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January 14, 1978 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-01-14

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The Michigan Daily-Saturday, January 14, 1978-Page 5

EIL SIMON'S Murder By Death
was a successful burlesque of mur-
der mysteries, successful partly be-
cause it set up so many great
one-liners so well. His latest effort,
The Goodbye Girl, is a love story, un-
convincing partly because it tries to
squeeze out too many clever cracks
at the wrong times.
The sense that Simon has gone
overboard trying to get laughs is
present from the opening scene. A
divorced Broadway dancer (Marsha
Mason) and her overly clever daugh-
ter Lucy return to their apartment to
find that Moms boyfriend/roommate
has left for Italy.
Having read the goodbye letter,
Mason sits crying as little Lucy reads
it aloud for our benefit, making cute
comments. Another little girl might
have been concerned with her moth-
er's misery, but the possibility is held
offstage long enough to let Lucy say
just the cutest things, and to make us
wonder if we are to take Mason's
portrayal of a forlorn woman really
seriously. It is good to have a brat
around in a movie to relieve situa-
tions that seem to get too heavy, but
Simon goes too far when he forces a
ten-year-old to be saucily sophisticat-
ed through jealousy, confusion, bore-
dom, etc.
The story has a lot going for it,
despite its faults. The boyfriend,
having hightailed it to Italy, has also
sublet the -apartment to Elliott
Garfield (Richard Dreyfuss), a
young actor about to star in an off-
Broadway disaster.
rHEIR INITIAL encounters are
close but unkind. Dreyfuss owns the
lease, has a key, and reasonably,

*'s latest
expects them to vacate. Mason
refuses at first, and although she
eventually sees she has no better
choice than to share the apartment,
the air immediately fills with an
electricity created by the friction of
their personalities.
The movie becomes entertaining
when the two antagonists eventually
convert the electricity from a repul-
sive to an attractive force, and voila,
we have love. The episode in which
Dreyfuss chases Mason around .the

fiatally fla wed

can get pretty weak. For example,
probably the most farcical part of the
show is Dreyfuss' off-Broadway pro-
duction, a homosexual version of
Richard II that has a hunchbacked
Dreyfuss sashaying and lisping his
way throug the winter of our discon-
IT IS HARD to tell whether this is
intended as a cheap shot against
homosexuals, directors, homosexual
directors, or William Shakespeare.
The nadir of tackiness is reached
when, after the performance, the
homosexual director feverishly asks
a woman what she though of it.
Apparently her opinion is very
important to him. She answers that it
was all right, whereupon he shouts
out, "Hey, everyone, did you hear,
MOM loved the show! ", and we learn
that homosexuals have an oedipal
Silliness is also king on the first
morning of Dreyfuss's new job.
Although it is. common knowledge
that most people involved with the
theatre have a screw loose or even
missing, this does not make things
easier to take when we see Dreyfuss,
in the lotus position, before a heathen
altar burning strawberry incense.
meditating and chanting Om.
Later he abandons this, (or Simon
abandons - the joke), but it has
already taken its toll, credibility is
damaged and it is obvious that gags
are more important than people. In
Murder By Death that was fine, but
in a movie trying to develop a tricky
love story it is boorish and ultimate-
ly fatal.
Aside from this, it is difficult
during the first part of the movie to

like Mason. She has been dumped,
and is going through a rough, period,
true; even so, she makes herself
unsympathetic by being self-pitying,
suspicious and even hypocritical (she
"forbids" Dreyfuss to sleep with a
colleague on' account of daughter
Lucy; yet she had just been living
with a chap herself.
At the end we are asked to believe
that she has become a new person,
capable of trust, patience, self-sacri-
fice, and all the things most people
have trouble with. Earlier we
learned that her marriage had not
worked because her husband, an
actor, was never at home long
enough to keep them from getting
lonely. We need to see some basic dif-
ference between that old one and this
new one, for Dreyfuss too is an actor,
and as the movie ends he is off to
Seattle to make a movie.
Their resolves alone are not
enough, and from what the first half
of the movie showed us of their
personalities, we can't really believe
they will be able to stick it out for'
very long. More likely, we feel, she'll
be left behind someday soon as he be-
comes obsessed with the Devil's
Tower and throws shrubbery through
The Goodbye Girl just does not
manage to overcome its basic weak-
nesses. No one is allowed to act
naturally; there is always a punch-
line waiting to be set up, which
makes it seem forced, amateurish
and very self-conscious. It does have-
its moments, however, and it is a fine
movie for people who want the happy
ending without being too finicky
about problems raised in the less
than happy beginning.

