By Sarah Ellin Siegel
Most of us saw an "ABC After
School Special" or two on the
television some distant afternoon back
in our adolescence. The uniform style
was simple to recall: each week we
were presented with a modest charac-
ter who needed to be cheered on, told
with a little dose of safe humour, and an
ending that left us (superficially)
satisfied. Imagine what thoughts run
through the audience's minds when, at
the opening credits of The Flamingo
Kid, the ABC Motion Pictures logo ap-
pears. Might we expect something
along the lines of Scott Baio in The Boy
Who Drank Too Much? Such speculation
is quickly confirmed.
Set in Brooklyn and Far Rockaway in
the summer of 1963, it stars Matt Dillon,
Richard Crenna, Hector Elizo, and
Jessica Walter. The film marks Dillon's
first screen comedy, and his most im-
pressive acting performance to date,
which is the best reason to see the film.
He manages to display far more than
his stock teen idol good looks, and por-
trays Jeffrey Willis, the 18-year-old
Brooklyn-bred gin rummy afficianado
with such authenticity that he's never
doubted. His Brooklyn accent is right,
his humming as he chews his dinner
charming, and his duality as a savvy
card player and ingenious idol seeker
with perfect proportion. To be sure. in
his shoulder defining El Flamingo polo
shirts, web belt, and cotton chinos
Dillon is also nice to just look at.
Janet Jones, as Carla Samson, Jef-
frey's summer love, is likewise im-
pressive. Samson's acting is decent
enough, considering her main prior ex-
perience before the camera was as a
dancer for five seasons of Dance Fever,
but her most inspired feature is her
physique, probably the most beautiful
female physique to grace the screen in
So The Flamingo Kid is a few notches
racier than any T.V. show, but its
themes are essentially the same. Jef-
frey, a plumber's son bound for Colum-
bia University, lands a summer job at
the El Flamingo, a beach club for the
nouveau riche. There he meets the high
class bum Phil Brody, a sports car
dealer magnate who seems to spend
virtually all his time playing gin at the
club, and is something of an unbeatable
legend at the table. Brody takes a liking
to the young, wide-eyed Jeffrey, and
takes him under his wing. Jeff
absolutely idolizes him. Along with a
few card tricks, he begins to offer ad-
vice that undermines the plumber's
dreams for a college educated son.
During a joy* ride in Brody's dealer
plated Ferrari, he tells the boy that
college is a waste of time. He compares
his financial status to that of his brother
in law who made the Michigan Law
Review but is scraping by on a mere
$20,000 a year.
"Forget literature, religion, music,
philosophy... things like that," Brody
tells the boy, "You've never seen a
philosopher driving a car like this.
Socrates rode around on a donkey."
Jeffrey tries to come to grips with the
conflicting values of his fathers,
Brody's, his own vague dreams, and the
decision that will presumably affect the
course of his life.
There's nothing deeply satisfying
about The Flamingo Kid, partly due to
insufficient character development,
and partly because, with the exception
of Brody's quip about the value of an
education, the script is pretty tepid. But
it does do one thing, and that's arouse
the sympathy of its audience, who get a
few good laughs and leave (if super-
ficially) satisfied with the experience.
The Michigan Daily -Friday, January 18, 1985 - Page 7
w how you feel with.
higan Daily Personals
Matt Dillon, the Flamingo Kid, romps in the surf with his dreamgirl Carla
Ashkenazy concert disappoints
By Mike Gallatin
Vladimir Ashkenazy is currently
nearing the completion of recordings of
the complete piano music of Chopin.
