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utzworld

A Black Thing

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I doubt that the film on the marquee was an intentional "tip of the cap". It was probably just a coincidence - that movie may very well have been playing at that theatre when that shot was filmed. In fact, a fun game that I play when I watch it again (maybe 5-6 times a year) is spotting all the films shown on the various theatre marquee. One marquee has a double feature of "Patton" and "M*A*S*H*". I even managed to spot "Cotton Comes To Harlem" on one marquee while watching the TCM airing.

Full disclosure: I've always felt the world for Davis and admired him greatly. A guy can dream can't he? I mean, it is the most prominent of all of the titles. The camera catches it flat and waits for Shaft to pass under it. Most of those other titles are fleeting and somewhat contemporary. This film was four or five years old when that shot was done. Parkes just accidently parks the crane in front of a western revival theater and catches glimpses of a bunch of second run marquees? Too bad we can't email him anymore on this. Sometimes I think he paid that theater to put that film on the marquee for the shot....


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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Full disclosure: I've always felt the world for Davis and admired him greatly. A guy can dream can't he? I mean, it is the most prominent of all of the titles. The camera catches it flat and waits for Shaft to pass under it. Most of those other titles are fleeting and somewhat contemporary. This film was four or five years old when that shot was done. Parkes just accidently parks the crane in front of a western revival theater and catches glimpses of a bunch of second run marquees? Too bad we can't email him anymore on this. Sometimes I think he paid that theater to put that film on the marquee for the shot....

You do have a point. And maybe you're right. Of course, we'll never know till we get to Heaven, I guess.

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Chris, did you see the article in the LA Times earlier this week about Singleton making a deal with Universal where they'll distribute 5 films that he'll make? He doesn't need to greenlight them, just make them.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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Chris, did you see the article in the LA Times earlier this week about Singleton making a deal with Universal where they'll distribute 5 films that he'll make? He doesn't need to greenlight them, just make them.

I meant to post that but I've been busy with work/life to hang around here much this week.

This Universal deal is in addition to the 3 picture deal his company has with Paramount. The second film - "Black Snake Moan" (Craig Brewer's post "Hustle & Flow" sophomore jinx test) is supposed to hit screens in 2007. I don't know what the third film will be.

Singleton solely financed "Hustle & Flow" and got about $25 million in box office (not to mention DVD sales). That, coupled with the surprise $70 million gross of "Four Brothers" last summer has put him back in the game. I'm curious to see what his next directed film is.

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If I may, please allow me to clear a huge misconception about this thread.

Although I (sometimes proudly) wear the rep of "The Angry Black Man" around here, that does not, I repeat, THAT DOES NOT include this thread. It is/was my intention that there would be serious and intelligent though and discussion about African American cinema in this thread.

I encourage you all to give this thread another chance. Feel free to watch those films mentioned here that may be unfamiliar. Don't hesitate to ask questions about them - as well as the films you have seen. African American cinema is rich in historical, entertainment and spiritual value and is worthy of a platform here at A&F. Would you agree?

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You're the choir, Ellen. I wasn't exactly preaching to you.

I didn't take offense to your comments. The only reason why this discussion is monolithic is because only 4 of us are (regularly) talking - yourself, Rich, BethR, and Angry Man. Hopefully reopening the discussion - and even hearing dissenting voices against the films I love so much - will broaden the spectrum of all this.

Edited by utzworld

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You're one person. Other black film fans abound, and many of them would pick different films as highlights - of that I have no doubt.

There are others. But they haven't spoken yet. Until they do, be ready for more of "Utzworld's Black Cinema Highlights"

I'd love to see some more diversity on A&F. Y'know, discussion of films made by African Americans as well as desis (Indian Americans and/or immigrants from S. Asia), Latinos/Hispanics, East Asians (from the US), and just about anyone else who comes from an enclave within an enclave, so to speak.

What are you waiting on? Start a new thread.

And history - since film is a popular art form, and has historically included singing, dancing and more, not just "straight" drama or comedy. Like it or not, that's why a pic like "Cabin in the Sky" is important - for the creative talent involved in the cast. Ditto for films like Stormy Weather.

Your focus is on films from the late 60s-now.

