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September 30, 1987 - Image 10

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-09-30

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4

Page 10 -The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, September 30, 1987

See

th

By Scott Collins
Although the fuzzy morality of
Platoon may have made a far bigger
mess in Vietnam than the actual
conflict it sought to portray,
Hollywood has acknowledged the
film's success by yodelling that a
decade-long bout with artistic
dysentery is finally over. Popular
sovereignty has decreed that there
will be fewer juvenile comedies and
many more "serious adult pictures"
that will finger such timely (!)
topics as Vietnam and the death of
Steven Biko.
This is a grand and conciliatory
announcement, designed to accom-
odate intelligent and presumably
older (read: over 18) viewers, who in
the past ten years have waded
through the sewage of the Star Wars,
.Superman, Rocky, and First Blood
series, and in the meantime dodged
the debris of the court of Teen Queen
Phoebe Cates and her pimply-faced
jesters.
Pardon me if I'm skeptical, but if
today's filmgoers really want social
relevance - and I'm not at all sure
that they do - then Hollywood is
the last place I would tell them to
look. It's gratifying to learn of the
Sunset kids' contrition, and God

e color
knows that a few of this summer's
movies showed modest promise
(Roxanne, The Untouchables, and
Nicholson of Eastwick). But lest
anyone nurtures great expectations,
behold what else Tinseltown has
grunted out in the past nine months:
Black Widow, Mannequin, Project
X, Blind Date, Burglar, Police
Academy 4, and Fatal Attraction.
At least so far, Hollywood has
scrupulously avoided rocking any
boats, including those in the
Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf.
Any references to foreign or
domestic problems are only hinted at
with the most tremendous discretion
or caricature. For example, after
seeing the latest Bond film,The
Living Daylights, I imagined that if
God would not enlist on the side of
the Afghan rebels, Daffy Duck most
assuredly would.
Why won't Hollywood tackle
social problems? Aside from the
fundamental illiteracy of Rodeo
Drive, the biggest obstacle is
economic. Studio executives, as well
as the financiers who back their
pictures, so lustfully seek big profits
that they'll chase down any prospect
that looks like a sure thing. The
cosmic cowboys of Lucas and
Spielberg rested so comfortably in
our consciousness that our pol-
iticians named, and perhaps
modelled, our real defense initiatives
after them. A blockbuster mentality
soon developed, and that commercial
imperative won't disappear
overnight.
That's why it's so hard to keep

green
from laughing at the hoo-ha
surrounding Hollywood's new
"social relevance." Evidently it's
taken the overhyped success of
Platoon to convince the studios that
some viewers are tired of sitting
through pictures that introduce
flatulence as a main character. But
the show-biz moguls don't seem to
realize that commercialism undercuts,
social consciousness.
Since Hollywood's commitment
to politics and morality extends no
further than the box office receipt
tape, don't expect it to examine
social problems intelligently. What
we're going to end up getting, if I'm
not mistaken, are some diluted urine
samples squeezed out of any
available victim, from AIDS to
Irangate to apartheid.
The upcoming "adult" pictures
will result from the sore consciences
of some very powerful people;
including Steven Spielberg, who is
probably more responsible for the
illiteracy and infantilization of
movies than anyone else. This
wunderkind had the nerve to accept
his Thalberg Award with a heartfelt
plea for a return to our literary
heritage. I second that platitude, but
isn't it ironic that the call to arms
came from the enemy's camp?
Cinecism is a new weekly feature
of the Daily Arts Section which will
appear every Wednesday. The
column will explore topics in film
and campus cinema.

flounder recording artists the Ttes Noires will play at the Ark tonight at 8p.m. in support of their new album 'Clay
Foot Gods.'

i

Poised popularity

(Continued from Page 9)
songs are considerably more
captivating than an economics
textbook. The a cappella "Why are
the Farmers Dying?" is both a
testament to the human voice and
the disappearing virtues of rural life.
The song asks the poignant
questions about what kind society it
is that drives once-proud farmers to
commit suicide. The song reflects

the South Dakota upringing of
songwriter Jennifer Holt.
Others songs stem from Totes
Noires band members' upbringings.
"Bless Me," an irreverant look at
religious confession, undoubtably is
related to the predominance of ex-
Catholics in the group. But Holt is
quick to point out that the intent is
not to offend: "it's just in fun for us,

and that's kind of the way we
are...we like to poke fun at
American institutions."
The somewhat uneasy fusion of
this attitude with Tetes Noires'
sound produces a unique and
engaging style.
Tetes Noires will be performing
at The Ark tonight. The performance
is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $8.50.

Arthur Mill1er
at Rackham t(
of his plays, Mer writes, "Another why a n
material, so to speak, of drama is why he
not describable in a word, and has a to hell
less direct influence on style. Itohlv
mention it, however, because it is tonight,
probably the single most powerful ArthurM
influence on my way of writing and Arthu
enforces on me a kind of taste and autobiog
approach to the art which marks Rackham
these plays. It is necessary, if one is free.
to reflect reality, not only to depict

reads
onight
nan does what he does, or
nearly didn't do it, but why
)t simply walk away and say
with it." Hopefully, after
we too will know why
iller didn't just walk away.
r Miller will read from his
graphy tonight at 8 p.m. at
n Auditorium. Admission is

i
i

i

1

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