Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Smooth Criminals

Wassup, Y'all!

Back in January, y'all will remember I was already catching the fever for the flavor of Spike Lee's movie Inside Man and in the wake of my recent viewing, all I can say is that Spike's table in the A-List director section is finally ready. That joint was smooth, stylish, wryly humorous and, included a rare, key ingredient missing from most movies lately (listen close Hollywood greenlighters...) - it was entertaining...

First, I'd be remiss if I just laid all the success of this movie at Spike's feet. The casting was top notch (though I've heard several sources of grumbling that Jodie Foster was miscast but I think that's just NS Shorty hatin' on old girl since Jodie was killing that skirt and those pumps... :-) Hmmm, might not be obvious which way I lean in that debate.) And you can't have a good movie without good writing and clearly Russell Gewirtz delivered the goods as well - the dialogue was tight and the plot was off the hook. It had a bit of that Pulp Fiction/Momento feel since parts of it were shown out of sequence. Also,
in my opinion, no one films NYC like Spike does. He seems able to make the city and culture minor characters in his films (but I would like to see him drop that annoying habit of always putting in his 'signature' dolly shot where he has a character roll along with the camera dolly while the background recedes. Spike - that effect is played out, homey!)

I have to admit I'm a big fan of caper movies - joints where the criminals are so smooth that in the end you end up hoping they get away with it because they planned it out so well. You know - that 'back in the day' joint 'The Sting' and more recent joints like the remakes of Ocean's Eleven and the Italian Job. It's what I call Mack Daddy Crime. It's distinctly different from blue collar crime (aka The Sopranos) and white collar crime (aka Enron). A blue collar criminal will sneak up on you while you're making a late night ATM withdrawal, clock your a$$ with a lead pipe and steal your loot. A white collar criminal will encourage to buy more stock in a company he knows is more rotten than a wino's teeth, then leave you with no pension, 401(K) savings or health care while he gently descend on his Golden Parachute onto the soft, sandy beaches of Anguilla. A Mack Daddy criminal, on the other hand, will figure out how to infiltrate that fat cat executive's offshore bank, gain access to his safety deposit box, steal his stolen money and then use the rest of the box's contents to blackmail him for even more money before turning the goods over to the authorities. Mmmm, that's good eatin', right there y'all. Goooood eatin'.

Anyway - if you haven't seen that joint, it's good enough to drop the ducets to see it in the theater. Don't be tight cuz old Tyrone is giving it 3.5 Spinners and a 10 on the HMV (Homeboy Movie Viewing) Scale. I've provided the formula for your personal edification.

The HMV Scale specifies how a homeboy should view a movie given it's quality and the quantity of his endz:

10 - Movie Theater (either prime time or matinee)
9 - Official movie DVD (purchase or rental)
8 - Bootleg I (Internet obtained, high quality production DVD)
7 - Bootleg II (homeboy hookup DVD - low quality, filmed in theater, back row)
6 - Pay-Per-View (Cable or Satellite - your crib)
5 - Pay-Per-View (Cable or Satellite - your boy's crib)
4 - Premium Channel (Cable or Satellite - your crib)
3 - Premium Channel (Cable or Satellie - your boy's crib)
2 - Broadcast Channel (local channel Movie of The Week - your crib)
1 - Broadcast Channel (local channel Movie of The Week - your boy's crib)
0 - Never see it (Ever.)

Be sure to clip that for handy reference to future movie reviews in the Malone Zone, y'all.



Tuesday, March 21, 2006

It Don't Matter If You're Black or White

Wassup, Y'all!

I've just cracked the first couple episodes of Ice Cube's new reality series Black White and like Public Enemy said a few years back - don't believe the hype. Don't get me wrong, y'all - it ain't all bad but it could have been sooo much more with the right families in the mix. For those who haven't peeped (or heard about) the show, it takes two families - one white (the Wurgels) and one black (the Sparks) - and through the magic of hollywood caliber makeup turns them both into the other race and (as if that weren't deep enough) they push the envelope and make them *live* together in the same crib! Anyway, anyone who's seen the movie White Chicks knows that the art of turning black folks white still needs a little marinating. The reverse move however, was more convincing (at least with Wurgel family daughter Rose - that's her in the glossy y'all). Check a few of the other transformations then join me after the jump to get the actual factuals on this 'social experiment'...

