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November 26, 1986 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-11-26

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The Michigan Daily

Wednesday, November 26, 1986

Page 5

.. 0.. .... . ... ...........

'American Tail': Racist
fun for the whole family

D am nation " . . Photo by David Zeiger
The Streetlight Theater's production of 'Earth Be Damned' will be one more weekend, Friday and
Saturday, Nov. 28 and 29, 8 p.m. An epic tale of sexual and political re-orientation in outer space,
'Earth Be Damned' returns to the Performance Network, 408 W. Washington due to popular demand.
Pictured above are David Isaacson as Flask and Wylie Goodman as Private Poet. Contributions of $3
will be gladly accepted.
Cassevetes isn 't too concerned
about donning old black hat

By Liz Goodwin
"I'm a pretty evil guy," said
Nick Cassavetes, the son of actor-
director John Cassavetes and actress
Gena Rowlands. Maybe that's the
reason why this 27 year-old actor
has usually been cast as a bad guy
since he began his career six years
ago. But more likely it was his
six-and-a-half foot build and
"menacing good looks" rather than
his disposition that landed him
roles in Mask, Black Moon Rising
and most recently, the New Line
Cinema release, Quiet Cool.
In this last movie, from the
company that brought us
Nightmare on Elm Street,
Cassavetes plays Valence, a sadistic
drug lord who terrorizes an entire
town into corruption to protect his
marijauna plantation. His nemesis
is a New York City cop played by
James Remar (48 Hours, The
Cotton Club). Cassavetes said that
Quiet Cool, which opens today,
"is realistic but of course in all
movies you're going to have some
exaggeration for the screen. You

can definitely tell who the good
guys and the bad guys are."
Cassavetes also recently
completed a role in The Wraith
with Charlie Sheen and Randy
Quaid which opens November 21.
"This time instead of a gun I use a
knife," he said.
But Cassavetes doesn't spend all
his time murdering and maiming in
front of a camera."Performing is
my first love and I write in my
spare time," he added. He's written
"millions" of scripts and is having
his second produced early next year.
He would not reveal the title but did
say it is a ski movie-"animal
house on the ice."
Writing his own movies
provides one opportunity for roles.
Although Cassavetes is not starring
in his own film, he knows the best
part to take and he's got it. But
most of the time someone who has
seen and likes his work will offer
him a role or he will go out and
audition for "big-time parts."
Acting wasn't always a personal
choice for Cassavetes. His father

would sometimes use him in small
parts in the movies he was
directing. "Either I went down and
did it or I was grounded for a week,"
he joked. It wasn't until he was
about 20 that he began to pursue
acting as a paying job. "I was
working as a car mechanic and as a
janitor and I decided that I better get
my shit together and do something.
Then I went to acting school for
three years, came out, got myself
an agent and started working," he
He said that his career is still in
the "beginning stage even though
[he's] been kicking around for six
or seven years." He lives in Los
Angeles with his wife and daughter
and since they "all like to eat," he
is satisfied with the steady flow of
villianous roles that have been
coming his way. If he could choose
his roles he would have liked to
play William Hurt's character in
Children of a Lesser God. About
his future Cassavetes confidently
said, "I'll get a couple of more
movies done and then you'll see me
as a leading man."

