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December 02, 1987 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-12-02

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Page 8 -The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, December 2, 1987

Five inest movies

20

That'

s

no

easy question

By Scott Collins
Some weeks ago, one of my edi-
tors asked'the film critics (I use the
term loosely) at The Daily to pro-
vide some background information
about themselves. The bio sheet in-
cluded a number of questions, but
1ie only really interesting one was
saved for last: What are your five fa-
vorite films?
The question fascinated me, so I
suffered over it, pondering deeply as
I roamed the streets late at night.
Finally, after many false starts and
some tortuous, angst-ridden indeci-
sion, I arrived at the following list:
1. The Devil in Miss Jones
2. Reefer Madness
3. The Barbarian and the Geisha
4. OklahomaK!
5. Any film by Kenneth Anger
Sounds like revival night at the
Inferno Cineplex, doesn't it?
The enormous tongue in my
fleshy cheek was uncomfortable, to
say the least, so I resolved to con-
sider seriously the question, and see
if I could offer a list of films that
truly are my favorites, just in time
for both of my readers to draw up

their Christmas video gift list.
The following are films that I not
only enjoy watching (among
"classic" films, these, I think, are
probably the most fun), but also in-
fluence my thinking about the
movies. Also note that I offer this
list knowing that there are still
plenty of great films that I haven't
seen. And just so no one's feelings
will be hurt, the list is in
chronological order - the only pos-
sible ranking you can justify in
cases like this one.
-The Gold Rush (Charles Chap-
lin 1925) - Pauline Kael called this
one of "the sweetest" films ever
made, but I consider that a pretty big
insult. Charlie struggles with '49-ers
in an arctic wasteland, and beyond
his endearing "Oceania Roll" (now
used to hawk Hershey bars in televi-
sion commercials) are some unset-
tling notions about how greed affects
those who can't - or won't - play
the game. In a sense, it's not really a
silent film. You can detect an un-
canny "latent" soundtrack, especially
when Charlie peers out his cabin
door and wistfully listens to the
sounds of a New Year's Eve party.
-The Grand Illusion (Jean Renoir
1936) - An anti-epic about a group
of French P.O.W.'s during the
"Great (Grand?) War." Renoir
demonstrates, perhaps better than
anyone else, why film is the logical
inheritor of the tradition of the 19th
century novel. Although never ex-

plicitly mentioned, the much-argued
"illusion" of the title could be the
gap between the aristocratic idealism
of war and the grim reality of its af-
termath.
-Citizen Kane (Orson Welles
1941) - An obvious choice, I
know, and I won't even attempt to
capture its full glory. Take a film
course if you want to hear a profes-
sor blather on about its watershed
technique, acting, and so forth.
Nearly half a century after its release
(and lukewarm box-office reception)
it remains one of the most contro-
versial films of all time. But con-
sider: no matter who wrote the
screenplay (and some critics have
established their reputations by
arguing for Welles or Joseph Man-
ciewicz), how can you help loving a
film with so many nasty barbs in it?
When Kane tells his stiff-upper-lip
guardian Thatcher that he (Kane)
could have been a great man if he
hadn't been born wealthy, the old
codger asks, "What would you like
to have been?" Kane glowers,
"Everything you hate."
-Touch of Evil (Orson Welles
1959) - A friend of mine says that
this film captures the spirit of punk.
I think I see what he means -what
could be more wonderfully perverse
than Charlton Heston as a Mexican
drug agent and Marlene Dietrich as a
south of the border madam? Welles
himself is, as usual, a wonder to be-
hold. Here, he's somewhere between

Mercury Theatre and Paul Masson,
playing a corrupt police inspector
who's gone to pot. When Dietrich
spies him in her bordello, she blurts
what should by now be the most in-
famous greeting in moviedom: "I
didn't recognize you. You oughta lay
off the candy bars."
-The Graduate (Mike Nichols
1967) - The film that defined the
rebellion of all-American boys and
girls in the late '60s, and happily
still a perennial favorite on college
campuses. In some ways, this film
seems cursed by its popularity.
Critics have underestimated its con-
siderable technical flair (crosscutting
Benjamin on the raft and Benjamin
on Mrs. Robinson, for starters). I'm
not so sure that I go' along with the
film's filial dynamics -Elaine's
(Katherine Ross) laconic, lace 'n'
doily posture strikes a funny note
because it represents the very con-
cepts Ben rejects -but on the whole
this must be regarded as the cine-
matic landmark of '60s pop culture.
And while we're on the subject of
best lines, why not close with Ben's
retort to his father, who wonders
"what those four years of hard work
in college were for?" Ben looks up
from the raft and slowly replies,
"You got me."
-

I
I

Al

Michigan Daily
ARTS
763-0379

Kane (Orson Wells) addressing a political rally in 'Citizen Kane':
New American archetype or everything you hate?

