The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, November 30, 1998, Page 9, Image 9

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    Monday, November 30,1998____*__Page 9
s* Town
Brian Setzer Orchestra
to jive, wail at Omaha's Sokol
By Sarah Baker
Senior staff writer
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Setzer, who in the 1980s put rockabilly back into the mainstream
with his band the Stray Cats, has been at the head of the neo-swing band
wagon and is riding into Omaha on it tonight.
Setzer brings his big-band, classic style of swing to Sokol
Auditorium, 2234 S. 13* St., tonight at 7.
The Brian Setzer Orchestra, which was formed in 1992, is one of the
forefathers of the recent swing revival among retro-active Gen-Xers and
nostalgic parents.
The dormant genre was reborn, and Setzer’s sound, along with help
from the efforts of bands such as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Royal
Crown Revue, was categorized into a movement titled “neo-swing.”
Hits include remakes of classic big-band songs, including Setzer’s
hit “Jump, Jive ’n’Wail.”
After the release of their third album, “The Dirty Boogie,” Setzer
and his band launched their largest tour ever that includes 19 shows
nationwide, one being tonight’s Omaha gig.
Setzer’s work with his current band began just after he made the
final album with the Stray Cats, a band that reached fame in the ’80s
with rockabilly hits such as “Stray Cat Strut” and “Rock This Town.”
Tickets for the Brian Setzer Orchestra show are still available,
$27.50 for general admission and $30 for reserved balcony seats,
through Ticketmaster outlets, at the Sokol Auditorium box office and at
the Ranch Bowl Entertainment Center, 1600 S. 72nd St in Omaha.
The concert begins with band 8 Vi Souvenirs and is an all-ages show.
Doors open at 7 p.m., and Brian Setzer takes the stage at 8 p.m.
For more information, Call Sokol Auditorium at (402) 346-9802.
Very bad directing destroys Very Bad Things’
By Bret Schulte
Senior editor
People frequently fail to distinguish
the fine line between humor and gross
stupidity. Based on what’s been coming
out of Hollywood lately, humor and stu
pidity are rapidly becoming one in the
This leads us to writer/director
Peter Berg, who has created the latest
monument to directorial density with
his filmmaking debut “Very Bad
The story line is nothing less than
an overly exaggerated version of the
entirely forgotten “Stag,” released only
a year ago^with Mario Van Peebles as
die star.
Both movies tell the tale of a bunch
of average Joes who happen to suffer a
mishap with a hooker at a stag party and
then pursue wild misadventures to
avoid being caught.
Christian Slater once again reprises
his ever-evolvinff rnle as an ahsnlute
jerk, and Jon Favreau (“Swingers”)
comes to the silver screen one more
time as the laige-jawed and easily con
vinced nice guy.
Favreau is Kyle Fisher, a bright and
friendly business man who is getting
married to the wedding-obsessed
Laura, played by Cameron Diaz. While
Laura hyperventilates over the seated
folding chairs and wedding bills, Fisher
is taken to Las Vegas by his friends for a
final celebration of bachelorhood.
Things go awry when one of
Fisher’s friends, Michael (Jeremy
Piven, “Grosse Pointe Blank”), acci
dentally kills a prostitute during some
wall-pounding sex in the bathroom of
their hotel.
From here the film spirals into
insanity with Christian Slater’s charac
The Facts
Title: “Very Bad Things'
Stars: Christian Slater, Jon Favreau,
Cameron Diaz, Daniel Stem, Jeremy Piven
Director: Peter Berg
Rating: R (language, adult content, violence)
Grade: D
Five Words: Movie is totally horrible thing
ter, Robert Boyd, taking control of the
situation as a despicable amoral prag
matist. He convinces the rest of the
gang to bury the body in the desert,
which leads to a crazed and nonsensical
murder spree that runs out the rest ol
the film.
But the fault lies not with the story
line, which could have been made into a
worthy tale of sin and punishment in an
age of eroding morality. The characters
are appropriately confused and easily
manipulated. Boyd is powerful because
he believes in something - himself. A
real estate agent, Boyd lives by a
Darwinistic code supported by the con
temporary capitalist philosophy
espoused in current self-help success
books everywhere.
After a murder, he justifies their
actions with proclamations of unlock
ing personal spirit and pursuing
dreams and success - no, the film is
not based on an Ayn Rand short story.
The rest of the sorry bunch, either
wracked by guilt or afraid of jail, fol
low their friend - usually to their
Despite all this, the movie is not
scary, and it certainly is not funny
regardless of the meager attempts
made by die cast. The movie is shot as
a slapstick comedy, with the greatest
yuks coming with each new murder.
