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utzworld

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Everything posted by utzworld

  1. Good movie. Best of the 3 films by far. Low box-office is completely & totally due to the great Cruise Wig-Out of 2005. I heard a bunch of film geeks boasting about how they were staying away from this due to Cruise's seemingly neverending proclamation of the gospel of Dianetics. A shame...a movie this good should have opened with 60 mil at least!
  2. ...and perhaps a bit of stark raven lunacy???
  3. The only beef I have with the "Jesus Camp" documentary is the fact that, according to the Reuters article, some of these adults are seemingly "pimping" the power of the Holy Spirit for political gain - much like those in the current US Presidential Administration. Praying to cardboard statues of Dubya??? Come on, now. I have no doubt that these kids are indeed moved and empowered by the Holy Spirit. But there's always trouble when people's personal ambitions (try to) get in the way of what Christ really wants to do in people's lives.
  4. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    :spoilers: (since I assume some of y'all might not have ever seen this movie) Long before Moviefone & Fandango - let alone the internet - hit the mainstream, the Sunday paper was your best source to plan you moviegoing adventures for the following weekend. The Sunday before "Boyz" dropped, the LA Times noted that it was going to play at Mann's Chinese...not the legendary Chinese auditorium, but one of the 2 smaller theatres that adjoined it at the time. It didn't matter to me. Merely 2 years after my memorable first trip to Hollywood - and thanks to having my first car at age 18, I inched my way closer to Chinese a month earlier by seeing Spike's Jungle Fever at another theatre on Hollywood Blvd. Upon seeing that "Starts Friday" ad, I promptly made plans to go to the Mecca of Movie Theatres to see this greatly anticipated film. I got to the theatre about 11:00 AM for the matinee show. Needless to say, I was psyched and hyped for this. Curtains open, trailers, THX "Audience Is Listening" trailer, and up pops the Columbia Pictures logo with scenes from a drive-by shooting playing underneath. The "Boyz N The Hood" logo title zooms in as the gunshots are fired, followed by the life-expectancy statistics for AA males under 30 then - like a thud - Singleton zooms in on the bright red Stop sign. Earlier I called DTRT the "scream" of a people. This movie was the mourning, wailing, and finally, hope of those same people. For the first time, life in South Central Los Angeles became more than fodder for network news commentary. The world got to see a glimpse of what life was really like down there. As everyone knows, I lived there during that time. The accuracy of the film is 99.9% - thanks, in a major way, to John Singleton having lived his life there as well. It was as if everyone in the theatre (IIRC, it was about an 80's AA audience in there) had a piece of that story that they could grab a hold of for themselves - even much more personal than DTRT. Needless to say, (almost) all of us in the theatre that day cried our butts off when I must note that one of the saddest things I've ever witnessed in a movie theatre occured in the midst of the tragedy of some kids - who had to have been no more than 12-13 years old, start screaming out "Shoot that nigga!" After about 30 seconds of this nonsensical hollering, an older Brother yells out, "Will y'all shut the ***k up?!?!" The whole theatre erupted in applause. Even sadder when Doughboy , we cheered like maniacs - I attribute our reaction to Singleton's use of Hollywood style storytelling tricks like suspenseful music and slo-mo shots to set the mood. But with our joyous applause, we the well trained, pre-programmed moviegoing audience, totally undermined the point that Singleton was getting across: that, in real life, these acts of violence and vengeance are a seemingly never-ending spiral of madness and tragedy. Case in point: At the close of the next scene when Doughboy's final outcome was revealed, we all shurgged our shoulders and sighed with sadness. But hope sprung eternal just a few seconds later: when Tre's final outcome was revealed, we cheered as if he were one of our sons or brothers. When the credits rolled, a bunch of us just sat there soaking it all in, reveling in the fact that we saw the unveiling of a bright future for Mr. John Singleton. It was as if we, just as we did 2 years earlier, were watching history in the making - a history that unfortunately got tarnished just a few hours later when the real life counterparts of Doughboy and his pals wrecked havoc at several theatres across Southern California - including the very same Chinese Theatre I saw the film at earlier in the day. As for me, I dragged the girl I was seeing at the time kicking and screaming to the local drive-in so she could see the flick later that very night. At the end, she was more emotionally spent and hyped up than I was. I later saw the film about 3 more times before I went off to my freshman year in college. Little did I know that, while I was fighting Algebra, Hollywood was gearing up to make a whole slew of "Boyz" copycats - most inferior, but one definitely superior (IMHO) even to "Boyz" itself.
