Rap Movie Reviews

Movie Review – All About the Benjamins

Year of Release: 2002

Production Companies: New Line Cinema/Cube Vision Productions

Here I am trying to update this a little more often and because I had just watched this, I thought why not? I am also considering doing separate blogs related to other things, one being movie-related, but this review still pertains to hip-hop, as Ice Cube not only starred in the movie, but also produced it.

And yes, I have also been including films that were given theatrical releases, but it mainly pertains to how big a rapper’s role in the movie is. A little fun fact, I even considered doing a review of the 2009 film, Whip It, because Eve was in it, but her role was not big, so that will go in another one that I will do in the near future. It probably would be more appropriate if I cover the Barbershop films, which not only Eve was in and had a bigger role, but also Ice Cube produced and starred in them.

Anyway, onto the main subject at hand. It had been quite a while since I’ve watched this film. I remember seeing a trailer for this film in front of Rat Race back in 2001. Something tells me that this film was delayed. Now I can’t confirm anything, but Rat Race was released in August of that year, but All About the Benjamins was released in March of 2002, which is a 7-month gap. Usually those gaps with trailers pertain to big releases with hype, but this film was just an action-comedy that didn’t have a high budget and had a limited audience, particularly any fans of the Friday series. Not to mention that this film came out the same year as Friday After Next, as it was released in November of that year.

The first time I saw this, I remember renting it at Hollywood Video. I liked it a lot back then but it took me years to revisit it, sometime after I bought a 4-pack of films, which included the Friday films. Funny thing is that I can kind of compare this to Class Act, the 1992 Kid N Play film, as it was not a part of the House Party series, all of which I will cover one day.

Why do I compare it? Because Ice Cube and Mike Epps had done Next Friday and Friday After Next, but this film came in between those two films, just like Class Act came out between House Party 2 and 3. So this is kind of like that, as this film is unrelated to the Friday series, but has the same two leads.

With this film not being connected to the Friday series, it goes like this: Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter named Bucum, who wants to start his own private investigation firm, but is stuck doing jobs catching bail-jumpers. Mike Epps plays Reggie, who is a fugitive and has had run-ins with Bucum, as he missed court dates and such. When Bucum was trying to catch Reggie, he stumbles upon a deal with some shady figures and a rich man involving expensive diamonds. He stows away in a van with the gangsters and gains knowledge about this. So the bad guys go after him, but Bucum finds out about this, and tries to protect Reggie and his girlfriend Gina (Eva Mendes). Of course, Bucum and Reggie have the standard bickering but they end up growing on each other as they work together. You’ve seen this plenty of times.

Cube and Epps have shown that they have great chemistry and it showed here. With Cube playing the tough guy who is no-nonsense, while Epps was the goofy sidekick. There were plenty of funny moments when these two were on screen together. If anything, these two make the movie. As well as Tommy Flanagan’s role as the villain, who totally played it straight. It’s not the first time you’ve seen an action comedy where the villain was playing it straight, though had moments of mild levity, so he didn’t have a dark vibe like, say, the main villain from Bad Boys or even the biker gang leader from 21 Jump Street.

Another standout was the visuals. It had some pretty good shots of Miami, especially the overhead shoots of the boatyards and also shots of the city. This film also had moments of freeze-framing before cutting into another scene, which worked in some ways, as well as closeups and a few slow-motion sequences. It was sort of flashy and cool without trying to be.

This film was definitely an underrated action-comedy. Great visuals, funny scenes with the usual banter between the two leads, as well as an intimidating villain. Plus the action scenes were interesting, as well as a good soundtrack. It’s such a shame that this film flopped at the box office. You would think that with the first two Friday films being hits that this would have done better. I wonder if it was because it was released in March or maybe it wasn’t promoted much. I mean I sense that this film was delayed a few times. I swear that this was originally supposed to be released in late 2001, or even in January of 2002. I swear that I remember seeing a release date for January on IMDB back then, but I can’t confirm it.

Either way, this is definitely recommended. I might cover the soundtrack one day, but I just need to get my hands on it.

4/5

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Compilations, Soundtrack Albums

Compilation/Soundtrack Review – State Property

Year of Release: 2002

Record Label: Black Friday/Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam

It’s been a while since I have done anything for this website. I believe that because I have been listening to a particular artist, or at least a couple of them, I am going to start on something that I have been meaning to do.

