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September 13, 1979 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-09-13

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, September 13, 1979-Page 5
NOR TH DALLAS FORTY:
Football studs need love too

By ALISON DONAHUE
Traditionally, Hollywood sports films
have almost always portrayed the
athlete stereotypically. as either the
dumb jock or the dedicated stoic. These
films gave us a superficial look at the
lives of our heroes, and rarely did we
pect to relate to them as fallible
human beings. North Dallas Forty is
different.
This football film, directed by Ted
Totchkeoff and based on a bestselling
hovel by former Dallas Cowboy Peter
fent, presents athletes in such a
freshingly realistic light that those
x1 scorn jocks or even football in
general may come away with a new
tound respect for them.
While combining comedy and pathos,
North Dallas focuses on today's big
usiness approach to the management
pro football, and the heavy pressures
uts on the players. Nick Nolte plays
il Elliot, an aging wide receiver for
e North Dallas Bulls (read Dallas
cowboys). He finds himself continually
odds with his bosses' scientifically
(alculated and emotionally numb ap-
(roach to handling the team.
THE BULLS' thin-lipped head coach,
G. D. Spradlin) 'uses computer
echnology and a philosophy of Puritan
*gidity to run the team much like real
e Dallas Coach Tom Landry. His
method is tied up with the big business
entality that ultimately governs the
tulls.
Nolte's Elliott is a very talented
eceiver, but he's been beaten up
rough the years of playing and has
ten labelled as having an attitude
roblem. This makes him less than in-
pensable in the eyes of the coach,
end the main conflict is that Nolte
ebels against his leaders hypocritical
tance, which demands a high morale
from the players. These players know
at they are not cared about as human
eings, but only as statistics on a com-
puter print out sheet.
Those who last saw Nick Nolte as the
suntanned glamorous golden boy in The
-:Deep will neither recognize his ap-
pearance nor expect his fine acting in
North Dallas Forty. He is heavier,
older-looking, and his carriage is that
of a beaten down tnan, one who has
been brutally damaged by the unsym-
pathetic system he's forced to work
within. Singer Mac Davis (in an ad-
_ mirable acting debut), plays Elliot's
buddy Max (read Don Meredith),a sur-
vivor who understands and accepts the
system's hypocrisies and tries to con-
,;;ince Elliot to do the same.
e )We see this when the two attend a
~ lavish team party, an orgiastic festival
.i:tn which male fantasies come to life.
The jocks smash furniture, drink out of
a;giant goblets, and toss glamorous
women around like rag dolls. Max tells
-lliot that the point of all this self-
:jndulgence is to bolster the players'
'ytenuous confidence, which,'1f course,
.. influences how they play ball. Elliot's
:.- behavior as he cruises through the
hysteria is a mixture of amusement and
- mild disgust.
-r+.
a ALTHOUGH AT FIRST it seems that
Nolte's character is the only one we can
,,relate to in this world of scheming cor-
:'!porate sports monguls and frenzied
* gridiron lackies, the film gradually
pulls away from the worn out theme of
; the lone heroic victim of the system as
it reveals that other players, even the
rnost seemingly happy-go-lucky, are
lsuffering in various degrees from
y working under unfair rules that they do
ot dare challenge for fear they will
lose their chance to play ball.

