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September 21, 1993 - Image 8

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-09-21

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8- The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 21, 1993
Naked horses head

'Into the.
By AUSTIN RATNER
The beginning of "Into.the West"-
scenes ofa stunningly white horse dash-
ing along amistyIrelandmoonlitbeach
- forces us immediately to be swept
away by the inarticulate, mystical beauty
of its images. Moving then into the
Into The West
written by Jim Sheridan; directed by
Mike Newell; with Ellen Barkin and
Gabriel Byrne.
anonymous bleakness of impoverished
urbanity, and confusedly ushering on
screen the dispossessed culture of
gypsy-like travelers, the camera seeks
to establish a contrast.
It is this contrast into which the
filmmakers have poured all their en-
ergy and invested all their hopes. We
are supposed to gush when we see the
mystical and inviolate horse of Celtic
legend, TirnanOg, gallop serenely into
the city. Juxstaposed against the gloomy
reality, the image is the magical incar-
nation of everything that we wish for
freedom, the power to defy our oppres-
sors and the inexorability of all things
lost and good. With this image, the film
hopes to compel the whole family. Abit
much to ask of the eight-year-old mind?
How about of the 21-year old mind?
Not to say that this image isn't com-
pelling. It is, occasionally. However, it
cannot fuel a full length film alone; and
since it is asked to, "Into the West"
staggers aimlessly forward under the
weight of its amorphous vision and
vaguely delineated story. The prepu-
bescent crowd at the theater posed some

West'
questions I couldn't answer.
"Dad, who are these people and
why do they have horses?"
"Are they going somewhere?"
"Dad, how did the horse getthere all
of a sudden?"
"Is that Mr. Ed?"
"Do those people wash them-
selves?"'
"Who farted?"
It's both a shame and a surprise that
"Into the West" proceeds as inexpertly
as it seems to, since the personnel on
and off screen offer high credentials.
Director Mike Newell was far more
successful creating evocative images
and situations in "Enchanted April,"
while screenwriter Jim Sheridan was
the directorial genius behind "My Left
Foot." Furthermore the young stars of
the movie, Ciaran Fitzgerald and
Ruaidhri Conroy; thecowboy-worship-
ping kids befriended by the magical
horse that takes them into the west of
Ireland, act impressively.
Sheridan and Newell might have
salvaged the movie with a sense of
humor -butevery time the film lends
itself towards comedy, it quickly quells
all laughter with an abruptly dramatic
turn.
"Into the West"suffers no less from
its PG mentality. Many adults seem to
think a family movie means no graphic
sex and violence. Granted, the horse
was in fact naked for much of the film,
but if they won't give kids the depend-
able good guys beating the bad guys
theme (truly a noble ideal which be-
longs in almost any work of fiction),
they could at least provide a plot.
INTO THE WEST is playing at
Showcase.

.01

Gabriel Byrne and Ellen Barkin star in "Into the West." Ya just gotta love a movie that has naked horses in it?

RECORDS
Continued from page 5
Nevertheless the album suffers
from a singularity of vision which
may easily put off the uninitiated. But
if you like punks with abuse problems
or have a friend who's in psych and
wants to unravel a major head case,
consider it for purchase.
- Ted Watts
Deep Purple
The Battle Rages On
BMG
When you think of Deep Purple,
forget "Smoke on the Water" or

"Hush" Those songs are ancient his-
tory. Deep Purple now makes bad
eighties glam-rock while retaining the
hideous length predominant in early-
Seventies rock. Of course, they show
their other influences when they rip
off the bass line of Stevie Wonder's
"Higher Ground," Ozzy Osbourne's
vocal style, and a Traveling Wilburys'
riff on various tracks. The lyrics are
no better: "I don't want your money/
I don't want your soul/I don't need a
reason/I just want to get right down
and lick it up" pretty much sums up
their intelligence. And there is some-
thing deeply disturbing about aging
rockers singing "Let's make some

honey," especially if you visualize it.
Not all has been lost, however. On
several tracks, the organ is still played
wonderfully by Jon Lord. It seems as
if he is blissfully ignorant that the
band is no longer working on tracks
for "Burn." The vocals on three or
four songs are fine until they degener-
ate to sounding like bad glam. The
exception to this is "Solitaire," the
Ozzy rip-off, which remains vocally
tolerable for all of its four minutes and
forty-one seconds, an astounding feat
for this CD.
This is Spinal Tap, but not on pur-
pose.
- Ted Watts

