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February 07, 1981 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-02-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ARTS
he Michiaon Doily Saturday, February 7, 1981

Page 5

'Tribute'

to

Lemmon's self

-indulgence
ust that you're too busy following from being a totally shlock film, but it's
bouncing Jack to pay much atten- certainly not Oscar material. So go
to "serious" matters. and chuckle over its contrived air and
feel a little sorry for the struggling

By ANNE GADON
Tribute is a harmlessly entertaining
'~lnI must admit that I giggled at the
anic, last-minute attempts of Scottie
Templeton, soon-to-be cancer victim, to
form a relationship with his son. I even
admired Templeton's tenacity when he
attempted to attract his offspring's at-
tention by appearing in a chicken suit
and laying an egg on the living room
couch. But a question kept nagging at"
the, back of my brain. Why? Why
Scottie Templeton? Why a chicken
suit? Why is this movie? Why should
we care?
\Dgspite the gloomy background issue
f death, Tribute is a comedy, plain and
simple ... and a rather irksome one at
that. Jack Lemmon bounds agelessly
(or so he'd like to believe) across the
screen as Templeton, the laugh-a-
minute best friend of everyone he
meets. People love Scottie because he's
so gosh darn fun. At least we're sup-
posed to believe that, as everyone guf-
faws at his littlest movement and im-
ediately becomes his willing slave.
hether he's picking up pretty appen-
dectomy patients at the local hospital
or throwing $250-a-plate dinners for
prostitute friends, Templeton is always
so charming ... and incredibly
shallow.
The first three-quarters of Tribute is
annoying and ridiculous because we're
asked to believe that Templeton is a
charismatic magnet of a man. After a
while, Templeton's (or is it Lemmon's)
,personality isn't so cute. Actually, he's
lazy sloth-a screenwriter-turned-
producer because "I liked to be where
you have to mix. Maybe I should have

been a head writer." Knee slap, yuck, again after undergoing chemotherapy,
yuck. the movie's really effective. You have
But in the final forty minutes when to get through the Templeton-as-
Templeton starts spouting off on life cheerleader section before you can see

that there is an issue at hand-the lack
of communication between father,
Scottie, and son, Jud (Robbie Benson).
It's not that that's not apparent earlier,

it's j
the t
tion t

The film has a bit to say about the
Message of the Eighties ... but just a
bit. Hey, let's talk to each other folks.
Life is really rough for jokers like Scot-
tie or priggy moralizers like Jud. They
just don'tfeel anything. But the movie
doesn't say enough about opening up,
and just when it begins to threaten con-
tent, it ends.
Tribute fails largely because of car-
dboard characterizations and
milquetoast performances. Enough
said about Templeton/Lemmon.
Perhaps we should just feel sorry for
poor Jack for being saddled with wit-
ticisms like, "Now come on and give
your dad a sloppy bear hug like a
proper son." ("Well, not too sorry sin-
ce Lemmon also co-wrote the screen-
play.)
The film is further damaged by the
cast of idiots that surround Scottie.
Sally Haines (Kim Cartrall), the ap-
pendectomy patient Templeton meets
in the hospital really has air between
her ears. But you have to admire her
for being able to lust after Robbie Ben-
son convincingly.
Surprisingly, Robbie Benson is redly
innocuous here, His charater's really a
bozo but you know that it's all Dad's
fault that he's such a nurd. But Robbie
just brings him to life with lines like his
acknowledgement of his fathers death:
"Naturally, I was very sorry to hear the
news." Nice kid.
Tribute is so outrageous in parts that
it's funny. The final moments save it

father and son. You may not be
emotionally moved but you'll probably
be moderately amused.

Jack Lemmon (left), that lovable old coot, stars in 'Tribute' as . . . guess what.. . a lovable old coot that tries to con-
vince his overly serious, slightly myopic son (played by the eternally earnest Robbie Benson, right) to enjoy life more
gully.

