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April 07, 1982 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-04-07

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ARTS
The Michigan Daily Wednesday, April 7, 1982 Page 5
Pryor is the hero of 'Some Kind of Hero

By James Clinton
SOME KIND of Hero is a somewhat
uneven version of the fine novel, but
an excellent vehicle for Richard Pryor.
In this film he plays a prisoner of war
who's been help captive in Viet Nam for
over five years. If this sounds
depressingly familiar, it's offset by a
coalescing of humor and horror.
The scenes where Pryor is held cap-
tive are among the best in the film. In
one sequence, he stares at the insects in
his soup and screams at his captors "I
told you I want my roaches sauteed in
butter." This is perfect Pryor-humour
as a secondary species survival
mechanism. The simultaneity of
comedy and pathos is Chaplinesque and
a refreshing departure from the typical
Viet Nam vet, hair-trigger psyche that
permeates this genre of films.
James Kirkwood adapted the screen-
play from his own novel and doubtless
granted certain alterations in both plot
machinations and characterizations to
blend with Pryor's peculiar comedic
gifts. This has a cause and effect
relationship that is not always to the
films advantage. Pryor's personna
represents an acute susceptibility to
"getting shafted." He accepts the onset
of catastrophe as inevitable to existan-
ce. Indeed, his comedy rises as a defen-

se against despair, prejudice, and
hatred. In Some Kind of Hero he's the
archtype of the guy who might be get-
ting screwed, but who will at least get in
the last word.
When the film gets back to the states,
director Allen Pressman loses the
rhythm by attempting to move in too
many divergent directions at once. As
one might expect, things are even wor-
se for the returning hero back in the
states. Bureaucratic ramifications tie
up his money, his wife has left him and
blown his life savings, etc. Enter
Margot Kidder as a two hundred dollar
a night hooker and the confusion really
escalates. Kidder is on screen far too
haltingly to be judged seriously and ad-
ds little but decorative confusion to this
film.
The same can be stated regarding the
other supporting roles, which seem to
be set up as foils for Pryor. Haphazard
editing reduces the credibility of the
scheme at the center of the film,
wherein the embittered G.I. gets even.
In the novel this section is carefully
structured, though here the coinciden-
tal is asked to replace the strategic and
it simply doesn't work. Obviously time
is a factor in such a concession, but a
more judicious sense of priority might
have made this a better film.
Central to the premise here is the

redemptive factor. Revenge is an in-
tegral matter in the plot and ultimately
how it is exacted goes a long way in
establishing the movies success. Unfor-
tunately the final few minutes were
shot as though the director was running
out of time, money, patience or all
three.
Some Kind of Hero works for the most
part because of Richard Pryor. This is
his least idiosyncratic performance and
he remains contained throughout. The
doomed, out of sine, returning Vet has
received undue mileage, in recent
years. By temperment and design,
Pryor takes the character in a different
direction. The psychotic stereotype of
Bruce Dern cleaning his guns or DeNiro
stalking the streets like a human time
bomb would have been incompatible.
with this script and it's to Pryor's credit
that his performance is more flippant
and less menacing.
Some Kind of Hero just misses the,
mark, though it's engaging and con-
tains several very fine scenes. The
faults of the production in no way
negate a surprisingly disciplined and
intelligent performance by its star..
This is the first film in which Richard
Pryor doesn't play Richard Pryor and
it gives every indication that in addition
to being the funniest stand-up comedian
working, he can act.

i

,Records

Eye
Eye'

To Eye- Eye To
(Warner Brothers)

When Gary Katz produces, people
listen. Katz is the often-overlooked
third leg of the Steely Dan triad, and he
has just lent his immaculate production
skills to the debut album for another
winning duo, Eye To Eye.
Eye To Eye is composed of a
Wphenomenal female vocalist named
Deborah Berg, and her co-writer,
keyboardist Julian Marshall. The
collaboration of Berg and Marshall
with the finest studio musicians on both
coasts is no less than magical. Their
self-titled album is one of the most
engaging pieces of work this reviewer
has heard in quite a while.
Eye to Eye is the thoughtfully con-
ceived and creatively presented story
of a young woman's coming of age. The
album traces Berg from her socio-
political awakening to her first on-
again, off-again relationship with a
man.
While having the best musicians
Warner Brothers can rent is useful to
the final product, it is the Berg-
Marshall partnership that makes Eye
To Eye so unique and endearing.
While Marshall's keyboards form
hypnotic, jazz-based melodies with im-
pressive . dexterity, the heart of the
album comes from Deborah Berg. This
woman has a voice that should, if
anyone bothers to listen, make music-
loyers forget about virtually every
other female vocalist in pop or rock,
save Rickie Lee Jones. Berg can caress

