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utzworld

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About utzworld

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    Member
  • Birthday 10/21/1972

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  • Favorite movies
    Shaft Do The Right Thing Good Will Hunting E.T. Star Wars (Original Trilogy) School Daze PunchDrunk Love Dreamgirls
  • Favorite music
    Classic Soul Hip-Hop/Rap
  1. utzworld

    Dreamgirls

    An interview with "Dreamgirls" Producer Laurence Mark at Box Office Guru where he discusses the Oscar noms, the film's marketing plan and the challenge of selling this uniquely African American story to a universal audience.
  2. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    I will leave the questions on the table in hopes that someone here will be able to get past their preconceived notions about them (not to mention me!) and simply answer them. What I'm REALLY looking for is for folks to honestly share (as you did) their likes and dislikes about the AA films they've seen. The opinion of this community are crucial research for my project.
  3. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    The issue at hand again: That statement alone should have shut down any conversation & debate about your like/dislike of "Dreamgirls". The topic of my discussion again, for the umpteenth time, bolded and italicised...so any preconceived notions can be tossed out of the window... With that, let the discussion continue in peace. I apologize if my tone was interpreted as non-peaceful. For the aforementioned reasons, this is one of the most important dialogues in my lifetime. I believe that the challenge may rest on my shoulders (and mine alone) to see if, through the power of God, I can create an African American story with the depth, clarity and universality of the 5 Best Picture nominees that grace the halls of Oscar every year. I crave your comments and participtation like water. I only ask that you stay on topic, please. Thank you.
  4. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    This conversation has completely backfired on me. There was a method to my madness: I WAS considering launching into the deep end of the ocean and writing my own original screenplay. The plan was to take your answers to the bold faced questions and to stir them up in the pot to see what I could come up with. That's why I was pushing those questions so hard. However, this conversation has turned into total chaos. Therefore, I do not wish to continue the discussion. To those who attempted to answer my questions, I appreciate you taking the time to do so.
  5. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    If what you say is true, then why have his first two films been the runaway successes that they have...at least in the AA community? And why are his characters so real and believable in Our eyes and not yours? What's flat to you is layered, textured, soulful and spiritual to Us. Perry's films have clearly applied your "Don't Compromise" theory. I expect "Daddy's Little Girls" to do the same.
  6. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    I completely disagree. Tyler Perry's work is based on real situations and real life. The musical stuff is just a device he uses to drive his plays along. But he doesn't need to do that in his work. In fact, that's the one thing that kept me from watching any of his plays till the movies came. In real life, people do not break into song after arguments (one of the myriad of "Dreamgirls" complaints). Taking the musical numbers out of his films helps his cause more than it does to harm it. It makes the stories more real and more human. One of the things I refuse to do with my plays is to add musical numbers to them. To me, that make mainstream audiences take the message of my stories less seriously. My work should stand on the strength of the writing and performances. Adding in musical numbers cheapens my work - and Tyler Perry's too for that matter OK...what about non-musical films - which is what my question was more centered towards? Good words...not exactly the subject of my discussion...or thread title...but good, nevertheless.
  7. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    Thanks Popechild & Nardis for answering. If I haven't answered as promptly as you would prefer, it's not intentional. I've just been busy, that's all.
  8. utzworld

