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September 07, 1995 - Image 11

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-09-07

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 7 - 11

'Brothers McMullen' search for love, faith and beer

By Joshua Rich
Daily Film Editor
A highlight of this banner year
for the independent film industry
has arrived in Ann Arbor in the form
of "The Brothers McMullen." This
pleasant little film won top honors
at the Sundance Film Festival - long
noted for its indie discoveries. Ever
sjnce, the film has been surrounded
with much hoopla considering that
it Was made for some $20,000 and is
now the touchstone ofthe Cinderella
stpry that is film maker Edward
The Brothers
McMullen
Written, directed by and
starring Edward Burns
At the Michigan Theater
Byrns's life.
Burns had the audacity to cast
lipisef in the most romantic and
complex role in his film (which he
tiro wrote). One might assume that
id was quite a struggle for Burns and
Crew to produce a seemingly pro-
fssional flick despite his lack of
funds. In the film, the three brothers
also suffer daily travails: Problems
with marriage, friendship and faith
following the death of their father

the exaggerated trials of each char-
acter become increasingly absurd.
Nevertheless, their troubles are real
and we feel compassion for them.
These are truly damaged men who
have had no sensible guidance in
their lives, who speak of their
father's abuses as they would of a
cheap sit-com, and who find life to
be much greater a series of obstacles
than it really is.
Dialogue, on the whole, is quite
clever, yet it neither completely sup-
ports nor appropriately illustrates
the themes in a movie that has little
else upon which to support itself.
Cinematography is irritatingly poor
with unfocused images and ill-
staged shots. Acting is weak, though
not embarassing. And the people on
screen are just too beautiful, thus
adding to the film's overbearing hy-
perbolic nature.
His first major cinematic effort
is undeniably commendable, and
Burns shows true promise - like
Robert Rodriguez ("Desperado")
and others before him - to be suc-
cessful beyond the realm of
Sundance. For an independent fresh-
man director with a minuscule bud-
get, "The Brothers McMullen" is
quite remarkable. A more experi-
enced director, however, would have
probably passed on the project alto-
gether.

Lovely Edward Burns (center) directsI
and the traumatic flight of their aloof
mother back to her native Ireland.
Eldest brother Jack (Jack
Mulcahy), a high school basketball
coach, is experimenting with other
women even while he feels love for
his beautiful wife. Middle brother

Mike McGlone (left) and Jack Mulcahy (right) in 'The Brothers McMullen'

Barry (Burns) is a struggling writer
and womanizer who has no capacity
to contemplate romance beyond sex.
Youngest brother and recent col-
lege graduate Patrick (Mike
McGlone) struggles to find a pur-
pose for Catholicism in his life as he

decides whether to live (and sleep)
with his Jewish girlfriend.
This unquestionably sympathetic
and inexcusably glossy portrait of a
group of young people is replete
with examples of the brothers' dif-
ficulties. So many so, in fact, that

RECORDS
Continued from page 10
The Geraldine Fibbers
Lost Somewhere Between The
Earth and My Home
Virgin Records
The Geraldine Fibbers are Carla
Bozulich's newest project. She was
a member of the industrial/dance
group Ethyl Meatplow and is prob-

ably most famous for singing on
Mike Watt's solo album "Ball-Hog
or Tug Boat?" Inspired by a cross-
country road trip spent listening to
country music on the car radio,
Bozulich started the Fibbers, a band
that plays unashamedly country-
tinged music.
But unlike many other country-
influenced acts like Mazzy Star, Pal-
ace Brothers, the Jayhawks and the
Cowboy Junkies, the Geraldine Fib-
bers' brand of country is fierce and

