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December 04, 1992 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-12-04

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ALRTS
Friday, December 4, 1992

*The Michigan Daily

Z
Page 3 3.
'Tistheseason to blow:.

Mr. Murphy is no Jimmy Stewart

by Jon C. Altshul
It might be poetic justice to liken
Eddie Murphy to Orson Welles -
the ground-breaking protege who
revolutionized American cinema by
the age of 25, only to stumble
through the rest of his mediocre ca-
reer with an often interesting, yet in-
variably unoriginal re-hashing of old
ideas.
By the same logic, however, it
might also be poetic justice to liken
The Distinguished
Gentleman
Directed by Jonathan Lynn; written by
Marty Kaplan; with Eddie Murphy
Geraldo Rivera to Walter Cronkite,
Spinal Tap's Nigel Tufnel to Jimi
Hendrix, and Derrick Alexander to
Desmond Howard. Simply put,
Murphy's last half dozen projects
have been so abysmal that his
demise can only be fairly compared
with the similar nose-dives of such
has-beens as Joe Piscopo and Scott
Baio.
Indeed, "The Distinguished
Gentleman," Murphy's latest release,
is no aberration from an untarnished
string of belly flops that includes
"Boomerang" and "Harlem Nights."
Sure, with its corny Horatio Alger
theme, the film seems to flow from
the same comedic vein as such early
blockbusters as "Trading Places"
and "48 Hours," but the end result is
so far from amusing that it becomes
darn near offensive.
The storyline, lest you haven't
picked up on its disturbing simplicity
from he trailers, is about as pre-
dictable as the first level of Space
Invaders. Small-time hustler Thomas
Jefferson Johnson (Murphy) runs for
Congress with selfish intentions and
a bullshit campaign. Playing off pub-
lic apathy and cute ethnic appeals,
his victory is painless and far too
prompt. The underdevelopment of
his campaigning is unfortunate be-

a few bucks on CDs

Despite our opinion of "The Distinguished Gentleman," we're really proud of Eddie Murphy's choice of ties.

cause it is during the film's opening
moments that Murphy is at his best.
His ostentatious laugh and signature
impersonations remind the viewer of
the slick charm he perfected in his
earlier movies.
But alas, before "The Distin-
guished Gentleman" is 15 minutes
old, Johnson is already headed to
Washington. And bereft of a more
water-tight explanation for his
stunning landslide victory, the movie
makes itself far too vulnerable to
sustain a plausible conclusion.
The remainder of the film is jum-
bled and sloppy. Johnson befriends
special interest lobbyists. who
promise him large bribes and steady
advancement. He readily accepts
their hand-outs until - guess what
- he meets a girl (Victoria Rowell)
who gives him a conscience and sets
him straight. Then, again to the utter
dismay of the audience, Johnson un-
veils the rampant corruption in the
hierarchies of Congress. Blah, blab,

blah ... Wasn't Jimmy Stewart in a
movie like this? Never mind.
Despite the glaring two-dimen-
sionality of the plot, inconsistencies
abound. For example, the tone of the
movie flip-flops, oscillating from
sophomoric comedy to not-so-sear-
ing drama whenever Murphy leaves
the frame. Furthermore, peripheral
characters, such as Johnson's admin-
istrative assistant Reinhardt (Grant
Shaud) and left-wing congressman
Elijah (Charles Dutton), are so un-
derdeveloped that one is never quite
sure which side they're on, or what
their significance actually is.
The film does, however, have
some bright spots. Rowell drops a
pretty witty zinger about sexual ha-
rassment, and the Nixonesque repre-
sentative Dick Dodge (Lane Smith)
does a fairly convincing job as
Johnson's nemesis. But of course,
keeping in the film's juvenile style,
Murphy milks the pun on Dodge's

first name far past the point of
laughability.
The funniest scene, though, is
unintentional, that being Johnson
and Rowell's consummation of their
undying love. The dialogue is so
contrived and tired, and recited with
so little passion that even Melanie
Griffith would be embarrassed.
Murphy is clearly way out of his
league when he turns into a gushy
sentimentalist.
"The Distinguished Gentleman"
will do alright anyhow. Murphy's
films, even the good ones, have all
prospered despite the tireless be-
ratements of critics. But with "Mo'
Money" coming to video stores this
month and with "Mr. Smith Goes To
Washington" already there, you
might be well-advised this holiday
season to head to Blockbuster in-
stead of Showcase.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLE-
MAN starts today at Showcase.
A d'm'rlc 1 rn-ri

