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July 23, 1985 - Image 8

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1985-07-23

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ARTS
Tuesday, July 23, 1985

The Michigan Daily

Page 8

'Little Chill' ounders in torrent of talk

By Byron L. Bull
ST. ELMO'S Fire hadn't even been
released and already everyone
was calling it The Little Chill. It's a
more than apt title for an all too
calculated kiddified version of
Lawrence -.Kasdan's talky
melodrama, scaled down to the high
school/college market - comes com-
plete with a cast of young, pretty,
lifelike action figures and a whole line
of fashion accessories.
The characters are seven young
college grads, four of them boys,
three of them girls. They gather
every night at the sight of their old
college haunt, a watering hole called
St. Elmo's Fire to share the mutual
gossip and insecurities about life in
the "real world." One of them, the
political aspirant, has just dropped
his token liberalism to accept a more
lucrative job with a Republican
senator; another's still writing
obituaries for the local newspaper
and wondering if he'll ever make it as
a writer; one's a career minded artist
who doesn't .want to throw her work
away to marry her live-in lover;
another's just walked out of his
marriage and can't seem to hold a job
for more than a day, he's so im-
mature. It doesn't matter who's who
or even what sex they really are
because underneath they're the
same. They're all bright, pretty, and
always, always very witty.
Like The Big Chill, which director
Joel Schumacher and co-writer Carl
Kurlander rip off about equally with

Diner, the characters do a lot of
talking, each line a ten pound piece of
solidified anxiety and angst. When
they're not picking their own scabs
they're picking each others with a
vampiristic delight that is this film's
twisted misconception of what em-
pathy and loyalty are. Though it
never really gets too ugly because
most of this gang's traumas - the
pampered daddy's girl who's still a
virgin, the bashful, accutely sensitive
boy who's been harboring a long
submerged love for one of the other
guy's girl friends - are too artifically
manufactured, the characters so
tidily stereotyped, the various sub-
plots so mechanically executed you
couldn't get involved with the film
even if you tried.
There isn't one honest moment of
slack in the whole film, every line of
dialogue a confession of hidden fears,
every scene a mini-confrontation or
crisis. The sentimentality is
manipulative in the crudest way, and
something that only a very young
adolescent audience could miss the
superficiality of, though even a lot of
kids would find some of the scenes -
Judd Nelson to Ally Sheedy as she's
packing her things and moving out onh
him: "You can't have the Pretender's
first album! You can have the Billy
Joel albums." - grossly condescen-
ding. The cast of 'St. Elm
The young, much touted cast throw
themselves into their roles with sin-
cerity and enthusiasm but there frivilous coke whore, come out little
really isn't anything for them to work more than caricatures. Judd Nelson
with. Some, like Emilio Estevez's again plays the brooding, hot-
dopey lovesick twit, or Demi Moore's tempered fellow, while Ally Sheedy

4

4

0

o's Fire' portrays a tortuously talkative crew of youngsters.

&De
w w
Eskimo art
Pictured is a stonecut and stencil work from the Baker Lake collection, prints and drawings from the
huit community of Canada's Northwest Territories. Twenty prints and drawings collectively titled
"Multiple Perspectives from Baker Lake" will beon display through September 6th in the Founder's
Room of the Alumni Center. Hours during the summer are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,

and Andrew McCarthy, saddled with
roles right out of a Gil Thorp comic
strip, get out of the mess with the
fewest wounds, owing to the coin-
cidence that their characters are the
most comic, least tragically inclined
of the lot, and they're the two actors
with the warmest, most charismatic
screen presences.
The film's setting is Washington
D.C., the rising capitol of the yuppie

generation to which this film seems
definitely aimed, with it's standard of
success being material accumulation 4
and its glossy, greeting card-styled
photography and inoffensively
decorous Windham Hill-like score. In
fact St. Elmo's Fire seems like
nothing else if not a Barbie and Ken
playset for the affluent suburban
babies of the-'80s.

Records

Death Rock is, excuse the pun, alive
and well. Once the fetish of Misfits
fans and a few English fashion fads,
this genre is now making its way into
such notable niches as Rolling Stone
and Spin magazine as well as attrac-
ting oh-so-fashionable suburbanites
to its ghastly ranks. And now, finally
a movie with a soundtrack that an-
thologizes the whole smear.
Besides the commercial timeliness
of this album of unreleased tracks
from such death rockers as The
Damned to 45 Grave, the soundtrack
has plenty tooffer.
The opening tune by the Cramps,
"Surfin' Dead," is easily the highlight
of the album. With its punk-a-billyish
beat and driving slide guitar work,
along with Lux Interior's Frank N.
Furter-ish voice, taking his verse to
the jugular of the pre-nuclear surf
era, make it perhaps the best Cramps
song ever, , t _

Unfortunately, the other tracks on
the album don't own up. 45 Grave's
"Partytime" comes across as
something of a Motley Crue eulogy.
Weak, buzzy guitar chords shifting to
a rat-scowl voice chorus bang your
central nervous system into nausea.
TSOL's "Nothing For You" is a fine
doom piece of generic hardcore and
nihilistic virtue, adding a punker side
to the album. Such diversity only goes
so far though; Roky Erickson's
repetitious would-be balladeer drivel
and SSQ's synth-pop impotence dilute
the album's weight as a collection of
strong singles, like The Damned's
"Dead Beat Dance," which despite its
inappropriate bassline, harks back to
the band's rawer days with its
thrashy chordashifts.
Overall, this is an album for collec-
tors only. An interspersion of gold and
sludge.
r-Iobeyh in

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