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January 16, 1985 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-01-16

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Wednesday, January 16, 1985

Talent can't save Dangerously

By Emily Montgomery
ohnny Dangerously comes
dangerously close to being one of
the worst pictures of 1984, or any other
year for that matter. Directed by Amy
Heckerling, (Fast Times at Ridgemont
High) J.D. makes a feeble attempt of
parodying the Gangster films of the 30s.
The idea was a good one, but, unfor-
tunately, that's where it ended.
The makers of Johnny Dangerously
have achieved the believed impossible
in producing a comedy so rich in comic
talent, (Michael Keaton, Joe Piscopo,
Danny "Taxi" DeVito, Peter "Young
Frankenstein" Boyle and even a guest
appearance by Dom DeLuise) yet so
lacking in humor. If they were trying to
see how far a good cast could get them
without a decent script, I guess they got
their answer. Not far.
Michael Keaton, most recently seen
in Mr. Mom, plays the title role, Johnny
"Did you know your last name is an ad-
verb?" Dangerously, the clean-cut man
about town who's everybody's hero, but
doubles as a gangster to earn the
money for his mother's pancreas

operation, and her spleen operation,
and her arthritis treatment and her...
This is one of the many fascinating run-
ning jokes the film uses that becomes
less funny and more annoying with
each repetition. The writers of J.D.
have used the subtle approach to
humor, if the audience doesn't laugh
the first time a joke is made, they hit us
over the head with it another 50 to 75
times and see if we'll laugh then. It's a
wonderful technique to bring audiences
to their knees. And by the end of Johnny
Dangerously that's right where I was,
begging for the film to be over.
Griffin Dunne (the decaying corpse
from American Werewolf in London)
plays Johnny's younger brother Tom-
my. Johnny puts Tommy through Law
School with some more of the money
from his, ahem, "business". Tommy
has no idea of Johnny's true occupation,
so when he.gets appointed District At-
torney and immediately goes about
cracking down on the local crime rings,
Johnny finds himself with a decision to
make. He either has to stop his brother,
or turn himself in. The later becomes
even harder to do when Johnny is

framed for murder by his arch-rival
Danny Vermin, played by Joe Piscopo
(S.N.L.). Vermin wants to gain control
over the gang that Johnny is presently
head of.
Piscopo is wickedly slick as Vermin.
Unfortunately his best line has been
given away in the coming attractions,
"You shouldn't hang me on a hook. My
father hung me on a hook once. Once!"
So, if you've already seen that, there's
no point in wasting $4 to see the other
35 times it is repeated in the film.
Keaton is, of course, adorable as the
wide-eyed Johnny Dangerously, but in
a comedy, adorable just isn't enough.
Johnny Dangerously just isn't funny. In

fact, I've seen funnier Love Boat
episodes.
If I had read the script to this loser
before its shooting, (and, believe me, I
think it should be shot) I would have
advised Keaton and Piscopo to ad lib a
little. It might not have helped the
results too much, but it sure wouldn't
have hurt. In fact, one wonders why
they didn't think of it themselves. Joe
Piscopo explains, "Basically we played
it straight because the lines and the plot
were so crazy. You won't seen much of
the spontaneous stuff on the screen."
What a shame, because without it,
Johnny Dangerously plays like a
broken record.

Joe Piscopo and Michael Keaton shortly after the reviews of their new movie
were published. Piscopo blamed Keaton and attempted to kill him, but his
gun was quickly wrestled away by members of the lighting crew.

Books
Remaking Ilbieca
- Susan Friend Harding
(University of North Carolina
Press)
re you romantic, or are you prag-
matic? Either/or, Susan Friend
Harding's book, Remaking Ibieca,
presents a view of rural Spanish culture
and the changes imposed on it by the
evolving economic structure, against
the lively narratives of real people in
the village. History comes alive
'though these people, and -their
narratives show how the children of
Ibieca do not understand how their grand-
dparents lived, what it was like to
depend intimately on the land, the
.=weather, one's kin and neighbors, or to
know death as a vivid presence in the
village.-
The romantic culture of traditional
Spain is the fabric through which the
economic structure snakes and even-
tually pushes aside. These people's
narratives are terrifically important to
the history of their town, Ibieca. Ms.
Harding states, "People, not struc-

tures, make both society and history.
History is structured - peoples do not
make it exactly as they please - and in
making history people also remake
social structures." Another advantage
to these narratives is that they make
the book read more on the lines of a
novel: quick, easy, and memorable. It
is not dry or boring. Remaking Ibieca
is about how the people of this village
remake their social structures, their
traditional lifestyles, in order to cope
with a new economic regime.
"As I interpret these histories,
villagers dismantled peasant and pre-
industrial forms of agricultural produc-
tion and constructed a form of
mechanized capitalist production
through a series of discrete, individual
decisions during the 1950s and 1960s."
Ms. Harding firmly believes that the
ramifications of many of these
decisions (relating to the capitalist
reform) were unforeseen and uninten-
ded by the villagers, whose common
goal was the survival and property of
the casa (their homes)." The peasants
traded a traditional culture for a
capitalist economic system. Because
the decisions by the peasants were un-

