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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 3, 2000)
Madonna remakes classic
NEW YORK (AP) — Bye-bye,
Miss American Pie. Hello, Madonna.
The Material Girl released her ver
sion of the 1971 classic “American
Pie” to radio stations on Tuesday, a
truncated take on Don McLean’s g !4 -
minute rock ‘n’ roll homage to Buddy
Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big
The song’s debut came before the
anniversary of “the day the music
died”: Feb. 3,1959, when a plane car
rying the three young rock stars went
down in an Iowa cornfield.
Madonna’s remake times out at
under five minutes, a considerable cut
from the original. And don’t worry if
you don’t remember all die words: The
Material Girl has trimmed some of the
Madonna’s version strays far
afield from McLean’s simple arrange
ment. There’s an electronic dance brat,
and distant background vocals from
actor Rupert Everett
There is also “an explosion of
interest” from adult contemporary and
Top 40 radio stations, which have
jumped to add the song to their
playlists, said Heidi Ellen Robinson,
spokesman for Madonna’s label,
The song is from the soundtrack to
Madonna’s latest movie, “The Next
Best Thing,” which co-stars Everett.
The movie opens March 3.
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“Lessons of the Holocaust?”
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— MOVIE REVIEW —
Film captures odd lifestyles
By Shelley Mika
“American Movie,” a documen
tary about filmmaker Mark
Borchardt, could be seen as having all
kinds of self-referential qualities. But
rather than being a movie about mak
ing movies, director Chris Smith has
made a film about the vision and the
Before the film starts sounding
boring, one should know a little bit
about the man.
Borchardt is crazy.
There’s really no other way to put
it. And at the same time, there’s a lot
more going on than just that.
“American Movie” is brimming
with ambiguities, the most important
being the combination of comedy,
drama and tragedy as seen in one
man’s life. A brief bio of Borchardt
should reveal these fine lines:
Like I said, the guy’s crazy. Film
isn’t a hobby or even a career; it’s an
obsession. Borchardt takes all of his
actions to the extreme.
Whether it’s getting over 50 shots
done in a matter of hours or talking
his 82-year-old uncle into financing
his project, he means business. It’s
hard not to laugh at how seriously he
takes himself in light of the fact that
he’s shooting B-grade horror flicks.
At the same time, Borchardt
works extremely hard. He has two
jobs and still finds time for family,
friends and film. And this is no new
“I’m gonna be a filmmaker” kick.
He’s been at it since he was 14.
But as the details of his life
amass, the tone turns toward the sad
side. Borchardt is 30 by the end of the
film (which spans four years) and is
still delivering newspapers and living
with his parents.
Bill Borchardt, left, and Mark Borchardt in “American Movie.”
All of these elements grind
against each other enough to keep the
day-to-day pace of the film interest
Had they not been present, and
the main character been different, the
film would have been a flop.
There are few impressive shots
and no ground-breaking information
is presented. Essentially there is no
angle to this film except for our reac
tions to the exposure of Borchardt’s
But with a psyche like
Borchardt’s, that ends up being
enough. The film starts a bit slow, but
a half an hour in, a certain voyeuristic
pleasure kicks in - mostly in the form
of “What the hell is this guy going to
Even though at times many char
acters may seem like parodies of
themselves, Smith deserves praise for
his skill in balancing the elements of
\ American Movie
STARRING: Mark Borchardt,
Mike Sc hank and Uncle Bill
DIRECTOR: Chris Smith
RATED: R (for Borchardt's
FIVE WORDS: Interesting
w documentary follows
m freaky Filmmaker.
the film. “American Movie” could
have made a mockery of Borchardt.
There are certainly enough comic
opportunities to do so.
But taking that route would
diminish the integrity Borchardt
deserves, despite his unusual person
ality. Instead Smith presents a film
that follows someone we never
thought we could respect but some
how do in the end.
— MUSIC REVIEW —
Soulful ‘Voodoo’ bewitches listener
By Josh Krauter
D’Angelo is not trying to make
any friends in the liner notes to his
new album, “Voodoo.”
