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November 15, 1981 - Image 7

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-11-15

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AkRTS
The Michigan Daily Sunday, November 15, 1981 Page 7
'D.B. Cooper' caught minus plot

By Richard Campbell
THE FIRST TIME we saw Treat Williams, he
was everybody's favorite hippie in Hair. The last
time we saw him, he was a cop having a nervous
breakdown in Prince of the City. Now, we watch as
Williams is chased frora Wyoming to Arizona in The
Pursuit of D.B. Cooper, a completely meaningless
and uninvolving flick.
Williams has a marvelous screen presence,,but it is
not charming enough to carry a two-hour movie. He
has a grin that is almost as infectious as Burt
Reynold's, yet the film refuses to back it up with any
character. While Reynolds would go broke without
his smile, he has learned to follow it through with-if
not meaning-style.
The film tries to be as riotous and folksy as Sinokey
and the Bandit. We are treated to a series of in-
credible action= sequences, from a boat ride down
some rapids to an airplane frantically ramming a
car. The attempt is, however, futile; no concern has
been allowed to develop over the character's well-
being.
Williams stars as D. B. Cooper, the man who
hijacked an airplane and got away with $200,000. The
Records

film picks up on Cooper at his last known location,
parachuting from the back of the plane somewhere
over Wyoming. From there, writer Jeff Alan Fiskin
imagines that Cooper is immediately discovered by
an insurance detective, Bill Gruen, representing the
company that forked over the money.
Gruen, played by Robert Duvall, questions the
passengers on the plane and learns that Cooper ser-
ved under him in Vietnam. This convenient twist sets
up the chases; Gruen tries to catch Cooper, reclaim
the money, and retain his job at the company.
When Gruen remembers Cooper, the film flashes
back to Cooper's training on an obstacle course. This
arduous race through the various obstacles forms the
basic framework of the film. In the army, Cooper was
a klutz, constantly beaten by his sergeant. But now
the tables are turned, and he has the upper hand over
Gruen.
Throughout the film, Fiskin ties numerous references
to Vietnam and the '60s into the plot without coming
to any conclusion. It isn't as if these references are
essential to the film. So, if they aren't added for any
purpose, why are they there? The silliness of the film
is invaded by the inconsequental references to the
war.

The pursuit of D. B. Cooper is similar to last
spring's Melvin and Howard. Both films take a real
event and extrapolate fiction from it. These movies
seem to be building a background of myths that the
United States, with a history of only 300 years, has
lacked. They, take average modern Americans,
Melvin Dumar and D. B. Cooper, and create fantasies
around them.
But while Melvin and Howard offers a realistic and
insightful look at Middle America, Cooper doesn't
explain any aspect of our culture successfully, no
matter how hard it tries. At the end of the film,
Cooper implies that he hijacked the plane not for the
money; he did it for adventure. Again, this idea is
subverted throughout the film with constant attention
to the money and to the universal greed of the charac-
ters.
Cooper fails in every aspect. As an attempted
social commentary, a hero film, or a fun-filled chase
pic, the film completely misses every chance to do
something exciting or significant with the legend of
D. B. Cooper.

ad
DEATH thnBEYOND
Medical Investigations and Eastern Mysticism
Free Public Lecture
Speaker: MATTHEW RAIDER, M.D.
Medical investigations on near death experiences will be dis-'
cussed in the context of Eastern philosophy and the heritage
of Sant Mat-the Path of Surat Shabd Yoga which is the tech-
nique of meditation on the Inner Light and Sound.
Sunday, November 15
PENDLETON ROOM-MICHIGAN UNION
Center for Chinese Studies
Twentieth Anniversary Lecture Series
Leonard Woodcock
SINO-AMERICAN RELATIONS
IN PERSPECTIVE
Leonard Woodcock has played a vital role in the
normalization of relations between the USA and
China. Following his retirement in 1977 from the
post of international president of the United Auto
Workers, he was appointed by President Carter as
chief of the US Liaison Office to the People's
Republic of China. In that capacity, he was involvec
in negotiations that were aimed at full nor-,
malization of relations between the American and
Chinese governments. In early 1978, he became the.
chief US negotiator. and after negotiations were"
successfully concluded in December 1978,
President Carter appointed him as the first
American ambassador to the People's Republic. He
resigned from that position in the spring of 1981,
and will be an adjunct professor of political science,
at the University of Michigan for the 1981-82

