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January 11, 1985 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-01-11

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ARTS
Friday, January 11, 1985

The Michigan Daily

Page 5

Clint hot and cold in 'City Heat'

By Joshua Bilmes

C ity Heat is a puzzling movie. It is
an attempt to parody both the
gangster movies of fifty years ago and
the more recent Dirty Harry/Charles
Bronson films. The film succeeds
almost perfectly in one respect. The
parody is almost always right on the money
money. The puzzle is with how few
laughs result. The perfect parody of a
group of movies so ripe for the
picking should result in non-stop
laughter. Somehow, such is not the case
here. The parody is perfect, but the
comedy is one of those which has its
moments, and not one that could be
called sidesplitting.
The plot of this puzzling parody is
hardly worth mentioning. It was
designed more as a means to an end
than an end to itself. Burt Reynolds is
Mike Murphy of the Murphy and Swift
Detective Agency. Swift pays the rent
and the secretary through dealings with
various mob types. When one set of mob
types kills Swift, Murphy finds himself
getting involved in a battle between two
rival gangsters played by Rip Torn and
Tony Lo Bianco. Clint Eastwood is also
on hand as Lt. Speer, a long-time
acquaintance of Murphy's from their
days together on the force. He, too, is
looking for the gangsters. The mixture
starts to boil, and the result is City
Heat.
The story is by Sam Brown, and he
wrote the screenplay with Jospeh C.
Stinson. Mr. Brown, whose initials are
SOB, is a pseudonym for Blake Edwar-

ds, who was at one point going to direct
the movie. When he left, Richard Ben-
jamin of Racing with the Moon and My
Favorite Year took the helm. The story
he directs is typical for a gangster
movie, but carried a bit further.
One expects a few molls in a gangster
movie, and the movie has two of them.
Both are wonderfully mollish; the
parody is perfect. They both get kid-
napped at one point or another. They
both have an excessive concern for
their personal appearance. They both
tend to preen in front of their man. The
exception to some of the above is Jane
Alexander, as the Murphy and Swift
secretary. She is closer to what you ex-
pect to find in Humphrey Bogart's of-
fice. She does, however, get kidnapped.
What is a gangster movie without
tough-talking gangsters? The
gangsters here talk plenty tough, even
though they all seem like they could use
a high school equivalency diploma.
You expect shootouts and they, too,
are parodied perfectly. After a fairly
bloody one in an apartment building, a
tenant opens up his door, stares down at
a corpse bloodier than raw rack of lamb
and asks Eastwood if everything's all
right.
Even better is a biggie on the streets
of Kansas City. Both of the gangsters
searching for Burt Reynolds sent out a
pair of guys to fetch him. The four start
shooting at one another with occasional
pot-shots at Reynolds, who attempts to
dive from cover to cover. Clint East-
wood sits in his car and watches, until

someone hits his windshield. Then, out
comes the shotgun, and Eastwood
quickly picks all the gangsters off.
That is, of course, just what you ex-
pect from Dirty Harry. The parody of
Eastwood's tough cop is perhaps the
best thing about the movie. Eastwood is
right on the money. His lip is so stiff you
would think it had been starched before
filming each scene. He remains
carefully detached from everything un-
til he gets inconvenienced. And then he
gets mad. It makes his ire at having too
much sugar added to his coffee in Sud-
den impact seem like mild annoyance.
Eastwood calls Reynolds Short.
Reynolds calls Eastwood a neander-
thal. Just perfect.
Reynolds is not quite as good as
Eastwood. His face seems a bit too
plastic, the moustache a bit too unreal.
Reynolds is playing a role while East-
wood is his part. The two do work very
well together. They are obviously

friends engaged in some friendly com-
petition. The scene where they each
pull out progressively larger guns is
classic.
A lot of individual scenes in the
movie are classic. The film as a whole
is not. Benjamin does add a lot of nice
little touches to the movie, but is seems
to lack cohesiveness. Perhaps if the plot
had been even more far-fetched, or on
the opposite side, much tighter and
realistic, there would be something to
hold all the wonderful parody together.
As is, the film is enjoyable, and the
moments it does have are undeniably
good. It feels empty, though. No one
would sing that "the heat is on" about
this movie. City Heat is cold, to a cer-
tain extent. The molecules need more
kinetic energy. They need to bump into
each other a little more. The film needs
the manic nature of Top Secret or Air-
plane. It entertains, but I wish it had
just a little bit more.

COMING IN FEBRUARY!
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Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood team up as a pair of gangsters in the
comedy 'City Heat.' Go ahead, punk, make my day.

Records

The Replacements-Let It Be
(Twin/Tone Records)
The Replacements' new Let It Be LP,
their sixth release, marks a decided
return to the basics of rock 'n roll. It's
not new for them, they've been doing it
for 4 years now. But now more than
ever here is something any rock fan can
find solace and shelter with against the
synthetic and preprogrammed
menagerie of computer age sound, as
well as against make-up and leather of
dull-thud heavy metal. For anyone who
cried in their beer when Springsteen
came out with "Dancin' in the Dark",
here is an album as timeless as rock it-
self,; but oh-so-welcome in these
-musically confused times. Let It Be is
as mucli a profession of the band's
talent as it is homage paid to rock and
raw roots. The Replacements show
their extreme versatility while at the
same time proving they are no gim-
mick, just pure rock and roll. And a
whole lot of fun.
donsider the album's first single, "I
Will: Dare." This little ditty incor-
porates a subtle blend of country and

rock and even a guitar solo by none
other than R.E.M's Peter Buck. Before
you start screaming about an R.E.M.
copy, keep in mind the fun element. It's
a whole lot jumpier than anything
you're used to, especially R.E.M. And
that's just the point: the Replacements
take their Byrds heritage, like R.E.M.,
and work with it. Unlike R.E.M., the
Replacements aren't overwhelmed by
this influence. They play around with
it a little, coming up with something
that's as timeless and classic as it is
genuine and enjoyable. "I Will Dare"
has both the musical integrity and the
commercial appeal that make the
Replacements what the Village Voice
called "The Best Bar Band in
America."
A song later, and you're hearing the
brasher roots, the punk influence of the
teen years. "We're Comin' Out" comes
across as an energetic piece of punk
nostalgia, as a song that echoes the
chaos and speed, as well as the style
and sound of early Effigies. But once
again, here is no cover. A tempo shift
ano a jazzy, finger-snapping interlude
before a raw-energy finale in the song is

no punk contraption, but rather state-
of-the art Replacements.
And you're not going to find the teen-
age ravcousness and rock integrity of
"Gary's Got a Boner" or the
See RECORDS, Page 7
PIANO LESSONS
Classical, Pep, Rock, Jazz,
Improvisation, Composition
Performance, Technique, Theory,
Ear training, Music Literature,
Sight-reading, Recitals
All levels welcome,
guaranteed results.
First lesson Complimentary
call 994-0371 evenings
and ask for Mike

SAN OPPORTUNITY TO EARN EXTRA MONEY
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