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September 26, 1995 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-09-26

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latest creation, "Sights Unseen,' a story of family dislocatIon. At Page 5
!h mBorders Books and Music, 6I2 E.Liberty Street, 7:'3 p.m. Tuesday,
N ' s September 26, 1995

'Girls' is all show and notale

By Michael Rosenberg
Daily Editor in Chief
"Showgirls", the highly-hyped,
highly-naked new film from director
Paul Verhoeven and writer Joe
Esterhasz, claims to take an exciting
look at the world of Las Vegas
showgirls. The problem is, as seen
through the Verhoeven/Esterhasz prism,,
that world just isn't that exciting.
The film stars Elizabeth Berkley

Showgirls
Directed by Paul
J'erlweven; with
Elizabeth Bertley
At Briarwood and Showcase

, ,a
("Saved by the Bell") as Nomi Malone,
a woman who goes to Vegas in search
of glamour and fame only to find -
surprise! -that the city can be a cruel
and dirty place.
Theoretically, we are supposed to
feel sympathetic toward Malone for
being taken advantage of, but the char-
acter is so poorly developed that the
only sympathy Berkley receives is for
having to be in the movie.
At first, the only work Malone can
find is as a stripper and a lap-dancer.
Eventually, however, she gets to be a
showgirl, where she can put on actual
clothes. Well, sort of. Does a g-string
count?
As Malone climbs the social ladder
ofLas Vegas nakedpeople, she is forced
to abandon some of the principles we
didn't know she had.
That is at the crux of what passes for
amoral dilemmainthisfilm-awoman
who does an dances selling out Deen.

huh?
Esterhasz and Verhoeven are the men
who gave you "Basic Instinct."
"Showgirls" is like "Basic Instinct"
withoutthe murders. In "Basic Instinct,"
Esterhasz and Verhoeven gave us sex
surrounding --and interfering with--
a murder investigation. In "Showgirls,"
they give us sex.
"Showgirls" reportedly cost $40mil-
lion. That money certainly wasn't spent
on costumes. Or acting lessons, for that
matter.
There are a few interesting plot twists,
but there isn't much of a plot to twist.
Even so, the movie could still be enter-
taining if Berkley gave a worthy perfor-
mance. But unfortunately, "Showgirls"is
not savedbythebelle. Berkley was clearly
cast for her great body and a willingness
to show it. As faras her ability as an actor,
she has a great body. She's not exactly
Meryl Streep, although in some ways
Meryl Streep isn't exactly Elizabeth
Berkley, either, ifyou know what I mean.
And in Berkley's defense, while Streep
gets to act with the likes of Clint Eastwood,
Berkley is left to be romantic with ametal
pole, or worse, Kyle MacLachlan.
The problem with acting is that ifyou
can't do it, you can't act like you can do
it. Berkley is trying to play a two-di-
mensional character, and she is short by
about a dimension and a half.

None of them racy pole-aancing pics for your eyes, folKS.

Her costars are almost as inept.
MacLachlan, as the show's entertain-
ment director, doesn't seem intelligent
enough to be cunning. Gina Gershon,
as the star showgirl, gives the best per-
formance of the film. But that says
more about everyone else in
"Showgirls" than it does about Gershon.

As for the movie's NC-17 rating, it's
well-deserved. I don't want to say there
is a lot of nudity in "Showgirls", but
you could use the film to teach biology.
Verhoeven is apparently from the don't-
go-more-than-I2-seconds-without-
showing-a-pair-of-breasts school of
filmmaking. But for a film with so much

nudity, "Showgirls" is remarkably un-
attractive. It is more sex than sexy, and
more funny than fun.
"Showgirls" is supposed to be a
groundbreaker, to go where no other
movie has gone before. But there are
other movies like this. For a list of
them. cal PPee-wee Herman.

The Flaming Lips
Clouds Taste Metallic
Warner Bros.
Being a "Buzz Band" hasn't changed
the Flaming Lips' musical attitude or
style all that much. If anything, the
attention, touring and money funneled
their way by the hit single "She Don't

Use Jelly" andtheir 1993 album"Trans-
missions From the Satellite Heart" has
only given them a bigger arena to show
off their freaky funhouse of songs.
That much is immediately evident
from their brand-new album "Clouds
Taste Metallic." Much like their fellow
freaks in Mercury Rev (Rev member
Johnathan Fridmann co-produced this

with the Flaming Lips), the Lips spe-
cialize in bouncy, effects-laden psy-
chedelicjourneys. Screaming feedback
and glockenspiels reside next to each
other quite comfortably on both Rev
and Lips albums. But where Mercury
Rev's songs seem to float off their al-
bums in a jazzy, elegantly interstellar
way, Flaming Lips songs have the wide-

open feeling of Midwestern plains:
Sprawling and un-self-conscious.
On "Clouds Taste Metallic" Wayne
Coyne and the rest of the Lips seem to
have been roaming Oklahoma's plains
and scaling every cumulonimbus in
reach. The album is no less loopy or
engaging than "Satellite Heart" but is
much less pop- and single-oriented. The
first three songs, "The Abandoned Hos-
pital Ship," "Psychiatric Explorations
of the Fetus with Needles" and "Pla-
cebo Headwound" flow into each other
effortlessly.
Come to think of it, most ofthe songs
on "Clouds Taste Metallic" melt into
each other in a very appropriate and
trippy way. "When You Smile," "Kim's
Watermelon Gun" and "They Punc-
tured My Yolk" all share the same
goofy-grin vibe and loud guitars.
The songs that don't morph into one
another quite literally stand out. "This
Here Giraffe" is quirky, anthropomor-
phic fun;"Brainville" features the Lips
in raggle-taggle jug-band-on-acid
mode, and it's mind-opening (literally);
"Christmas at the Zoo" features sleigh-

bells and animal liberation. "Evil Will
Prevail" is plenty of creepy, ironic fun,
and the single "Bad Days" praises the
theater of the imagination in inimitable
Flaming Lips style. When the band says
that clouds taste metallic, believe them;
this album is one of their highest highs.
- Heather Phares
The Blind Boys of
Alabama
I Brought Him With Me
House of Blues Music/BMG
A timeless gospel spirit has guided The
Blind Boys of Alabama through travels
that have taken them from Talladega,
Alabama's Institute forthe Deafand Blind
to Hollywood's House of Blues. These
boys have been spreading their love of
gospel for nearly 60 years. In January of
1995, Clarence Fountain and The Blind
Boys of Alabama held church at The
House of Blues in Las Angeles, Califor-
nia. Those three nights of emotionally
charged performances make up the 14
tracks of their first ever live album "I

Brought Him With Me."
This album is a joyful celebration of a
musical spirit that was born during sla-
very and has transcended decades. The
Blind Boys rejoice in traditional jubilee
music with tracks like the exuberant-and
fast-tempo "Rain," the slow full-bodied a
cappella "Listen to the Lambs," and the
smooth swayingharmony of"Hush."The
Blind Boys rendition of"If I Had a Ham-
mer" takes you on a seven-minute musi-
cal journey. It lets loose with a raw pulse
reminiscent of James Brown's long;and
hard-hitting groove style. The pop-gos-
pel track "No Dope" reveals a secret to the
group's longevity: "We don't need no
dope/as long as we got hope."
Their rich gospel flavor and the power
of their message is energizing a whole
new generation. "I Brought Him With
Me" is a soulful explosion lit with the
energy and strength that has kept The
Blind Boys together for almost six de-
cades.
- Kimberly Howitt

See RECORDS, page 8

The Flaming ups are fine, upstanding gentlemen that would never dream of watching a filthy flick like 'Showgirls.'

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