Monday, April 03, 2006
If I Raise Up, There's Gon Be Trouble. Trouble!
Hey, y'all. I'm coming to you from the third floor of Wilson library, where the theses are thick and dusty, just like these braids that I need to take up out of my head. Ha! Just kidding. I'm getting much better at hooking my shit up, never fear. And even if I wasn't, rest assured that the last thing I will do -- as raggedy as my look has gotten since leaving Portland -- is rock some nasty ol' braids. I can not handle that. I mean, I know that's some big talk coming from a woman who is committed to wearing the baggiest scrubs and tiniest tees that she can find, but I think you will agree that there is something inherently funny about "wack tshirts on a big body chick." C'mon. Rah Digga said it, not me. At least, I think that's what she said.
And speaking of the hood rat messiah, I want to offer a discount panegyric on what just might be the most amazing movie every committed to celluloid, The Player's Club. I think it might have been Ice Cube's directorial debut, and you can tell. But it's got that special charm, like one of your cousin's shifty friends that is always trying to run game but is funny as hell.
Saturday morning I was prepared to leave the house at 10 to walk to campus and spend the day working. You know, investing in my future. But y'all know that cable tv is my kryptonite. I am powerless before it. So when I saw that USA network was showing The Player's Club that morning (and I'm sorry, but why are they showing that grown ass movie at 10 on a Saturday morning? Have times changed so much that Saturday morning is not still prime kid's viewing time? How is a movie about strippers and hos and brutal sexual assault ok for a weekend morning? And, forgive me while I get all Homie D. Clown on you, but don't tell me that a movie that showed that much ass, but starred white women, would have been shown on basic cable before watershed hours. Do not even front like that's the case. I could not believe how much black ass I saw. And titty, too! They can't have edited that thing for tv at all -- oh, except to partially halfway not-even-trying obscure the cursing. The only problem is, that movie is wall-to-wall "motherfucker." If you take out all the "motherfuckers," the script would have been three pages long. So anyway, I was disturbed by the fact that someone in the USA programming department considers The Player's Club to be on the order of a National Geographic special, and just let the titties go. Um, and also, in the online guide description, it was listed as "COMEDY-DRAMA." Now, don't get me wrong, because Bernie Mac and Anthony Johnson are funny like whoa in this movie. But you know what? Again -- I don't think a movie with a horrifying and graphic sexual assault gets to be called a "comedy drama." That's just me. You can have all the I saw damn Kings of Comedy in there if you want to. I don't care.
Ah, The Player's Club...a movie that's bold enough to suggest that, despite all the glaring and aggressive indications to the contrary (Diamond has a stalker who follows her home, Ebony goes to strip a party where she is the only woman amongst a group of thuggish dudes, Luke motherfuckin' Skywalker brings his crazy ass in to the club one night) a woman's real enemy is a predatory female. Ok, hello, sister. If you are buying that bullshit, you have more problems than you think you do. I mean...
ok, let me stop right here to say that, even though it doesn't seem like it, I love this movie. I'm just telling you why I shouldn't love this movie. It's like how I have to admit in the quiet of a darkened room that I almost prefer Aliens to Alien, even though the politics are way shadier and even though I am Ridley Scott's bitch normally...
So, anyway, the story, briefly, is this. Lisa Raye (Da Brat's sister, apparently. What?!) plays a young single mother trying to work, go to college, and raise her son. While working her job at a shoe store one day, ZZ Top come in and give her a makeover -- I mean, she meets two of the hoodiest hoodrats ever, Ronnie and Tricks, who tell her to "use what [she] got to get what she want." Fast forward 4 years later, and "Diamond" is now working with Ronnie and Tricks at The Player's Club, dancing and generally being the stripper with a heart of gold. Oh, and did I mention that she's a journalism major? That is important to remember, because during the film's coda, when Diamond's voiceover clues us in to everyone's whereabouts, she ends by saying "...and as for me, well, you watch the news, don't you?" She is intimating that she has a job as a newscaster, but if you have seen this movie, you know how ludicrous it is that Lisa Damn Raye, with her corny ass blac-cent got a job reading the news anywhere -- even BET, which is where we are supposed to believe she is working. Still, time for confession #2: I love Lisa Raye. I don't know why, and I wish I didn't. But there is something about her that makes me laugh. Much like this brokedown movie!
Anyway, back to the plot: Diamond is doing fine, hustling and schooling and generally making that money not letting it make her (that's one of the many cheesy nuggets of "street wisdom" this movie gives you free of charge!). Cue the entrance of her dumbass cousin, Ebony, and while I hate that the fool in this movie shares my name, I am going out on a limb to say that it could have been worse. Ebony's country tail just wants to make some money and be like her "glamorous" cousin. She starts dancing at the club...
ok, I need to note here that one of the things I was pleased about is the look of the women they got to play the dancers in this movie; there's a real difference in the look of the women who dance in high-end clubs and lower-end clubs, and there's a big difference between the kinds of bodies in white clubs and black clubs. Corny little Ebony, with her tiny tatas but Tinkerbell hips would not get a job at Jiggles. But she would get one at Leroy's. You understand what I'm saying. It would have been very easy for them to get some of those cookie cutter Black Barbies for this movie, but they didn't. In this instance, low budget = accuracy!
...blah blah blah, Ronnie and Tricks reveal themselves to be evil backstabbing hos (and in Ronnie's case, an aggressive and cartoonish and fake-o L!E!S!B!I!A!N) and Diamond gets taken advantage of, Ebony gets taken advantage of, Bernie Mac goes for a couple rides in car trunks, and generally, this movie sends every kind of wrong message it is possible to send. If you want to get into it with me and hear my full assessment, feel free to email me. I'm not going to prolong this post any more than I have, but I will say this: despite all its many faults, I love this movie way more than I should. It might be because it has--
1)a wheelchair-bound villain who has to be wheeled -- slowly -- through the club to shoot it up...and yet, people are still acting crazy and running away and I'm thinking, couldn't you just run behind his chair? The turning radius on those things is not that great.
2) It's got John Amos. Damn, damn, damn!
3) Jamie Foxx (as club DJ, Blue) introducing Tricks: "Comin' to the stage now is a woman who's been in the game since Kunta Kente was big ballin' and shot callin'. They say tricks are for kids and she got four of them mother fuckers! Let's give it up for Tricks!"
Don't act like you didn't laugh at that.