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December 11, 1984 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-12-11

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The Michigan Daily - Sunday, December 9, 1984 - Page 7


By Byron L. Bull
T he problem with Eddie Murphy's
film career is the same thing that
plagued Richard Pryor's, a bright,
charistmatic, easily entertaining of-
fbeat comic who keeps ending up in an-
noyingly bland, safely homogenized
Pryor's downfall was he never mat-
ched his ambitions with his talent, and
ended up pimping himself out to in
creasingly bad, but personally
lucrative garbage like The Toy and
Superman III. Murpy is still early in his
career, with only three features now t
date (not counting his cameo in Bes
1Defense), but he doesn't seen to be
breaking out of the mold either. His
latest film, Beverly Hill's Cop is cute
but never very rewarding soft comic
romp that never demands much mor
of its star than his mere presence in
front of the camera.
Murphy slips into the role of Axl
Foley, a streetwise, smartass young
Detroit police detective easily enough.
Foley's character is pretty thinly drawn
and Murphy fleshes him out with all th
same characters he did in his last tw
roles, though Foley's a bit mor
cleaned up. He's a brash, but likabl
casual rogue with a penchant fo
bullshitting and fast one-liners, the sor
of thing Murphy's so familiar with.
Foley is a smart but intensel

VIurphy I
singular detective, whose unorthodox
methods may be effective but con-
tinually land him in hot water with his
precinct brass. When a childhood friend
t shows up on his doorstep having fled his
L.A. job under mysterious circumstan-
ces and is then brutally murdered by
- hitmen that very night, Foley promptly
d takes his vacation and heads for
California to track down whoever's
d In no little time he is causing the L.A.
- police, who are even more rulebound
y and stodgy than the Detroit cops, en-
d dless frustration as he bypasses all.
s procedures and quickly links the mur-
o der to a prominent and wealthy art
t dealer, who it seems is also dealing in
drugs and hot bond notes.
is The better part of the film's premise
, and it's chief gimmick, is to continually
c contrast suave; fastjiving Foley with
e the more laidback, easily fazed
in California natives he encounters. Mur-
phy's big trick is having Foley slip in
e and out of confrontations by quick con-
g ning anyone who gets in his way. We see
h. him slip into a posh hotel suite by
n, pretending to be an irate Rolling Stone
e reporter whose reservation was lost,
o then crash an exclusive dinner club by
e posing as a creepy young gay lover of
e one of the guests.
r All the time Foley's keeping one step
rt ahead of his L.A. counterparts by
plugging their tailpipes with bananas
y when they try to tail him. Most of the

jokes are pretty lowbrow but Murphy
gets away with them solely by his loud,
class clown enthusiasm.
The film's pretty weakly plotted, rid-
died with loopholes and inconsequential
background characters who are just so
much debris in Murphy's way. Director
Martin Brest, a relative newcomer with
only one other inauspicious feature un-
der his belt, Going in Style, keeps
the film trim and rolling through the
numerous car chases and shoot outs
with unobtrusive, mechanically effec-
tive style. The picture has a bland flat-
ness to it, a gnawing lack of any texture
that's indicative of a studio production
line job.
This is unmistakably Murphy's
vehicle, the script and cast are only
backdrop for him to do his schtick
against. Only the refreshingly quirkly
comic presence of Judge Reinhold as
Foley's awkward, naive sidekick, sheds
any extra light onto the screen. What
Murphy does is his trademark flayling
and howling mugging for the camera
routine, and as self conscious as he is,
he manages to do it without sinking into
selfindulgence. The bulk of his material
are disjointed, little skits, short and
blunt witted like those he cut his teeth
on in "Saturday Night Live", so he's
pretty adept as making them work
What Murphy does lack, and needs
to develop if he's ever going to find a
career in film is some training as an ac-

