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Austin American-Statesman amusements Friday, February 23, 1979 C1 The Commander's back Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen may have split up, but the Commander's still at the helm of his new group. Page C3. Country highlights Several members of the Lost Gonzo Band have joined Ray Wiley Hubbard and will make their debut with him soon. Page C5. ISPeer Hunter9 By PATRICK TAGGART American-Statesman Staff Wot since 1973s "Last Tango in Paris," has there been such a blaze of publicity surrounding a movie as for "The Deer Hunter." And never was there so much strutting and fretting for so little substance.
To say that the movie lacks substance, however, isn't the same as saying it can be easily dismissed. Hardly. "The Deer Hunter" is a gut-wrenching, horrifying and brutal war saga not the kind of movie shaken off with a laugh and a tossed-away ticket stub. This godforsaken thine leaves the viewer mentally pulverized, punished, anguished and distur- F'WiH bed" if' 1 Some people (critics especially i rev I audience weep with her beautifully shaded portrayal of the young woman engaged to Walken. Her character, by the way, has a particularly heavy burden to bear: Not only does she have loved ones in Vietnam, she must wait for them in the grimiest, most unattractive steel-mill town imaginable.
Director and writer Michael Cimino's film is about war, friendships, and what war does to friendships. The movie begins with an over-long wedding party and binge in which five friends (De Niro, Walken, John Cazale, Chuck Aspegren and John Savage) celebrate and then go out on their last deer hunt together. De Niro, Walken and Savage are about to leave for their tour of duty in 'Nam, circa 1968. After the hunt, the actions shifts abruptly to the war, where the three buddies are engulfed by enemy soldiers. They are taken to a prison camp where they are forced to participate in such a cruel mental and phsyical torture that some of the audience won't be able to watch.
The men are forced to put pistols, loaded with a single bullet, to their heads while the captors make bets on whether or not the prisoner survives. One of the men is so scarred by the experience that, after his release from a psychiatric hospital in Saigon, he goes to a private club to perform the same nihilistic ritual for money. He sends the booty to his injured buddy (Savage) who is now home, a double amputee. De Niro, who in the early deer-hunting scenes proves that his character is the only one sturdy enough to endure the war and its tortures, comes home unscratched, but finds himself unable to face a welcoming party. On a subsequent deer hunt (which is hauntingly, strikingly filmed) he maneuvers himself into a perfect shot at a fine buck, but finds himself unable to fire.
Perhaps he knows too well what it feels like to be a victim. Toward the end of the film De Niro goes back to Saigon to find his friend and bring him home, and once again we are put through the horrifying suicide ritual. The film closes on the remaining friends and family gathered for a solemn, post-funeral meal. The film could have ended quietly that way, but Cimino goes for one last corny shot and has them softly singing "God Bless America." The question, of course, is, is it all worth it? Yes, there is torture, depravation, insanity, war and existentialism in the world, but there's nothing that says we ha ve to look it. If you want to, we give you "The Deer Hunter." Deer Hunter," rated graphic violence; at Fox 1 lw fall prey to this) without hesitation associate these feelings with some kind of redemption.
The argument is that if a movie is capable of stirring such powerful reactions within the viewer, then the reaction itself implies importance. Meryl Streep The smell of horse droppings is powerful, but we don't have to go around sniffing for it. Power is not importance. "The Deer Hunter" is powerful it is not important. It is too melodramatic, self-indulgent and shrill to be important.
It is certainly a contemporary phenomenon; the Oscars have already assured that. And it may even endure in film history as one of the most psychologically devastating war movies ever Jnade. In spite of its length (three hours) and its brutality, there are things to admire in "The Deer Hunter." There are several Oscar-worthy performances especially by Robert Niro, who is more magnetic and less affected here than in anything he's done before. The young, tender-faced Christopher Walken is perfectly cast as the mentally stricken veteran, and Meryl Streep makes the From left, friends Michael (Robert De Niro) and Steven (John Savage) endure the cruelty of a Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp. In the camp, the men are forced to put pistols, each loaded with only a single bullet, to their heads while their captors make bets on whether they will survive after they pull the triggers.
i i ainminrrtrir rmnrinnftnmfflnai'miniiT Our Home Is Your Home Tonight DAN DAVE LongMt Happy Hour In Tom Double Shots 2 fori 11-8 p.m. Never A Cover We serve delicious home-cooked Ice noue Mexican food prepared dally with Jr our own original recipes! CD Family ownaa ana operawa. fn STUMBLE I nOak HilljJI Presents ijj MMBLW Jj R0SE NO COVER jMfll mXED DRINKS JfTK Friday, Feb. 23 Country-Western COUNTRY ROAD 1 476-6111 I i FRI. SAT.
