Page 4-The Michigan Daily-Weekend etc.-January 16,1992
by Stephen Henderson
They're cute, colorful, and have a nasty habit of dropping anvils on
people's heads. For years, they've dominated Saturday morning television
programming, and delighted the young as well as the young at heart. But
come September, the folks at NBC want nothing to do with them.
The network announced late last year that this fall, it will scrap its current,
cartoon-filled Saturday morning lineup and replace it with a new Saturday
So, when little tykes get up early Saturday mornings, grab that unhealthy
but tasty bowl of Sugar Pops and flick on NBC (Channel 4, locally), they'll
be confronted with the likes of Bryant Gumbel and Willard Scott instead of
the more traditional Bugs Bunny
and the Smurfs.
I can only imagine the shock.
When I was akid, Saturday morn-
ing. cartoons were my weekend
bread and butter. Along with Little
League, hanging out in the neigh-
borhood park and an occasional
birthday party, that was what Sat-
urday was about- getting up at the-
crack of dawn and hunkering down
in front of the tube, blank-faced and
starry-eyed for agood three-and-a- tte itl nictre
half or four hours.
Of course, it was mostly mindless, exceedingly unconstructive behavior.
But when you're a kid, a little bit of that isn't so bad. And there are a lot of
less productive and more mindless things kids could be doing besides
watching cartoons -like memorizing fifth-grade spelling words.
I wasn't discretionary in my cartoon-watching, either- The Flintstones,
the Schmoo, Scooby-Doo, Superfriends, Laff Olympics, Hong KongPhooey,
ind even Underdog if I got up early enough. You name it, I watched it -
religiously. Sometimes I would even put two televisions in the same room
so I could watch more than one show at a time - a practice I learned from
my grandmother, who used to watch her soaps that way.
My small world would certainly have caved in around me had I turned on
the TV one Saturday and found something other than my regular cartoons
,-let alone a dry, weekend rendition of Today. That's not programming for
b(ids, and as far as I was concerned, Saturday morning TV was strictly for
NBC apparently no longer thinks that way. In fact, the network is hoping
Saturday Today will capture the attention of the little tykes' parents - a
goup that has long been neglected by Saturday morning programming.
-Bob Wright, president and CEO of NBC, said in a press release, "We
btlieve that Saturday Today provides an attractive alternative to viewers
who are interested in news and information as they begin their weekends."
'The programming shift - which will be instituted Aug. 1 - is part of
NBC's "increasing commitment to news and information," according to
Wright, and will expand the successful Today program to a seven-day
format. But the network is quick to say that it doesn't mean the network is
completely sand-bagging its young viewership.
The popular but somewhat obnoxious Saved by the Bell (apre-pubuscent,
Ight-hearted rip-off of Fox's Beverly Hills 90210) will stay in the Saturday
morning lineup, and will be joined by a similar show designed for teens.
W It's entirely possible that the network's decision will be extremely
popular among adults. Who knows? Maybe they'll even revert to childhood
behavior, and eat Sugar Pops while they watch. And I suppose even some
:teens and pre-teens won't mind the change either.
-But as for the little kids who now watch NBC every Saturday morning,
a a stuttering Porky Pig would say: Th-th-th-that's all, folks!
It looks pretty stupid here, but Daniel Day Lewis and director Michael Mann's adaptation of Cooper's Last of the Mohicans could be pretty cool.
Films to live and die for in the new year
by Michael John Wilson
Y ou thought '91 was great for
movies? Oh, boy, wait 'til you see
'92! Here's a sampling of upcoming
releases and films currently in pro-
duction, arranged roughly in order
from potential masterpieces to po-
Until the End of the World
Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire)
could win the title of Greatest Liv-
ing Filmmaker if his latest road
film, starring William Hurt, is as
good as it looks.
Dracula Gary Oldman as Drac-
ula, with Winona Ryder and An-
thony Hopkins as a supporting cast.
Let's just hope director Francis
Coppola doesn't screw it up.
The Naked Lunch David Cro-
nenberg's adaptation of Burroughs'
unfilmable novel has received ex-
Slacker Richard Linklater's ul-
tra-low budget film about folks
like you who do nothing will be a
sure A2 favorite.
Shadows & Fog We hope
Woody Allen's latest will rescue
him from his Alice slump. With a
cast of John Malkovich, Jodie Fos-
ter and Madonna, he could be on to
The Age of Innocence Produc-
tion began recently on Martin
Scorsese's next New York film -
this one an adaptation of Edith
Wharton' s turn -of-the-century
novel. Daniel Day-Lewis stars.
The Player Robert Altman's
black comedy, about a Hollywood
studio head who kills a writer, fea-
tures a cast of a thousand stars.
White Men Can't Jump Ron
Shelton (Bull Durham) directs a hi-
lariously-titled basketball film.
