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October 13, 1992 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-10-13

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The Michigan Daily Tuesday, October 13,1992 Page 5


A clumsy collage of jumbled conversations

by Jon Altshul
"Why Does Herr R. Run Amok"
is about as glitzy as that home movie
your grandparents made during their
trip to Disney World. Interminable,
incoherent, and disturbingly boring,
Rainer Fassbinder's third film, re-
leased in 1969, succeeds only as a
realistic middle-class cross-section
of German life.
"Herr R." is a cynical, bitter pic-
ture that casually pokes fun at the
unnerving monotony of the working
class. The dialogue is natural and
unrehearsed, giving the ensemble a
relaxed and lifelike medium in
Why Does Herr R.
Run Amok?
Directed and written by Rainer Werner
Fassbinder and Michael Fengler; with
Kurt Raab and Lilith Ungerer
which to work. In fact, this film is so
true-to-life that the characters'
names are the same as the actors
who portray them.
Nevertheless, the film has more
than enough pitfalls to detract from
its simplistic charm. Perhaps the

most disturbing is Fassbinder's
come-as-you-are, hand-held shooting
style. The camera seems to rest on
the cameraman's shoulder. It bobs
up and down like a buoy and pans
with the dizzying effect of a glass-
bottom boat. Unfortunately, the
cinematography does not perpetuate
the "realism" motif, but instead, only
distracts the viewer.
The story is simply told: Mr.
Raab is a mild-mannered, unsocial
architect, as dull old charcoal, ob-
sessed with promotion and seem-
ingly little else. His perpetual silence
is not so much a reflection of intro-
version as it is of sheer inept bore-
dom. He is awkwardly compli-
mented by his attractive wife, who
resents occupying herself with any
diversions except banal correspon-
dences with stale friends.
From there, "Herr. R " is nothing
more than a clumsy collage of
jumbled conversations that teeter on
unnerving small-talk. The film is not
held together by a coherent plot or
sequence of events, but instead by an
underlying theme of contempt for a

conventional existence.
"Herr R." rambles on for 85 min-
utes without establishing anything
tangible. There are no symbols to
look for, no characters to become
attached to, and no peripheral em-
bellishments to decorate the mood.
Essentially, "Herr R. " is as aestheti-
cally rotten as a bag of pork rinds.
Yet Fassbinder seems to be one
step ahead of his uncharming char-
acters; as the audience's tolerance
wanes, the director reveals a power-
ful - though eerily nonchalant -
quirk in Mr. Raab's psyche. Hidden

behind a unnerving facade of nor-
mality, "Herr R." climaxes with a
delightfully original finale.
Fassbinder proves once again
that he is still a step too esoteric for
American tastes. Cluttered and di,
rectionless, "Why Does Herr R. Runl
Amok" ends on a strong note, but
sputters for too long beforehand to
capture the imagination. Enjoy it if
you can, but it might do your pa-
tience a favor to sit this one out.
plays tonight at 5:20 at the Michigan

UAC Announces a coed

Lonesome Larry
It seenas female folk singers are all over A2 these days. The Four
Bitchin' Babes put on a sweet show last week, k.d. lang will be here
Friday, and Michelle Shocked is due next Wednesday. What happened
to the guys? If you really feel the spirit of affirmative action, then see
James McMurtry at the Ark at 8 p.m. tonight. The son of author Larry
McMurtry ("Lonesome Dove"), his material is often similar to his
father's, with Texas settings and dark scenarios. Call 761-1451.
Ducks' on ice a winer

4 on 4 sand Volleyball tournament
on North Campus
Oct. 18, Sunday!


For more info, call the
UAC office at 763-1107

by Michelle Phillip
At first glance, Disney's latest re-
lease may seem like a contrived re-
hash of every "Bad News Bears"
movie you've ever seen. And, well,.
it is. But don't let that stop you from
enjoying this surprisingly cute and
amusing comedy from the kings of
Emilio Estevez stars as Gordon
Bombay, a hotshot Minneapolis
lawyer with a Vince Lombardi-like
The Mighty Ducks
Directed by Stephen Herek; written
by Steven Brill; with Emilio Estevez
attitude towards winning. Gordon's
"win at all costs" mentality stems
from a loss he caused his hockey
team when he was a kid. When Gor-
don is arrested for drunk driving, a
judge hands him a thousand hours of
community service, coaching pee-
wee hockey.
Gordon's team, the Ducks, are a
little set of bad-asses with an ax to
grind. These kids are looking for a
responsible and dependable adult,
and it seems like Gordon may not be
able to fit the bill. Gordon wants to
*casually dust off the team, but the
Ducks have other things in mind. On
his first day of coaching, Gordon,
dressed in a three-piece suit, arrives

in a limo. The kids promptly retort,
"No drug dealers are allowed."
After this first meeting, "The
Mighty Ducks" evolves tidily into a
feel-good movie that shows the tri-
umph of the human spirit. Gordon
starts off as a cocky S.O.B. who is
softened by these kids and the kids
change from mini-adults with major
attitude to adorable puck-slapping
tykes. Gordon eventually learns that
winning isn't everything and he can
forgive himself about his loss.
Since "Ducks" is a sports film, it
works best when it stays on the ice.
The hockey sequences are action-
packed, well constructed and com-
plete with the requisite sight-gags as
the team learns the basics of hockey.
However, "Ducks" can be te-
dious because it focuses so much on
Gordon and his "tortured" past, and
not enough on the kids or Gordon's
interaction with them. It seems as if
Estevez is trying too hard to be the
despicable, reluctant father figure.
The kids act reasonably well, but
they do come off as a little stereo-
typical. Even the team's makeup is
trite. There is, of course, a token
bully, and the lone female, who gets
to do nothing except add a little
diversityto the team by showing up.
THE MIGHTY DUCKS is playing at
Showcase and Briarwood.

Wednesday Oct. 14
7:00 PM
Michigan League Room D
Come hear about upcoming events and projects


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