So once again we have survived.

Posts Tagged ‘Chris Rock’

Battle of the N.W.A Parodies, part 1: CB4

Monday, August 10th, 2015

tn_cb4CB4 is the comedic story of a fictional West Coast gangsta rap trio out of not-real Locash, CA. They exist in the same world as N.W.A (Ice Cube and Eazy E both appear as themselves in documentary style interview segments) but also they’re kind of supposed to be N.W.A. They dress like them, they have a similar “world’s most dangerous group” image, their videos are shot-for-shot imitations of N.W.A videos, and their hit song “Straight Outta Locash” is done over the music from “Straight Outta Compton,” but nobody accuses them of being a rip-off. Their song is not as good, in my opinion. They copy Cube’s line “Straight outta Compton, crazy motherfucker named Ice Cube” not just once, but before each verse. Watering it down.

One of the more brazen boasts is “I fucked your sister, I fucked your cat / I would’ve fucked your mom but the bitch is too fat,” which is absurd enough, sure, but it’s not as deviously clever as Eazy’s actual line, “Straight outta Compton / is a brother that’ll smother your mother / and make your sister think I love her.”

One difference from N.W.A: they don’t have an exploitative white manager from outside the world of hip hop. They have Trustus (Willard E. Pugh, THE COLOR PURPLE, ROBOCOP 2).

Another one: these guys aren’t exaggerated characters based on their real lifestyles. They’re straight up phonies dressing up like gangstas as a gimmick after their corny Native Tongues copycat act didn’t catch on. And they, uh, pretend they were in prison, which they weren’t , and that gets them into some awkward situations. Hmm. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Panther

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

tn_pantherPANTHER, directed by Mario Van Peebles, written by his dad Melvin Van Peebles based on his own novel, shows the formation and rise and dissolution of the Black Panther Party For Self Defense. That last part of the name is usually left off, which makes sense because it sounds a little awkward. But if they left it on it would make it a little harder to pretend they’re the Kill Whitey Committee.

This is a ’60s period piece made 20 years ago and never even released on DVD in the U.S. as far as I can tell, but it’s timely and provocative because it’s about a community that gets fed up with the shit end of the stick and tries to figure out a better way to deal with it. It opens with a boy riding his bike, taking in the sights of his Oakland neighborhood. He and an older man both watch in delight as a bus blasts by a dressed up lady at a bus stop, blowing her skirt up like Marilyn Monroe. They love that they get to see her garters, and don’t seem to notice that some racist bus driver didn’t stop to pick her up. The innocence of childhood. Nostalgic first person narration is telling us this is where it all started, so it’s a bit of a shock when that kids gets nailed by a car.

He’s not the narrator as a child, it turns out. He’s the dead kid who convinced everybody that they could no longer take “No, you don’t need a stop light at that intersection” for an answer. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Top Five

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

tn_topfiveI usually have a hard time writing about comedies, but TOP FIVE is a moment worth commemorating: the point when Chris Rock finally became the filmmaker he always seemed like he wanted to be.

Not that he really needed that. The man has come a long way since having to play Luther Campbell on Saturday Night Live because he’s the only black guy. He’s reached the heights of standup, done some smart television, hosted the Oscars, produced GOOD HAIR and POOTIE TANG*, and yes, been funny in movies. But to me it seemed like his movies were always compromised in some way. Can you point to the one (or more) great Chris Rock vehicle? CB4 maybe?

I remember when he directed HEAD OF STATE I had high hopes. That’s about all I remember. Well, the one thing that made an impression was that it had narration sung by Nate Dogg.

TOP FIVE finally feels like that pure personal expression he’s been on the verge of. Not because he plays a comedian trying to be taken more seriously, but because his talents and passions are all over this. It’s a conversation movie. His character, comedian-turned-movie-star-tired-of-comedy Andre Allen, is being profiled by New York Times writer Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson) on the eve of his movie about the Haitian Revolution and his Bravo-sponsored wedding to a reality show star (Gabrielle Union). (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Beverly Hills Cop II

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

In Seattle we have this big music and arts festival every Labor Day weekend called Bumbershoot. This year I was waiting in line for one of the bands that was gonna play when a guy near me was looking at his phone, he says, “Eddie Murphy died!” I couldn’t believe it. It seemed like he was talking to somebody that was with him, then I realized he was by himself, just sharing this shocking news with the crowd. It used to be you go to an all day event like this and you’re off in a separate world, you don’t know until you get home that something blew up or somebody got killed or something. Now everybody knows, word spreads.
(read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Good Hair

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

tn_goodhairMan, this movie made me feel naive. It’s a documentary about black women’s hair, and it’s not really made for a white audience, it seems mainly designed to inspire discussion about beauty standards among the black community. But it was also fascinating for a white dude like me, and maybe more surprising. I had no idea. I never really thought about some of this stuff.

