Daily News from New York, New York on July 23, 1982 · 60
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Daily News from New York, New York · 60

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Friday, July 23, 1982
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World According to Garp' The By KATHLEEN CARROLL . '' Mary Beth Hurt, Glenn Close. Directed by George Roy Hill. At the Criterion Center and Sutton. Running time: t hours, U minutes. Rated R. . n OHN IRVING'S comic novel "The I World According to Garp" capti-O vated millions of readers with its outlandish, but lovable, characters. Young people in particular couldn't help but respond to Irving's hero, T.S. Garp, a gentle soul who, as he attempts to perfect his talent as a writer, tries with all his heart to protect his loved ones from the eruptions of violence and the outbursts of madness caused by the social upheaval of the '60s and 70s. - Displaying admirable courage, director George Roy Hill and screenwriter Steve Tesich have attempted to pin down this intensely popular but sprawling novel and turn it into a meaningful movie. They may have lost the match, just as Garp, who is also an expert 'wrestler, loses his match against the crazies of the world. The movie version of "The World According to Garp" doesn't quite measure up, in that it is necessarily sketchy. In fact, it is difficult to fully understand the movie unless one is familiar with the book. Still, Hill and Tesich have handled this cult classic with obvious sensitivity and they have succeeded in ; making the characters more credible without losing all of Irving's quirky humor. One of the movie's most inspired touches is the engaging credit sequence, which shows a delicious imp of a baby boy soaring happily into the air accompanied by that jaunty Beatles' tune," "When I'm 64." The baby is, of course, Garp, whose love of flying was inherited from his father, a mortally wounded tail gunner who unwittingly fulfills his function as a sex object when Jenny Fields decides she wants a child without the bother of having a husband. Fields, who then raises her son, Garp, while working as a nurse at a boys' prep school, eventually writes an autobiography called "A Sexual Suspect" ("I wanted a job and I wanted to live alone and that made me a sexual suspect," Fields explains to her bewildered publisher). The book is a smash success and Fields becomes the country's most renowned feminist, to thedistress of her son, who is still struggling over his first novel. The feminist revolution has a definite impact on Garp. Having married his true love, Helen, he becomes the ideal house husband. "I've got to cook, I've got to clean, I've got to cry I've got to do everything," Garp complains. He also has to deal with a major threat to his marriage: Helen's affair with one of her students, which briefly transforms Garp into-an angry man with tragic results. Williams (right) as Garp with his transsexual friend, Roberta (John Lithgow) Robin Williams is surprisingly effective as Garp. He has the short, squat body of a wrestler, but he also possesses a boyish shyness and a sweet manner that reinforces the notion that Garp is just a babe in the woods, an innocent bystander in a cruel world where violent death is a constant possibility. LENN CLOSE is simply perfect as the blissfully serene Fields, who -becomes the unofficial saint of the feminist movement, an angel of mercy who treats all women, even the Ellen Jamesians a radical 7 group of feminists who have cut out their tongues to protest a rape with the same professional concern. Mary Beth Hurt gives a compelling performance as Garp's devoted, but occasionally confused, wife. And John Lithgow is extremely touching as Roberta Muldoon, the ex-football star who is now an over-sized but reasonably feminine, trans-sexual. "The World According to Garp" does succeed as a movie in the sense that it displays the same gentle wit and quiet intelligence as Irving's nice-guy hero. ... - iv)i"' ii -naff : nit . Scott Glenn: proving his loyalty to the samurai master Scott Glenn. Toshlro Mlfune. Directed bv John Frankenhelmer. At Loewt State and RKO ttth St. Running time: I hour, 48 minutes. Rated R. '(XT OW DO YOU like Japan so far?" asks the Japanese tough, guy who has just greeted the latest arrival at Osaka airport by taking him for a ride and holding a knife to his throat Rick may not be an ordinary tourist, but this hard-luck Calif ornian, who has been told he has only to bring an antique sword to Japan in order to earn some big bucks, never expected this kind of welcome. The tough guy threatens Rick with more bodily harm and then offers this explanation: "They're queer for swords over here," he says with an appropriately sinister grin. " ' That turns out to be an understatement as Rick, the hero of "The Challenge " quickly finds himself caught up in a f amily i eudbetween two brothers who are determined to acquire a missing sword that has belonged to the family since the 13th century. "The Challenge" was directed by John Frankenheinier, which gives it a certain aura of respectability. Scott Glenn, the actor who caused such a sensation in "Urban Cowboy," plays the bewildered American who becomes a devoted student of the martial arts. Toshiro Mifune and Atsuo Nakamura, Japan's most respected actors, play the battling brothers. But, despite some high-class talent, "The Challenge" turns out to be no more interesting than the average blood-soaked, kick-and-slash movie. The climactic showdown, which takes place in the ultra-modern business headquarters of Hideo, the evil brother (Nakamura), is completely ludicrous as Mifune, wearing the traditional costume of a samurai warrior, manages to dodge hundreds of armed guards by simply using his trusty bow and arrow. Hideo winds up with what can only be described as a splitting headache, i 'a o i . r ; ? -i Kathleen Carroll 'The Best Little Whorehouse j in Texas' Burt Reynolds, Dolly Parian. Directed by Colin Hl99lnt. At tho Rlvoll t, Gemini I, Loew's Orpheum 1. Running time: 1 hour, 54 minutes. Rated R. rvOLLY PARTON and Burt Reynolds are bas-I 01 kin2 in tn glow of a campfire. Dolly, who, as W Miss Mona, runs "the nicest lil' whorehouse" in Texas, is all dolled up in a demure looking gingham dress with just a touch of glitter on her eyelids, for this is supposed to be Miss Mona's night off. Burt, as the local sheriff and Miss Mona's No. 1 fan, looks downright cozy in his fleece-lined jacket. The two of them are engaged in a religious discussion (Miss Mona, in case you had any doubts about her true character, is something of an authority on the Bible) when they suddenly run out of dialogue. No matter. Writer-director Colin Higgins, the man who is apparently responsible for taking all the oomph out of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," keeps the camera trained on Dolly's famous assets and Burt's new hair piece as if the audience needed two minutes of silence just to properly appreciate these two folksy superstars. For, to no one's surprise, Hollywood has turned a perfectly decent Broadway musical into a slightly lurid showcase for two stars who, together, generate no more heat than a stone-cold barbecue pit The Broadway version of the Larry King-Peter Masterson musical sizzled like a bowl of flaming hot chile while maintaining an atmosphere of cheerful innocence. The movie, on the other hand, has about as much bounce and energy as a slab of chicken-fned steak. Instead of being allowed to develop as individual characters, Mona's. girls simply parade around in vii A;- (Continued on page 20) sr

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