tor because he's quite clumsy whenever
he has to drop his idiot smile and read a
line seriously. He's very good at
character impersonations, he's got all
the little mannerisms down pat, but he
can't adjust his chameleon instincts to
the more demanding task of anything
dramatic. As sincere as he is, and you
do sense Murphy's trying, he doesn't
add the least bit of color or depth to
Axle Foley, they might have just as
well named the character Eddie Mur-
phy. Richard Pryor at least can act
when he puts his mind to it, and when he
doesn't he still has a warm enough
presence to make you care about his
characters. All Murphy can do is clown
it up, and when he has to pause and play
it straight he starts mumbling his
dialogue with visible discomfort.
Beverly Hill's Cop has plenty of fast,
clean sophomoric laughs that Murphy's
fans expect from him and find so en-
dearing. With him at centerstage and
not having to share the spotlight with
deadweights like Nick Nolte or Dan
Akroyd, they
will doubtless be that much more
enraptured. Even those who don't care
much for Murphy will find this film has
enough good chuckles to make the
experience painless for anyone who
gets dragged to it against his/her will.
This is Murphy's most satisfying outing
to date, and will likely be one of the
season's biggest hits.

s in Beverly Hills



SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9: 2-5, 6-10



Black Flag-Family Man
(SST Records)
Black Flag is more a test department
than a band. Every sound they emit is
thrashed, honed, and severed from
every musical source imaginable. They
play music for the grubs and the slugs
and other friends, at the bottom of the
garbage heap. But here them slime
things get theirs. Black Flag - AGAIN
Their third album in 20 months. Family
Man. Family MAN. "A spoken
word/instrumental record."
Since they first appeared in 1977,
group personnel have turned over as
rapidly as the Flag's musical direction.
No matter, the grunge-rock leaders of
the planet, fronted by Manson-eyed
Harry Rollins have consistently been



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one of the standard bearers of the South
California hardcore-cum-wave sound.
But more, they proved to be one of the
best metal-acid-blues-dirge bands ever.
But now there's been a change.
Family Man is Black Flag's An
American Prayer. A longhair now,
Rollins has adopted the look-he
always had the presence-of Jim
Guitarist Greg Ginn, drummer Bill
Stevenson, and new bassist Kira
Koessler carrythe instrumental bits of
this record while Rollins takes charge
on the spoken word tracks, reciting his
own poetry in the studio, in the living
room (I guess), and practically
everywhere else.
True, Rollins lately has been giving
readings of his work everywhere from
L.A. to N.Y.C. with the likes of Lydia
Lunch and even the Birthday Party's
cult-unto-himself, Nick Cave. Still, the
album is a shocker is only because it
lacks the Flag's usual insistence.
Rollins reads, "They erected a slum in
my name, the Henry Rollins Memorial
Slum..." Ho hum. I want yelling. I want
paranoia. Rollins has almost joined the
Beat Generation. When rivetted,
though, Rollins is actually convincing
as in the angered attack of the title
track or the more perverse "Salt On a
Slug". But without Rollins, the in-
strumental tracks on side two are flat
and indirected.
Released hot on the heels of this fall's
Slip It In LP, the Flag this go-round
don't even attempt to match the sheer
intensity of, say, side two fo the 1983 LP
My War (pure psycho-blues-drone). My
War is Black Flag at the deepest
regions of the ocean floor where the
eyeless creatives live. The My War LP
projected musical wit perhaps only
equaled by the Mothers of Invention.
Released after a recording hiatus of
nearly two yers due to legal hassles
with a former record label, My War

