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The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 7, 1988 - Page 7-
BY TONY SILBER
The Vietnam film is a fascinating genre that
has developed over the last twenty years with
£stinctly different mood textures. From the
imperialistic thrust of John Wayne's The Green
Berets (1968) to the photographic poetry and
cerebral murkiness of Apocalypse Now (1979) to
the insanity of justifying unnecessary death in
Platoon (1986), these films have matured around
the genre they were created in. The Vietnam film
hWs a new colt in its stable with the recent release
of Bat 21. Simply put, the "maturing" of the
Vietnam film has regretfully stopped with this
From Peter Markle, the director who brought
you Hot Dog....The Movie (1984), what more
could you expect? And dreadfully miscast, Gene
Hackman (French Connection) belongs in a
Vietnam film as much as Sylvester Stallone
belongs in a John Hughes production of Hamlet.
The film's plot is as compelling as She Gods
, of Shark Reef . Golf-playing-surveillance-expert
Lt. Colonel Iceal Hambleton (Hackman) is rudely
shot down by a Viet Cong missile while on an
observation flight. After parachuting safely
behind enemy lines, he must survive in a
neighborhood that makes Detroit look like Salt
Lake City until his military pals can pick him
up before the secret bombing of the area.
Co-star Danny Glover comes along for this
misguided attempt at originality, as Captain
Bartholomew Clark, the pilot sent to watch over
Hackman, and incredibly, the two become best
friends in the process. Throw in some spectacular
battle scenes, mine fields, and acts of cunning by
Mr. Hackman and you get a boring, predictable,
overly melodramatic waste of good celluloid.
As for the script of Bat 21, English tutorial
students would laugh at the obvious adolescence
and shallow texture of this ill-fated screenplay by
William C. Anderson and Geroge Gordon, two
Hollywood third-stringers who cut Basic
Composition at Malibu Community College.
So, is there any savior for this mess of
filmmaking? No. This film gives no identity to
the Vietnam War, or the Americans who fought
in it. It makes no statement and doesn't justify
the senseless committment to military
intervention in Southeast Asia.
Bat 21 goes nowhere from the start and ends
the same place. Danny Glover, who was
excellent inWitness (1985), is sadly useless here.
Hackman, who plays the fifty-three year old desk
job military officer who accidentally gets his first
field experience, does not develop into a hero, but
instead becomes a Geritol Rambo who'd rather
play golf in Pheonix. Every great film career has
at least one dud.
Thus another chapter in the history of the
Vietnam film is written with Bat 21, but let's
hope this is not the last attempt at exploiting
this genre or the whole tradition risks ending on
a bad note. This film will gain no respect
compared to its Vietnam counterparts, but copies
will eternally be in at your video stores -
because no one will want to take them out.
Bat 21 is now showing at the Showcase Cinemas
and at Fox Village.
Gene Hackman plays a military desk jockey thrown
combat in Bat 21, a film which proves that not only is
hell, war movies can be, too.
Creativity carries Christ
BY BETH COL UITT
Creativity is a wonderful thing. The creativity of the
pibducers and the director of Jesus Christ Superstar in
casting Pontius Pilate as a woman was a brilliant
move. The highest of many high points in this show
were when Pilate was on stage, and Elizabeth
Richmond as Pilate upstaged the whole cast.
Even though I had known that Pilate and Herod were
to be played by women in Musket/UAC's version of
Jesus Christ Superstar , I was perplexed by the woman
in pink regal robes and a laurel wreath as she came
onstage for "Pilate's Dream." I now think that I will
never be satisfied seeing a man play Pilate's part again,
because Richmond gave such a poignant performance
as the person "saddled with the murder" of Christ. She
made the part a woman's part, portraying Pilate as the
victim of hypocritical, back-stabbing Christians -- a
view of Pilate that is long overdue
Both Pilate and Herod (Jenny Perry) gave
performances which removed any need for a male actor.
However, although "Herod's Song," as well as Herod
the character, were amu-sing, the scene could have been
more polished, and perhaps taken a bit further. In
Rice/Webber's script, Herod the male is supposed to be
effeminate, flirting with Christ a little, but Director
Eric Gibson said that he wanted to stay away from any
male-female allusions in the scene. It might have been
a ,stronger scene if Gibson had left that element of
attraction in the show.
Using new innovations in the production of Jesus
Christ Superstar is no surprise since the play itself
takes a new angle towards the last seven days of
Christ. Jesus (Jim Van Dore) has become a wimp, a
sell-out to his image. A critic, catching all of Christ's
mistakes and indulgences (namely Mary Magdalene),
Judas (Matthew Barrit) is the star and the deepest
personality on stage. The main flaw of Musket's show
was that Judas lacked guts. Throughout the first act he
seemed afraid to let loose with his voice and his
gestures, although he improved during the second half.
