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March 22, 1989 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-03-22

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Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 22, 1989
Bewildering Fletch Lives cult
salivates over Chevy Chase

I f

groundbreaking. When you've got
pop 'singers mindlessly sighing
about the joy of love... sweet love.,.
forever and ever... what could b
better- than a bunch of guys corn
plaining about there being too much


Professional wrestling has com-
petition vying for its young, mostly
male, audience, and it is Fletch
Lives. Before the movie began, the
packed house chanted, and I mean
chanted, "Fletch, Fletch, Fletch!"
They hung on every line that Chevy
Chase uttered as if it was the second
coming of Christ. I really thought I
was at a rodeo/wrestling match/tract-
or-pull when some guys .yelled
"jump her!" everytime a woman
walked on the screen.
I never really understood the
Fletch cult. The first movie was a
harmless, and witless, comedy that
was a pale rip-off of Beverly Hills
Cop. There is even less fun in Fletch
Lives. This time, Fletch comes
across as grumpy, sour and smarmy
rather than trying to engage the aud-
ience with his sarcastic humor.
The plot is merely a jumbled
vehicle for Chevy Chase to put on
makeup and become different charac-
ters with funny names - such as
Billy Gene King, Nostradamus and
Victor Hugo. Fletch inherits an old
plantation from an aunt down South
and begins to investigate why so
many people want to buy his seem-
ingly worthless property. The char-
acterization of the South will not
win any awards from the Board of
Tourism. The typical cast of charact-
ers are all here: dumb Southern cops,
KKK members, motorcycle Nazis,
televangelists and the inevitable
'coon hunt with some fat, drunk
guys. The producers should be care-
ful; they're alienating part of their
potential audience. Fletch Lives is
satirizing the South, but the screen-
play is not witty enough to make


Fletch (Chevy Chase) enjoys a moment of freedom from make-up and
costumes while dangling between two police officers in Fletch Lives,
an abominably bad movie.

these stereotypical characters satiric-
ally funny.
The humor is as derivative as a
four-year-old's. Fletch makes some
wry comments about impotence and
baldness. Fletch's girlfriend, played
by Julianne Phillips (ex-wife of THE
BOSS) says she has to "pee" about
five times (She left Bruce for an
acting career?!). There are jokes about
running over the handicapped, and
there must be at least four comments
about bestiality. I didn't realize what
an influence Britain's Benny Hill had
on American cinema.
Now, let's not forget that Fletch
Lives is a comedy, and under that
protection, it claims to have the
prerogative to get kind of nasty
without having to answer to the
"politically/morally correct" crowd.
But the portrayal of Blacks in this
film is exceptionally distasteful.
There are two Black characters: one is
a tap dancer on a religious show and
the other is the hired help on the

plantation. The latter is played by
Cleavon Little(Blazing Saddles) who
says, "Yes, Sah" and shuffles around
just like StepinFetchit did in the
cinema about 60 years ago. The
filmmakers try to redeem this
portrayal by making Little an FBI
agent playing the role of a sub-
servient Black man - which we
don't learn until the end of the movie
and therefore are bewildered and
stunned by this characterization.
Director Michael Ritchie (The
Golden Child, The Survivors) cre-
ates a slapdash film full of terrible
dubbing, many continuity mistakes
and editing that is so fast, it's dizzy-
ing. The stunts throughout the film
are entirely forgettable and fail to
create a sense of danger. The support-
ing actors are all pretty weak. Hal
Holbrook digs up the Southern
accent from his portrayal of Mark
Twain on stage, but this time he
switches in and out of it on a whim.
R. Lee Ermey, who played the drill
sergeant in Kubrick's Full Metal
Jacket, is convincing, and unrecog-
nizable, as a sneaky televangelist.
I would be lying if I said Fletch
Lives did not make me laugh, but I
also would be lying if I said I
laughed more than three times. There
is one scene that seems out of place
in the film because it is really quite
brilliant. It's when Fletch does an
impersonation of Uncle Remus sing-
ing "Zippity-Doo-Dah" with animat-
ed pets singing along with him. In a
movie with 1,000 throw-away lines,
there is bound to be something
funny, but there's not enough to
erase the experience of attending this
cinematic wrestling match. Fans of
Fletch may not be disappointed, and
for these disciples, Fletch Lives is a
critic-proof movie. If you did not see
Fletch though, there is no reason to
become a card-carrying member of
the cult.

