Movies

|

• What The Bad News Bears did for Little League baseball of the 1970's, THE BINGO LONG TRAVELING ALL STARS AND MOTOR KINGS (whew!) does for "Negro baseball" of the 1930's. Set during the final years of major league baseball's "color line," the story chronicles the adventures of a traveling all-black team, led by the redoubtable Billy Dee Williams in his best role ever. With the help of his star player, James Earl Jones, Williams signs up the top black players for his road show, much to the dismay of the unscrupulous owners of the nationwide Negro league. The All Stars quickly discover that their brand of baseball is "showbiz," and soon they are hamming it up in some of the best comedy sequences this side of the Harlem Globetrotters. They are also forced to fight the underhanded tactics of league agents who have been sent to break up their team. The climactic battle comes in a no-holds-barred, winner-take-all game between the league champions and the All Stars. Raucous, rowdy and fast-paced, The Bingo Long Traveling All Stars and Motor Kings is entertaining from beginning to end. Rated "PG." â€"Charles F. Barr

• TUNNELVISION, a fantasy about what television might be like in 1985, proves that bad taste is not necessarily good satire. Chevy Chase, of NBC Saturday Night fame, leads a troupe of relative unknowns in a series of uneven skits designed to show what television might be like without censorship. It's an interesting concept, if not original: The Groove Tube pioneered the idea last year with considerable wit and style. But Tunnelvision settles for trite and obvious kitsch: an ad for a career in proctology, an insult comedy designed to offend every minority, and a game show in which a husband and wife race to see who can be the first to fart. The whole enterprise appears to give aid and comfort to those guardians of public morality who claim that unrestricted television would become a cesspool. A few of the skits click, but most are at the mediocre level of the average television variety show. The movie is loosely tied together by a Senate hearing called to investigate the Tunnelvision network. Perhaps unintentionally, some of the best parody occurs here: the grandstanding politician vs. the suave, smooth-talking network executive. The remainder of Tunnelvision, for all its pretensions, is hardly more outrageous than what viewers can see any night of the week on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Rated "R." â€"C.F.B.

• Because there is much to admire in Bob Rafelson's STAY HUNGRY, it is all the more disappointing that the film falters so badly. Jeff Bridges gives another outstanding performance, in his best role since Junior Johnson in The Last American Hero, as the scion of a Southern family whose name has been synonymous with Birmingham industry for generations. Following his parents' sudden death in an airplane crash, he finds himself at loose ends, resisting his uncle's gentle prodding to enter the family business and drifting aimlessly while trying to decide what to do with his life. An ill-considered business venture with some unsavory land developers brings him into contact with a downtown gym where he encounters Sally Field, a tough little hometown girl who has had to make her own way, and Arnold Schwarzenegger (a former Mr. Universe), who is in training for the body-building contest that climaxes the film. There are some very affecting scenes as the relationship between Bridges, Field and Schwarzenegger unfolds, but the film suffers from Rafelson's lack of discipline. The body-building contest, which degenerates into a side show in a jarring shift of tone, is awkwardly tacked onto the plot as an excuse to display Schwarzenegger's grotesque body. Equally debilitating is Rafelson's fatal attraction to a cliche. The film at bottom equates having wealth with unfeeling stupidity, and avoiding material comfort ("staying hungry") with finding true happiness. In spite of this sophomoric silliness, Sally Field is excellent in an uncharacteristic role, proving herself an actress of considerable range and depth, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, when he keeps his clothes on, is very appealing in his screen debut. As for Jeff Bridges, he has yet to appear in a film that is not worth seeing if only for his fine, sensitive acting, and Stay Hungry is no exception. Rated "R." â€"James F. Carey

Advertisement