The Michigan Doily
Wednesday, October 8, 1986
............. ... .. .
commits cinematic crime
By Katherine Hansen
Maybe filmgoers can sit through
another pretentious tale of truth,
honor, and the good-over-evil
philosophy that is-ahem-un-
quely American. Then again, maybe
they can't, especially if the tale in
question is American Justice.
Parker Stevenson returns from
long-lost "Hardy Boys" fame as
pretty-boy police officer Dave,
perhaps a more mature law enforcer
than Frank Hardy, but still wet
behind the ears. Enter his city
slicker friend Joe (Jack Lucarelli),
and shucks-a dark cloud soon rains
over their friendly reunion. When
Joe accidentally sees Dave's part-
ner- bad-ass, tough-talking Jake
(Gerald McRaney)-kill a young
Mexican woman, the war is on.
Joe is frustrated; so much so that he
confronts Jake with his accusation,
earning troublemaker status.
American Justice's success
is imperiled from moment one
because the filmmaker's vision is
hopelessly obstructed. For in-
stance, audience sympathy for a
Mexican woman is irrevocably
impaired as we see her first forced
into slavery and then brutally shot.
This slow-motion scene fails to
stir our emotions because it nearly
reeks of the anachronistic American
win-at-all-cost philosophy. We
spend more time wondering why
Jake and his conspirators resemble
cold automatons than we do
contemplating the horror of their
actions. What should have been a
central issue is just barely ad-
dressed, and from a shallow, re=,
moved stance at that.
American Justice owes its
failure only in part to its superficial
treatment of a salient issue because
the American win-at-all-costs
philosophy is not the film's only
anachronism. Prevalent throughout
are stereotypes that are more ap-
propriate to the an old Western than
to an Arizona of the 80s. The
citizens of this tumbleweed town
speak in hick drawls so profound
that we would rather laugh than
gain a true understanding of
contemporary southwest culture.
Dave's wife Jess talks only of
raising children in the country.
Stereotypes plague Joe's character
as well; here he is, pa'dner, the city
boy who comes here and wants to
change the way y'all do thangs.
Let's not forget madman Jake, who
pulls a knife on Jess as effortlessly
as he pulls the hair of his braless
bimbo girlfriend. And then there's
poor Dave, who we might expect to
play corruption-buster but who
instead whimpers when his ideals
are trampled in the dust.
The fatal blow is Joe's
tranformation from L.A.P.D. offi-
cer by day, Riverton County
vigilante by night. At the film's
conclusion, we see a laughable
icon: there stands Joe, illuminated
by the fog, victorious in his fight
to preserve American justice. This
image of Joe is a symbol of what
this film failed to accomplish: we,
as audience members cannot make
moral choices about the film when
there are none to make. Is Jake any
more wrong in his actions than
Joe? By now we don't care,
probably because the filmmakers
didn't care much to begin with.
Behind the Arches
BY JOHN F. LOVE
Just when you thought you
couldn't stomach one more cor -
porate success book, the real story
behind the hamburgers is served.
Love's book cannot be dismissed so
easily, however. The McDonald's
story is one that should be told.
McDonald's is as much an
American success story as it is one
of innovative entrepreneurial
The story begins in 1940 with
Dick and Mac McDonald opening a
drive-in in San Bernardino. The
growth and expansion of the
McDonald's concept and franchise is
documented to date: 1986 opens
restaurants in South Korea, Turkey,
Argentina, and Yugoslavia. A
major part of the McDonald's story
and Love's book is Ray Kroc.
Ray Kroc was a gifted salesman
who worked for the McDonald
brothers in developing franchises.
Kroc was a disciplinarian,
motivator, and visionary of sorts.