drooled out power even as the rats eke
out their sad lives.
A live show with Black Flag is
astounding. And the material on
Family Man certainly might lend itself
to a small club or cabaret setting.
Family Man is basically a poetic ven-
ture for Rollins, a rehearsal session for
the rest of the band. And the record is to
be placed at the very end of your Black
Flag collection.
-Jeff Yenchek
The Animals - Rip it to Shreds
(Greatest Hits Live) (I.R.S.)
One of the things that made the
Animals great in the early days was
their understanding of the power of
restraint in rock and roll. Push it
almost to the limit, but not quite as far
as you can go. Eric Burdon's voice was
the perfect vehicle for such a theory
and so without a great deal of song
writing talent or even musical in-
novations, the Animals became one of
the first great rock bands. Last year's
The Ark was the first time the original
band had been together since 1965, and
while it wasn't embarrassing, it was
rather predictable (although inspired
in a few spots). This live album is the
second and it features most of the
greatest hits - of which there are
many. The biggest disappointment is
Burdon's voice which seems even more
burnt out in a live setting. The result is
that he has to strain these days and that
magical restraint that made the
Animals what they were is gone. But
that doesn't mean this album is a total
waste. It's also been difficult to get a
complete greatest hits package from
the band until now. Everything starts
out pretty well, but the idea gets old
around the beginning of the second side.
Surprisingly though, it picks up again
at the end with Alan Price's early '70s
solo hit "O Lucky Man," "Boom

Boom," and a sharp update of the
classic "We Gotta Get Out of This
Place." One last, strange pointeas well,
both sides of my copy at least are
marked 'side One' so maybe it'll be a
collector's item someday. Joke.
- Dennis Harvey
Pat Metheny
(Continued from Page 6)
dition to Metheny's music, but after
hearing his clear, inspiring voice ride
the powerful tide of jazz/rock in-
strumentals, you couldn't dream of
hearing the music without Pedro's
lyrical flight.
Sometimes the band entered a cooler,
quieter realm, as typified by "Far-
mland," an idyllic tune that pleasantly
painted a Pastoral picture. It is the laid-
back kind of tune you wouldn't expect
from a musician who had excessively
beaten his guitar a few minutes earlier
to ear-splitting decibels, but-well,
there it is. The wide stylistic differen-
ces between these and other tunes at-
test to rather than detract from
Metheny's musical integrity, in
showing that he can appreciate and
work in more than one pace and am-
bience, which sometimes fuse in a
sparkling music alloy.
In the end the band played with a
more conventional rock flavor as in the
rousing favorite, "American Garage."
And so we all left satisfied, jazz fanatic
and rock enthusiastic alike.
But why speak of separate musical
territories of jazz, avante-garde rock,
mainstream rock, the musically
mellow, and who-knows-what-else?
Such diversions serve well in the pur-
pose of comparison, of describing one
musical area in terms of another. But
perhaps Metheny's music demands a
new critical vocabulary, for to fully ap-
preciate the rich aesthetic of Metheny's
music, we need to transcend such
boundaries and join Metheny and his
band in the ethereal plane on which
they play.

We Buy Back
If you have used books to sell-please read on!
As the Semester end approaches-bringing with it a period of heavy book selling by
students-ULRICH'S would like to review with you its BUY-BACK POLICY.
Used books fall into several categories, each of which-because of the law of supply and
demand-has its own price tag. Let's explore these various categories for your guidance.
REMEMBER, sell your books before the Holidays while the demand is HIGH.
After the Holidays we may have all the stock we need for the winter semester.
A texbook of current copyright-used on our campus-and which the Teaching Depart-
ment involved has approved for re-use in upcoming semesters-has the highest market
value. If ULRICH'S needs copies of this book we will offer a minumum of 50% of the list
price for copies in good physical condition. When we have sufficient stock of a title for the
coming semester, URLICH'S will offer a "WHOLESALE PRICE" which will be explained later
in this article.
Paperback are classified in two groups: A. Text Paperbacks; B. Trade Paperbacks.
A. Text Paperbacks will be purchased as Class I books at approximately 1/3 the retail value.
B. Trade Paperbacks would draw an approximate offer of 20% of the list price when in excellent
Some of the above Class I or Class II books will be offered which have torn bindings, loose
pages, large amounts of highlighting and underlining, or other physical defects. These will be
priced down according to the estimated cost of repair or saleability.
Each semester various professors decide to change text for a given course.
We advertise these discontinued books and sell many of them at schools where they are still
being used. ULRICH'S does this as a service to you and pays you the best
"WHOLESALE PRICE" when you sell them to us with your currently used books.



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