SCREENnYawning in thenAislesnby Stephen MacaulaynStranger Than Paradise; A film bynJim Jarmusch; Samuel Goldwyn.nStop Making Sense; A film by JonathannDemme and Talking Heads;nCinecom/Island Alive.nAll the praise that has been heaped onnthese films might lead you to supposenthat Jarmusch and Demme—and thenassembled Talking Heads, under thendirection and supervision of DavidnBTne—have created cinematic textsnof the first order. But the best thatnStranger Than Paradise and Stop AlakingnSense can say for themselves is thatnthey are, to use a phrase that willnidentify the group to which I am referring,n”talkin’ about my ge-ge-gengeneration.”nIf they are as good as itngets, then the Baby Boomers ought tonstick to Trivial Pursuit.nStranger Than Paradise is a cutnabove art movies—the type of thingnthe same people are now making withntheir VCR equipment. Here we have ancollection of vignettes about two NewnYork hipsters and a Hungarian immigrant,nthe cousin of one of the beboppers.nAs we watch the banality of lifenlived in a run-down, one-roomnapartment—sleeping, drinking beer,nwatching the Yankees play on thensmall black-and-white set—anotherntide for the film begins to emerge:nWelcome to America? The questionnmark is vital. The only thing thatncould be more yawn-inspiring wouldnbe a trip to Cleveland in the dead ofnwinter—and sure enough, Jarmuschnprovides one. To be sure. StrangernThan Paradise is one of the most unpretentiousnfilms to make it beyondnsmall college auditoriums and coffeehousenbackrooms, but so what?nStop Making Sense is a concertnfilm. It shows the once avant-garden34/CHRONICLES OF CULTUREnVITAL SIGNSn^%5^nand now quasi-mainstream TalkingnHeads in action. Unlike Gimme Shelter,nMad Dogs and Englishmen, Concertnfor Bangladesh, or any of thenothers, Stop Making Sense concentratesnon the performers instead of thenwoman in the front row shakin’ it, ornthe paramedics carting out limp bodies.nDavid Byrne, stumbling aroundnlike a spastic, is the thing. If StopnAiaking Sense is cinema verite, thennit’s no longer a sin to tell a lie. ccnLong Ride Homenby Herbert LondonnLost in America; Produced by MartynKatz; Directed by Albert Brooks;nWritten by Albert Brooks and MonicanJohnson.nWhatever happened to the “droppednout, turned on” Captain America ofnEasy Rider, who for a brief time capturednthe hearts of Hollywood mogulsnand the minds of hip urbanites longingnfor a life free of convenhon and restraints?nIn the age of Reagan, thisnmythological figure reappears as a yuppienin Albert Brooks’s Lost in America.nThis guileless tale of two urban professionalsnattemphng to drop out of thenproverbial rat race reveals another sidenof the Easy Rider experience.nAlbert Brooks is an advertising executivenwith a major firm. He isnresponsible—a word perceived as anpejorative. He is imaginative, as hisnboss readily concedes. He is on a fastntrack, as his dreams of a Mercedes withndark brown exterior and tan interiornsuggest. But one day he finds himselfnderailed. Instead of getting the vicenpresidency he was almost sure of, he isnasked to relocate to New York for anminor position. Incensed at the suggestion,nhe quits his job to relive thenexploits in his Easy Rider fantasies.nBut this is the 80’s, and Brooks is anyuppie, not a yippie. He buys annelegant motor home to cross the countryn(Harley Davidsons don’t have in­nnn4ndoor plumbing). He cashes in his assetsnfor a “nest egg”—no need to livenoff the land or depend on his friends.nBut life on the road isn’t all it’s crackednup to be. At his stop in Las Vegas, hisnwife discovers a compulsion for gambling.nBy the time he awakens, she hasnblown their nest egg at the roulettentable. This dream of carefree travelnamong the indigenes is shattered likenthe hippie vision of an unrestrainednsocial paradise.nIt quickly dawns on our hero that henand his wife had better find jobs. Butnopportunities in a small Arizona townnare not what they are in Los Angeles.nThe $100,000 a year executive isnobliged to become a school crossingnguard and his charming wife, whonused to be a personnel director, isntickled pink to find employment at anfast-food stand. By now, husband andnwife have begun to realize that theirndream of discovering America is anfraud. Instead of driving out into thensunset, destination unknown, theynspeed as quickly as their motor homenwill permit to New York. The adventurernhas had enough of adventure tonknow that if he must eat crow to regainnhis position, so be it. The grass isn’tngreener on the other side of bourgeoisnAmerica; those who have been therenknow.nBrooks’s comedy reveals more aboutncontemporary life—I believe—thannits writers may have intended. For onenthing, the dream of wanderlust hasn’tnvanished; it has been remodeled to suitnambitious, acquisihve execufives. Fornanother thing, the 60’s are now asnalien as the 30’s. If anything, Losf innAmerica is making fun of the Big Chillngeneration, who cling to their interrednvisions with all the passion of necrophiliacs.nMost people finally realize that youndon’t have to travel or undergo analysisnor divest yourself of possessions to findnyourself. The search is coming to annend because the Eden Express alwaysnreturns home. There is no magic innthe search; there is only the hard andnsometimes unrewarding work of beingn