Also, this will probably be an experiment in doing multiple categories. Why? Because though this album may have been the soundtrack to the movie State Property, which I covered a while back, as well as its sequel, this was also a compilation to showcase some of Beanie Sigel’s affiliates from Philly. Then again, this was also around a time when record labels put out compilations that disguised themselves as movie soundtracks to showcase what the label had to offer. Also, because later on, there was a second volume called “State Property vol. 2 – The Chain Gang,” which wasn’t even a soundtrack to the second film (The album was released in 2003; the second film was released in 2005), this would also be unofficially referred to as “State Property vol. 1.”

I am getting a little ahead of myself here (Note to self: cover vol. 2 in the near future). It’s time to start critiquing the album.

The album kicked off with its lead single, “Roc the Mic” from Beanie Sigel and Freeway. The beat was rather infectious as it will draw you in the moment you hear it, especially with the beat from Just Blaze.

Of course, the lead single was what kicked it off. This isn’t the only song that the two collaborated on, and I don’t just mean the tracks that have multiple artists on them. I mostly meant with just those two, as they teamed up on the Kanye West-produced track, “Got Nowhere,” which is a hidden gem. This was before Kanye did an album and way before he became a tabloid sensation. Even with a lot of the stuff that surrounds him, you can’t deny that he is a great producer.

So what does the rest of Beans’s crew have to offer? Well, let’s see. One thing that should be noted is that Beans appeared on the majority of the tracks on this album. Freeway appears on multiple tracks himself, but at the time of this release, he wasn’t really all that known, except for appearances on Sigel’s “The Reason,” which came out months before this, and before that on “The Dynasty: Roc la Familia.” Even then, some of the other rappers on this compilation had stuff to offer, but with them being not-so-well-known at the time (Though the Young Gunz had their time to shine later on, as they released not just one, but two albums), it seemed that what to draw was the beats.

Some examples where the beats were weak include “Do You Want Me,” the compilations resident dirty rap track, but the synth beat just didn’t work for a song like this, nor did the addition of the synthesized voice in the chorus. Also, Zukhan’s beat for “Sing My Song” just felt like a slow beat mixed in with some lyrical delivery that either sounded lazy or maybe Oschino and Sparks were high when recording them.

So what are the positives on this? Just Blaze’s beat for “Bitch N****z” brought a lot of energy to that track, along with the team-up of Beans and Sparks. Also, “No Glory,” which happened to be one of two solo tracks that were on this album. Also, I can’t help but think that “Why Must I” did a decent job at doing a different interpretation of “Atomic Dog” from George Clinton. The same could be said about “No Glory” with its sample of George Byrd’s “I Cry.”

The only other solo track on this album was Freeway’s “International Hustler.” Right from the get-go, he delivers some dope bars. It’s like you really feel some of Free’s energy in his delivery.

This was actually a decent compilation that Roc-a-Fella had put out to showcase some of what Philly had to offer. I know that this was the second time mentioning Philadelphia, but really, these guys were from Philly. With the exception of the singer Rell (who was from South Carolina), all of the rappers were from Philly and they were all one whole group. There were no appearances from Jay-Z or Memphis Bleek, or even Amil. I also must note that this one of the examples of the soundtrack being better than the movie, though I am a little open to giving that film another chance because I think I was hard on it when I reviewed it a while back. Though this compilation screams early-2000s (And it’s crazy to see how different this whole decade was compared to the 2000s now with the 2010s drawing to a close), it still holds up.

3.5/5

Top 5 tracks:

  1. Roc the Mic
  2. International Hustler
  3. It’s Not Right
  4. Hood I Know
  5. Got Nowhere

Honorable Mention: Sun Don’t Shine

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Rap Movie Reviews

Rap Movie Review – I Tried

Year of Release: 2007

Production Companies: Interscope Records/Codeblack Entertainment/Sunset Editorial

Sometimes there are moments when you didn’t know the existence of something. I mean I was well aware of some other “rap movies” that I have covered and plan to (Some I have not posted, but will). But it turns out, even some things are out there that you only find out about its existence just out of the blue, like this movie called “I Tried.”

“I Tried” is a movie that touches on what things would have been like had Bone Thugs-N-Harmony not meet Eazy-E (RIP) and what fate would have led them to. This is an actual movie, by the way, with the lead actors playing characters, even though they are referred to by names related to their real life personas and they even use names that are references of their real names. For example, Krayzie Bone’s character is named Ant, as a reference to his real name, Anthony Henderson. Even Layzie’s called Steven and even had his last name, Howse, mentioned. Wish Bone is called CeCe, which I am not sure if that is his nickname in real life, but I know his real first name starts with a C, so it’s possible. His real name is Charles Scruggs, by the way.