Neil Simon

bathroom for a kiss is really about
his trying to give her the courage to
love again, and the development of
their affair (which is all itcan be) is
at times really touching.
Unfortunately, this involves only a
fraction of the film, and what is left

Donut in the round APPhoto
Composer Stan Shaff, left, and designer-conductor McEachern pose in their
new theater, "Audium: A Theater of Sound-Sculptured Space," built out of
a former bakery in San Francisco.

Joni Mitchell scores
yet another triumph
THROUGHOUT HER recording career, the strongest element of Joni
Mitchell's songs has been the delicate sophistication of her imagery.
Her lyrics are concise and intelligent, and reflect anoeye for detail that is
rarely found anywhere else. This fact became most evident with the release
of For The Roses in 1972, and has held true for the five albums which
followed it.
DON JUAN'S RECKLESS DAUGHTER is Joni Mitchell's tenth album,
and the songs all follow this ideal of lyrical intricacy. Along with her par-
ticular originality, Joni describes the events in each song with outstanding
lyrical beauty. She shuns any form of generality, choosing instead to
promote clarity and use of specific detail in her imagery. The result is often
complex, but always impeccable.
HER SONGS DEAL primarily with romance, either in a narrative or a '
personal sense. The strength of Mitchell's beliefs in constantly reflected
in the intensity of her lyrics, as in "The Silky Veils of Ardor":
If I'd only seen
Thru the silky veils of ardor
What a killing crime
This love can be
I would have locked up my heart
In a golden sheath of armor
And kept its crazy beating
Under strictest secrecy
Don Juan's Reckless Daughter
Joni Mitchell
- Asylum 88 701
"Paprika Plains" is another example of Joni Mitchell's penchant for
imagery. This sixteen-minute ballad is composed of childhood recollections,
and a narrative description of the "vast Paprika plains." The music is
heavily orchestrated, and this is the only song on which Joni plays piano (on
the rest she performs on acoustic guitar). As the vocals come to a con-
clusion, the orchestration ends, and her back-up band takes over. The tran-
sition is quite smooth and pleasantly innovative.
Many of the tunes on Don Juan's Reckless Daughter follow a jazz-rock
style similar to that established on Joni's previous LP, Hejira. The title cut is
easily the most solid on the two-record set; Joni Mitchell on guitar and Jaco
Pastorius on bass prove to be a very capable duo. They compliment each
other with a smoothly arranged interweaving of the instruments, and Joni's
vocalizations (both lead and background) complete the sparkling musical
AS WITH MOST two-record sets, this LP dies have its weaknesses. An
instrumental cut entitled "The Tenth World" becomes rather disjointed and
repetitious after six-and-a-half minutes, and might easily have been
replaced with something a bit more melodic. There is some minor redun-
dancy on "Paprika Plains," but the song as a whole is enjoyable. Overall,
the LP is excellent; only these two cuts show some amount of excess.
DON JUAN'S RECKLESS DAUGHTER is considerably less commer-
cially oriented than her three previous studio LPs. With the possible ex-
ception of the title cut, there are no Top 40 candidates like "Help Me" from
Court and Spark, or "In France They Kiss On Main Street" from The Hissing
of Summer Lawns. This is not to imply that the music is of any lesser
quality; it simply reflects the fact that Joni is becoming much more involved
with the creation of good melodies, rather than the less-complex tunes of
which radio standards seem to be made.
Joni Mitchell has gone through several stylistic changes since the
release of her first album, Song to a Seagull. She started out as a folk artist,
her first major hits being "Chelsea Morning" and "Both Sides, Now." Horn
player Tom Scott appeared first on For The Roses, and his contributions ad-
ded a jazz influence to Joni's songs. She also explored rock music on songs
like "Blonde in the Bleachers," and later on Court and Spark.
DON JUAN'S RECKLESS DAUGHTER finds Joni Mitchell working on
solid jazz-rock footing, with the help of prominent musicians like Chaka
Khan, Airto Moreira and John Guerin. It's an album of precise lyrical
imagery and well-wrought melodies; it will be interesting to see what
University of Michigan Gilbert & Sullivan Society
U .. A e& &aEZmam I.. S.. aL4" A ...-:I 1 A ..k n nel .'tiri nf '

