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Block Party (2005)

R  |   |  Documentary, Comedy, Music  |  3 March 2006 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 7,512 users   Metascore: 84/100
Reviews: 69 user | 112 critic | 30 from Metacritic.com

A mix of Dave Chappelle's sketch comedy and musical interludes, inspired in part by the 1973 documentary Wattstax.

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3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Himself - Host
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Herself
...
Isaac ben Ayala
...
Himself (as Mos Def)
Bilal ...
Himself (as Bilal Oliver)
Lil' Cease ...
Himself - Bed-Stuy
Cody ChesnuTT ...
Himself
...
Herself
...
Himself
Jerry 'Wonder' Duplessis ...
Himself - The Fugees (as Jerry 'Wonda' Duplessis)
Fugees ...
Themselves
Alice Goguen ...
Herself - Ohio
James 'Kamal' Gray ...
Himself - The Roots
Fred Hampton Jr. ...
Himself (as Chairman Fred Hampton Jr.)
Kool Herc ...
Himself
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Storyline

Dave Chappelle presents a Brooklyn neighborhood with its very own once-in-a-lifetime free block party. In addition to Chappelle, the roster of artists includes Kanye West, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Common, Dead Prez, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, the Roots, Cody ChesnuTT, Big Daddy Kane, and - reunited for their first performance in over seven years - the Fugees. Includes private rehearsals footage and Chappelle in the small Ohio town he calls home, where he wanders through town handing out golden tickets to invite several dozen citizens to join the party, providing transportation and lodging for their visit to Brooklyn. Ohio's Central State University marching band makes the trip and kicks off the festivities at the intersection of Quincy and Downing Streets. A diverse crowd and Chappelle's freestyle wit guides them (and us) through a celebration of music and comedy, history and community. Written by Focus Features

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The world's hottest comedian invites you to the party of the decade See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 March 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dave Chappelle's Block Party  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$6,214,723 (USA) (3 March 2006)

Gross:

$11,694,528 (USA) (31 March 2006)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Concertgoers had to register on-line, then were told to meet at a secret location in the Chinatown section of Manhattan. From there, they were bussed to the concert location, which was also kept secret. The majority of the acts that would be appearing were also kept secret from the concertgoers. Admission to the concert was free. See more »

Goofs

Dave Chappelle's main reason for holding the block party in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn was because, he says, that hip-hop originated there. However, hip-hop really originated in the South Bronx and spread to the other sections of New York soon afterward. See more »

Quotes

Dave Chappelle: That was "'Round Midnight" I was playing. That's the Thelonious Monk song. One of my favorite musicians, 'cause his timing was so ill. Every comedian is a stickler for timing, and Thelonious Monk was off time, yet perfectly on time. You should study it. If you're an aspiring comedian, or an aspiring musician, you should study it. Which brings me to my next point. Comedians and musicians were like this:
[interlocks fingers]
Dave Chappelle: . Every comic wants to be a musician. Every musician thinks they're funny...
See more »

Connections

References Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Umi Says
Written by Yasiin Bey (as Dante Smith)
Performed by Yasiin Bey featuring Talib Kweli, Common and Fred Hampton Jr. (as Chairman Fred Hampton,
Jr.)
Mos Def appears courtesy of Geffen Records
Talib Kweli appears courtesy of Rawkus Entertainment
Common appears courtesy of Geffen Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
fans and the artists and Chappelle forged a culture at this party, and this culture is infectious
3 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Block Party

reviewed by Sam Osborn of www.samseescinema.com

rating: 3.5 out of 4

For a comeback, Dave Chappelle's got it right with Block Party. It isn't a concert film, but features a hefty amount of highlight performances. It also isn't a stand-up comedy, but Chappelle certainly spouts some smile-turning kickers. And Block Party isn't a documentary, but we're left with a sense of culture from the footage of interviews throughout. In truth, Block Party really isn't much of anything, but it's enough to mount dizzying entertainment with the flick of Michel Gondry's hand-held DV camera.

It surrounds the conception, pre-production, production, and post-production of Dave Chappelle's 2005 Brooklyn Block Party. The word "production" is used loosely here, not to connote images of agents frantically finding the rights to singers and their songs and the construction of the set and all the hoo-hah that goes into a major concert. No. By Pre-Production, I mean Dave Chappelle traveling back to hometown Dayton, Ohio to hand out the golden tickets to his fellow citizens. By Production, I mean watching some excellent musical performances on the corner of Downing and Quincy, in front of the Broken Angel warehouse, to the sound of 5,000 screaming fans. And by Post-Production, I mean watching Chappelle and his fellow performers speculate about the show afterwards.

But for all the linearity described here, Block Party doesn't have mind for structure. The film doesn't roll chronologically; instead, Block Party jumps around itself, sometimes going to Ohio, then back to rehearsal, jumping forward to a highlight performance, and then back to Brooklyn at a children's day care where the kids bounce frantically around Chappelle. Gondry worries less about documenting the actual party, opting instead to find an accessible method for the audience's entertainment. If the film was said to be trying hard at any one thing, it would be that Block Party really tries to keep from bogging itself down.

Chappelle himself does well to not hog the screen. In fact, if there was any one complaint, it would be that we don't see Chappelle enough. This is not "Chappelle's Show", after all. There are no skits, and only a few planned scenes of comedy. Mostly, we follow Chappelle around with a couple DV cameras and a boom mic as he explores Dayton and Brooklyn, speaking to their inhabitants and hearing their stories. But this isn't to say that Chappelle avoids humor. We all know Dave Chappelle's a funny man when he's not even trying. Believe me, there are many laughs to be had. The style digs down to why we loved Dave Chappelle in the first place. Seeing him walk around his hometown in a state of relative normalcy—without spotlights or producers and writers—offers Block Party a homegrown attitude. The music reflects this, showcasing artists that inhabit the quality of music, instead of the financial returns that go along with it.

And the music's great, too. Gondry does well not to overdose on it, aware that that the beats may grow tiresome for the anti-rap audience. He only showcases one or two songs at a time, jumping back to another Chappelle experience in between. But whether or not you're a regular fan of rap (I'm not), Block Party's music is sure to rouse some sort of reaction. The attitude and community behind the music is what makes it great. The fans and the artists and Chappelle forged a culture at this party, and this culture is infectious. At the theatre, much of the audience started dancing and moving to the music in their seats, some even raising their arms at the musicians' demand. And at it's heart, it's just about everyone—the fans, the artists, the theatre audience, and Chappelle—just having a good time.

-www.samseescinema.com


21 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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