  5. utzworld

    Hustle & Flow

    We already beat this dead horse in this year's Post-Oscar Wrapup. The short version: Judge the individual songs - not the past works of the artists who make the songs.
  6. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    Damn the screenwriters! Damn the Starbucks involvement! That movie was the closest thing to my life story than any other movie I've ever seen (next to School Daze)! I can't even "review" this. I'll have to write a commentary instead. Friggin surreal! Check out The Chicks' review to understand the importance of this "formulaic" little film.
  7. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    RUN, don't walk, but RUN to the nearest theatre, shell out your $7-10 bucks, see Akelah and the Bee and meet me back at this board. Lots to talk about! This means you, (Ellen) Nardis!!!
  8. Thankfully, the Laker game should be on at the same time. Bummer! ::w00t:: I'll only try to catch the pre and post movie comments. I suspect that they won't say anything that hasn't already been said.
  9. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    What happened there?? It just dies in the middle of "suppressed." Same description as on the DVD box: "The filmmakers say it was surpressed by the government." As previously stated, I can fully understand why. Next paragraph: "Driven underground and available only on bootleg video, this controversial political thriller was nearly lost. Obsidian Home Entertainment was granted full access by the filmmakers to digitally restore the movie from the original camera negative which had been hidden in a Hollywood vault for 30 years."
  10. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    Guess what came in the mail today??? Boy, did I botch up that description. The print of the film is pristine, the picture and sound quality is excellent, and the "no-name DVD company" is actually a division of an AA film & video company headed by Venus Flytrap himself, Tim Reid! Some may recall his show "Frank's Place" that aired almost 20 years ago. It was his attempt at showing an AA based dramedy. It got critical acclaim and low ratings...but inspired him to start his own film company. I'm currently rewatching the film. I can understand why the Feds tried to drag this film into oblivion. I guess they didn't want the Brothers and Sisters emulating what they saw in this flick. Strangely enough, they had no problem with the Brothers and Sisters emulating what they saw in "Superfly". Double standard? I think so! Actually, its not a bunch of Panther types he's training. It's a friggin street gang! Once they're trained, they're shipped off to other parts of the country to recruit and train other street gangs! Yep. J. Edgar Hoover and Co. must have pissed themselves a river after getting wind of this flick! I sure do wish TCM had the b@!!s to show this one during their "Niggrahs On Celluloid" festival.
  11. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    O.K. Not quite bootlegged...but here's a couple of key things to note: 1. It's released by some no name DVD company...which is probably because 2. Sony/MGM probably wants nothing to do with this movie for obvious reasons. Sony/MGM inheirited this film as a result of MGM's purchase of United Artists - the original distributor of the film - who probably was "forced" to disown the film. Legend has it that, even though it got good reviews and found an audience when it was initially released, "the powers that be" got this one shuffled in and out of the theatres ASAP. Why you ask? Here's the plot: A Black man is trained by the CIA as an operative. Once he gets his CIA stripes, he goes back to the hood to teach a group of Black Panther types everything he learned from the Feds. Needless to say, they take all his "wisdom" and devise a plan to stick it to The Man. Lots of explosions at the end of this one. A pretty good movie IMHO...I just might buy this DVD! Thanks, Doug!
  12. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    I tried so hard not to say it...thanx 4 taking me off the hook. Seems like the whole first half of this series is dedicated to the days in which we were "niggrahs". ...most notably Dorothy Dandridge's OSCAR NOMINATED BEST ACTRESS performance! Dang...who scheduled this thing?!?! We'd be bleeped, edited, and shredded all over the cutting room floor just on Diva and I's arguing alone! Besides, they've got Donald Bogle who's good at calm and peaceful discussion - unlike Yours Truly. Maaan...that movie will scare the crap outta folks in the Red states!!! You wanna talk about revolutionary?! I seriously doubt if that movie will ever see the light of general population ever again. I think its only available on bootleg VHS and DVD. I understand why... ::w00t::
  13. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    I concur...they should have had the b@lls to at least counterprogram Birth with DTRT...or even Bamboozled! That would have made for a helluva discussion! I concur again. The biggest problem is their choice of scheduling the films in order of release date as opposed to their relevance. Looking at those titles, I have a subtitle of my own for this series that I won't even post here because it's too "inflamatory". And why...Why...WHY is Rocky III on this list?!?!
  14. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    Interesting...they don't start showing any post Civil Rights era flicks till the end of the month. Not surprising...
