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November 20, 1990 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-11-20

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Page 8- The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, November 20, 1990

Stallone's back on the block

Rocky V
dir.'John Avildson
by David Lubliner
Speaking as a true Rocky Balboa
diehard, I can honestly say that
Rocky V is not a complete embar-
rassment. The inane plot and over-
acting become hard to handle at
times, but it can catch you up in
that down-and-out-loser-who-makes-
good spirit that true fans of the genre
have come to expect.
Rocky V takes a long time to get
to its main point. The film picks up
where IV ended, with the Italian
Stallion knocking out that Soviet
fighter, Drago. On Rock's return to
the States, he learns that his useless
and even fatter and more disgusting
brother-in-law Paulie (Burt Young)
has surrendered the family fortune.
By handing power-of-attorney on
their estate over to a thief, the
Balboas are all of a sudden penniless.
(Don't ask me why anyone, even
someone as dumb as Rocky Balboa,
would let Uncle Paulie anywhere
near the money.)
In these early scenes we are
treated to lines such as this one
which Rocky delivers to Adrian:
"Maybe I'll take you upstairs and
violate you like a parking meter."
Come on Rock, you know better
than that. The dialogue is so awful
and Stallone's speech so slurred, that
one is left wondering whether these
people are purposely mocking them-
selves. I have had a difficult time
comprehending Sly in the past, but
there are complete scenes in this
movie where I couldn't catch a sin-
gle word or, for that matter, syllable.
Enter evil boxing promoter
George Washington Duke. Duke is a
complete Don King ripoff minus the
ugly 'hair. The plot goes from bad to
worse,"when Duke offers Rocky a
chanoe' to reclaim his fortune in an-
other" title defense. The Balboas re-
side in South Philadelphia again, not
too far from Mickey's old boxing
gym4and that tropical fish store
where Adrian once worked. Rocky
manages to reject the temptation
since he doctors inform him that he
has suffered extensive brain damage
(no surprise here). Instead, he trains

Continued from page 7
burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Ste-M)
while his idiot mother tries to make
it home; in the midst of trying to
make it day-to-day living alone,
Kevin must now defend his house
from the idiot burglars. Needless to
say, he does, just in time to see
Mom make it home.
Okay, first I'm going to admit
that the film is funny. The slapstick
beteween Pesci and Stern is funny,
Culkin is funny, the script is occa-
sionally funny, Columbus' timing
is good and the film is overall gener-
ally amusing.
Now, my question is, why did
Hughes have to make another of
these stupid pieces of shit? I mean,
once again, it's another film about
the stupid problems of the rich and
sheltered. There's nothing inherently
wrong with stupid problems of the
wealthy and asinine, but why can't
Hughes find any humor anywhere
else? Can't he expand his repertoire
of locations to include someplace
other than suburban Chicago? Don't
funny things happen to people over
15 years of age?
Basically, I'm tired of seeing him

Another stupid sappy scene from the latest John Hughes rehashed, re-
fried, reingested regurgitation: Home Alone.

mock the middle class, while still re-
inforcing its values (there's this
scene in the film where the kid goes
to church when he doesn't know
what to do and exchanges confes-
sions with an old man, thus clearing
both of their consciences and sup-
posedly giving you a warm fuzzy
feeling inside). And not just doing
this once or twice, but every single
goddamn time.

I'm also tired of seeing Hughes',
talent wasted (and, yes, for all of his,,,
sickening pop culturality, I will ad-,; a_;
mit that the guy is talented). He has,
made several good films in the past,
but the formula is wearing thin; it is
time for John Hughes to grow up or,,1;4
get out.
HOME ALONE is being shown at,.;
Briarwood and Showcase.

Here is Sly, in his Lock Up days, looking extremely serious and even more
muscular than he does as the down-and-out Rocky Balboa in Rocky V.