t
r/
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The film creatively presents the foot-
ball players' characters, but it falls
short in its presentation of the love
relationship between Elliot and his in-
dependently wealthy girlfriend
Charlotte (Dabne Coleman). Even
though Elliot gallantly protects her
from the rowdy jocks at the team party
where they meet, Charlotte remains
cool toward him. Oddly enough, it's af-
ter he comes to visit, plops down on the
couch, and begins to snore that she
warms to him.
North Dallas Forty tries to make her
out to be a tough, independent woman,
but her character is hardly convincing,
since she whiles away the hours reading,
knitting, and worrying about her hard-
driving man. The film-makers are to be
admired for not making this romance
the focus of a film about football
players, but it's a pity they didn't try
hard enough to make the female
charactereas realistic as the males in
the picture.
The validity of The North Dallas For-
ty's statement that its football players
are helpless victims of an unfair system
is arguable, although it certainly is
plausible in light of the way big
business seems to have a hand in
everything these days. But the film
does not derive its major credibility
from its theme, nor the filmmakers
cinematic expression of it, which is not
particularly innovative in the technical
sense.
This picture's primary strength is
that we can relate to the football
players as human beings. They are
neither saints, nor slobs, but imperfect
people trying to cope with what society
dishes out. Without North Dallas Forty,
how would we learn that we all have so
much in common?
Sir Christopher Wren laid the first
stone of St. Paul's Cathedral in London
in 1675 on the site of a 13th century
church that had been gutted in the great
fire of 1666. The cathedral was finished
in 17.10. Of the 52 London churches Wren
built, St. Paul's is considered the finest.

University of Michigan
Department of Theatre and Drama
AUDITIONS
FOR
The First Showcase Production
of the Season
Wole Soy inka's
THE LION AND THE JEWEL
an African drama
directed by Janice Reid

Friday, Sept. 14
Saturday, Sept.15

7-11 Rm. 2528
1 - 5 Rm 2528

Frieze Bldg.
Frieze Bldg.

Actors ,Dancers ,and Singers Needed
Auditions by Appointment Only. See Sign
Sheet Outside of Room 1502 in the

up

Frieze Building.

Read all Instructions

Carefully.

s

_-

®

'I-

t

Come Celebrate Briarwood Movies'
First Rocky Horror Anniversary

Q
rr ¢ Q
, gS

's'r!
9 -

Most of these revelations occur
during the climatic championship
game. As the tension increases, the
players' vulnerabilities surface. Bo
Jim, the super-macho dumb stud who
gleefully laughed as he whirled an
hysterically frightened woman over his
head at the party, now complains tear-
fully in the huddle, "I hurt."
Another player who swaggered con-
fidently through the same party finds
his facade of nonchalance crumbling
after witnessing the coaches' injustices
during the game. He finally confronts
one of them in the locker room, and bit-
terly chastises the man and his
colleagues for their lack of respect for
the players.
ALTHOUGH THE FILM reveals a lot
about the business angle of pro football,
some may find it valuable for its in-
sights into what makes football players
tick. How can they enjoy smashing into
each other in one day of play, surviving
only to shoot themselves full of pain
killers to enable them to face the next?
The film offers some obvious ex-
planations. We see from the party that
some players use their jock status as a
way of maintaining their masculine
self-images. When Max tells Elliot that
he got hurt playing and the more it hurt,
the more secure he felt, we see an
element of martrydom found in the
"pure" athlete.

North Dallas Forty also presents a
reason for the nen's.desire to play that
is more fundamental than the lure of
money, sex and glory. These men play
because they have a tremendous
amount of energy which they need to
burn off: At the party, one player relen-
tlessly pounds his fist into a tabletop, in
order to impress a potential female
conquest; in the locker room, another
rams himself repeatedly into a coke
machine because he has nothing better
to do.
THEY NEED FOOTBALL so badly
that they cover up their anxiety about
being seriously injured, fumbling a
play, growing old, or anything that may
take them out of the ball game, and
they do it with humor, like Davis' raun-
chy down-home oneliners and Nolte's
off-the-cuff sarcasm.
beginners: interm:
Thurs 9/13 Fri 9/14
7:45-8:45 5:00-6:00
call for times
668-7731
DANCE SPACE
E. William and State

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5th Avenue at Liberty St. 761-9700
Formerly Fifth Forum Theater
The story of Antonio, who uncov-
ered her husband's secret lives,
one by one . . . and began to
live them herself-
I ,
NOW
SHOWING

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11

1

J. I i

I

This Friday and Saturday
WITH SHOWS AT 12:00 MIDNIGHT
AND 2:00 AM! THAT'S RIGHT
2:00 AM (after the bars close!)

