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January 13, 1988 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-01-13

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4

Page 8 -The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, January 13, 1988
Campus cinema:Forwhom the bell tolls

By Scott Collins
After my first film review was
published in the Daily last fall, I re-
ceived a phone call from a member
of one of the campus cinema groups.
He congratulated me on ripping Fa-
(al Attraction and encouraged me to
join his organization.
I thanked him for his praise but
without hesitation declined to take
him up on the membership offer.
Criticism is difficult enough without
the added burden of partisanship, I
told him, and if I'd wanted to be a
salesman as well as a journalist I
would have taken a job as an adver-
tising copywriter. He accepted my

decision and proceeded to narrate the
woes of campus cinema, which has
evidently been declining for some
years and is currently at a crisis stage
- if not in terms of survival, cer-
tainly in terms of its past vitality.
I still maintain my independence,
and until now have chosen to com-
ment only upon films themselves,
scrupulously avoiding a response to
several voices supportive of the
campus film groups, including John
Shea's in this column last term, and
more recently John Carlos Cantu's
in Agenda ("The Last Picture
Show?" January 1988). Both ele-
gantly diagnosed the problems -
increasing competition among the-
aters and VCRs among them - but
couldn't seem to suggest a cure, be-
yond implying that couch potatoes
should get out and appreciate more
movies in real theaters such as the
Michigan.
I can't solve the problem any
better than they, but I think I see
some deeper reasons why a full-scale

crusade to restore campus cinema to
its glory days of the '60s and '70s is
ultimately hopeless. I'm taking this
opportunity to comment upon it not
only because I don't think the situa-
tion will improve in the near future;
I also recently noticed that this is a
campus issue that seems to have no
opposing side. At least this time,
con beats pro with the stony silence
of apathy.
Cantu might be mistaken in
writing that it's "impossible to at-
tribute blame to any of the affected
parties in this sad scenario." The
proselyte who phoned me admitted
that at least one film group had ex-
acerbated its problems with poor
management. But I agree that even
Donald Trump would have difficulty

saving the cinema groups and their
thin resources.
Their predicament springs from
decidedly external causes, including
but not limited to the rise of the ob-
scenely commercial cineplexes and
video stores. The former take away
some mainstream business, but they
hardly step on the toes of Alternative
Action and its schedule of experi-
mental and independent films. And
even if many students have access to
a VCR, video stores rarely offer
more than several thousand titles,
which leaves a theoretically large
audience base for the many thou-
sands more movies that are available
from distributors.
The film groups, as Cantu points
out, "will survive if they are patron-

ized," but the sad truth is that their
audience well has just about dried
up. This is not a tic in Ann Arbor's
otherwise progressive social history;
it is the result of a broad social
change that says more about stu-
dents, education, and America itself
than it does about film as art and in-
dustry. We live in a society that
patterns its life like the Uzi-paced
editing of a Budweiser commercial:
we swallow, digest, and excrete new
heroes and villains every week.
News flashes by with no sense of
history or context. If this week's
generation knows Ollie North but
not Roy Cohn, Jim and Tammy but
not Billy Sunday, Gary Hart but not
Gerry Studds, should we be surprised
that it doesn't care to know about

Paul Morrissey, Kenneth Anger,
Luis Bufluel, and a host of others?
While the masses might, as
Emerson said, believe "as the wind
blows and a newspaper directs," even
the newspaper seems to have lost its
power. I've begun to sense that this
problem is bigger than film criti-
cism's tiny power to solve it.
Whatever force journalism has ebbs
quickly, and that includes the con-
tents of this column. Words just
ain't what they used to be. Rather
ironic, isn't it, that the image is
turning out to be the agent of its
own destruction? Therein lies a
peculiar consolation: our own rapid-
fire culture seems to ensure that after
the campus cinema dies, the wake
will be mercifully short.

4

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GET IT!I
The Personal Column
MICHIGAN DAILY CLASSIFIED ADS

You could call them a nu-wave, a
cappella, jazz, folk, pop, rock, art
band. Or you could call them Bob for
short. Matthew (Bob) Stull, Janiea
(Bob) Scott, Gunnar (Bob) Madsen,
and Richard (Bob) Greene constitute
"The Bobs," a category-defying and -
defining Bay Area quartet.
"BOB" is a term meaning "best 1
of breed" in canine contests. The
quartet can claim the title without
fear of contradiction, as it is a musi-
cal mutation which eludes the exist-
ing taxonomy of species.
One can only give a sense of the
distinct Bobs' flavor by assembling
aspects of other groups. The Bobs
have the a cappella mastery of the
Nylons with the lyrical humor of
Uncle Bonsai and the Chenille Sis-
One of the BOBS
FOR
THE 1988
AUDITION DATES
JANUARY 8th-23rd (except Sundays)
Weekdays : 6:00-9:30 P.M
Saturdays: 12:00-5:00 P.M
House Band auditions are on the 8th-16th only
For appointments contact:

a l then
ters. Do not expect a cappella stan-
dards like "Sweet Adeline" or even
the popular covers done by the Ny-
lons.
The Bobs use their great vocal
range and arrangement on hilarious
songs like "Let Me Be Your Third
World Country." The song's "hero,"
jealous of his lover's political com-
mitments, asks: "Please let me be
your third world country/And I'll
be/Politically Correct/Hold a benefit
for me... Honk if you love me...
Taste me, taste me, I'm organic!"
Yet, many Bobs' songs manifest
the type of understated wit that David
Byrne's are known for. Indeed, their
favorite cover is of "Psycho Killer."

The Bobs seem to quirk easily from a
Talking Heads' cult hit to a fairy tale
favorite like "Little Red Riding
Hood." And just when you think
your ready for the next increase in
oddity, the quartet performs a
perfectly arranged version of Smokey
Robinson's "You Really Got A Hold
On Me."
One soon gives up efforts to cat-
egorize and learns to just enjoy the
twisted ride. If the group is without
genus, it is certainly not without ge-
nius.
THE BOBS will play the Ark
tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets are $7.50
$6.50 for members and students.

I

BOB

Life after Mork

(Continued from Page7)
very nice. He's a little dry (in his
broadcasts). I heard his broadcasts.
He didn't do anything really out-
rageous - I think he'll say that,*
too.
Q: Do you have a need for doing
different kinds of films?
W: A different need? Yes. I don't
have an imperative need. But you
have to try and grow and try different
things.
Q: Have you seen all the
Vietnam movies? Full Metal Jacket?
W: I haven't seen Full Metal
Jacket. I've just seen Platoon.
Apocalypse Now.
Q: Were you apprehensive of
making a movie about -
W: Yes. I was very apprehensive
about it, because it is still a touchy
issue. I mean, you can still see a lot

of people wandering around the
streets in Vietnam. That's why I'm
involved with Comic Relief. I don't
know what the percentages are, but
about 25 percent of the homeless
people are Vietham vets. So it's still
a delicate issue.
Not long after, Williams got up
and went to the next table of
reporters. I thought about the ques-
tion again -who is Robin
Williams? - and turned to the
reporter who asked it. But he had
already vanished, rushing off to the
table where Williams was going so
he could put his tape recorder there
and hopefully learn more about him.
I heard the tape.
He's still asking.

MS. GINA MONTEIRO
MS. MICHELLE WHITE
MS. NICHELLE BROWN

763-2683
763-1946
763-1756

4

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Your BASIC
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