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September 09, 1980 - Image 7

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-09-09

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RThe Michiga Daily Tuesday, September 9, 1980 Page 7
1 CHINESE MOVIE TOR TURE

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ANN ARBOR CIVIC SALLE?
THE ANN ARBOR CIVIC BALLET begins its twenty-
fourth consecutive year of providing exceptional
performance opportunities and intensive training
to dancers in this area.
Auditions: Wedv, Sept. t0 &£17, 7:30 p.m.
Sylvia Studio, 525 E. Liberty, 668-8066
MEN WELCOME
POINTE SHOES REQUIRED FOR AUDITION
OPENINGS IN COSTUME AND STAGE DESIGN,
LIGHTING AND CHOREOGRAPHY.

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Repeat-it's only a movie

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By DENNIS HARVEY
1979 was such an unex-.
Wtedly good year for movies
if that rings false, think
about the years immediately preceding
it-that it almost made one look for-
ward, with guarded hope, to a new and
improved decade of viewing. Unfor-
tunately, the price we have to pay for
that brief general respite from the
usual glut of mediocrity has already
been revealed, and it isn't pretty:
movies, 1980.
What the world doesn't need now is
another Julie Andrews, and that's what
e get with Olivia Newton-John, who is
being promoted to screen stardom for
god knows what reasons. Sure, she's
cute enough to eat-but that personality
is pure wheat germ, healthy and bland.
In that milquetoast commerce festival,
Grease, she was, at least, appropriately
cast as Sandra Dee without
spunk-even if the cost of typecasting

bopper, sex goddess (Yikes) ...
XANADU features lots of mad-
deningly happy songs by today's in-
ferior Herman's Hermits, the Electric
Light Orchestra; several truckloads of
loud clothing left over from the Cher
variety series, along with all the glitter
available in Southern California; the
pathos of seeing Michael Beck, who was
stiff but physically commanding as the
leader of The Warriors, strain to ap-
pear enchanted by the likes of Olivia
Newton-John; the sacrilage of an ap-
pearance by Gene Kelly, who looks bet-
ter and acts more relaxed than he has
in years, but still has no right to appear
in this travesty of classic Hollywood
musicals; and a large number of
special effects that aren't technically
poor-though that doesn't prevent them
from being conceptually ludicrous.
Xanadu is atrocious yet formally well-
made, and it goes down fairly easily,
which means that you can stay pleasan-

Join the Arts page
The Daily Arts page needs new contributors. If you have an interest and
some knowledge in the performing or static arts as well as an all-
encompassing desire to write, this could be the opportunity you've been
waiting for.
What does being an arts staffer entail? That depends on you, your in-
terests and writing ability. We need new talent in every sphere,
especially fields like classical music where the Daily's coverage has been
something less than exhaustive.
But there's a lot more to arts reporting than writing a concert or movie
review. We are currently in the process of expanding and (hopefully)
upgrading both theformat and content of the arts page, so we need fresh
input more than ever.
Joining the Daily may be your big break as a journalist, or it could
become a satisfying outlet for your creative ability while providing a
much-needed service to your fellow students. Some people even think it's
fun. At any rate, you'll never know until you try, so come over to the
Student Publications Building (right around the corner from Student Ac-
tivities Building) at 420 Maynard. Our annual arts staff get together is,
slated for this Sunday, September 14, at 3:00 p.m. If you want to get a
head start, assemble.a typewritten sample of your writing that somehow
reflects your interests and bring it along. If you can't get to the meeting,
stop by the aforementioned office and ask for the arts editors. We can't
wait to hear from you.

(another crash course in How Bad A
Movie Can Be) and entertaining (as a
result). It's comic-bookish to the point
of being positively surreal; idiocy
crystallized, abstracted. It is very fun-
ny indeed, though generally not in the
intended manner. As for C & C them-
selves, the Abbott and Costello of 13-
year-old weedheads, little can be said.
Cheech is energetically uninteresting, a
terrier that never stops yapping, but
Chong actually has something going for
him-his eternal stoned stupor carries
a magnetic aura of divine silliness, like
this compellinglyhmindless film.
Next Movie has virtually every
ingredient a bad film could have-except
the one that nobody likes-boredom.
Caligula has every ingredient, with a
surplus of that last item. If Hugh Hef-
ner had produced the film, Caligula
might have had some kitsch
amusement (it would have been a
masterpiece if Russ Meyer had done it
as Beyond the Valley of the Roman
Supervixens), but Bob Guccione of Pen-
thouse fame has no amusing idiosyn-
crasies. He leers for so long (almost
three interminable hours) and so hard
(with some help from Italian director
Tinto Brass, who was fired during
production) that stupefaction is closest
thing to an erotic urge that any viewer
is likely to feel. Enough of Gore
Vidale's "adapted" screenplay
remains to keep the dialogue from
being head-bangingly bad-well, at
least something isn't.
This is the film that Cecil B. DeMille
would have made if he had spent his
adolescent years locked in a bedroom
with 1000 copies of Penthouse. No, on
the other hand, even he would have
never produced something so extraor-
dinarily technically inept. Cheech and
Chong's Next Movie, badlymade as it
is, can at least be watched-generally
what we're supposed to be looking at is
within view. Here, actors play their big
scenes with backs to the camera,
fabrics and vases clutter the
foreground, and everything is grainily
blueish, done in by cheap film stock
(this is an $18 million production) and
disastrous processing. This is the worst
edited, photographed, lit and recorded
and staged film I can recall seeing. The
cast-mostly dozens of pallid whores
and studs that must have been picked
up by the crew locally-stand around
like children in a school pageant, at-
tired like Theda Baras and porn-mag
illustrations, ramming flesh together in
yet another of the horrendously
choreographed dance-orgy scenes, or
just standing around without the fain-
test ideas of what to do, they sock
phalluses like popsicles (that was much
better photographed in Deep throat)
The CLASSIC FILM THEATRE
Presents at the
MICHIGAN THEATRE:
Tuesday, September 9
The silent film:
HE WHO GETS SLAPPED
-with live organ music-
at 8:00p.m.
*Ann Arbor Film Cooperative

