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cateyes

Happy Halloween everybody!  Be safe!

 

 

inthewee

 

 

kcskyline

His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs,
But he keeps on forgetting what he wrote down,
The whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth, but the words won’t come out
He’s choking how, everybody’s joking now
The clock’s run out, time’s up, over, bloah!
Snap back to reality, Oh there goes gravity
Oh, there goes Rabbit, he choked
He’s so mad, but he won’t give up that
Easy, no
He won’t have it, he knows his whole back’s to these ropes
It don’t matter, he’s dope
He knows that but he’s broke
He’s so stagnant, he knows
When he goes back to his mobile home, that’s when it’s
Back to the lab again, yo
This whole rhapsody
He better go capture this moment and hope it don’t pass him

[Hook:]
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo
(You better)

The soul’s escaping, through this hole that is gaping
This world is mine for the taking
Make me king, as we move toward a new world order
A normal life is boring, but superstardom’s close to post mortem
It only grows harder, homie grows hotter
He blows. It’s all over. These hoes is all on him
Coast to coast shows, he’s known as the globetrotter
Lonely roads, God only knows
He’s grown farther from home, he’s no father
He goes home and barely knows his own daughter
But hold your nose ’cause here goes the cold water
His hoes don’t want him no more, he’s cold product
They moved on to the next schmoe who flows
He nose dove and sold nada
So the soap opera is told and unfolds
I suppose it’s old partner but the beat goes on
Da da dum da dum da da

[Hook]

No more games, I’ma change what you call rage
Tear this motherfucking roof off like two dogs caged
I was playing in the beginning, the mood all changed
I’ve been chewed up and spit out and booed off stage
But I kept rhyming and stepped right into the next cypher
Best believe somebody’s paying the pied piper
All the pain inside amplified by the fact
That I can’t get by with my 9 to 5
And I can’t provide the right type of life for my family
Cause man, these goddamn food stamps don’t buy diapers
And it’s no movie, there’s no Mekhi Phifer, this is my life
And these times are so hard, and it’s getting even harder
Trying to feed and water my seed, plus
Teeter totter caught up between being a father and a prima donna
Baby mama drama’s screaming on and
Too much for me to wanna
Stay in one spot, another day of monotony
Has gotten me to the point, I’m like a snail
I’ve got to formulate a plot or I end up in jail or shot
Success is my only motherfucking option, failure’s not
Mom, I love you, but this trailer’s got to go
I cannot grow old in Salem’s lot
So here I go it’s my shot.
Feet, fail me not, this may be the only opportunity that I got

[Hook]

You can do anything you set your mind to, man…

 

 

 

dear-white-people_784x0

First, the macro level:

For my generation, we all looked up to Spike (with John and Reggie not far behind).  and in those days, it’s fair to say we all had some form of a ‘hero complex.’  Without getting into a much bigger conversation about black leadership in America, what we grew up on is ‘one voice up front that speaks for everybody.’  We kid each other now, but I can recall many early meetings with friends that usually started with someone walking in the room more or less saying ‘I’m here now, so you got what you need to make a movie!’

What hip hop has evolved into for the past couple of generations, and the (thankful) direction black filmmakers have been successfully growing into is the much more true to life idea that there are several points of view, even those who contrast with each other, that are all ‘authentically black.’

(How’s that for a segway into the micro?)

Dear White People is built around four archetypal characters every black person (especially if you went to college) will recognize: Tessa Thompson as the biracial kid who’s metaphorically yelling Black Power louder than most of the ‘fully’ black kids. Tyler James Williams as the (closeted homosexual) kid who’s not quite black enough for the brothers, but too black to hang out with the white folks.  Teyonah Parris as the bougie black person who goes a little too far to prove she’s not like ‘those hood black people.’  Brandon P. Bell as the good looking, and polished legacy kid whose every decision is setting himself up to be ‘The Guy’, right on down to the white girlfriend.

The jokes come quick and hit the bullseye when the come, especially in the first half.  There’s a Gremlins joke that I think is in one of the trailers that’s still funny.  There’s a throwaway line that you have to take as a direct reference to Dawn on Mad Men (where Teyonah appears often but doesn’t give her the opportunity to show the range and the sexuality that she does here, and I LOVE Mad Men.)  There are other direct and indirect references to Spike in the film.  Do I see Dear White People as School Daze 2.0?  Yes I do, but that’s by no means an insult.

Do I think it’s a perfect film?  No.  I have nitpicks in the third act and (like a true Spike Lee joint) there were some tone changes and convenient circumstances I didn’t really go all in for.  But as a first film?  Go back now and watch She’s Gotta Have It.  Even Spike has publicly said how much now he hates some of the choices he made with the third act of that film.  Look at the progression Ava DuVernay has made I Will Follow to Selma.  The young brother who directed this film, Justin Simien, he’s clearly got talent and he has a ‘voice’ that’s not what everybody else is doing.  I for one, look forward to seeing what he comes up with next.

