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March 07, 1986 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-03-07
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WI

FILM

I

VINYL
Jones hits with a slice of 'Island Life'

Sexism still prevalent in '80s mox

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Grace Jones-Island Life - this earnest Brit trio who are so
Island) very fond of the old Motown groove.
But unlike most of their contem-
Grace Jones is not normal; neither is poraries - who will be better left un-
er music. For the listener who is un- named-this outfit, founded by
amiliar with her, Island Life is the (English) Beat alumni David Steele
erfect introduction, and Andy Cox is not as interested in
It is a 3-D sonic vibe so strong you retro-fashionability as it is in
an see it. It is both emotional and adhering to the school of craftman-
loof. It is microwave cooking ship associated with the early '60s
'ithout heat, yet she will fry you, all soul era. The results on this debut
he same. She can simultaneously album are perhaps a little less stellar
owl you over with frankness and than their aspirations, but at least
ubtlety at the same time. Island Life personable and pleasant enough to
a remixed collection of her greatest bring a slight smile to the faces of
its, from the exotic jungle of disco to those of us more than a little tired of
er own unique and austere new wave the indulgences of the Anglo pop
tyle. scene.
"La Vie en Rose" is a very melodic No drippy, pseudo poetics here. The
rench song, and if you played it for Cannibals cut compact, catchy soul-
4om, she might wonder where you tinged pop numbers that try to cap-
cquired a taste for European ture the simple eloquent honesty of
ulture. Play "I Need A Man" for her, the old masters like Smokey Robinson
nd she will think you sank back into and the Holland-Dozier-Holland
he late '70s disco craze, and if you team. The writing is lean and clean,
lay "Slave to the Rhythm," you will and even if the little variations on the
)tally blow her away. "My Jamaican timeless boy/girl theme fall short of
uy" has a very strong reggae beat, inspired-tunes like "Funny How
nd like all of Miss Jones' songs, you Love Is" don't deliver the ironic in-
ill catch yourself tapping your foot sight they allude to-they at least
hether you are aware of it or not, maintain an honest purity. And
By now you will wonder if Grace is Roland Gift's sweet vocals-imagine
rying out everything in the book just a younger, more anxious Otis Red-
o show off, or to find the perfect ding-give enough added weight to
enre for herself. She is doing both, carry the trick off.
nd succeeding phenomenally. She On the more "socially conscious"
as dabbled and impressed in so songs, like the single "Johnny Come
aany types of music that it is hard to Home" or "Move To Work" the em-
ay exactly what her best form is."I phasis is on capturing the tragedy of
[eed a Man" is the disco anthem of something like a runaway adolescent
e time, and "Private Life" as it affects one individual, rather
lustrates the apex of new wave chic. than in making some great, hazy,
In short, it does not matter how you ideologically fucked commentary a la
efine her music, she is indeed a slave Paul Weller.
the rhythm, and not the definition. This is a very pleasant record, the
;he is the Black Venus with a license tunes are catchy, Steele and Cox have
okill, and her music is as a rhythmic knack, and there are
langerously strong as her per- enough hooks to keep your ears
onality. Buy this record and fall in cocked to the speaker. But a little
ove with her. spontanaityand roughness wouldn't
hurt. The album is a little bit too cool.
--Mike Frank and jazzy and smooth in a way that
sometimes leans toward-but never
[he Fine Young Cannibals- sinks to-Sade like cocktail lounge
[he Fine Young Cannibals muzak, and the glossy, spotless
'I.RS.)production doesn't help by further
draining away any warmth.
They call themselves, with The Cannibals are then more a
efreshing candidness and self- band of potential than they are one of
eflation, The Fine Young Cannibals accomplishment, but you can tell

