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October 26, 1984 - Image 17

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-10-26
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M 0 V I S
r S probably makes him a little funnier slow motion. career crises were experienced by both
' 'r Sthan one might expect, but that's what Catherine Hicks is cloyingly actors.
we intended to do. Just because ingenuous in her earlier scenes, and
someone is involved in a difficult level when Isabel turns bitchy, Hicks might These two films share with the
(Continued from Page 19) beyond normal, everyday living doesn't just as well be Joan Crawford for all the larger-scaled Razor's Edge a curiously
Russian in snowshoes and threads but mean he has to lose his sense of subtlety she manges to come up with. , complete lack of period or dramatic
that's practically documentary realism humor." credibility--all of them feel stillborn, a
compared with the silliness inherent in Unfortunately,the wise-guy jokiness The excellent Theresa Russell could matter of potentially good ideas Tinker
Bill Murray trying to find spiritual- that Murray employs here is no dif- have been superb as Sophie--she was Toyed with by a sensibility unable to
whatever in Razor's India. Em- ferently shaded than it was in the already dazzling once in the same sort flesh them out at even the most
of decline-and-fall role, in Nicholas rudiment a r y levels.
phasizing the incongruity, and the juvenile contexts of Meatballs or oeg'inerlk
film's dramatic tinnines, is a fearfully Stripes. Where Murray was perfectly Bad Timing-and she has her moments Although never technicallem-
full-hrottle ead-serious orchestra deadpan amid ridiculous situations in here, but Sophie's big scenes are so barrasing )or inspired either, for that
soebJakNtce.Ghostbusters, here he's imap-gbraig)risprdetefrta
is -o .he. p bluntly set up that Russell can only matter), Br m' fi s ha e a
Bill Murray is too big physically and propriately absurd in situations that bluntly s u haRue. c osmer), srm 'shilms ae a
too close (though not close enough) to demand a firm dramatic command. bcm aihcaiaue eprt oehn-oewogaro
ing handsome focharacter roes Theffecis only to lose any veneer of Denholm Elliott starts out much too attentuated amateurity. They're all
total bombs, but so strangely direct in
Yet his face is too crunched-up here-- the sincerity that he must have felt in archly as snob fiend Elliot Templeton, all their fumbling that one sits there ab-
he's trying too hard for depth--to have a pushing the project. but he at least manages--alone, sorbed not in the films themselves but in
leading actor's ease at holding the cen- A trash novel by Irving Wallace that I perhaps--to survive this debacle with simply trying to figure out the why of it
ter of a film, skimmed last year called The Second dignity intact. al
Steve Martin seemed similarly in- Lady had as its hilarious premise the -l
congruous in Pennies From Heaven, Soviets abducting the U.S. President's The film's weird half-baked feeling Oafishly entertaining in its sheer in-
and, shorn of mimickry, Robin wife and replacing her with a look-alike begins to make a bit more sense when comprehensibility, The Razor's Edge
Williams was just a vacuum at the spy to undermine foreign policy from one puts it into the context of djrec- beats all competition as the movie
heart of The World According to Garp. the White House bedroom. The Razor's tor/co-author John Byrum's year's oddest duck to date. There's a
Murray shares the major failing of Edge may be Bill Murray's pet project, career - which ought to tiny possibility that it may win a few
these two comics attempting to achieve his claim for serious critical ap- have clued somebody in on the probable weeks' box-office reprieve among Bill
the respectability of dramatic success-- preciation, but he seems like a bizarre consequences before millions were Murray fans who think it's supposed to
so accustomed to the put-on, they can substitution for someone else, a real ac- spent. He's written the screenplays for be funny-but even at last week's cam-
only offer mock-seriousness as a false tor, someone smugled in to sabotage one moderately charming trifle Harry pus sneak preview, that bunch were
substitute for real seriousness. the whole enterprise, and Walter Go to New York and screaming "Enough!" and "Bullshit!"
