Saturday, April 30, 2005

A View at the Movies: Be Cool

I saw Be Cool at the local $2.50 theater. Yeah, it's been out a minute, build a bridge and get over it. The movie opens and we find Chili Palmer (John Travolta) getting frustrated with the movie business that he muscled his way into in Get Shorty. The movie Get Leo (their version of Get Shorty) has inspired a sequel, Get Lost. This leads to a funny and interesting exchange between Chili Palmer and James Woods about the failure of sequels. James Woods' character has a small record label and is trying to get a movie made starring this top artist, Rachel Moon (Christina Milian). At their movie meeting, a Russian assassinates Woods' character and Chili sees him. Eventually, this situation leads to Chili taking Rachel from the people at Carousel Records. Her manager is Raji, a "Black"-talking white guy (Vince Vaughn), who has a gay bodyguard (The Rock) that's also an aspiring actor. The main man at Carousel (Harvey Keitel), also owes money to a corrupt producer and manager (Cedric the Entertaner). Cedric the Entertainer's character manages the Dub MDS (Weapons of Mass Destruction), a goup of gun-toting hoodlums/rappers which includes his cousin Dabu (Andre 3000). What follows are a series of double crosses and shootings as Chili tries to get Rachel free from Carousel records and sign her to NTL records now headed by James Woods' widow (Uma Thurman).
Honestly, the movie doesn't measure up to the original. As a matter of fact, Chili and Danny Devito's character are the only people from the orignal that show up. The running gag of people breaking into other people's houses and alerting them by turning the TV or radio on from the first movie continues here. Honestly, it gets annoying. One of the few saving graces was Cedric the Entertainer's character who projects a street exterior but is also an MBA, has a loving family, and is on the negihborhood watch. The scene of him and the Dub MDs trying to threaten a radio exec in front of his house while trying to hide if from his daughter was cute. There is also a cool finale at the MTV Video Music Awards where Wyclef and Fred Durst make cameos. There is also a cool scene where Milian duets with Steven Tyler at an Aerosmith concert. The movie has flaws, and it doesn't measure up to the original, but it is an okay movie. There are some funny moments. I give Be Cool 2.5 mics, in honor of the music business. Be easy.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Doing Too Much

Man, I think I overdid it on my weekend recreations. Got off work on Friday, cruised the mall, went to see King's Ransom. It was okay to me. I have heard some people thought it was horrible. I was cool with it. I fell asleep on some parts because I stayed up too late the night before. So, no review. On Saturday, I was rolling after work. Had lunch with a buddy, went to Target, bought the first twelve episodes of Fat Albert on DVD. It was a three disc set. The third disc was an audio CD that had the Junkyard Gang songs performed at the end of each episode. Call me a geek if you want, but that was my favorite part of the show. I always wanted some sort of soundtrack or something. Then, I cruised the comic book store (Let the geek times roll!). Afterward's, me and my friends went to the Afrcia in April festival. It was basically a bunch of street vendors selling African, religious, and Afrocentric pieces. I bought a shirt that depicted the Black Olympians that held up black-gloved fists after receiving their medals. I know, I'm such a revolutionary...not. Sunday, I saw a Redbirds game, went back to Africa in April and bought a Good Times t-shirt, then I watched a wrestling pay-per-view with my friends from the day before. Man, I never thought that I could have too much fun. It's crazy. I plan to go out with a bang this week. On Sunday, ny favorite hip-hop group, The Roots, are coming to the Beale Street Music Fest. I never thought that I would see them in Memphis. And, their drummer, ?uestlove, is Djing afterwards at a nearby club. I am so freaking hyped! Of course, this will probably be it. I will start operating the boom mic for another film and trying to work on the first film that is still unfinished. And, I have inquired about a few more films through e-mail. Hopefully, I will be in full hustle mode. I value recreation, but I have got to put in extra work to make my dreams come true. Also, I think I will chill on next Friday to prepare me for Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes I get down, but I keep reminding myself that I'm blessed. My job works my nerves sometimes, but at least I have one. Gotta hang in there.
My dreams becoming reality depend on my effort. Time to grind. Be easy.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Bloggin' My Life Away.