G RA CE J ON E S

/ I S L A N D L I F E

(kA
1

By Leslie Eringaard

SEXISM IS STILL a force to be
reckoned with in the media -
especially in movie theaters. The
danger of this is that motion pictures
are highly influential in the way
people perceive the world. Often, the
sexual stereotypes portrayed on film
are readily assigned to women in their
daily lives, with little regard for the
consequences.
There are many movies on the
market where women are portrayed
as sexual objects. As objects, there
women provide comic relief or
romantic interest, but they are rarely
defined with regard to anything
other than their sexuality. Oc-
cassionally, women have minor sup-
porting roles in which they are seen as
nearly asexual. Common to this
category are the stereotyped roles of
harried wife an mother-in-law.
One reason why these one-
dimensional characters are prevalent
on film is that many of the movies
produced today are essentially mid-
dle-aged male fantasies. (The people
who write and produce most of the
screenplays are, of course, middle
aged white males). Such productions
include such psuedo-comedies as
Blame it on Rio, starring Michael
Caine, and The Woman in Red, with
Gene Wilder. Unfortunately such'
movies sell. However, they rarely
win Academy Awards.
In The Woman in Red, a married
man develops a crush on an attractive
model-thin woman he sees standing
over an air vent in the sidewalk. She
is wearing a vivid red dress, and of
course the dress flies up above her
thighs. The women in red, enjoying
the experience immensely - and
perhaps thinking she is unobserved -
moves her hips and legs sensually.
The plot of The Woman in Red con-
sists of Gene Wilder's foolish and un-
successful attempts to get his love-
interest to meet with him. His wife is
a stolid and hardworking woman who
cannot possibly compete with the
'glorious creature' her husband is ob-
sessed with. However, the audience
never gets a good sense of the woman
in red's personality. She is there for
decoration only.
In the feature starring Michael
Caine, the plot is similarly about a
middle aged man who has fantasies
about making love to another woman.
The woman in this case is his best
friend's teenage daughter, who flings
herself at him constantly. They are
on a tropical vacation which includes
both families, minus the wives.
Michael Caine is put in the untenable
position of having to defend himself
against this aggressive and nubile
teenager he is attracted to.
The situations in the movie are
ridiculous and blatantly titillating;
most of the movie is devoted to the
teenager's attempts to seduce the
older man, and expose herself in
various stages of half-dress. The
dialogue is extremely unconvincing
and shallow. Why would she fall so
hard for her father's best friend, who

Merl Streep portrays Karen Dinesen as
is her best friend's father? Assuming
this is likely why would she be so
blatant about seducing him while her
own father is around? Michael
Caine's morality in this situation is
supposedly justified by his tem-
porary estrangement from his wife,
his initial attempts to remain true to
her, and the natural rebellion of a
teenager, who is possibly acting
against her own father.
Blatantly sexist movies are
steadily losing popularity although
movies often include sexist elements
as a matter of course. One
movie with a highly offensive sexist
content lasted less than a week in the
Ann Arbor area. The Longshot isn't about
womener se. It is about four beer-
guzzling, working-class guys who bet
on horses. The movie is a so-called
comedy starring Tim Conway and
Harvey Korman. The most objec-
tionable material in the movie is in
the portrayal of the wives and one rich
widow.
Stella Stevens as Nikki Dixon is the
"rich broad" who flaunts, her
sexuality, and goes after Tim Conway

courageous and able in 'Out of Africa.
them and they keep telling you how
good it will be when you're married.
And so you marry them - and then
what? Nothing." The movie seems
designed to denigrate the lower mid-
dle classes, though that is presumably
the audience it is trying to attract.
Fortunately the audience didn't bite.
Most movies are geared to a young
audience. The people who consisten-
tly buy the most tickets are in the age
range of 12 to 24 years. Repugnant
movies such as Porky's I or II
or Spring Break feature teenage boys
experimenting with their sexuality in
a crude and insensitive way. This
adolescent fare does little to educate
young men or women in the realities
of a true romantic involvement.
In many of the serial teen horror
flicks, such as Friday the 13th,
teenage girls are often slashed to
death immediately after a scene in
which they have removed most or all
of their clothing, and engaged in
sexual acts. This seems to imply a
perverted type of morality. These
young women are punished for beign
sexual beings, and they meet their
"just rewards."

"The cover of Grace Jones' greatest-hits a/bum.

r]
d

their hearts are in it. Unless I'm
wrong and this is just another "hey-
let's-form-a-band" venture this is a
group to keep a tab on. Not a great
record, but very a very nice one and
that's certainly enough sometimes.
-Byron Bull

BURGER
KING
vit"Aren't ou Hungry?TM
' KING COMBO ANN ARBOR i
Birwood Ml
One Whopper, (nexto movie theatre)
1 ~ large order of french fries ANN ARBOR 1
and medium soft drink 725 Victors Way .
Sfmoor only$2mf 39--
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Plasticland
Wonderful
(Pink Dust)

- Wonder
Wonderland

Gees, this is tiresome stuff. Gar-
bled, over-serious psychedelia with
leaden melodies and unintelligible
pseudo-mystical lyrics. The entire
disc seems entirely overblown, not
unlike most of the stuff it takes its in-
fluence from - post '67 psych, which
largely fell victim to artsy,
pretentious jamming and self-
conscious mysticism.
Typical of the problem with the disc
is "Gloria Knight", a boring jam
drained of its potential by drowning in
droned lyrics and distracting noise.
To make matters worse, the band sees
it fit to reprise it on side two at near
twice its original length. The remain-
der of side one sticks. .pretty much to
this kind of lame jamming, with the