New album, a

WHEN I FIRST heard locc's new
live album, Live and Let Live, I
wasn't surprised that I didn't like it
much. After all, half of the zany four-
man combo, Lol Creme and-Kevin God-
ley, quit last year to play with their
electric toy, the "gizmo," leaving
Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart to
carry on the songwriting and perform-
ing chores alone.
In a band led by one or two persons,
the departure of a couple of lesser play-
ers might not make much of a dif-
In a band led by one or two persons,
the departure of a couple of lesser
players might not make much of a dif-
ference. But the music of 10cc was very
much the product of four active partici-
pants; each member wrote, sang, and
played a variety of instruments.
Earlier this year, Stewart and Gould-
man made a 10cc album with the help of
a new drummer, Paul Burgess. Though
Deceptive Bends lacked the creative
chaos that often resulted in brilliant
moments on previous 10cc LPs, it con-
tained a good number of solid rockers
with odd lyrics and McCartheyesque
ballads with cute lyrics.
THOUGH A MODEL for crisp pro-
duction, Deceptive Bends had none of
the trademark 10cc production effects
that resulted in pop extravaganzas like
"I'm Not In Love," a few years back.
This time the hit was a simple jingle
called "The Things We Do For Love."
But the smaller scope of the record
meant that 10cc could at last go on tour
without a battery of tape devices de-
signed to recreate their complex studio
sound. Since the new sound was a sim-
ple one, it shouldn't be hard to do it live,
Gouldman and Stewart must have rea-
The pair hired four session men, in-
cluding Burgess, another drummer, a
keyboard player,' and a bass player,
and a new, six person "10cc" was born.
destined to fail, however. How could six
men re-create the musical history of a
no longer existent four-member band,
when only two of the original four are in
the new band? It would be like John

Lennon and George Harrison going on
tour with Klaus Voorman and Jim Kelt-
ner and calling themselves "the
One pitfall becomes evident simply
by reading the back of the record
jacket; Gouldman and Stewart in-
cluded only songs they had written.
Thus gems like "Silly Love," "Some-
where in Hollywood." "Hotel," "Old
Wild Men," and "Rubber Bullets" have
been left off, simply because their
writers have left the band.

bleak future
like the studio cuts, except that often a studio machine.
wonderful production touches were, of The record's real trea
course, absent. I dismissed Live and formances of several son
Let Live as another double live album, ate greatly from the stu
just another attempt to cash in on a few for Art's Sake," for exam
hits, extended to eight minut
But I think I was wrong. After putting keyboardist Tony O'Ma
the record away, I strangely found my- but effective tones,a
self wanting to listen to it' again and several good solos with
again. And the more I listened to it, the instrumental break. On t
more I liked it. "Ships Don't Disappear
Why? With all it's limitations, the (Do They?)" and "A
material is amazingly strong. The Blues," the new group a
melodies are often bizarre, but always like a real rock'n'roll ban(
catchy, and the amusing, thoughtful Another highlight is"
lyrics are a welcome change from number previously only
standard pop fare. This is a fun album B-side. A hopeful, peac
to listen to. quite a change from the i

sures are per-
gs which devi-
dio cuts. "Art
mple, has been
es, is sung by
lley in rough,
and features
in an exciting
his song, as on
in the Night
Modern Man
ctually sounds
'Waterfall," a
released as a
eful song, it's
frantic themes

the numbers are more polished, but-the,
roughness of the live tanks is appeal-
ing; they seem more real. Though the
between song patter is a bit trite at
times, it's evident that everyone, in-
cluding those on the stage and those
watching, is having a good time. Live
and Let Live is the first 10cc album to
exude warmth, the first to seem the pro.
duct of real human beings, rather than

that compose most 10cc songs.
Unfortunately, the future of this new
10cc looks 'rather bleak. The new
musicians provided competent support
for Gouldman and Stewart on the tour,
but they've yet to show they can do
anything more than that. They simply
don't appear to have the talent of the
two members they replaced.
Unless this situation changes, the
musical greatness that was once 10cc
will have to remain purely as history.

Live and Let Live
Mercury SRM 2 8600
The selection of material for the
album is even more perplexing when
you consider that live versions of every-
thing on Deceptive Bends, save for one
song, have been included, but the
band's first four albums are represent-
ed by a scant five songs in all.
ON FIRST HEARING, most of the
tunes struck me as sounding very much
Aiemdelssehn Theatre
.gil. 15 Sun.:2pm&8pm
Tickets available at PTP Ticket Office
Michigan League, Mon.-Fri. 10-1, 2-5
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