Yet, rather than proceeding by genres
as it is usually done, he is progressing
in chronological order. This may have
had something to do with his somewhat
lackluster and uninspired rendition of
Chopin at Hill auditorium Tuesday
Firstly, he is undoubtably ac-
customed to the absolute silence of the
recording studio. Surely the sneezing,
coughing, and even crying baby during
his performance didn't aid him in his
concentration. He was noticeably
distracted at critical musical moments
by the extraneous noise in the concert
hall. Secondly, while his execution of
thopin's fourth ballade was impec-
kable technically, it nonetheless was
lacking in energy and bordered on a
schoolbook interpretation. Everything
on the surface was in order yet the final
:result was a faithfulness to the letter of
the music but not the spirit. One almost
had the feeling there was someplace
else he'd rather be-like in a recording
istudio finishing up the exhaustive
project of the complete Chopin piano
But there was something more subtle
wrong with the fourth ballade. The
structure of the four ballades is loosely
based on the sonata form. Chopin was
innovative and expressed his tragic
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genius and individuality best in the
narrative freedom afforded by the
ballade. Of the second ballade Robert
Schumann was known to say that "it
would inspire a poet to write words to
it." From James Huneker's introduc-
tion in the Schirmer's edition of the
music to Harold Schonberg of The New
York Times, just such an undertaking
has not yet ceased. Ashkenazy sees the
ballades as the drama of Chopin's long
exile, of his suffering and his
homesickness and the ultimate
spiritual odyssey that is every great
man's fate. At the very least a suc-
cessful performance of the ballade
must express, beyond the pyrotechnics
and virtuosity, a certain dark in-
trospection, a melancholy moodiness
and emotion that is more passionate
than philosophical. Most importantly, a
sense of immense silence before and af-
ter the music must be conveyed so that
the final interpretation be left to the
imagination of the listener. In a sense,
the ballade is all the genres wrapped up
in one but with a paradoxical, tran-
scendent unity which Ashkenazy
Nonetheless his superb musicianship
was always evident and the Nocturnes,
Impromptu, and Scherzo were master-
fully performed. His most recent
career change to that of part-time con-
ductor has affected the interpretations
in a positive manner. There is a curious
detachment of the man from the music
which allows these songs without words
to speak for themselves without the in-
terference of mannerisms or over-
statement. The works were sparsely
pedalled, the lyricism displayed with a
fresh simplicity, and the left hand kept
time metronomically with just the
slightest intrusion of nuance and rubato
in the right.
Ashkenazy's leaning toward and pen-
chant for Rachmaninoff becomes a
fascinating study in comparison and
contrast to Chopin. The Variations on a
Theme by Corelli by Rachmaninoff is a
formidable work of great invention.
Like his Variations on a Theme by
Paginnini there is an underlying sym-
phonic quality in the background,
giving the piece prime candidacy for
orchestration. Similarly, Rach-
maninoff's Six Etudes-Tableaux
possess a musculine, non-sentimental
edge which is sometimes lacking in the
salon music of Chopin.
As concert pianist, recording artist,
chamber musician, and guest conduc-
tor Ashkenazy is rapidly becoming one
of the most prominent forces in the
world of classical music.
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" A NA1 A:! -
Is passive smoking more
than a minor nuisance
or real annoyance?.
That's a broad and vague statement being made in a nation-wide, multi-
million dollar campaign by R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.
For those who are fortunate not to have a chronic lung or heart disease,
who don't suffer from allergies, or who may not have an acute respiratory
illness that may be true. However, medical evidence is conclusive: passive
smoking is injurious to a large number of individuals - young and old, rich
and poor, and from any ethnic group.
FRI., MON. 5:00,6:50,10:30
SAT., SUN. 3:10, 5:00, 6:50,10:30
TOGETHER THEY MAY FIND
THE STRENGTH TO KEEP THEIR
WAY OF LIFE ALIVE!
SISSY SPACEK G
From the Director of "On Golden Pond"
FRI., MON. 5:00, 7:30, 9:45
SAT.. SUN. 12:50, 5:15, 7:30, 9:45
'I -V u .25ttJ 4AT YOU
CoMVAt? BAd' ur/AID t NT ti
5 Ma .cT i 0N A K~tOLL3."'
Smoking is legal, no question about that.
But who has the right in a public place to
give some innocent bystander what the to-
bacco industry down plays as a "minor nui-
sance" or "real annoyance"?
According to the tobacco industry, smok-
ing is a personal decision made by adults.
Unfortunately the sidestream smoke from a
cigarette, pipe or cigar becomes public, af-
fecting everyone around, and therefore
should be subject to certain rules, controls
and laws to protect people in public places.
If we can have laws to protect us from
outdoor air pollution, why not for indoor
pollution from toxic tobacco smoke?
The tobacco industry complains about nonsmokers: "Total strangers feel
free to abuse us verbally in public without warning." That's usually the re-
sult when someone assaults another, and being forced to breathe another's
tobacco smoke is considered assault.
The majority of Americans are nonsmokers. There's something wrong
with the system when those in the minority can have such a drastic effect
on the majority ... and that's what so often happens when smokers' sides-
tream smoke invades the public air space of nonsmokers.