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September 13, 1993 - Image 9

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-09-13

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The Michigan Daily -Monday, September 13, 1993 -9

Sonny Sharrock

'Nothing' equals nothing

By AUSTIN RATNER
"What would you do if you found a
million dollars?" Ramon Menendez's
"Money for Nothing" poses us. "Wow!
Wow! Wow!" stammers Joey Coyle
(Jon Cusack) as he opens the sack of
Money For Nothing
directed by Ramon Menendez
written by Menendez, Tom Musca, and
Carol Sobieski
with John Cusack and Michael Madsen
$1.2 million in hundred dollar bills he
finds lying in the road minutes before.
Joey, an out of work 26-year-old from
lower class south Philadelphia, is flab-
bergasted by his find, and despite warn-
ings against keeping it, he is determined
to use the money as his ticketoutof alife
without upward mobility. Now, what
exactly is he going to do with it all? Joey
has no idea - and apparently neither
does the director.
"Money for Nothing" is not a com-
edy, nor is it a drama. In fact it really
does not present us with any good rea-
son for its existence. When Joey dumps
the money on his bed, and confused and
excited, spends far too much time on
screen pacing in front of his treasure
aimlessly, one begins to wonder what
the movie-makers themselves were
going for. There are no jokes, and the
film doesn't make any serious (or at
least any coherent) attempts at captur-
ing emotional states; either of these
projects might have excused the lack of
plot. The flat and empty characteriza-
tion above all renders the story point-

John Cusak strikes it rich in his latest movie, "Money For Nothing."

less. No one has accessible motivations,
conflicts, feelings, or even anything
particularly interesting to say.
Cusack does what he can with the
semblance of a person he is supposed to
depict, looking frazzled, tired and wa-
tery-eyed and fumbling around ineffi-
ciently. His chic Beverly Hills 90210
sideburns in the middle of luxurious
south Philadelphia and his generic and
attenuated accent, however, ensure that
nomoment might seem too convincing.
The detective (Michael Madsen) who
tracks down Joey seems as bored as the
rest of us. He sort of wanders into the
picture, takes a pee on the ground for no
good reason, finds the bumbling culprit
in a few days, and goes back to the set of
"ReservoirDogs" where he came from.
While some of the dialogue and an
ill-advised, possibly symbolic money-

sex scene A la "Indecent Proposal" sug-
gest something about economics or
politics or psychology was knocking
around in the writers' heads, the film
lacks the focus to articulate much.
Menendez is mysteriously and te-
diously distracted above all by Joey's
physically handling the money, on which
he spends loads of useless time. End-
lessly we see bills counted, fingered,
and stashed, as if the director is, like
Joey, so mesmerized by the amount of
cash that all he can think to do is play
with it.
Perhaps it would be facile to say that
the charmless and boring belly-flop of
Money for Nothing is just that - six
dollars for nothing -but hey, facile is
underrated.
"Money For Nothing" is playing at
Showcase.

Although you probably have never heard Sonny Sharrock's music, you have almost certainly heard its aftennath.
Working with such seminal outfits as Pharoah Sanders' late '60s band and Miles Davis' classic "A Tribute to Jack
Johnson," Sharrock not only influenced the way free-jazz guitar is played with his innovative phrasing and use of feedback
and distortion, but also certain styles of rock & roll as well. In recent years, his career has been on an upswing, including
a pivotal role in the shattering free-jazzmetal band Last Exit and the release of three albums in 1991, highlighted by his
masterpiece, "Ask the Ages." If you haven't heard his truly innovative and revolutionary playing, make sure to catch his
Saturday performance at Gallup Park during the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival. Tickets for the Festival are available
at all TicketMaster outlets; tickets can be purchased individually or as a package (admission is $12.50 per day, $20.00
for both Saturday and Sunday; student tickets are $10.00 per day, $15.00 fQr both days). The Blues and Jazz Festival also
features evening performances on Friday and Saturday attheMichigan Theater, featuring saxophonistJoe Henderson and
vocalist Etta James. Tickets for the evening concerts are available separately or as partofa $50.00 pass to the entire festival.

The Michigan Daily Arts Staff invites you to join us ...
Thursday, September 16th at 7:30 p.m. or
Monday, September 20th at 8:00 p.m.
for an informational mass meeting on writing for us.
Please come by the Student Publications Building
(420 Maynard).
We look forward to seeing you.

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