But despite all of that, they are all fictionalized and the film has a story to go with it. As noted before, it shows what their lives would have been like if they hadn’t gotten into the rap game.

What’s noticeable about this is the absences of Bizzy Bone and Flesh-N-Bone. Being that this was released in 2007, this was during the time when Bizzy was out of the group and the group was just a trio. This was likely filmed during the time when “Thug Stories” and “Strength & Loyalty” were recorded and/or released, so Bone Thugs was a trio during that time. Flesh was still in jail during that time, but even he wasn’t mentioned. I’m sure plenty of Bone fans would have known what a character was talking if they mention Steven’s brother Stanley, being that Flesh is Layzie’s real life brother. But anyway, back to the main topic.

So basically the film tells the stories of Ant (Krayzie), CeCe (Wish), and Steven (Layzie) and the paths they went through. Steven has become a cop, while Ant and CeCe are struggling with their lives. CeCe has a daughter and wants to make a better living for, even it’s through illegal means. Ant, on the other hand, while he had turned to a life of crime, wants to try to go legit and be a rapper, but he couldn’t get out of the life, if you know what I mean.

For a low budget movie, this isn’t bad. I mean I have seen plenty of these low budget rapper movies and while I know that they aren’t exactly great cinema, they’re passable, but then you have some that are just downright bad. Out of all the performances, Layzie actually impressed me. Being that he was playing a detective with a bad past, he had to deal with issues of people from his past, as well as deal with a crooked cop on the force. He actually showed some emotion in his scenes, so it made me wonder if he had any other roles besides this one.

But what stood out was the performance from Hassan Johnson as one of the drug dealers. I had seen him in other things, but he actually did a good job in his role as a drug dealer who doesn’t play. He was rather intimidating in his role.

Fun facts: I noticed that Darris Love and the late Nispey Hussle in this movie. Darris Love is someone who I will always remember from a show I watched as a child called “The Secret World of Alex Mack.” I know that this movie was from 12 years ago, but I had no idea that he was still acting. As for Nispey, he looked really young, as he had to have been 20 or 21 when this movie was done. It’s a real shame what happened to him, but that’s a topic for another day.

I don’t really have much else to say except that this movie wasn’t terrible, at least depending on the standards of what one considers good. It may seem like a typical crime story, but the story wasn’t bad. Sure, the ending was rather sad, but it basically went with the “what if” scenario that the plot was telling. It was not a bad way to pass an hour and a half. I wouldn’t call it great, but it’s passable.

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Uncategorized

RIP Bushwick Bill (1966-2019)

A few days ago, I had heard some reports that Bushwick Bill of Geto Boys fame had died. However, for the rest of the day, it had been stated that he was fighting for his life. Then came the announcement that he had left this world for good.

I also remember having read that he had been suffering from Stage 4 pancreatic cancer since this past February. When I read about this, I was hoping that he would beat the cancer.

It was a shock to hear about this man’s passing. I mostly remember him as the diminutive member of Geto Boys. Hell, I even remember his appearance in the video for “Dre Day” from Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. He even had some great verses in a lot of classics from Geto Boys. However, I haven’t really heard much of his solo stuff. From what I also had read, he also turned his life around much later and did a Christian rap album, which was his last solo album to date. Maybe one day I might have to look into checking out and covering his solo work.

REST IN PEACE

Richard Stephen Shaw

aka Bushwick Bill

12.8.1966 to 6.9.2019

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Rap Movie Reviews

Rap Movie Review – All Things Fall Apart

Year of Release: 2011

Production Companies: Hannibal Pictures/Cheetah Vision Films

You know, I can’t really say that I have seen a lot of films with 50 Cent in them. I don’t have a problem with 50 Cent as a rapper, but as an actor, I have noticed that he had been in a bunch of straight-to-video stuff. What amazes me about all of this is that when he had been in films that had theatrical releases, he had a supporting role. You would think that at one point with him being a rap star (and he was rather big at one point, and I don’t mean his physique, and more on that later) that he would have gotten lead roles. I think that “Get Rich or Die Tryin'” (The movie, I mean) affected his chances of being a leading man in Hollywood, as it didn’t do well. I haven’t seen it, though I will one day and I plan on covering it.