another fighter, a guy named
Tommy Gunn (who makes up these
names anyway?), despite the friction
that this creates with his kid, played
by Stallone's real-life son, Sage.
And I defy anyone to
claim... that the music
of "Gonna Fly Now"
doesn't raise your
adrenalin level just a
teensy bit.
All this is just creative plot ma-
neuvering to set up for the real pay-
off. Unlike past Rocky films, this
time the climax does not take place
in a ring, but in the street. The dra-
matic encounter underneath the rail-
road tracks is a refreshing change
from the boring fights to which
we've been subjected, and is more
exciting than anything we've seen
since the Apollo Creed days. And I
defy anyone to claim, no matter how

much you may despise the Rocky
films, that the music of "Gonna Fly
Now" doesn't raise your adrenalin
level just a teensy bit. Besides, the
filmmakers showed they understand
that we are now living in the '90s
by throwing a bunch of rap remixes
into the soundtrack.
Someone who doesn't share the
same affinity towards Rocky's plight
or simply can't remember how much
fun the original film was, shouldn't
sample this new offering. However,
Rocky's return to the old neighbor-
hood brings back good memories of
the past for those dedicated fans of
the series. As black and white im-
ages from the previous movies
flashed before my eyes during the
closing credits, this Rocky devotee
couldn't help but feel a bit sentimen-
tal. It almost made me wish for
ROCKY V is showing at Fox Village
and Showcase.

Continued from page 7

should be shot. Such an opinion is
not only completely uncalled for,
but is also made out of ignorance of
the ipact this band has had on the
music of today. Artists such as
Heart, Bad Company and currently
Whitesnake have made fortunes from
copying Zep's proto-metal style.
Then again, so have Paul Simon and
Peter Gabriel with their world-beat
recordings. Wait a minute, where did
the guitar riff and drum beat on that
rap record come from? Just what I
thought, a Zeppelin record. It's im-
possible to go anywhere without
feeling the after-effects of their ten
year recording career, which has been
condensed down to the released four
disc, 54 track retrospective box set.
There are some music listeners
who try to detract from Zep's place
in musical history by saying that
Plant, Page, Jones and Bonham are

musical thieves, and that "Whole
Lotta Love" should have been at-
tributed to Willie Dixon, and the
"Lemon Song" should have been
credited to both Robert Johnson and
Howlin' Wolf. Fine. Let's also
make N.W.A., Public Enemy, or
any other rap act give credit to
whomever they rip-off, just to make
things fair. While we're at it, let's
give Jeff Lynne credit for the three
chord riff at the beginning of Bob
Mould's "It's Too Late," lifted from
ELO's "Do Ya," and appease Little
Richard by giving money for every
record ever made since 1957. As you
see, the whole "give credit where
credit is due" argument is quite con-
fusing and too huge to really discuss
in this article. Besides, Zeppeilin's
music was based more on innovation
than rehashing, which is evident in
the various styles present in the box.
This collection was made for the
old fan who has worn out all the old
albums to death just as much as the

novice who has spent too many
hours agonizing whether he should
buy II or Houses of the Holy. The
superior sound quality should be
enough motivation to lug all your
Zep CD's back to Wazoo and ex-
change them for this collection. The
order of the songs also puts them in
an entirely new context. After Plant
screams "heart" at the sudden end of
"Heartbreaker," the band kicks into
"Communication Breakdown" in-
stead of the expected "Livin' Lovin'
Maid," which is nowhere present in
the collection. "Good Times, Bad
Tin es" is also not included here, but
the appearances of the rare gems
"Hey Hey What Can I Do," and
"Travelling Riverside Blues" (with a
songwriting credit to Robert John-
son) make those omissions almost
go unnoticeably. Additionally, new
respect may be earned for an under-
rated tune like "The Rain Song"
simply because it is sandwiched here
in between "Rock and Roll" and
"Stairway to Heaven."
A bit of irony of the package is
text of the 14 page booklet written
by Rolling Stone writers after the
Stone used to make a point of trash-
ing their earlier releases more than
twenty years before. But they're ab-
solved; no one liked Van Gogh when
he started out either. As Cameron
Crowe wrote in his piece, "The re-