by Jessie Halladay
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Fa la la, la la la, la la la? Jack Frost
nipping at your nose? Personally, I have never roasted a chestnut, none of
my friends go around saying "Fa la la" and I've never met anyone named
Jack Frost but I sure as hell wouldn't let him nip at my nose. However,;
ridiculous these Yuletide sayings seem to be, something about the season of;'
peace on earth and good will toward men (and women, of course) makes:
them a little more palatable.
Christmas music has always held a very special place in my heart. It has
always been a key part of every holiday season. For years my family had.
caroling parties around my neighborhood, and on Christmas morning we,
would listen to old Julie Andrews albums as we opened our gifts. Then we..
would gather around and sing as my mother played the piano.
I've come a long way since those carefree days of old, but music is still
an essential part of my holiday spirit. No longer do my sister and I make up
dances that act out the words to "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas," but I find time ;
in my schedule to hum a bar or two. So at this time of the mad consumer '
rush to get the "perfect" gift, I'd like to pass on some of my Christmas mu-
sic tips:
1) First of all, an economic suggestion. Why spend the extra cash on a,,;
CD that you will only listen to for a month at the most when you can buy
the cassette and save a couple bucks? This money will come in handy when,-
you realize you forgot to buy your mom a present.
2) Not every Christmas album is a good Christmas album. Just because
all your favorite tunes are there doesn't mean you will like the artist's ren-,"'
dition. Take for example Travis ("Here's a Quarter Call Someone Who
Cares") Tritt's new Yuletide mixture. Not one of the classics he recorded
sounds anything like you'd expect. Not to mention that the first song,
"Winter Wonderland," includes Travis screaming "Hit it boys!" I don'tk1
know about you, but when I think of Christmas carols, I don't think of "HitA
it boys."
3) Traditional is good, but why limit yourself? While no holiday would
be complete without hearing Bing Crosby croon "White Christmas" or Gene
Autry sing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," there is no need to avoid
anything new. Artists such as Goober and the Peas and Wynton Marsalis
have both come out with worthy efforts.
4) Collections can be good ... and bad. What better way is there to get alf
of your favorite season faves, done by the people who made them famous,
than to buy a collection. The selection of these easy money makers is huge,,,,
but choose wisely. Make sure you check who is actually singing and make-
sure you are getting original recordings. Suggestions: the Motown collection
is decent (if nothing else, it will make you laugh).
5) I personally recommend the Charlie Brown Christmas album. For the
last 27 years this animated special has been a holiday staple. (Only now,
they've come up with a new one. I guess they figured Charlie was tired of
buying that same lame tree year after year.) The music, which is mostly in-
strumental, takes a jazzy twist on some of the classics, but it is definitely
worth a listen. I hope these suggestions help you out in your quest for the'
right music to put you in the jingle bells frame of mind. After all what .
would the season be without some holiday cheer playing in the background!
Happy Holidays!
<I Ii -i n h i ~ n n C f n i i s _

t> 111 J 1111Qgil1QuV11 R11111gJ l.V1Vl n W lliC

v v v

AIR FORCE ROTC UNITS
FILLED TO CAPACITY
NOT!
Don't believe everything you hear.
The Air Force continues to seek
outstanding students to fill future
officer requirements. See yourself
becoming a leader, graduating
from college as an Air Force
officer with fully developed
qualities of character and
managerial ability. Notice, too,
the opportunities. Like eligibility
for scholarship programs that can
pay tuition, textbooks, fees...
even $100 in tax-free income
each academic month. Visualize a
crisp uniform that reflects pride in
yourself and your ability to accept
challenge. Get the picture? Now
make a call! 747-4093
AIM HIGH--AIR FORCE

by Lia Kushnir
"Imagine there're no finals, no
CRISP, no GPA ... You may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only
one ..." OK, maybe that's not ex-
actly the way John Lennon sang it,
but the point is that everyone has an
imagination. It relieves us in trou-
bled times and makes life more in-
teresting. That's the idea behind the
University of Michigan Children's
Theatre production of "Imagi-
nation."
"Imagination" is an original piece
of work by University student writer
Elizabeth Keiser and director Micah
Hyman. The piece is about "a little
girl who is bored until she discovers
her imagination and what she can do
with it," said producer / actor Blake
Robinson. "Eight of us bring the lit-
tle girl's imagination to life dressbd
up as the different colors of the rain-
bow." The individual colors play
with the little girl, and she is no
longer lonely or bored.
Robinson explained that the
award-winning Children's Theatre
"exists to bring quality theater per-

formance to underprivileged children
in the community. We just want
people to see what we're doing."
"Imagination" is the Children's
Theatre's fifth show and their first
production of an original script.,
There will be eight performances at
various institutions in the Ann Arbor
and Ypsilanti area. The two public
performances this weekend are a
unique opportunity for children of

all ages to enjoy.
"There isn't really a plot or a
conflict," Robinson laughed. The
moral is that everyone has an imagi-
nation and the power to use it to
make the world a happier place to
be.
IMAGINATION will be performed
Saturday and Sunday at 5p.m. in the
Frieze Building. Admission is free.
For more information call 995-5395.

u .

No one glows
like Domino's
After miffing nearby resi-
dents for two years Mr. Pizza,
has arranged to once again re-
light his world headquarters with
Christmas joy. This light display,
featuring hundreds of thousands
of twinkling, imported lights is
illuminated6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Beware, they're charging $5 per
vehicle to keep the never-ending
traffic down. Follow the hoards
of people to Domino's Farms,
Earhart Rd., off Plymouth.
Captains of Industry
Break out your rave whistles
and cat in the hat chapeaus,
kiddies! The "Communion
Tour," featuring three of
alternatechno's finest bands rolls
into Industry tonight. See if
brilliant '70s muzak-obsessed

auralizers Ultramarine,
mindwarp technoids Orbital, and
hip hop industrialists Meat Beat
Manifesto can cut it live. And if
the bands, smart drinks, and
endless "spiritual technology"
aren't enough to whet your beat-
starved brain, get this: MTV's
"120 Minutes" host Dave
Kendall will be on hand to MC!
Let us know if the most hated
man in alternateendom's
hairpiece survives the mael-
strom. Industry is located at 15
S. Saginaw in illustrious "New"
Pontiac. Call 334-1999 for
directions and details.
Be a contender
Catch Brando when he was
young, thin, and good (well, he's
still good). "On the Waterfront"
plays free Sunday at 7 p.m. in
the NatSci Auditorium.

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