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March 18, 1986 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-03-18

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ARTS

C

The Michigan Daily

Tuesday, March

18, 1986

Page S

'Mediocre cornball

By Seth Flicker
There are few young directors who
have an impact comparable to
that of Ron Howard. His films have all
been big successes with the young as
well as the older audiences. From the
dark horse-turned-hit Night Shift to
the mega-money-makers Splash and
Cocoon, Howard hits hard with
creativity and imagination.
Unfortunately, Howard's new film,
Gung Ho is one of those films that
moves fast but goes nowhere. There is
always something happening in this
film, but it becomes a dead end street.
Thus, there is only so far the film can
go before it becomes completely im-
mobile.
This movie, like Howard's past
movies, makes use of the alien. This
is when unusual people enter the
seemingly normal life of the other
characters in the movie. This theme
was seen in Nightshift in which the
aliens (in this case-prostitutes) en-
ter into the ordinary life of Michael
Keaton and Henry Winkler. It was
again seen in Splash (mermaid
meets produce distributor) and in
Cocoon (essentric elderly and aliens).
Gung Ho employs this theme as well,
but the aliens this time are the
Japanese.
Gung Ho involves itself with a Pen-
nyslvanian auto company which goes

under. Michael Keaton plays Hunt
Stevenson, an all-American go-up-
and-get-'em type of guy who travels to
Tokyo to try to convince a Japanese
auto firm to take over the company.
When the Japanese accept this plan,
they're in for more than they
bargained for. The often stereotyped
"unfun and hard-working" Japanese
clash head-on with the so-called laid
back and irrespectable Americans.
This erupts into a war of traditions
and egos.
The movie starts off on the right
foot: funny lines, intriguing plot and
interesting characters. However, as
the film progresses, the lines and plot
become sappy and corn-ball and the
interest in the characters just drops.
Keaton is his ususal self in this pic-
ture: aloof and biting. We have seen
this type of Keaton in both Mr. Mom
and Johnny Dangerously but it just
doesn't work in this film. It wasn't
that Keaton was completely
wrong for this part, it just seemd that
he felt uncomfortable in it. The lines
were unmalleable and dry. This is sur-
prising because Lowell Ganz and
Babaloo Mandel, who wrote Gung
Ho, also wrote the screenplays for
Splash and Nightshift.
Gedde Watanabe (Sixteen Candles)
who plays Kazahiro, is a much-needed
breath of fresh air in this picture.
Kazahiro is the Japanes executive
who is put in charge of the American

auto plant. This part is both humorous
and touching and it seems as if
Watanabe is really enjoying it.
Keaton and Watanabe have the same
part in the movie; they are respon-
sible for bridging the gap between the
Japanese and American cultures. But
the reason Watanabe succeeds over
Keaton is probably due to the writing.
Watanabe's lines are crisp and clean
and they have a strong impact.
For the most part, the supporting
cast is quite excellent. Soh
Yamamura plays the head of the
Japanese auto company. Though a
small-part, Yamamura executes it
with finesse and strength. Sab
Shimono plays the ass-kissing
Japanese executive set on his own
methods to get things done. This was
perhaps the most difficult character
to play, but Shimono gave a forceful
delivery.
Since the whole movie is quite cor-
nball, Gungo Ho is the type of movie
which teenagers would find dull and
adults would find juvenile. This is
where Howard gets himself into a
dead end. It seems that in trying so
hard to appeal to every kind of
audience, he has backfired. Howard,
no doubt, is a fine director: creative
and powerful. And one can see in
Gung Ho that because he tried a little
bit too hard, he came out with an
awkward and flimsy film.

Michael Keaton comes up against a cultural clash in Ron Howard's new film, Gung Ho.

