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February 06, 1980 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1980-02-06

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The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, February 6, 1980-Page 7
HALL OF INFAMY

Ten worst films of 1979

By CHRISTOPHER POTTER
Here are the winners, in no particular
order of abhorrence:
The Black Hole (Gary Nelson). All of
Peter Ellenshaw's mesmerizing special
effects go down the chute in Walt
Disney's roalefic tribute to outer space
dumbness. What's the good of staging
an interstellar miracle if there's no one

to the downfall of Mr. Hiller's maledroit
career, then it may not have been a
total minus.
Old Boyfirends (Joan Tewksbury). A
disenchanted psychotherapist (Talia
Shire) embarks on a cross-country
odyssey, taking revenge on a series o
of former lovers who may or may not.
have done her wrong in years gone by.

masters any thematic or stylistic
framework whatsoever. Director
Tewksbury and scriptwriter Paul
Schrader must have quarreled violen-
tly on the first day of shooting and then
quit speaking.
Winter Kills (William Richert). This
skatterbrained attempt as a black-
comedy fantasy on the Kennedy
assassinations only proves that some
wounds run very deep. We seem not
enough removed from our legacy of
blood to regard such "humor" minus
disturbing heart-tigs over what might
have been-as this sour, archly
distasteful film bears out. Even a top-
flight satire on this subject would have
been difficult to take, and Winter Kills
is immeasurably less than that.
The Champ (Franco Zeffierelli). Will
Jon Voight rise up from skid row and
regain his self-respect? Will Ricky
Schroeder's pet horse win the big race?
Will Faye Dunaway find true happiness
amongst riches and high society? Will
one of these smarmy-faced nerds
please slip on a banana peel? Director
Zeffirelli assaults us by taking an
opera-junkie's approach to his
film-every scene is a soaper, every
confrontation a histrionic ari a in itself.
Though Zeffirelli's aim is not to leave a
dry eye in the house, his ultimate suc-
cess, alas, involves a somewhat lower
portion of the anatomy.
Rocky II (Sylvester Stallone). Can
you really fool all of the people some of
the time? This bloated, self-deifying
rip-off of Rocky I was, horrifyingly, the
top-grossing film of 1979. Grim
congratulations are hereby extended to
writer-director-godfather Stallone for
pulling off the cinematic hustle of the
decade.
When a Stranger Calls (Fred
Walton). First Amendment con-
siderations aside, there is simply no
reason for having made this sadistic,
clinically punishing film about a
psychopath who terrorizes a baby sitter,
then returns to menace her children
years later. Unsuspenseful and often
illogical, yet never quite inept enough
to be taken as camp, the. picture
becomes a vile-spirited monument to
the dregs into which huckster cynicism
can deposit an audience, all in the
name .of art. It's movies like this that .
give witch hunts respectability.
The Electric Horseman (Sidney
Pollack). An aging rodeb star (Robert
Redford) rescues a champion horse
from an evil corporation, and finds
human affection (Jane Fonda) as a
bonus. Horseman is as insufferably
sitg a piece of pseudo-liberal hokum
as any film in recent memory; it's
directed without a trace of spontaneity
by Sidney Pollack, who mutates the
film's great-outdoors motif into a
cloistered, strangling screen experien-

simultaneously in Rocky II, Old
Boyfriends and lastly this environmen-
talist stinker. Prophecy seizes the
grimly serious topic of the ecological
effects of industrial pollution, then
proceeds to pervert it into a looney-
tunes universe populated by wicked
salmons, killer racoons, and a lurching,
two-legged behemouth vaguely resem-
bling a bear with advancing psoriasis.
Once-talented director John
Frankenheimer displays a complete
absence of pace, terror or even logic;
he is ably assisted by a cast which ap-
pears unanimously abashed at being
involved in this twaddle at all.
The Class of Miss MacMichael (Silvio
Narizzano). You've doubtless never
heard of this one, so count your
blessings, folks. This yammering,
jackhammer film involves an English
reform school for incorigable boys and
girls, wherein progressive teacher
Glends Jackson and fascist principal
Oliver Reed scream incessantly at each
other, break chairs over each other's
heads, and commit assorted other
cacophonous atrocities in a state of
perpetual quadrophonic babble. A. S.
Neill would turn over in his grave, and
so, unfortunately, would the Marx
Brothers.
Now that this ldathsome burden
is off his chest, Christopher Potter's
selections for the ten best movies of
last year will appear on tomorrow's
A rts page.
Attention
All Hookwormns:
Now that your
midterms
are over,
TAKE A
vatiQ
BREAK!
subscribe today
764-0558

...

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DAY,
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Oliver Reed and Glenda Jackson, last seen driving each other to suicide and
madness in Women in Love, attempt to do the same for the audience in last
year's screaming exercise, The Class of Miss MacMichael. The two played a
principal and teacher, respectively, at an Inglish reform school, and their
facial expressions here indicate the sweet nature of the sparkling, witty
byplay they were forced to speak. While below, Ricky Schroder makes use of
one of the many rather large handkerchiefs used to sop up the endless flow of
tears spilled by the cast of Franco Zeffirelli's snivelling remake of The
Champ. As his mom, Faye Dunaway waits for her turn to drench the rag.

*n the film to witness all the splendor
except dimwits? It may prove difficult
for the mongoloid cast (including
Maxmilian Schell, Anthony Perkins
and Ernest Borgnine) to ever be taken
seriously, artistically or mentally,
again.
Nightwing (Arthur Hiller). A mon-
ster movie without a monster. Night-
wing containsa lot of pseudo-profundo
jabber about Indian spirits, vampire
eats and-industry vs. ecology, but
somewhere amidst all the verbal
topicality, director Hiller and screen-
writer Steve Shagan forgot to include
action. Nightwing is too boring even to
be laughable, yet if it contributes at all

This abstruse, incoherent film is staged ce.
neither as nostalgic whimsy nor as Prophecy (John
vengeful horror-indeed, it never Poor Talia

Frankenheimer).
Shire-trapped

Who reads g

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TWO PLAYS BY ATHOL FUGARD
DIRECTED BY KAY LONG
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PERFORMANCES IN APRIL-REHEARSALS IN MARCH
SCRIPTS AVAILABLE AT THE LOFT
FOR INFORMATION CALL 313-665-0606

it

" COOL CATS

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See us on campus February 7.

" FAT CATS
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