  15. Sorry...I couldn't resist. Especially after hearing sentiments like that one all my friggin' life! 8O
  16. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    It's later... As 1990 rolled into view, AA cinema was on the verge of an explosion. Spike Lee, Eddie Murphy (to a certain extent) and others lit the fuse in the 80's. The two most significant fuse burners of 1990 were: House Party: This small film with a paltry budget of $2.5 million bucks snuck in under the radar and grossed $25 million (including probably $15 bucks in matinee pricing from my own pockets). It was a simple, universal plot: a kid tries to sneak out of his house to attend "the party of the year" thrown by his best friend. When the dust settled, the Hudlin Brothers (who directed the film) graduated to Eddie Murphy's second most underrated film Boomerang in 1992, New Line Cinema became the unoffical "go to" studio for low budget AA films, Martin Lawrence's career got launched, and America got a peek into the lighter side of hip-hop culture thanks to rap duo Kid N Play who starred in the film. Years later, the flick is still fun, entertaining, and free from the thug/gangsta stereotypes that would plague later hip-hop based films. Mo Better Blues: Spike's first collabo with Denzel Washington and one of my top 20 favorite films ever. After riling us AA teenagers with DTRT the year before, Spike threw us for a loop by making his follow-up project so mature and adult oriented. As a result, it wasn't as well received as it should have been, but I fell in love with it from the second the Universal 75th Anniversary logo hit the screen. It's also packed with a nice and nifty cast - and, most notably, it marks the only time (to date) where Denzel, Wesley Snipes, and Samuel L. Jackson all appeared in the same movie. I was totally impressed with WS's ability to keep up with Denzel on screen. I knew he had the stuff to blow up. 1 year later he did... ...which brings me to THE GREAT EXPLOSION OF 1991. IIRC, 19 AA directed film hit theatres that year. An unprecedented event. It seemed like a new AA film was coming out every friggin month that year! I darn near saw them all, too! It will be interesting to see if, in 2011, someone makes a documentary with all those directors waxing poetic about their films. Look at a sampling of the titles and directors below. It was truly a heckuva year: New Jack City - d. Mario Van Peebles The Five Heartbeats - d. Robert Townsend A Rage In Harlem - d. Bill Duke Jungle Fever - d. Spike Lee Boyz N The Hood - d. John Singleton Straight Out of Brooklyn - d. Matty Rich (who raised the $$$ for this movie DESPITE THE FACT that he didn't go to film school!) Livin Large - d. Michael Schultz House Party 2 - d. George Jackson/Doug McHenry Talkin Dirty After Dark - d. Topper Carew (Martin Lawrence's first topline starring film) True Identity - d. Charles Lane Strictly Business - d. Kevin Hooks (and Halle Berry's first starring role) Add to that the yearly appearance of Eddie Murphy and Whoopi Goldberg (fresh off her Oscar for "Ghost") and Denzel's OTHER film roles - "Ricochet" and (Nardis's favorite) "Mississippi Masala", AA artists truly had a banner year at the movies. Next up: recalling my first time setting foot at Mann's Chinese Theater (to be specific, the smaller theatres that were NEXT to the big one). The movie I saw: Boyz N The Hood.
  17. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    Celie and Shug getting busy was the only clue you got of that fact??? ::w00t:: Be thankful you only saw the movie. Spielberg toned things down A WHOLE LOT! The book went MUCH MUCH MUCH deeper into their relationship.