Play gives cross signals

By Lauren Schreiber
COLLEGE STUDENTS today seem
to have an endless fascination
with the '60s: the music, the drugs,
the high ideals. Last weekend, the
University Players examined life in
the '60s with the production of Moon-
children, Michael Weller's comic
drama about a group of college
students living together at this time.
Taken from his own college ex-
periences during this time, Weller
presents a more critical look at the
'60s than mast people are perhaps ac-
customed tG. Moonchildren is a
disparaging ivok at a group of
idealistic students who pick on each
other at the same time that they
preach peace for the world. In spite of
their visionary ideas, they cannot
agree on whose hamburgers are in the
icebox.
Weller's play, although helpful in
dispelling the many myths about the
'60s, is overdramatic and his message
overly obvious. Because it is mainly a
comedy, the few serious moments in

the play did not blend in well with the
rest. The extremely depressing and
serious ending left the audience num-
bed and shocked after all the comedy
that preceded it.
In spite of the faults in their
material, the University Players
produced a good show. Director
William Wright avoided the many pit-
falls of directing in greno; not one of
the four sides were cheated in their
view of the stage.
For the most part, the acting was
believable, though the best perfor-
mances came from the minor charac-
ters. Brian Abbrecht and Darrious
Hilmon practically stole the show in
their respective roles of the landlord
and the plumber, as did Laura
Romanoff in the role of Shelly, a
friend of the students. Ethan Franzel
as Mike and his cohort, Craig Neuman
Free Intensive on
SELF-DISCOVERY
MICHIGAN LEAGUE
Henderson Room
Sun., March 23 - 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Public Invited

as Cootie, were also excellent and
brought a lot of humor into the show.
The costumes, set, and background
music added a lot to the production,
creating a realistic atmosphere, yet
full of nostalgia.

BLOOM COUNTY
al na...
/
Watch for it in

An under-the-table scene from the University Players production of Moonchildren, peformed last week at the
Trueblood Theater.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Fabbal and Myth-

W'

By arwulf arwulf

W HETHER he's appearing with
the Griot Galaxy, in trio per-
formance with Anthony Holland and
A. Spencer Barefield, with Roy
Brooks' Aboriginal Percussion Choir,
or as leader of his own Myth-World
Rhythm Troupe, Tani Tabbal is un-
deniably the man to watch.
He has a presence, a glowing grace
about him that catches the eye and
warms the heart. This man, with his

Ua

strummed a Kora; Modibo Keita,
congas; Robert Allison, vibes,
marimba and xylophone; Fahali
Igbo, bass, and James Dupree,-guitar
& violin.
It was an evening of wonderment.
Vieux sang a blues in African, which
the rest of the band, donning stetsons
and pimp hats for effect, translated
into English: You got to go back/go
back/go back to where you from.
This was effective as a mingling of
Detroit and African realities. They
covered a wide spectrum of textures,
including Funk, Reggae, (with Tani
singing "No Lies"), and pure Pan-
African percussion. Perhaps the
highest point was reached near the
end of the evening, when five of them
marched out front with immense
drums suspended from their bodies
and drummed us to a lather, in-
creasing the velocity of the rhythm
and chanting loudly, 'til we stood and
cheered. This is the primal state of the
drums, by the way it's meant to be
done, the tribal assembly.
The Myth-World Rhythm Troupe
has issued a tape of their performance
at the DIA last year, entitled Tribute
to Mjumbe. Mjumbe is Roy Brooks. I
first saw these brothers get them-
selves together in a troupe when the
Aboriginal Percussion Choir ap-
peared at the Michigan League
Ballroom. They have prospered and
grown into a terrifically inspiring

orld unite
band of improvisors, and their tape
should be available here in Ann Arbor
in the near future.
For more information contact
PJ's Used Records, or the Creative
Arts Collective at 16641 Princeton
DetrQit, MI 48221.
HENRY RUSSEL
LECTURE FOR 1985-86
THOMAS M.
DONAHUE
Professor of Atmospheric
and Oceanic Sci.nce
"THE ORIGIN AND
EVOLUTION OF THE
ATMOSPHERES AND
OCEANS OF EARTH
AND VENUS"
TUESDAY,
MARCH 18
4:00 p.m.

TEST-
YOUR
SKILL.

U

dreadlocks and beautiful smile, im-
mediately summons a vision of An-
cient Ethiopia. He lifts his sticks with
the sweet loft of a dancer, com-
municates his joy with the exacting
gesticulations of a skilled mime.
Saturday night Tani appeared at the
Detroit Institute of the Arts with the
Myth-World Rhythm Troupe, con-
sisting of Vieux Diop, a small power-
ful man who sang in African and

., - _ .
_.

N

ISRAEL INFORMATION

r

Thursday, March 20,

10:00 - 5:00 p.m.

PF 0000-0,
i .60

.

I

ovyrri. v in Toronl n vv-mr %f a* Av Vihh~r-Y

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