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April 15, 1983 - Image 24

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-04-15
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Man, Woman, and Child
Starring Martin Sheen, Nathalie Nell
Blythe Danner, and Craig T. Nelson.
Written by Erich Segal and David Z.
Directed by Dick Richards
Playing at State Theater
By Julie Hinds
had it rough in Apocalypse Now?
This year he's stuck in the middle of
Man, Woman, and Child, a film based
on an Erich Segal novel that packs as
many tear-jerking moments per minute
as did Love Story.
Man, Woman, and Child is another in
the line of movies about anguished dads
that recently have become so popular in
Hollywood. Forget about the days when
fathers sat in the background of films
and let the kids throw beach parties.
Now Dad feels obligated to spill his
emotional guts every time he gets on
the screen.
But unlike Shoot the Moon and Smash
Palace, Man, Woman, and Child offers
nothing new or particularly significant
about fathers in torment. Predictable,
manipulative, and mushy (even for an
inherently sappy genre), it bogs down
in its good intentions.

Sheen plays Bob Beckwith, a
humanities professor at a California
college. He lives in a Better Homes and
Gardens ranch house with his lovely
wife, Sheila (Blythe Danner), who
juggles editing foreign policy documen-
ts with raising two syrupy daughters
right out of a Hostess cupcake com-
Bob's a swell guy inside and outside
the home. When his university wants to
cut back the humanities department, he
knows how to handle smaller, but better
- he plans a faculty walk-out. He
guarantees a nervous physics major an
'A', because he "will personally feel a
lot safer knowing there's a nuclear
physicist out there who's read some
Shakespeare." Bob's good-looking, too.
Bob's got it so good, in fact, that you
just know something really, really
awful will happen. And it does, about
five minutes into the film, when Bob
finds out that a woman he once had a
brief affair with (Nathalie Nell) has
died and left a young son on his hands.
Bob didn't know he had a son, and the
discovery may put a cramp into his
mellow lifestyle.
A flashback clues us in to how he met
the woman in France (you know it's
France because accordions always
play in the background). Not only does
she look like she stepped off a Vogue
cover, she's the best doctor in Norman-
dy and quite the free spirit. She patches
up Bob after he has a slight car ac-
cident, then tells him she doesn't want
to marry but she'd like to have a family
"... if I find somebody I like enough to
make a child with." She likes Bob a lot.
When the Beckwiths invite the
newfound son for a visit, they could
solve their problem immediately by
adopting him on the spot. Jean-Claude,
played with charming naturalness by
Sebastian Dungan, has a devastating
accent and the cutest pageboy haircut
this side of the Atlantic. Turning him
away would be nearly impossible. But

Sheen and Danner: Kissy-face
Bob's wife resents the boy because he
serves as a constant reminder of her
husband's infidelity. And Bob's
daughters think Jean-Claude is an or-
phan, ensuring another family ex-
plosion when they learn the truth.
The rest of the film answers the
boggling questions Segal's script piles
up. Will Jean-Claude stay in America
and go to UCLA someday? Will Sheila
get even with Bob by having an affair
with a distinguished author? Even the
fun of predicting the outcome, though,
is limited; the script stacks the deck so
unfairly, the audience doesn't get to
decide who to like or dislike. Father and
son share so many wonderful qualities,
they make Bob's wife and children
seem like spoiled brats for being upset.
Sheen and Danner give solid perfor-
mances, but their skill alone can't
rescue the contrived plot. David Hem-

mings looks bored and pudgy as Dan-
ner's potential romantic interest, and
Craig T. Nelson, so entertainingly
quirky in Poltergeist, suffers through
his horrible role as Sheen's All-
American blockhead buddy. Other
distinguished cast members include a
dozen men in cardigans and bow ties
who play faculty members.
The fast pace keeps Man, Woman,
and Child from becoming truly offen-
sive. Some of the moments between
Sheen and Dungan even work up a sin-
cere lump in the throat. But the film's
urge to practically canonize Sheen
wrecks its credibility from the start.
Still, Bob Beckwith would be a great
professor. I wouldn't want to see a
movie like this again, but I sure would
like to find out where I can CRISP for
Martin Sheen's class.

