The Michigan Daily Wednesday, March 30, 1988 pag7
'Johnny Be Good'
fum bles with trite
By Andrew Steinerman
Football: sport or big business?
This question has been a controver-
sial topic of late. Therefore, Johnny
Be Good should easily tap into the
viewer's emotions. Unfortunately,
however, Johnny doesn't do it good,
or even well for that matter.
Everyone wants Johnny Walker
(Anthony Michael Hall,Weird Sci-
ence, The Breakfast Club), the top
high school quarterback in the na-
tion. Hoards of agents, alumni
boosters, and college presidents will
do anything to recruit this superstar
to their college. Johnny, a small
town boy dazzled by big city glitter,
is forced to choose between honesty
and morality or fame and fortune.
The movie opens on a promising
note as the high school coach (Paul
Gleason) starts a pre-game prayer
integrating God with the game of
football. But all too soon the viewer
realizes Johnny is another trite teen
flick, as a cheerleader flashes her
sion of the film is marked by in-
creasing amounts of money, girls,
clothes, alcohol, marching bands,
and anything else that would fall
into a young boy's fantasy.
However, the movie-goer is sim-
ply bored by this display and by the
lack of substantial plot. Walker's
dilemma of being pulled in two dif-
ferent directions - his mother and
girlfriend drawing him to the good
side and his buddy and coach pushing
him towards the immoral one - is
never elaborated enough to be effec-
tive drama, and the outcome is in-
This banality is personified in
one-dimensional relationships and
conversations. For example, when
Walker wins the state champ
his mother congratulates him
work, Johnny, you've work
for this for a very long time.
very proud of you." The girlf
not really a character, but
Johnny's conscience, urging
do "the moral thing." The
who previously badgered Ha
dean in The Breakfast Club,
wearing the same suits and u
same lines as in his last mov
Although the movie fail
tablishing drama, Walker's
Leo Wiggins (Robert Down
Less Than Zero) provides so
mated humor as he quips son
liners, generates strange fa
pressions, and jokes aroun
Walker. However, his witti
ionship, short-lived, as the movie relies upon
, "Good the recruiters for comedy.
ed hard The recruiters are everywhere.
We are After repeatedly seeing their gaudy
friend is clothes and hearing their slick lines,
t rather the audience no longer cares that
him to Walker can throw a great pass; they
coach, wouldn't want to catch it if he threw
JI as the it right into the theatre.
is still All in all, Johnny Be Good has a
sing the great premise, but the plot could fit
ie. into an after-school special with
s at es- many commercials to spare. The
buddy only thing really comical here is that
aey, Jr., skinny Anthony Michael Hall por-
me ani- trays a great football player. At the
me one- end of the movie as Chuck Berry
cial ex- sings "Go, Johnny, Go! Go! Go!,"
id with the audience simply wishes that
iness is Johnny would go away.
Top high school quarterback Johnny Walker (Anthony Michael Hall)
is relentlessly soughtrafter by college recruiters in the new release
'Johnny Be Good.'
SHOW YOUR TRUE COLORS -
CHECK OUT OUR FRESH SPRING
body to distract the opposing team.
Haven't we seen enough of this in
Porky's and Revenge of the Nerds?
From then on, Walker is tempted
by vice, being lead from one
bacchanal to another. The progres-
At what point is angst no longer
art? When is a sonic roar sonic
sludge? And when is noise just
noise? These are just some of the
I questions raised by Dusted, the lat-
est studio release from New York's
Other Artsy Guitar Band, Live
Live Skull isn't Sonic Youth,
but sometimes it is a little bit like
Sonic Youth playing with Lydia
Lunch. At its best the band can
weave some beautiful magic into its
fuzzy guitar stretches, which sound
like charmed snakes with a hang-
over. Thalia Zedek can even put
some very real anger into her vocals.
But at its worst Live Skull's heavy,
static wall of sound gets just plain
boring, and this is what surfaces
more than anything on Dusted.
There just isn't enough subtlety -
maybe even innovation - in its
style, here. No stand-out tracks like
the seductive "Pusherman," or any
real attempt to crawl out of the
doom and gloom that falls so heav-
ily over the LP.
Two exceptions manage to find a
little breather on Dusted: the furious
"Machete" and "Fat of the Land,"
which has a true charged rock and
roll style. Maybe it's time Live
Skull picked up the pace a little to
prevent drowning in its own juices.
Or maybe this band should slow
down and not rush over all the art
it's' trying so hard to create.
Nonetheless, when Dusted blows
over, the effect is not entirely unen-
Echo and the
Bedbugs & Ballyhoo
Bedbugs & Ballyhoo, Echo and
the Bunnymen's new 12-inch single
contains a bonus not usually found
on American records: the B-side
consists of three live cuts. The Bun-
nymen recorded three covers for
Swedish radio, including the Velvet
Underground's "Run, Run, Run,"
"Paint It Black," by the Rolling
Stones, and "Friction," a tune writ-
ten by Tom Verlaine (so I'm assum-
ing it is a song by Television). All
three songs capture Echo's energy
intact, featuring clear vocals from Ian
"Bedbugs & Ballyhoo," from their
last LP, is a nice, odd little bit of
bumble bee pop, but I doubt I'll of-
ten listen to all 10 minutes of both
versions on the A-side. Hopefully
this single will do well enough to
prompt the release of more live ma-
terial from the Liverpool lads.
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