The role of Judas must be played with force, and
Barrit's performance, although good, was not
Other highlights of the show were the group
characters: the chorus, apostles, and priests. The
ensemble did a marvelous job in their multifaceted
roles. The chorus sang extremely well. Each
pantomimed role was well done, pro-perly exaggerated
to give the chorus' overall appearance flair. The
choreography was superb. During numbers such as
"What's the Buzz," "The Temple," and "Superstar," the
chorus was energetic, clear, and precise.
The temple priests, especially Caiaphas (Geoffrey
Collins) and Annas (Doug Campbell), were
delightfully nasty, and both voices were extraordinary.
They were the only two whose voices were
consistently'strong enough to be heard.
The most amusing scene in the show was the Last
Supper, thanks to adept acting on the part of the
apostles. It was an hilarious scene, from all of them
getting happily drunk on the "blood" of Christ ("Look
at all my trials and tri-bulations/Sinking in a gentle
pool of wine...") to their am-bition which implies the
hypocrisy of Christianity ("Then when we retire we can
write the gospel/So they'll all talk about us when we
The abrupt ending of Superstar was very surprising,
but well-timed. There was nowhere else to go after the
climax of "Father, forgive them..." Van Dore delivered
these lines with far too little conviction. This great
quote was not only man-gled, but delivered with a
Superstar had some weaknesses: a lack of polish
and a lack of the strong voices necessary to
compliment the chord-crunching rock of many of the
songs. However, an absence of conviction was more
than overshadowed by wonderful scenes and performers.
If this were Sale of the Century
instead of a record review, it would
sound something like this...
I am an album. I was recorded
by a band from south of the Ohio
River. I was produced by Mitch
Easter. I feature twangy guitars,
'60s-ish organs, straightforward
drumming, and clear, but slightly
nasal vocals by a clean-shaven
young man with glasses. Music
critics have described me as "quirk-
y, poppy," and "upbeat." My
songs all range from three to four
minutes and contain vague lyrics
about love or something like that.
Give up? Of course you do.
Problem is, after listening to both
sides of this album, you'll still
give up. Is this Love Tractor
without the jazz? Tom Petty with a
haircut? Dumptruck with key-
boards? It's all of this and mor-
well, it's all of this.
OK, given this, I will say that
Velvet Elvis have promise, evid-
enced by songs like "What in the
World," an affecting ballad that
shows the band can live up to the
first half of their name, in more
ways than one. The lyrics occasion-
ally transcend the haziness of the
nouveau-Ameri-guitar lexicon (i.e.,
mention something about fire, rain,
running, or falling eery few lines
and use adjectives without nouns).
And, hey, you have to give any
band credit that can end a line with
the words "lonely one" and not
rhyme it with "only one."
But on the whole, Velvet Elvis
does little more than xerox pages
out of the Gospel According to
Easter without adding its own
footnotes. I wouldn't count Velvet
Elvis out of the Next Big Thing
race just yet, but I wouldn't count
$7.99 out of my wallet just yet,
either. -Jim Poniewozik
"Just Say Yo"
(Volume 2 of "Just Say Yes")
Sire CD-only release
The question here, as with any
sampler album, is not aesthetic but
economic - is it worth my bucks?
So I'm going to have to break my
anti-gimmick critic's vows; here's
my Consumer Reports record
"Although not as packed with
primo features as was the inaugural
CD from the college/British
oriented Sire label, the 70-minute
Just Say Yo does offer a unique
chance to test-drive some exciting
new -)unds. Among them, you'll
get the best performance from the
disco-mixed desert-music strains of
Israeli pop singer Ofra Haza
("Galbi"), the rich Patsy Cline
country of k.d. Lang ("Black
Coffee"), and the spare rock of A
House ("Call Me Blue"). And with
a stack of standard features such as
killer out-takes, live cuts, and
mega-mixes by groups like,
Morrissey, Depeche Mode, and
Mighty Lemon Drops, all to offer
for the $7.98 list price, you'd have
to e rzy-o maybe broke -
t becay - or m y eb oeto just say "no" to this deal."
After you buy the aforemen-
tioned items, please send in the
consumer preference survey found
on page 88--Ed.
-Michael Paul Fischer
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Monday, November 7, 1988
5:00 - 7:00 PM.
Representatives of Morgan Stanley will be present
* The Investment Banking Industry
" The Financial Analyst Program
Contact the Career Planning & Placement Office or the
School of Business Administration Placement Office
for additional information
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