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January 15, 1978 - Image 11

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Michigan Daily, 1978-01-15
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Page 8-Sunday, January 15, 1978-The Michigan Daily

film

(Continued from Page 3)
feeling of emptiness, of a kind of
void. I struggle to locate a reason for
it, and when the answer finally
begins to crystallize in my mind, it
leaves me feeling like a desolate
apostle of both the novelistic pessim-
ism of an H. G. Wells and the
war-mongering mania of a John
Wayne: I can't truly get into Close
Encounters because there aren't any
bad guys.
Maybe it's a case of the old literary
dictum that great creative works

must inherently possess a basic
element of conflict. Almost every
character in Spielberg's film is so
unswervingly nice, so downright
straight-arrow benign. Bridging the
endless centuries' wait, earthman
and alien finally meet face to face,
and each likes the other so it's clear
everyone is going to get along just
fine in our suddenly expanded gal-
axy. How can I criticize that? If any
such confrontation someday does
occur, God knows I pray it would
happen in precisely Spielberg's vi-

sion, rather than in a War of the
Worlds Armageddon. Joy and peace
to the universe, amen.
SO WHY DOI feel a pronounced,_
if slightly ashamed tingling
thrill when watching as crude a film
as Earth vs. The Flying Saucers,
with its frisbee ships lasering a paper
mache Washington Monument, while
Close Encounters, with the quintes-
sence in special effects sorcery at its
disposal, leaves me unwillingly but
disturbingly cold? Why did I want to
do cartwheels the first time I saw
Star Wars - complete with its
almost Biblically simplistic good
vs. evil mythos - craving to shout to

the nearest bystander "Go see this
flick!", while my first reaction
coming out of Close Encounters
tonight was to wonder where the hell
I'd parked the car?
I find myself too dejected emotion-
ally and too tired physically to
ponder my dilemma any further
tonight. I climb into bed" feeling
ragged and a little perverse, then
stretch out and immerse myself in
the sad but also vaguely reassuring
thought that tomorrow will appear
unchanged and untouched at all by
the events of this evening.
I will go see this film again, soon. I
close my eyes and try to reclaim my
sense of wonder.

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l4

sportscar

(Continued from Page 6),
frustration when Eliot moves out of his
house and takes up residence in a
garage attic apartment, a bachelor pad
out of which he conducts a mercurial
love affair with one of his students.
Nina, the perky 19-year-old, is simply a
loving and giving latter-day flower
child.-She becomes the only character
who gets worse than she deserves at
Eliot's hands-he takes her youthful
worship-love and runs it through an
emotional wringer. Pity for her is, I
think, the only strong emotion one can
feel in this story.

and beaten his mid-life slump. This is
where Stegner's diction and searing wit
save the day, and the potentially loud
pompous indictment of society and at-
titudes becomes a friendly little
narrative filled with belly laughs: Eliot
on his own must eat "institutional din-
ners of foreskins in whitesauce," fin-
ding that "in the kitchen was a bottle of
Miracle Whip that had not yet com-
pletely transformed itself into
penicillin. At the last, the recondite, yet
still disquieted professor finds himself
"looking forward to my seventy-fifth
birthday when all I'll have to concern
me is the color of my urine."
It might have been easy to have this