Joifrey s next

-best balet

By JULIE EDELSON
It is clearly a classical piece. We see
men dressed in white and grey unitards
escort pretty, lithe, long-legged women
in tutus and toe shoes. "Refreshing! ,"
we think initially, to see basic, perfec-
ted, "old-fashioned" dancing instead of
the modern movements that have come
to dominate the dance scene. Unfor-
tunately, the traditional dancing per-
formed by the Joffrey II Dancers at the
ease Auditorium in Ypsilanti on
ebruary 5 was far from entertaining.
It is only in more modern dancing that
this group truly comes to life.
The Joffrey II Dancers are a group of
young professionals enrolled in a
program designed to prepare them for
the Joffrey I. All are students of the
American Ballet Theatre School in New
York. The company has received much
*ferrorists
bom--b
wrong
embassy
ROME (AP) - Terrorists demanding
freedom for Mao Tse-tung's widow
bombed the Taiwanese Embassy to the
Vatican yesterday, apparently
mistaking it for the Chinese Embassy
to Italy several blocks away, police
said.
The crude bomb, made of about one
*ound of gunpowder, caused heavy
damage but no injuries, police repor-
ted:
"Freedom for the Gang of Four," an
anonymous woman caller told an
Italian news agency after identifying
herself as a member of Organized
Comrades for Feminist Power and
claiming responsibility for the bom-
bing. The group, described by police as
extreme left-wing feminists, took
responsibility for fire bombing por-
nographic movie houses in Rome in
*becember, 1979.
Another caller to the news agency
said the bomb was planted by a Maoist-
Leninist group.

publicity lately, simply due to the fact
that one of their members, Ron
Reagan Jr., is the son of the President.
Unfortunately, even the presence of
this new celebrity could not provide
satisfactory excitement at Thursday's
performance.
THE COMPANY began the evening
with a piece entitled, "Septet," a sad in-
troductionto their program. Their
technique was faultless, as should be
expected, given their background. The
mens' turns appeared effortless, while
the womens' toe work was precisely
and excellently executed.
It's a pity that the dancers did not
capitalize on these technical strengths.
Instead, they now appeared stiff and
inhibited. We were not observing dan-
cing, but basic acrobatics, and as a
result the piece appeared "good" but
not outstanding. It almost seemed as if
the group was trying to establish itself
as a reputable company solely by
executing complicated gymnastics to
please the audience. However, this was
not a successful tactic. Their sterility
and disinterest were quite evident to
the audience.
The second piece, "Ladder for
Escape," (with music by Koblitz) was a
satisfying departure from the tension of
the first piece.
The eerie mood was established by
the costumes-blue leotards that made
the dancers resemble creatires from
outer space-and taped African-
influenced music. The dancers made
fascinating shapes with their bodies,
using their expressive legs as tools to
the ann arbor
(Iran cooperative1

add meaning to the dance. At this point
in the program they seemed to be much
more enveloped in their actions and the
theme of water, earth, fire, and air.
WHEN THE company returned to
the classics in the touching Romeo and
Juliet balcony scene, they again disap-
pointed us with their emotionless
demeanor. Juliet did not display the
contrasting feelings of happiness and
sorrow that are necessary to this
famous love scene. Ron Reagan, as
Romeo, was an even sadder case. Tall
and lanky, he seemed to be lost on
stage. He showed very little expression
or energy until the final embrace, but
by then it was too late. Technique alone
could not hold together such a tender
scene as this.
It was not until the final dance,
"Threads from a String of Swing,"
with music by Glenn Miller, that Jof-
frey II was truly entertaining. Finally,
the dancers were clearly having fun!
The choreography was refreshingly
unique, incorporating dialogue between

dances and set changes performed by
the dancers themselves. The audience
was soon enraptured by the nostalgic
music as well as the exciting, "cutsie"
dancing. We were alsochappy for the
dancers who, at last, showed us that
they were capable of enjoying them-
selves while they danced. All of their
tension had finally disappeared.
JOFFgEY II would be better off
either relaxing the tensions in their
classical pieces or performing nothing
but modern ballet. In general, they
seem to lack the fundamental acting
abilities (which should be inherent in
all dancing, bothclassical and modern)
necessary to dancing beyond the ballet
studio. In this aspect, they are still
amateur.
However, there is still hope for this
budding company. Once they develop
this professional quality, they may one
day depart from their second-rate dan-
cing and become a truly professional
company, instead of just a group of ap-
prentices.

Tonight WILLIE AND PHIL Tonight
Dir. Paul Mazursky of The Unmarried Woman fame. With MICHAEL ONTKEAN,
MARGOT KIDDER, RAY SHARKEY. Willie is a teacher who'd rather be a pianist.
Phil is a photographer who'd rather be a Jewish intellectual. Both fall in love
with Jeanette, a carefree Kentuckian looking for her niche in the Big
Apple. She reciprocates their feelings and a menage results which shapes the
lives of all three over the next ten years. A fun and insightful film.
7:00 & 9:05 at LORCH HALL
Sunday: Valentino In SON OF THE SHEIK at 7:00
Fairbanks in THIEF OF BAGDAD at 9:00
When the going gets tough,
CINEM A GUILD the tuff go to the movies.

TONIGHT

TONIGHT

presents
ALLEGRO
NON TROPPO

7:00 & 10:20

MLB 4

ROBERT BREER
ANIMATION
8:40 only MLB 4
$2 SINGLE FEATURE
$3 DOUBLE FEATURE

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