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March 07, 1981 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-03-07

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4

ARTS
Saturday, March 7, 1981

The Michigan Daily

Page 5

Pavlovian Syndrome strikes again

Margolin eclipsed

By CHRISTOPHER POTTER
If nothing else, Inside Moves is
1981's first walkawaycontender for
Pavlovian Film of the Year honors.
Pavlovian films are distinguished
from run-of-the-mill Hollywood
inanities in that Pavlovian film-
makers always inject a prearranged
amount of social topicality into their
movie's otherwise absurd innards.
They craftily lather their bogus sub-
ject matter with just enough trendy
grit to get their film labeled a
"serious" work, then shamelessly
massage their audience into
salivating on cue at each prescribed
emotional high in their product.
Inside Moves' behaviorist im-
presarios are thorough professionals
at their calling. Though the film
hasn't an honest bone in its body,
you'll likely leave the theater feeling
vaguely entertained and satisfied.
For most, it will prove a blushing
pleasure queasily akin to an uncon-
trolled marzipan splurge at Drake's.
Inside Moves lays on the jam of
ersatz-urbanism immodestly thick.
The film's similarity to 1979's
Pavlovian tapestry of inner-city
phoniness, And Justice For All, is no
accident - both were penned by the
same screenwriters, who have now
honed their manipulative formula to
computerized perfection. Even their
choice for Inside Moves' locale -
Oakland, Calif., losers' paradise -
rings the bathos bell. Salivate,
please. Thank you.
DIRECTOR RICHARD Donner's
camera introduces us to Roary (no
last names in the movie - it's cuter
that way), played by John Savage in
what is becoming his standard lost-
teddy-bear motif. At film's opening
we see Roary enter a downtown of-
fice building, take an elevator to the
top floor, calmly open a window,
then swan dive out of it. Omigod!
Ding. Salivate.
Needless to say, he doesn't perish,
his fall being impeded first by a tree
branch, then an automobile roof.
Still, his body is sufficiently
smashed and mashed to leave him
permanently crippled - doomed to
wobble through life like a spastic
marionette. Poor Roary.
Yet, God and Hollywood move in
mysterious ways. As though by
predestination, Roary hobbles out of
the hospital straight into the hole
beatitude of Max's Bar - a kind of
divine, neon sanctuary for the halt,
the lame, and the blind. At Max's the
maimed and mangled of all shapes,
sizes, and colors gather to find

salvation - through his subsequent
disability he finds all the things in
life he lacked when his body was
whole. Perhaps the rest of us shoud
try the cure.
Inside Moves insults the aged as
well as the infirm. While Roary and
Jerry are fleshed-out characters
with ongoing problems, the more
elderly patrons of Max's are used
strictly for comic relief bridging the
film's dramatic highs. Is Donner
implying one's suffering eases as
one gets older? Does life at some
point miraculously metamorphose
into one continuous cartoon?
It would take acting of Olympian
proportions to bring such drool to
life. Inside Moves' thespians fall
well short of the mountaintop,
though newcomer David Morse is af-
fecting in the pivotal role of Jerry,
and the wonderfully talented Amy
Wright tries everything she can to
breathe life into her junkie-hooker
stick figure.
AS ROARY, John Savage seems in
perilous danger of succumbing to
the Robby Benson School of Smarm
- he pouts, fidgets, and preens his
way through his role in a feverish ef-
fort to look impishly adorable. In the
process he's threatening to become
one of the most cloying, mannered
actors currently at work. Where did
the white heat of The Deer Hunter
go?
For a work of such saccharine
mendacity, Inside Moves contains a
jarringly grotesque finale. While at-
tending Jerry's pro basketball
debut, Roary gives a surreptitious
shove to a villianous black pimp,
who early on in the film had his
goons beat Jerry to a pulp. The pimp
goes hurtling head over heels down,
down, down the arena aisle to land
in a writhing, screaming heap,
seriously and quite possibly crip-
plingly injured.
Roary watches his agony with a
conspiratorial leer while being
laughingly congratulated by his
fellow gimps, then exchanges a
raised-fist salute with Jerry, who's
been eating up the bloody spectacle
from out on the court. What on earth
are Donner & Co. saying? That all
cripples secretly wish to maim non-
cripples? That a wheelchair in-
surrection is imminent? Or, more
practically, that a little vengeful
bloodletting is just the catharsis to
send the movie audience home hap-
py? Methinks the Pavlovian method
hath blown a fuse. Ding. Salivate.
Dong. Barf.

