The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 20, 1991 - Page 9
Large, in charge, but still blaxploitational
All in all, Livin' Large is just another brick in the big white wall
dir. Michael Schultz
by Mike Kuniavsky
M ichael Schultz has spent the last
15 years presenting nice, under-
standable, nonthreatening Blacks to
a Caucasian audience. With such
films as Krush Groove and Richard
Pryor's Car Wash, Greased
Lightning and Which Was Is Up (Mr.
Pryor himself being a nice, under-
standable, nonthreatening Black),
Schultz has made himself an ex-
ample to which white Hollywood
execs point and say, "See, we have
plenty of Black directors."
Schultz's latest film, Livin'
abandons more and more of his cul-
ture and becomes more and more
"white," to the point of dancing
like John Travolta. Finally, he is
faced with a situation where he
must confront his "real" self and
his newly-created "white" self.
This being a comedy, Dexter
triumphs, of course.
There are two fundamental prob-
lems: the first is that after all of
the tribulations in the film, after
all of the hardships that Dexter
Jackson goes through to retain his
Blackness, he gives in: he wears the
hair that the system wants him to
wear, he speaks like the system
wants him to speak and - worst of
all - he enjoys it. Sure, the "bad
white people" have gotten their
Continued from page 8
new release. Oh, I don't think I'll be
trading it in - it takes more than
one lackluster recording to make me
drop a group. Besides, the music is
still catchy, for the most part; the
tunes are still listenable, usually;
they're still loud; and they're still
funny (the album is dedicated to
Badfinger). But something's miss-
ing. The lyrics aren't as clever as in
past releases, and in some cases are
embarrassingly trite ("Looking
around for the answer/ I just can't
find it anywhere/ It's hard to care/
Before, YFF usually achieved a
perfect balance of the hard and soft.
Here there is just plain too much
thrash-trash. Many of the songs also
seem unfulfilling, as if they came up
with half a good idea and just left it
at that ("Hillbilly Drummer
Girl," "The Teen Thing"). Don't
get me wrong - this is still a
pretty good album. But only pretty
good. Over the past year or so I've
come to expect more from the
Young Fresh Fellows.
If you've never heard this band
before, I recommend you start with
Ladies, or The Men Who Loved
Music. Then decide if you want to
add Digest to your collection.
Just as Stevie Nicks is not your
ordinary musician, Time Space, the
"best of" Stevie Nicks album, is not
your ordinary greatest hits collec-
tion, either. Nicks presents her fans
with a compilation of rock greats
that is not simply an offering of
music, but also an exposd on herself.
While most performers hide the in-
spiration for their songs, Nicks
boldly enlightens the liner-note
reader by candidly explaining the
thoughts behind each track.
Nicks' music itself is universal.
"Love's A Hard Game To Play,"
"Stop Draggin' My Heart Around,"
"Talk To Me," "Rooms On Fire"
- what lover cannot relate to these
songs? Yet the music is also dis-
tinctly woman. On "Stand Back,"
she declares, "First he took my
heart, then he ran/ No one knows
how I feel." Other tracks, such as
"Edge Of Seventeen" and "I Can't
Wait," are overpowering adrenaline
rushes. Nicks has also become an
expert in the art of duet, perhaps
nerfectin2 it in "Leather and I ace."
After all of the hardships that Dexter Jackson
goes through to retain his Blackness, he gives
in: he wears the hair that the system wants
him to wear, he speaks like the system wants
him to speak and - worst of all - he enjoys
it. Sure, the 'bad white people' have gotten
their comeuppance and Dexter is a Black in a
position of power, but has anything changed?
Large, is theoretically more adven-
turous and really better than the
worst of the blaxploitation films
with which he started out. The film
is supposed to be about the
struggles of a Black man trying to
assert his cultural identity in a
white man's world, but it's really a
mockery of that identity, a mockery
that's designed to please both Black
and white audiences alike (though
for different reasons), without
teaching either side anything about
Dexter Jackson (T.C. Carson)
Wants to be a newsman on TV, but
bie can't 'cause he's a lower class
Black (he delivers dry cleaning for
his sister's place, simultaneously
skimming the good-looking stuff.)