a phrase, ooze desire, cry displeasure,
and deliver emotion with almost un-
paralleled effectiveness.
The album opens with "Hunger
Pains," a reggae-fied ballad that finds
Berg awakenihg to the fact that the
world is not all silver spoons and suc-
cess.dIt is followed by "Life In Motion,"
a Blondie-like rhythm-rap that relates
the faddism of modern culture. In spite
of a whirling Elliot Randall guitar solo,
it somehow falls short of the frantic
speed it tries to convey.
Eye To Eye then arrives at its finest
track, "Nice Girls." Berg's infectious,
prurient lament is dominated by Chuck
Rainey's authoritative bass.
After almost finding that alusive
someone in "More Hopeless
Knowledge," Berg sees "Progress
Ahead." Though fatalistic, it
foreshadows her coming success.
The album concludes with a hook-
laden romantic triology. Berg finally
finds her "Physical Attraction" with
Jeff Pocaro's drumming and Rick
Derringer's guitar dissecting Mar-
shall's keyboards rhythm in a
Gauchoesque manner. On the heels of
"Physical Attraction" is even catchier
"Time Flys."
The album's last song, "On The
Mend," features a Donald Fagen syn-
thesizer solo, and closes the album with
the self-confidence and hope that was
absent at the outset.
Eye To Eye requires more than one
listening. It is difficult to absorb in one
try, in the manner of, say, a Police
album. But after one spin, the hook sinks

in. At that point you are doomed to have
Eye To Eye pulsating through your
head as you go about your daily ac-
tivities. It begs you to play it again. Do
it. -James Harris
The Whispers-Love is
Where You Find It (Solar
Records)
Make no mistake; this is definitely a
soulful album full of music made for
dancin' and romancin', as the records
sides are labeled. There is the scor-
ching sound of "In the Raw" as well as
the mellow, sensual strains of "Say,
Yes." This album establishes the
Whispers as one of the premiere male
vocal groups in the country due to their
superb harmonies and ease in performance
ming all types of soul music. Backed up
by the Sylvers musically, the Whispers
try a little bit of everything and suc-
ceed.
After a long and bitter climb to the
top, the' Whispers are finally able to en-
joy some of the good life that they have
been singing about for so long. The in-
side sleeve of the album show the
members finding love in a variety of '
ways (such as raising horses or reading
books) and anyone who has followed the
group for a while knows that no one is
more deserving of it. Love is Where
You Find It demonstrates the Whispers'
usual grace and charm that has
brought them their current popularity .
that will hopefully remain for some
time to come.
-Elizabeth James

Comedian
Kaufman
injured
MEMPHIS,' Tenn. (AP) -
Comedian Andy Kaufman was
hospitalized with minor head and
neck injuries after going to the mat
with a 234-pound professional
wrestler who didn't like his brand of
humor.
Kaufman, who spoofs professional
wrest lers as part :of his comic
routine, was in good condition
Tuesday at St. Francis Hospital. A
hospital spokesman said he was in
traction and undergoing tests for
possible spinal damage suffered in
the exhibition wrestling match Mon-
day night.
George Shapiro, the comedian's
manager, said Kaufman suffered
cuts on the top of his head, strained
neck muscles, and a'compressed
; space between the 4th and 5th ver-
* tebrae in the neck. He said Kauf-
man's wrestling days may be over.
Kaufman was unavailable for com-
ment.
Kaufman, a co-star on the ABC-TV
show "Taxi" and a former star of
"Saturday Night Live," claims to
hold the inter-gender wrestling
championship and often wrestles
women during his performances. In
the past two years he has wrestled 30
women, Shapiro said.
a

Out of bounds with the

B-52 's

Andy Kaufman is strapped onto a stretcher after being 'pile-driven' during
wrestling match.

;a

I

By Walt Owen
I DON'T CARE if the B-52's new
album isn't a third installment of
jumping jokes and simple fun-in-the-
sun running around, as the song says.
As -far as I'm concerned, and I'm not,
any pretentious critic who labeled this
jpright boogie band's recent
"Mesopotamia a new-twist failure is a
creep. Send 'em "53 miles west of
Venus," as the song says. Any band
4-uf I+L hn,- tiditcn it albums is

day ..." (as the song says) this wild-
with-a-smile group should put all
unabashed viewers in a "party out of
bounds" (you guessed it) spirit.
Many questions have been asked
about the B-52's and their 18 month
layoff"which preceeded Mesopotamia.
Have they gone artsy-fartsy by hiring
David Bryne of the Talking Heads to
produce the new six-song album? And
hey, why only six songs? Is it punk? Is it
funk? Is the last laugh on us? Who
cares. Just let it be ba-by.

Tickets are still available (CTC
outlets) for Thursday's 8 p.m. show,
which was added after the April 2 show
sold out quickly. A quick shoot down I-
94 is all it takes to get in on the unique
madness of this wacky bunch. The
Grand Circus has been the recent home
for both punk and funk. Thursday it
should be jumping with a little of both.
- Walt Owen
1 737 N. Huron, Ypsilanti

that
wor
T
are
ma
Th

t lists hairdo cre ls on is amnsm
rth a second look. ANN ARBOR
Chat's why it's so cool that the B-52's
giving a second Detroit Performance INDIVIDUAL THEATRES
ince Thursday at the Grand Circus
eatre. Even if it's a dreary downtown
WEATSUN
EU only $1.50
shows before
600P.M.
375 N MAPLE
B n $ B -1300
Bargain Shows $2.50 Before.3 PM HURRY ENDS SOONI

HOTLINE
48,-0240
For Bands and
Drink Specials

Wednesday

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