MARCH 21. 1986/MONTROSE VOICE 23
'16 Days' Is Absolute Olympic Glory
By Scott Cutsinger
Montrose Voice Film Critic
Probably the last thing that many of you
want to see is a documentary on the Los
Angeles Summer Olympics. Can we take
more running, jumping, and diving, and
more Carl Lewis and Mary Lou Retton?
I surprised myself and found theofficial
film record of the 23rd Olympiad to be a
spectacular and dazzling experience. My
eyes got misty, I got a lump in my throat,
and I really was proud ofthe athletes and
their talent. The effect was a 100 times
more vibrant and beautiful on the big
screen than when I viewed them on televi-
□ Gung Ho
Sometimes a wonderfully inventive story
somehow doesn't become a great reality
on the big screen. Such is the case with
Ron Howard's Gung Ho, a neat idea that
never quite gels. The idea of a Japanese
firm reopening a Pennsylvania auto factory with obvious culture clashes sounds
like a funny movie, but unfortunately the
result is a bit hollow.
That's not to say that Gung Ho is a bad
movie, because it's really cute sometimes.
I laughed quite a bit, but the script by
Lowell Gong and Babolov Mondel
(Splash, Spies Like Us) forces the humor
I really expected more than a "save the
town" movie from Ron Howard, who
showed such promise with Cocoon and
Splash. Instead of using a good theme and
delving into the implications it presents,
we get a shallow comedy played for
laughs. Luckily he stays away from any
stereotype, which was probably very wise.
Still, this was a unique opportunity to
explore the Japanese influence on the U.S.
and how Americans react to it. The Japanese way of work Is presented, but its
strictness and discipline are almost made
to look silly. The sloppy American work
methods are obviously poor, but they are
made to seem acceptable. We never see a
compromise, only both sides stubbornly
clinging to their ideas.
As a top Asson Motors executive, Gedde
Watonabe (Sixteen Candles) is a delight.
His interactions with Keaton are very
enjoyable and provide some of the film's
nicest scenes. Keaton overacts a lot, but he
is a funny actor. About halfway he settles
down a lot and becomes a lot easier to
Gung Ho is one of those crowd-pleasing
films that will make a lot of money. I was
disappointed because I wanted a lot more,
yet I still enjoyed myself. Hopefully, Howard will look a little deeper into this story
for his next film, and not just scratch the
surface for laughs.
□ 28 Up
Writer/ producer/ director Bud Greenspan chats with U.S. champion diver
Greg Louganis, the first man in 56 years to win both Olympic springboard and
platform diving titles at the Games, for a segment in "16 Days of Glory," the
official film record of the 23rd Olympiad held at Los Angeles in 1984
16 Days of Glory is the supreme achievement of sports filmmaker Bud Greenspan.
This acclaimed director was in Houston
last week, and he feels that this film is his
best effort. He wants to make the audience
see and feel the Olympics that the networks never showed.
"The film industry goes for instant gratification," said Greenspan, "and sports
has become just numbers. I take the humanistic approach, and because of my style I
won't work for the networks," he said.
"I'm much better than they are."
More than anything, Greenspan is a
docudrama master with several stories to
tell. While we do have segments on superstars like Edwin Moses and Mary Lou Ret
ton, many other lesser-known athletes are
given the spotlight. They include people
like Dave Moorecroft, who finished last in
the 15000 meters but was determined to finish with an agonizing injury. And people
like John Moffet—the swimmer who came
in fifth with a torn right thigh muscle.
The director is quick to point out that
many top athletes aren'tin this two-and-a-
half hour feature film. A five-and-a-hour
version will be on video tape and eventually released to television. The long ver-
Bion contains the more widely-covered
stare like Carl Lewis and events like the
Mary Decker—Zola Budd incident.
Greenspan uses his film to capture the
poignancy and the challenge of the
events, not just winners and losers. One of
the most priceless segments is on Daley
Thompson, the British marathon winner.
The beauty and the physique of this man
arc truly indescribable, and Greenspan
captures him perfectly on film.
16 Days of Glory is a four star film that
is a must-see. Greenspan says that he
wants to make "good things for future generations." This outstanding record ofthe
Olympics is truly a piece of cinema that
will stand the test of time.
on us. You can see the jokes coming a mile
away, and you sort of prepare yourself for
a mild chuckle.
The film's biggest asset is Michael Keaton (Mr. Mom) as Hunt Stevenson, the
plant foreman who goes to Japan to convince Asson Motors to reopen Hadly ville's
auto factory. He succeeds but the Japanese take over with an iron fist when they
open the plant.
Director Michael Apted (Coal Miner's
Daughter) has been observing 14 English
children age seven (in 1963) to age 28 in
1984. Each seven years he tracked them
down, interviewed them, and observed
their growth and ideas. The result was a
feature for British television that is being
shown here theatrically.
28 Up is a novelty film that is often interesting, but sometimes boring. It is interesting as it observes the physical and mental
changes of these people, but dull when it
lets them drone on and on about their dull
lives. This is not helped by the hard-to-
understand English accents that several
ofthe people have.
The film explores children from a variety of classes and areas of the country,
asking them questions about everything
from marriage to religion. The most
apparent changes come with the girls,
who seem to go from liberated women ("I
didn't see myself getting married") to
(Left to right) Rodney Kageyama, Michael Keaton and Gedde Watanbe reach <
shaky East/ West alliance when a Japanese firm takes over a U.S. auto
manufacturing plant in "Gung Hi>"
Workers are made to exercise, speed up
production, and cut back on leave time.
Soon the men and women are revolting,
and the resulting culture clash almost
closes the plant down. It's up to Stevenson
to save the day.
housewives with several kids. The men are
more straightforward, often ending up in
the job that they said wanted at a very
I'm sure psychologists will have a field
day poring over this visual diary. It's
interesting to see how people change physically, but much more involving to understand why they have a certain job, or what
they think about their culture and lifestyle. Most of the people seemed content
with themselves at 28, and this was a comforting thought.
28 Up is a nice character study of these
14 people, but it's probably better suited as
a series like it was shown in England. As a
whole, the film tends to drag on a bit long
on some people, and then race through
others. Quite an oddity, 28 Up will definitely appeal to a small group of interested
people. The film will shown from Sunday,
March 23, through Saturday, March 29, at
the River Oaks Theater.
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