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March 06, 1987 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-03-06
This is a tabloid page

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Nothing really innovative in predictable 'Hoosiers'

By Kurt Serbus
ly standard, by-the-numbers, for -
mulaic underdog sports story. There
are no suprises, no deviations, no
twists that can't be mapped out
from the first half hour of the film
- the characters who you think are
going to fall in love fall in love,
the team that you think is going to
win wins, and of course, all the
games come down to a last basket
at the buzzer. I've been chewing on
this pencil for the last half hour
trying to figure out whether all this
is a plus or a minus and I've decided
that, as usual, it really doesn't
matter - it all depends on the
audience. Just so long as you know
what you're getting into.
Hoosiers concerns an aging
basketball coach (Gene Hackman)
who, after screwing up his college
career, gets one last shot at the
golden ring when he winds up
coaching the high school hoop
team of a microscopic Indiana
town. En route to the state chain -

pionships he enrages the locals
(who fear his unorthodox methods
will screw up what seems to be
their solitary ray of light in this
world), gives an assistant coaching
job and a sense of purpose to the
town drunk (Dennis Hopper), and
courts a prickly faculty member
(Barbara Hershey). Meanwhile, his
boys play their hearts out and learn
valuable lessons about life on the
court, many in slow motion.
If Hoosiers is predictable, at
least it's a classy predictability. The
cinematography is beautiful, giving
the film more of a sense of purpose
than the script ever does. The acting
is also above average, though a bit
too restrained, which is probably
more a result of the script than of
the actors (the characters, though
less stereotypical than in most
sports movies, are nonetheless
sketchy and a little flat). Barabara
Hershey doesn't really log enough
crucial screen time to develop a
sympathetic character. Even Dennis
Hopper's much-ballyhooed perfor -

mance lacks the scene-chewing
theatricity I expected from him after
Blue Velvet and Apocolypse Now.
The real standout is Gene Hackman,
who once again makes the ordinary
fascinating. He plays a character no
different from any other schmuck
walking around the streets, yet his
complete and utter immersion in
the role quietly demands attention.
At the bottom line, Hoosiers is
either going to take you along for a
thrilling ride or leave you stranded
with it's ancient cliches. Per -
sonally, I found my attention
wandering quite a bit. Not so for
the audience. They cheered and
jeered enthusiastically, and when
the screen went blank during a
crucial basketball sequence, they
damn near lynched the projectionist.
So, if you're a cynical, burned-out
bastard like me with molasses for
adrenaline, you might do better
searching for something a little
more offbeat and innovative. If not,
then, hey - go for it. Hoosiers
never does generate much fire, but
it's got plenty of warmth.

Barbara Hershey and Gene Hackman.

Continued from Page 8
always cracked Polack jokes, and he
always changed the music in the
store without permission. What's
more, he sold the trees from the
boxes out front! And little Ray
Donovan, the guy who you said
would handle the employes properly
- he turns out to be the first
upper-level McDonald's employe to
be indicted on criminal charges.
Turns out he was making some
spare change on the lettuce
"No buts! And don't pretend
those problems are all behind you,
because this latest bunch of yours
has some real peaches too. That
guy Ollie was back at the drive-
through window running a major
company policy that you were
supposed to be in charge of. And
Bobby, he's working overtime to
confuse when you did or didn't do
things, and when the auditors try to
talk to him, he attempts suicide,
conveniently delaying discussions
until after the auditors finish their
"And your right-hand-man, Don.
He let the whole thing collapse, and
I'm supposed to believe that you
never asked him what was going
on, and he never saw fit to tell you?
That you didn't notice the missing
bags of salt mixture? And you tell
me you want to be a team player.
Why should I let you, if this is the
best you can come up with? And
mind you, I'm just scratching the
surface. Now, it's possible that you
wandered=innocently and ignorantly
through this whole mess, but the
people running the show are all
people who you hired to do so.
Now who should I hold responsible
for their mistakes?"
"Well... umm... this reminds me
of a story..."
"No! No stories! I've heard too
many stories. Listen, Ronnie, this
crap about you not remembering
any of this stuff. I'm supposed to
believe that? I hired you in part
because your resume said you were
an actor in high school. Actors
remember entire scripts full of
meaningless information, and you
say you can't remember major
company policy actions which
couldn't have taken place without
your tacit approval?
"No, don't even bother to
explain. You're fired, Ron. You're
either too stupid or too incompetent
to handle this job, and I really don't
care which it is."
And remember. We the people
are President Reagan's district
Read the

Continued from Page 7
The latter alternative is risky
because there is little support from
either community. If you aren't
giving all your support to the black.
community (first choice) you have
to be ready to face criticism. On the
other hand, trying to assimilate
(second choice) while maintaining
your cultural identity among a
majority of students means
demanding cultural respect. Thus
one has to be unwilling to tolerate
racist attitudes within the part of
the larger community. This means
that this community must take
responsibility for its ignorance if
they wish to accept you. In effect,
you can easily become alienated
from both communities.
The University promotes this
dichotomy in a number of ways. Its
failure to reach the minimum ten
percent enrollment demanded by the
BAM strike in 1970 fosters the
isolation of the black community.
Its silent approval of racist attitudes
coupled with its disregard for
promoting cultural dialogue does
not offer white students any
incentive to be more receptive to
cultural differences.
As an orientation leader in 1983,
I saw, first hand, the alienation of
black freshmen. Many of the events
designed to introduce students so-
cially to the University were cul-
turally biased. Interaction between
the one black student in a total of
300 was not encouraged by the
programs in place at the time. The
"popcorn" parties at the end of the
first or second day of orientation
featured very little soul, jazz, or
crossover music, but rather music
geared mainly toward white
Being black also means being a
conspicuous consumer of education.
Whether or not a professor requires
attendance is irrelevant - they'll
notice if I'm not present. And if