Now compare Shawn and Marlon to young shorty Rose and tell me I'm lying. Those boyz look like albino burn victims (as 'Tini Mack would say: I'm not hatin', I'm just statin', y'all). With all the hype this show's been getting (Oprah had the cast on her spot a few weeks ago and F/X has been proppin' this bad boy like crazy (it roped me in didn't it?) but even Ice Cube would have to admit that this really isn't virgin territory. My boy Melvin Peebles was on the tip back in 1970 when he dropped Watermelon Man with Godfrey Cambridge and fringe Brat Packer C. Thomas Howell took a similar twist in Soul Man back in '86. That joint had old boy OD'ing on sun tan tablets so he could sneak into Harvard on a scholarship set aside for a black student ('He didn't give up - he got down! y'all. What kind madness is that?). Somehow he managed to pull that off and mack that quirky a$$ Rae Dawn Chong before the end credits rolled. Hmmm..okay maybe that was a plan after all...

Anyway, I was tuning in to see some fireworks based on their mutual cultural immersions (e.g. the fake Northside family getting car-jacked in the 'hood, the fake Southside family taking a wrong turn during their weekend in the woods and stumbling into a Klan rally, you know - stuff like that there) but to me the show is taking the easy reality show way out by focusing primarily on the in house dynamics with each family tripping on the other about their stereotypical or paranoid thinking. That said, I've got to give major props to shorty Rose for stepping into a Poetry Slam class and actually dropping some verse. That took a lot of heart as did later 'coming out of the closet' to let them know that she was actually a Northside shorty. Her counterpart in the Sparks family - Nick - has yet to show me anything. He's hardly in the show - dang homey, at least do a reverse Soul Man on them and show up at a pick up basketball game and hustle the Southside homeys out of some money!

Anyway, I'm hoping the show will pick it up a bit as I like the concept. In fact, the Sparks father looks a lot like Eddie Murphy did in his classic SNL skit 'Two Americas' where Eddie dons white makeup and tries to prove that there are two America's - one white and one black. Hit that link y'all and tell me that joint *still* doesn't crack you up (what a silly Negro) all these years later.

One thing is clear though when it comes to mediocre reality TV, like Michael Jackson (who?) said: It Don't matter if you're black or white. Hee, hee, hee



Tuesday, March 07, 2006

That Nigga's Crazy

Wassup, Y'all!

No I ain't talking about Richard Pryor's dope 1974 comedy album, - wish I was. Y'all remember that track 'Have Your A$$ Home by 11'? That joint *still* cracks me up. Sadly, y'all the 'nigga' I'm talking about is that silly a$$ negro Damon Wayans. Regular readers of the Malone Zone will recognize old Tyrone has never been a fan of that whack Wayans family humor (In Living Color is the one exception). It seems I've been the only one out of the loop on DW's latest whack idea - to trademark the term 'Nigga' for an apparel and retail line of merchandise. Two snaps up to Northside Shorty for hooking a brother up with this 'Ghost of Christmas Future' glossy. I caught this jibber-jabber while peeping the Defamer blog and they snapped it up from Wired.com. Only a Wayans could think this is a good idea...

First, let me say that I think when it comes to this particular topic it's best discussed 'in house' among Southsiders. Just like it's okay for family members to crack on a member of their family but if a kid from another family does it - it's lights out for homeboy. The same thinking applies here. The "N-Word" is still too racially charged for it to be thrown around freely between Northsiders and Southsiders and Southsiders need to recognize that the more we do it, the more everyone else thinks it's all good to drop that bad boy in mixed company. This Damon Wayans Tom Foolery just feeds into that whack thinking.

A while back some email directed me to a offensive T-Shirt site on the web that propped T-shirts like the one pictured in the cartoon glossy. You know that's just wrong (and I have to admit that the site was an equal opportunity offender cracking on pretty much every racial stereotype out there) but the owners justified propping their offensive gear by referring to Dave Chappelle's Chappelle Show. Their reasoning was that if Dave could drop racial humor like that, they could too - didn't matter that they weren't Southsiders. See y'all? A slippery slope. In fact, Dave pretty much admitted on the Oprah show that the inappropriate racial humor on his show (that was fueling much of its popularity) was one of the reasons he decided to just walk away from all that chedder on the table (of course he was on Oprah to help prop his upcoming Dave Chappelle's Block Party movie...).

And then there's Damon Wayans trying to figure out how to trademark the word 'Nigga'. Damn - that brother really is Homey the Clown.