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Thursday, March 5, 1981The Daily Tar Heel5
In 'Ordinary People'
D TOM MOOKK
Robert De Niro is a chameleon. When you
watch other great actors on the screen, say
Marlon Brando, Laurence Olivier, or James
Cagney, you hardly lose sight that you're
watching a great actor. They rarely become so
embellished in a part that you lose sight of.
But De Niro gets so deep into his roles that
he becomes the characters he plays. Part of
this lies in that he starts each part as a blank
page. He picks up the mannerisms for his role
as he researches his part. He leaves nothing for
us to hinge on as an established film persona
and this allows him to make his performances
more realistic and effective.
In Raging Bull, his fourth collaboration with
director Martin Scorcese, De Niro plays mid
dleweight champion Jake La Motta. La Motta,
whose boxing career spanned the 40s and early
50s, has his life turned into a tale of sin and re
demption. In one of the most unsympathetic bio-pics
ever made, De Niro plays Jake La Motta as a
loutish, brutal animal. La Motta lives to fight,
in and out of the boxing ring. And his anger
drives everyone his brother, the wife he
craves away from him.
De Niro's got the Bronx accent down per
fect. And he's got La Motta's famous crouch
ing style of boxing; he even went so far as to
put on some 50 pounds to play the broken
down La Motta. The almost absurd dedication
that De Niro put into this part that dedica
tion he puts into every part has been hyped
to death in the media. But it's this willingness
to push things to their limits, to become every
part he plays, that makes Robert De Niro the
greatest film actor of his generation. No other
performer can match his low-key intensity.
. With all his greatness, De Niro is not out to
blow all the other actors in Raging Bull off the
screen. Robert De Niro is an ensemble actor;
he pushes the others in his films to his level of
greatness. In Raging Bull he is evenly matched
by Joe Pesci, who plays La Motta's profane
and quirky brother, and Cathy Moriaty, who
plays La Motta's beautiful and ever-suffering
wife. Neither Pesci nor Moriaty has ever acted
on the screen before, but you can't tell that by
watching them. They come across as seasoned
professionals able to give remarkably realistic
These performances are helped along by
Scorcese's documentary approach and a true
story script by Paul Schrader and Mardick
Martin, which supposedly was heavily
reworked by Scorcese and De Niro.
The scenes in Raging Bull with their violent
action and violent dialogue play as if we are
taking a look at actuality. Scorcese knows how
to play things evenly so that they never come
off as theatrical and show-offey. One gets this
feeling from his films even though he has a vir-
De Niro in 'Raging Bull'
... forceful acting in movie
tuoso knack for the visual and sound techni
que of cinema.
Such visual and aural effects are perhaps no
ticeable only to the most astute filmgoer. Yet
combined with the forceful acting and the
gutsy direction. They help make Raging Bull a
disturbingly great film that is not to be missed.
By TIM POPE
The wandering camera focuses on the stately, white
washed front of a private school, where a group of young
choral singers rehearse. A cut to the face of one boy.
Something gleams in his eyes. His singing serves as a ca
tharsis for some inner anguish.
For the next hour and a half we watch as this young boy
deals with ordinary emotions. We watch ordinary charac- -ters
tear at each other, analyze each other, avoid each other
and resolve their problems. And this is the beauty of
The film is a slow, caressing study of the motivations of
a family steeped in middle-class American ideals. The sub
jects realize that problems in life are not as unavoidable as
our society pretends.
Ordinary People deals with the lives of a suburban
family whose son Conrad (Timothy Hutton) tries to
readjust after recently attempting suicide. His mother,
Mary Tyler Moore playing against her TV persona, is a
woman who cannot got beyond abrupt mannerisms. She
is too wrapped in herself and appearances to give her son
the compassion he needs.
And his father (Donald Sutherland) is too condescend
ing, always quick with warm praise and sympathetic with
his son's problems, but he is never really understanding
until the end.
Director Robert Red ford selects portions of scenes of
family life to hammer home a quiet touch of irony.
Sutherland and Moore, fnr !' cuss vacations on a
Texas goif course while their son comes close to a second
Alvin Sargeant's screenplay is tight and intense. Cha
racters don't hit upon some revelation in the end, as is ty
pical for Hollywood. The dialogue sometimes runs in
circles, as in the scene where the mother and son absent
mindedly discuss his problems with math.
"I've always had a tough time with trig," she says.
"Did you take trig?" he asks with a gleam of hope.