At the height of tragic circumstances, His performance, like those of Martin two fiascos (Mahogany, Sphinx from various points around the
director John Bryum can only give and Williams in their 'straight' roles, directed by others. auditorium by the end.
Murray bigger and bigger close-ups, isn't so much conventinally bad as sim-
hoping those downcast nervous eves ply, ludicrously, entirely wrong. There's little doubt that Byrum has a If some smart accountant does his
will reveal somethingto us. Whatever movie Murry thinks he's way with actors--unfortunately, off- work, then The Razor's Edge may
Murray (who co-wrote the screenplay in, it's not The Razor's Edge. screen only. His directorial debut, the achieve its only possible success--as an
with Bryum) allows himself a lot of Having to play around this shaky cen- bizarre '78 Inserst, was pushed into instant tax writeoff. That would explain
class-clown lines even in the most terpiece, poorly directed, results in production by then-hot Richard the whole thing, unless the real secret is
melodramatic moments, explaining horridly broad supporting charac- Dreyfuss (who later made his repen- that the film is designed as a vast in-
thus in the press kit: "Very often, terizations--James Keach appears par- tance highly public), and the '80 Hear- joke of some sort. If that's the case,
notions of idealism, spirituality and ticularly foolish as Gray, when finding tbeat probably wouldn't have made it to then Bill's friends (and his investors)
self-awareness are relatively in- out that his father has died, smashes the screen without Nick Nolte's desire have a uniquely expensive, if rather in-
tangible. My playing Larry Darnell window panes with his fists in glamrous to play Beat era Neal Cassady. Major scrutable, sense of humor.
'. 4:
4 '~
" r
Murray: Leaves viewers out in the cold
20 Weekend/Frday, Octber 26, 1984 s

S T 0 R
abroad-"they discover that there are "In Africa we have a saying taken Michael takes a different view of the v
strong bonds between them. This from watching monkeys swing from American involvement in South Africa. com
commonality, it can't be put into words, vine to vine. For a monkey to swing "The fact that a white man owns stock Reag
but it is like a physical force." from vine to vine, to let go of one string he in G.M. does not make him more racist An
must have a perception of the next. He or more liberal," he says. "That's new
TIT'S GOING to take violence to won't just let go. ridiculous." Mich
1change South Africa. . . and "No one wants to give up power Far from seeing U.S. capitalists as view]
violence is already underway," Suran- without knowing what will happen to partners of crime with the white ex- comn
sky asserts. "Decades of petitions, them," Michael continues. "The ploitation of blacks, Michael believes the a
protests, and marches have made it Africans must help whites by giving that American money is crucial to vestn
clear that the power structure isn't Pe
going to change without bloodshed." West
Suransky points to recent uprisings in schoL
the black townships of Soweto as an in- 'Decades of petitions protests and mar- educ
dicator that an African rebellion is not o ' thing:
only inevitable, it is already underway. ches have made it clear that the power "B
So far, the national black liberation ,stusn 'g to change without powe
movement, the African National goingre g5 11 ~.1I~i~be :V
Congress, still does not use violence bloodshed' What
against civilians-"an unusual policy Afr
for a guerilla organization," Suransky -Professor Leonard Suransky anyt
comments. and c
However, he predicts that the bring
Congress may soon change that policy. Michc
"Many of the younger Africans believe ,,In
that a harder line is necessary, that it's them a vine to hang on to. South Africa's future. savec
time to start hitting at white civilians." In other words, whites must be What guarantee do they (the himse
Suransky says he fears a struggle in assured that they will not lose all of revolutionaries) have that anyone will try. '
South Africa would be as long and bit- their possessions or their power. While invest in their country after they tear to se
ter as the 7-year-long war to win in- Suransky, Gordimer, and others say a down the present system? How are you neede
dependence which made' British redistribution of resources is going to give people jobs and educate had s
Rhodesia into African Zimbabwe in necessary, Michael believes it would be the children?" They
1980. a serious mistake. The U.S. ought to use its influence to Mini<
"A revolution in South Africa would In post-liberation Zimbabwe, he poin- help create the new leadership of South white
