The true life story of Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene Jr. In the mid-to-late 1960s, in Washington, D.C., vibrant soul music and exploding social consciousness were combining to unique and powerful effect. It was the place and time for Petey to fully express himself - sometimes to outrageous effect - and "tell it like it is." With the support of his irrepressible and tempestuous girlfriend Vernell, the newly minted ex-con talks his way into an on-air radio gig. He forges a friendship and a partnership with fellow prison inmate Milo's brother Dewey Hughes. From the first wild morning on the air, Petey relies on the more straight-laced Dewey to run interference at WOL-AM, where Dewey is the program director. At the station, Petey becomes an iconic radio personality, surpassing even the established popularity of his fellow disc jockeys, Nighthawk and Sunny Jim. Combining biting humor with social commentary, Petey openly courts controversy for station owner E.G. Sonderling. Petey was ... Written by
In the scene where Petey and Dewey lock themselves in the DJ booth, Greene puts on an LP featuring Les McCann and Eddie Harris' song "Compared to What". The album the song appears on, 'Swiss Movement', wasn't released until 1969, though the scene predates Martin Luther King's assassination in April 1968. Another circa-1968 montage, set to Sly & the Family Stone's "I Want to Take You Higher", is set to a song released in 1969. See more »
Petey Greene: I'll tell it to the hot, I'll tell it to the cold. I'll tell it to the young, I'll tell it to the old. I don't want no laughin', I don't want no cryin', and most of all, no signifyin'. This is Petey Greene's Washington.
What a fascinating person Petey Greene was. What an important person Petey Greene. Sure he might have just seemed like a sharp-witted loud-mouth smart-ass, but his courage to speak out against the racial injustices of the 60s broke ground for later radio disjockeys such as Howard Stern, Don Imus and a lot more. 'Talk to Me', Kasi Lemmon's latest feature chronicling the rise and fall of radio dis-jockey turned talk show host Petey Greene is flawed but moving.
The film's biggest problem lies in the writing. There's a few parts in the middle of the film that really drag. The dialogue is realistic and often quite funny. Kasi Lemmons directing is adequate, while the cast is sensational. Don Cheadle is hysterical and compelling all at the same time. He perfectly embodies Greene, doesn't create an over-the-top character but a man we can relate and sympathize with. The multi-talented Chitwel Ejofor (Kinky Boots, Children of Men) is just as good in a less showy role as Greene's manager, and Tarj P. Henson is amusing to say the least as Greene's girlfriend. Martin Sheen and Mike Epps are solid in their small roles, and Cedric the Entertainer is decent in a role that really doesn't require much acting range.
All in all, 'Talk to Me' is a powerful movie wrapped around an intriguing real-life story. Grade: B+
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