I know, I know. I almost missed Thursday Movie Picks this week. I really did almost skip this week, but thought better of it when I realized I actually suggested the topic for this week. It would be a bad look if this is the week I choose to flake out after giving you suggestions every Thursday for over a year, now. Our host, Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves would probably not look kindly upon such a thing.
I meant to put this together last night, but real life interfered and I just didn't get around to it. By real life, I mean I got caught up watching Empire with Mrs. Dell and after that...well...um...I was busy...then sleepy.
As it turns out, watching Empire was very apropos for this week. If you haven't heard, it's about a fictional family-owned record label that focuses on hip hop and R&B and all the shenanigans that go along. It's unabashed melodrama at its most gloriously trashy. The main stars happen to be a couple of actors who have also had very successful movie careers: Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson. You know what? They'll be popping up again in this post. Let's get started.
What? You say I haven't told you what the topic is? No problem.
Today, we're talking movies about music, and/or making music, and/or musicians. The kicker is that none of these can be biopics or focus on real life musicians. Sorry, no Walk the Line, Ray, The Doors, What's Love Got to Do With It, etc. Now, we can get started.
Yo DJ, drop that beat!!!
Straight Outta LoCash
A crazy mothaf**ka named Gusto
I f**ked ya wife, cause the b**ch is a big hoe
I f**ked ya sister, I f**ked ya cat
I would have f**ked ya mom but the b**ch is too fat!Before there was Straight Outta Compton, there was this movie about a gangsta-rap group that came straight outta LoCash. MC Gusto (Chris Rock) took his name from a real life thug who isn't too pleased about it. Sure, his group CB4, short for Cell-Block 4, has risen to superstar status, but they're constantly looking over their shoulder for the real Gusto. Plus, they have to deal with the strains of success. And yes, CB4 is modeled heavily after NWA, even borrowing some of that group's songs and reworking them for the film. This is the first, and still the best, parody of hip hop ever committed to film.
His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti
He's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgettin'
What he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth, but the words won't come out
He's chokin', how, everybody's jokin' now
The clocks run out, times up, over, blaow!So yeah, if you know anything about rapper Eminem, you can probably pick out a lot of the things in 8 Mile that were ripped directly from his bio. It even stars Eminem, himself. However, that still doesn't make it a biopic. That's because it's about an aspiring emcee who goes by the name of B-Rabbit. Dumbest name ever, but whatever. I can let it slide because the movie overall is excellent. I'd be lying if I said this wasn't Rocky set in the world of battle rapping in Detroit nightclubs. That's exactly what it is. Still, it works wonderfully. Em kills it, both on and off the stage, including in the song quoted above, "Lose Yourself." It won an Oscar for Best Original Song. Hmmm...a rap song winning an Oscar? That'll never happen again...
Hustle & Flow
In my eyes I done seen some crazy thangs in the streets
Gotta couple girl workin' on the track just for me
But I gotta keep my game tight like Kobe on game night
Like takin' from a girl don't know no better, I know that ain't rightGoing for that raw, dirty south grit over comedic stylings or impromptu wordsmithing, this one gives us DJay, a pimp who wants desperately to be a rapper. He has a small stable of women who would do anything for him. This includes Shug, who just so happens to be pregnant at the moment. In these two roles are the two folks I talked about in the intro, Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, respectively. The movie does the impossible and makes a hardened street criminal into a sympathetic figure who has some seriously complicated relationships with women. Anthony Anderson gives arguably his best performance to date, largely because he's not playing the Anthony Anderson persona. Howard earned a Best Actor nomination at the Oscars. In a huge surprise, the group Three 6 Mafia actually took home the Oscar in the Best Original Song category for "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp."
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