By FRED SCHILL
she advertisements said "The Bob
Margolin Blues Band." That is the
reward for working one's way to the
top; you get your own band. To the vic-
tor goes the spoils.
That makes it all the more em-
barassing when some unknown swipes
the show. Mouth harpist Doug Jay did
just that when the Margolin band
played three sizzling sets at Rick's
American Cafe Thursday night.
MARGOLIN himself is. an accom-
plished and respected blues guitarist -
he played lead guitar for Muddy Waters
for seven years, and that's where you
run out of rungs to climb. His guitar
solos range from the soberly reflective
to the scintillatingly insistent, while
skillfully enlivening a repertoire of
unusual diversity.
The band's material cuts a swath
through twenty years of the finest blues
and early rock and roll. Most of it
pulsed with new life, as Margolin and
his fine young band rent each tune with
palpitating, frenetic power. It was
blues with a twitch.
Or at least the music was. Margolin's
vocals alternately ranged from the ac-
ceptable to downright wooden. His
voice was most effective when it was
eagerly engulfed in the fury and frenzy
of the livelier tunes; once, during "Just
Keep Lovin' Her," I thought I detected
a moment of genuine graininess in his
voice. But if you blinked, you missed it.
MARGOLIN flunked out altogether
during the slower tunes and in his
presentation of a particularly
dismaying tribute to Waters. His voice
quite simply fell flat. He has little vocal
range and no inflectional flexibility to
speak of; even "Got My Mojo
Working," which ought to be
exhilirating all by itself, hung
languishing in the air under Margolin's
treatment.
In fact, he was at his best during two
rock numbers - Little Richard's
"Rock It Up" and Buddy Holly's "Not
Fade Away." The latter was par-
ticularly excellent, as it was given a
roughness and bluesiness it rarely
acquires.
It was Doug Jay who was responsible
for salvaging the show, however. I don't
know where Margolin found him, but he
ought to go back for more. Jay plays
mouth harp with contorted vigor,

reeling off fat but emphatic solos with
sweaty abandon. His work is often har-
sh, often piledriving, but somehow not
quite raw; the rage and rambun-
ctiousness are there, but they are
represented with a mastery almost
plush in its richness. He did everybody
from Slim Harpo to Little Walter right,
and that's saying something.
Jay is also easily a finer singer than
Margolin. He ripped off Louis Jordan's
"The House Party" and "Saturday
Night Fish Fry" with expressionistic
ease, and covered Fats Domino's
classic "I Hear You Knocking" with a
delicious vengefulness as he hovered
over the words "I hear you
knocking/But you can't come in."
The next knock Jay hears may well
be opportunity, for he surely will move
on to bigger and better bands. As for
Margolin, he had better take some,
voice lessons or stick to playing blues
guitar. He's quite good at the latter,
more than capable of keeping old style
blues refreshingly alive. He just wasn't.
blessed with a suitable voice.
Join
Ulie 1aUiE
Arts Staff

John Savage, as Roary in 'Inside Moves,' signals success at pushing
someone down a flight of stairs. Wait a minute ... isn't the hero supposed to
be at least likeable?

mutual love and comraderie, in-
sulated from the callous barbs of an
unfeeling world. Blemished but
proud, they smile through their
tears. Ding. Salivate.
ONCE ADMITTED to this
brotherhood of courage, Roary finds
the love and respect he achingly
lacked in his former life. Roused by
all the positive strokes, he swiftly
ascends to his true calling: Sain-
thood. With the homely grace of a
disjointed super'man, Roary
selflessly bestows good deeds left
and right upon his misshapen flock.
Inside Moves' plot unrolls like a
Saturday afternoon thriller: Will
Max's be saved before the
bank forecloses on the
mortgage? Will Roary's best
friend get the leg operation he needs
to become a pro basketball star?
Will Jerry's girlfriend, Ann, be
redeemed from drugs and

prostitution? It's SuperRoary to the
rescue! Yippee! Ding. Salivate.
Director Donner and scenarists
Valerie Curtain and Barry Levinson
deliver their hokum with the pre-
packaged grace of snale oil ped-
dlers. There's not a beat out of place
in their celluloid formula - nary a
superfluous scene, a wasted camera
angle, a throwaway gesture. If they
haven't managed to completely
banish reality from their product,
it's not for lack of trying.
DONNER AND friends would
have us accept Max's as a spiritual
metaphor, accept the notion that the
lives of the handicapped are cuddled
in an endless New Year's Eve of
revel and frivolity. There's nary a
hint of the pain, the loneliness, the
daily humiliation of being different
that provides the true test of courage
for the physically deprived. Roary's
building-top leap proves to be his