By Geoffrey Riklin
The Daily's film editor, Kurt
Serbus, summed u-p An American
Tail quite well when he informed
me that it's about a "little mouse
hoofin' it through the mean streets
of New York." And so it is.
Back in the Russia of 1885
things were rough for mice, what
with Cossack cats carrying out
pogroms against the defenseless
rodents. The Mousekewitz family
runs out short of patience and
decides to go to America, "where
the streets are paved with cheese."
During the stormy voyage little
Fievel Mousekewitz makes an error
of judgement, as children so often
do, and finds himself swept
overboard. Reasonably enough, the
family pretty much gives up hope
that little Fievel can still be alive
and continues on to New York with
sadness in their hearts. But lo and
behold! Little Fievel lives yet! He
washes up in New York and sets off
to find his family, struggling
against all the nasty cats and his
own childish limitations.
As you may have guessed by
now, An American Tail is intended
primarily for children between the
ages of 6 and 9. Fortunately,
director Don Bluth has the good
sense to toss in a few jokes that
only adults will comprehend, which
may save adults from relentless
boredom. The little kids in the
theater where I saw it--and a
remarkably well-behaved lot they
were--seemed entertained; they
laughed heartily a number of times
and not a single "Mommy-I-want-
to-go-home" was heard. But what a
film's intended audience thinks of it
is of secondary importance at best.
A noted philosopher, whose name
regrettably slips my mind, pointed
out that if an audience's opinion is
the one that really counts, then one
could end up defending racist films
intended for racist audiences. An
American Tail is chock full of
ethnic stereotypes. A crooked Tam -
many Hall hack is an Irishman with
a heavy brogue, there's a street-wise
Italian mouse named Tony, a
snobbish and rich Jewish woman,
and a blustering Italian lover.
An American Tail is a Jewish
story for the most part, one about a
Jewish family fleeing Cossack
terror at a time when the tsar was
encouraging violent anti-Jewish
activity. This is reconfirmed by a
missing child poster printed in
Hebrew. But for reasons that are
not explained, Bluth does nothing
with this theme. This artistic
failing--indeed, it would not be
outlandish to call it cowardice--
when combined with the boring and
not unoffensive ethnic caricatures
cause this movie to fail. It's
doubtful whether children who see
this film will recognize the
stereotypes, much less leave the
theater spouting racist propaganda,
but just the same there are more
inspired things that can be done to

Georgia Satellites
Georgia Satellites
Elektra Records
Wham! The opening grooves of
"Keep Your Hands to Yourself," the
first single from the Georgia
Satellites, rumble out of the
speakers, enticing the listener with
the prospect of more great tunes on
the way. Unfortunately, the
Satellites can't keep up the pace on
the rest of their debut album.
"Keep Your Hands to Yourself,"
with its grinding guitars,
interesting lyrics about love, sex,
and marriage, sung with a catcy
combination of drawl and twang, is
simply a great rock and roll tune.
This song opens side one, and is
also receiving AOR airplay.
"Battleship Chains" follows this
with more power chords and fair
lyrics. "Red Light" keeps up the
pace with by now inane lyrics and
more churning guitars. Get the
picture? The band repeats the

formula that worked on "Keep Your
Hands to Yourself" throughout the
rest of the album.
The low point comes after two
sides of this stuff, on a cover of
Rod Stewart's "Every Picture Tells
a Story." By now the band has
switched to a different member on
lead vocals; he is unfortunately
unable to draw one in like the other
vocalist. This cover song doesn't
cut it when sung by a mere twenty
year old, especially without Ron
Wood to support him. In fact, this
record almost seems to be ai concept
album, as each track gets worse
than the last one.
I would really like to recommend
these guys as the next Great
American Rock and Roll Band, as
"Keep Your Hands to Yourself"
shows great promise. With better
writing and song selection, the
Georgia Satellites could be a band
to watch in 1987, but their debut
album precludes any 1986 success.
-Brian Jarvinen

entertain kids.
A word about Steven Spielberg.
An American Tail is billed as
"Steven Spielberg presents a Don
Bluth Film..." Reviewing the list
of Spielberg's films serves only to
make clear yet again the frequently
repeated observation that Spielberg
deals almost exclusively with kids'
movies. Spielberg's defenders will
quickly point out that he made the
critical and financial smash The
Color Purple. And with The Color

Purple I rest my case that Spielberg
has never essayed seriousness.
Why he's fooling around with junk
like An American Tail is mys -
tifying. Granted, he apparently
only pulled a few financial strings
to get the film made, but still...
So, in spite of the fact that the
kids seemed to like it, if you have
little kids or care to transform
yourself into one for a couple of
hours, avoiding An American Tail
would not be a bad idea.


