Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 5, 1997)
By Jeff Randall
As one of America’s most endur
ing comic heroes, Rodney Dangerfield
has— contrary to his ongoing comic
routine — earned a lot of respect.
Films like “Back to School” and
“Caddyshack,” while by no means cin
ematic triumphs, highlighted
Dangerfield’s trademark mugs and
one-liners and made the man himself
into a cultural icon.
And so we arrive at “Meet Wally
Sparks,” Dangerfield’s first return to
the big screen since “Natural Bom
Killers,” and his first comic foray
since the forgettable “Ladybugs.”
This time around, Dangerfield
tackles the issue of trashy tabloid tele
vision. And being the common man’s
comic that he is, Dangerfield does
anything but turn his nose up at this
oft-reviled TV medium—instead, he
Pom stars, social outcasts and fe
tish-laden sex fiends parade across the
stage of Wally Sparks’ (Dangerfield)
talk show, much to the horror of
Sparks’ boss (Burt Reynolds) and the
conservative wing of American soci
ety, represented by Georgia Gov. Floyd
Threatened with cancellation,
Sparks and his crafty producer
(Mazar) head for the governor’s man
sion to produce a show with at least a
semblance of worthiness. Instead, they
are confronted with more scandal and
controversy than they ever could have
concocted on their usual sound stage.
The expected hilarity results, with
Dangerfield crashing the high-society
bash, corrupting the pure yet
dimwitted governor’s wife (Williams),
insulting the upper classes and in the
end making everyone realize that he’s
not such a bad guy after all.
While this formula has worked
well for Dangerfield in nearly every
one of his past films, this time around
it not only seems stale, but also a little
In the past, Dangerfield has often
played the commoner-tumed-high
society-guy, making his intrusions into
the elitist institutions of our day (such
as country clubs and prestigious uni
versities) a sort of war of the classes,
where the good guy (meaning the com
mon man) wins.
But in the role of a cheap and
trashy talk show host, Dangerfield’s
struggle seems less a case of com
moner-versus- elitist as it does poor
Dangerfield representing the poorest
in poor iasie.
In addition, Dangerfield’s always
mildly raunchy humor has been am
plified for the ’90s, making it into an
almost repellant display of below-the
belt tactics and sexist ramblings.
The supporting cast, as usual, plays
nothing more than a shallow support
ing role, only serving to set up
Dangerfield’s punch lines and —
more often than not — act as the
punching bags for his brand of slap
While this comedy does have its
occasional funny moments
(Dangerfield’s one-liners hogging
most of them), most of this comedy’s
efforts fall flat when they try to soar
and go under when they aim low.
“Meet Wally Sparks” tries to cap
ture the essence and humor of
Dangerfield’s past glories, but instead
only serves as a pale imitation, put
ting a serious dent in the respect he
has earned with his former work.
Film: “Meet Wally Sparks”
Director: Peter Baldwin
Stars: Rodney Dangerfield, David
Ogden Stiers, Cindy Williams, Debi
Rating: R (language, nudity)
Five Words: Respect? Not after this
Photo courtesy op Trimark Pictures
HOMEY DAMERFEU mi CMy Willlans cat a rag la the near camedy “Meet Wally Spate.”
(right)HOUNDSTOOTH, a Lincoln band that I
features a rhythm sectien ef lecal music 8
veterans — including drummer Casey Kineaa 1
(formerly ef the Yard Apes) and bassist Chris 8
Semmerich (formerly ef No Left Stone) — I
perferm tonight at Duffy’s Tavern, 1412 0 St.
(below)LIW 8NAVITY BAND, an Iowa City [
roots-rock band, Joins Houndstooth in
tonight’s 21-and-over shew at Duffy’s.
Houndstooth, Low Gravity Band
put on down-home, feel-good show
By Ann Stack
If you’re sick to death of snow and school,
try a midweek shot of sane smokin’ roots rock
to take the edge off.
Local boys Houndstooth will headline an
evening of stripped-down, good-times rock ‘n’
roll at Duffy’s Tavern, 1412 O. St. Playing with
them are fellow rockers Low Gravity Band,
from Iowa City, Iowa.
Both bands take a remarkably similar ap
proach to their brand of down-home, good-ol’
boys style of rock ‘n’ roll. They have fun with
the music and don’t take themselves too seri
ously —this is not, after all, brain surgery. But
don’t let the beer glasses on stage, die foot
stompin’ and the raucous howls they provoke
fool you—these guys are professionals.
For instance, check out the way
Houndstooth waxes literary midway through
their set, proving that rock stars can be intel
lectuals. (One may want to overlook the liter
ary selection of choice, however.) Also, check
out the way Low Gravity Band (all of whom
have college degrees, speaking of intellect)
combines poppy harmonies and heavy hooks
while still remaining slaves to the feel-good
Two of the members of Houndstooth are
veterans of the Lincoln and Omaha music
scene, providing the backbone of the rhythm
section. Drummer Casey Kinnan was with the
Yard Apes, and bassist Chris Sommerich played
with No Left Stone. The band is rounded out
by lead guitarist and co-vocalist Dan Kaspari,
who complements singer Bryan McBride’s
acoustic guitar perfectly.
It’s a good idea to catch Houndstooth while
you still can. Sommerich and McBride will soon
be pursuing other interests—namely marriage
— and the members will soon head their sepa
So while that day looms in the not-so-dis
tant future, Houndstooth will reck their hearts
out in the meantime.
You can catch Houndstooth with Low Grav
ity Band tonight at Duffy’s. Low Gravity Band
will take the stage about 10, followed by
Houndstooth. There’s a $3 cover charge.
Couktesy PHOTO |
score big points
in video stores
By Gerry Beltz
Take this week’s two new releases, mixed
with one small apology (“Bambi” comes out
this week, not last week as reported. Sorry about
that!), and garnish with a pick-of-the-week
that’s great for young and old alike.
“Jack” (PG) — Robin Williams acting like
a second-grader? Nah, he could never pull that
(sarcastic mode off)
Jack (Williams) is actually only 10 years old,
but suffers from a rare disorder that causes his
body to age at four times the normal rate. Still,
he enrolls in grade school with somewhat pre
Both funny and heart warming, “Jack”
makes for a wonderful rental to catch with a
loved one, a blanket and a couple of mugs of
“Bogus” (PG) — Yet another Whoopi
Goldberg flick that just didn’t do very well at
the box office.
Seven-year-old Albert (Haley Joel Osment,
“Forrest Gump”) loses his mother, so he is
forced to go live with Harriet (Whoopi) until
things can be sorted out.
Unfortunately, Harriet is about as helpful
as steel wool underwear, but Albert’s imagi
nary friend Bogus (Gerard Depardieu) enter
tains Albert and helps both him and Harriet
straighten out their lives.
Roll the dice on this one, but the odds are
took off his Vulcan ears to step behind the cam
era and direct the hilarious comedy “Three Men
and a Baby*
The movie stars Ted Danson, Steve
Guttenberg and Tom Selleck as three happy
go-lucky bachelors who find their lives turned
upside-down with the surprise arrival of a toby
on their penthouse doorstep.
This one’s a hoot from start to finish.
Check it out.
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