Blame my age for that. I'm just a shade under 34 years old. I came in on the Blaxploitation bus and came of age when Spike Lee uplifted the race. I wasn't just trying to talk about these films on a critical level...but on a personal level. Prime example: When others speak about "Do The Right Thing", they're just talking about the movie. When I speak about it, it's just like when Old Rose talked her experience on the Titanic...or when Jesse Jackson speaks about a dinner conversation he had with MLK. Catch my drift?

It would be very cool to have someone representin' for indie films by black folks, etc.

I mean, there are some people who'd go straight for an indie like "Daughters of the Dust," as opposed to "Shaft."

As I said before, what are you waiting on?

An even better discussion: Why is it so hard for indie films by black folks to get an audience - Black or White!

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Opening this thread for the first time since my Lenten hiatus (haven't got time to catch up on four months' worth of posts, alas) because I figure some might find this interesting ...

This week, Mark Steyn's 'Song of the Week' is 'Nobody', a 101-year-old song by black tunesmiths Bert Williams and Alex Rogers. (FWIW, Steyn claims that 'Mister Cellophane' from Kander & Ebb's Chicago is a "pastiche" of this song.)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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This week, Mark Steyn's 'Song of the Week' is 'Nobody', a 101-year-old song by black tunesmiths Bert Williams and Alex Rogers. (FWIW, Steyn claims that 'Mister Cellophane' from Kander & Ebb's Chicago is a "pastiche" of this song.)

Reminds me of a 20+ page term paper I wrote in college regarding the origins of Black Musical Theatre - where I found out that quite of few of those crazy songs that Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck used to sing in Looney Tunes cartoons originated from Black musicals. For example: I remember a cartoon where Daffy Duck did an over the top, bombastic version of a song called "I'm Just Wild About Harry". Doing my research for this paper, I found out that this particular song was culled from the 1920's Black musical "Shuffle Along". My jaw hit the floor when I found that out.

Looks like the practice of "borrowing" from Black artists/culture to produce "new" works didn't just start with suburban hip-hop fans after all.

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I'd be interesting in reading that 20+ page paper, if you still have it, utzworld. (I think I know which Daffy Duck cartoon you're referring to, but FWIW, I'm more familiar with the version of that song that Michigan J. Frog sings in 'One Froggy Evening'.)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I'd be interesting in reading that 20+ page paper, if you still have it, utzworld. (I think I know which Daffy Duck cartoon you're referring to, but FWIW, I'm more familiar with the version of that song that Michigan J. Frog sings in 'One Froggy Evening'.)

In one of the most boneheaded decisions I ever made, I did not keep copies of any of my college papers - including that one. I wrote that paper 11 years ago, FWIW.

Nardis said:

gosh, Eubie Blake (who composed the music to "Shuffle Along") was more or less "rediscovered" when he was in his 90s. Gregory Hines was one of his champions. I remember seeing Blake and Hines on TV - after Hines had passed the 100-year mark! - performing this song and a few others. Blake was still quite mentally sharp and very entertaining. (And he could still play, too - he was Hines' accompanist.)

I assume you meant after Blake passed the 100-year mark. Sadly, Gregory Hines never lived that long.

FWIW, "I'm Just Wild About Harry" was a big hit, period. I can see why people who were writing a show set during the 20s would be looking at hits *from* the 20s, and have my guesses on the sources of the tango that Kander and Ebb wrote for "Chicago," too.

As I said before, I didn't know a "Brother" wrote that song till 1995 when I wrote my paper. Blew me away.

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Thanks, utzworld, for your review of Something New.

Netflix recommended this movie for us, and we enjoyed it both as romantic comedy and for its exploration of race/class/cultural concerns. If I were making a list of "inter-racial romance movies" or "color-blind romance movies" it would include:

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)

Jungle Fever

Mississippi Masala

Guess Who (2005)

Something New


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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Thanks, utzworld, for your review of Something New.

My wife saw this in the theater -- she's had a persistent Simon Baker crush since The Guardian -- and came back praising the movie. I'm now in the holds queue for the DVD. Looking forward to it.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Thanks, utzworld, for your review of Something New.

My wife saw this in the theater -- she's had a persistent Simon Baker crush since The Guardian -- and came back praising the movie. I'm now in the holds queue for the DVD. Looking forward to it.

Yes, it was a pleasure to see Simon Baker in a role that didn't restrict him to being all tortured and broody, but I've also admired Blair Underwood ever since the days of L.A.Law. ::blush::


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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We found it on eBay a while back. Had never heard of it, but it just sounded good. Both of us are suckers for Mr./Ms.Wrong romantic comedies. There are always myriad reasons not to act on imulses with someone. I thought this flick did a pretty good job of playing that sort of angst.