What's up, faithful blog readers. I decided to write a quick blog right before I get off work. I hope it doen't rain all day here in Memphis. Me and my posse (yes, I went back to 1989 for that one) are supposed to be going to Africa in April this evening. There will be vendors, African dancers, and I believe that Will Graves and Soul will be performing. They are a very good R&B band. I'm a little sleepy, but I will shake it off. I have also been trying to network. I ran into an associate that works at the record store Spin Street. He says that he is interning with Def Jam South. He is also trying to write a movie. I know people who write movies. He also writes for a local magazine and told us to let him have a copy of the DVD of the movie that my friend and I are working on. Hopefully, we will film on that tomorrow. I have also been e-mailing people that have advertised for talent and people that I know make movies. Trying to get myself out there. Looks like I've picked up another sound man gig for the weekends. I guess my weekends will be consumed with film work. Friday may have to be movie day. I also may miss a wrestling pay-per-view that my friends are doing to work on this movie. Oh well, I will learn to make sacrifices for my craft. When your passion is not your primary job, you do it when you can. Lord willing, it will pay off. I pray that theres's some cheese at the end of this maze. Peace.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

No Pain, No Gain

Wow! A regular post! I got a little caught up in being the poor man's Leonard Maltin. Last wekend involved a lot of movie viewing. Okay, I am back with my regular rants and raves on this crazy thing we call life...Okay, that was corny. I believe today I shall vent some more about my frustrations as a non-starving artist (Darn a street corner). It gets a little frustrating sometimes here in the Memphis indie film scene. I have completed parts in three movies that no one has seen. It's been over a year since I've shot some of these roles. The movie that me and my good buddy are working on is still "in production". Translation: People will not come through and finish their stinking roles and we don't want to start over because we're too close to the end. We average a weekend every two months. It's frustrating. One movie is being edited, and one movie I don't know about because I lost the guy's number. Although I'm venting, I still love it. It's just hard working with people who don't have a love for it. If you're not being paid, and you don't really love it, it's a little hard to be committed. I love it. I'm doing it for free. I believe in me. I'm talented, darnit! I continue to live by the mantra "You've got to play like you don't need the money, play like you never get hurt. You've got to dance like nobody's watching. It's gotta come from the heart if you want it to work." Be easy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A View at the Movies: State Property 2

I know this is becoming the movie review corner, but I also saw State Property 2. This is the sequel to State Property. State Property concerns a gang war between Beans(played by rapper Beanie Siegel) and Dame Dash (played by Dame Dash, record label head). It ends with Beans being imprisoned. The movie was horrible and cheesy. However, it was so cheesy it was hilarious. State property 2 triples the stupidity with sped-up scenes ala Three Stooges and several more rappers. Beans tries to get out of prison and befriends Freeway(played by rapper Freeway) and El Pollo Loco (played by rapper "Nore" Santiago). Beans gets out and gets wrapped up in a plot by the mysterious crimelord La Plaga that pits Beans' crew against Dames' Crew and El Pollo Loco's crew. Nore as El Pollo Loco is hilarious, especially his slang. Look for cameos from Mariah Carey, up-and-coming singer Nicole Wray, Rap groups The Young Guns and Oschino and Sparks, Cam'ron and the Diplomats, Kanye West, and hardcore rap group MOP. Again, it's cheesy. I would tell most people to wait for it on video and let it be the third movie on a "Buy two and the third one is free" coupon at Blockbusters. In spite of its cheesiness, I laughed. Honesty, though, the film is crappy. I give it two jailhouse blades, or shanks. Rap fans looking to see their favorite rappers in respectable roles should stick to films Ice Cube, Mos Def, and Will Smith, the few rappers-turned-actors that are watchable. Be easy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

A View at the Movies: Kung-Fu Hustle

It is good to have friends who are fanatics. My friend got the overseas version of Kung-Fu Hustle. It comes out in America this Friday, I think. But I ain't gotta see it! Anyway, this movie is wall-to-wall action. Stephen Chow plays this guy who's been pushed around all his life. At a young age, this old man told him that his chi was strong and he would be a Kung-Fu master. He promptly tries to rescue a girl..and gets beat down. He becomes a goofy, bitter hustler. He comes across a town that has had to defend himself from the Axe gang. It turns out that the mean landlady and her flirty husband are Kung-Fu masters, along with several townspeople. The Axe gang sends other operatives and finally a grand Kung-Fu master. Chow's character begins to hang with the Axe gang and is forced into the middle of the battle between the landlady-husband team and the Grand master. I won't give away the climax, but the goofy characters, sight gags, and choreography is over the top. There are also a lot of cool, cartoony special effects and very cool battles. Even if you're not into kung-fu, it is funny and action-packed. I give this film five karate chops. Be easy.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

A View At the Movies: Beauty Shop

First of all, the cast is unimaginable. Kevin Bacon, Della Reese, Baby of Cash Money, along with Alicia Silverstone, Andie MacDowell, Mena Suvari, and Cheryl Underwood all in the same movie? That's crazy. The premise is that Queen Latifah's character that was introduced in Barbershop 2 moves from Chicago to Atlanta because her daughter is accepted to a prestigious performing arts school. She had to sell her shop and now works at Jorge's (Kevin Bacon)'s salon. Jorge is rude to Latifah and a very promising stylist played by Alicia Silverstone. Latifah's character gets fed up and eventually quits, convinces a loan officer to approve her(after an emergency hairdo), and buys a rundown shop and converts it. She brings Silverstone's character along with her and keeps the best stylists at the new place. Eventually, she bring her relative (Keshia Knight-Pulliam of The Cosby Show ) into the business and the hijinks ensue. Jorge continues to be a thorn in her side, however, and she also finds romance wth an electric repairman ( Amistad's Djimon Hounsou). The movie is funny, silly, honest, and very enjoyable. My only complaint is that once again, the ending seemed a little too Hollywood. But everyone loves happy endings, myself included. So, Beauty Shop gets 4 Blow Dryers. Be Easy.

