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October 13, 1986 - Image 17

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-13
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(Left to right) Paul Hogan and a
friend from Crocodile Dundee. Tai-
pan features Bryan Brown and
newcomer Joan Chen. William
Hurt stars in Children of a Lesser
God, a love story set in a school for
the deaf. In Jumpin' Jack Flash,
Whoopi Goldberg's computer in-
volves her in intrigue.

ceives messages on her computer screen from a
CIA agent who's in need of help.
* NOBODY'S FOOL-Rosanna Arquette
plays a young woman who leaves her small town
hometo find a new life for herself. And what she
finds is co-star Eric Roberts.
* 52 PICK-UP-Roy Scheider plays a busi-
nessman who finds himself at the wrong end of a
blackmail plot in this thriller based on the novel by
popular mystery writer Elmore Leonard. Ann-
Margaret plays Scheider's wife.-JS.

m-n-
m
m
cD
U

MOVIE PREVIEWS

Enjoy a nine-week
safari through Afri-
SLEDGE HAMMER! (Fridays at 9:00 p.m., can culture and his-
ABC)-A definite alternative to Dallas and Mi- tory, for credit, in
ami Vice, this new comedy cop show is filled The Africans on PBS
with gags a /a the movie Airplanel It's about a this fall.
violence-hungry detective who talks to his
gun-a sort of Dirty Harrywith yuks.

BY BAR
YOs don's go so she movies in she fall.
That's what Hollywood thinks. So the
studios wait and release most of their
good movies then. They hope that at
least the critics will like them. Maybe
they'll get Oscars. Then you'll rent the video.
Chi/dren ofaLesser Godhas "fall movie" writ-
ten all over it: no guns, no drugs, no nudity, no
stupidity. William Hurt is the star, an off-season
actor if there everwas one. His love interest is an
unknown-Marlee Matlin, who has appeared in
deaf theater in Chicago. A love story between a
sign langauge instructor and his deaf pupil-a
sure way to empty the seats, according to Holly-
wood wisdom. As Paramount puts it, "Stories
that focus on intimate relations in emotional
transition are difficult gambles which rarely result
in commercial success."
Like its near-namesake of a year ago, Agnes of
God, Children of a Lesser Godis based on a play
that explored a world far removed from the one
most of us live in. Like The Miracle Worker, it's
about communication and self-involvement. Like
Pygmalion, it's the story of a teacher whose stu-
dent teaches him about love.
William Hurt is the kind of actor who thrives in
extraordinary situations. He won last year's Best
Actor Academy Award for Kiss of the Spider
Woman, not because he impersonated an ef-
20

T MILLS

,

In Soul Man,
C. Thomas
Howell plays
a white stu-
dent who
dons black-
jf face to get
into Harvard.
feminate homosexual so well, but because he
brought you right into the awful South American
cell and almost made you want to stay there.
Since he played a visionary scientist in Altered
States, Hurt has created off-center characters
who change your ideas about what's central.
Another worthy gamble is 'RoundMidnight. A
dilapidated old American sax player goes to Paris
in the late 1950s and wins the adulation of a
young Frenchman, played by Francois Cluzet.
The old jazzman, modeled on Bud Powell and
Lester Young, is played by a real-life jazzman,
Dexter Gordon. Gordon, 62, had been given up
for dead before director Bertrand Tavernier (A
Month in the Country) located him to star in the
film.
Jazz musicians aren't noted for their temper-
ate ways, nor do they often come to a happy
end. Careful efforts were made to make 'Round
Midnight-the title comes from a Thelonious
Monk tune-an honest depiction of a harsh yet
creative world. As Dizzy Gillespie said, "Be-bop
is the most serious music ever made in America,
and a lot of people died for it." Thus 'Round
Midnight is a realistic drama bearing little com-
parison with Crossroads, last spring's fantasy
about a white boy and a black bluesman.
Though no documentary, it's jammed with
great musicians. Freddie Hubbard and Wayne

