Thursday, August 02, 2007

WHEN THE CAT'S AWAY...I RENT DOCUMENTARIES...

Yep, my lovely wife was out of town this week and, unlike most 30-ish men who walk around in their boxers drinking cases of beer and inviting buddies over to high-five each other and say things like, "You da man!" when their wives are out, I revert to total nerdism and rent documentaries, cook burgers for myself and watch the radar for approaching storms. Yeah, I'm a col' gangsta, b'lee dat. The "documentaries" thingy I really can't explain except that, well, my lovely wife doesn't watch documentaries. It's not that she's not edumacated or enlightened, she just doesn't do it. So, when she's out, I grab a stack of them, lock myself in the house sometimes with beer and other times cola and watch stupid documentaries. I know my lovely wife doesn't believe me, but it's true. I'm a total dweeb and I've been hiding it from her all these years. On Tuesday, I could hardly wait to get home and watch Flag Wars. Yep, I'm coming clean. Make note, however, I have found a new beer this week that I'm quite fond of. It's an ale called "Avalanche." Does that help with my man-cred?

Tonight, I finished Jesus Camp and now am on Bonds Watch. So, with all of my four movies viewed, I'm going to review them for you. These four films run the gammut of topics. One about international travel, another about theological warfare, one about the gentrification and homosexuality and one about a short-lived volitile musical movement. We'll start with the gem about tourism.

TURISTAS
This typical "wrong turn" (see older post on The Root Down) movie finds a group of idiot reckless Americans (and an Aussie and a couple of Brits) heading down to Rio to drink alot of beer and sleep with the native women. See also Hostel. When their tour bus flies off the road, the fun really begins. The natives end up removing the kidnies of our friendly international zone coasters in a really fake surgery replication. Unfortunately, it was a twelve year-old that wrote and directed this piece of crap as it dissolves into one really long and boring chase sequence. I want blood and I want carnage. This didn't have that. Oh, and this isn't really a documentary although, if it was staged in documentary form, it would've been much more interesting. Don't buy, don't rent it. In fact, never speak of it again.

FLAG WARS
A touching story about the budding gay population of Columbus, Ohio, moving into a run down, predominantly black neighborhood and trying to run out all of the native inhabitants with stupid zoning, building and "historical district" codes. What results is a battle for the neighborhood and childish a childish flag war--on one side the common rainbow flag and on the other, a sign a man hangs on his front porch with his name and address on it. In the meantime, the gays have infuriated some redneck "pastor" who wears a shirt that reads "Got AIDS yet?" and the black community gets a jarring visit from the Klan. Man, Columbus is harder than I thought it was. Overall rating on this film is "good." It was 84 minutes long. By documentary standards, that's right on the mark.

AMERICAN HARDCORE
I prefer music documentaries because, well, I can relate much more easily. The context is not alienating as, say, a documentary on the holocaust. Dumbing out with documentaries is almost impossible, but if it was possible, it'd be with this film. No knock on the quality of the film, but you can cut "hardcore" anyway you like, it still wasn't very complex music. Very primitive. The message usually the same. And most songs were about :45 to 1:30 in length. Ain't much going over your head. Much like listening to a James Taylor record.
By the way, for the record, I hate James Taylor's music. As a man, I'm sure he's a nice guy. But his music sucks. There. I just went public with some other really big news.
Good interviews with Ian McKaye and Henry Rollins among others. Great retrospective. For fans of the Sex Pistols' documentary The Filth and the Fury. Of course, "hardcore" cats would denounce such a comment because the Sex Pistols were not technically "hardcore." Whatever. I'm telling you, it's just like hip hop idiocy.


