner Montgomery Burns fired long-
time sycophant Waylon Smithers. And
Mr. Burns blotted out the sun. Yes,
blotted out the sun. With a big dish type
thing.
Mr. Burns was thus the center of a
great amount of ill will. And with an
inordinately large number of
Sprinfieldians brandishing weapons, it
was probably only a matter of time
before someone tried to cack the
wrinkled old marshwiggle. And, actu-
ally, someone pulled the trigger on him
right before the end of the episode.
How lucky for the Fox executives!
So, after months of annoying "Who
shot Mr. Burns" ads (especially forthose
who missed the cliffhanger) and annoy-
ing tie-ins to a way to make collect
calls, the madness finally ended on
Sunday with the season premiere of
"The Simpsons."
Beginning after a repeat of the sea-

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"Hey baby, I like the way you wear your hairs. It says: 'I am bald but

proud. I am folically challanged but I am not alone'"

Case History
This earnest-looking gent is Peter Case, whose new album "Torn Again"
is a little alternative, a little country and a lot of fine folk music. Songs
like "Turinin' Blue," "Workin' for the Enemy," "Breaking the Chain" and
"Wilderness" mix acoustic and slide guitars with Case's vulnerable
vocals and distinctive songwriting. Plus, he opened for John Prine on his
last tour, a sure sign of quality. Mining similar territory as the Jayhawks,
this country-folk-rock artist blows into the Ark tonight to perform his
music live. The Ark is located at 637 1/2 South Main; doors open at
7:30 p.m. and showtime is at 8. Tickets are $10 at the door; call 761-
1451 for more information.

son finale and a special edition of
"America's Most Wanted" retitled
"Springfield's Most Wanted" (which
essentially recapped the preceding half
hour with the addition of color com-
mentary by a bookie and a psychia-
trist), the premiere began with Bart
expressing his promise to not be made
at how the shooting was to be solved.
So we come into the story in
Smithers's apartment, his mouth full
of cigarette butts. He wanders to the
bathroom to find ... Bobby Ewing! No,
not Bobby Ewing, but Mr. Burns in a
clever send-up ofthe way the writers of
"Dallas" rewrote Bobby back into the
storyline, but in this version Smithers
wakes up yet again. Not a surprising
reference, considering the "who
shot..." theme was stolen from "Dal-
las." Or, actually was it stolen from

"Twin Peaks," which also enjoyed a
scene recalling its Black Lodge se-
quences? Or maybe even stolen from
"The Fugitive" which had a scene as
filtered through its movie?
At any rate, the police begin win-
nowing suspects. Actually, the police
don't really winnow anyone. Sideshow
Mel clears Smithers, entertainer Tito
Puente clears himself with a delight-
fully hateful mambo, DNA evidence
narrows the suspect to a certain family
and Burns (well, how odd that he isn't
dead) fingers his real assailant when
he regains useful consciousness. Sin-
ister final shot. The end.
But it's the episodes little touches
that really make it work. From the
government conspiracy bits ("How do
you have the whole town's DNA on
file?""lfyou've everhandled apenny,

the government's got your DNA. Why
do you think they keep the things in
circulation?") to the standard cop and
donut jokes to Homer holding a gun to
Burns's head while a roomful of cops
hold their guns to Homer's head, it is
wholly an episode of "The Simpsons,"
with all the comedic baggage that en-
tails. But that's good, in spite of the
annoying recollections of the previous
episode, which was shown in the hour
before the new episode and had already
been recapped in "Spnngtield's Most
Wanted."
The gist of this all is that the season
premiere has remained true to itself. If
only "Married... With Children" could
stay the same the way animation can. Oh
well, next big deal is on Friday at nine.
See if Mulder and Scully can keep plug-
ging as well as Bart and Lisa.

