Tag Archive: eddie murphy


‘White Like Me’

 

eddie

Found out over the weekend how deeply my family in Houston was affected by one hurricane, and how old classmates are in the path of Irma.  So instead of a musical diversion to start the weekend, we’re going comedy…

This, has always been my favorite Eddie Murphy thing.  Not ‘Coming to America’. Not ‘Raw.’ Not ‘Delirious’.  Some pure silliness (the walk, the ‘Tiger Woods’ voice), some ‘there’s some layers to this bit’ which you know I go for.

Went down an SNL rabbit hole last week and was surprised to find it.

Enjoy!

 

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K-CI-and-JoJo

It’s not the greatest movie, but Martin & Eddie did a movie together years ago.  Because they really wanted to do a movie together as much as anything else.

This was the theme song.  Also underrated in my opinion.

Enjoy!

 

‘Top Five’

 

topfive

Chris Rock’s best film so far.

The comparisons to Woody Allen’s most popular films are appropriate for the most part.  In this film, Chris plays an ‘alternate version of Chris Rock’: a hugely successful stand up comedian who’s successfully transitioned into mainstream Hollywood stardom.  But as ‘Top Five’ starts, ‘Andre Allen’ doesn’t want to be funny anymore; he wants the audience to take him seriously.  So what role is Andre promoting to get as far away from his comic persona? The leader of a Haitian slave revolt.  (Personally the character Rock is playing reminded me WAY more of Eddie Murphy’s career arc than Chris’.  Another conversation for another day.)

As every trailer and commercial implies, this film is loaded with stars and cameos.  I’ll just pick out a few of my favorites.  First, Cedric the Entertainer.  I’ve loved one of the Original Kings of Comedy long before he ever showed up in anybody’s movie.  And he KILLS his section of the film.  I can’t even remember the character’s name, but I know HE’S THE MF’N MAN IN HOUSTON DAWG!

Rosario Dawson.  Speaking of Top Fives… (shaking my head).  Off the top of my head, I don’t know who is the current title holder, but playing ‘the Girl’ in this film certainly is another notch in why Rosario is a First Ballot Hall of Famer for most Hip Hop Heads.  Others could have played this part but it really feels like it was written for Rosario.  My film geek pet peeve about ‘romantic movies where the leads aren’t selling it’ is well known at this point; I have to say, Rosario and Chris really vibed well to me.  Maybe a little surprisingly so.

Finally, out of all the cameos, the best one to me happens in the last 20 minutes or so of the film.  I can’t really say anymore without ruining it, but my father was one of many people in the audience who was howling in laughter.  Then after the film was over, he asked me if ‘That Guy’ was somebody famous.  Just a hilarious bit.

Anyway, if you haven’t seen it yet cause you don’t think ‘Chris Rock movies’ aren’t usually that good, trust me, this is the exception.

 

Eddie-Murphy

Alright, I’m over here singing and humming (because I’ve been completely out of the Matrix for a few hours so I’m not caught up on the news), so let’s get this out now while I’m still buzzing.

It’s the weekend.  Enjoy yourselves!

(maniacal laugh…)

 

 

george-harrison_001

‘Prestige Movie Season’ is about to start full blast, so let’s get one more love song out of the way for now.

Many of you know this is one of my favorite songs and one of the first songs I learned on the guitar.  Eddie said it pretty well yesterday:

On that note, enjoy this ‘acoustic’ version:

 

The Price of Superstardom?

So I watched Six Degrees of Separation for the first time this week.  I knew of the film of course, and its reputation as the film that proved that ‘Will Smith can act’.  But even knowing that going in, the film left me in shock…

Will is really good in this film.  In terms of pure acting, I think it’s my favorite Will performance, even above The Pursuit of Happyness.  Watching this performance now made me think of Will turning down Django Unchained, or other roles that now fall outside ‘the Will Smith brand.’  I actually have no doubt the Will Smith of today would never do this role; he’s an established A-lister, not someone working their way up who needs to get noticed.  You know who else this reminded me of, in a way?