He allowed franchisees to become
rich before he did. He developed a
closed, self-supply system, unheard
of in the restaurant business. Love
evaluates Kroc's major significance
and claims: "All three elements of
the McDonald's system--fran -
chisees, corporate managers, and
suppliers--represent more than
2,500 independent companies, and
Kroc skillfully bonded them into
one family with a common purpose
... .Kroc's notion of a fair and
balanced franchise partnership is
without question his greatest
legacy." A discussion of Kroc is as
much about general entrepreneurial
skills as it is about the specifics of
the McDonald's organization.
Love's style fits the content.
After several years of research, he
offers statistics upon statistics. For
example, McDonald's, as a result of
chicken Mcnuggets, has become the
second largest purveyor of chicken.
Furthermore, if McDonald's served
Pepsi instead of Coke, Coke brand's
eight percentage-point lead over
Pepsi would be nearly cut in half.
Love points out many industries
affected by McDonald's.
Besides the many statistics,
Love effectively balances the book .
with comments and observations by
Kroc and others. Also applaudable,
Love includes historical time-
frames and rival restaurant advances
as a helpful background to each
period, in McDonald's growth.
Occasionally, Love adds his own
delightful commentary: "Ray Kroc
was a salesman,. He was the kind
of man who was prized in business
during the formative years of
American corporations ... before
the Harvard Business School
established the MBA as a
prerequisite for senior management
. . . before Wall Street analysts
began worshipping the financial
McDonald's restaurants and
advertisements are so prevalent, it
is taken for granted as part of
Americana. One almost forgets it
is a highly successful corporation,
factored into the Dow Jones. Love
forces one to look at the
corporation in a more quizzical
manner. With well-suited, easy
style, he offers a well-researched
book. It is a study of enterprise as
well as Americanism well worth
Love and Rockets
Big Time Records
Love and Rockets got a groove.
They have enough loopy sound
effects to please those out for a
throw-down time at the local disco,
and enough edge and grinding
guitars for those looking for a more
sonic experience. They're able to
pull this off throughout their new
album "Express." "It Could Be
Sunshine," the album's first track,
does an excellent job of merging
these two styles. Dance hall drum -
beatstand effects start the song off
and then it aburptly turns into
* swirling guitar chaos.
The album is pretty solid
throughout. Highlights are "Life in
Laralay," in which the drums jump
frantically from speaker to speaker,
and last year's dancefloor smash
"Ball of Confusion." "Kundalini
Express" and "Yin and Yang the
Flower Pot Man" are two songs
with a locomotive beat that are
destined for mucho grundo dance
If the album drags at any point,
it's in the middle of side two when
the band starts sounding
frighteningly like Pink Floyd (circa
The Wall). If that's your bag,
fine. The album ends on a strong
note with "An American Dream."
The song builds from an acoustic-
like strumming to lots of big noise
only to strum back down for the
finale, at which point you'll
probably want to flip the record
over and listen to it again.
THIS IS THE VOICE
Don't judge a book by its cover.
That's the lesson Agent Orange
teaches us on their latest record,
This Is The Voice. Agent
Orange- the name is abrasive,
toxic, and corrosive. "Thrash...
hardcore... skateboard" are all words
that the record company uses to
describe these guys. You put on
the record and wait for the music to
gnaw and eat away at your brain.
But nothing happens. No thrash,
no hardcore, no skateboard. What
you do get is a bunch of crisp, and
somewhat catchy rock songs that
all sound an awful lot alike. These
guys aren't terrible, but they just
don't deliver the festering corrosion
that they promise. Agent Orange's
music might not prompt you to
skate and destroy, but if you really
want to, you can buy an Agent
Orange skateboard (blue board, pink
wheels) for only $119.98-no joke.
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From Number One Wall Street
TONIGHT - OCTOBER 8, 8 - 9:30 P.M.
"EXPLORING WORLD RELIGIONS" series
with a special focus on Russian Orthodoxy
Speaker: DR. NILE HARPER,
Director of the Ecumenical Campus Center
ECUMENICAL CAMPUS CENTER, 921 Church
Everyone is welcome
If you like challenges,
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It's people that set Irving Trust apart in the
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