Shorter and many others blow hard under the
supervision of Herbie Hancock, who also plays a
dramatic role. An extra treat for cinephiles is the
glimpse of Martin Scorsese playing the owner of
New York's legendary jazz boite, Birdland.
SoulMan is another movie titled after a piece
of music, namely, Sam and Dave's 196 7 hit. C.
Thomas Howell dons blackface so he can get
into Harvard Law School via the minority quota
(not that there is any such thing).
Passing-for-black isn't a new idea in Holly-
wood. Gene Wilder and Chevy Chase have
played scenes in burnt cork and Afros, and
James Whitmore did it for a whole movie, Black
Like Me in 1964. Soul Man is a modestly bud-
geted comedy that attempts to make the same
serious point Back Like Me did: racism isn't fun-
ny, especially when it happens to you.
Rae Dawn Chong, whose racial origins have
usually been depicted as obscure (Black? Chi-
nese? Indian? Irish?), plays a black law student
who eventually snags Howell. That's after he es
capes from the clutches of Melora Hardin, a
white student attracted only to blacks. The mov-
ie is full of pathetic jokes about black people.
You're supposed to laugh and then feel guilty. As
for the jokes about white people, you can laugh
without remorse.
Whoopi Goldberg, whose very name is a joke
about white people, stars in Jumpin' Jack Flash,
yet another song title borrowed by the movies.
Far from being a Rolling Stones video, however,
Jumpin'JackFlash is a spy caper in the Romanc-
ing the Stone mold. It's the first film from direc-
tor Penny Marshall, who replaced Howard Zieff
several weeks into shooting.
The film is Goldberg's follow-up to her Oscar-
nominated performancein The Color Purple, and
it's another shrinking-violet character. Why is it
that dominating women like Fonda, Tomlin and

NIGHTLIFE (Sept. 8)-Comedian David
Brenner's new syndicated talk show starts this
month nationwide. Billy Preston will be David's
musical director/sidekick. The show's producer
and director used to be affiliated with Saturday
Night Live.
THE AFRICANS (Oct. 7)-The first ina series
of nine PBS programs on black African history
and culture. Some colleges are offering this se-
ties forcreditas a "television course." Students
read companion textbooks and watch the tube.

QUICK TAKES

The smoky, intense world of European jazz
clubs inspired 'Round Midnight starring Her-
bie Hancock (left, at piano) and jazz veteran
Dexter Gordon.

A PRIVATE CONVERSATION WITH ALICE
WALKER (Nov. 5)-In a unique video event,
the author of The Color Purple will speak and
answer questions in a two-hour interactive
broadcast, live via-satellite to colleges across
the country. Call 1-(800)-225-4575 for the
school nearest you.-S.P

NOW SHOWING
On Selected College Campuses
Look for it in your campus theater
Just some of the affiliates of the
Entertainment Guide Preview Theater Network:
Cal State Long Beach University of Akron
Radio TV Film Department Gardner Student Center
Grambling University University of Alabama-Birmingham
Student Union Programs UAB Film Series
"s SCteUnversityUversif Arz ona
IndianaUnversty UnverstyofCalforniaSanDiego
Uinunar ils nverit vens ffc
Uoa Stae Uieriy U niesito ouston
Student Union Board-Cinema Scene Student Program Board-Cinema Committee
Memphis State University University of Kansas
Student Activities Council Student Union Activities Films
n SatU ve si y Unersiy oi nmiv
Rsnice HallA ssocain Cnai Atsommssi
Northern Virginia Community College Un versity of Minnesota
fSof Student Acives U vsiFmSiety
Oio SeUesi niveniy of Teness-nxil
0.D.U A Films Committee Student Activtes-Film Committee
Suden'saninAU usivtBoard rS t uvtis ArConcFilms Committee
,ud ent UnonB iard Stundec T -oard
Southern Methodist University Universty of Utah
Program Councl-Fims Committee Uninerorashigo
MSC Aggie Cinema ASUWProductions
CrogamingCou Films Committee VCUFimComeeaUnry
Towyson State University Wayne State University
Student Government Association Student Center Program Activities

Ampersand , Ampersand

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