Eddie Murphy.  Or more specifically, Eddie Murphy, one of the greatest stand up comedians ever.  His success inspired a generation of great stand ups who have come after him.  But did Eddie becoming the biggest movie star in the world kill the chance that we’ll get one more great Eddie Murphy stand up film?  Seems like it…

And I’m not saying Will or Eddie have made bad choices, or that they owe the audience anything.  It’s just an interesting thing to ponder; when an actor reaches ‘stardom’, he or she gets offered everything, and has choices to make.  But when someone reaches ‘superstardom’, you still get offered everything…but do you really have the freedom to do whatever you want?

Until next time.

 

B-man,

What up?  So kudos to you first for taking on the job on such short notice.  You’ve got the pedigree the Academy likes, and at this point, I don’t think anyone has any expectations for next year’s show.

So having said that, I think this year is the perfect opportunity to do something drastic. And by being drastic, I mean give the hosting duties to me.  I’ve thought this through and I will give you my reasons why I’m the perfect host this year…

1. I like damn good in a tux.

I mean seriously, look at me!

2. I’ve been doing Oscar preview/live blogs for the past five years.

Going back to our film school days (maybe earlier), my partner in crime and I have used the interwebs to offer predictions and last year running commentary on the show, so it’s not like I won’t be watching anyway.

https://malikaziz.com/2011/02/27/2011-artfradieu-oscar-live-commentary/

3. I’m cool with ‘this’ Establishment.

My generation of young actors, writers, directors, producers, etc. are coming up so you’d get to keep that ‘we’re still hip’ vibe that Eddie and Brett were giving you.

4. I keep my private affairs to myself.

So no talk from me about my gigantic balls or what 70s group my genitalia are named after.  But having said that…

5. I’m down for a little bad publicity.

But only on a short term basis, and only if we’re clear the endgame is to drive more eyeballs to the show. I’m single, Kim Kardashian is single; I’m just saying…

6. I’m a genuine film geek.

I have the respect for ‘Old Hollywood’ that I think is mandatory for the job.  And in my particular case I know the history of those who came before me, from Sammy to Whoopi to Chris, and the historical part of that turns me on. And it’s going to be a little weird if Viola Davis is the only black person in the Kodak Theatre.

7. I’ve been vocal about my support for gay marriage.

So you’d be getting someone who’s gone in the complete opposite direction from the little fiasco that got the last guy fired.

8. I’m an award winning producer/director/actor who has hosting experience.

And my writing team works cheap to boot!  Here’s a joke I was just handed:  “So this Herman Cain fella? This week one of his accusers says that he grabbed the back of her neck and said ‘You want the job right?’ during her sexual assault.  When asked for comment, former President Clinton said, ‘I like a blow job as much as the next man, but if that’s your modus operandi, you are NOT qualified to be the President of the United States!”

(Hm, you’re right. That’s more of a Golden Globes joke, than an Oscars joke isn’t it?  I’ll fire that writer.  Let’s table that one for now…)

9. It’d be a Full Circle/Small Town Moment

One of the first gigs I ever had in this town was working for Imagine Entertainment as a researcher for your Hugh Hefner project.  You paid me to go to the Playboy Mansion everyday, so really, as a man, I’m already in your debt.  There’s a lot of jokes there, but I’m saving them for the monologue.  And finally…

10. I’d Genuinely Be Happy to Have the Gig

And that should mean something right?

Eddie at the Oscars

 

A week or so of rumors became official today when Eddie Murphy was named the host of next year’s Academy Awards telecast.  To one generation, Eddie is Donkey from Shrek and Norbit (sigh), but to my generation, Eddie was OUR stand up idol.  Richard Pryor was the pioneer, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle are multi-talented guys who probably prefer stand up, Kevin Hart is the present and future, but none of the above guys matched Eddie Murphy at his absolute apex. And they all probably idolize Eddie enough to agree with that statement.

I’ve heard more than once that Eddie wanted to get back into standup but once he became ‘Eddie Murphy’ it just wasn’t happening.  So whatever we end up getting next year, (and I don’t want to get my hopes up too high) we should probably just enjoy it.

