I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Posts Tagged ‘Ruben Blades’

Mo’ Better Blues

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

After DO THE RIGHT THING made Spike Lee into a major cultural force, he set his sights on a few subjects he thought were important. Before he made his MALCOLM X movie with Denzel, and before he didn’t make his Jackie Robinson movie with Denzel, he tackled a broader topic: a jazz movie with Denzel.

It was a subject near and dear to Lee’s heart. His father Bill Lee was a jazz bassist and composer for his first four films (this being the last), and he’d befriended Branford Marsalis on DO THE RIGHT THING, so The Branford Marsalis Quartet (plus Terence Blanchard on trumpet) plays the music here. I seem to remember Lee being publicly hostile toward Bertrand Tavernier’s ROUND MIDNIGHT and Clint Eastwood’s BIRD for focusing too much on drug addiction, a complaint possibly aggravated by his annoyance at reporters asking him why DO THE RIGHT THING didn’t deal with drug addiction.

Can you imagine? “Wes Anderson, don’t you have a responsibility to your community to show that rich people use coke?” “Makers of SWEET HOME ALABAMA, where is the meth?” Fuck you. Just for the sake of my blood pressure I’m gonna assume every reporter who asked that has since sent Spike flowers and a card with a long, heartfelt, handwritten letter of apology.

Surprisingly, Lee’s jazz movie just replaces heroin with other vices. Washington’s quintet-leading trumpeter Bleek Gilliam is some kind of womanizer who tries to have two girlfriends at the same time, med student Indigo Downes (Joie Lee) and aspiring singer Clarke Betancourt (Cynda Williams in her first role). His childhood friend/terrible manager Giant (Spike himself) has a dangerous addiction to sports gambling and is in debt to his bookie (Ruben Blades, SECUESTRO EXPRESS, COLOR OF NIGHT). But these troubles are kind of woven into a casual and down to earth story about Bleek’s fairly minor struggles doing shows at the Beneath the Underdog jazz club, during a slow-brewing musical and love rivalry with his saxophone player Shadow Henderson (Wesley God Damn Snipes, BLADE). (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.

Color of Night

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

tn_colorofnightBruceI know Valentine’s Day is a made-up greeting card company holiday, but that doesn’t mean I can’t celebrate by watching the notoriously bad Bruce Willis sex movie that you guys voted #1 in the outlawvern.com “Review Suggestions” feature. If my movie watching happens to match up with the agendas of Hershey’s Chocolate and the local florists then so be it. It seemed right anyway.

I never saw this before. Of course I knew its reputation. It won “Worst Picture” from those Razzies assholes but also Best Sex Scenes of All Time from those Maxim assholes. So I was surprised when I watched the opening scene. A woman is getting dressed and putting on makeup. She’s very manic and keeps freaking out and having a fit. She messily smears lipstick all over her mouth. She gets her purse and starts to put a handgun in it, for protection I assume. But then she hesitates, thinks about it, puts it in her mouth instead. Real suddenly, as if on a whim.

But then she decides not to blow her brains out. She decides to give the gun a blowjob. And that’s where director Richard Rush (THE STUNT MAN) decided to put his director’s credit. If I had known it was gonna be nuts like this I would’ve watched this a long time ago. (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.