Arnie's 'Junior' is stillborn
By FRED RICE
Any movie whose premise has
Arnie playing the first pregnant man
is setting itself up for a joking title.
Just think of the possibilities. "The
Directed by Ivan
Reitman; with Arnold
C 0 and Danny
(as in C-section) DeVito.
Sperminator." Or how about "Conan
Gets Contractions"? After all, there
is not a more masculine, more macho
actor who would be less suitable for
such a role.
But never judge a movie by its
concept. A comedy like this has the
potential for hilarious slapstick, con-
fused identities and much more. It has
the potential to seriously explore the
topic of gender roles.
Too bad. "Junior" does almost
none of that, but does plenty to earn
the bad jokes. It's a one-joke movie
that never becomes funny.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and
Danny DeVito are colleagues testing
a new fertility drug on chimpanzees.
DeVito believes with their creation
he has hit a jackpot. So when the
university cuts their funding and turns
their chimps over to another scientist,
DeVito sees only one option: finish
the tests on its creator, Mr.
Schwarzenegger, in the same spirit of
Dr. Jenners testing his small pox vac-
cine on himself.
Don'tseethis 'It's my bat
if you're search- choice.'
ing for slapstick
like thatsfound in
"The Pink Pan- Schwarzenf
ther." Emma Th-
ompson plays a unborn chi)
tist who has trouble eating and danc-
ing in heels, but these jokes are never
developed. Director Ivan Reitman
prefers the slapstick to occur off cam-
era, completely deflating jokes that
could give rise to belly laughs.
And while parts of the flick touch
on gender issues, they don't do it
poignantly. "Junior" is the only time
anyone will see Arnie half-way ef-
feminate, worrying about what clothes
to wear or weeping after watching a
marriage on TV. But does this really
mean something or is it just a sign of
cheap writing? This discussion of
gender is by no means the humorous
or touching kind that you would find
in a Nora Ephron script, like "When
Harry Met Sally" or even "Sleepless
Arnie's performance is interest-
ing, to say the least. Up until his
effeminate transformation in the sec-
ond half of the
V, it's my film, his mono-
tone delivery of
- Arnold andhisthickAus-
gger on his trian accent give
him the feel of a
I in 'Junior' mad Nazi mind
scientist, a Dr.
Strangelove. And considering the
nature of his experiment, a comedic
monster movie is almost in the works.
Look out especially for one dream
sequence in which the special effects
cost a good several thousand dollars.
But like all the other potentially
funny paths to explore, "Junior" drops
the monster concept.
Anybody expecting an abortion
controversy can relax. After all,
Reitman is the feel-good director who
vait, Aruiu, i uin mi itinrg soeting nere. it reels like a bell tolling Tor the eownfall of your career.
brought you the hit "Dave," so he
carefully neutralizes any political
views. While the Last Action Hero
can't bring himself to abort the ex-
periment that touches his heart, his
brief line, "It's my baby, it's my
choice" is emphasized by a zoom-in
on his stern face. So which is it, Arnie?
Too bad, too bad. Reitman has had
a lot of winners. His other biological-
wonder flick, "Twins," had the same
leads. Its questionable concept,
DeVito and Schwarzenegger as twins
separated at birth, proved to be good
for a couple hours of laughs. But
"Junior" doesn't develop its funny
JUNIOR is playing at Showcase.
Humpers' Thanksgiving show ruined by a crowd of turkeys
By MATT CARLSON
"We're The Humpers," said singer
Scott "Deluxe" Drake on Thanksgiv-
ing evening, "and you're a fucking
day when we're all supposed to spend
time giving thanks for what we have
of value in our lives.
The Humpers, one of the best
bands from California and now a
Caroline recording artist, was the dras-
tic victim of both misplaced booking
and an embarrassingly lame crowd,
when the group took the stage to play
their furious sound of revved-up,
Rolling Stones-inspired rock 'n' roll
power. Their set matched the inten-
sity of their Sympathy For The Record
Industry records, "Positively Sick on
Fourth Street" and "Journey to the
Center of Your Wallet" for a whole
Drake certainly didn't have much
thanks in his heart or a particularly
strong reason to give such sentiments
to an audience at The Ritz on a holi-
- are you ready? - six songs.
Who's to blame for the crowd's
listlessness and the band's anger?