foreseen, the peasants could form no
rational expectations on how exactly
the capitalist economy would change
their lives or what they would lose.
They had no knowledge upon which to
make an educated choice between
traditional and modern economies.
This imperfect information put the
peasants at the mercy of the gover-
nment and thus the market forces, and,
according to Ms. Harding, radically
changed the traditional lifestyle of the
Spanish village of Ilbieca.
Ms. Harding uses agricultural tran-
sformation in Ilbieca as a graphic
analysis of the Spanish economic
change from peasant to capitalist, or
modern. Ms. Harding joins John
Berger of Pig Earth in arguing that the
historic role of capitalism is to "destroy
history to sever every link with the
past, and to orient all effort and
imagination to that which is about to
occur." The analysis of Remaking
Ilbieca is one based on the destruction
of a traditional lifestyle by capitalist
forces. Ms. Harding traces this
destruction by portraying, through
humanistic narratives, the decline of
traditional agricultural systems to ones

of more modern or Westernized
systems.
One of the most valuable aspects to
Remaking Ilbieca is its ability to
provoke thought, to force the issue. It
makes one question definitions, formal
academic training, history, and even
logical thought. Throughout the book is
the central theme of capitalism being
the prime motivating force for change
in Ilbieca.
In any event, Ms. Harding's book
presents a very persuasive view of her
arguments. It reads fast, raises
questions as it teaches history and
culture, and is also entertaining. Susan
Friend Harding is associate professor
of anthropology here at the University
of Michigan. She is also co-editor of
Statemaking and Social Movements:
Essays in History and Theory.

THE SCHOOL OF ART
ON NORTH CAMPUS IS PLEASED TO
ANNOUNCE OPENINGS IN SOME BASIC COURSES
Registration for the following classes can
be done at CRISP, 17Angell. We will welcome your participation.
AVAILABLE COURSES:
Art 102 Figure Drawing, section 005, TTh 7:00 - 10:00p
Art 103 Two Dimensional Design, section 002, TThS 10:30 - 12:30
Art 103 Two Dimensional Design, section 003, MWF 10:30 - 12:30
Art 211 and 212, Life Drawing, section 002, TTHS 8:30 - 10:30
Art 217, Aqueous Media, section 001, TThS 10:30 - 12:30
Art 217, Aqueous Media, section 002, TTh 1:30 - 4:30
Art 218, Aqueous Media, section 001, MWF 1:30 - 3:30

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Soundstag
K This Thursday night, the U-Club in
*,the Michigan Union will host a special
Coffee House. Sponsored by Soun-
dstage, the night will feature enter-
tainment by local artists and
musicians's; specials on coffee drinks;
and door prizes. Doors will open at
8:00p.m., with the entertainment
beginning at 8:30 and ending around
12:30. There will be a cover charge of
$1.75 at the door.
The featured artists of the evening
are five original Ann Arbor acts. They
include: Suzie Knoop and Gary Adler,
UNDERCLASSMEN
HOPWOOD
Academy of Amerb
Bain-Swiggett Priz
Michael R. Guttern
Roy W. Cowden M

e to host coffeehouse

a piano and voice duet; Mark Aven-
marg, a classical pianist; Eric Shapiro,
a piano and voice soloist; Pat Lambros
and Lesley Kranz, a piano and voice
duet; and Jeff Theuer and Stuart Mc-
Cubrey, a folk guitar duet. The evening
should allow for both an opportunity to
visit with friends and to appreciate
some Ann Arbor artists.
Ann Arbor merchants are providing
door prizes and prizes for the artists.
All of the acts will be receiving a prize.
Ticket stubs will be given at the door
and numbers will be drawn throughout
1985
AWARDS

the evening. The prizes will include gif-
ts certificates to local stores. Two main
contributors of the prizes include the
East Quad Music Co-op and Music
Mart.
Soundstage is part of UAC and was
created as a stage outlet for new local
artists and musicians to give them an
opportunity to perform. This Coffee
House is part of a series of creative
events like previous Coffee Houses and
Jazz nights that are helping to give
these acts much-needed experience.
Anyone interested to learn more about
Soundstage and its activities, or in-
terested in performing in their events
can contact Carol Balluff or Rich
Meyers at 763-1107.
- Melanie Ulbrich
( SAT.& SUN.FIRST MATINEE ONLY $2.00
HE'S NOT JUST ANOTHER
OUT-OF-TOWNER!
JOHN SAYLES BEST FILM YET!
DAILY 8:30 P.M.

can Poets Prize
e
man Award
[emorial Fellowship

Poetry Reading by
DONALD HALL

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DIRECTED BY JONATHAN DEMME
THE TALKING HEADS

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Author of
The Alligator Bride
Kicking the Leaves
String Too Short to Be Saved

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Wednesday, January 16, 4:00p.m.
RACKHAM AUDITORIUM

DAILY 6:50,10:30 P.M.
TOGETHER THEY MAY FIND
THE STRENGTH TO KEEP THEIR
WAY OF LIFE ALIVE!

f.

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