Barbara Young: Works on Paper
Clare Spitler gallery
2007 Pauline Court
April 1 6-May 28
By Kathryn Glasgow
IT'S BEEN SAID that every artist is
his or her art. And of course it's also
been said that a picture paints a
thousand words. In the world of the ar-
tist, style, color, line and texture com-
bine until suddenly, the work has a
voice all its own.
On April 16, we will have a chance to
step into the diversity of one's artist's
world when Barbara Young, a Cincin-
nati printmaker, opens a one-woman
show at Clare Spitler Works of Art in Ann
Barbara Young, 49, received her art
training at the University of Cincinnati,
Cincinnati Art Academy, and Edgecliff
College. Her impressive collection of
etchings, woodcuts and collographs
reflects a rich, vibrant essence.
The artist has experimented exten-
sively with the collograph, an in-
novative form that originated recently
in the East but is practically unknown
in the Midwest. Young's collograph
work marks a natural progression
following her 10-year exploration with
etchings and woodcuts.
"It's fun," Young says. "You really
don't know what you'll come up with. I
often look at the finished piece and say,
'I didn't know that was in my head!' "
A collograph is a print of a collage
made up of a wide variety of materials
- crumpled tissue or foil, pieces of car-.
dboard, coffee grounds etc. The print is
run through a press and the heavy
pressure creates interesting textures.
Young's work blends strong earth tones
and simple shapes to create abstract
figurative prints.
Young also incorporates
hieroglyphics in her work, lending a
primitive feel. She laughingly admits,
"I have no idea where this came from.
It's kind of an instinctive thing. I'm in-
terested in the concept, the entire
civilization. It's an idea that keeps sur-
facing. Like things that are a part of
you, that you want to express."
Actually, the hieroglyphics carry no
one message. When asked what they
mean, Young says, "It's purely visual.

It says a lot of different things to dif-
ferent people."
In the past, Young has worked in an
even more* conceptual style. She
classifies these woodcuts as "people
prints." These works carry a message
and make a social statement through
visual imagery. They are less readily
accepted by a public who finds their
implications disturbing. One such
piece, "Family Portrait," depicts a
family of four wearing masks.
"I learn so much about people. It's
fascinating," says Young. "The
majority of people who bought 'Family
Portrait' were psychiatrists!"
Another piece and a part of the Ann
Arbor show, "In the Long Run: His/
Hers" shows a married couple running
in opposite directions. The buyers?
Couples with dual-career marriages.
Some galleries refused these prints;
reminding the artist that "people don't
like to think." For many people, art is
meant to entertain, or to simply create
a sense of beauty; a social message is
disturbing - it makes them have to
work too hard. Yet some of the "people
prints" are Young's favorites. "They
created a lot of flak. But that means I'm
doing something."
After receiving her B.A. in Design in
1957, Young worked from 1964-1975 on
portrait commissions in pastel and oil.
Her exploration with etchings and
woodcuts and her newly developed in-
terest in collographs was a marked
change from the traditional realistic
painting style. "An artist is constantly
looking at new things. You have to find
new ideas to use. You have to try
something new and different."
Young is currently experimenting
with what she calls "landscapes."
These pieces are againstrongly visual;
the artist describes them as "color
coming through space, the jux-
taposition of forms."
"I needed to concentrate again on
color, texture, form. Someday, though,
I'll go back and, do the message piece
again," she explains.
Reaching the public through her art
is important to Barbara Young. "Art is
a lonely vocation. You can't work with
people around. I love it when people
contact me and ask what I meant, what
I was trying to say in a particular piece.
Getting exposure, having people buy
your works - that's the biggest
Young works seven days a week, of-
ten eight hours a day. "It's a shaky
profession. Being good is not enough,"
she says. Yet she has achieved what all
young hopefuls dream of: Her talent is
abundant, her works are prolific, and
she is happy with what she does. Her
strong designs, her flair for color and
texture, truly speak for her - more
vividly, really than these words can..

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Barbara Young: On display at the Spitler Gallery





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