 I’ve always been in the minority in my crew for having ‘Eddie Murphy Raw’ memorized instead of ‘Delirious’, but you couldn’t go wrong with Eddie at this stage of his career.  This is one of the cleaner bits from the two stand up movies:

So awhile back my friend @thecheesefry turned me on to Flickchart, and I promised after I ranked 1000 films (a solid number I think for anyone who calls himself a film geek) that I would post what my favorites are. The question I used when ranking was this, “It’s Sunday afternoon, there is nothing on but these two films, which one am I watching?”  Before I get to my top 20, here are a few things I learned.

1. 1000 films…that’s a lot of movies.  But I give you my word I really have seen all 1000 films I’ve ranked (to this point).

2. A lot of the ‘classic’ films?  You really only need to see them once. (A somewhat surprising revelation to me.)

3. Depending on what your ‘question’ or criteria is for choosing one film over the other, you can learn a lot about someone’s personal tastes with a time killer like this list.

4. I knew I was a big Gary Oldman fan, but even I didn’t realize how big of a Gary Oldman fan I was.

So enough chatter, here is my top 20, with a little comment about each one.

20. Bram Stoker’s Dracula – my favorite ‘bad’ movie of all time.  Gary Oldman chews up the scenery, but Winona and especially Keanu in a historical period piece.  Alrighty.  And I know it fits the over the top mood of the whole film, but Beast Dracula having his way with Lucy in the second act can still get a ‘What the Hell?!?’ out of me.  Good Times.

19. Vertigo – I also have soft spots for ‘Psycho’ and ‘North and Northwest’, but this is the Hitchcock film that rose the highest.  One of my favorite endings definitely; I think the first time I saw it, my feeling was ‘Now THAT was a movie!”

18. The Shawshank Redemption – Like a lot of people, this one was under my radar until it came out on video.  Also on the short list of films me and my father enjoy equally.

17. Ocean’s Eleven (2001) – Granted the deck was stacked in terms of cast (pun intended) but this is a great Hollywood movie.  Clooney at his peak, Vegas looks fantastic, great use of Clair de Lune at the end.  Easily a personal favorite of the past ten years.

16. Coming to America – I talked about how great this movie is in the ’25 Most Important Black Films’ section (cross site plug).  I’m not the first person to say this but it’s true, it’s by far the most quotable black film ever.  One of my few regrets in life is not walking off the stage like Randy Watson after my last step show.

15. Batman Begins – As a pair of my friends can attest to, the last time I came out of a movie theater jumping up and down and pumping my fist.  And I was well into manhood when this film came out.

14. The Manchurian Candidate (1962) – Everyone knows this film is underrated, they’ve remade it with Denzel, and I still feel like it doesn’t get its just respect.  The assassination of the real president a year after the film was made will always hold the original down. And I just recognized the irony that next I have…

13. JFK – Whatever you choose to believe about what happened that day in Dallas, strictly as a film ‘JFK’ is phenomenal.  In my lifetime, maybe no other film has demonstrated how powerful the medium can be in terms of making people think about the world around them.

12. Return of the Jedi – I’m old enough to remember when people trashed this as ‘the weakest Star Wars film’.  Those were the days right?

11. City of God – Best non-Italian gangster movie ever?  Maybe.  I have fond memories of ‘City of God’ being to film what ‘the Wire’ was to television.  Out of nowhere, people were telling me, ‘YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS!’, setting my expectations low so I wasn’t disappointed, then telling five other people ‘YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS!’

10. The Empire Strikes Back – The Dark Side never had, or never will look this damn cool and bad ass ever again. “Luke, Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father…”

9. A Streetcar Named Desire – Young Brando at his physical peak, when he was clearly passionate about acting.  Nuff said.

8. Eddie Murphy: Raw – I’ll be the first to admit that some of the jokes here are extremely overboard (and especially ironic given the rumors and run-ins with the law Eddie has had since then), but I’ll take this over ‘Delirious’ every time.  Eddie was still the kid from Saturday Night Live on Delirious, here is when he is ‘Eddie Murphy: Movie Star’.