get scanned lifelessly by the film's
countless beaver shots, or writhe
during the dozens of incredibly gory
(yet painlessly fake) torture sequences.
Life in ancient Rome, we learn, may
have been rough, but it would have been
paradise for anyone who gets off on
Screw magazine.
As the mad emperor Caligula,
Malcolm MacDowell shouts in an at-
tempt at snide villainny, flounces
around bare-assed, does ridiculous lit-
tle dances (like a disco conquistidor)
and generally makes a fool out of him-
self. MacDowell is a sometimes fine
(though generally overrated) actor, but
not a particularly likeable one-he
doesn't have the audience rapport that
would have made us enjoy, or at least
excuse, his giddy self-indulgences. As
his 77-year-old predecessor, in
ludicrous scab-faced make-up, Peter
O'Toole has it-barking out every line,
he's outrageously campy. Sir John
Geilgud mopes thorugh briefly, with
immaculate and intense disdain.
Caligula has had the most fascinating
production history (disaster upon
disaster) of any film in years, but on
screen it's just a huge voyeuristic fan-
tasy without one competently shot
moment-and what is that? It's like
spying on someone taking a
shower-through closed curtains.
.your tapartment
cramped?
Read the
Dlly Classifieds
for the latest 'For Rent' info.

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resulted in a syrupy pop ballad
("Hopelessly Devoted to You") sung to
ihn Travolta's reflection in the
lsackyard pool. Lacking (like the
movie) the wit to parody her own ap-
peal, she could only drip sincerity, as a
maple tree drips sap.
XANADU, her first (I hate to be mor-
bid, but there will probably be more)
star vehicle, has a great camp concept,
and should be terrible fun; but like too
many big-budget bombs, it's terrible
yet somehow not much fun. It's in that
I me day-glo pop-fantasy category as
e excreble Sgt. Pepper's Lonely
Heart's Club Band, though this time the
result can be sat through without enor-
mous pain. The script tries to be arch,
though it isn't, and probably couldn't be
anyway with a'story that runs like this:
Olivia is an honest-to-gosh
Muse-yessir, the Grecian mythical
kind-who enchants men through the
ages (presumably most of them read
Tiger Beat) and now enraptures album-
over artist Michael Beck by roller
sating magically in the distance and
doing other captivating, goddessy
things. Their romance reaches rap-
turous heights of nuzzling, but as all of
us know, it's degrading for muses to
become too -intimate with mortals.
"This can't happen! I'm a Muse! I'm a
daughter of Zeus!" she protests,
whereupon our hero pays a visit to a
fog-bound Olympus, converses with the
ods,-"Hey, Zeus, ya hear me?"-Ma
Wnd Pa Zeus consent, and all ends
relatively happily with the opening of
this fun couple's "stately pleasure
dome," a disco roller-boogie glitz
palace. This allows us to stagger out af-
ter a series of production numbers
featuring Olivia as cowgirl, '40's be-

tly numbed while the movie goes down,
down, down.
XANADU reduces filmmaking to the
shiny surface facility of a Revlon com-
mercial; Cheech and Chong's, Next
Movie is more intriguing in that it
manages to entirely un-learn about 80
years of cinematic progress. To say this
film is technically bad doesn't do it
justice. It's oblivious of technique, and
as a result achieves the sort of flagrant,
perversely enjoyable awfulness that
Xanadu blandly roller-skates by. There
is no plot, just a ragged series of junior-
high bathroom jokes that you might
have sworn no one could possibly
remember anymore-yet here they
are, nostalgically horrible. This film is
even more of a mess than Up in Smoke,'
but it's much more instructional

RICK'S AMERICAN CAFE 611 Church St. 996-2747

----A

Coming:
Sept. 17:
VILLAIN
Sept. 18:
" * iBIG PARTY
given by TKE
Presents WEEKNIGHT ENTERTAINMENT

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