Thursday, February 24, 2011

Syko Shadow's Black History in Film

February is famous for quite a few things. It's the month of Valentine's Day, it's the shortest month of the year, and my first threesome was on a February. Also, it's known as Black History Month, and since making a blog about any of those other things would be boring (well...), this is a perfect time for me to talk about five of my favorite movies that are made by black people, usually for black people, but enjoyable by everyone (unless you're a fucking white supremacist)


Spawn

Year: 1997
Genre: Superhero Action
Starring: Michael Jai White

Not only is this one of my favorite movies of all time, in fitting with Black History Month it's the first ever mainstream superhero movie starring a black protagonist. In this case, the leading man donning the Hellspawn armor is none other than Michael Jai White, who is currently my favorite actor in the film industry. Spawn was the first movie I saw him in, and after watching Spawn I immediately knew I'd watch any movie with Michael Jai White in it. He's just that fucking awesome.

The movie itself was also a benchmark for special effects at the time, and are still awesome to look at to this day. But this movie wouldn't be anything without the lead actor, Michael Jai White. None of the awesome special effects, great supporting characters like Martin Sheen and John Leguizamo, or kick-ass one liners of this movie would save it if the main character, the titular Spawn, couldn't hold up. Not only does Michae Jai White hold up, this movie is the reason why he's one of my all-time favorite actors. This is one of those rare occasions in a superhero film when the actor fits the role so perfectly. Where Christopher Reeve, Tobey Maguire, and Christian Bale have failed in my eyes, he succeeds, and I couldn't imagine watching Spawn if he was not played by Michael Jai White.

Harlem Nights

Year: 1989
Genre: Comedy-Drama Crime
Starring: Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Redd Foxx

Once again, I find myself touching upon one of my all-time favorite fuckin' movies. I love this fuckin' movie. Any motherfucker that doesn't like this fuckin' movie must have something the fuck wrong with them.

But the insane amount of times you hear the word "fuck" in the movie isn't why it's historic. It's historic because it symbolized a joining of three generations of black comedians: Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy. I grew up watching old shows like Sanford and Son, as well as any Richard Pryor stand-up special I could stay up late enough to watch without getting caught. I never was that big on Eddie Murphy's stand-up though, but I was big on his movies. So seeing the three of them together in one film was the best fuckin' thing I could imagine. I love watching them play off each other's personalities. Each comedian represents the era they come from without fault, and the result is one of my all-time favorite movies.

The sad part is, mainstream critics were significantly less kind to the movie when it came out, as it currently holds a 21% approval rating on Bullshit Film Critic Wannabes-- I mean Rotten Tomatoes. Fuck those putos, simple as that.  The day I take my cues from mainstream movie critics is the day I take my gaming purchasing advice from IGN.

Friday
Year: 1995
Genre: Comedy
Starring: Ice Cube, Chris Tucker, Tommy Lister, Jr.

I'll get this out of the way right now: Friday is my absolute favorite comedy movie of all time. My opinions on the comedy genre, as well as my own comedic style in my life is heavily influenced by this movie. It's a movie that shows a somewhat lighter side of the hood than Menace II Society or Boyz n The Hood, by showing just an (almost) average day in the ghetto instead of the drama that most hood films (and ghetto dance movies) are known for.

This is the movie that really started Ice Cube's movie career. Boyz n The Hood was his debut, and it's one of his more memorable film roles, but it was after Friday that he really started. Without Friday, we wouldn't have Barbershop, All About The Benjamins, or even fuckin' Anaconda! Imagine a world without Anaconda, now that's scary. This is also the first movie to feature the eternally awesome Michael Clarke Duncan, a.k.a. the big motherfucker from Green Mile. He's only there as a background character, has no lines, and only appears in a flashback, but you really can't miss him... he's a big motherfucker.

Not to mention this is the only movie where Chris Tucker isn't Cthulhu-awfully annoying. that alone is historic.

Shaft

Year: 1971
Genre: Blaxploitation
Starring: Richard Roundtree

There was no fucking way I could leave out a blaxploitation movie when making this list, and what better movie to represent it than Shaft, the baddest black private dick who's a sex machine to all the chicks.

There were blaxploitation films before it, and many more after it, but Shaft still stands as the best in my opinion. The undeniable and irresistable charm of John Shaft, his enviable swagger and charisma, and his image of being bigger and badder than any sucker he runs into was more than enough to show Hollywood and mainstream America that white people weren't the only ones who could pull off an extremely successful movie that's still remembered as one of the most historically important movies of all time.

