A RAPPER, A HOMOSEXUAL, & A SERIAL KILLER

Sounds like the set-up to a joke, doesn’t it? “A rapper, a homosexual, & a serial killer walk into a bar…”

But, no, it’s just some brief spoiler-ific reviews of 3 movies I’ve recently seen.

Much like the Late Tupac, with whom he is forever linked, I wasn’t particularly a fan of Notorious B.I.G. when he was alive, though I liked a few songs that I’d heard. After his death, I bought his 2nd album, and liked many of the songs. Though I still don’t think he was as good as some rap critics claim. Certainly, the label “The Greatest Rapper of All Time” is absurd. I wouldn’t even put him in the Top 10. He was good, but he only released two albums. For all we know, if he’d lived, he may eventually flamed out either critically (like 50 Cent) or commercially (like DMX) & be thought of as a has-been by now (like far too many rappers to name).

Nevertheless, I was interested in seeing this movie. And found it enjoyable, just from the viewpoint of learning more about him. However, what we learn about him isn’t all good. He doesn’t come off as particularly sympathetic. In one of his first rap songs he talks about selling drugs so he could feed his daughter. However, in this film he was selling drugs, while still in school before he even had a child. And his motivation was simply because he wanted to buy nice clothes, like the older drug dealers in his neighborhood. And, even after going to jail, we never actually see him express any regret for his actions. He only stops doing it when he gets a record deal.

His treatment of women isn’t much better. He stops seeing his baby mama with no explaination. He begins a sexual relationship with the woman who later becomes known as rapper Lil Kim. Then abrutly drops her after he marries singer Faith Evens a week after they met. Then he gets caught cheating on his wife with some random groupie soon after that.

The movie does @ least go out of it’s way to protray him as completely innocent in the East Coast/West Coast rap fued that was instigated by Death Row Records, and in the first shooting of Tupac, which Tupac blamed him for.

The always incredible Angela Basset stands out for her portrayal of B.I.G.’s mother. If you’re a hip-hop fan I’d recommend seeing this film, when it comes on cable. If not, don’t bother.

Harvey Milk. One of the first, if not the first, openly-gay elected officials in America. Murdered after serving 11 months as a San Francisco County Supervisor. Sean Penn was excellent in this role. The man has come a long way since he played a stoner surfer in Fast Times @ Ridgmont Hight. Josh Brolin was also great as the murderer.

But what really struck me after watching this film was thinking about how relatively little things have changed in the 30 years since Milk was killed. Yes, homosexuals are much more visible & accepted in society now, but an anti-gay marriage proposition passed (barely, but still passed) in California a few months ago, just like similar bills have passed in other States. A few days after the bill passed, I got into a ridiculous flame-war on a message board with some old man who argued that the government shouldn’t “promote the gay lifestyle” by endorsing gay marriage, because then more children will grow up and “choose” to be gay, and then most of them will die of AIDS.

I mean, really, 40 years after the so-called sexual revolution of the 1960’s, and there are still people in this country who believe that it’s okay to discriminate against gays, because if the gays don’t want to be discriminated, then they should simply just, y’know, STOP BEING GAY, and everything will be fine.

Sorry, but I just don’t get the anti-gay sentiment. I really couldn’t care less. It’s stupid. Grow up, people. They’re here, they’re queer, get used to it.

Contrary to what you may have heard, this is actually not a remake of the first “Friday The 13th” movie. It’s a new first sequel to the first “Friday The 13th” movie. Or, to put it another way, it’s a remake of “Friday The 13th part 2 & 3.”

That’s was an interesting choice to make, on the part of the film-makers. As all true horror fans know, Jason Voorhees was not the killer in the first film, his mother was. And Jason didn’t get his iconic hockey mask until the middle of the 3rd film. And that’s the Jason that everyone expects to see in these films today, so this film figured out a way to just get to it, without too much backstory.

So far, most of the dedicated FT13 fans that I’ve spoken to who have seen this liked it, with a few notable exceptions. While I respect everyone’s opinions, I can’t help but think that most of the criticisms that I’ve heard about it are just nitpicking. One reviewer complained about some of Jason’s actions, wondering how he could see well enough to shoot a bow & arrow with his deformed eyes. I guess I can kinda understand that, since this Jason was just a crazy retarded man, not the walking zombie of the later film. In that case it was easier to accept his abilities, like his knack for always being able to find someone who was hiding, because he was a supernatural being.