7. Airplane – Now the ‘joke a minute’ genre has been watered down to the point that the films are usually not funny at all, but the originator is still the best of the bunch in my opinion. ‘Stewardess, I speak jive…’

6. Once Upon a Time in America – It’s not a perfect movie, but I still love the ambition of it. I think everyone has or will have at least one non romantic relationship that will end badly.  And in the end, did Noodles just get high and imagine what could have been?

5. Superman II – Christopher Reeve will always be the perfect Clark Kent/Superman, and Terrence Stamp gave the Gary Oldman performance before we knew of Gary Oldman.  “Kneel before Zod!  ZOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

4. The Dark Knight – the Prince of Gotham lost this round and I couldn’t have been happier.

3. The Godfather Part II – Best sequel ever.

2. Roots – Technically not a ‘film’ in the way the others are, but Flickchart put it on the list, so here it is.  Still debating at what age this will be mandatory viewing in the Aziz household.  Five seems too young…

1. Malcolm X – What did you expect?

coming_to_america

Debatably the most popular black film of all time, Coming to America is the story of Prince Akeem, who, in lieu of his arranged marriage as the Prince of Zumunda, elects to go to Queens in search of true love.  On to the tale of the tape…

Relevance:  While we live in a ‘post-racial’ America (cough, cough), it’s hard to imagine the biggest black movie star today (Will?) getting this movie greenlit and made the way it was made.  LOOK AT THIS CAST LIST:  Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, John Amos, Madge Sinclair, Samuel L. Jackson, Eriq LaSalle, Cuba Gooding Jr., Garcelle Beauvis, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Ruben Santiago-Hudson (you may not automatically remember who they were in the film, but trust me, they were all in there).  That cast list is symbolic of the one word I would use to describe this film: loaded.

Legacy:  Again, impossible to pick one thing.  People give The Nutty Professor credit for this, but every fan of this film knows Eddie originated his ‘playing multiple characters in one scene’ routine with the barbershop here.  I believe the Very Smart Brothas made this point before I did, but this is easily the most quotable black film of all time, if not the most popular.  “My name is Peaches, and I’m the best…”  You know the rest.  Does that even break the top 10 of the best lines from this film?

Craft:  Film geek time.  For the million and one jokes we could spend all day quoting back and forth, the reason this film endures (in my humble opinion) is because it is a genuinely good romantic comedy.  That’s the heart of it.  Without that, you’ve still got a really funny film but not an all time classic.  I know Shari Headley was one of my earliest crushes and started me on the path of favoring the cute girl with a head on her shoulders over the sexpot with wind blowing between the ears (and I know through conversation I wasn’t the only brotha who felt like that).  Even the throwaway ‘Trading Places’ joke was a very nice homage for Eddie Murphy fans (would they even let the joke slide in these days?  Everything is so corporate).  I’m getting off track but John Landis (also the director of Thriller) was/is a hell of a director.

Crossover:  I don’t know how to fully explain this to a generation who only knows Eddie Murphy through marginal family films, but he was THE MAN in the 80s.  The Man!  And a big part of that was because of Saturday Night Live; he was a massive crossover success before this film (and in fact certainly helped it get made).

Apollo:  Soul Glo and the jheri-curled stained couch?  A little.  “She’s your Queen to Be?”  Somewhat.  Me and those close to me live by a Code.  Among the rules of that Code is this: “Don’t make your homies look bad.”  But there are exceptions to the rule of course.  In our first year in L.A. me and my roommate at the time agreed that if we were on some studio lot, and Eriq LaSalle threw a milkshake on one of us and sped off in his luxury car, there would be no fault if the other cat fell out laughing.  That (in my humble opinion) is one of the best ‘Apollo’ moments in any movie (and some of you may not think that’s the best Apollo moment in this movie).

The top 5 films kicks off with a film that was as prestigious as it was popular.  Until then, this is Malik ‘Sexual Chocolate’ Aziz signing out.

“Sexual Chocolate.”

SEXUAL CHOCOLATE!!!! 

(dropping keyboard as I stare at the screen…)

(pointing at the screen and exiting stage left…)