    New Stuff Worth Hearing

    Been stuck on the Dreamgirls soundtrack, Once Again by John Legend, and Jay-Z's comeback album "Kingdom Come" for the last couple of months. "Kingdom Come" is getting the most rotation in my Jeep. He's got a song called "30-Something" that's my new national anthem!
  9. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    I have no problem with your opinion of the film. And I admit that I was off base by implying that its Oscar snub meant that White people don't want to see Black Stories. On the other hand, I wrote those bold-faced questions (which, by the way, have not been fully answered yet by the A&F squad - props to my HJ partner in crime for answering the bell) to try to find out how you (White people) would prefer to see Black stories told...specifically African American stories. Let's face the truth, y'all. African American stories seemingly are the worst reviewed films out there. In this case, a film in which myself and several of my brothers and sisters have labeled a 3 1/2 to 4 star film only rates as a 2 1/2 star film in your eyes. There's a HUGE, GAPING disjunct between Our view of African American cinema and Your (Whites) view. Which, in turn, makes me truly wonder if I/we are missing something. So...if someone (other than Darrel) would just simply answer those questions, it could open the door to understanding for myself as well as the rest of my AA colleagues.
  10. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    An article from John Ridley, writer of Three Kings, that supports both the PRO and CON sides of this topic. Also 3BC's The Diva's brief comments in USA Today echoes the sentiment and asks The Big Question that I posed in this thread today.
  11. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    The answer is found in his later post: There is a sense in which most (although not all) films that get nominated for best picture have to become a universal story. Babel is by it's nature; The Departed maybe a little less so, but it still deals with the struggle of good and evil; Letters is about the common humanity that does not go away because we are at war with the other; Little Miss Sunshine is the sturggle and strength of family and community, even when it is totally out of order; and The Queen shows how grief and pride and status all can come together in bizarre ways. These films find their place at the Oscar table through the ways we connect with them. That isn't to say that Dreamgirls doesn't also have universal themes being played out. But all in all, it just wasn't that good of a movie -- but like Popechild, I'm white, male, and not that fond of musicals. In this case the "white" may play a part in that judgment; I'm sure the other two qualities do. As to what role my whiteness may discount Dreamgirls a bit, it might be because it still seems to me more of an AA story than a universal story. Maybe that is a burden that AA films have a hard time overcoming, because to describe something as an AA film is too say that in fact it isn't universal. Thanks Darrel. I completely understand your point. Dreamgirls was not, technically, a universal story...but I'll be doggone if it didn't blow the roof off the theatre! With the exception of the Film Criticism community - not to mention the good people of A&F, the folks I polled felt that it was a knockout. I know the folks at the Cinerama Dome last 12/16 felt that way. Half of us gave the flick a standing ovation...White folks included! Another issue: The Diva and I just got off the phone where we compared and contrasted "Little Miss Sunshine" with "Akeelah and the Bee" and why LMS is getting Oscar love while Akeelah was barely an afterthought...when clearly (at least to both of us) Keke Palmer's performance was much more powerful and poignant than Abigal Breslin's. But even folks round here praised that film while Akeelah (at least according to Overstreet's "homie") was simply "Meh". The question: Are White audiences actually turned off by the preachiness and message-centered material that is found in most AA centric films and stories? More answers, please...
  12. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    All I did was ask a few simple questions. I put them in bold not to shout at y'all or argue, but to make the questions clearly known and understood. No need to ponder the "foundation" of the questions. Just give me an answer. Simple as that. Incidentally, this is about much more than "Dreamgirls", believe it or not. It's about African American stories and artists who have had to climb a virtual Mt. Everest just to get onto the big screen and the constant frustration that we feel when a good team of climbers is assembled to ascend to that mountaintop only to be knocked back down again and again. This is what we've felt like in the wake of "The Color Purple", "Do The Right Thing", "Boyz N The Hood", "Malcolm X", and now "Dreamgirls": good climbing teams who are unable to climb to the mountaintop. We celebrate those among us who have individually climbed to the top - we have 3 out of the 4 front-runners in the Acting categories this year. But, politically influenced or not, messy and half-baked as it may be, the Academy Award for Best Picture is the mountaintop. The day when I finally see one of Our Stories get to that mountaintop will mark my proudest day as a cinephyte.
  13. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    I started to, but realized I was playing into faulty assumptions. Oscars aren't a validation of anything. They're an entertaining side show. Do I root for certain nominated films? Yes. Do I think they represent the year's best? Rarely. Then there's the definition of a "black film." My concerns about that were expressed previously. And still no answers, just more spin. Let me rephrase, then... "What do we have to do to insure that African American stories get a fair shot at the upper echelon of critical praise & Oscar glory? American film critics as well as the Academy has (FINALLY!) turned around and started recognizing our individual acting performances. But, as everyone knows, Best Picture - not to mention the highly worshipped Year End Top Ten Lists - is the brass ring. What must African American artists do to successfully and finally achieve that elusive Brass Ring?"
  14. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    No one has answered my questions yet.
  15. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    Spike notoriously disliked "The Color Purple" when it was originally released - mostly because of some of the changes made from its transformation from book to screen. I haven't heard too many other prominent AA artists hating on "The Color Purple". One thing that I have had to accept in my road to maturity is the notion that something is lost in translation when a white guy directs an AA story. On the one hand, you have Michael Mann's Ali which I definitely tossed in the "good, not great" category. Performances were sharp but some of his other narrative decisions left us scratching our heads - partcularly the scene when The 90% AA audience (in which I saw the film in) let out a collective "HUH?!?!" during that scene. On the other hand, Spielberg was able to fully capture the essence, soul and anguish of Us in "The Color Purple". In his hands, it became more than an AA story. It became a universal, human story that transcended race and color. To answer that question, it simply boils down to the director having passion for the project he's working on. A white director can be just as passionate about an African American story as a Black director can - case in point: "Dreamgirls". Bill Condon's passion for this story was evident in each frame of the film (at least it was to me, the Diva and my other "homies"). 11 nominations. 0 wins. Many of us still feel the sting of that loss. Frankly, it means nothing deep or profound at all. Black folks love movies just as much as everyone else does - particularly action movies, comedies and horror flicks. Yeah, you'd be hard pressed to find a large group of us watching the 5 Best Picture nominees - The Departed being the exception. But we gobble up just as much mainstream Hollywood product on Friday/Saturday nights as the rest of the folks do.
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