-the inn arbor
film cooperative
TONIGHT presents TONIGHT
CASABLANCA.
7 & 10:20-MLB 3
PLAY IT
AGAIN, SAM
8:45-MLB 3

$2 single Feature
$3 double Feature

Marvin Gaye

Dead Kennedys

Marvin Gaye - 'In Our Lifetime'
(Tamla) - It's always most
discouraging to see an artist who was
once one of the greatest in his genre
embarrass himself to no end on a new
work some years later. But alas, with
his latest album Marvin Gaye has
definitely joined the ranks of the Paul
McCartneyites.
Called In Our Lifetime, Gaye's new
record is a compilation of funk-soul
tunes that are too long, mean little, and
go on forever. It wouldn't be so
traumatic listening to these unconvin-
cing four-minute drones if one couldn't
compare them to the old Gaye who sang
"What's Going On?" with such convic-
tion.
GAYE WROTE, arranged, and
produced the album, which only
mathematically works out to two-thirds
of a disaster since the production is
quite interesting at times, featuring lots
of fade-in, panning, and guitars that
come from nowhere.
But even production wizardry can't
save these songs. They are sparse
lyrically and deal with the fascinating
themes of happiness (e.g., Love Is
Good, Life is Good, Good is Good, Bad is
Good, etc.). In essence, there is not a
whole lot of depth.
Fortunately, the fantastic Gaye voice
is still intact, so all may not be lost.
Gaye is in intense financial trouble, so
we're likely to hear from him again on
record. Let's hope he takes a nice long
vacation instead of throwing together

MANN THEATRES
~GE4
VILLAGE 4
375 N MAPLE
769130
Daily Discount Matinees
Tuesday Buck Day
All seats $1.00
Nominated for 6 ACADEMY
AWARDS including
BEST PICTURE
BEST DIRECTOR
As timely today
as the day it
was written.

another clunker right away. Living
legends deserve more.
-Mitch Cantor

Dead Kennedys - 'Fresh Fruit for
Rotting Vegetables' (Cherry Red
Records) - Like the last scream before
neutron bomb annihilation the Dead
Kennedys are not comforting - but
then neither are they boring. Jello
Biafra's grating vocals and an "im-
minent-death-is-rapidly-approaching"
style of minimalist instrumentation
serve as dual reasons to start listening
to Muzak right away - by choice - for
balance. No, the Dead Kennedys are
not a band for the squeamish.
But there are reasons to want this
record that go beyond self-
gratification. With their fellow Califor-
nians, Ronald and Nancy Reagan in the
White House, states' rights is an impor-
tant issue. That's why the Dead Ken-
nedy's include their theme song,
"California Uber Alles," on this disk.
Don't let it be said that with such

favorites as "Holiday in Cambodia"
that they ignore international problems
either.
WHATEVER YOU DO, don't ig-
nore the Dead Kennedys, hoping
that they'll go away. Instead, check out
their alternative social theories ("Kill
the Poor") as well as their own very
special brand of slash-and-burn
economics ("Let's Lynch the Lan-
dlord").
At their best, the Dead Kennedys
combine unbeatable sing-along tunes
with a chainsaw approach to produc-
tion. Given a few spins on your record
machine, you'll find this album
frighteningly addicting. Soon, even
such lines as "God told me to skin you
alive" will not phase you. Get this
record before the Dead Kennedys find
out.
-Jeff Yenchek

A ROMAN POLANSKJ FILM
'TESS'
® A COLUMBIA
PICTURES RELEASE

1:15
4:30
8:00

Nominated for
2 ACADEMY AWARDS

Nothing's going to
stond in your way.
RICHARD
DREYFUSS1:45
IR NG4:15
-, IRVING 9:45
A COLUMBIA PICTURES RELEASE p
Nominated for
b ACADEMY AWARDS
#63- 1..- - ft__ - U

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