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February 16, 1980 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-02-16

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The Michigan Daily-Saturday, Februry 16, 1980-Page 5

'Hero at Large'
By ADAM KNEE
The current surge of fantasy-adven-
ture and superhero films is, in a sense,
a rebirth of the old Hollywood detec-
tive, adventure, and western films,
complete with the shoot-out scenes, the
love affairs, and the clear division bet-
ween "good guys" and "bad guys."
These new films also continue the old
conventions of a hero who is an in-h
dividual, often a longer, and of the
"good guys finish last" (except the
main hero) rule. In Superman, for
'example, the title character always
works alone and finds it necessary to .7
keep his identity a secret, even from the ,
one he loves; the crime-fighting attem-
pts of all the film's other would-be good- ,
doers are easily thwarted by the
villains.
Hero at Large intentionally and quite
noticeably strays from these conven-
tions. It is a good-natured and enter-
taining, though rather unexceptionally
done, attempt to demonstrate that in
ur everyday lives, it's up to us to
determine whether the "good guys" or
the "bad guys" win and whether we
isolate ourselves or are open and
loving.
THE MOVIE centers around down-
and-out actor Steve Nichols (John Rit-
ter), a midwesI rn boy in New York In "Hero at La
City who makes his living by promoting Captain Aveng
the film Captain Avenger, for which he by actually stan
wears the superhero's red tights and
cape and blue ski goggles. We see him man Walter Reev
*s being almost too nice and vulnerably is in charge of
innocent for his own good, as well as our promotion, als
belief; he lets a fellow struggling actor managing the ca
in on an audition at which he himself is candidates. He
trying out, he is subservient even to his popularity of the h
goldfish, and he quickly and helplessly bringing in a f
Frisbee, lunch bo
/ .sell his candidate
the hero's identit
he would perform
beries; claiming
feelings of the pe
i his motive.
falls in love with a woman living across Nichols charac
the hall from him. He tries to look offer down; he c
positively on his ridiculous job, and we others for his ow
even detect a childish admiration on his when Marsh leave
part for the Captain Avenger figure,a feels rotten and
look of exhilaration when the superhero change his mind.
asks on a television commercial, "Who soon overwhelms
says nice guys finish last?" to give up his ca
Walking to his Greenwich Village last act for Reev
home after work one evening, Nichols rally with the c
stops at a neighborhood grocer to buy a makes a speec
carton of milk, and while he is at the remember what
back of the store, two young thugs come basic ideas of
in and try to rob the place. To our sur- courage. He sin
prise and enjoyment, he suddenly hops what is importa
into view in full hero garb and, after a one's self out on t
brief struggle, mranages to scare the crowd cheers loud
thugs away. And of course, he insists on UNFQRTUNAT
paying for his milk and he leaves. has discovered t
HIS DEED makes the news, and reveals Nichols'
television stations are swamped with admits to his wr
calls from people saying how good it that his motives a
makes them feel. Nichols continues his the crowd doesn't
good deeds, not revealing his identity; the public's rej
he sincerely and boyishly insists, "How return to the mid
often do you get a chance to do insistence that he
something that's really special?" He what he Wants.
believes that he is making people happy In the film's
because he is promoting the ideas of Nichols' luck is d
truth and justice. and everything e
Inevitably, he develops a relationship neverland happin
with J. Marsh (Anne Archer), the Throughout He
woman across the hall. Returning one commercial, insi
night from a heroic deed, a bullet ploitive is shown a
wound in his arm, he finds that he has open, honest, an
been locked out of his apartment for not disappointing, th
paying the rent. Marsh stumbles into is somewhat com
him, huddled in the hallway, and, of exploitive in addi
course, takes him in. The two strangers ventionally made
live together for a few days in scenes
that smack of bad television situation
comedy. After all too many jokes about
their predicament, Marsh's boyfriend
shows up, finds Nichols taking a bath,

and verbally abuses her. This proves
too much for Nichols, who emerges
from the bathroom and sends him out.
Marsh and Nichols now fall into each
others arms and have sex, and the next
day she tells him she can't get involved
because she has to pursue a career, to
make her individual dream come true.
THE REAL VILLAINS of the film are
not the small-time criminals whom
Nichols fights, but the promotion people
who try to use and sell the Captain
Avenger craze, and the cynical repor-
ters who are so unwilling to trust the
young man's stress on goodness. PR ,

