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Austin American-Statesman from Austin, Texas • Page 81
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Austin American-Statesman from Austin, Texas • Page 81

Austin, Texas
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Ci3 'Best FriendY comedy: is relentlessly unfunny Night Ranger rocks enthusiastic crowd Entertainment Page F4 Page F8 T'l Friday, June 22, 1984 Austin American-Statesman section Night life Parton adds spark to lackluster film Review 'A yf '--y vl A aaJW.V. J. By PATRICK TAGGART American-Statesman Staff Movies with a calculatedly commercial appeal ec-me in degrees, and the new Rhinestone lands somewhere near the top. Sylvester Stallone, Dolly Parton, New York City, country music, a Pygmalion love story how can a filmmaker lose with ingredients like these? Director Bob Clark (Porky's, A Christmas Story) demonstrates one way. Not helped at all by a dimly comic and implausible screenplay by Stallone and Phil Alden Robinson (from a story by Robinson), Clark takes his audience on a tour that begins and ends in a New York nightclub.

In the middle comes a seemingly interminable detour in the Tennessee mountains, where our primary characters learn something about each others' disparate lifestyles. AT CENTER STAGE are Stallone's Nick Martinelli and Parton's Jake (for Jacqueline) Ferris. Martinelli is a carefree New York cab driver who drives fast even for that town; Jake is a good-hearted country singer who has journeyed to the big city to be a star in greasy Freddie Ugo's (Ron Leib-man) nightclub. As a way of wiggling out of her contract with the worm, Jake bets the club owner she can turn the next person she sees into a -country singer in two weeks. Well, warm up the grits and country ham, because who should pull up to Jake's curb at that very moment but Nick, who rates country music somewhere below liver on his list of likes.

Seeing an opportunity here (he gets his wreck of a cab replaced if he is successful), Nick agrees to the scam. Jake hauls him back to the Tennessee homestead to country him up for the task ahead. More on Dolly Parton, F7 IT'S IMPOSSIBLE to say precisely where all of this goes soft; it's pretty gooey all the way through. But the sequences in the Smok-ey Mountains are clearly the most unendurable. Among other things, we are made to watch Nick clumsily attempt to ride a horse and milk a cow, neither of which have a thing to do with country musicianship.

The script is a big problem. Stallone has said his contribution was the on-set manufacturing of quick one-liners. The snappiest of them all is the epithet, "prince of doo-doo" not a terrific standard. BUT AT LEAST the middle part of the film has Richard Farnsworth, as Jake's sly-witted dad; and Tim Thomerson as her pest of a former boyfriend. When the action finally returns to New York for the predictable conclusion, the viewer is treated to a second dose of Ron Leibman's overplayed jerk.

A gifted actor, Leibman suffers here from director Clark's insufficient rein. Apart from the two character players, mentioned earlier, the only really compelling performance here is Parton's. She may not be an actor of tremendous range (that has yet to be tested) but she is one of enormous natural presence. She can't save a bad film, but she can make a poor one seem intermittently better than it is. Rhinestone, rated PG for mild profanity; at the Aquarius and Highland Mall Cinema.

Dolly Parton's gifts may not be enough to save a bad movie, but her natural stage presence adds charm to Rhinestone. She is shown here with Ron Leibman, top, and Sylvester Stallone, bottom. Together again 47 Times Its Own Weight reunites for show Night life is a guide to a variety of music available in Austin tonight and Saturday. Tonight's the night The last time Neil Young played Austin, it was at the City Coliseum, and Young was exorcising his rockabilly ghosts with a pink draped suit and a lot of butch wax. This time, he's on a low-key tour with a secret band that not even his record company knows about From the Buffalo Springfield to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young to his own eclectic solo ventures, Young has gone through more ch-ch-ch-changes than David Bowie or the Houston Oilers.

But his music remains provocative and almost always compelling. With Lucinda Williams. At 9 p.m. tonight and Saturday at the Opera House. Tickets are $12.50.

Mady in the shade There is a school of thought that says that hotel lounges book noxious piano players and cut-rate copy bands because it drives their transient patrons to drink. Fortunately, that's not the case at the Hyatt, which has pursued a laudable policy of booking fine local bands and musicians. One. example is jazz vocalist Mady Kaye, who is holding forth with her trio tonight and Tuesday-Saturday until the end of the month. At 9 p.m.

No cover. Commanding show Anybody can get a funny hair- cut, wire up a bunch of synthesizers and play synth-pop ear candy. Fortunately, the Commandos haven't felt compelled to follow that path. They're content with playing plain, unfrilled rock n' roll. At 9:30 tonight on the patio by the Texas Tavern at the University of Texas.

$1.50 cover with UT ID, $2 for the public. Hard livin' I don't have many regrets in life, but one of them is that I didn't pen a song lyric like, "I wish hard livin'Didn't come so easy to me. David Halley did, though, and he's written a bunch of other great songs to boot. Yet another of the West Texas expatriates who have enriched Austin music, Halley is a great songwriter and performer and a wizard guitar player. He's even handsome, to boot (Sorry girls, he's Well, at least he's not rich yet.

At 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Peewee's Cafe. $3 cover. Paycheck at the Palace Merle Haggard once said that Johnny Paycheck was the only singer who's done enough hard time to sing his (Haggard's) songs right He even wrote Paycheck an album's worth of new tunes to prove it. Paycheck has earned his hard-luck stripes, both on and off stage-.