  18. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    Thanks...? ::w00t:: While it's on my mind, other notable 1980's AA (directed or themed) films: The Color Purple (the book was better, but Spielberg did a heckuva job. Here's a fun game to play: Count the "Color Purple" references in modern day AA cinema. Madea quoted one of Sophia/Oprah's lines in "Madea's Family Reunion" that darn near tore the roof off the multiplex!) Coming To America: Eddie Murphy exploded onto the scene in the 80's with "48 Hrs", "Trading Places", "Beverly Hills Cop" and a host of other films. But this one is one his 2 most underrated films...arguably, his best movie ever. In addition, it was the first film where he utilized his box office success to assemble the AA equivalent of an all star cast. Not only that, this film also brought Arsenio Hall inside the gates of Paramount which led to his show getting launched. Lastly (a lot of folks don't know this), but it's among the least profane of the early Eddie Murphy films. We love to quote lines from this flick, too. Hollywood Shuffle: Robert Townsend's semi-autobiographical labor of love about a Black actor trying to break into Hollywood. Lots of (now) familiar faces in this one...especially from the Wayans (Damon & Keenan Ivory) family. Watch for the Siskel & Ebert riff called "Sneakin' In The Movies". Just thinking about certain lines in that skit make me lose it! She's Gotta Have It: Spike's first. Nuff said. Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip: The late great Richard Pryor made his return to standup comedy by way of this film - as hilarious as his albums and his other movies but easily the most poignant of them all. The showstopper was his retelling of his tragic accident where he nearly burned himself to death while freebasing cocaine. If you listen closely, you'd hear shades of Paul's struggle in Romans 7: 14-24 as Richard shares in graphically honest detail how the drugs - specifically his crack pipe - took total control over his life. Also, Hip-Hop (rap music, break dancing, stylized grafitti art, scratching) was introduced to pop culture during this decade by way of such films as Breakin' and its sequel Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, Beat Street, and Krush Groove - which featured a virtual Who's Who of rap music. This introduction to hip-hop culture via film laid the blueprint for a whole new wave of AA cinema in the 1990's. More on that later...
  19. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    The Classic has always been (until 2005 as a result of Hurricane Katrina) in New Orleans at the Superdome. The 2006 game is scheduled to return there. I doubt that I'll go, though... BTW...what is "The Big House"? Many critics had dismissed School Daze affixing the "sophomore jinx" label at Spike upon release. It's barely mentioned when analyzing his body of work. But that film is a significant part of my life personally and helped to shape some major decisions and choices in my life. Therefore the superlatives are not dueling - one is decidedly personal while the other (Do The Right Thing) is more collective. (Almost) everybody shares a similar sentiment regarding DTRT. That was the whole point of the film. As we discussed earlier, Spike left everything open on purpose; choosing to end the film with the quote from MLK followed by the quote from Malcolm X. He wanted the audience to choose within themselves "what the right thing was".
  20. Bishop T.D. Jakes just signed a production deal with Sony Pictures to produce more Christian based films. A step in the right direction? I think so.
  21. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    In the Fall months, Black Entertainment Television usually shows Black College Football games on Saturday afternoons where they do indeed show the halftime show. NBC always shows the halftime show during their annual airing of "The Bayou Classic" pitting Southen University :evil: vs. the one and only Grambling State University ::bow:: I don't have any halftime shows on tape, though. I watched that stuff every Saturday for 5 Fall Semesters. Video replays are unnecessary! 8O
  22. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    It is, to this day, the only Criterion Collection DVD that is in my library. The only thing wrong with it is that Universal/Criterion didn't give the film a 5.1 surround sound remaster. Bummer! I want my walls to shake when "Fight The Power" comes on! Oh well... As a member of the 1995 graduating class of Grambling State University, I (and just about all 500 of my classmates) can vouch for the accuracy of School Daze! Heck...a lot of us probably chose Historically Black Colleges & Universities because of the exposure generated from that movie - and also The Cosby Show spinoff "A Different World" as well.
  23. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    DING DING DING DING DING DING DING!!!! In the history of African American cinema, Do The Right Thing is the masterpiece, the standard. Spike Lee didn't simply set a standard, he created a whole new standard that has yet to be matched. John Singleton's Boyz N The Hood, the Hughes Brothers' Menace II Society, and Spike's own Malcolm X came close. But this is the pinnacle, the apex, the Magna Carta of Black cinema. I dare ANYONE to challenge my assertions. So much has been said about it from a critical standpoint. I will now speak from a personal standpoint. In 1989 I had lived in South Central Los Angeles for 4 years (in the midst of the Bloods vs. Crips gang wars). All I wanted to do on weekends was go to the movies. More than that, I wanted to go to the movies in Hollywood above all. For 4 years I never made it. I came close a couple of times, but I never made it. For me, seeing a movie in Hollywood was the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest or going to the Super Bowl or making a pligrimage to Mecca. But all I was stuck with were drive-in movie theatres