tbere are ,two or three of us in a
c s it's not unusual for professors
toconfuse our names.
A black student here can find
some limited exposure to black
faculty, but the larger problem is
the fact that white students can
easily avoid such exposure. As
minorities, we live in a society
where some contact with whites is
necessary; every black student here
has had a white professor. As a
white student here, unless you have
some vested interest in black
history, chances are you'll never
have to confront erroneous ster-
eotypes and cultural bias.
In a recent presentation to the
Board of Regents I pointed out that
the University ultimately teaches
its students racism. If I had been a
white freshman in Couzens this
year I could have learned many
things about minorities: if I'd
wanted to learn about cultural
identity and philosophy all I would
have needed to do is to speak with
self-acclaimed KKK members in
that dorm and read their racist fliers
and literature. I also would have
wondered why students who are
sympthetic to an organization
which subscribes to a racist phil-
osophy and openly advocates the
abolishment of human rights feel
that they should be protected by
these same rights. If I'd wanted to
learn about economics, all I would
have needed to do is observe the
adverse effect that financial aid cuts
have on minorities; if I'd wanted to
learn about bureaucracy, all I would
have needed to do is to wonder why
it took nearly a month for the
Building Director of Couzens and
the Housing office to finally
undertake an investigation, or why
Minority Student Services and other
minority affairs offices have no
administrative backing.
If I'd wanted to learn about
politics I could've considered why
the University has an abundance of
material for sexual harassment, yet
has no racial harassment policies
whatsoever. And if I'd wanted to

Mel Gibso1
By James Sanford
Mel Gibson has had no trouble
earning a reputation as a sex
symbol; that was cemented when
People magazine named him "The
Sexiest Man Alive" a couple of
years ago. Finding credibility as an
actor has been a bit more difficult,
but, thanks to his roles in Mrs.
Soffel, The River and The Bounty,
he's generally well-regarded by
In fact, his greatest challenge to
date has been establishing himself
as a bankable star: unfortunately,
the only hits he's starred in have
been the three Mad Max films,
which did little to show off his
range and depth as a performer.
Lethal Weapon then, marks a
compromise of sorts. It's an
outright commercial vehicle, a
variation on the ever-popular super-
cop theme. But there's unexpected
character development as well:
Gibson's Martin Riggs is far
removed from Steve McQueen's
super-sexy Bullitt and, on the other
end of the spectrum, Sylvester
Stallone's super-human Marion
Cobretti. Riggs is, in fact, a near-
derelict a long-haired, red-eyed

know about black history, all I
would have had to do was to tune
into that radio station (WJJX) and
hear Ted Severansky and friends tell
me that the two most famous black
women in America are "Aunt
Jemima and motherfucker."
Unfortuantely, it's taken the
escalated media attention to em-
barrass the University into action.
So far we've only heard eloquent
"lip service" and of mysterious
manipulation of funds to placate
emotional students. In essence the
administration shirked its respon-
sibility by insisting that students
take the defensive role of making



variation on the super-cop theme

at Hebrew Union College-Jew:
Cincinnati * New York " Los
Programs leading t
Rabbinics " Cantorial Studi
Jewish Education " Jewish
Rabbi Gary P. Zola, National Directo
Affairs, will be on campus Wedr
Call 663-3336 for an
A collection of 14K gold rings th
stones and cultured pearls they hit

officer who smokes and drinks too
much, spends long, lonely nights
mourning his late wife and has
alarming suicidal tendencies.
The role gives Gibson a chance
to break out of his cute-guy
pigeonhole, much in the same way
the Alex Sternbergen character let
Jane Fonda try out some new tricks
in The Morning After. Although
the gifted Danny Glover co-stars
with Gibson, Lethal Weapon is
very much Mel's showcase and he
makes the most of it.
Much of Lethal Weapon is very
good, as the despondent Riggs is
teamed with successful cop and
family man Roger Murtaugh
(Glover) to investigate the death of
a young prostitute who dove to her
death from a penthouse apartment
after taking drugs laced with drain
cleaner. What was thought to be
suicide turns out to be murder and
the trail leads to a heroin-
smuggling ring with connections
among L.A.'s wealthy and pow-
Director Richard Donner (Su-
perman, The Goonies) keeps the
action moving and ensures that each
individual scene reaches the highest
possible impact level - this is
loud flashy drama. But what sets

Lethal Weapon above most of the
cops-and-crooks thrillers is the
delineation of the characters.
Murtaugh, a 20-year veteran of the
force, still sees the tragedy in what
is happening around him. He is
also a good, strict father pre-
occupied with his family's security.
He and Riggs are a perfect
When Lethal Weapon is fo-
cusing on Murtaugh and Riggs and
the grudging friendship developing
between them, it's a good deal more
compelling than when it turns its
attention to stunts and pyro-
technics. Unfortunately, the last
third of the film gets caught up in
delivering explosions, car crashes
and overlong torture sequences.
While it proves Gibson has the best
killer thighs since Daryl Hannah's
in Blade Runner, little else in
Those who like to spot movie
in-jokes should note the theatre
marquee in one scene that advertises'
"Lost Boys - The Year's Big Hit."
Lost Boys is a summer release of
which Donner is executive pro-
ducer. It's about vampire bikers.
"Big hit?" Sounds like wishful
thinking. .

0..' and
310 Maynard

Danny Glover and Mel Gibson play two LA. cops.


} PAGE 4



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