18 MONTflOSE VOICE / FEBRUARY 7, 1986
New Films Offer Comedy, Drama
By Scott Cutsinger
Montrose Voice Film Critic
This week's films are another mixed bag,
with everything from the looniness of
Robin Williams to the corniness of Roy
Clark and Mel Tillis.
Robin Williams and Kurt Russell star in
a nicely done comedy called The Best of
Times where they get to replay a crucial
football game that they lost in high
school. Richard Gere and an all-star cast
attempt to show how politicians get into
office electronically these days in Power,
but somehow the movie never becomes a
Finally, I have a little chat with Mel
Tillis and Roy Clark about their new film
Uphill All The Way. The movie is quite a
bit of silliness that isn't worth viewing
unless you like that sort of thing. However, these two country greats were fun to
interview, and can still be commended for
at least getting their film made. That's
more than a lot of people can say.
a The Best of Times
Wouldn't it be great to go back and
"replay" some dreaded incident from your
past and improve on it? Would your life be
different if you had asked that certain person out for a date that you could never talk
to, or had taken that job that you decided
to turn down?
Jack Dundee has something in his past
that he wishes could be changed. Twelve
yearB ago he fumbled a winning pass that
would have given his high school team
their first victory against a rival team in
60 years. He equates his fumble with the
fact that his life is leading nowhere, and
he's determined to change it around. The
problem is trying to get anyone else interested in replaying the game.
Since nobody seems to let Jack forget
about the game, he becomes enthralled
with the idea of a rematch. He devises an
ingenius method of getting the townfolk
riled up against the rival team, but has
trouble getting the star quarterback to
return to the field. Reno Hightower is the
quarterback who threw the fabled pass to
Jack, but he was badly injured in the process. Reno (Kurt Russell) has little interest
in replaying and making a fool of himself
if he messes up.
Like Jack (Robin Williams), Reno is
stuck in a rut in his life. He spends most of
his time working on cars in a grubby shop,
and coming home to a wife that isn't satisfied anymore. The only thing that is kind
to him is his history as a football star, and
he doesn't want to lose that.
We can pretty well spot the direction the
film is taking a mile away: Jack and Reno
are going to get the whole town excited
about playing the game, and in the process boost their egos and self-assurance by
correcting what was screwed up the first
time around. It's a bit contrived, but these
guys seem to grow*and have so much fun
doing it we can grin and enjoy it too.
Somehow, no matter how predictable
things get, we are constantly entertained
by The Best of Times. Either Robin Williams is charming us with very funny
antics, or we are enjoying the excitement
of a sleepy town come to life. Even Kurt
Russell is a pleasure to absorb with a well-
drawn character who likes his life very
A highlight of the movie is a subplot
involving the wives of these two men.
Pamela Reed (Right Stuff) and Holly Pal-
ance (Under Fire) play the long-suffering
wives who both throw their husbands out
of the house. In one hilarious scene, they
invite their husbands over for dinner, but
there can be no talk of sex or football.
Robin Williams stars in "The Best of
Sitting around the table, the topics leave
much to be desired. "How about that situation in Beirut?" one of the men asks, "I
hear it's very swampy over there," replies
one of the wives. Meanwhile, Jack is
sneaking back and forth into the living
room to sneak peeks at a football game.
The whole dinner is a comedy delight.
Director Roger Spottiswoode (Under
Fire, Terror Train) does an adequate job
on his first stab at comedy. Fortunately,
he does not dwell on the obvious liketrain-.
ing for the game, but puts more emphasis
on the development of the main characters. The final football match is a bit silly,
but it is an essential to the plot that must
be dealt with.
The Best of Times is really a good time
at the movies, and the preview crowd
cheered long and hard. Your toleration of
the silliness of Robin Williams may have a
lot to do witfryour enjoyment of the film
because he is the main focal point. Still, he
is kept fairly well under control, and fits in
well with the rest of the actors. Nobody
has yet tapped the unique raw talents of
this incredible performer on screen, but
the glimpses in this film will have to suffice until someone does.
Power is an attempt to make a high-tech,
high-thought movie about the mechanisms used to manipulate politicians'
image with advertising and advanced
marketing techniques. Directed by the
man who gave us heavyweights like Network and The Verdict, we would expect a
heavy social statement set in the mood of
something like Robert Redford's The Candidate. Instead, we get a glossy, heavy-
handed contrivance that never quite
makes much of a statement at all.
Richard Gere is Pete St. John, the best
political media wizard in the business. He
boosts the images of political figures with
little interest in the political ideas. All he
knows are polls, figures, and the image
presented on the television screen.
Pete's clients are located everywhere,
from a South American Socialist candidate to a New York millionaire running for
a New Mexico office. He makes it very
clear from the first that he is going to run
and change their lives. What they do with
their ideas if elected means nothing to
him, only getting them into the public's
mind and transferring it into votes.
Surrounding Pete are people whose
function seems to be to keep him occupied
when he's not busy (which isn't often).
Julie Christie haB a nothing role as a
reporter who used to be married to Pete.
They meet occasionally to go to bed or talk
about why they broke up, but it doesn't
ring very true. Kate Capshaw has even
less to do as she stands around as his aide
and sometime bed partner.
The male characters seem to fare a bit
better. Denzel Washington (A Soldier's
Story) has a small, meaty role as a bad guy
trying to manipulate Pete and a candidate. This starts a very ridiculous subplot
with Pete being wiretapped and almost
being killed by this guy for very vague
reasons. E.G. Marshall plays a Senator
who is bowing out, but he's involved in
this vague subplot also and his part
becomes a bit hard to follow.
As Marshall's wife, Beatrice Straight
(Network) gives another hysteric performance that got her an Oscar back in 1976.
Somehow in all the overacting, we realize
that she has an important role in the
whole thing—but I'm still not sure what it
really is. Faring the best is Gene Hackman
in a small but brilliant role as Pete's mentor and friend who is on the downward
side of his career. An alcoholic, he is still,
trying to do things in a style that is behind
the times. Hackman is so good we almost
wish we were looking closely at him
instead of Pete.
In the middle of this maze of characters
stands Richard Gere, stone-faced and
inward as usual. His character is the
usual, cold and ruthless with little time for
people. Gere can be likeable when he interacts well with others (see Officer and a
Gentleman), but these "Gigolo" clothes.
Media consultant Wilfred Buckley (Gene Hackman), left, discovers he and his
former partner Pete St. John (Richard Gere) are working for opposing
candidates in "Power"
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The once a year opportunity to see the largest & rarest
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Ft. Bend County Fairgrounds
Hwy. 59 at 36 Rosenberg, Texas
Friday Night 6:00-9:00
Feb. 21st 6:00-9:30 p.m.
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$12.50 ea. (also good Sat. _ Sun.)
Additional information & Tickets
P.O. Box 251
Peariand. Tx. 77581
Crowley, La. 70526
CRYSTAL FEBRUARY 22-23
Identification Sat. 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Matching Sun. 12:00-5:00 p.m.
Good Both Days
Antiques & Collectables
Show-Adjoining Bldg. No. 2
Food & Drinks
1 From Midniqh
Huevos Rancheros with bacon or sausage, toast
and hash browns or Scrambled Eggs with diced
ham, toast and hash browns
Bring your favorite bartender and receive 10% off total price1