The band? Of course, the buck
stops here, and The Humpers are the
principal agents of ending a show that
was enjoyed by what few fans were in
attendance. But, the group could not
avoid being offended when only 30 of
a 200-plus audience paid any atten-
tion to the music.
The audience? Imagine a mingling
of punkers in leather, headbangers
with poodle haircuts (circa 1985) and
beer-drinking college students play-
ing pool, and you know the of the
crowd. Unfortunately, the majority of
this unstable mixture was not tuned in
to the same frequency as the energetic
band, even when Drake, attempting
to instigate some sort of emotion,
flung himself off the eight-foot high
stage into the audience. It didn't work.
The Ritz? Certainly, The Ritz is
not the most advantageous venue to
play, particularly on a holiday. Lo-
cated in Roseville, approximately 20
miles away from downtown Detroit,
The Ritz appears to have once been
part of a bowling alley that was trans-
formed into arollerskating rink in the
'70s and into a heavy metal bar in the
early '80s. The club is a sprawling
metropolis unto itself, allowing weary
listeners the opportunity to retire to
the bar 100 yards from the stage.
The booker? Herein lies the ma-
jority of the problem. Some asshole
thought it would be a clever idea to
have The Humpers play as part of Z-
Rock night. So, the band was second
on a three-band bill. When there
wasn't a band on the stage, the Z-
Rock DJ spun your favorite tunes by
Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister and Arlo
Guthrie (huh?) - not exactly a suit-
able environment for The Humpers.
The first band, The Bomb Pops,
fizzled, and the headliner, the Trash
Brats, wouldn't know true soul power
if they saw it. The 'Brats, a horrible
amalgamation of Poison and Nirvana,
shouldn't be allowed in the same club
as The Humpers, yet some dumb fuck
thought the idea would work.
In the end, one can only blame the
MTV-raised, spoon-fed culture for
their refusal to appreciate one band
with exciting ingenuity and in-your-
face rock aggression. California punk
bands invaded southeastern Michi-
gan over the weekend (Green Day
packed 'em in at Cobo Hall on Friday,
while Bad Religion reigned supreme
at the State on Saturday), yet the best
of them couldn't stir a soul at The Ritz
on Turkey Day. All who attended
should feel like turkeys for letting one
hell of a good band slip away. Embar-
rassing, truly embarrassing.
John Dahl directs Linda Fiorentino on the set of "The Last Seduction."
Getting away with murder: John
Dahl and 'The Last Seduction'
December 2, 3 at 8:00 pm and December 4 at 2:00 pm
At the U of M Power Center Tkts $8.00/$6.00 for students
Tickets available at Michigan League Ticket Office
call for information 764-0450
By ALEXANDRA TWIN
If the cool, laconic charm of last
Spring's "Red Rock West," didn't
draw you into the strange, dark and
wickedly humorous world of film-
maker John Dahl, then a shot of his
latest aphrodisiac, "The Last Seduc-
tion," should do the trick. Created
from a modest budget and a cast of
relative unknowns, the film stands as
a furthertestament of Dahl's talent,
offering another side of a filmmaker
whose bark is as bad as his bite.
"What I liked most about it was
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the humor," said the director in a
recent phone interview, when asked
what drew him to his latest film. "I *
thought that it was an unusually odd
and entertaining story. Funny dia-
logue and wacky characters."
Yet funny dialogue and wacky
characters are nothing new to the
fortysomething director, who, with
the success of "Red Rock West" -
the sleeper hit of the year - found
himself quite nearly at the forefront
of American filmmaking. Or as close
to the forefront as you can get when
you're making what some might dis-
miss as a glorified B-film.
"Yet I don't really see myself as a
director," Dahl commented. "I'mjust
a guy, I guess."
Drawing as much from the works
of modern-day filmmakers David
Lynch and the Coen brothers as clas-
sic suspense-meisters Alfred
Hitchcock and Billy Wilder, This
"guy" has produced work that has
been hailed as a throwback to the
post-World War II, "film noir" style
of filmmaking. With his consistent
use of inefficient men, aggressive
femmefatales, dark lighting and even
darker narratives, such comparisons
Yet Dahl didn't exactly intend it
this way. "In 'Red Rock' we were
trying for a western noir. But with
'Seduction' I just thought of it as
more of a black comedy. It may sound
odd, but I don't think I ever really
See DAHL, Page 9
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