The deification of Michael Jordan continues with "Michael Jordan's Playground" (CBS/Fox), which makes the fitting claim of doing things never before done by a sports video. The unprecedented accomplishment? It is a concept video mingling players' interviews, an inspirational tale and even a music video with the slam-dunk montages.
So when we're not watching Michael float through his impossibly elongated arc, opponents' leadened bodies rising and falling as he hovers above the rim, we might be listening to one of his peers speak (usually in bemused disbelief) of Michael's otherworldly abilities. Or we might drop in on the archetypal struggles of a young man determined to beat the odds (the other guys are bigger, stronger, maybe even better) and make the team, under the tutelage of St. Michael.The game highlights are stunning, even absurd (any unified field theory is going to have to take Jordan's aerial balletics into account), but more revelatory are the comments from players such as Magic Johnson, Joe Dumars and Dominique Wilkins and the wonder with which they describe him. As for himself, Jordan concludes, "I don't know whether I can really fly or not, but I do know that when I'm up in the air, sometimes I feel like I don't ever have to come down."VIDEO QUESTION
Q: Why is it necessary to store videocassetes upright, like books? I see audio cassettes are usually kept stacked, especially in stores, so why not video?
A: Videotapes have "control" signals recorded at their very edge, so that even a little edge damage will prevent proper playback. When the fully rewound reel is stored in the down position, its weight maintains a slight tension on the tape and prevents the edge from curling or wrinkling. - Andy Wickstrom (Knight-Ridder)NEWLY RELEASED VIDEOS
SHRIMP ON THE BARBIE - I can't tell a lie: I get a kick out of Cheech Marin. "Shrimp on the Barbie" is another farce in Marin's continuing contemplation of the fish-out-of-water syndrome. The premise is simple: Marin plays the Chicano co-owner of an Australian restaurant. Emma Samms is a rich Aussie lass whose daddy won't let her marry the polo player of her choice. But he says he'll approve the next man she brings home - regardless of who or what he is. So Samms hires Marin to come to the mansion to freak out her parents. But the plan backfires when they keep their promise and begin planning a wedding, much to Samms' dismay. It may not win any awards, but this video will give you good cause to smile. 87 minutes. Media Home Video. Rated R. - Mike Pearson (Scripps Howard)
HERE COMES DROOPY - Droopy is Tex Avery's sleepy-eyed creation, a diminutive dog whose unflappability borders on the somnambulant. Unlike most leading cartoon characters - say, Daffy Duck - who are hyperactive catalysts, invariably instigating or escalating a scene's action, Droopy is the ultimate poker-face, catatonically deadpan in the midst of chaos. Droopy isn't particularly sophisticated; he isn't particularly brave; he isn't particularly bright - you know, just like you and me. Bugs Bunny rules his world by being faster, smarter and funnier than anyone has a right to be; Droopy rules his by being oblivious to just how slow, dull and dim he is. Five of these six shorts illustrate the manic, restless inventiveness of Tex Avery, dizzying the viewer with a constant stream of imaginative bursts. The sixth, a later short from Droopy's Hanna-Barbera days, is included, apparently, to give some idea of the cliff off of which Droopy fell. MGM/UA. - By Tom Maurstad (Dallas Morning News)
U.S. GOVERNMENT CLASSICS - Watching such atomic-bomb propaganda as "Duck and Cover," it's no wonder the '50s were the decade marked by the emergence of the juvenile delinquent, the rebel without a cause (or clue, for that matter). First, over a backdrop of mushroom clouds and razed cityscapes, the voice-of-doom narrator tells the schoolkids to which these instructionals were targeted, "No matter where we live, in the country or the city, we must be ready all the time for the atomic bomb." A little later, it's a scene of hapless adolescents and the cautionary promise, "There might not be any grown-ups around when the bomb explodes. Then you're on your own." The good news-bad news message, in other words, is that you may die at any moment. Then again, you may just be left without any adult supervision. Either way, why waste time being good? WEM. - Tom Maurstad (Dallas Morning News)
THE RETURN OF SUPERFLY - You know you're in trouble when producers spend more on the soundtrack of a given production than on the actors, sets, costumes and script combined. Such is the miserable fate of this bone-headed attempt to cash in 20 years too late on the "blaxploitation" trend of the early '70s. Nathan Purdee plays Priest, a reformed drug dealer living in Paris. When one of his homeboys is killed in a New York drug war, Priest returns for the funeral - only to find himself a marked man. This video is embarrassing to everyone concerned - even singers Curtis Mayfield and Ice T, who lent songs to the soundtrack. 94 minutes. Vidmark Home Video. Rated R.- Mike Pearson (Scripps Howard)