Too bad Hollywood seems to have forgotten that lesson these days, seeing as all we have today is fuckin' Lottery Ticket and Laurence Fishburne getting killed by Predators! Stupid mother-- shut yo... actually, I'll go ahead and say it-- motherfuckers!

Black Dynamite
Year: 2009
Genre: Blaxploitation/Comedy
Starring: Michael Jai White

We started this thing with a Michael Jai White movie, and by fuck we're gonna end it with one, and Black Dynamite is the best!

When thinking about black history in film, no movie comes to my mind more than Black Dynamite. Hell, I could have just had this movie on here, told you all to go watch it, and that would have been sufficient for Black History Month. Mainstream film critics mistakenly labeled this movie as a parody of blaxploitation, a spoof, while the more appropriate term would be satire in my opinion. In actuality, this movie is not only a loving homage to blaxploitation, it is a true blaxploitation movie in it's own right. Every line of dialogue, every scene, every intentional fuck-up is meant as a history lesson of the genre that this film comes from, a genre that, in Michael Jai White's own words, saved Hollywood. When it comes to movies, Black Dynamite is Black History incarnate.

It's got street violence. It's got pimps hustlin' and selling drugs to the community. It's got kung fu, and kung fu treachery. It's got comedy. It's got action. It's got donuts wearing alligator shoes, black revolutionaries reading their stage directions, and malt liquor that'll give you Little Richard. Black Dynamote is hands-down the best movie of 2009, easily one of my favorite movies of the decade, and one of my favorite movies ever made, because it not only shows the same admiration and love for blaxploitation that I do, it carves its own place in the long list of excellent black films, and is one of the funniest, coolest, and just plain best movies I've ever seen.

9 comments:

  1. Son of a bitch, now I feel like watching some of these....

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  2. Micahel Clark Duncan was in moves before Friday, noob. Hell, he was on fuckin Who's the Boss!

    Btw, out ofthese, I have seen....1. Friday. And it fucking rocks. You made me want to see the rest, especially Black Dynamite and Spawn.

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  3. @Psuedo: Then this blog has achieved it's intended result.

    @magx: Motherfucker, you do know that Who's The Boss ain't a movie, right? It's a TV show, and Michael Clarke Duncan was an extra, just a part of the crowd. At least on Friday (which WAS his first movie appearance), the camera was pointed directly at him. Thought you could school me on this shit, huh? lol

    Once again, this list achieves it's intended result. I suggest seeing Spawn first. You might wanna check out some other blaxploitation flicks before checkin out Black Dynamite, but it's not required to fully enjoy the movie.

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  4. Ah, point taken, sir. And thanks for the advice, handsome XD

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  5. Really have to disagree with Spawn's effects being landmark at the time. And Metacritic is the site that mostly uses ''mainstream'' (subjective term) critics' reviews. Rotten Tomatoes actually has a huge range of reviews taken from a large sample of people, from obscure film blog sites to people like Roger Ebert. It gives a better idea of the overall reception that a film receives, although I personally think their rating system is flawed.

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  6. @Lenano: When you think not only of how good Spawn's visuals looked (which is always important with special effects), but how well they meshed CGI with practical effects and props, in a time when films were starting to gear more and more towards full CGI (which was later exacerbated by Phantom Menace), then Spawn is something to admire even today.

    There are times when the Violator, the Clown's demon form, is CGI and other times he's an animatronic, and the cut between the two isn't nearly as jarring as most films made in the last 10 years. Spawn's iconic cape, which is all CGI, often transforms into objects that are actually in front of the camera in a single shot with no cutting away, and the transition between the CGI and the real is flawless.

    As for Rotten Tomatoes, from what I've seen the voices of reason are drowned out by mainstream critics, or more often people who wish they were mainstream critics. If that weren't the case, I bet Harlem Nights would have a higher rating average than an insulting 21%. But you are right... Metacritic is waaaay worse lol.

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  7. Did someone say 'Blaxploitation'? Well then where the hell is [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkjExJqf34o]Dolemite?[/url] Not to mention [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NATeU-r0GDU]Blackstar Warrior.[/url]

    Fuck Spawn. You get a talented actor, like [url=http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0932116/]Nicol Williamson[/url], who's played in mother fucking EPICS like fucking [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOqlV4Le9Tk]EXCALIBUR[/url] and then you make him RENOUNCE acting in movies ever again. How the fuck do you do that?

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  8. I guess BB Code doesn't work here, huh. Well, shit.

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  9. No, it's standard HTML here.

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