Mabel King

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The Wiz Review


Bad
This Broadway mainstay is horrifying -- nightmare-inducing, really. Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, and Nipsey Russell make for a triple threat of overacting and bad costumes in this Harlem-set bastardization of The Wizard of Oz. Ted Ross, as the cowardly lion, is the only one to escape relatively unscathed. There's one song here worth remembering (the "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" update "Ease on Down the Road"), the rest is an acid trip of bad dancing, garish sets, and a Joel Schumacher-scripted mess that runs 135 agonizing minutes. Thank God for the irreverent Richard Pryor as the titular Wiz.

The Jerk Review


Excellent
One of Steve Martin's proto-characters, The Jerk isn't quite what his name suggests, he's really more of an idiot than a jerk. "Born a poor black man," the film follows his misadventures from the sharecrop farm to the big city, the circus, Hollywood, and ultimately fabulous wealth and bankruptcy, oblivious all the way. Ultimately he really does turn from sheer ignorant to wilfully awful, so maybe he's a jerk too... but that's beside the point. Martin's one-liners are pretty funny, very dry, and awfully quotable. Bernadette Peters, as the love of his life, appears in one of her most memorable roles, too.
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