P.S. Look for Little JJ, a comic discovered on BET's comic talent show Coming To the Stage, as a young hustler. The kid steals the scenes he's in. The boy's got potential!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Real Talk

I messed around and didn't post yesterday. I am really trying to write something everyday. These blogs are not coming as easily as they used to. I ran into a guy that went to my elementary school and goes to the university that I work at. It was cool to chitchat and reminisce. The brother really seemed to have his head on straight. He had his bachelor's, his masters, and he was working on his CPA. He said he wanted to eventually get his doctorate, retire at 50, and teach. I was impressed by his life plan. We talked about a variety of topics: How I was perceived as a brain (I had to start studying in high school), how we know people who aren't really doing anything, and how African-American people don't invest. It was refreshing to hear a brother with big dreams like myself. Of course, his are a little more practical. It was also refreshing to see somebody from my area with their head on straight. Academics was not looked upon as the "in" thing among my peers. It let me know that there are still some people from my hometown that had their heads on straight. It is hard to find people with vision. Most people only see what's in front of them. I just can't imagine a life with no dreams or ambition. I am not trying to hate on people that work in factories or whatever, because a lot of them make a heck of a lot more than me. I just always wanted something more than the same old, mundane routine. I try to respect other's views, even if people haven't always respected mine. Peace.

P.S. Please support my blog brother, Dr. Augustus Q. Fro, at

Monday, April 11, 2005

A View at the Movies: Sin City

I finally saw the blockbuster Sin City. It was a very interesting film. It was based on a series of gritty, detective comics written and drawn by Frank Miller. Basically, it took the story and dialogue straight from the comics. Some of the dialogue seemed a little cheesy because of this, but I still enjoyed it. Basically, it is four stories that are tied together. A hired gun (Joshua Hartnett) romancing and murdering his victims, A simple street hood (Mickey Rourke) framed for murder, An escaped muderer(Clive Owen) and the prostitutes(led by Rosario Dawson) protecting their turf, and a good cop (Bruce Willis) risking health and reputation to protect a girl named Nancy (played by Jessica Alba in the later scenes). The movie is very gritty and disturbing. There was no clearly defined heroes and villains. With the exception of Bruce Willis, the protagonists came off as antiheroes. It wasn't a case of good guys vs. bad guys, it was more like a matter of noble killers vs. immoral killers. Also, in most stories, no good deed goes unpunished. Without giving away too much of the story, I'll just say that there are not a lot of happy, feel-good endings in this film. It's based on a comic, but not a Disney comic or any colorful caped crimefighters. I also liked the way director Robert Rodriguez digitally rendered the film black and white to match the comic, which is also devoid of color. Certain characters had color in certain places, such as eyes or dresses or hair. It was a very neat trick. Although graphic and disturbing, Sin City seems to be a very faithful adaptation of Frank Miller's sick, twisted world. Just be warned: The warm, fuzzy moments are very scarce. Be easy.
P.S. Please support my blog brother, Dr. Augustus Q. Fro, at

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Writer's Block 2/Audition from Heck.

I tried to post Thursday night, but my computer was being very difficult. I finally got inspired and started writing something Thursday night. Sadly, I have not written any more since then. I plan to compose some more this weekend. I had an audition for a movie entitled Grim Sweeper. It's about these two guys who clean up after gruesome accidents for a living. I was the first one there. I decided to use what I thought would be two hours to fully memorize my audition piece. I should have memorized it the night before. I started getting nervous, and I wasn't making good eye contact with the camera. And, this lady kept writing notes about me. This was the first audition I had where I had to prepare something. I was NOT prepared. I am kicking myself. I will get back on the horse. I will NOT let this make me quit. I wrote down some other auditions. I will be better next time. I also wrote a slightly apologetic letter to the people at the movie in a desperate attempt to jockey for a supporting role. I realize that I may have shot down my chance at a starring role. The starring roles get paid, too. Dang! Well, I have learned the hard way. In the immortal words or Aaliyah(RIP), "If at first you don't succeed, dust yourself off and try again." Be easy.