never work," Michael responds. In the ts out, allowing whites to keep financial Africa, Michael adds. Inst
first place, he said, blacks would not be power is fostering prosperity for the But hasn't America tended to minis
able to organize or mobilize because whole country. Michael is proud of manipulate African politics for its own The
they are kept isolated in one region. Zimbabwe's success at incorporating purposes, as Gordimer and Suransky ween
The Zimbabwean revolution was only white business and industry into the charge? Profe
possible because blacks have a network new tribe." He is proud that he himself "That's the way international politics Mich
of contact points throughout the coun- lives in "one of the poshest suburbs" of works," Michael responds. "Of course will o
try: "places to hide, to get help, to pass the capital, proud that his children are the U.S. would like to control Africa. and r
on messages." growing up as part of a new elite. Everyone would if they could. Politics Ho
More importantly, blacks will get Suransky counters that the majority is a give and take." white
nowhere by attempting revolution, of Zimbabwean blacks are still at the It's counterproductive for Africans to wheth
Michael insists. "To think that you can bottom, while the whites, he claims, "turn their backs" on Western gover- realit
change everything, that you must continue to live the same good life. nments, he says. "They have to learn quest
destroy everything, to think in terms of When he visited the country after the to play the game."
bombs and violence. . . is unrealistic liberation, the only major change he "I don't agree with everything
and immature." observed was that whites had been for- Reagan does (in Africa)," he adds,
Instead, he proposes, Africans must ced to up the wages of their black ser- "but I understand the position he is in. Jell
join forces with "thinking whites," in- vants-"from $15 a month to $50 a mon- It's the same story of the monkey and
cluding white prime minister Botha, th
and create a "new tribe" to rule the They were grumbling a bit over
adcnry et hae trthat, but on the whole their attitude is
country together. . that somehow this nightmare is going to
going to be fighting," Michael warns. pass, someday we'll be back on top."
The desperate reaction of "non- Suransky charges that Americans
thinking" whites, right-wingers o are just as guilty of economic ex-
posed to any change, is to use violence; ploitation of natives. Companies like
and sometimes there is no option except General Motors are able to pay African
to reply in kind, he admits, workers a fraction of what they pay
"But you can play conflicts, or you Detroit autoworkers, he says.
Bunplaypolcs. Py onflics swhatycan The charges Gordimer levels against
can play politics. Politics is what can the white ruling class in South Africa
wi it for the blacks." apply to her readers in the U.S. too,
"It's not the system that's going to Srnsyss,"h'shemsi-
change, he predicts, charging that portant question of all. How do we fit
most African attempts to abolish so- int uesion oalHwdw?"
called "Western" ideas have failed en- into the whole picture?" w ka
tirely. We are very concerned, we make all
Michael calls for political sorts of cluck-clucking noises, but the
cooperation, inside the existing system, real truth, under the table, is that we
as the way for blacks and whites to are supporting apartheid."
build on a common ground. While some The white minority is dependent upon
Africans accuse him of being an "Uncle Western technology, weaponry, and in-
Tom", he believes the majority agree vestment; while the West, in its turn,
with him. "continues to make whopping profits on
"Fighting is a foreign idea to black South African investments."
Africans," he explains. "Compromise "It's an ugly story... kind of sordid,"
is a part of the traditional way of our Suransky says. gs
fathers." "At least Reagan is honest about our
"There's nothing beautiful about role there: he comes right out and says
being dead." the South Africans are our friends."
On the other hand, if blacks give their The University still holds stock in
full support to the "thinking whites," eight major corporations with South
they can help make racist factions African plants. However, Suransky
"irrelevant," and by sheer strength of says, "You have to give them credit for
numbers, gain control of the gover- divesting about 90%. That's a major Botha: A symbol of white rule or a man of
nment. move in the right direction.
Weekend/F

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