Another reviewer complained that most of the kids were so unlikable, that you ended up rooting for them to be killed, which made Jason the “hero,” of the film. That completely missed the point, in my opinion. OF COURSE we watch these movies because we want to see Jason kill everyone! That’s the fun part.

Truthfully, I have my nitpicks, too. I didn’t like the Token Black Guy or the Token Asian Guy. And I like gratutius female nudity as much as the next man, but I thought the topless water-skiing was unneccessary. @ the least in the 2 sex scenes the boobies made sense (especially loved the boobies in the 2nd scene).

It’s also interesting to note how the changing technology & times affects some of the standard horror-film conventions. Like the electricty going out & the phone not working. That happens in this film, too. But, these days, everyone has a cellphone. Well, just by coincidence, for some reason no one’s cellphone can get a signal out in the woods. I guess none of them have the Verizon Wireless plan.

Also, there’s a gun in the house, which one kid grabs. We never see guns being used in these films, everyone’s always fighting back with various tools or knives & whatnot. Of course, the kid ends up dropping & losing the gun before he gets a chance to use it against Jason, which is also awfully convienient.

Jason’s final “jump” @ the end was also too cliche. It didn’t work, because we expected it. Of course, we want to be left open for a sequel, but they could’ve done that better. But the bottom line is, I enjoyed it. After to paying (for 3 people) to see it in the theater, I’ve watched it again online. And will probably watch it again. I hope they make another couple of decent sequels, and then give the series a real decent proper ending.

  24 comments for “A RAPPER, A HOMOSEXUAL, & A SERIAL KILLER

  1. February 21, 2009 at 3:55 PM

    The only one of those I’ve seen is MILK. I agree it was good. I love Josh Brolin, he’s sexy! I hope homophobia declines in this country. Live & let live, I say.

    Like

  2. February 21, 2009 at 3:57 PM

    I agree (about live & let live, not that Brolin is sexy, though he may be, he’s just not my type). And I do thing homophobia is declining, just not as fast as it should be, IMO.

    Like

  3. February 21, 2009 at 4:09 PM

    I saw Friday the 13th. I liked it alot. One of the better films. I like that Jason could run & think & set traps. And I’m with you, the boobies were top notch!

    Like

  4. February 21, 2009 at 4:10 PM

    Yeah, I’m usually a bigger fan of slow-walking zombie Jason, but this film made the other version, where he’s a big crazy guy, work.

    Like

  5. February 21, 2009 at 4:21 PM

    Oh, yeah, and you mentioned the gun, and how that’s not used in these films. But they used guns against him Jason X.

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  6. February 21, 2009 at 4:23 PM

    Dang, you’re right, I forgot about that one.

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  7. February 21, 2009 at 4:26 PM

    That’s understandable. It wasn’t very memorable.

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  8. February 21, 2009 at 4:30 PM

    Actually, I quite liked Jason X. It was silly, but still fun.

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  9. February 21, 2009 at 4:35 PM

    Well, I think it had a cool premise, like Jason Takes Manhattan, but they should’ve taken it seriously, and not played it mostly for laughs.

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  10. February 21, 2009 at 4:41 PM

    I can agree with that. That should’ve made it creepy and dark. There aren’t enough films that mix horror & sci-fi, like the “Aliens” franchise.

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  11. February 21, 2009 at 4:46 PM

    I have to say that I liked the new Friday the 13th movie. The original was boring and who cares about the Mom, Jason is the real star of the show. Brushing by the moms role of the movie made it easier to swallow, this is a new generation and fast paced murder and action is what it’s about. Although I agree that their were some plot-holes and contrivances, overall Jason was reborn. He was faster more powerful and made you fear him. Unlike the slow moving idiot of the past. Like the the Rob Zombie remake of Halloween it served its purpose and gave you the majority what they paid for, blood, comedy, nudity, murder and the occasional stupidity.

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  12. February 21, 2009 at 5:02 PM

    I like Rob Zombie’s Halloween, too. I’m looking forward to his sequel.

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  13. Buddy
    February 21, 2009 at 5:27 PM

    I love horror movies, especially Friday the 13th, and this movie just flat out sucked.

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  14. February 21, 2009 at 6:31 PM

    Well, can’t please everyone.

