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September 25, 1996 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-09-25

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a ll Im . 'I ''Im . ... .. .. .. .. ... .. ..


W nesda

Last Man'

stands strong

By Ned C. Cwruth
Daily Arts Writer
Walter Hill's "Last Man Standing" is
an entertaining and surprisingly rich
reworking of Akira Kurosowa's classic
"Yojimbo" (1961). Hill transplants the
setting of the story from post-Tokugawa
mn to Prohibition-era Texas, and
tead of a weary samurai, the central
character is a weary gunman named

Smith (Bruce Willis).
Smith, on the lam for undis-
closed reasons, wanders into the small
border town of Jericho and finds it
inhabited by two
rival gangs. Both
gangs, one an Irish R E
faction headed by
the shrewd, feisty 4
Doyle (David
Patrick Kelly) and
the other an Italian At E
outfit under the
control of Fredo
Strozzi (Ned Eisenberg), strive to
monopolize the flow
of booze coming
across the bor-
Most of
legitimate res-
idents were run
out of town by the
big city toughs. When Smith arrives,
all that remains is the undertaker, the
bartender (William Sanderson, who
played Larry on "Newhart") and
Jericho's ineffective sheriff, Ed Galt
(Bruce Dern). Smith, upon arrival, is
threatened and assaulted by members
of the Doyle gang. He proceeds to
ambush their headquarters at the
Alamo Hotel, killing one of Doyle's
key lieutenants.
This sets off a Byzantine series of
alignments, double-crosses and re-


alignments, with Smith swiitching irom
gang to gang, all the while seemingly
serving his own selfish bemusement
and need for violence. In the midst of
the slaughter and
bloodshed, Smith
V I E W aids the escape of
last Man Doyle's mistress
Felina (Karina
Standing Lombard), whom
he won away
arwood & Showcase from her husband
in a card game.
Willis. who
with the right script and director is a
capable actor. allows this act to reveal
Smith's moral, compassionate side.
without turning it into a cheap ploy. On
the whole, Willis does a credible job
with the cynical, morbid Smith. who
gives us few clues as to the nature of the
"true" personality undergirding his
laconic manner.
In addition to Willis, "Last Man
Standing" is chock full of riveting per-
formances. Standouts include Bruce
Dern, playing the cranky Sheriff Galt.
Dern is one of the finest character
actors around but is given precious few
opportunities these days to show off his
talents. But with the character of Galt,
Dern explores the plight of a once-
decent man embedded in a context
reeking of corruption.
Also turning in a characteristically
strong performance is Christopher
Walken as Hickey, the depraved tommy
gun-toting enforcer of the Doyle gang.

"Yipple-kai-yay all you ya-hoosl"

Walken brings an electricity to most of
hi, pr rformances and he appears to get
a ,enuin thrill out of portraying the
hard, unfeeling Hickey.
Hill and his cinematographer, Lloyd
Ahern, provide the town of Jericho with
a barren aesthetic that mirrors the state
of its inhabitants' souls. From the stale
interior of the saloon to the ramshackle
church on the edge of the desert, the
visuals of "Last Man Standing" are
infused with battered beauty.
Considering its virtues, what pre-
vents "Last Man Standing" from

becoming a great film? For one thing.
Hill's use of narrative is rather shaky.
He loosens the reigns a little too much
and allows the story to meander and
crawl in spots. What could have been a
tight study of character becomes llabbv
and appears to lose purpose at points.
Also, despite the strength of Willis
work in this film, he does not exactly
give the kind of performance that hits
you in the gut. The film suffers as a
result because its success is so depen-
dent upon Willis. Unless he manages to
shed his somewhat opaque style, he will

Mian tanvin
I Iwever, mi ost
violence in Lai
does not gino s
qutently delcribed a .
the "Tlhe G odfthie
\vilee as a mea.
it110 thechaiee
called the "psych
Instead, he mereiy
tell us that his ehar

to disappoint in the
rone he has in "Last
'.ubving is the use of
an.t& Standing." Hill
owhe bruta, but edo-
visence~ of "The
i nd Clyde" or
r Nr does he use
ntoprovide insight
r o(wat might be
olog of ioicnce").
nimploys violence to
acxer> arc violent.