and a sticky floored 3 screen shoebox across the street from USC. I started going to a performing arts focused high school in the San Fernando Valley to focus on Drama. It was hard work, but it was fun. I made quite a few friends - most importantly, the coolest guy and (arguably) the best actor in Drama that season. I don't know why this dude and I clicked, but we clicked. We literally spent our lunchtimes trading hip hop dance moves, quoting Public Enemy records and, of course, talking movies. He revealed that he was a major Spike Lee fan and had enjoyed both She's Gotta Have It and School Daze (a movie that is one of the most influential films I've ever seen my 33 years on Planet Earth). We'd both seen the trailers for Do The Right Thing and we committed to catching the film together when it came out in June of 89. School gets out for the summer and the buzz surrounding the film started sweeping the news. The rumors and fears about potential race riots at the multiplex hit a fever pitch. In the midst of all this, I got a phone call from my friend inviting me to see the movie on opening night...in Hollywood! I praise God to this day that He was able to make my dream come true in such a profound way! We went to the Fairfax Theatre on Beverly & Fairfax - right across the street from CBS. "Geeked" and "Stoked" doesn't begin to describe what was going on in my heart as we stood in line buying our tickets. I walked into what seemed like the biggest auditorium I'd ever seen (in retrospect, it wasn't all that big!) and saw a sea of anticipatory faces. The lights dimmed, the curtain opened, the trailers spun on, then the Universal logo popped up with "Lift Every Voice And Sing" playing in the background. Then...the opening strains of "Fight The Power" and all of a sudden...BOOM! Rosie Perez starts shaking her groove thing with Chuck D and Flavor Flav setting the atmosphere in Dolby SR (digital sound was still a couple of years away). 2 hours later, my life would never be the same. Ever. I made a comment about Shaft (the film) being the voice of Soul and Black Pride in the 1970's. This film expressed the same voice using the language of late 1980's Black culture. Nardis is absolutely correct. Spike riled us and manipulated us. But being a Black teenager in 1989, it was as if Spike took a trip to my neighborhood and countless other neighborhoods and simply let the cameras roll. That film was my reality. The kids on the block were hanging out and talking s*** just like we did! The older brothers sat on their stooped and philosophized about life, women and B.S. just like the ones in our neighborhoods. The cops constanly drove by to "check in" on their neighborhood activities just like in ours. The Korean store owners were making $$$ off the addictions and cravings of the brothers in that hood just like the brothers in mine. And here's something y'all probably didn't know, some 11 years before this film, the late great Richard Pryor in his classic described a certain choke-hold used by the cops to subdue unruly Black men I paid money to see this movie in the theatre 6 TIMES in the summer of 1989. I bought the single version of "Fight The Power" on cassette AND vinyl. I had to have played it at least 10 times a day that summer. Do The Right Thing was more than a movie, it was an event. It was the scream of a people that had been ignored for centuries. And, for a 17 year old kid in South Central, it was God moving in a strong and mighty way to awaken the passions of my heart as well as making one of my dreams come true.
  24. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    Answers and corrections: 1. The lack of resolution was Spike's intention. He didn't want the film to dot all the "i"'s, cross all the "t"'s and answer all the questions for the audience. He just presented the situation and left audiences with some hefty and hearty food for thought - which is why he chose to end the film with a quote from MLK and one from Malcolm X. Your "hit nerves" were all a part of his big game plan. Which is why the film got shunned initially by the Hollywood establishment - and almost 20 years later, all the "haters" are now its biggest defenders. It's funny that folks bring this film up in comparison to "Crash". Downright hilarious. I can still remember arguing with folks in high school who swore up and down that "Do The Right Thing" was B.S. 2. While "Da Mayor" - played by Ossie Davis - was indeed disrespected in the neighborhood (which, in my own personal experience, is not that uncommon. Everybody picked on the old neighborhood drunks. I don't think that's necessarily "a black thing", either), "Mother Sister" - played by Ruby Dee - was always shown to have the utmost respect and honor within the community - Mookie greeting her the first thing in the morning, Jade braiding her hair in the afternoon. 3. Rule #5 in the unwritten guide to "Understanding Black Folk" ::w00t:: - never...Never...NEVER get in the way of an African American woman disciplining her child (another correction, it was her son in the film). You were troubled. I wasn't. Quiet as it's kept, none of us in the theatre were. We had the same reaction to the spanking scene in "Madea's Family Reunion". I'm almost certain that a high percentage of Black folk in the theatre were either a participant or an observer to a similar situation once...or twice. As an observer, the golden rule is "look the other way." I'm not saying it's right...it's just one of those things... The interrogation and torture scene in "Three Kings" is the first thing comes to mind. The stuff that the Iraqi guy said about the correlation between America and Michael Jackson's skin color cut to the quick! You could also examine Billy Bob Thornton's character in "Monster's Ball". His racism wasn't genuine, stone cold, KKK level. It was pretty much jackassed thought and assumptions passed down to him by his jackassed father.
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