What I am going to talk about is what seemed like 50’s passion project, as he not only starred in the movie, but also had a credit in writing the script and producer. For those who don’t know, back in the early 2010s, in fact it was exactly in 2010, there were pictures on the internet that showed 50 Cent looking emaciated. He looked rather sickly. It turned out he had lost a lot of weight for a role. For years, I wondered what movie it was that he went through that weight loss. Fast forward to this year, when my question was finally answered. My mom had told me about this movie and how she watched it one day and she thought it was good. I ended up giving it a watch one day when it happened to be on.

The movie’s plot deals with Deon, played by 50 himself, who is a star running back at his college. He is so good that that he will be a surefire shot in the top 10 draft picks for the NFL. He is also supported by his mother, played by Lynn Whitfield, his mother’s boyfriend, played by Mario Van Peebles. However, his brother Sean, played by Cedric Sanders, is constantly living in his shadow. Being that Deon is quite a ladies man, when Sean wanted his brother to talk to a girl he liked, Deon ended up getting the girl instead. In fact, Deon had no problem getting women into bed. But then a big change occurs. One day in the locker room, he passed out and it was revealed that he had a cancerous tumor that is only a centimeter away from his heart. But the question on the parents’ mind was if he could still play football in spite of his condition. From that point on, things fall apart from there.

Okay, I must note that I admire 50 Cent’s commitment to this. According to IMDB, he had lost a friend to cancer, so in a lot of ways this film is a tribute and based on a true story. Plus, the weight loss was a definite sign that he was committed to the role. So in a lot of ways, he earns my respect for this. But there were a lot of problems with this film.

I have to hand it to 50 Cent for trying to give a convincing performance when he was at the height of his collegiate football career and when he was in his ill state. He needs to work on it more, but it wasn’t bad. The problems with the film were the writing and the portrayals of certain characters. When Deon was revealed to have cancer, all of a sudden he becomes a burden on everyone else in his family, with his mother having to work multiple jobs to pay off the medical bills. Sean ended up getting the girl, but still resents Deon and looks at him as a burden. Eric, the mother’s boyfriend (later ex), seemed more concerned about whether Deon could play, rather than his condition. In fact, I felt no sympathy for the other characters, except for maybe the mom. One part that stood out for the wrong reasons was when Deon, who was working as a janitor at the college, saw this woman jogging on the grounds and tried to talk to her, except that she no longer recognized him. She was seen earlier in the film, by the way, as another notch on Deon’s headboard. They met in a gym and then spotted him and they worked out together, both literally and figuratively. Hell, the last appearance before that particular scene had implied that those two likely slept together.

What made things even worse was that suddenly, because Deon could no longer play, the university had to revoke his scholarship, during his senior year, no less. Even more ridiculous, he went to a counselor, who said something that “there used to be a star running back with that same name,” then was dumbfounded that they were one and the same.

Did I mention that Deon proves that he could be a car salesman more than halfway and that at the end, there was a celebration with tents and set on the football field with no clear reason? Also, did I forget to mention that Ray Liotta had only three scenes despite being on the cover/poster art? Liotta has a role in this film as the doctor who tells Deon about his condition. So he basically just tells him what he should do, but doesn’t give any medication to help treat his illness.

The film ended with Deon leaving the party, so that he could run down the field and raise his arms in victory for one last hurrah, in a freeze frame, as well. It wasn’t clear what the meaning behind that bit was. Did he want to die on the field? Was it so that he could relive his lost glory that was taken from him? It was vague.

I will say that this is one of those films that I can give credit where it’s due, but at the same time, it just wasn’t that good in the end. 50 Cent had a lot of commitment for this role, but regarding the screenplay, it would have been much better if he had pitched the story and hire a screenwriter to write the script. It would have made the film much better than it was. I also had trouble buying 50 Cent, who was in his mid-30s at the time this was film, playing someone in his early-20s. Usually college athletes are in their late-teens to early-20s, and it would make sense for 50’s character to be around that age, but I couldn’t buy him as someone at that age. He didn’t even look that young to be convincing. That dreadlocks wig didn’t convince me, either.

In the end, I can only admire 50’s commitment and effort for it, but the movie as a whole could have been a lot better.

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Rap Movie Reviews

Rap Movie Review – Friday After Next

Year of Release: 2002

Production Companies: New Line Cinema/Cubevision

It has been said by many people that when a third film comes in a franchise, more often than not, it’s considered the weakest link. A lot of the time, people are right about it, but then you have ones that are better or as good. In the end, it’s really subjective and it boils down to what the viewer thinks.