But the murders aren’t funny, they’re
sad and tragic.
Berg failed to understand the very
nature of his own creation. The film
essentially laughs at its attempts to be a
black comedy by de-legitimizing every
element of horror and making it into a
farce. The only problem is the charac
ters don’t think it’s funny.
They are terribly misdirected
throughout die movie, and their efforts
at sincerity are made to look cartoonish
and careless. Murder after murder is set
to a bubbly jazz soundtrack as brother
turns on brother, and children are
orphaned. At several points, the movie
turns to a small child inflict
ed with multiple scle
rosis for a few laughs:
He falls down on his
crutches and
swears. Hilarious.
Even funnier
was when his
uncle makes fun
of him and
says that
is only a few steps away from a
Shriners’ parade.
The characters’ attempts at legiti
macy are continually thwarted by poor
and confused directing. Berg has no
concept of black comedy, only gross
humor. The horrific nature of die film is
cheapened time and again by Berg’s
interpretation, which forces a fright
ened and truly guilt-ridden character to
wail loudly and insincerely at his broth
er’s funeral, a death for which he was
At the funeral he gropes his broth
er’s widow and, still wailing at the top of
his lungs, promises to buy them a new
minivan (he destroyed the old one)
before falling backwards over the cas
Ana tne poppy acia jazz is still
The subject matter is certainly not
funny, but it could have been made
interesting and worthwhile if pursued
seriously. The characters are plainly lost
and, although despicable, seek some
type of salvation and comfort. Their
needs are made painfully clear, but
never addressed. Instead, their fear is
~>made to look cartoonish, their sincerity
si phrased like wise-cracks and their
love for each other reduced to a shal
y' low joke.
“Very Bad Things” bears as its
title an entirely appropriate under
statement. The title is as confused
and misleading as
the film itself,
v It’s not “Very
X Bad”; it’s
i- Matt Haney/DN
• i . ,4 - ** •
“Different Stages - Live”
Grade: B
Before you celebrate Rush’s
demise, think carefully. You may
squirm when you hear Geddy Lee’s
alarm-clock-like voice; you may guf
faw at the topics Rush has covered in
its albums; you may laugh at that
Rush fan you knew in high school
who constantly had a Walkman in
tow. But the band has altered the face
of music in ways many people cannot
Rush gave progressive rock an
enduring voice. The boys have been
together for more than 25 years, and
they still shift musical directions
every album or two. They have been
the inspiration of countless hopeful
drummers and bass players. And it is
likely that one of your favorite bands
consists of Rush junkies. Primus,
Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins,
Nine Inch Nails: all are professed
Rush fiends.
1 hat all said, even a huge Kush
fanatic may have trouble shelling out
$20 for its latest live album,
“Different Stages - Live.” This is the
fourth live album in Rush’s career.
Unfortunately, many of the songs on
it can be found on its other live
albums, with the exception of those
released after 1989.
Another drawback for Rush is the
environment a listener needs for its
albums. Like a big-budget, effects
packed movie, Rush’s music is more a
technical marvel to listen to rather
than a soulful, intimate experience.
Be it at home or in a car, you almost
feel you need a surround-sound sys
tem that has more graphic equalizers
than a small recording studio.
Anything less and the listener feels
Not to mention that three hours is
a lot to demand of a listener. And
“Different Stages” becomes an even
greater challenge because of its utter
lack of original material.Witb the
exception of the entire rendition of
“2112” and Neal Peart’s mega-drum
solo, most of the songs in “Different
Stages” remain close, if not identical
to the studio or previously released
live versions.
mere s sun enougn spots on
“Different Stages - Live” to merit a
purchase, however. While Geddy Lee
remains a consistently engaging
bassist, guitarist Alex Lifeson seems
to improve on each album. And then
there’s Peart. In the rock world, he is
still without peer, and that is only
enforced on this album.
In the liner notes, the album is
dedicated to Jackie and Selena.
Jackie, Peart’s wife, died after a long
bout with cancer this year. Selena,
Peart’s daughter, was killed in a one
car accident in August 1997. Feel
guilty for not buying die album yet?
And while Neil Peart is currendy
taking a hiatus to grieve, listeners can
track Rush’s two-hour-plus evolution
from heavy-metal Zeppelin clones to
... whatever they are today.
Hard to categorize, able to pro
voke fans and critics alike, Rush is
still engaging enough to keep listen
ers curious as to what direction it’s
taking next - just as long as its mem
bers don’t don Fedora hats and zoot
suits for their next concoction.
- Sean McCarthy