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September 29, 1978 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-09-29

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,'Page 8-Friday, September 29,1978-The Michigan Daily

Mull less fabulous than his


There's not doubt Martin Mull has
t talent. The question is, What is to be
done with it? On America 2Night, the
" role of Barth Gimble was the quin-
tessential embodiment of the Mull per-
sona. He was witty, could slip double
entendres past his guests before they
N knew what hit them, and made it clear
to those of us at home he was a total
sham and only too aware of it.
Next to Barth's arrogant witticisms,
Mull's own songs seem almost in-
nocuous. There isn't even a mildly
derogatory message in odd but essen-
tially good-spirited numbers like
"eggs" or "They Never Met"; instead,
most of them are self-contained and
directed at nothing more incendiary
Ythan the little quirks and pardoxes of
everyday life George Carlin never tires
of recalling on The Tonight Show.
IN HIS Wednesday night show at Hill
Auditorium, Mull's wit and facility with
invective were in full splendor. The
near-capacity audience was there to
see Barth, and Mull, commenting that
the evening was "close to a thrill,"
delivered on cue with assorted wry
comments that mocked his audience
("I see a lot of you are here on dates -

that's really adorable") without ever
seeming truly abrasive. But there were
some important differences between
his forum onAmerica 2Night and his
concert routine, most of which favored
the television show.
For openers, Mull isn't an actor,
which was fine on America 2Night,
because he didn't have to act. On stage
he assumed various satirical guises - a
throaty nightclub singer in "I Haven't
the Vegas Idea," a rambunctious
gospel singer in "Jesus Is Easy" - that
never took hold. When he would grab
the mike and lean his leg against the
piano Tony Bennett-style, one wanted a
Bill Murray crazy-man routine, but
Mull never stops being Mull.
This, of course, is also a huge part of
his charm. He was at his best in num-
bers like "Let's Get Married," where
contempt rang out as clearly as clever-
ness. Following a wretched opening act
(a singer named Billy Sheets, or
something like that) whose only virtue
was being smart enough to realize that
he was not wanted, Mull spent fifteen
minutes battling annoying amplifier
problems that turned his guitar strums
to static, then launched into a single,
medium-length set comprised of half

Mon-Tue-Thur-Fri 7:30-9:30
lou'rgonna laugh VO ®(oa

songs-half banter with the exuberant
THE SHOW HAD one crippling flaw:
Mull had no back-up band, the in-
strumentation provided solely by his
own meager rhythm guitar and some
competent nightclub piano, courtesy of
Ed Wise. Mull's never pretended he
knows how to sing, but it turns out that
his songs, however lyrically clever,
depend on a semblance of flashy
musicianship. Just imagine "I'm
Everyone I've Ever Loved" without the
album's jazzy arrangement. Mull's
music needs a reasonable coefficient of
catchiness to keep one entertained, and
the renditions Wednesday didn't have
Mull's best musical feature was his
endearingly pedestrian lead playing.
Since it's strictly amateur stuff, it was
amusing to watch him spin out a half-
way intricate guitar lick (off of a record
he's learned, no doubt) virtually in
spite of himself. Mull revels in his own
quasi-competence, and celebrates the
fact that he's getting good money for it.
Overall, though, he was more effec-
tive simply spouting seeming ad-libs
(many of them probably canned). The
long introductions to the songs often
outshone the numbers themselves, and
one of the high points was a conver-
sation with God in which he called
Jesus' crucifixion "a bummer.
MULL IS currently riding a popular
wave of the variety that catapulted
Steve Martin to the status of official '70s
comic deity. The crowd Wednesday
laughed partly at the humor of his
jokes, and partly in simple recognition
of their existence.
Mull's "Fabulous Furniture" motif is
more fitting than he realizes. Watching
the show, I felt like I was casually sit-
ting around a friend's living room, wat-
ching him strum the guitar and not
caring if a wrong note was hit. Some
might interpret this attitude Mull
projects as faithful to his aura of
arrogance. Maybe so, but the Hill show
smacked of sloppiness, and the five en-
cores, rather than show-stoppers,
simiply dribbled on into tedium. Quite
possibly, Mull deserves another
America 2Night to showcase his talen-
ts. Until then, although he's on the road,
he most certainly does not have his act
Men's, Women's 20% Off
and Children's
320 E. Liberty 769-8555

Martin Mull performed a set of typically off-the-wall songs for an exuberant crowd at Hill Auditorium Wednesday.