 

tahiti

Life changes coming these last nine weeks of 2014.  Some completely planned for, some things I probably can’t completely see yet but can only prepare for.

I have no complaints really other than being forced to stretch out the limitations of my patience.  The ‘Untitled 2014 Malik Aziz Project’ is on schedule (and actually does have a title that I’ll tease out as things get closer to release.  I see the through line between my semi-seclusion of the past few months and my fully realized social life coming back into focus.  I made my goal list for 2015 tonight and it’s shaping up to be better than 2014 has been.

I wish I had something deeper for you to start the week, other than to say it looks like the ‘theme’ for this year will be ‘consistency’.  The hills and valleys of this year haven’t been as extreme as in years past (hopefully a sign of stability and maturity?), but through good times and bad, I don’t think I’ve ever veered too far away from being ‘myself’.  When there’s room for comedy and silliness, I joke.  Where there’s room for affection, I love.  When the world feels like it’s spinning out of control, I double down and become the Dark Knight.  Nearly always I try to be positive and see the good in the situation, and though I rarely ask for it, I am still a human being, and there have been times where it’s felt GREAT to have that positive karma flow back in my direction.

So another week to start, let’s bring it. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

 

george_benson

Giddy over not being sick anymore + writing one love story + editing another love story + the Weekend = enjoy super duper romantic Malik while it lasts people.

Enjoy!

 

 

full-of-smoke-christion-308x174

A little soul music to break up the movies.  Enjoy!

 

 

illmatic

Whether you consider Nas too be overrated or one of the best lyricists in hip hop history, Time Is Illmatic is a great documentary that captures a specific moment in hip hop history and how the artist and the album influenced so many who came after it.

The story proper begins with Nas’ father, who as many hip hop heads know, was a quality jazz musician in his own right.  Olu Dara instilled his boys Nasir and Jabari with a deep respect for music, as well as a healthy library of books that clearly built the vocabulary of the young rapper in training.

Another great chapter of the documentary covers how Roxanne Shante is credited for putting Nas in his crew ‘on’ initially, in the middle of rap/New York’s early rap battles.  Hearing the story of ‘The Bridge/South Bronx/The Bridge is Over’ from young Nas’ point of view provides good humor for the middle portion of the doc.  One of the surprises of Time Is Illmatic is ‘Back to the Grill Again’ and MC Serch’s meeting with Nas comes at the halfway point: the album that gives the doc its name is really only the second half of the story.

But when we get there, man.  The diehard Nas fans will go nuts; even if you only know the bigger hits (‘The World is Yours’), you’ll come alive when you relive those songs.  And that producer list!  Pete Rock! Q-Tip!  Little wonder why the album is considered by many to be the first 5 star hip hop classic.

I’m giving you the broad strokes; the doc clocks in at little more than an hour and it’s worth your time if you’re a fan.  Now streaming on iTunes.

‘I Am Ali’

 

iamali

I Am Ali is the newest documentary on one of the Great American lives.  The early great ones (When We Were Kings) gives you an insight into his athletic greatness, last year’s fantastic The Trials of Muhammad Ali finally broke new ground on analyzing his role in the politics of his time.  But just, as a man, flawed and imperfect like the rest of us, who was he?

This is the successful angle I Am Ali takes.  Primarily structured through tapes of Ali talking to his children, we see the Champ as less as the everlasting icon, and more in a role most of us can relate to: husband trying to provide for his family, father trying to instill self confidence and worth into his children.  We do of course get glimpses of the public figure; in this case it’s important in showing us how his children viewed ‘Muhammad Ali’ as Daddy turning his silly, charming personality up to 11.

That voice.  It’s good to hear from his family that Ali doesn’t seem ready just yet to leave us, but hearing his voice in its youthful, playful, powerful peak here.  You all know how I feel about appreciating the people you love while you have them.

Nice 2 hour documentary, now streaming on iTunes and other outlets.

 

beyonceshh

And so this week is the first but not definitely not the last week that will be full of movie reviews in this space.

Interesting part of being around as long as I’ve been around: I’m a proud voting member of the guild I belong to, then I have friends who have projects out or on the verge of coming out, I have friends of friends who have projects coming out, and this year I’ll be as open to criticism as anybody I criticize since I have my own short that will be done…soon… (and I’m taking a cue from Beyonce and going fairly tight lipped about my own baby until it’s ready for the world, thus the above pic.)

I like to believe my constructive criticism voice has evolved to the point where I can talk about other films and filmmakers in a way that says ‘not for me’ more so than ‘that sucks’.  But I guess time will tell over the next few months.

In the meantime, the songs will get in where they fit in this week (if at all).

(Fade the theatre lights…)

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