Archive for January, 2018



Let’s bring the music into this week.

An oldie but goodie to start this week; I swear this song is the audio version of Sam Jackson beer to me.  Soon as I hear the beat, the fists and elbows start swinging!






On the weekend of the 2nd Women’s March, I thought I’d start this week by publicly acknowledging something I ‘borrowed’ from a woman…

Somewhere down the line, I heard Kerry Washington uses this technique called ‘Who Am I?’  As you’ll see below, it’s a mini cheat sheet that, for actors at least, can quickly put you into the mind of the character you’re playing (and also help you recognize the things you have in common with who you’re playing and the things you don’t).

I use this in 90 percent of my auditions to put me in the right ‘shoes’ so to speak; it’s been incredibly helpful (so thank you Kerry.)

For today though, I’ll answer the questions in my own voice, so whether you’re new to me or known me for awhile, maybe you’ll learn something. Ah, one more caveat: don’t think about it too much, the gut answer is probably the closest to ‘who you are’.


Who Am I? – Malik Aziz

Month: March

Color: Black

Time of Day: Morning

Superpower: Invisibility

Flower: Rose

Song: A Change Is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke

Car: Maserati 

Item of Clothing: Hoodie

Animal: Beagle

Food: Pizza

Movie: The Godfather

City/Town: Los Angeles

Sport: Basketball




The weekend!

I didn’t realize til this morning the Oscars nominations come out Tuesday, so we’ll take a few days off from the movie reviews and see how that falls.

In the meantime, something upbeat to start the weekend.

And I miss Heavy D.

Have a good one gang!


‘The Florida Project’



Kind of a sad film, but another child star is born.

‘The Florida Project’ is set in Orlando, but this is the city that has nothing to do with Disney World.  (A concept I love; I just had a conversation with a friend about what life could possibly be like for people who live in tourism driven cities like this, Anaheim, or even Vegas.)

The story of the film is centered in one of those seedy hotels where half the rooms are occupied by people who actually, live at the hotel.  The manager of the hotel is played by Willem Dafoe, who plays COMPLETELY against his own rep.  No over the top facial expressions, no scene chewing; just a honest man playing boss and soft hearted father figure to the numerous young girls, and their children, who have taken up residence in his hotel.

The breakout here is Brooklynn Prince, playing Moonee, the central character of the film.  Like all of us as children, she accepts her experiences as ‘normal’ because, what else does she know?  Bumming free food from a nearby restaurant, begging tourists for change to get ice cream, just living in a hotel room with your mother.  The pace of the film is a little slow in the beginning as it establishes the world of the film, but the payoff of the final sequence where Moonee quickly realizes that things are changing, is well earned.





Here’s your musical palette cleanser as we’re already halfway through the week.  I’m in good spirits so we’re going upbeat.

(And now that I’m older, I appreciate the Chuck Berry and Little Richard references in this video.)






I wish I could watch this movie in a vacuum. But I can’t so…

Alexander Payne’s farcical pitch here is still great: a group of scientists figure out how to safely shrink living organisms, which in theory could instantly solve so many of the problems humanity has brought onto this planet.

Of course, as expressed through Christoph Waltz’ character, there will also, instantly, be human beings who will take advantage of anything good for their own personal gain.  And there was more enough drama and conflict here for him and Matt Damon.

Then, beyond the superficial shrinking story, the movie turns when Matt Damon’s character takes an interest in a handicapped Asian cleaning lady who he recognizes as a former political activist…

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Matt Damon is taken to ‘the other side of the shrunken town’ which is filled with poor minorities who are not living in any way near the luxury of the public image that was the main selling point of the shrinking procedure.

By the time the story wraps up, Matt Damon has redeemed himself as a champion of the people, now in a loving relationship with the former activist (who never gets past speaking in broken English…)

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Again, in a vacuum, I could throw out everything Matt Damon has said the past couple of years and some of his movie choices, I could just watch the scene where the minority love interest (who really didn’t need to be a love interest) asks Matt Damon if she fucked him or if they made love…but…2018.

So yeah, I checked out mentally on this one.  Maybe I can come back to it in a few years and appreciate it.




Happy MLK weekend everyone!

Some of the Black Panther conversations I’ve had this week turned into ‘What other pop culture things felt like everyone had to see it right away (before we had social media)?’

Michael Jackson video premieres definitely were on the list, thus today’s choice (particularly with the cast, setting and director of this one).

Next movie review Monday night.  If you’re not working the next few days, enjoy yourself!




Just because…

Told the homie yesterday I realized there’s a certain starlet I’ll always associate with a Beatles song.

Just because, not counting layovers at McCarran, have my mind on this year’s Vegas day trip.

Just because, they finally posted an HD version of this video.

Just because I love this song.





If you’ve lived in LA for any period of time, you’ve seen the billboard.  You may have even gone to one of the midnight screenings of ‘the Room’ (I admit at this point I still haven’t seen it, but I’m familiar with the ‘making of’ story, as most film geeks are.  As now Golden Globe winner James Franco clearly was….)

‘The Disaster Artist’ is an enjoyable watch, that (somewhat surprisingly to me anyway), covers so many of the good and bad parts of being a filmmaker.  You need a certain amount of passion to get ANY movie made.  But a bottomless pit of money and resources do not automatically translate to a good film.  And if you’ve spent any time on a set, good or bad, the making of a movie is not remotely as glamourous as you would believe.

Tommy Wiseau, as portrayed by James Franco, is (probably) a middle aged man with a thick Eastern European accent, who idolizes Brando and James Dean.  When more than one acting teacher suggests with his look and dialect, he could easily break through the door as a serious villain, he blows them off because he only sees himself in the image of his heroes (yet another lesson in there the vast majority of actors I know have to deal with in the early stages).

When Tommy meets a genuine young actor named Greg (played by Dave Franco in one of his most likable roles), the journey to ‘the Room’ begins: the two leave San Francisco to take their shot in the City of Angels.  How Tommy, a well intentioned but ultimately wildly insecure and naive actor wrote and directed a cult classic has to be seen to be believed.  Fun bit parts by everyone from Alison Brie to Seth Rogen to Hannibal Buress to Judd Apatow sell the Hollywood element to this outsider story that would be tragic if it weren’t at turns funny (like the source material I suppose).





A solemn day for my tribe today. Marek Jacobs, one of the young brothers who brought me into Alpha at the University of Kansas, passed away after a fight with stomach cancer.

I can’t tell you the specific first time I met Brother Jacobs, but I imagine it was something along the lines of the picture you see above.  He was one of the brothers who was DJ’ing the Burge parties when I was a freshman, and I was one of the young brothers who would post up every Saturday night in front of or right behind the DJ table.  When I crossed the burning sands, I was one of the brothers who he passed the torch of the KU radio show, ‘The Hip Hop Hype’, to.  The very first documentary I did in Lawrence, which I can’t tell you the title anymore, but the subject was young black men adjusting to living/going to a school on a predominantly white campus; Marek was there.

When word got to me he was in a hospice, I sent a card to him, just to reiterate my appreciation for him.  He didn’t live to see it, but I hope he’s at peace now.  One of my last, best memories of him was after one of my shorts showed up on BET, and Sanaa Lathan read my biography afterward.  He loved that.  He saw something I did on TV.  He saw a movie star name check KU on TV.  He saw a return on his investment in me.  That makes me happy.

Tomorrow is promised to none of us.  Appreciate your people while they’re here.  And appreciate your own gifts.