P.S. Please support my blog brother, Dr. Augustus Q. Fro, at

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Writer's Block

Man, these blogs are getting a lot more difficult to write. The ideas just aren't flowing like they were in the beginning. I know that I don't have to write something every day, but I feel like I need to. The whole purpose of this blog was to get my creative juices flowing. I always wrote decent papers and stories for assignments, but I have always had difficulty writing on my own. Sure, I have great ideas, but I rarely write them down. I've even stopped carrying my trusty white binder with me. The white binder contains pretty much every poem I've ever written. It's not as many as it needs to be. My filmmaking friend said that I should write something every day, whether I want to or not. So, bear with me, readers, I will get through this. Why did writing that last line make me start humming Chaka Khan's "Through the Fire" in my head. I watched too much TV as a kid. Some of my friends are actually engaging in poetry battles on the subject of love. They're quite interesting, and I think that they should publish them. That made me think about the evolution of my poetry. See, I started out as the PG-13 version of the "punany" poets. Punany is slang for a woman's reproductive organ. I was more of a "relationship" poet. All of my poems were focused on acquiring the heart of one girl. After this crashed and burned, and she left town, I lost my muse. Actually, I haven't written a love poem since. It's hard for me to write what I don't feel. My next poems were varied, from pleas for help, to a 9-11 poem (couldn't ignore that) to social commentary. The last few years all I have produced are anti-love poems. These poems are usually composed on Valentine's Day. It is something a good friend of mine also does. I plan to discontinue these poems becasuse I feel like I am repeating myself and I am tired of people trying to tell me that it's not that bad. You haven't lived my life, so you can't tell me how bad it is. Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining. So, any more anti-love poems will probably be composed for personal therapy. So now, the question is, what do I write about? The answer: Anything, I guess. Be easy.

P.S. Pray for my father, he had his gall bladder removed. The surgery was successful, but he is in a little pain. He's the strongest man I know. It shakes me a little bit when he gets ill, but I will put it in God's hands.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Real Hip-Hop

I went to see KRS-One on Saturday. It was great. For those of you who don't know, the man is a hip-hop legend. Also, my friends the Iron Mic Coalition opened for them. The Iron Mic Coalition is a local hip-hop collective here in Memphis that are a little more thougth-provoking. Plus, they are my friends. They rocked it! It was a great performance. They worked the crowd, had charisma, and were very theatrical. I was proud of those dudes. Then the teacher KRS-One came out. KRS-One stands for Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone. The man is 39, but he killed it. Even though the sound was horrible. His mic went in and out. KRS-One still did his thing. Me and my friends were rocking to the old-school hip-hop joints from his collection. Even the IMC members chilled out in the crowd. Also, the IMC's dj, Capital A, played all kinds of old school joints. One of my favorites was Triggerman-a Memphis rap classic, followed by the DOC's Gettin' Funky, and then he killed it with some Gangsta Pat. I was gangsterwalking. That's another classic Memphis dance that Hammer popularized in the 90s. I loved it. It also gave me a sense of understanding. I always wonder about hip-hop and its disposable nature. Although it is the music of my youth, would I eventually outgrow it? After I saw 39-year old KRS-One rock the mic and not look corny, I had an epiphany: If you are true to yourself and your art, the music will grow with you. For example, if 50 Cent should still be making music at 40, hopefully it won't sound the same. It was a great performance. "It don't quit, ya'll, and it sounds so nice, hip-hop you the love of my life". Be easy.

P.S. I have decided to end my imaginary feud with Dr. Augustus Q. Fro. We plan to make a donation to the Eighties Preservation Fund to further their campaign to put seasons of The Great Space Coaster on DVD. Also, be on the lookout for our collaborative effort as the Bougie Geeks entitled Saga Of the Sith Pimp Masters. Also, please visit his blog at

Monday, April 04, 2005


Yeah, I'm back. Friday and Saturday were rather hectic and work and, in case you didn't know, I am one of the many neanderthals who have no PC at their humble abode. Let's talk about the Pope. I am sad that he died, and I am sad that a lot of people are hurt, but I am glad his pain is over. Pope John Paul II , or JP2, as I like to call him, had been suffering for a while. This man was shot at in 1981, had Parkinson's disease, and had become a shell of his former self. I am glad that he is not in pain anymore. This man had a genuine love for God. And, he allowed breakdancers in the Vatican! C'mon! How cool is that? The Pope had b-boys in the house! Okay, let me calm down (Removing kangol and Africa medallion and adidias). I am also intrigued by the selection process for the new Pope. There's a Nigerian candidate, an Austrian candidate, and several other candidates from across the world. It's like an international version of American Idol! Better yet, it's Vatican Idol! Okay, that was corny. I apologize, it happens. The Pope stood by his morals and his beliefs and he tried to spread the love of God on a global platform. I can't be mad at that. So I'm saying RIP JP2. God bless the dead. I could see him riding through the pearly gates on a popemobile painted in gold. Be easy.