The lines on his face and the rasp in hit voice prove it But Haggard's right: There is a timbre to Paycheck's voice and songs that comes only from first-hand experience. At 10 tonight at the new Country Palace just south of Round Rock. Tickets are $6 in advance and $8 at the door. Long, tall Marcia Ball She's tall and darkly handsome (Sorry boys, she's She can sit down at the piano and play a New Orleans second-line rhythm with the best of them. Her voice is the best thing this side of Irma Thomas.

And she drives a Jaguar! To paraphrase the commercial, nobody doesn't like Marcia Ball. Find out why when she performs as part of Symphony Square's Catch A Rising Star outdoor concert series at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. $4 cover. Nuclear polka They're called Brave Combo because they had to be brave to play their blend of polka and retrograde rock in the college-area dives of Denton.

But they have matured to become a reliable musical antidote to terminal seriousness. Who, for instance, can resist asking a date out for a night of dancing to nuclear polka? At 10 tonight at the Continental Club. $3.50 cover, jw John T. Davis musical units was Forty Seven Times Its Own Weight, usually referred to as 47X. The band, along with the Electromagnets, dominated the burgeoning jazzrock scene in Austin during the mid-1970s.

Their 1975 album, Cumulo Nimbus, was the first release of Austin's Fable Records label, and the band's influence on Austin musicians is still being felt. More important, the band served as the motherlode of talent for two groups that subsequently became the most conspicuous and consistent Austin jazz institutions. Passenger and Beto los Fair-lanes. EL BETO HIMSELF, Robert "Dude" Skiles, played keyboards and contributed much of the group's material, while the rhythm section of drummer "Mambo" John Treanor and Spencer Starnes, now performing with Minor Miracle, among other bands, anchored the proceedings. Paul Ostermayer, one of the primary attractions of both Passenger and the Mitch Watkins band, was the saxophonist in the group and one of its focal points in live performance Tonight at Symphony Square 47X band members will get together for a rare reunion concert.

1 1 Mel Winters, who played trumpet and occasional keyboards with the group, serves as de facto historian for 47X. For a group that exerted such influence on the Austin jazz scene, the beginnings of 47X were unplanned and humble. "THE BAND actually started out as a project for an English class at UT, as strange as that may sound," Winters explains. "I was taking a course in 20th century media, and we were studying the electronic media and contemporary culture. Somehow, the idea of putting an actual band together came See 47x, F6 By MICHAEL POINT Special to the American-Statesman, There are certain aspects of Austin's music past that are closer to mythology than to history.

The Armadillo World Headquarters is a prime example of one of these enduring legends, but there are others that are based in the exploits of musical acts." Obviously, Willie Nelson is secure in this mythical pantheon, and Stevie Ray Vaughan seems destined to be enshrined as well, i But quite a few of Austin's musical legends never received such national acclaim and success. They remained primarily an Austin secret, a bragging point and a topic for conversation long after they ceased playing.They were, in effect, a part of Austin's musical heritage, and their activities were chronicled and cherished with painstaking attention. FOR LONGTIME Austin jazz fans, one of the most fabled of past Mv, 7--2r565 Staff Photo by Taylor Johnson 47 Times Its Own Weight, an old Austin band whose members have long ago gone their separate ways, will reunite tonight at Symphony Square. Top Secret' is hard to beat for typical summer lunacy Review 1 i ft By PATRICK TAGGART American-Statesman taff You'll see better movies this year, probably even better comedies. But it is going to be hard to turn up anything more suited to summer entertainment than Top Secret, the new piece of inspired lunacy from the makers of Airplane! Writers and directors Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker (a screenplay credit is also shared by Martyn Burke) have not discarded any of the nutty surrealism that made their earlier film the surprise hit of 1980, but they have reined it in a little.

Perhaps they knew that another Airplane! wouldn't be enough or too much. In any case the new film has liberal doses of the idiotic verbal and visual humor of the earlier film, plus three or four rockabilly production numbers that make Top Secret a toe-tapper as well as a knee-slapper. THE PLOT DEFIES description, but here's a capsule attempt. Famous American rock star Nick Rivers (Val Kilmer) arrives in East Germany for a cultural festival that serves as backdrop for a variety of political shenanigans. Never mind that the setting is present day, the Germans of this film look just lik those from old WWII movies.

Rivers meets the lovely Hillary, whose father has been imprisoned by the Germans and blackmailed into creating a powerful secret weapon. The two young persons enlist the help of the local Resistance, a ragtag band with names like Deja Vu, Escargot, Souffle. Not surprisingly, the black fighter is called Chocolate Mousse. WHAT ENSUES WEXL leave to you. Suffice it to say that the film is a series of inspired sight gags, puns, and movie parodies (you'll see suggestions of The Blue Lagoon, The Great Escape, and Raiders of the Lost Ark among others).

Near the end the filmmakers stage an old-fashioned saloon brawl that could come from any of a dozen Westerns except that it's all under water. It's no classic, but Top Secret is funny, good-natured, and with one exception early on involving a marital aid clean. As entertainment of the season goes, one could do much worse. 'Top rated PG for forgivable vulgarity, at the Northcross and Mann Westgate. 6 Dressy duo on a parody of Boy George on their al- MhnnV fha Htmr-rO Tknw Just when you thought it was safe to listen to country music again, along come Moe Bandy, left, and Joe Stampley.

The Epic recording artists ha collaborated filmed a video in drag, and the singleris climbing the chart.

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