I

Laura..ArntoneIli
arcello Mastroianni
Thur, Fri 6:10. 8:05, 10:00
Adults $1.50'til 6:30 (or capacity)
Sat. Sun 2:10. 4:05, 6:10, 8:05, 10:00

I,

_

Now Playinu at Butterfield Theatres

WEDNESDAY IS
"BARGAIN DAY"
$1.50 UNTIL 5:30

MATINEES DAILY AT
STATE 1-2-3-4
Doors Open 12:45 P.M.

MONDAY NIGHT IS
"GUEST NIGHT"
Two Adults Admitted
For $3.00

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1

D.W. Griffith's
BIRTH OF A NATION
(SPfCIL Seing at the Michigan Theater)

1915

L

State 123.4
231 S State 662-6264 -ANN ARBOR
1-54 570593

1:05-4:05-7:05-9:35
A nme ago in a galaxyfa rf~r away
pAR. MARS
..._ ~ (Upper level) _..

I

So, you think
Thsyou know Arts.?
S ThisMonday, Sept. 17, at 8 p.m., the Daily Arts and Entertainment
staff will hold its first mass meeting for prospective writers. The meeting
will take place in the offices of the Daily, 420 Maynard, right behind Bar-
bour and Newberry dormitories.
There are openings available right now for entertainment critics and
feature writers, and we ask that prospective writers come to the meeting
armed with an applicable writing sample (criticism or feature).
ARTS WORK is challenging and educational, and, of course, the
perquisites include freebies and the chance to rub shoulders with the
gracious Arts editors.
We stress that writers have their own ideas and be willing to take the
initiative when it comes to locating an area of interest and beginning a
story. The more widely varied the interests of our writers, the better the
Arts page we can put out.
That's Monday night at 8 at the Daily. Write it on your memo board.

A fine tinted print and accompaniment by organist DENNIS
JAMES of the film's original score at the Michigan Theater
makes this showing of A Birth Of A Nation the closest you can
get to the way it used to be shown in the Golden Age of the
silent screen. Audiences aware of someof its distorted, even
vicious, representations of blacks and history, are still moved
by some of this cinematically influential film's beautifully
lyrical and powerfully dramatic scenes. With LILLIAN GISH and
HENRY B. WALTHALL.

I. 1 l(PG)
Dolby Stereo 1154:157:20-9:55

i

CINEMA GUILD

TONIGHT AT
7:00 only
$1.50

MICHIGAN
THEATER
(Liberty Street)

THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Pro fessional Theatre Program
1979-80 Best of Broadway Series
USHER APPLICATION
Name
Address
Telephone
1. You must choose your series in order of preference.
2. Return Usher Application to: Usher Best of Broadway Series,
Professional Theatre Program, Michigan League Bldg., Ann
Arbor, Michigan, 48109.
3. You will be notified by mail. MUST INCLUDE A STAMPED,
SELF-ADDRESSED ENVELOPE.
~a.... - - La P'L.3. I C t ma.

ALAN A LDA
N(Upper"
THE SEDUI1 TION Leve)
OF JOE TVNAN
1:00-4:00-7:00-:30
120 -4:00-7:15-9:50

I

campus
1214 5. Univ. ity 668-6416 -ANN ARBOR
Mon.-Tue.-Thur.-Fri. 8 P.M. F
ROBERT
DE NIRO

BEST PICTURE St-Sun
SWINNER Wed.
5 1:3
ACADEMY 4:00
AWA

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The Am Abr Film Cooperstive Presents at Not. Sd..-$1.50
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13
(Don Siegel, 1968) COOGAN'S BLUFF 7 only-NAT. SCI
CLINT EASTWOOD has said of Siegel, "He's one of the few directors in the
business who's not afraid to yell 'Cut' and "Print' after the first take.' East-
wood is k ernwhnv Inwman who follows an escaoed killer from dusty Arizona

302 0 h tinaw 434-1782 -YPSILANTl Fri.-Mon.-Tue.-Thur.
GREASE-7:00
FEVER-9:00
I rm +4; ==Y?

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