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March 16, 1995 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-03-16

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, March 16, 1995

Cuba Gooding Jr. makes a break for it

By Joshua Rich
Daily Arts Writer
He has not starred in many popu-
lar films nor has he gained great fame
in the motion picture industry. But the
record and fine acting ability of Cuba
Oooding Jr. prove him to be an excep-
tion to the commonly-held belief that
movie stars can only be truly popular
and talented after they star in a series
of successful and famous movies.
In his short career, Gooding has
enlightened, inspired and intrigued
many an audience member through a
convincing, down-to-earth acting
style. Occasionally cast simply be-
cause he is black, this actor has gradu-
ally risen to perform in roles that
cradle his acting ability rather than
skin color.
Although the amount of films in
which he has performed is low and the
quality ofmovies on Gooding's resum6
is inconsistent, viewing his perfor-
mances in a number of motion pictures
repeatedly proves that he is an excel-
lent and respectable actor.
Most will remember Gooding for
his heartfelt and vivid portrayal of
Tre, the protagonist in director John
Singleton's outstanding film "Boyz
N the Hood" (1991). As a handsome
and intelligent young black man grow-
ing up in South Central Los Angeles
forced to suffer the pressures of his
criminal peers and strict father,
Gooding allowed his audience to have
a very real glimpse into the life of a
teenager in the inner-city.
Moreover, his candid performance
led us to sympathize with Tre and join
him in his fight to succeed. Gooding
took a simple character out of a movie
script and made him real, giving Tre
a soul, emotions and goals in life.
It is a great testament to this actor
that the most memorable scene in this
movie was when Tre stood defiant
against an abusive police officer, even

whilea tearran slowly down the actor's
cheek.
Following "Boyz N the Hood,"
Gooding appeared in five movies in
1992, although none were very memo-
rable. In "Hitz," "Murder without
Motive" and "Gladiators: Bare
Knuckles" - all movies that were
made for videocassette release or did
not last long in the theaters - he
filled his respective parts as a young,
generally misbehaving black man
suffering or abused in a world domi-
nated by white people. He also ap-
peared briefly in the military court-
room drama "A Few Good Men" as a
noble soldier testifying against his
fellow servicemen.
But Gooding's finest and, perhaps
most memorable performance of the
year came in the HBO made-for-cable
movie "Daybreak." Starring with
Moira Kelly ("The Cutting Edge") he
played the leader of a rebellious force
of people in a future world dominated
by a medical bureaucracy which fears
a deadly virus. From this point,
Gooding proved that he could remain
a solid, convincing performer while
acting in a non-race-specific role in a
non-racially-motivated motion pic-
ture.
Ever since, his parts have been
more major and less dependent on
Gooding's black skin color. In each
case, he has continually proven him-
self to be an adept performer. He
starred in the relatively successful
action flick "Judgment Night" (1993)
in which he played one of four friends
hunted by an evil gang lord (Denis
Leary) after witnessing a murder. And
he played the clumsy sidekick of Paul
Hogan ("Crocodile Dundee") in the
western comedy "Lightning Jack"
(1994), a critical and box-office failure
- most likely due to a bad plot rather
than any one actor's performance.
Gooding has, despite the limited

success of his films, clearly gained
recognition as atalented actor in Holly-
wood following his limited yet excep-
tional appearances in his endeavors
over the past few years. Thus, he stars
in one of the lead roles in this month's
major action thriller, "Outbreak," be-
side such talented film veterans as
Dustin Hoffman, Donald Sutherland
and Morgan Freeman. And his recog-
nition as an able performer is most
appropriate. There is no question that
amidst such high quality company
Gooding emerges as a truly intelligent
and capable actor. He succeeds in de-
veloping and conveying an exciting
portrayal of a naive soldier forced to
cope with an intense and deadly situa-
tion.
As in most of his performances of
the past, Cuba Gooding Jr. instills
into his role in "Outbreak" a keen
sense of emotion that instantly cap-
tures the hearts and minds of his audi-
ence. This performance succeeds nei-
ther as a result of his skin color nor in
spite of the popular or critical recep-
tion of the film in which it is con-
tained. It is a triumph because of the
outstanding ability of this actor, and
we may only hope that it will become
the awaited point from which Gooding
launches into stardom.