After asking a series of questions
about where art comes from,
D’Angelo bares his fangs and sinks
them into the backs of his fellow hip
hop and R & B singers.
“These are questions that seem to
be null and void in the face of all the
glitter and glamour that has dominat
ed most successful black artistry of
recent years,” D’Angelo writes. “We
seem to be more preoccupied with
cultivating our bank accounts than
cultivating our crafts.”
D’Angelo then invokes the names
of Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family
Stone, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder,
A1 Green and Prince. He hints that his
peers have forgotten about them.
“.. .Most of my peers seem to idol
ize Donald Trump more than Sly
Stone ... They don’t seem to realize
that Jimi Hendrix was and is a sonic
D’Angelo never names anyone
specifically, but most of his pot shots
are aimed at Puff Daddy, Master P or
any other hip-hop million-seller who
thinks R & B stands for Riches and
D’Angelo is miles ahead of most
of what passes for R & B and hip-hop
on MTV and the radio, bpt does he
deserve to be included in the pantheon
of Gaye, WQnder and that short funky
guy with a symbol for a name?
Not really, or at least, not yet. But
if he builds on the accomplishments
of “Voodoo,” he may be on his way.
D’Angelo doesn’t have a voice
that will put chills on spines like
Marvin or Stevie, and, though a good
musician, he’s not capable of creating
unique sound worlds like Hendrix or
He compensates for these slight
shortcomings through good ol’-fash
ioned elbow grease. He’s done his
homework. He’s spent a long time on
the songwriting. In short, he’s worked
hard on this album.
Sonically, “Voodoo” is some
where in between the 1970s soul
albums of Gaye and Wonder and the
1990s hip-hop soul of Wu-Tang Clan,
Outkast, Lauryn Hill and Maxwell. It
sounds contemporary, but draws
heavily from D’Angelo’s 1970s influ
And though D’Angelo’s voice
isn’t quite as distinct as his heroes’, he
is skilled at mimicking their styles,
often bringing to mind four or five dif
ferent singers in just one line.
“Spanish Joint” is prime Stevie
Wonder, “Left & Right” brings to
mind A1 Green and “How Does It
Feel” is vintage Prince. But the singer
D’Angelo most closely resembles is
Marvin Gaye. In fact, “The Line”
sounds eerily like Gaye, resurrected
for the hip-hop age.
But D’Angelo is no mere copycat.
The music is a seamlessly original
blend of classic funk and modem soul,
and the arrangements veer toward the
unexpected. When D’Angelo is
singing like Gaye or Prince, the music
sounds nothing like them. “Devil’s
Pie” is even dissonant, with D’Angelo
slurring his words and forcing the
lines he sings to alternately come in
later or earlier than expected.
D’Angelo plays most of the
instruments himself, and most songs
feature guitars, organ, bass and
drums, though a few drum samples
pop up. He’s aided by an eclectic
group of guests, including jazz musi
cians Roy Hargrove and Charlie
Hunter, rappers Method Man and
.r ■ ' - 1 -
> j ARTIST: D’Angelo
^ LABEL: Virgin Records
P FIVE WORDS: New
- school meets old school.
Redman, Raphael Saadiq from Tony
Toni Tone and a few members of the
With “Voodoo,” D’Angelo joins a
small group of soul singers who. are
actually moving the genre forward but
still keeping in touch with its roots,
including Maxwell, Erykah Badu and
Unfortunately, “Voodoo” shares
the same weakness as Maxwell, Badu
and Hill’s recent albums: a lack of
brevity. The album’s 79-minute run
ning time gets a little wearing. Songs
have a tendency to meander.
But D’Angelo also shows the
most promise. He shows more variety
than Badu, is funkier than Maxwell
(though his songs aren’t as catchy)
and he doesn’t get bogged down in the
moralistic sermonizing that marred -
Hill’s otherwise fine album.
“Voodoo” shows that D’Angelo is
here to stay.
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