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November 15, 1988 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-11-15

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t

ARTS
Tuesday, November 15, 1988

The Michigan Daily

Page 7

Film fails

Without a plot

BY ANDREA GACKI
What if... Sherlock Holmes'
jovial but deductively inept sidekick,
Dr. John Watson, had actually been
*the sleuth who solved all of those
mysteries? What if Holmes was
actually a fake, a ruse concocted by
Watson so that the doctor could
retain the respect of the medical com-
munity while investigating crimes in
London and penning the "Sherlock
Holmes" mysteries? And what if
Watson finally decided that he
deserved some of the glory for his
hard work and tried to fire Sherlock
Holmes?
The result would be havoc at 221-
B Baker Street and Thom Eberhardt's
film,Without A Clue.
What if... Ben Kingsley (Gandhi,

Pascali's Island) consented to play
Watson, and Michael Caine
(everything) acted the role of
Holmes? What if Caine took the
character of Reginald Kincaid, a
mediocre stage actor who rarely got
through the third act without being
pelted by tomatoes, and created
through him the bawdy, drunken,
altogether stupid persona of Sherlock
Holmes, a rendition completely for-
eign to Basil Rathbone? And what if
Kingsley, as the unusually perspi-
cacious and spry Watson, perfectly
complemented Caine's mania, thus
creating a genuinely extraordinary
rapport between the two actors, a
combination worth repeating?
What if... Without A Clue
acquired a great supporting cast, such
as Jeffrey Jones (who played the

buffoonish Emperor Josef II in
A madeus and the buffoonish
principal in Ferris Bueller's Day Off)
as the, um, buffoonish Inspector
Lestrade of Scotland Yard? Or Paul
Freeman as the dastardly Professor
Moriarty, Holmes' arch-enemy who
devises a scheme to destroy the
British Empire by counterfeiting five
pound notes? Or the hilarious Peter
Cook as Watson's disgruntled publi-
sher, outraged at Watson's desire to
share in Holmes' purloined glory by
becoming the Crime Doctor (or
Dentist, or whatever)?
The consequence would be a rather
charming film.
What if... there had been a little
less slapstick, however? What if the
chase scenes hadn't seemed so end-
less, and what if the humor hadn't so

often relied upon Caine's facial
expressions? What if an eternity
wasn't spent showing Holmes hang-
ing suspended from a railing by his
Inverness cape and sloppily fencing
with Moriarty?
What if... screenwriters Gary
Murphy and Larry Strawther had paid
more attention to that admittedly
elusive entity called a plot? What if
almost every event in Without A
Clue hadn't been obscured by the
powerful and engaging premise of the
film? What if one could have viewed
a real mystery along with the film's
novel approach to the Sherlock
Holmes myth?
The result would have been a
better film.

- T LiT7!.. A £11. - A~nio

WITHOUT A CLUE
Briarwood.

is showing at In wUout A uue mcna
Reginald Kincaid who gets
Holmes.

Caine plays out-of-work actor
roped into playing Sherlock

They Live, but audience

dies in

BY BRENT EDWARDS

Ever wonder why sometimes peo-
ple "Don't Think"? Why they
"Accept Authority"? Why they seem
to just want to "Marry and Repro-
duce," and "Watch TV" even though
nothing is on but garbage? Director
John Carpenter has seriously pon-
dered these questions, and in They
Live he lets us know that it's an
alien plot to enslave humanity using
the abovementioned subliminal slo-
gans - and only professional
wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper can
possibly headlock the aliens into
surrender.
Roddy the Wrestler, who's had
plenty of acting experience with the
PASS
IT
AROUND!
Share the.
news,
at'g

"1 ?
.arpenter's
World Wrestling Federation, trades in team p;
his tights for tight jeans to play a aliens t
blue collar worker in Los Angeles. only gc
At the beginning, Roddy the Philo- which i
sopher ponders the amount of in a ba
poverty in the country. The cause, is comple
apparently aliens (the outer space an enjo
kind), who have infiltrated our soci- for Pipe
ety. By means of a mind-altering inspire
broadcast signal, the aliens mask althoug
their robo-skull faces and use writera
subliminal messages to reduce hu- actly
mans to complacent servants, en- ("Life',
abling themselves to thrive as the into he
wealthiest people in the country. similar
Roddy the Investigator finds a pair of cape F
sunglasses that allows him to see the much n
hidden messages and the aliens' true Carf
faces, and Roddy the Exterminator ence fic
decides they're so ugly he's just got but fail
to blow them away. tion is
Keith David plays Piper's tag-

latest
artner who helps him pin the
o the mat. David provides the
ood performance in the movie,
s unfortunate - had he turned
d performance it would have
mented Piper's to make this
yably stupid action movie. As
er himself, his body-slams are
d but his acting is not. And
gh obviously first-time screen-
Frank Armitage does not ex-
give Piper the best lines
s a bitch... and she's just gone
eat"), Kurt Russell has done
roles for Carpenter (as in Es-
rom New York ) and has been
more interesting.
penter has done previous sci-
ction films with some success,
s with this one. The produc-
low-budget, and the script,
See They, Page 8

The Vandals
Slippery When Ill
;estless Records

This is the same band that paired up with DI five
years ago to flaunt the meathead-hardcore image in
Penelope Spheeris' film Suburbia. Since then they've
ohanged their sound from stereotypical California
punk rock to a country-influenced hardcore, but to
sum things up, they were bad hardcore punk rockers
then, and they're bad cow-punk rockers now.-
The overwhelming country-style bass (a la Oak
Ridge Boys), such as in "Shi'ite Punk," and the use
of more cheesey-twang guitar than REM, ("Shi'ite
Punk" and "Gator Hide") are going to keep this disc
on the shelves about as long as Brady Brides lasted on
TV before it's flung into the cut-out section between

the soundtrack for Valley Girl and the complete Alan
Vega collection.
In contrast to the lame music, the lyrics are, at
times, quite good. They tend to be predominantly in-
fluenced by rap: "Freedom for my people, no reli-
gious persecution / Give me this and there'll be no
revolution," and they pull it off pretty well. It's un-
fortunate that these infrequent garnishes, in the vein
of Public Enemy/BDP, are the only flavor on this
otherwise tasteless album, but even when they try to
go all out on re-mix of their "(Illa Zilla) Lady Killa"
they fall fearfully short of making a good song.
It doesn't make much sense that they would com-
pletely change their style and expect to do it well
(which they don't), but it will be interesting to see
what they do next. Dance maybe, or muzak...
-Robert Flaggert
See Records, Page 8

STUDY IN LONDON
SUMMER, 1989
Comparative Health Care Systems:
The British National Health Service
Classroom, Field Trips, and Individualized Placements
July 2-29, 1989
at
The University of London
6 credits: undergraduate and graduate
INFORMATION MEETING
Wednesday November 16
7:30 pm

r

GE

T iT!

", The Personal Column
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