Boogie Down Produc-
I'm Still #1 (12")
KRS-One knows what time it is.
When you're still number one,
there's always room for improve-
ment. Originator of the "Stop the
Violence" record, and distinguished
leader of the new school of rap mu-
sic, KRS has it made. "Jack of
Spades", the single from "I'm Gonna
Git You Sucka". has a def beat, and
yeah, it's funky.
But the gem on this single is
"#1" in remixed form. Realizing that
this is a re-recording, KRS then
must take the time - to remix it.
First, he takes the synth bass from
the original recording, and splices in
these stupid fresh Ricky Ricar-
doesque horns, for flavor. The first
beat has been pulled and replaced in
extra syncopated form. The music
constantly changes, never giving
you a chance to settle down. Sam-
pled horn blasts leap from the
speakers with each unpredictable
measure, calling attention to any
specific verse at a time.
For example, "I'll freestyle,
freestyles meanwhile you're lookin'
ignorant/ I'll take a pause, but I
don't bother fillin' it/ I'm criminal
minded, you're soft minded/just like
a dog, here's a lyric, go find it." As
the rhyme goes on, he exerts a

whole new level of control over the
groove. Brass sections blare at their
designated times, only for KRS to
silence them with just a word. The
result is an extremely tight product,
that lifts itself from the standard
form of repetitive sampling, music
that just keeps on keeping on. Here,
you get the sense that he's in total
control, total unity with the music.
. Interesting point: As KRS de-
clares his numero uno status
throughout the track, he runs down
his alliances, almost like reading off
his resume, such as, "Public Enemy
is down with us/ B-Boy records you
just can't trust/ makin' funky music
is a must." Point being, it's not the
ideal way to prove that you're bad,
but for now, it's the best way I can
imagine. Undoubtedly, until next
time, KRS will have to settle for
being number one.
-Forrest Green
Too Much Joy
Son of Sam I Am
Warning: Not for the closed-
Good news for those who con-
tinue searching for "new music."
The dream is not dead. It continues
with this innovative band, Too
Much Joy, the movers and shakers
of post-modern music. For starters,
the overall concept here is totally

This is the cure to the top-20,
blues. For social commentary, take
"Clowns." Grand statement: "This,
world is run by clowns/ who can't
wait to see it end." The perversion.
continues throughout the record with
warped songs like "Bad Dog," and a
superior cover of L.L. Cool J's
"That's a Lie." Every song does
more of the same as far as telling up
something different. "Making Fun of
Bums" tells us how the lead singer
laughed sadistically at the homeless,
until his dad sold the house, leaving
him out in the cold.
Musically, Too Much Joy runsi
the gamut. The weird combination
of voices and jangly guitars sound
reminiscent of R.E.M., while the
scratching and sampling showcases
the band's rap influences. The blend
here is so fresh, it defies genre. '
Now let me tell you, this is not
another review. Repeat: This is not
another review. This is Too Much,
Joy! And it's a great, great record.,
Next time you want to try some-
thing different, remember Too Much
-Forrest Green"

FAUre IT ' I rI I Is, r. *@I ii it T F T1-Th'r4m

Progressive Zionist Caucus presents
An Israeli's View,
of the Arab Middle East
Thursday, March 23, 7:30 pm at Hillel
"...it is a vital interest for Israel from a security standpoint
to reach a political settlement with Arabs based on
territorial compromise."
Moment, 3 -89
Hillel does not necessarily endorse the Dail s opinion or agree with its editorial policies.

