Category: Inspirations


 

heavyd

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!

 

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huey-lewis

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.)

Enjoy!

 

 

MJ-TEAM

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!

 

 

the-beatles

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.

Enjoy!

 

 

disasterartist

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).

Recommend.

 

 

hiphopheads

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.

 

 

denzel-roman

When you have the catalog of Denzel, they won’t all be Hall of Famers.

That’s my takeaway from ‘Roman J. Israel, Esq.’  Denzel follows up ‘Fences’ (and the Oscar loss to Casey Affleck) with this character study about an attorney who’s out of step with his times.  Throwing out his cool trademarks (and removing his dental cap so we can see the natural gap in his teeth), Roman is a brilliant mind who’s functioned as the ‘office’ half of a legal firm for decades.  When a heart attack claims the public face of the company, Roman is drawn back out to a civilization he cares for, but who doesn’t have the same type of sympathy for him.

Carmen Ejogo and Colin Farrell carry the supporting roles here (and carry them well), but the pieces gel here in a way that’s good but not great.  The case that Roman is building, that the plea bargain system weighs far too heavily toward letting innocent people take time versus going to trial, is a very real and accurate argument; the dramatization of it here just doesn’t completely work.

Still worth seeing though if you’re a Denzel fan.

 

 

Ben Koepp

Some of my people who saw ‘The Big Sick’ before me predicted I would like this movie.

They were right.

A classic (financially speaking) middle class movie the studios don’t focus on anymore, ‘The Big Sick’ is a rom com for the modern age.  Kumail is a stand up comedian in Chicago paying his dues; Emily is an innocent heckler at one of his shows one night.  They meet cute after his set…you’re familiar with the genre beats if this is your kind of movie.

The deserved shine for this film comes from all the elements that separate it from the pack. Holly Hunter and Ray Romano are both great as Emily’s parents, dealing with the grief that gives the movie its title.  The arranged marriage subplot where Kumail’s parents repeatedly try to set him up with beautiful women from his own culture obviously comes from a specific place.  (And I’m not the first to make this joke, but more than one of those women seemed compatible enough to question, ‘What’s the problem here, other than this is an ‘arranged’ setup?)

I’ve heard some comparisons to ‘Master of None’.  I understand, to a degree, the benefit of grouping similar things, but this film is funny and different in ways completely separate from how Aziz’s show is funny and different.

‘The Big Sick’ is a definite recommend here if you haven’t seen it yet.

 

 

2017

I asked my family what they wanted for the holidays and the answer across the board was ‘My Time (and Attention).’

What perfect symbolism.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.  Who can really say if we’ve seen the worst yet?  But, when they literally came for the Muslims, I was ready.  All the other daily/weekly outrages that came (and are coming), it didn’t take a lot of soul searching to figure out where I stood.  There are little things that annoy you that you aren’t worth getting into a fuss over, and there are hills to die on.  I know I’m far from the only one where this year publicized more than one hill I was ready to sacrifice myself for, for the greater good.

Something else ironic about 2017.  Life came for me years ago, really.  Before any of the current world affairs craziness, I hit that psychological point of ‘Look, I’m going to have fun.  I’m going to laugh.  I’m going to love.  I don’t need any more stress.’  (Now we call this self-care, we definitely didn’t have the term back then.)  Many of you reading this know me ‘in real life.’  I don’t usually wear my stress on my sleeve, or my pain, or my insecurities.  There was definitely a part of me that felt, ‘Unless the war comes to my doorstep, I might be out…’

WELCOME TO 2017!!!

Literally hours before I started writing this, I was told another of the guys who looked out for me when I was younger is passing.  A part of me is heartbroken this morning, another part of me is again thankful that for the infinite number of personal and professional opportunities I’ve been given to Omorosa myself, I always stopped short when the vibe I felt was ‘This is cool right now, but long term if you want to ‘go home’, this will be a problem…’

I’m grateful for all of it.  I’m grateful for all of you. God willing, we’ll meet back here in 2018.

Peace be unto you.

 

 

Olivia_olson

We’re getting within range…

Enjoy!