"Did I take trig? Did I take trig?" she asks in disbelief.
"I put your clothes on the bed." End of scene.
The most extra-ordinary touch in this film is the inten
sity of the actors. Mary Tyler Moore combines the raw
saccharine sweet charm that she displayed on her show with
an icy, bitchy exterior and concern for the trivial. Donald
Sutherland is quiet and reassuring at first but loses his
control in the end when he begins to question his '
. But the most intense performance comes from Timothy
Hutton. He stands erect in some scenes with an expression
of a child desperately searching for something to focus his
attention on. Other -times he teeters on the brink of
violence like some abominable secret is fastened deep be
neath his blue eyes.
Ordinary People is a film that is slow and quiet a
character study rather than a monumental piece. Yet the
intensity holds it up. ,
omic Mdoks Tonight9 delight for . players, crowd ,
By MARC ROUTII theatre, and the battle switches to the two mannered reporter Clark Kent. were more in the style of French cabaret with IXS?'
Staff Urit.i men.1 Maseie Rnhert"; U pninvnhlp as fhp mal-pnnt . ...u:i .1 : . I iJL
Comic Books Tonight, the current product
ion of the Chez Condoret Cabaret, is a good
excuse for a group of four performers to sing
and clown around and enjoy themselves. And
after a few drinks from the bar, the audience is
sure to have just as much fun.
Written by Tom Haas and directed by Linda
Wright, the production is ably performed
with musical director Chris Klutz at the
piano. The evening is a series of four skits on
the comic book theme tied together by
singing and comedy.
Haas has taken music from Broadway suc
cesses and popular tunes, aiming for humor
by giving them new words in some instances
and by placing them at particularly unfitting
moments in others. As in any satirical review
which depends on spoofing and quips by the
performers, the jokes work in some places
and fizzle in others.
The first skit introduces Archie Andrews
and the rivalry between Betty and Veronica for
his companionship. But soon, Robert Redchevy
comes onto the scene as the star of a local
"The Specimen," the second skit, is the
story of a female fish-creature who pursues a
human scientist in an attempt to find a mate.
In speaking of her past experiences, the female
creature states, "It was a heavy gill trip."
And "The Great Superhero Contest,"
Superman once again proves himself to be the
comic book hero that he is. In the final se
quence, "The Makeout Queen," a naive, in
experienced boy hopes to take the high school
makeout queen to the prom.
All of the performers in Comic Books Tonight
seem to be old hands at this type of comedy.
Stephen Barefoot plays the underdog in the
skits, and he is funny in his attempts to
escape from the creature in "The Specimen"
and to get the girl in "The Makeout Queen."
Brian McNally performs the roles of
Superman and Robert Redchevy with a mock
macho presence that is drolly humorous. With
the only costume change in the production,
McNally opens his shirt to reveal a T-shirt
with the superman "S". In fact, when he puts
on a pair of glasses and combs his hair a cer
tain way, he looks unbelievably like mild-
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Cream Potatos or French Fries
412 E. Main St.
Whore Chapel Hill Moot
Catering and Drive-
thru Service Available
Nothing goes better with a great roundball game than a great
roundball meal from PTA! And we'll do the travelling!
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Maggie Roberts is enjoyable as the makeout
queen and as Veronica. Her brassy voice is just
right for some of the songs that she performs.
Mamie Carmichael momentarily steals the
show as the fish creature in "The Specimen."
; Carmichael sings "That OI' Black Magic" and
a number of other songs as she goes from fish
face to normal. However, with the competition
of the other performers, she is not the focal
point for long.
The Chez Condoret Cabaret began in Feb
ruary 1979, with performances in the dining
; room of Chez Condoret. The first productions
variety show entertainment, while the current
production's a more cohesive show in the style
of New York cabaret.
In October 1979 the bar area and cabaret
were refashioned and the performances were
moved into that area.
Comic Books Tonight will be presented
through' Saturday. Performances are at 9
p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and also
at 1 1 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Reservations
are necessary and the cover charge is $3.50 per
person. For more information call 942-8714.
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Pizza buffet 2.C0
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Salad bar $1.95
Great Potato $1.95
2C3 17. FrsmMin St.
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waalad bar , $2.60
ll:0O-2:0Q Pizza buffet $2.C3
Sunday Wednesday Spaz!aetti
11:00 - 11:00 allucaa eat waalad bar
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Present this ad
for 2 for 1 Pizza S pedal
only good Thursday-Sunday
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