Prince-'Controversy' (Warner
Brothers)
Never has the title of an album
described the contents and its creator
so aptly. Ever since his first single in
1978, "Soft and Wet," a tribute to the
virtues of young love, Prince (Roger
Nelson) has been creating a stir with
his often sexually explicit and
politically critical records.
Controversy continues with this
tradition. Prince speaks out on politics
in "Ronnie talk to Russia," and "Annie
Christian describes the anti-Christ's
presence on earth through the deaths of
John Lennon and the children of Altan-
ta. Prince even offers a solution to
current problems through sexual
means rather than violence in
"Sexuality".
It's obvious that the 21-year-old Min-
neapolis native is concentrating on im-
proving his lyrics, which were
criticized for being too sexual.
However, he remains ambiguous and
cloud at times as in "Controversy."
You know th'at h'e is trying to say
something, but his message isn't very,
clear.
Fortunately, the album is held

together by the music. The melodies
are innovative and extremely catchy.
especially on the upbeat "Private Joy"
and "Let's Work," and the slow and
sensual "Do Me Baby." These love
songs are raunchy, but it's all in good
fun (especially for Prince and his par-
tner).
Even the cover suggests that Prince
is well aware of the. sexually,
provocative image he has portrayed
through his albums and concerts. Con-
troversy shows Prince on the cover
looking demure and conservative in a
high-neck white shirt, black tie,'and
ever-present trench coat. But surprise,
inside there's a limited-edition poster of
,his majesty stretching in the shower,
garbed only in his infamous black
leather briefs, next to a crucifix hanging
on the wall.
Prince seems to thrive on this uncer-
tainty and mystery that surrounds him-
self and his music. Hopefully, these
kame aspects which make him so'ap-
pealing won't prove to be his downfall.
--Elizabeth James
'The Smashchords' EP-
(Smash Trade)
We've probably all heard music as

gratingly well-intentioned and
spastically psychedelic as this before,
but it was probably made by people we
liked (or at least knew) in basements,
garages, or backyards ... and it was
probably while we were in high school,
anyway, so what did it matter? All that
mattered was that it was loud and elec-
tric.
And thatwabout defines Th Smash-
chords - loud and electric. They've for-
ce-fed their cheap guitars through their
tiny store-bought amps and come up
with a sound so swamped by feedback
that it sounds like Ted Nugent playing
at top wattage to a packed football
stadium ... and it's actually only two
guys in their basement.
But The Smashchords should not be
dismissed simply as objects of
derision. There's an unexpectedly
charming overload ethos and even a
lovably crude sense of melodic
development present in their
hallucinogenic death throes. Though at
times the best description of their sound
is Ritchie Blackmore on too many
drugs trying to play Chuck Berry, it
would not be completely impossible to
defend more progressive comparisons.

For instance, parts of "Caveman"
might remind you of a cross between
the "freak-out" sections of The Red
Crayola's Parable of Arable Land and
The Velvet Underground's White
Light/White Heat (if you're open--
minded and imaginative, that is).
And whom should we thank for this
momentous transcription of the
fledgling electronic brain damage
heretofore only available to the an-
noyed parents and impressed peers of
high school boys? Why, Rough Trade
Records, no less. Those thankless
champions of eclectic exploration were
so impressed by the demo tapes that
this Seattle-based power duo recorded,
that they immediately committed six of
those compositions to vinyl on The
Smashchords' 'own label, Smash
Trade.
Uh, gee, thanks, Rough Trade. . . I
guess.
--Mark Dighton

academic year.

8:00 pm.
Rackham Amphitheatre
Wednesday, November 18

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MEN'S GLEE CLUBS
Patrick Gardner, Director. Michigan * James Gallagher, Director, Ohio State
IN JOINT CONCERT
Saturday November 21, 1981 e 8:00 p.m. e Hill Auditorium
Tickets: $4.50 $3.50, $2.50. Student Tickets at $1.50.
Available Novembe 16-21 at Hill Auditorium Box Office.
~ S

Cj ht

Eirhnzrn

13 a i

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