notable exceptions of "Fairytale
Hysteria," which sounds a bit like
Love; and the near-witty (although
still wordy) lyrics of "Gingerbread
House," which clearly indicates that
Plasticland has indeed been indulging
in a little sugarcube now and then.
Side two thankfully lightens up a bit
at its outset. "Flower Scene" is by far
the best track. It's a nice poppy
defense of the groovy underground to
which Plasticland belongs, devoid of
the self-serious attitude and empty
jams which characterize the other
tracks. "Process of the Silverness" is
also lighter-handed, although
lyrically garbled and therefore not
particularly compelling. "Non-stop
Kitchen" also nears swellness. It's a
chaotic dada pop tune that advises
"Don 't be attacked by the
spoon ". Really. Must've been some
trip.
- The remainder of the tracks, which
include the "Gloria Knight" reprise,
the title track, and "Grassland of
Reeds and Things" (Redundant,
huh?), sink disappointingly into self-
indlugent, unappealing jamming.
Sure, Wonder Wonderful Won-
derland succeeds at being very heavy
and trippy and all, but completely
lacks the coherence that would make

it listenable and interesting. A little
moderation next time out would do
Plasticland some good.
- Julie Jurrjens
Classic Ruins -
Lassie Kills Chickens
(Throbbing Lobster)
For all of you who are despairing
over the Del Fuegos' new-found, big-
time commercial success, the Boston
scene has produced yet another good
rock outfit to relieve you of those bar-
band blues. Yes, Classic Ruins are
here to help you through that bottle of
beer - especially if it happens to be a
Labatts (the title of one of their
songs). On the whole, Lassie Kills
Chickens is packed with average to
above average rock and roll tunes, the
playing - not songwriting - accoun-
ting for that which is above. average.
The Ruins are accomplished rockers.
The jamming is tight, and guitar-
noisy. "Geraldine I Need Money
(more than I need you)" is perhaps
the strongest cut. It writhes, squirms,
and kicks its way off the vinyl. The
only thing to hold it down are the
vocals, which are a bit muddy at
See VINYL, Page 5

Yentl was an extremely ambitious give
project. It was directed, produced, H
starred and sung in by Babra ties
Streisand. The movie is a work Pur
of art. It delves into the story of a unf
Jewish woman who desires, above all unfc
else, to study the Talmud - this
something that was forbidden to her the
as a woman in her time. After the Alic
death of her father, Yentl disguises sitiA
herself as a young man so that she can real
become a scholar and study. The last sorr
scene has Barbra as Yentl taking a trea
boat to America where she feels she mai
will be allowed to be both a scholar to t
and a woman. den
Although Swing Shift and Yentl are Pec
both movies of high quality, they did diti
not receive as many favorable cha
reviews as Scarface and Cotton Club, The
two extremely violent and macho ex- eno
travaganzas. Evidently, some film the.
critics and part of the movie-going rap
public are uneasy about movies that gen
contain feminist and progressive sub- wh(
ject matter. They feel uncomfotable rev
with movies which don't fit the stan- hur
dard formulas, or contain elements ren
that people have come to expect, no It
matter how distasteful. This is in part con
why Swing Shift, though by far a better sex
movie did not get as much publicity or an
praise as Scarface, and why Barbra exa
Streisand got no Academy Award fen
nominations for the movie she had a
hand in every aspect of production of. tree
Amy Irving did get nominated for pro
Best Supporting Actress in Yentl and Ev(
won. She was excellent in her role, in
but she played a frail and ver har
feminine woman who was taught to be tie(
beautiful and please her man well. ma
The most feminist movie out now, sys
The Color Purple, is creating a tun
backlash. Steven Speilberg, who took ma
a chance on this novel project after cur
such sensational fare as Raiders of be
the Lost Ark, was snubbed in the rer
Academy Award nominations. Ev
Speilberg is generally out of favor in ce.
Hollywood, although the movie is still ts i

with a knife in a whirlpool. This scene
has little or no relation to the plot of
the movie and it only included for UMEROUS MOVIES that have
titillation. One of the wives in Lonig come out in the '80's are not sexist,

Shot is a thinnish shrew of a woman
who constantly nags at her husbandl
and wears curlers in her hair around
the house. The other wife is por-
trayed as a fat, dull-witted slob who
serves her husband American food
such as Wonderbread, some kind of
.meat or beans, and instant chocolate
pudding for desert - complete with
an empty can of Dreamwhip. A third
wife is mentioned in passing. She died
when she stuck a fork in the toaster.
Her husband mentioned her sen-
timentally when he said she "lit up"
his life. He also said he would never
marry again: "All broads are alike,"
he complained. "When you're going
out with them they won't let you touch

and some have progressive content
like Tootsie, Micki and Maude, The
Breakfast Club, and even
Deesperately Seeking Susan. A few of
the movies that came out in the '80's
are actually quite feminist. Two
examples of movies that could be
labeled as such are Swing Shift and
Yentl.
Goldie Hawn directed, produced.
and starred in Swing Shift. This
movie deals with the women who took
on the traditionally masculine jobs in
the factories during WWII. It is an en-
tertaining movie, romantic and
spunky, and generally enjoyed by its
audiences - though perhaps not as
enjoyed as much by the critics.

4 Weekend-March 7, 1986

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