Reynolds sparks'

Depth and clarity of plot along with
an extraordinarily high level of enter-
tainment have kept Hooper, a film shot
primarily for the summer rubbish
viewing season, from dying with the on-
set of autumn. Burt Reynolds and Sally
Field are charming together in this
saga of the modern film stuntman as
they romp through a love affair while
battling over the future.
Hooper starts with the premise that
the stuntman is one of the vanishing
breed of modern society's heroes.
Reynolds is Sonny Hooper, Hollywood's
greatest stuntman, about to face the
crisis of encroaching age. His is a fan-
tasy character, developed more out of
the public conception of a stuntman
than from any living daredevil.
Moreover, Hooper is primarily stock
Burt Reynolds, and our interpretaions
must begin from there. After all, we've
met that charming rascal before in
Smokey and the Bandit, Semi-Tough,
and The Longest Yard.

HOOPER tries to sketch the stages of
life by placing two characters at either
end of the stuntman's occupation. Brian
Keith plays the aging, patriarchal stun-
tman who refuses to quit his dangerous
work and is partial to brawling and
booze. On the other end, Jan-Michael
Vincent is cast as the upstart who
presents a serious, threat to Hooper's
claim to dominance. All of them are
totally caught up in the fantasy world of
the stuntinan, unable to see that they
must one day face realities. Hooper
bounces back and forth between the tw
challengers, relating at once to both in
an attempt to see where life might lead
He finds himself involved in' a
relationship with Sally Field (Keith's
daughter), who promotes some healthy
introspection for the swaggering stun-
tman, She would like to convince him to
retire, settle down, and marry. Hooper
cannot see that he is wearing himself
down with his work, and, though now a
spectacular hero, he can't keep driving
motorcycles through car windows

r .4
N .
r .Y
S- M
" D
A .W
a "n

The Music-DIRECT

THE MOVIE is flooded with excitin
well-timed stunts, keeping the act
always at a high. More so, they are
accurately executed, and several a
enough to leave you breathless. F
anyone who .appreciates a good stul
this is a real field day.Hooper hi
everything from the high fall to a sh
out to flying cars, all very convinci
and precise. Through these and all t
other stunts, the audience begins to u
derstand what sort of person the st
tman has to be beyond the facel
feats he performs.
In the end, it is the tremendous grotl
of characters that lead us to direct4
Hal Needharn's statement on th'
aspect of the Hollywood scene. Ea
character is completely involved wi
himself and cannot see the dilemmas :
those around him, along with gross
misperceiving his own situatioi
Robert Klein, the directpr of the mod
everyone is filming, cannot see beyot
his own vision of the film because
alone decides what is best. Brie
Keith's decaying Jocko is a man
does not know he is going down until
is already there. Sally Field wants to
more than a permanent bedfellow,
won't let herself see that Sonny can
even begin to put his own life in ord
Sky, Jan-Michael Vincent's charac
doesn't realize that replacing Hoo
will not bring happiness.
Hooper, of course, is the most
sistent of them all. He sees that he m
make a decision, and that his whole
has led to the stunts in this one pictu
Thus, he promises to retire, but only
ter he does his one final, greatest stu;
Even the greatest balks temporarily
the prospect of leaping a rocket c
across a gorge almost three times t
world record length. When it final
comes, though, the stunt is anti-clima
tic. It is here that the fantasy outdo
the film itself. When Sky and Hoop
make the attempt, in great debut a
last hurrah respectively, it all seems
Still, the hero has proven somethi
at least to himself. Sonny has se
Jocko work himself to a stroke, a
finally begins to feel the pain himse
The message gets through to him, ai
he will leap no more. Right to the en
though, the entertainment keeps i
form. Reynolds as Hooper does not 10
character, but advances it convi
DURBAN, South Africa (AP)
Scientists are puzzling over a wood
memorial cross made in 1918
members of the South African Cor
which weeps resin every year on ti
anniversary of a World War I batt
where more than 2,000 South Africe
soldiers died.
The cross was made from a length
pine taken from Deville Wood
France, the scene of the battle.



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