Archive for November, 2017


‘Mudbound’

 

Brody-Mudbound

Dee Rees’ latest feature might be the first great film of this era that ‘doesn’t take place right now’, but speaks directly to ‘right now.’

‘Mudbound’ tells the story of two families, one white, one black, both struggling to make ends meet while working the land in Mississippi, circa World War II.  The film/story is structured so no one actor stands out above the rest, but everyone in cast plays the hell out of their parts.  The poor whites may not be inherently racist, but they are fully aware of the benefits their skin color provides.  The older black generation is proud but they know all too well the consequences of rocking the boat too hard (translation: death).  The brothers who left America (Jason Mitchell is the standout if you had to pick one) see there’s another way to live, and has an understandably hard time coming ‘home’ and swallowing his pride and taking shit from the people whose lives he protected.

Really strong outing by all involved.  Streaming on Netflix. Worth checking out.

 

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‘Wayne Thanksgiving’

 

batthanks

I was at the game last night, but this skit was sent to me multiple times this morning.

And for good reason, it’s great.

If you tell me this is one of the pieces Donald Glover ghostwrote for this episode…I wouldn’t doubt you for a millisecond.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chinatown

We were in Club 112.  It was the first night of the best Spring Break of my life, and we were kicking it with some Deltas from Spelman.  We made fast friends.  College.

A ‘homeboy’ comes to our area and starts hollering at the light skinned girl in our crew.  The rest of us giggle; he was wasting his time the moment he thought to walk over.  The girl I was bonding with leans over and says ‘Malik, watch this fool step to me next.’

Me: ‘Come on, he’s trying to get with your homegirl.  Ain’t no way…’

Homeboy: ‘Aye gal, what’s your story?’

I was stunned.  I was still a baby in the Game, but Homeboy was blowing past EVERY sign of initial attraction:  Is she making eye contact with you? (No.) Is she engaging with you in conversation? (Hell no.) Is she touching your arm as you talk, or any of the other million subtle body language moves that suggest she likes you? (Nein. Negative. Red Light. Sad trombone.)

That night sticks out in my mind as one of the earlier episodes of me realizing, that I was completely naive to how many experiences, played out from the point of view from my female friends, play out completely different.

Now, let’s add power to the equation.  Power corrupts, it just does.  Power feeds into our deepest insecurities.  And unchecked power?  Well…

You didn’t feel like ‘the cool kid’ in school? Maybe you wake up one day, and you’ve surrounded yourself by people who only tell you how great you are, and who never question the choices you make.

You grew up without money?  Maybe you only wear designer brands, have a 10 car garage and three houses so no one will ever question your material wealth again (since you can’t wear a credit score.  Or you shouldn’t…)

You grew up sexually frustrated or denied?  And you get to a station in life where even if people disagree with what you’re doing or frankly, it’s illegal, and you still don’t fear consequence?  Maybe…

I’ve said this in private conversations and I’ll repeat it here: it’s been something to see the tidal wave of momentum in favor of punishing bad behavior that’s been enabled for decades.  But the cynic in me still wonders if everyone is being honest about how much work is necessary to really ‘break the wheel’ (also see: systemic racism).

It’s a year late, but if part of the legacy of a certain someone’s political career is Hollywood looking in the mirror and cleaning itself up…I mean, that’s good.

I still refuse to use the phrase ‘silver lining’ in talking about him, but it’s good.

 

 

bahamadia

It’s the weekend!

The Gold School took me back to a classic today.  Still love this song.

Have a good one gang!

 

‘Nature Boy’

 

naitch

The first 30 for 30 that focused on professional wrestler did not disappoint.  For the hardcore fans, Ric’s biography is well known but the joy comes from hearing so many of his Hall of Fame contemporaries (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, the Undertaker, Hogan) speak of his obvious strengths and weaknesses.

If you’re coming in with a fairly clean slate, then ‘Nature Boy’ is a great primer into the wrestling business through one of its most iconic stars, while also pulling back the curtain to show us how damaged/flawed someone so beloved and influential as Ric Flair is.  The father/son dynamic is a major theme of the story here, and for a lot of wrestling fans a key component for how we were introduced to wrestling in the first place.  (Saying too much more would take some of the steam out of the story.)  There was a very close call not that long ago, but Naitch is still with us to appreciate the respect so many of us have for him, and this film certainly did nothing to diminish the humanity of Richard Fliehr, or his much more famous alter ego.

Highly recommend.

 

‘Thor: Ragnarok’

 

Tessa-Thompson-as-Valkyrie-in-Thor-Ragnarok

So we all agree this was fun right?  Good.  So this will be an ‘actor’s review’…

If one thing bothered me consistently, it was Idris Elba.  Not as an actor or a character, but ‘how is Idris Elba the movie star the sixth wheel in this?’  Having said that, I’m sure one ‘third sequel on a Marvel franchise’ paycheck is equal to ten ‘leading man in movies only film geeks see’ paycheck (and that’s being extremely generous.  So it is what it is.

For we Adler disciples, seeing Mark Ruffalo inhabit all the best parts of Brando (just becoming the character, even in a popcorn movie) is a joy.  And in a time of deconstructing our Hollywood idols, by all accounts he’s a nice guy who is genuine in his social activism.  So double cool points.

Speaking of people ‘above’ being in movies like this, Cate Blanchett has always been in that tier right behind Meryl Streep in ‘she can play anyone convincingly’, so watching her ham it up for two hours was joyful too.  Really, this whole movie was well written and casted.

And as far as Tessa goes…beyond being a bad ass…using the ‘proper’ English accent, well…

Image result for galifianakis gif

So yeah, all the recommends for this one.

 

 

aaron

I’ve spent today trying to think of a good anecdote about my friend Aaron that I can share leading up to the premiere of his new show ‘S.W.A.T.’ on CBS tonight.  I have plenty of course, most safe for work, of those the majority are stories either I alone know, or only a few other people know.

And that’s probably the best thing I can say about him.  He’s one of the good guys.

When we were kids, we’d call it ‘man code’ (and to be clear, we don’t have criminal secrets, but in light of how the chickens are coming to roost all over Hollywood this year, even the term man code now makes me cringe).  But we do both value a certain ‘say no more than what needs to be said’ mentality.  We’re both eldest siblings with sisters behind us, the KU and USC connection is public knowledge, so is Kansas City.  2017 has put it out there in different ways, but we’re both loyal to the religious communities we represent, even if it’s not the first thing out of our mouths. Love for black people, love for the Business while recognizing it as a business.

Here’s a story I’m not sure he knows: not all that long ago, I was dating a girl who didn’t live in L.A.  This was during the ‘social media age’ so in doing her ‘FBI profile’ deep search on who of my friends she was apathetic to meeting versus whose opinion she valued, Aaron was one of the two guys she was genuinely concerned ‘wouldn’t like her’.  That still kills me. But it speaks to a certain type of brotherhood that other people pick up on, which I can respect.

Long story short, on a personal level Aaron is one of the good guys. Professionally you can see what he’s working on starting tonight, 10/9 Central I believe.

Good luck homie!