JESUS CAMP
This documentary follows a handful of kids as they make their way to a camp in one of the Dakotas where a exuberant and, largely, inaccurate pastor teaches them to become militants for Christianity. What we find is a somewhat disturbing account of the modern adaptation of scripture and turning it against every wrong in society. It's a challenging film for those who have spent most of their lives in the church because you instantly see where most people develop their generalizations about church in general. It's this lady, her children speaking in tongues and the guy from Flag Wars who waves a banner at gay parades that suggests that God created AIDS to kills gays. Wow. Pretty heady stuff. Youngsters might wanna stay clear.
So there you have it. Four films reviewed. I'm, by no means, an expert on films, but I know if you call them "films" instead of "movies," "picture films" or "motion pictures," your street cred triples. They're films. Please enjoy renting and viewing the films I have mentioned here on The Root Down. If you would like to discuss these films, please do so below.
So the headline on MSN.com reads "Imus Backlash has Rappers Cleaning Up Acts." The article continues to describe how Master P and Chamillionaire are cleaning up their material and dropping the typical degrading phrases or names for minorities and women. There's a few things about this that piss me off. Firstly, it's sad that Imus is now having such an impact with his stupid on-air comments that artists are changing their content and compromising their art because some stupid redneck said "nappy-headed hos" on the air." Whatever. It sure seems silly to me, but then again, check out the names cited. Master P is completely irrelevant these days that clean or explicit, you have to actually sell the album before people would complain or applaud. Chamillionaire's working for Clear Channel anyway so he's closer to Will Smith than to Young Jeezy anyway. Let him adopt it because he's already compromised his whole steez anway. Clearly written by someone who believes a rapper's a rapper and checked Soundscan from nearly nine years ago and one year ago to see who the hottest rappers are. A wider poll would prove that no one plans on cleaning up their acts because of Don Imus. It doesn't mean it's right or wrong, it's just reality.
Chamillionaire insists that it's a morality issue and not an Imus issue. If you have to insist that, it's an Imus issue.
Next thing you know, Talib Kweli is quoted as saying that Chamillionaire is "talented enough to pull it off." Let that seep in. Why in the hell is Talib calling Chamillionaire "talented" in any context? Then, they bring up Akon (technically not a rapper) simulating a sexual act with a 14-year old on stage saying he didn't know she was 14. What the? They mention J-Kwon getting "tipsy" at 17. And then there's one of those big quotes from 50 Cent like, when he speaks it's like the pope is in town. C'mon. Mindless journalism.
I'll put it this way. If you want nicely packaged, family-approved language from a rapper, listen to Will Smith. He's all you got, but this ain't a game for the kiddies. Rap and hip hop has explicit lyrics, content and the rappers and emcees are not always positive role models for your kiddies. Either way, everything must be considered with context. Movies are the same way, but rarely do you see such heated discussions on how violent 300 is. In fact, you ain't gonna hear nothing of it. You don't see people toning down the movie violent because some kid ran into his high school armed to the teeth. I would suggest that if you're going to blame anything for the degradation of society, start with the parents, then the media, then the movie industry and then maybe hip hop. Just remember, there's as much violence and alarming messages in most metal records as their is hip hop. And, if you think that no one's listening to metal these days, think again. Do yo' research. I hope Chamillionaire releases that record and then it completely bombs so that the industry, labels and management will be forced to compromise their own stance on the Imus ish just to sell a record. Then you can see the industry in which I work in in all of its infinite wisdom.
Dude, it's 20 minutes from turning over into Friday. You can't tell me that don't feel good. Especially me, because I'm lonely as hell.
All blog and no play makes j3 a dull boy.

Have a super-fresh weekend, everyone.

3 comments:

sarahsmile3 said...

Thank you for this post. Dale and I enjoy a good doc. Did you see the one about the Amish kids that spend a year experiencing drinking and partying? Oh yea, it's pretty tight.

Jeremy said...

Yeah, Jesus camp is in NORTH Dakota don't go sullying the good name of SOUTH Dakota. I really 'enjoyed' watching Jesus Camp. I guess enjoy is not the right word - more like trembled in fear. The good news is, the camp is now closed thanks to the outcry from this 'film' or 'talking picture show' as I like to call them.

Finally, I 'preciate' the blog, man. Just started reading after the infamous note from the street.

K-Fleet said...

As mentioned, if you haven't checked out Devil's Playground, the film about the Amish kids, do so. And, if you want to poke more fun at the Assembly of God church, watch Hell House. Great stuff!