Friday After Next is the third film of the Friday franchise. Now I know what you might be thinking. Why am I covering the third film when I haven’t done reviews on the first two yet? Well, you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout because I am telling you why. I am sure that last sentence was a good indicator why I am doing this first. If not, the explanation is that it’s December and it’s Christmas-time, and this film in particular takes place around that time and it had a Christmas-theme.

I promise that I will cover Friday and Next Friday, as well as the soundtracks eventually. I might even cover the short-lived animated series one day (Yes, it existed and I have seen a few episodes). But in the meantime, I am going to talk about this film.

The film’s takes place on Christmas Eve, which falls on a Friday (Because for some reason, this film series NEEDS to have it set on that day; more on this later), and it starts with Craig, Ice Cube’s character who appeared in all three films, waking up in the middle of the night and finding a burglar dressed like Santa Claus. Santa was seen robbing Craig and Day-Day’s (Mike Epps) Christmas presents and the one thing that was even more important: rent money. So that’s basically the main part of the plot, though like the previous two films, there were other subplots and such that went on. After all, this film DOES take place in the span of a day.

So Craig and Day-Day get jobs as security guards at a strip mall to try to get money to pay the rent to the guys’ repulsive landlord, Ms. Pearly. Oh, and she has a son named Damon, played by Terry Crews, who just got out of prison and has developed an interest in men over time. Did I mention that Craig also gains an attraction to Donna, the girlfriend of Money Mike, played by Katt Williams? And that Craig and Day-Day are throwing a wild Christmas party in the evening? Like I said, so much goes on in a one-day period.

What I could say about this film is that it was the weakest of the three, but really, this film got better after multiple viewings. I actually remember seeing this in theaters when it came out. I remember having minor chuckles here and there, but there were some other things that left a lot to be desired. However, after subsequent viewings, it kind of grew on me. Another thing of note is that it had the same tone as the second film, which was different from the first. Keep this in mind, the first film was funny film, but it felt a little more serious and straight in tone in comparison to the second and third films, as they felt a little more wacky and over-the-top with some slapstick in the mix. It wouldn’t surprise me if the film’s opening credits done in an animated style went with it, but at least it was kind of interesting. I also found it funny that Mike Epps played another character in this film as a shotgun-wielding old man.

I liked that they made some links to the previous films, as the series’s other mainstay, Willie (John Witherspoon) made his return once again, along with Elroy from the second film. I noticed that Anna Marie Horsford reprised her role as Craig’s mom, but the gripe that I had was that she didn’t really have a lot to do in this film. The one part that I can think of was when she confronted Mrs. Pearly about coming onto Willie towards the end, but overall, she didn’t have a lot of lines in the film. I think I can count on one hand about the lines of dialogue she had. Now that I think about it, I really wonder if the producers even approached Regina King for her to return as Dana at any point. She wasn’t in the film, obviously, but it felt like she was the forgotten character of the Jones family (Okay, maybe not as she was featured in the animated series, but that’s a topic for another day). I read on IMDB that Chris Tucker was asked to reprise his role as Smokey, but he declined. Another thing of note was that Roach was supposed to return as an earlier draft of the script had him appear, but it was scrapped because the actor who played him died.

As far as links to the previous films go, I noticed that Tom “Tiny” Lister didn’t return as Debo, but I suppose that Ice Cube wanted to change things up a bit and not have that character return as an antagonist.

Fun fact: I didn’t even know until today that there was an alternate ending to the film, and this film has been out for 16 years. The alternate ending showed Santa Claus (and I mean the villain of the film, as in the burglar) in a sympathetic light. It turned out that he was homeless and had only stolen some presents to give his children a good Christmas. Sure, there was some humor thrown in there, but it changed the tone up a tad as it showed the true meaning of Christmas at the end. While I like the original ending in that it showed that the villain was defeated, I thought that the original ending was well written and I actually like it more, but in another perspective, it probably would given the viewers a tonal shift.

Just a minor nitpick. It was said that movie took place on Christmas Eve that fell on a Friday. I am sure I am among a small percentage who would really pay attention to say something like this, but if Christmas Eve in this movie was on a Friday, it sure wasn’t set in 2001 or 2002. Because if Christmas Day fell on a Saturday, it would probably be in 1999 or 2004 because of this 5 or 6 year (Depending on a leap year falling in between) pattern that has certain dates go back to a certain day. It was just an observation. But then again, it was only said that it was Friday at the beginning of the film. It was not mentioned after that.