Last of the Mohicans Daniel
Day-Lewis stars in an adaptation of
the J.F. Cooper novel. Yeah, the
photo looks goofy, but director
Michael Mann (Manhunter) is a
Night on Earth Jim Jarmusch's
latest collection of stories stars
Winona Ryder as an LA cabbie.
Malcom X Spike Lee's latest is
sure to break from his controversial
Fire Walk With Me The Twin
Peaks movie is actually a prequel
that ends with Laura Palmer's mur-
der. Starring the normal cast along
with Harry Dean Stanton, directed
by Lynch himself.
Rhapsody in August Akira
Kurosawa directs Richard Gere?
The Double Life of Veronique
Irene Jacob won best actress at
Cannes for her portrayal of two
women with a shared knowledge of
La Belle Noiseuse Four hours
long. French. Could be brilliant.
Kafka Steven Soderbergh (sex,
lies and videotape) returns with
Jeremy Irons as Franz himself.
Charlie Robert Downey Jr. as
Chaplin? It sounds almost as bad as
Kevin Costner as Robin Hood, but'
Batman Returns Ugh, we hate
sequels, but this one does have
Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and
good old Tim Burton at the helm.
Universal Soldier Jean-Claude
Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren
team up to double your action-film
pleasure. Then again, two times zero
is still zero.
Robocop 3/Lethal Weapon
3/Alien 3 Trilogies are nice, but
come on now ... even Alien might be
doomed without James Cameron at
Home Alone 2: Lost in New
Films of '91 in review: The best ... and da rest
The Daily Film Staff picks their
favorites (in ABC order):
Director Bruce Beresford (Driving
Miss Daisy) proves himself a
master with this film that was
everything Dances With Wolves
wasn't: honest, uncompromising
and bitterly real.
Boyz N the Hood
Despite its predictability and
preachiness, 22-year-old John
Singleton's debut was impressive
for showing a human side of gang-
ridden LA, demonized all too often
in films such as Colors.
Disappointing Martin Scorsese is
still better than most directors'
best. Fun thriller, with another
brilliant psycho from Bobby
Frankie & Johnny
Who would've thunk it? Garry
Marshall (Pretty Woman) creates a
wonderful romantic comedy, a
Hollywood classic in the tradition
of It Happened One Night. And
nobody saw it.
My Own Private Idaho
Gus Van Sant made the coolest film
of the year: Keanu, River, Flea,
Shakespeare, narcolepsy, filth,
degradation, and the Pogues over the
Paris is Burning
Jennie Livingston's eye-opening
documentary about drag balls and
voguing exposed a fascinating
subculture, and was perhaps the best
independent film of the eye.
The Silence of the Lambs
Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter
was so effective that the character
has become a part of our culture, in
the tradition of Norman Bates. A
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
The only film we all agreed upon.
Arnie as a good terminator sounded
like a bad idea, but that wasn't
taking into account the massive
potential of lines like, "I swear I
will not kill anyone."
Thelma and Louise
The most absurd controversy over a
movie had to be surrounding this
one. Male bashing? Where were all
of these closet pacifists when, say,
Arnie shot his wife in the head in
Total Recall and said, "Considah dis
Honorable mentions go out to
Beauty and the Beast, The.
Commitments, Dead Again, The
"If your hair isn't becoming
to you you should be
coming to us."
7 Stylists--No waiting2
opposite Jacobson's 668-9329
Fisher King, JFK, La Femme Nikita,
The Prince of Tides, Rambling Rose
and The Rapture.
And now, the awards:
Best Sex Scene Featuring a
Minor (and Handjob of the
Year): Laura Dern and Lukas Haas
(remember the cute little Amish
boy in Witness?) in Rambling Rose
- "Don't you know that curiosity
killed the cat?" "Yeah, but
satisfaction brought him back."
Worst Bruce Willis Film:
(tie)Billy Bathgate and Hudson
Best Bruce Willis Film: Mortal
Thoughts (his character is killed
within the first half-hour)
Best Performance By An Animal:
Jean-Claude Van Damme in Double
Best Rap Actor: Ice Cube in Boyz N
Best Zen Surfer Guru: Patrick
Swayze in Point Break
Biggest Money Whore: Sean
Connery in Highlander II: The
Worst Attempt at a Ponytail:
Woody Allen in Scenes From A
Best Eyebrows: Joe Pesci in JFK
Best Slipping in a Pool of Blood:
(tie) Cape Fear and The People
Under the Stairs
Most Entertaining Documentary
About an Idiot: Truth or Dare
Worst Line: "Go find your smile"
from City Slickers
Best Intolerable Art: Prospero's
Lists compiled by Mark Binelli,
Gabriel Feldberg, Aaron
Hamburger, Mike Kuniavsky,
Austin Ratner and Michael John
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