9

I

bridge--

hLIOT IS NOT unfeeling: It's not humorous chronicle of a middle-age
that he doesn't love Nia, and it's crisis begin like a series of Erma Bom
not that he doesn't love his wife, beck columns joined together at the
He's just "fundamentally a putz" who byline. The irony and the crisply drawn
is having a difficult time deciding what cliched characters make Sports Car
he wants out of life. It's difficult to Menopause straddle the line between
rouse the contempt for him which, what would be the story of a man like
perhaps, his actions deserve. In fact, Eliot Warren, and a parody of that
its very difficult to get very involved story. At once the book is comprehen
with any of Stegner's characters: all sibly interesting, unified and thoughi
save Eliot are one dimensional. For- provoking while not taking itself too
tunately, this doesn't matter at all, sroug lg
because Sports Car Menopause seriously.
sustains itself on the sheer force of its OU'LL WANT TO decide for
humor and critical observations. The yourself just how to take Steg-
flat characterizations are- ideal com- ner's jaundiced perceptions of
pliments of Stegner's homily on the our societal institutions, but I suggest
modern way of life. Had the characters you wait until it comes out in paper.
been richer and more compassionate, back. The book is definitely worth
we might have gotten mired in their reading, but I don't feel it's a novel in
particular story-something we the Ten-Dollar-A-Copy-Capital-N-Novel
wouldn't want to do. tradition. Sports Car Menopause is a
Actually, the plot is pure soap opera. charming lark. Buy it, leave it next to
After a fair amount of soul searching, the commode, and enjoy Stegner's
Eliot leaves Nina and gallantly returns stinging prose in delightful installmen-
home to Erica, having successfully ts. You'll find that's the most ap-
coped with his figurative hot flashes propriate way to digest it.
dAFREE FREE
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(Continued from Page 3)
an Odd number of aces and Pass with
an Even number-DOPE is the name of
the convention), and it seemed much
more likely that he had two than four.
But, Mark thought, if he couldn't bid
slam, what was the alternative? He
could double 6 diamonds, but it would
be defeated by three or four trick, and
that wouldn't be sufficicent to offset the
game bid made in the other room. So,
Mark hopefully bid 6 spades and
crossed his fingers as he waited for
Mitch to lead. Mitch led the diamond
Ace, and Frank tabled this hand:
SAQJx
H A J10 x
DQx
CQxx
MARK NOW TOOK a moment to
picture all four hands. Since
Mitch had opened the bidding with 3
clubs, but had already shown up with
the diamond Ace, he could not possibly
hold both top club honors. For if he did,
it would give him far too much strength
for an opening pre-empt. So, Mark
placed Mitch with either the Ace or
King of clubs, and gave Jack the same.
And since Mitch needed seven clubs for
his bid, Jack had a singleton. Suddenly
a gleam came to Mark's eye as he
realized the slam was in the bag.
Looking around the room to make cer-
tain that all eyes were upon him, Mark
said quite matter-of-factly: "Making
six. I'll ruff, draw trump, ruff dummy's
last diamond and lead a club, playing
small from dummy. If Mitch wins he
will crash his partner's club honor set-
ting up dummy's queen, and if Jack
takes the trick he will have nothing to
return but diamonds which I can ruff in
dummy while discarding my losing
club." And, of course, his analysis was
correct. These were the four hands:
North
SAQJx
H A 310 x
DQx
CQxx

West
Sx
Hxx
DAxx
C A J 10 x x x x
South
SK IOx xxx
HKQxxx
D
Cxx

While the kibitzers were buzzing over
Mark's brilliant analysis, Jim and
Greg and Jeff and Alan came in from
the other room.
"So my friends," Mark said with a
triumphant air, "In what contract did
you play the final hand?"
"Six spades," said Jim. Suddenly,
Mark's smile faded. Though hedidn't
expect Jim could have correctly
analyzed the hand, he realized it was
impossible to misplay the hand. As long
as he got a diamond lead, and ruffed the
remaining diamond the rest of the hand
would play itself.
ARK WAS JUST about to launch
into a tirade about how there is
no justice in the world when Jim con-
tinued, "And, of course, I went down
one."
"Down one?" Mark said in disbelief.
"Didn't you get a diamond lead?"
"Yes, I did," he replied. "And then I
ruffed dummy's other diamond and
drew trump."

East
Sxx
Hxxx
D KJ 0x xxx x
CK

I

"But then how could you
defeated?" a befuddled Mark asked.

be

"Well, I still had two club losers,
didn't I?" said Jim. "So I ran my hearts
and spades and conceded two clubs at
the end."
"Well, my friend," Mark said with a
chuckle, "I have to credit your
creativity. I couldn't have imagined a
way to lose two clubs, but you found a
way. And how simple it was! Who else
would think of simply conceding?"

inside:

Sunday' mag-zine

Susan Ades

Co-editors

Jay Levin
Tom O'Connell

Film: First
encounter with

The Earle:
New chapter,

gooks: Th<
mixed forti
Adlai Stev<

Elaine Fletcher

Associate Editors
Cover photo by Eric-Zorn

Close Encounters old story

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Supplement to The Michigan Daily

Ann Arbor, Michigan-Sunday, January 15, 1978

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