explosive. Much like the early
works of country-punk bands like
X and the Meat Puppets, "Lost
Somewhere Between the Earth and
My Home" explores the violent
side of sorrow. In fact, much of
the material is as wild as early
Throwing Muses and as bleak as
Come's icy blues.
Much ofthe Fibbers' tumultous
sound comes from Bozulich's des-
perate rasp of a voice. "The Small
Song" in particular showcases her
formidable range. From a girlish
murmur, Bozulich builds into a
tormented shriek that is genuinely
haunting. But on tracks like "Mar-
malade" and "Get Thee Gone" she
sings in a simple, world-weary
drawl that emphasizes the exhaus-
tion of heartbreak and despair.
Also key in the Fibbers' style
is Jessy Greene's viola and violin
playing. As with Bozulich's voice,
Greene's strings squeal or sing,
depending on the mood of the
song. On "The Small Song" the
cellos and violins saw frantically;
on "Lilybelle," they quietly and
mournfully set the tone for the
entire album.
Not every song is mired in sor-
row on "Lost Somewhere Between
the Earth and My Home," how-
ever. "Outside Of Town" is actu-
ally pretty rollicking, a honky-
tonk number that belies the Fib.

bers' genuine love for country
music.
Some parts of the album are
just too bleak for their own good.
This isn't the kind of album to slap
on when you're just looking for
something to listen to. But "Lost
Somewhere Between the Earth and
My Home" is a strong debut al-
bum from an intense and unique
group. Live, the band's incendi-
ary energy ignites the songs, strip-
ping them of some of their self-
pity. All in all, "Lost Somewhere
Between the Earth and My Home
is a great album. If only all road
trips were this productive...
- Heather Phares

The Fast 1
Doom 4 ha Cause
G-Note Records
In "Down 4 Tha Cause," The Fast 1
takes you on a strolldown rap's memory
lane. Following in the steps of Da Brat,
he performs "Freak Da Fonk" whose
refrain sounds like a Doggpoundcut. In
"Land It on a Meal Ticket" he sounds
like a deep-voiced DJ Quik and the
beats in"FuckinUp YaProgram" sound
like a scrambled versions ofMC Eight's
"Straight Up Menace."
Luckily, these copycat acts don't
comprise the entire CD. His ability to
reproduce the styles of so many artists
attests to the wide range of hip-hop
genres he feels equally at home with.

On cuts like "A Major Threat" and
"Black by Nature, Nigga by Choice,"
you'll quickly get a taste of Fast l's
originality. Unfortunately, he doesn't
display it often.
If this LP was a game of spades, the
Fast 1 wouldbetmmptight.Ifonlyhewas
playinghisowncardsinsteadofleaningso
heavily on the crutch of others' creativfty.
TheFast 1 hasthewherewithaltocreatean
entirely new rap precedent and stamp it
hard on the map. The only question left is
whether he'll do it or simply continue to
leech off the successes of those around
him.
- Eugene Bowen
See RECORDS, page,12

STl T EU
%-C Cola

.A.T. (Gangstas &
Thugs)
kst another day
MCA Records
Talkabout radical R&B experimen-
tation! Here you have four guys, all of
whom look like a cross between a Crip
and your neighborhood garbage man.
Butthey'reNOT rappers. They're sing-
ers. The problem is these guys' singing
prowess, individually and as a group,
matches, say, M.C. Hammer's rapping
'prowess.
It's not just about how these guys
look and how they sing (both of which
get ahearty two thumbs down), it's also
about what they're singing about. You
see, the big division between hip hop
and rap and their progenitor, R&B,
comes from the fact that, whereas hip-
hop and rap oftentimes revel in frivolity
and frankness regarding topics from
drugs to loveless sex to living in pov-
erty, R&B is usually held to "higher
standards,"discussing love and making
love ratherthan fucking. Even when the
topic is more base, R&B artists have a
way of making them sound almost sa-
cred and holy.
Now, enter G.A.T. These guys,
who you've probably already heard
before without realizing (They sang
background on Coolio's "Fantastic
Voyage," and sounded bad then, too).
are seeking to discuss traditionally
rap-related topics using R&B. Look
at some ofthe 13 titles in "just another
day," like "Doin' My Time," "Young

E U

This

year. . .

* We're the Featured Choir
at the American Choral
Directors' Convention
* We're performing at
Orchestra Hall in Detroit
" We're performing
Beethoven's 9th Symphony
. We're going to South
America
plusa whole lot more!
So what are YOU doing
this year?

i

966 WROOMME

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