Al brings
to Hill
BM anGnatt
The one thing you can expect from
"Weird" Al Yankovic, master parodist
and polkawman extrordinare, is the
With his biting wit and wild musical
"Weird" Al
Tonight, 7:30 at Hill Auditorium.
Tickets are $18.50 and $12.50.
talent, Weird Al has been able to outlast
quite a few of the artists he's parodied
over the years.
From his classic parody "Eat It" to
melts Like Nirvana;' Weird Al has
been cracking up music lovers for over
a decade.
And while he's crazy on record, to
see him live is even more insane.
Expect to see the "Fat" costume among
other favorites from the wacky and
always funny videos.
Aside from the crazy parodies, Al

'Without a Net'

ul a '

- ,,

Lnprov comedy troupe capitalizes on a ts

y Shan- Singh

' you're an improV comic, practice
can only prepare you so much. There
are no lines to memorize, no actions to
rehearse. When it comes down to the
performance, only your wits can keep
you one step ahead of an audience.
"It's a weekly audience, a huge,
packed house. It's a popular thing on
campus but an
artistic thing.''
said Bob P R
Gilhllim. produc-
er of Without A w
Net and School Wedn
of Educatron
Seior. "We re

Gilliam described as a show where
week to week, you don't know what to
So what is the show all about? The
performers essentially base their
improv on suggestions the audience
offers between scenes. "We pretty much
play games. A lot of games and a lot of
open ended stuff,' Gilliam said. One

anud you can se
lines are exeha
wxritteni. ThLceres
adan en
Wvhat wx ll peo
'*1 want them to
said oIf his shtow
G ~iliaitm has n,
the troupe maiu

auc a arm on stage
whts coing on. The
f they were
fi, and emotion,
p~le omn his show?
eae for a while" he
taw deals withl "'certain
at iced many Ifacets of
ring through the years.

common game
Without A Net
inesdays. at 9 p.m. At the
ub in the Michigan Union

is "Party Quirks,"
involving a
party host and a
score of charac-
ters with
assigned per-
Another is

Master of parody "Weird" Al Yankovic

just going to
have an amazing show."
Gilliam began his University comedy
career as a first-year student in UAC's
Comedy Company, where he per-
formed mostly comedic sketches. "This
guy convinced me that we should get
some people together and start doing
improv, because it was better than doing
sketch comedy." Inspired, Gilliam,
Evan Makela (the current Improv
Director), and Dan Abrams started
Without A Net three years ago.
Gilliam and Makela join the comedic
talents of Director Gordon Eick, Head
Writer Craig Silverstein, Kathy
Silverstein, and Steve Kime, as well as
15 crew members, to produce what

where as
Gilliam explained "We get a topic from
the audience and just talk about it. We
can read poetry about it, or act out a
scene on it. One week the whole show is
going to be a musical that we create
through suggestions from the audience.
We're just going to do different things
each week. That's what improv is all
about - you just take it where you want.
to take it, and create something out of it."
The group is aiming for a provoking
show. "I want them to laugh," Gilliam
said of the audience. "However, I want
them to think, too. We have such cre-
ative people, such talented people, that
we can create a scene. That's what it's
all about. And it's a good scene, a funny

''( )r inimox vlmwat we' w
sense, '.ur arfnt e
past fewx wk. w e laxe j
srom amazling Iprov.
we re so tmnmue. We cemn
AN treat deal at the ne
gtOes into w>hat thec au~die
sees on stag~e. "We'v; b
about 2O hours a .week Pt s
said. But G ii tamn feeh>
wxorth his time. "'t think
riced to do it. \e ah wxant t
tai nment, so as fam as acar
is something thai we cnemed
G liamLo is enthasiast
show. '"I hope eer bdyl av
checks it out. I ikit d lh
from evecrybohdy .t1
Wedniesda. P'eop . hoi
early, because this Wednx
niielv going to sel Iout.
troupe wil be theret s
under the lhihts with onl
the merey at an audience

nt t do, our
- shows. "The
s t b'en doing
At this point
do it now.'
mformers' time
nec eventually
een practicing
q1ite a bit,"Ihe
is definitely
creatively we
, go into enter-
cer choice, this
to be doing."
ic about the
omnes out and
rv alook
least one
td get there
esday it's defi-
The comedy
ix performers
y heir wits, at

will be sure to have your funny bone
rocking with his original hits like "Dare
to be Stupid," "Biggest Ball of Twine in
Minnesota" and the awesome "One
More Minute."
And if polka's your thing, Al's got a
great evening of wacky accordion cov-
ers to satisfy your every need.

So don't miss the man, the lcgend, the
one and only - Weird Al Yankovic--
star of "UHF" and Dr. Demento fame.
He'll be playing his old hits and some
new ones like "Amish Paradise" from his
latest record, "Bad Hair Day." How
could you pass up an opportunity to see
one of rock's finest musicians?



Graduate School of Political M. aageetit
The George Washington University


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There's so much going on, you
might want to stay for the whole

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