Other than that, this film was enjoyable to pass an hour and a half, especially during the Christmas season. It had some funny gags, especially with the bits involving Damon and Money Mike. What’s weird is that prior to seeing this movie in theaters, I had only known of Terry Crews through this show called Battle Dome, which was similar to American Gladiators with a few elements of professional wrestling thrown in. I didn’t even know that he was actually a funny guy at the time until I saw this movie. It’s the weakest of the series, but it had some fun moments and it’s far from the worst movie.

NEXT UP: Friday After Next soundtrack

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Rap Movie Reviews

Movie Review – Mid90s

Year of Release: 2018

Production Companies: A24/Waypoint Entertainment/Scott Rudin Productions

For those who grew up in the 1990’s, it’s weird to look at period pieces or movies and shows from that era and see how things have changed since then, no matter how many people say that things are the same now as they were then. Sure, you can compare how much of a change between the 1980’s and 1990’s, and so forth, but when watching a movie like this, it really shows how things were different, especially in this day and age with people’s faces glued to their cellphones and the internet being huge. What’s funny to me is that I have read an article in the past about how no one could make a period piece about the 1990’s that is similar to “Dazed and Confused” and “American Graffiti,” but this may have proved that guy wrong (I can’t find the article, but if I do, I will update and link it).

The movie tells the story of Stevie, who is played by a young actor named Sunny Sujic. Stevie goes through life living through the physical abuse of his older brother Ian, played by Lucas Hedges, as well as living with their mother. Stevie looks up to his brother as he has a collection of rap CD’s from that era, ranging from Wu-Tang to Mobb Deep to Cypress Hill. At some point, Stevie linked up with a group of skaters at a skate shop and then started hanging out with them, trying to find his place.

Did I mention that this film was also the directorial debut of Jonah Hill? Well, he did not just direct this film, he also wrote it. It was clear that this movie was inspired by some other films, namely 1995’s “Kids,” as well as 1993’s “The Sandlot.” A lot of story elements come from the former, like how Stevie hung out with a group of skaters and getting into trouble, as well as doing things like smoking weed and drinking 40’s. How it compares to “The Sandlot” is that it focused mainly on the perspective of Stevie, as he was this film’s version of Smalls. However, unlike “Kids,” this movie is nowhere near as sinister, even though there was some sexism here and there, but if anything, it showed how kids were during that time, add to the fact that it really showed that certain elements would not fly in today’s world. Sure, some characters were not likable in this movie, but then you also had some cool guys and also while you may not like a certain character, you feel for him and also see that he has a softer side than previously let on.

One of the things that stood out about this movie was that it was shot on 16mm, so it was mainly in fullscreen with a 4:3 ratio. Part of me felt that this was intentional as widescreen was not really that much of a thing during that era, so maybe it was done to capture the feel from that time period.

Another that amazed me was that it was a short movie with a lot of story to be told and did not need to be stretched out for everything to understand the main events of it. This movie ran at 84 minutes, but it did not need to be longer to be better. Plus, many of the story elements had some resolution by the film’s end. What was also great was the soundtrack for the movie, as a lot of songs that were played were from a lot of great rap acts such as Cypress Hill, The Pharcyde, Wu-Tang Clan, Jeru The Damaja, Gravediggaz, etc.

On a personal note, I found myself relating a lot to Stevie as I had gone through some of the stuff that he had gone through. The main thing that reminded him of me was when he would go through his brother’s CD collection, as when I was a kid (preteen and also teenager), I used to go through my youngest uncle’s CD collection as he had a lot of what came out around that time. I have been a hip-hop fan for as long as I can remember, and I saw myself in Stevie, though I never suffered any sort of abuse. Also, another thing that made me relate to him was that I had trouble fitting in at times. I mean, yes, I had friends, but if you saw me during lunch breaks, I either kept to myself or would just hang out in a classroom with a friend of mine.

Jonah Hill really impressed me with his direction for this film. Sure, a lot of people may dismiss him for having done a lot of those crude comedies like “This is The End,” “Superbad,” ” The Sitter,” “Get Him to the Greek,” etc. but he has shown that he has talent, and that includes writing and directing. According to IMDB, he had to talk with some well-known film directors such as Martin Scorsese and Ethan Coen on the filmmaking process. Directing a movie seemed quite a step for him, but after seeing this movie, I wonder what he could do next. It really felt like a passion project for him, as it seemed like he put a lot of effort into making this movie work. Overall, this film was definitely worthy of an hour and a half of my time.

5/5

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