---Sunday, April 2 and Monday April 3
Auditions are being held at the Performance Net-
work, 408 W. Washington for Riffs: A Theater and
Blues Cabaret. Three males and three females needed.
Auditions are Sunday at 2 p.m. and Monday at 7 p.m.

For further information, call 663-0681.
Auditions and Opportunities runs Wednesdays in
the Michigan Daily Arts section. If you have items for
the column, contact Cherie Curry at 763-0379.

Continued from Page 7
of their unnatural situation was
questionable, and the conclusion in
particular shows the characters react-
ing at only the shallowest of levels.
This criticism might be thought
picky considering the movie is
meant to be a light-hearted comedy,
but the fact that its writers also had a
hand in creating Mystic Pizza shows
that they had the potential to make
this movie much better.
Nevertheless, the performances
are 75 percent on the mark. The
movie is clearly Downey, Jr.'s and

he makes the movie worth seeing.
Apply the Performance Importance
Test (PIT) to Downey, Jr.: imagine
his role being played by Judd Nelson
- the worse the movie would be
with Nelson, the better the perfor-
mance is as it is. Downey, Jr. aces
this test; his comic actions and reac-
tions are fun to watch. Cybill Shep-
herd and Mary Stuart Masterson
provide solid supporting roles, but
Ryan O'Neill (Robert Redford with-
out the intelligence) gives his usual
bad performance - he clearly fails

the PIT.
Much of the time, Chances Are
is genuinely funny and romantic; at
other times, it is hokey and silly.
Thus, it flip-flops between a worth-
while and a made-for-TV romantic-"
comedy. It is an enjoyable movie,
but other movies that have used
similar ideas successfully make the
faults of this one stand out, and you
may leave the theater with an unde-
niable urge to rent the video Ileaven
Can Wait.




F.I A.
MI. " },,

T1ER 1Nyq

Beer for Peanuts


1/2 Price Pizzas (Pizza for Peanuts, too) and $2.50 Pitchers.
Six Molson Canadians for only Six American Bucks.
$1.75 buys you a Whole Pitcher of our Featured Beer.
"Soon to be World Famous" Pitcher Night. All our Pitchers
are $1.00 off.

A veterinarian can combine these interests to tailor a career
selected from a wide range of opportunities that include biomedi-
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zoo medicine, and more.

Good Tilie * Drink Special Start at 9 p.m.
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C ats
Continued from Page 7
And speaking of showing up,
here's the band, finally. Led by the
Capt'n himself, wearing a
Funkadelic jacket and curly yellow
hair under a plastic shower cap worn
beret-style, the band launches into
their anthemic "Free James Brown."
The song borrows more than the
name of the Godfather-of-Soul-
turned-Godfather-of-Cell - its
badass bassline and chicken-scratch
guitar approach the butt-wigglin'
funkiness of his '60s heyday as
Cap'n Dave struts and barks, "J.B.
don't stand for Jail Bird!"
Their set unfolds like a weird
dream on a night when you're about
to wake up with a bad hangover,
lurching unpredictably from mellow
jazz to acid funk, with a cover of
Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's

Worth" thrown in for good measure^.
All the while the eerie interplay of:
Peek's flute and Murray's guitar ef.
fects put the "psychedelic" in the
Psychedelic Lounge Cats.r
Granted, what with all the skin,
meat, '70s references, and polyester,
tonight's is not a show for the
gimmick-weary (especially given the!
pairing with The Herb Tarlick's, arm
tificial fabric connoisseurs in theiw
own right). But take note: Under-°
those Salvation Army smoking-
jackets lurk real musicians.
And as for the gimmick-hungry, .
don't know what's in store fore
tonight, but as I left the rehearsal 1I
did catch this snippet of conversa-
"I tried to get ham steaks..." 4
AT 10 p.m.tonight at the Beat. 215
N. Main. Cover is $4.

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" Computer prepared Income Tax Returns.
" Electronic Filing for fast IRS processing.
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