|Index||4 reviews in total|
9th Street is a movie you are unlikely to stumble over. It did not get a
theatrical release and your local Blockbuster is sure to not have it. If
DO stumble over it, though, give it a try.
Kevin Willmott is a screenwriter and director, an instructor at the University of Kansas and generally a nice guy. His movie has a lot of personal stories to tell and is a film rich in ideas, though they do not all work out.
Willmott models 9th Street after the Jazz music that once made the title-supplying location great. That means the movie has a ramshackle, loose and improvised rythm to it. The main idea is old stuff vs. new stuff and an elegiac look at the glory days of the Jazz Age. There is more, much more in fact, but that is up to the viewer to discover.
As I mentioned, there are some minor flaws. It's greatest strength, the ideas who go all over the place, do not add up at all ends and the violent tone of the conclusion was a bit too much of a turn from the mostly light tone established before.
Martin Sheen's role is basically a cameo and was done as a favor to Queen Bey (who plays the bartender). At least his participation ensured that this movie was distributed. It is a shame that movies like 9th Street that go against the grain are buried like this...so if you stumble over it, be sure to give it a try.
Very few movies today stick with you long after you've seen the film. This is one such movie. Kevin Willmott has brilliantly recreated a unique time and place in beautiful black and white film---Junction City, Kansas in the 1960's. Ninth Street in Junction City, Kansas had a notorious strip of black-owned businesses known as the Harlem of Kansas. G.I.'s at nearby Fort Riley flocked to Ninth Street for a good time---and talked about it as they travelled the world serving their country. But this movie isn't just about one Kansas town---it's about a whole host of hot button issues---the military industrial complex, the Vietnam War, Catholicism, evangelical Christianity, class warfare, and most of all---race issues. The movie is packed with symbolism and meaning, and those who "get it" will marvel at this film and won't soon forget about it.
The film portrays a city block and its inhabitants on many levels and at
many times: World War II, Vietnam, and perhaps even the hopelessness of
today. I felt I might be watching a documentary of the decline of Ninth
Street, Jefferson City, Kansas, south of Ft Riley as it loses its economic
base (fun-seeking soldiers) and its soul (home towners).
There is a feeling of impending disaster - occasionally relieved by humor - as one conflict after another simmers, but unlike "Do The Right Thing" the neighborhood lurches from one tragedy to another until there's no one left.
I was disappointed that this moving story of self-destructive violence and exploitation was set in a black "community" but of course that's part of the story.
A definite antidote to the formulaic, garishly colored, over-technical product of today's Hollywood. Will clean your palette.
This is an extraordinary film, a unique slice of Americana, circa 1968, as seen through the eyes of two down-and-out gentlemen, ex-war vets and ex-vets of the life of a small-town haven of good-time society, catering to African-American personnel from an Army base in the heart of the midwest. The movie gives us a synopsis of the history of this place, which began with WWII and runs through the Vietnam war. The primary focus is on the life, events, and characters who inhabit this town at the time of the beginning/middle of the Vietnam era. Although the majority of the actors and actresses are African-American and are not necessarily well known, the performances are first rate; from the two winos to the town pimp, to the older women who offer sage advice, and the priest (Martin Sheen) also. The black-and-white tone of the film only seems to add to the "authenticity" of it. This movie is a real treasure, and anyone who is a true moviephile will appreciate it and it's place in video history.
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