:

good guys finish first

CINEMA II,

I 1

PRESENTS
RICHARD PRYOR - Filmed Live In Concert
JEFF MARGOLIS; 1979
Funnier than Steve Martin, faster than Mork, more powerful
than Robert Klein. Look, up on the stage, it's RICHARD PRYOR
-FILMED LIVE IN CONCERT. Eighty minutes of non-stop hilar-
ity, this film proves Pryor is the funniest stand-up comic to hit
the stage in years. "His physical and pantomimist to witty
raconteur."-LA Times.
ANGELL HALL 7:00, 8:40, 10:20 $1.50

r I

I

L. TMORRO-LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES ORPHEUS mimmmw

The Ann Arbor Film Cooperative Presents:
FRIDAY. SATURDAY, SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 16, 17
THE TENTH ANN ARBOR 8 mm FILM FESTIVAL
Schorling Auditorium, School of Education
8 mm filmmakers from all over the U.S. and the world will compete for over
$1000 in cash and prizes, given by an awards jury for excellence in the growing
field of 8 mm. Friday shows at 7 & 9 P.M. and Saturday shows at 2, 7 and 9 P.M.
are all different. On Sunday at 7 and 9 P.M., the prize-winning films will be
screened. Admission $1.00 per show. For more info, write Box 7592, Ann
Arbor, MI. 48109 or Call 769-7787.
SATURDAY, FEBRAURY 16
SHADOW OF A DOUBT
(Alfred Hitchcock, 1943) 7:00- MLB 4
Stars JOSEPH COTTON, TERESA WRIGHT, HUME CRONYN. Screenplay by
Thornton Wilder, Hitchcock's personal favorite among his films, although rarely
seen in Ann Arbor. Study of a teenager's attachment to her Merry Widow
Killer Uncle-one of Hitchcock's most terrifying films.
SPELLBOUND

rge," John Ritter plays an unsuccessful N.Y.C. actor who is hired to publicize a movie about superhero
er. Ritter's career begins to take off when he begins to take his fictional hero role a little too seriously
ending up for truth, justice, the American Way, and all that stuff.

(Alfred Hitchcock, 1945)

9:00 -MLB 4

ves (Bert Convy), who
the Captain Avenger
o happens to be
mpaign for a mayoral
decides to use the
hero (which is already
ortune from ticket,
*x, and doll sales) to
He manages to learn
y and asks Nichols if
n in some staged rob-
a concern for the
eople of New York as
teristically turns the
can't hurt or mislead
rn personal gain. But
es him for her gain, he
dejected enough to
As we expect, his guilt
him, and he decides
reer of deception. His
ves is to appear at a
candidate, where he
h telling people to
he stands for: the
justice, loyalty, and
cerely explains that
nt is caring, putting
he line for others. The
dly.
TELY, a reporter who
he hoax shows up and
work. He innocently
ong-doings and insists
are pure, but of course,
t listen to this. Hurt by
ection, he decides to
west, despite Marsh's
should fight back for
contrived conclusion,
dramatically reversed
nds on a note of never-
ess.
ro at Large, anything
ncere, plastic, or ex-
to be evil; one must be
nd loving. It is quite
en, that the film itself
nmercial, plastic, and
tion to being very con-
e. To start with, the

film was undoubtedly conceived to cash
in on the popularity of Superman.
Many of the performers (Ritter, Con-
vy, etc.) are accustomed to television
work, and it shows. Marsh, for exam-
ple, wears her constant, happy smile
when she tells Nichols to leave and con-
tinues to smile after he leaves. In a
scene where she watches him on
television, there is an unexplainable
cup of ice cream suggestively set bet-
ween her legs and clearly labeled
",Haagen-Dazs."
THAT THE FILM happens to be
directed by Martin Davidson instead of,
say, John Doe, is of no consequence; it
has practially no unique, notable, or
even noticeable stylistic qualities.
The camera-work and music are
uniformly routine. The film's depic-
tions of minorities are so carelessly
done that they could even be construed
as racist. For example, the hispanics

shown have no trace of an hispanic ac-
cent and tend to be invariably involved
in a crime or at least a minor
harassment. The Jews all appear to be
gentiles putting on Yiddish accents, and
once Reeves states, "A Jew? Captain
Avenger can't be a Jew. He's a WASP."
Yet despite the film's many
drawbacks, it isn't bad to the point of
offensiveness, and it has some qualities
that make it rather enjoyable at times.
Ritter, despite his sorpewhat artificial
style, is an appealing actor; his sin-
cerity and the innocent look in his eyes
never vary. Scenes such as his speech
to the crowd about caring have an
irresistable warmth and optimism.
There's a corny but genuinely moving
sense of uplift in the upbeat finale,
even if the feeling only lasts until one
leaves the theater and faces the real
world again.

In this Hitchcock mystery, an analyst (INGRID BERGMAN) attempts to cure an
amnesiac (GREGORY PECK) and clear him of murder. Salvador Dali designed
the fantastiac dream sequence and Miklos Rozza's innovative use of electronic
music won an Oscar.
TOMORROW: The Tenth Ann Arbor 8 mm Film Festival continues at
Schorling Auditorium, School of Education.

Be an angel .
fr
Read f be MtlQ!
764-0558

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