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Gary SiniseIn Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto there’s a video billboard that often plays advertisements for upcoming concerts at Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, which is apparently the last refuge of musicians that I didn’t realize were still performing and/or alive, as well as a haven for musicians I had no idea were musicians.  In the former category are acts like Tony Orlando & Dawn, The Doobie Brothers, and Colin Hay of Men at Work (critically, without the band), while the latter tends to include celebrities like Billy Bob Thornton, The Bacon Brothers (How many degrees from a musician I’d actually pay money to see is Kevin Bacon? Four.), and the spiritual blues-rock stylings of Steven Seagal.  I can understand having some kind of morbid curiosity about what kind of musician/singer these actors make, and I can even envision paying the ticket price to satisfy that curiosity, if I happened to be in the Fallsview Casino, having already spent $180 of a slot machine jackpot on getting drunk or high.  After all, how many people can say they’ve seen Steven Seagal warble “Hoochie-Koochie Man”?

But now Fallsview has taken the joke too far.  On July 24, 2009, please welcome to the stage Gary Sinise and The Lt. Dan Band!  Tickets $20, call to order in advance. Gary Sinise?  Gary Sinise?!  Billy Bob and Seagal are freaks and egomaniacs and have got to be worth the price of admission because they’re either going to be surprisingly good or such a train wreck that you’ll never forget the experience, and Kevin Bacon just seems like a decent guy and what harm could it do?  But Gary Sinise has no discernible personality (even when the roles he’s playing actually call for personality, Sinise stubbornly refuses to offer it up).  I’m trying to imagine someone thinking: “I like him on CSI or Law & Order or whichever one he’s on, I bet he’s also entertaining on stage!  Playing bass, apparently.  I would imagine that he can keep a steady beat–he’s such a professional and I’m sure he practises very hard.”  I can’t do it.  And The Lt. Dan Band?  Really?  “Hey, remember the only movie you actually remember me in, Forrest Gump?  The band’s name is a reference to my character!  Nice, huh?  No, I actually do have legs… it was all done with special effects.  I know!  Incredible, huh? Anyway, please come see my show.” You’ve hit a new low, Fallsview.  Although I see that next week, you’ve paired up Cyndi Lauper with Rosie O’Donnell.  I’ll bet those two sparkplugs really light up the stage!  How much are tickets again?

watchmen-babiesHaving just seen the movie, I’m not even ready yet to comment on whether or not Watchmen is a worthwhile translation of the graphic novel that helped demonstrate to the world that comix could be more than people in tights fighting other people in even more ridiculous tights; I’m still digesting the choices made in adapting the story, in bringing the characters to life, and in general deciding if there was any point to making this movie at all.  I can say, however, without any reservations, that the soundtrack features the most obnoxious and ham-fisted use of songs in recent memory.  It’s hard to believe that Bob Dylan would have allowed “The Times They Are A-Changing” to be used over the title sequence, a stroll down alternative history memory lane, but as corny as that was, the later appearance of Jimi Hendrix’s cover of “All Along the Watchtower” to accompany the crash of the owlship Archimedes in Antarctica is even worse, as the volume is cranked to punishing decibels and suspense is sublimated to spectacle.  Director Zack Snyder seems to have taken his cues from Forrest Gump, forgoing the emotional development of characters or any cinematic creation of moods in the belief that musical cues can fill in all of the gaps.  It’s lazy film-making, and it’s offensive.

For another take on the soundtrack, please visit:

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