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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Thanks, utzworld, for your review of Something New.

Netflix recommended this movie for us, and we enjoyed it both as romantic comedy and for its exploration of race/class/cultural concerns.

My wife and I watched it (me for the 2nd time - she for the 1st) last Saturday. She was cheesing the whole time...and, of course, thinking about her "sisters".

Edited by utzworld

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Um. I can think of a variety of uses for the word "cheese". What do you mean by that in this instance?


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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I "rediscovered" The Color Purple a couple of weekends ago. Believe it or not, it was the first time I watched the film from start to finish in 20 years. Here are some random thoughts:

11 Oscar nods and zero wins. 21 years later, that is still mind boggling to me. Whoopi definitely should have won Best Actress. Oprah should have won Best Supporting Actress.

One of the reasons why I avoided watching the film from the opening over the last 2 decades is because of the earlier scenes showing Mister's cruelty. All through my teenage years and beyond, I started the film from the point where

Shug Avery reenters the scene with her new husband and, a few scenes later, Celie finds the letters from her sister

. But I endured those cruel and vicious scenes - with a deeper sense of understanding this time. Mister was a cruel bastard, but, like Billy Bob Thorton's prison guard in "Monster's Ball", his cruelty was more hereditary than anything else.

The whole darn story is a textbook example of hope and faith overcoming all. As I consider Sophia's "death" and "resurrection", Shug's struggle for peace, and Celie's life as shown in this film, it's a true and genuine faith story. It's amazing when you realize that, in the midst of all Celie's suffering, she was still surrounded by all those purple flowers - symbols of God's majesty - which prompted Shug's line about God's perceived anger at those who fail to acknowledge that color in their presence. Dang...that helps me even better explain the "curse" Celie put on Mister

when she finally broke free from him

In the annals of African American Cinema, this is the equivalent of "Gone With The Wind".

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utzworld wrote:

: It's amazing when you realize that, in the midst of all Celie's suffering, she was still surrounded by

: all those purple flowers - symbols of God's majesty - which prompted Shug's line about God's

: perceived anger at those who fail to acknowledge that color in their presence.

Without meaning to dampen your enthusiasm for the film -- and with the caveat that I have not seen this film myself in almost 20 years -- what do you make of this bit from Mast & Kawin's A Short History of the Movies?:

Spielberg's one flaw -- which in some of his films works as a strength -- is his belief that audiences respond only to scenes and emotions that are depicted with bold, powerful strokes, that scenes have to be "big" to work. For example, at the climax of
The Color Purple
(1985, from the novel by Alice Walker) he almost chokes the screen with purple, failing to convey the point, which is the importance of an isolated, out-of-the-way patch of purple -- or person.

That's one of a handful of passages from this textbook that have stuck with me since I bought it over 10 years ago, FWIW.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Without meaning to dampen your enthusiasm for the film -- and with the caveat that I have not seen this film myself in almost 20 years -- what do you make of this bit from Mast & Kawin's A Short History of the Movies?:

Spielberg's one flaw -- which in some of his films works as a strength -- is his belief that audiences respond only to scenes and emotions that are depicted with bold, powerful strokes, that scenes have to be "big" to work. For example, at the climax of
The Color Purple
(1985, from the novel by Alice Walker) he almost chokes the screen with purple, failing to convey the point, which is the importance of an isolated, out-of-the-way patch of purple -- or person.

That's one of a handful of passages from this textbook that have stuck with me since I bought it over 10 years ago, FWIW.

Considering the climax - which, by the way, was even bigger in the original book - it makes sense that Spielberg chose to "choke the screen with purple". The resolution of Celie's story was definitely the most awesome display of God's majesty she'd ever seen.

On the other hand, defending the author's complaint about Spielberg inserting unnecessary big scenes, the big "God's Trying To Tell You Somethin'" scene comes to mind. For the uninitiated, it's the scene when Shug goes from Jukejoint to Jubilee at the drop of a hat. That wasn't in the book at all. Black folk swear by that scene in the film, but I never thought that this scene really "fit" into the story.

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God's entourage

How private faith is going public among the African American elite of Hollywood

Los Angeles Times, October 22


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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