Berry turns away from sleaze

By JESSIE HALLADAY
The airwaves have become over-
crowded with the likes of Oprah, Sally,
Geraldo, Phil, Jenny and we won'teven
get into those latenight guys. We have
definitely reached a peak in the televi-
sion talk show genre. The only question
is whether we will come through it all
unscathed.
A new season means new sets, new
hairstyles and a whole host of newcom-
ers. Each host is vying for his or her spot
at the tops of the ratings ladder. But will
the winner be whoever has the sleaziest
topics or the best combination of fun
and serious? One thing seems for sure,
a lot of people will be watching to find
out.
One face shines out amongst the
crowd of newcomers as one who plans
to make a difference. Bertice Berry
steers clear of sleaze and does shows
about issues and loves doing it.
Berry received a Ph.D. in sociology
from Kent State University. Since then
she has traveled the country as a lec-
turer and stand-up comedian. She was
voted the 1992 Lecturer of the Year, as

well as the Campus Comedian and
Entertainer of the Year.
Berry's emphasis and area of exper-
tise is on creating racial and gender
equality. She also focuses on increas-
ing self-esteem and accepting diver-
sity.
Recently, I was flown to Chicago to
beagueston "The Bertice Berry Show,"
which airs locally at 9 a.m. on Channel
2. It was fascinating to see what hap-
pens behind the scenes. Putting on a
show takes a lot of people working
together for weeks to find guests, do
background research, think of topics
and actually put the show on tape.
The producers of the show were
very impressive. They come from a
wide variety ofbackgrounds, including
"The Oprah Winfrey Show" and CNN.
The producers research, find guests for
and write the shows. They are the link
between the guests and Berry.
During the commercials producers
fly out from behind the set to find
audience questions, give tips to the
guests and generally make sure every-
one involved knows what's going on.
Technical staffers do mike checks, re-

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authority for your area

arrange chairs and redo lighting.
This experience changed the whole
way I watch TV talk shows now. The
myth of production has been destroyed.
But beyond that, my faith in talk show
hosts has been renewed somewhat.
Berry is the kind of person I have
always thought should have a talk show.
(And believe me, after watching talk
shows all summer I know a lot about
what I want.) She is funny, down-to-
earth and genuinely cares about her
guests and her audience.
I met Berry in the greenroom (which
really isn't green) when she came in to
greet us and do a "positive affirma-
tion." I was very impressed with her
ability to be so immediately at ease
with her guests and her ability to put us
at ease also.
She came out to talk to the audience
before taping started. She told jokes
and answered questions. It was amaz-
ing how she captured the audience's
attention and held it. Berry had com-
plete control of her show. She never lost-
it like some other talk show hosts have
a tendency to do.
Everyone I talked to during my stay
in Chicago, production assistants, pro-
ducers, drivers and make-up artists,
had nothing but positive and
complimenting things to say about
Berry. It definitely says something about
aperson if everyone who works for her
can be complimentary.
It is her combination of humor,
knowledge and wonderful personality
which promise to make her show stand
apart from the crowd.

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Homecoming 1993

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Masterpiece
If "Citizen Kane" is Welles' mea-
suring stick, then "The Magnificent
Ambersons" is his masterpiece.
Wrongly dubbed by film historians
as "Kane's" sequel, "Ambersons"
boasted the dubious distinction of
being released in 1942, a mere year
after William Randolph Heart's sled
was first incinerated. As a result,
though intelligent, delightfully subtle
and technically superlative, the pic-
ture suffered at the hands of confused
critics andmoronic studio executives,
who shredded the film from a typi-
callyWellesian 148 minutestoamore
reasonable88minutes. Still, the film's
poignancy is stronger than ever. Star-
ring Joseph Cotten and Dolores
Costello as two would-be lovers sepa-
rated by family feuds and economic
barriers, the picture employs every
modem cinematic device with such a
supreme sublimity that the ostenta-

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