11701 N. Lamar Blvd. 837-1 193 Tm -Sit It II I PJL Closri Visa Histv Ctarp Sam; Clwckt Conwntom 10 Grae Wood. Norfti Pat tma. Euban tow RM Oaka, Hoftn Oak.
Hrtwg ma. Four ntmtmm, PflugwyW. and Round Roc Presents Tonight 9:00 UKCLE WALT'S BAKD 906 Congress Saturday, Feb. 24 Ballroom Dancing GILBERT KAUTZ Orchestra Buy one Pizza and Get the Next Size Pizza In the Same Price Category FREE With This Coupon. Expires March 6, 1979 (Limit 1 Coupon Per Pizza) Afternoon tea dance Sunday, Feb.
25 HARRY JAMES ORCHESTRA $7.00 4-8 MffiMf 613 W.Ben White I oTT.r 443-9373 I 8105 Burnet Rd. miipuml iuji 458-1269 I THE Steamboat I I I I I. AvoilobU for Pnvote Portiei SOUTH BYOL 251-4421 NORTH SlCBytielHi 837-1S24 gS3JJ Hwj. 198 Wert IKK-ZU13 Two Beautiful Locations of Austin's Finest Country-Western Night Club TONIGHT General Sam's TONIGHT THE MOODS OF COUNTRY MUSIC $3.00 Coming Sat. JERRY NAILL $3.00 A LITTLE BIT OF TEXAS $3.00 Coming Sat.
BARBARA FAIRCHILD RIDERS IN THE SKY i Restaurant Bar oeoooeoooodeooooo Deliciously Different -Secret Recipe Reiulu in UNIQUE FLAVOR--Unlike anything you've tasted before- Enjoy a delicious Dining experience in beautiful surroundings. You'll Love it Doc Serorinsen in concert Sunday, Fcfcrusry 25 JPS1 EPICURE 403 SIXTH Tickets at door. 477-6060 mmm uwwsir or mar 4ur CREOLE CUISIME spcoal crews center Friday and Saturday MOTHER OF PEABL Texas Size Independence Celebration MARCH 2,3,4 FM 2222 at loop 360 345-2187 FISHY FINN'S Family Restaurant 8301 Burnet Road 453-2444 11 PIT BARBECUES) in a distinctive atmosphere Piano Bar Dinner: Monday thru Thursday Dinner: Friday thru Saturday Spicewood Center 8108 Mesa Dr. 345-7088 BEAMS Try Our KOT PUPS to compliment your Meal! Delicious Cheese-stuffed Jalapenos in a Hush Puppy HOT STUFF! HAPPY HOURS 2-7 DAILY mm I I ifrSpeciald If. TAKE OUT ONLY rl Ktu Smoked jp.
Sausage a 6 Chopped Chlcken'gT Mr Halves I 2304 So. Congress! TONITE EARL SCRUGGS REVIEW also appearing EDDIE MARTHA 2ndGENERATI0N TOMORROW FEB. 24th CARNAVAL BR ASILEIR0 79 coming-March 1st COUG KERSHAW Lindsay Raisley March JOHKSOHl ugs Henderson March 3rd fKSUASiCSaiitreme Heat March 4th GARY KJRTCK Angel Socheras March 7th POLICE are March 9th TAJ MAHAL'Aio't Kisbeharia' HHPPY 4 to 7 pm DAILY! DOUBLE SHOTS SINGLE PRICE 5 Boiled Shrimp Vz price Oysters Lunch 99 always Dinner up 3300 W. Anderson Lane in Shoal Creek Plaza 453-9945 UNO to 10 p.m. am iii Mi li ii lull in JI fWWsiWi' 1 prr 10 I ism H3B t'-V iiifiifiaiiirinri 1.9207 North Lamar 1 I 311 West 6th St.
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