Then, while Dexter is gawking at
his favorite reporter during a
hostage-taking scene, the newsman
is shot. Thinking quickly, he picks
up the microphone and starts a play-
by-play of the hostage scene, but be-
ing who he is, it's in his own
"down-home" style. Kate Penn-
dragin (Blanche Baker), the un-
scrupulous news producer at the
show (she later tells Dexter, "Next
* time, if someone wants to shoot
himself on camera, let him"), al-
lows him to continue.
Dexter is hired as a reporter, but,
as a reporter, he has to conform to
what Kate tells him is proper -
like a white man. Gradually, Dexter
comeuppance and Dexter is a Black
in a position of power, but has any-
The second problem is the gratu-
itous product placement. Coca Cola
paid for the free campus preview,
and it's obvious why: not a scene
goes by without someone drinking a
Coke, or a sign blazing in the back-
ground, or a vending machine con-
spicuously looming within the shot.
See LARGE, Page 10
When tremendous talents like
Don Henley, Tom Petty and Prince
delight us by collaborating with
Nicks, it only affirms her greatness.
Nicks, grateful for the
contributions of these musicians,
has returned the favor by including
on Time Space the Jon Bon Jovi
penned "Sometimes It's A Bitch"
and Bret Michaels' (Poison)
"Love's A Hard Game To Play."
These two tracks, along with
"Desert Angel," a collaboration be-
tween Nicks and Michael Campbell
of the Heartbreakers, are the only
new tracks on the album. Of course,
this material fails to have the im-
pact of the other ten songs, as they
have yet to reach "classic" status.
Nice day for a white wedding, isn't it? Dexter Jackson (T.C. Carson) is
having second thoughts at the altar, where he's supposed to marry
Missy the weathergirl (Julia Campbell) in Livin'Large.
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This is a co-ed a capella singing
ensemble at the U of M. They perform
music ranging in style from upbeat rock,
jazz, and blues to Michigan Favorites.
This is a student-directed and written
comedy troupe. Comedy Company
performs once a term in the Lydia
Mendelssohn Theatre and has taken its
show to other Big-10 schools.
This is for U of M's non-dance
majors who have extensive training in
all areas of dance. Auditions are in the
early fall, and the company performs in
This is the largest film group on
campus (formerly called Mediatrics),
presenting at least three films each
week. M-Flicks also sponsors film
festivals and sneak previews.
A fall musical, Soph Show restricts
its cast to first-year students and
sophomores, often giving students their
first collegiate theatrical experience.
Laughtrack features student
comedians and a professional headliner
each Wednesday night in the U-Club.
Soundstage provides musical
entertainment each Thursday night in
the U-Club. Established bands, both
local and student, are featured each
Special Promotions brings exciting
activities to the U of M. Past events have
included: Rolling Stone -The Photo-
graphs and a performance of Pink
Floyd's The Wall.
A campus-wide talent competition,
Starbound provides students with the
opportunity to perform, win prizes, and
gain experience and recognition.
A competitive quiz-trivia contest,
College Bowl begins with an intramural
tournament whose champions travel to
contests during the winter term.
Each term, Mini-Courses offers over
30 non-credit courses ranging from
aerobic dance to sign language.
Vie wpoin t
Viewpoint sponsors a variety of
lectures and forums for discussion,
including Student Soapbox.
The accountants handle all disburse-
ments, transactions with other University
units, and assist the committees with
Advertising and Publicity
This is comprised of a staff of graphic
artists headed by the Publicity V.P. They
prepare all posters, flyers, programs,
and other forms of advertising for UAC's
As official University coordinators of
Homecoming, UAC plans the parade,
float contest, pep rally, and many other