I

4

Records
ii.R.
Human Rights
SST Records
H.R. (the lead singer and song-
writer from Bad Brains) teams up
with Earl (Bad Brains' drummer) to
produce his first solo album, the
eclectic Human Rights. The LP is a
sporadic effort that attempts a diverse
set of styles, both vocally and
iusically, ranging from violent,
energetic hardcore, and crisp, en-
chanting jazz to stale reggae and
substandard dance/funk mixes.
Nevertheless, Human Rights
4howcases the multi-talented H.R.'s
Olectrifying vocal range, alluring
musical arrangements, and arresting
images of his effusive lyrics. Many
of the songs, such as the title cut
4nd "I Luv King Jah," are marred by
intrusive, cheesy, Flock of Seagulls-
like keyboards that disrupt the
beauty of H.R.'s resonant vocals.
On the other hand, "Acting So Bad"
is a poetic jazz arrangement that in-
cludes a brisk, articulate piano solo
and subtle, whispering guitar fluor-
Ishes. H.R. even does-an electrifying
scat solo that sounds suspiciously
tike Bobby McFerrin on 'ludes.
k "Life After Death" is the premier
out on the album and the only tune
in Bad Brains' mode. This is an an-
gry; violent song guaranteed to send
you into intense, air guitar spasms.
The killer rhythm is accented by
H.R.'s patented screaming, wailing,
fist-in-your-face rapping that ex-

plodes off the turntable in an over-
powering emotional frenzy.
Unfortunately, most of the reggae
tunes are lacklustre musically with
H.R.'s vocals and lyrics being the
only redeeming quality. "Viva Aza-
nia (Free Africa)", however, works
to perfection. A tight reggae rydim
featuring Earl's smashing drum beat
combines perfectly with H.R.'s pas-
sionate vocals that include squeaks,
shrieks, and a plea to "look at the
violence dressed in silence."
For the most part, H u m a n
Rights is an interesting album with
some tremendous musical explo-
rations and urgent lyrics. But H.R.
often strays too far from his rasta-
core roots. His reggae arrangements
lack depth and their simplicity sug-
gests H.R. should study Rastafarian
rhythms a little closer or just stick
with Bad Brains' crunching hardcore
assault.
Needless to say, however, H.R. is

a multi-talented individual whose
courageous dabblings must be
applauded. Human Rights is a
mixed success that will nevertheless
attract interested Bad Brains fans as

well as reggae-rasta lovers. It's
worth it to check out the album if
only to better understand H.R.'s
unique talent and mystical attraction.
- Todd Shanker

FREE MUFFIN
with purchase of a
regular size soup

ii

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747-7009
Delivery Available
Open 7 Days a Week
M-F 7am-10pm
SAT 8am-10pm
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Read
UMJ8
Daieq
Cezwo1ied4

Expires 12/11/87

Paul Hudson, A.K.A. H.R., best known as the Bad Brains'
vocalist, has released his first solo album on SST Records.

Fat Al.
The Fatman will make a special
guest appearance on WCBN, 88.3
FM tonight, 11 p.m.-2 a.m.

CLASSIFIED ADS
Call 764-0557

cmon.. thursaay's classes aren't alt that important
LAUG T K RAC
iatudi[) CtxI:(v
presents comedian
STUART MITCHELL
student Comedans
DANIEL PATRICK SHEEHAN
ERIC CHAMPNELLA
MICHAEL TOWER
WEDNESDAY
DECEMBER 2
AnH, 4 Vn.a -i .4

SALARY
SUPPLEMENTS!
ARE HERE!
S Avalabe for $.00
at
Student
Publications
Building
IAh

The Kodak K400 is just as easy to get as it is to use. For a limited time order your Jostens
cotlege ring through your Jostens sales representative or the bookstore. With your ring you will receive
a certificate entitling you to a Kodak K400 camera (retail value approximately $59). Mail it in. Your
camera will be sent to you upon receipt of the certificate.
Happy Holidays from
JO TENS
A M E R I C A S C O L L E G E RI NGIm
Stop by and see a Jostens representative,
Monday, November 30-Friday, December 4,
4 4 4j.me A .w a

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