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  15. February 21, 2009 at 7:08 PM

    Didn’t like Notorious I thought that the movie was simply unimpressive. Yea call me a hater, but wasn’t this movie suppose to be revealing and show BIG in a much better light? What I deducted is that he went to a nice school, screwed up that op b/c he did not want to WORK HARD and was only about MONEY. He was into drugs, knocked up a young girl, was an AWFUL father, turned out lil kim and treated her like crap, but oh wait he imparts to his daughter after cursing infront of her to never be called a B by a man. WOWWWW

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  16. February 21, 2009 at 7:18 PM

    Oh, and does the whole Jason premise even make sense?
    If his mother went nuts and killed everyone because they let him drown years ago, then why was he alive on the night his mother was killed? Did she know he was alive, and if so, why was she still killing people? Why didn’t he run up to his mother and shout “Hey, mom, it’s me!” instead of hiding out and watching her get killed? And how did he survive out in the woods all this time, and figure out how to rig up electricity in his cabin, and all that stuff?

    Like

  17. February 21, 2009 at 7:30 PM

    J.R. you nearly scared the heck out of me. I hoped u weren’t talking about Biggie being a rapper,homo, and a serial killer.

    i saw the first two movies and loved them both. I love ny rappers–i guess it has a lot to do with their swagger and the fact that i lived on the east coast for half of my life. I loved Milk because I saw a documentary on Harvey Milk when I was a little girl and couldn’t wait to visit SF.

    thanks for sharing.
    ilh

    Like

  18. February 21, 2009 at 8:49 PM

    I thought MILK was a disappointment: ultra-conventional Hollywood biopic treatment, full of shallow characters, scenes designed to manipulate our emotions rather than have them develop from what has gone before. Sean Penn gets to use his talents, but everybody else has too limited a role/time on screen to care much about. And all those kids who were his political staff? I couldn’t distinguish one from the other in terms of job description, but I did wonder how and what they got paid.

    FRIDAY THE 13TH was okay. It was nice to see a F13 movie with good production values. Even the “story” was a little better than usual. The biggest problem I had was the complete lack of tension before the kills. With the exception of the last 20 minutes, you either knew EXACTLY when the kill was coming or you had NO CLUE it was coming (i.e. the arrow from nowhere…cool idea, but it happens too quickly to even care about it, a waste of a potential scare).

    Like

  19. February 22, 2009 at 3:46 PM

    @ Complex Shaun: The Jason Voorhees myth was always a bit flawed, especially beginning with the 2nd film.

    In this film, I could speculate that he did drown, but when his mother was killed he rose from the dead, came out of the lake, and found her head. That’s why he was a little boy in the opening scene, and he’s a grown man in the present, almost 30 years later.

    @ India’s-World: Someone one my blogspot page said that the title of this blog made him think I was talking about one person: a gay rapper who kills people. I thought that was pretty funny.

    @ Tiye: Thanks for reading.

    Like

  20. February 23, 2009 at 12:04 AM

    Harvey Milk was a hero, and following his story to its tragic end, although it’s not really a story that ends, or can end, as Harvey Milk has inspired so many, gay, straight, trans, etc, who care about life, rights, human values, and want to live in a world with less fear and less hatred.

    The movie succeeds in telling its story, magnificently, yet it also succeeds in evoking this same sense of hope amidst acknowledgement that not all is well, of yearning for truth and fairness. It succeeds in bringing out the best in us its audience, the inheritors of the history of its story.

    Like

  21. KMP
    February 24, 2009 at 8:49 PM

    The acting in MILK is stellar across the board, not just from Brolin or Penn. And while the focus is light on character development, I saw this as an issue piece as opposed to dealing with the specific man. As in he symbolizes the push for equality. Not every bio-pic will be as inventive as Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters but in terms of sheer narrative presentation, I felt Sant told the story effectively. It recieves an 8/10 from me.

    Like

  22. February 24, 2009 at 8:52 PM

    I’m glad Sean Penn won the Oscar last night.

    Like

  23. February 26, 2009 at 6:50 AM

    Milk’s the only one of those three films that I plan on seeing (if I ever get around to it). I totally agree with you regarding the gay rights issue. I can never understand how anybody can care that much about what other people do in bed. I might just be pathologically self-obsessed, but I just am not that interested in what other people are up to!

    Like

  24. February 26, 2009 at 10:53 PM

    Exactly! It’s none of my business whom anyone else sleeps with.

    Like

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