waves with some hit song (in this case
All That Matters "Honey Dip"), sell a few CD's and then
Capitol Records fade away never to be seen again until
Portrait was one of those groups who years later when some reporter does a
seemed to blast their way onto the air- "Where Are They Now" feature where
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they'll track down Portrait, the Redhead
Kingpen and that kid who played Sam on
"Different Strokes." But the group has
resurfaced with LP number two. "All
That Matters" shows, ifnothing else, that
Portrait has grown overtime getting stron-
ger with their lyrics (yup, still about
women and sex) and more tightly-pack-
aged music which, instead ofjustbacking
the singers, actually has a life of its own.
The members of Portrait have honed
their harmonizing skills into one lean,
mean singing machine, and continue to
write their own music. "All Natural Girl"
is one of the best examples of group
harmony I've heard in awhile. With the
relaxing, jazzy beats of "Here's a Kiss"
combined with unmistakable Portrait
sound and the title track which opens with
a single piano leading into an extremely
seductive music ensemble, Portrait has
proven beyond any doubt that its mem-
bers have both musical talent and produc-
tion aptitude. The group has even bet-
tereditsballadeering, as "Hold Me Close"
shows. The R&B makeover of the Bee
Gees' "How Deep Is Your Love" is of
utmost perfection.
"All That Matters" is a definite buy.
The four brothas of Portrait have only
improved with time, and their more youth-
ful excitement shown in their debut, self-
entitled LP has been slightly superseded
by a sense of experienced calm. The
group knows it has it, and now the mem-
bers want to graciously share that fact
with us. Make no mistakes about it, Por-
trait is picture perfect.
- Eugene Bowen

'Sister' ties a
whole new
bond to love
By Alexandra Twin
Daily Arts Editor
Much like last year's "Heavenly Crea-
tures," "Sister My Sister" is an intricate,
shattering, near horror film that creates its
drama of good girls gonebad from the relics
of old news, old wives' tales and ultimately,
old and historically fixed resolutions. Al-
thoughnowherenearas ethereal orgleefully
wicked as the lush "Creatures," "Sister"
manages to preserve just enough psycho-
logical mystique to transcend the line be-
tween accuracy and intimacy without push-
ing too far into the trap of narrative specula-
tion. The result is nearly fascinating: stark,
intimate and disturbing.
Two sisters - Christine (Joely
Richardson) and Lea (Jodhi May) - are
reunited at the home of a rich Madam
(Julie Walters) where Christine is a maid.
Lea, who's just finished up her tenure at
the local convent, has come to join her
much admired older sister. The two are
inseperable, even sleeping in the same
bed every night, awakening before dawn
to dress each other for the day's work.
The priggish madam brags happily to
her chubby, sullen daughter that "These
two are different. You mark my words."
She thinks that she has found the ideal
live-in help, but she has no idea what she
has really found.
Based upon a"true"British case oftwo
young maids who's extreme detachment

Jodhi May (left) and Joely Richardson (second from left) as Cinderella-like maids

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from normal, daily, social interaction led
to their ultimate, horrific demise, "Sister
My Sister" traipses nearby,just outside of
and just underneath the sister's light foot-
steps for the span of several months,
gently tracking the motions oftheirdisso-
lution.
Long shots, frequent images of iso-
lated actions - a pair of unidentified
hands chopping food, a wispy head of
hair - as well as the lack of a clear
explanation of the story's unfolding are
all used to establish the sister's distance
from us and ultimately from the judg-
ments of society. When the claustropho-
bia of confinement is what sets the tone,
these distances, these moments of per-
sonal space within the perpetual scrutiny
are necessary, ifoccasionally detremental
to the progression of the story.

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Much like Cinderella, the poor, good
girls must submit to the will of the evil
stepmother and sister figure, who sit
around eating, playing cards and gossip-
ing. However, unlike Cinderella,the girls
have each other. Itis intheirdeep friend-
ship that they find a shadow of release
from the confines of their tightly-but-
toned life.
Men are conspicuous in their absence,
but it is not for lack of males, but for lack
of any other humans on their level that
the sisters resort to their ultimate means
of mutual self-comfort. They're cut off
from the rest of the world and deeply
intertwined with each other. Fora brief
period of time, they're at peace.
Itis at thispointthat the film begins its
floundering. The sisters transition from
gentle, slightly guilty bliss to a lost com-
Sister My
Sister
Directed by Nancy Meckler
with Jodhi May and Joely
Richardson
At the Michigan Theater
mand of reality is awkward and hastily
executed. The detached camera occasion-
ally yields trite and over-stated acting.
We are nevergiven much ofa microscope
into the sisters' psyches other than that
they've had a difficult childhood and that
Christine is resentful of their mother.
In addition, the film occasionally dips
into pseudo-artsy but actually banal im-
ages, such as water dribblets falling from
a spout to reflect the characters' growing
frustrations (a visual metaphor ripped off
from "The Servant" and a dozen other
films). These detrements aside, the film,
for the most part, is expertly shot, with
stark rooms and lighting as cold and bar-
ren as Christine's make-up less face.
The seeminglyprudishChristinemight
have been didactic if played by a lesser
actor, but Joely Richardson knows how to

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