Cuba Gooding Jr. In 'Lightning Jack,' with Paul Hogan and the babeliscious Beverly D'Angelo.

MAIN STAGE
Continued from page 1.
to the show's advantage. The first half,
though a similar structure, didn't quite
capture the same intensity and drive.
The set and layout of the theater
suits the accelerated conditions well.
The audience sits at tables in a tiered
semi-circle around the thrust stage, so
everyone has a good seat. A series of
versatile black screens are the actors'

only "set," and the screens slide to
become doors, windows or entrance
ways, depending on what the scene
dictates.
All of the wonderful sets and direc-
tion, however, would be of no conse-
quence without a stellar cast. The cast is
totally immersed in the production pro-
cess; they not only act every show, but
also write all of the material.
Perhaps the scene that represents
Second City best is, "Open Mike Night

at Auschwitz," where a struggling
comedian attempts to entertain the
prisoners in the concentration camp.
While the subject matter sounds sick
and offensive, the cast pulls it off in a
manner that is sensitive, and more
importantly, hilarious.
Though this may sound like an
odd night of comedy, the cast makes
us find the truth in every scene, and
allows us to laugh at the aspects of
ourselves that we recognize in even

Amazin'
Blue,
Presents
With special guest: u ts eelze u s
Saturday, March 18th 8PM
Rackham Auditorium
Tickets $6.00 available at the Michigan Union Ticket Office and
all Ticketmaster Outlets. Call 763-TKTS for more information

TOURING
Continued from page
theater, they discover a clown, the
last remaining human, that had man-
aged to be preserved.
In an attempt to cheer up the clown,
all three begin sucking the helium
from the clown's tank. While their
voices are distorted from the helium,
they go into a song expounding the
virtues of their Nobel gas of choice.
Believe me, you haven't lived until
you've seen two cockroaches and a
clown sucking down helium and try-
ing to sing.
The evening also includes a song
about how much each cast member
hates eating liver, a dysfunctional fam-
ily that tries to solve its problems with
the help of a TV, and an ethnic block
party that dissolves into a rousing

chorus number that demands no more
foreigners be allowed into the coun-
try.
The evening closed with Second
City's trademark improvisation seg-
ment, during which the cast took au-
dience suggestions and spontaneously
created scenes around those sugges-
tions. While the rest of the evening
was terrific, this was perhaps the best
part of the show, as it reaffirmed just
how talented and funny this Com-
pany is.
Though newly formed, the cast
works extraordinarily well as an en-
semble and looks like they've been
together for years. Their timing and
play off each other accentuates each
cast member's strengths, creating a
finely-tuned appearance, despite a
short and fast-paced rehearsal pro-
cess. This is a credit not only to the

actors themselves, but also to director
John Holston for assembling such a
diverse group of comedians who
complement each other so well.
While there are no "stars" in the
Touring Company, there are some
standouts. Joshua Funk, the youngest
member of the troupe, came across as
a seasoned veteran. His comic energy
and physical comedy begs compari-
son to the likes of Second City alums
Jim Belushi and Chris Farley.
Also notable is Peter Gray, who
seemed to be at his best in the improv,
coming across with one-liner afterone-

the strangest circumstance. The cast
works exceptionally well together;
all are capable of blending into the
background or standing out, yet they
carry it as an ensemble.
Like all good ensembles, there is.
no frontman (or woman) and no one
person that gets the lion's share of the
jokes. Their comedic bombardment
is a full team effort and leaves the
audience nearly stunned at the end of
the evening.
liner, ready to jump in at any second
and take the scene in a new direction
Theentirecompany deserves praise
for creating one of the best nights o
comedy in recent memory. The mate-
rial is intelligent and funny, the deliver-
ies are fast-paced and well-timed, and
there was never a dull moment. At just
six dollars a ticket, it is one of the few,
entertainment bargains left out there.
You should catch this group soon, be
fore their enormous talent elevates themri
to bigger and better things.

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Ann Arbor's Biggest Modern Rock Dance Party

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Paul Mitchell - Rusk
Hair Shop

Weekend etc. says:
Have you talked to your plants lately? If
you have, you need some friends.

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Personalized Graduation Announcements!

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