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March 04, 1981 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-03-04

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The Michigan Daily Wednesday, March 4, 1981 Page 7
"Competition' not worth the fight


If you can live without
your cigarettes for one
day, you might find you
can live without them

The Competition is a run-of-the-mill
-Hollywood romance, and that's about
all one can say for it, good or bad. If you
liked Somewhere in Time, this one's for
you. The set pieces are gorgeous, the
love interest (played out by Richard
Dreyfuss and Amy Irving) is pleasant
but not too sexual and there are even
overtones of high culture (both lovers
lhappen to play classical piano).
Oaiically, it's a "B" movie that's been
ivren "A" treatment by its mentors at
Columbia Pictures, and as a result,
despite leaden dialogue and a serpen-
tine, abortive plot, it is an elegant little
The Competition brings Dreyfuss
back from his three year sabbatical from
the screen. But this is not the frisky,
sily, brilliant teddy bear we last saw in
dse Encounters of the Third Kind and
the Big Fix. He looks thinner, older,
and very tired. And for once he's not
eist as the slaphappy bright boy. He
plays Paul, q depressed, aging would-
be concert pianist out for his last shot at
stardom before resigning himself to a
mundane job teaching reluctant brats
to bang away at tinkertoy keyboards.
AT A WEST COAST piano com-
petition, he falls in love with one of his
more formidable rivals, Heidi (Amy
Irving). Dreyfuss makes a rather

and Heidi's professional rivalry: Will
Irving, Dreyfuss, or one of four other
cardboard red herrings (in this film,
secondary characters are labeled, e.g.
Gay Black, Crazy Russian) take first
This is interesting, if only for its
toned-down Rockey-ness. Much press
has been given to the fact that Irving
'and Dreyfuss were painstakingly
trained to synchronize their fake
keyboard playing convincingly to
prerecorded music. Most experts were
satisfied with the result, although they
rather sneered at Dreyfuss' writhings
and grimaces at the piano; he does
rather give one the impression of a
spastic duck. But in the end, who really
cares if he looks like he's playing a
Brahms concerto or eating spaghetti?
All in all, it's a rather dull comeback
for Dreyfuss, but happily there are a
few other bonuses. One is Lee Remick,
that stodgy, sincere blonde bore of a
beauty, in of all things a character
part. She plays Heidi's tough-but-
motherly piano coach, chain smoking
and swearing in what one must admit is
a valiant attempt to chuck her image as
an overage Barbie doll. Feminists take
note: when simpering Amy Irving wan-
ts to abdicate from the competition for
fear that she'll beat out her lover for the
prize, it is Remick who talks her out of
it. I always thought she was such a drip.
Who'd of thunk it'

0 A D AY.

t 1.



RICHARD DREYFUSS AND Amy Irving try to be oh-so-cute in 'The Com-
petition,' but it's just another cheesy love story churned out by one of Big
Studios. The focal point of a classical music competition is supposed to fool
us into thinking this is haute culture. Don't believe it.


Tkl IlMkLkbble

colorless juvenile - when Paul and
Heidi get involved in the usual love-
histronics (he wants, she don't want,
she wants, he don't, etc.), it's hard to

Sorry Rich - you may be trying hard
to be cute but even Mickey Rooney
stimulated more empathy.
The main selling point of The Com-
petition, however, is the drama of Paul

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for yorspport.

Dexy sfirst
Dexy's Midnight Runners- "Sear-
ehi'ng for the Young Soul
Rebels"-Welcome the new soul
revivalists! They call themselves the
young soul rebels and come armed with
tb desire to emulate the entire Stax
coljection. After several singles and an
LP in England, Dexy's Midnight Run-
ners have released their record in the
Their album is indeed homage to the
Stax greats. "Geno" reaches back with
refreshing energy. "Thankfully Not
Living in Yorkshire It Doesn't Apply"
is a frantically paced pop tune with a
soul sound.
But this fanatic devotion of Dexy's
leads to a narrow outlook. The key
problem with Searching for the Young
Soul Rebel's lies in the lyrics. DMR
believes in the strength of soul music to
the extent of excluding everything else.
At a performance at Hurrah in New
York this summer, they proclaimed
"- Rock 'n roll is dead and it's about
fucking time!" In the introduction to
the song "Burn it Down" a radio
ehanges stations from Deep Purple's
'Smoke on the Water" to the Sex
Pistols' "Holiday in the Sun" to the
Specials' "Rat Race." Of course, they
Yiew all of the above with equal disdain.
lyrically emotionless. In "Love Part
One," Kevin Rowland, the band's lead
$inger and spokesperson, says "They
all dedicate lines to you/thin
tines-easy seen through . . I've wat-
phed them marry up/their wives and
aives with ties and lies." Friendly and
optimistic folks, aren't they?
: It's really too bad that DMR miss the
point of the soul music they want to
fevive. Although they have marvelous
arrangements; they fail to attain the
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passion of artists such as Aretha
Franklin, James Brown, and Otis Red-
ding. Instead, they offer a lengthy list of
Irish authors as influences.
In the final reckoning, the extraor-
dinary amount of energy on this album
makes it quite successful. In fact, the
strength of their songs is overwhelming
at times. If DMR could learn to funnel
their energy into something other than
hate, they would be able to gain a
receptive, rather than alienated,
-Regina Myer
R undgren
Todd Rundgren - 'Healing' (Bear-
sville) - I really hate to say how bad
this album is. As a longtime Rundgren
fan, I have come to look forward to his
simple, cheerful music and clear,
exhilarating voice. These qualities are
not necessarily lacking from this
album, but other factors intervene,
This is by far the most self-conscious,
self-righteous album Todd Rundgren
has offered since Initiation, a mistake
of an album that I thought he was smart
enough not to repeat. I guess I was
Like Initiation, this album was per-
formed and produced by Rundgren
alone, so maybe it shouldn't be so sur-
prising that Healing is so over-
whelmingly self-absorbed. Like its
predecessor, most of the songs on
Healing tend to ramble, most especially
the opus that takes up all of side two.

The message of the songs seems to
come before the melody.
BUT THE MESSAGE, wrapped in
vaguely positive platitudes and Zen-
derived metaphors, is none too clear. It
seems to be about "a bright white
light" that calls Todd "to make the
world a little wiser." But at times, this
is indistinguishable from a call to wor-
ship at the altar of self-idolatry.
"You need something to concen-
trate on.
Concentrate on me.
You need something to meditate
Meditate on me.
Unfortunately, the cerebral and am-
biguous nature of the lyrics is reflected
in the music, which is appropriately
complex and interesting but rarely
challenging or fun. This is Intellectual
Music To Nod To. If Todd would add a
little 'Hare Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare
Rama," I'm sure this album could be
sold in airports by thin young men with
ill-fitting 'clothes, slightly off-center
wigs and stares that see right through
The similarities of this album to
Initiation cannot be coincidental. It
seems like Rundgren decided that that
earlier album didn't achieve his expec-
tations, and so it needed to be redone
more palatably. On that level, he has
succeeded without reservations on
Healing. Stripped of the technological
overkill of Initiation, this album
displays many of the simple qualities
that usually make Rundgren's work so
refreshing. The only thing that detracts
from this album is that I know that it
could be more enjoyable and more ef-
fective if he weren't being so san-
ctimoniously ethereal.
-Mark Dighton


Ann Arbor Address
Mailing Address -

Payment {S)5.00)

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- o*

Be an angel .. .
Read he 19 ilu!


Come For Dinner and
Bring a Big Appetite




-9i v
,. . !

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