Spend those Euro-dollars/ All the
way from Washington to Tokyo,"''"
seem to suggest that he is justifying>4
his samplings of the world's music.
On the other hand, on "Can't Run;
But" he describes a river wrapping'
around a heart, forcing Muddy Wa-
ters to part while the music biz
prospers. Presumably, this is an...
imagistic portrayal of the mass'
African-American migration north-
wards and the blues band that arrives
on the scene is watered down blues
in the form of rock 'n' roll, very.
much similar to his own sterilized
forms of township jive and samba
and Carnival percussion.
What is important about this is-,,-
sue, however, is the recognition that',a
this music has a majestic power and,
beauty that causes an aging, alien-,,,
ated, Jewish guy from New York to,
fall in love with it and pay homage
to it. The racism that surrounds the
Elvis controversy is, racist slurs'-
aside, that the originators of the mu-
sic (Black artists) were not given*
their due amount of the monetary or
critical rewards, not that a white man
was playing Black music.
Unfortunately, The Rhythm of the*,
Saints does not adequately express
this music's sublime, if tranquil,,
rhythmic passion. The percussion on
this album is anchored in gorgeous
layers of talking drums and congas
that snake and swirl aroung Steve
Gadd's complacent and stagnant
plodding. But apart from the native,
rhythms and Vincent Nguini's mbira
influenced sing-song guitar, the rest.,
of the music on this record suffers.
from the same sterile production
values that plague the rest of con-
temporary music. The Brazilian .r
beats are subverted by the incorrigi-
bly bland synthesizer playing of1.
Michael Brecker, while namesake.
Randy continues the tyranny of.
boredom with stale trumpet call and
response licks.
Although the album is ostensibly
about lost youth and future possibil-
ities apart from this world of pain,,,,
Simon does not sing with the same
knowing cynicism that actualized the1
lyrics of "Slip Slidin' Away" or "50
Ways to Leave Your Lover." Instead,-,
he strains to capture the soaring,
melismatic vocals of Brazilian pop
stars like Milton Nascimento, by,,
whom he gets cut in the duet "Spirit
Voices." When he does sing in a.
comfortable range, his vocals blend
in well with the rest of the musi-,
cians - they belie the album's,,
lyrical concerns. n,.,, ,

Paul Simon is down by the school yard again with his new release, The
Rhythm of the Saints.

verberations from those days run
through most of what passes for
rock and roll in the 1990's. Led
Zeppelin has never been more popu-
lar, more pervasive,
more...omnipresent. They broke up
ten years ago, but you wouldn't
know it by. listening to the radio.
Not since Elvis joined the army has
an audience so completely refused to
acknowledge an artist's inactivity."
The inactivity is the best part, for
we all want most what we cannot
have. It is doubtful that we will ever
see a full fledged reunion tour
brought to you by Visa, and judging
by the deteriorating quality of
Jimmy Page's guitar playing and the
shrinking of Plant's vocal range over
the last few years, it would probably
be a disappointment if it ever hap-
pens: The box set is therefore the
next best thing.
-Andrew J. Cahn

Graduate School of
Architecture, Planning,
and Preservation

Paul Simon
The Rhythm of the Saints
Warner Bros.
Let me preface this review by
stating my prejudices openly: I plan
to make my fortune as the Vegas
strip's pre-eminent Art Garfunkel
impersonator, and, as a result, my
opinion of any Paul Simon effort is
necessarily colored.
After all of the hoopla that sur-
rounded the release of Graceland
(claims of cultural imperialism), it
is indeed surprising that Simon
chose to include several lyrical ele-
ments that could be read as justifica-
tions, or at least problematic rework-
ings of the issues raised by his last
album. From the title of the album
suggesting that the musical styles of
the non-white world are the angels
that rescued his career from its seem-
ingly destined mediocrity after such
duds as One Trick Pony and Live
Rhymin' to strangely cryptic lines
like "My face, my race/ Don't matter
anymore' and "A winding river/Gets
wound around a heart. Pull it/
Tighter and tighter/ Until the muddy
waters part/ Down by the river bank/
A blues band arrives! The music suf-
fers/ The music business thrives,"
The Rhythm of the Saints seems to
obliquely wrestle with the criticisms
of cultural imperialism.
Lyrics like "My face, my race..."
and those on "Born at the Right
Time," in which he separates him-
self from his travelling buddies who
"like 'to go down to restaurant row/

The Shape of
TWO Cities:
Applications are being accepted for
the 1991-1992 academic year at the
Special Undergraduate Program. A junior year
introduction to architecture, urban planning, and
historic preservation for students who have
completed their sophomore year at an accredited
college or university. Students spend the first
semester in New York at the Graduate School of
Architecture, Planning, and Preservation and the
second semester in Paris at Columbia's studio and
classroom facility in the historic Marais district.
The program offers a choice of academic terms:
1. Summer, 1991 in New York and Fall, 1991 in Paris.
2. Fall, 1991 in New York and Spring, 1992 in Paris.
Applications due March 15, 1991

30 Minutes
From Central AND
CAMPUS to Detroit METRO North Campus
LEAVE: November RETURN: November
& &
t2 noon l pm 5am-llpm .10am-12 midnight 7am-11pm

-Peter .Shapiro


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