The director is Jeff Stilson, a writer for Letterman, The Chris Rock Show, Ali G, etc. But the movie is in the point of view of Chris Rock, who narrates and goes around talking to celebrities, hair stylists and experts. He explains that one of his young daughters asked him why she didn’t have “good hair,” and this sends him on a journey to understand why so many black women grow up hating the way their hair grows naturally. He explores straightening combs, relaxant and weaves, asking questions that draw out the absurdity of it all but rarely judging or directly commenting. Though sometimes the look on his face says it all. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Head of State

Friday, March 28th, 2003

Chris Rock is kind of a weird dude in my opinion. Remember when he was first on Saturday Night Live? The guy didn’t seem funny at all, and they would just bring him out whenever they needed a black guy. It took a while but eventually he started to get better material and he really broke out, and when he left the show people really started to realize what a smart guy he was. His standup specials are great, his Chris Rock Show was great and he produced that movie POOTIE TANG which is one of the more madly brilliant cult hits of the past such and such period of time.

But despite all this his movie career is only a level or two above David Spade’s. His heart is in the right place but he ends up making corny shit like CB4. When he tries for more credibility he instead ends up in a god damn Kevin Smith movie. I guess NURSE BETTY was okay but still, the guy is obviously capable of so much more. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Osmosis Jones

Friday, August 10th, 2001

This here is one of these live action/cartoon action combos. The live action portion is a story about Bill Murray gets sick from eating a dirty egg. The cartoons is represented by a story about a white blood cell cop (with the voice of Chris Rock) who teams up with Buzz Lightyear to fight off a virus in a city inside Bill Murray.

This is one of those clever ideas where it woulda took a normal person about five minutes to realize that wait a minute, this ain’t clever enough for hundreds of people to spend a year of their lives working on it. And it DEFINITELY ain’t clever enough for millions of innocents to sit through for 90 minutes. But the people of Warner Brothers Studio, Hollywood USA, they are not normal people. So they spent millions on this loser of an idea.

Okay, so the stomach is an airport, and the mouth is kind of like the docks, and viruses are criminals, and a flu shot is an informant, etc. They put some good thought into figuring out all this cleverness but then how are we supposed to invest ourselves in the characters of a cell and a pill? You have to because there’s not much humor in the cartoon parts except for puns like on the flinstones, except instead of having to do with rocks they have to do with bodily functions. Like the mayor is named Mayor Phlegming, etc. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Pootie Tang

Saturday, June 30th, 2001

Well as you know I am on the cutting edge of our Cinematic type culture here, so let me tell you this for sure. This movie, which had a release that made BONES look like HENRY fucking PORTER, will be discovered on video and cherished right and left by every motherfucker and his uncle for years to come.

This is not a great movie but it’s a funny one and a unique one. You got basically a super hero story here starring a young black fella named Pootie Tang, played by some Writer from the chris rock show. Chris Rock show is another chapter in the story of people claiming that a show is really good, in fact so good you gotta pay hbo to see it. Hello – tv is supposed to be free. Until you put it on the FREE airwaves I have no choice but to assume that the sopranos, oz, sex and the city, the chris rock show and etc. are all crap just like everything else on tv. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Nurse Betty

Friday, September 8th, 2000

(released overseas as Soapdish 2000)

There has been alot of “buzz” and “Juice” as well as “acclaim” surrounding this picture. So, retard that I am, I decided to go see it BEFORE this week’s Badass release, Way of the Gun. I would like to apologize right now for my lapse in judgement and lack of support for the Badass movement. What in fuck’s name was I thinking. I must have been suffering from temporary trauma induced delusions like the gal of the title.

There are many surprises in the picture. For example, Betty is not really a nurse. I mean you go see a movie called Nurse Betty, you expect AT THE VERY LEAST this Betty gal is a nurse. But no, she is a waitress who wants to be a nurse, and is obsessed with a doctor on this one soap opera. Then Chris Rock and Morgan Freeman kill her fuckwad husband right in front of her, and she goes wacko and goes across the country thinking she has to reunite with her “ex-fiancee”, the fictional doctor from the soap opera. So Morgan and Chris follow her around and then she meets the actor who plays the doctor. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.