'The Wraith' is like garbage; it stinks

frenth r i e-V e'
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home ni sl " .
~ct~essorri d
tTI adrehs Es ". travel.
Kerrytown Shops
407 N. Fifth Avenue Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(313) 662-4221
Rock Poster Sale
Michigan Union Ground Floor
Blues Brothers-Echo and the Bunnymeo-Clash-Cramps-Sade-Kate BushvSpringsteen-Z
Style Council-New Order-Joy Division-12-Dire Straits"Sting*Pouges*Jesus and':
Mr h CuSih-u.-. ( " MadMa-MnatenTxiDrvr voav e o Cwi

By Kurt Serbus
The Wraith, an ill-concieved
love child of Knight Rider and The
Heavenly Kid, is, quite simply a
total waste of time. For that matter,
a review of The Wraith will probab-
ly also be a total waste of time,
because all I'll probably end up
doing is jotting down a number of
cute, amusing ways to say what a
. piece of crap this flick was. But,
what the hay; I've got a job to do,
deadlines to meet, and, anyhow, the
people must know! So, for anyone
who's still interested, here's my re-
view of the new motion picture,
The Wraith.
The film starts out with a bunch
of lights flying around the desert,
then forming into this kickass tur-
bo car that zooms off to get re-
venge. It seems that back in the
past, a young man was murdered by
a viscious gang of punks who
caught him doing the Dirty Deed
with their leader's girl. So na-
turally, the guy came back to life
with a neat space suit, a neat space
gun, and this car that he uses to run
:down the punks, one by one. After
he kills them, even though they all
crash and burn, they're found naked,
without a mark, except for the fact

with which it's carried out. The
Wraith is the lamest, most unin-
spired supernatural thriller
since...well, since Trick Or Treat.
Scenes are added which seem to
make no sense, while other bits of
important info are completely left
out. There's no building sense of a
showdown, since we know right
from the start that the Wraith is
invincible. It's merely a question of
when he's going to grease the next
JD. That being the case, he could
have at least offed them in gory,
imaginative ways to keep things
interesting. No dice. They all get
their just desserts in the same
mundane manner.
I'm not even going to get into
knocking the cast of young up-and-
comers, because it's unfair to expect
anyone to turn in a decent per-
formance with material this
horrible. Even the usually excellent
Randy Quaid comes out mighty
embarrasing as the gruff but lovable
sheriff out to solve the killings.

Sorry if this review isn't very
cute or amusing, but The Wraith is -
the sort of film that you can't even
have fun with. It's an excrutiating
90 minutes with only a few unin-
tentional laughs to ease the drud-
gery. Please don't see it.

You can ...
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get rid of an
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Grace Jones-Peter Gabriel-Bob Dylan-Lloyd Cole-Stranglers-ilBob Marley-Sade
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Collins -Madonna-Doors-Iron Maiden-Eurythmics New Model Army-Dead or Alive-Joni
N!itchell-Drian Ferry-Marlon Brando-Paul Newman-Burt Lancaster-Scones-Deep-Echo
Prple-PrinceQueen*Japan-George Michael-Errol Flynn-Charton Heston-Clint-Joy
Easssood-MattDillon-Montgomery Clift-Blues Brothers-Echo and tile Bunnymen-New
s'ash-Cramps -Sade -Kate BushSpringateen-Style Council-New Order-Joy Division-B
!:2% re Straits -Sting-Pouges-Jeaus and Mary Ch. Cult"Smiths"RusilcMad Max-Taxi I)
Driver-Manhacten-Apocalypse Now-Bowie (The Hunger)James Dean -Sex Pistols Sade
Banshees-Pink Floyd-Talking Heads-REM-Yes-Grace Jones-Peter Gabriel*Bob Dylan*
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Damned-the Alarm-Howard Jones -Genesis -Phil Collins -Madonna -Doors-Iron Maiden-U
Eurythmics-New Model Army-Dead or Alive-Joni Mitchell-Brian Ferry-Marlon Brand

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