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On route to the stage, singer James Brown recalls a life with a turbulent childhood where music was his only constructive release for his passions. A chance demonstration of that in prison led to a new friend who helped get him out and into a musical career. With his fire and creative daring, Brown became a star who defiantly created new possibilities in show business both on and behind the stage in face of racism and conventional thinking. Along the way, James would also become a peacemaker who redefined and raised the African-American community's feeling of self-worth when it was needed most. However, those same domineering passions would lead James Brown alienating everyone around him as his appetites became ever more self-destructive. Only after he hit rock bottom with a serious mistake does Brown realize what he needs to do make his life as the Godfather of Soul truly worthwhile. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
James Brown learns that the Rolling Stones will close the TV show, not him. Ben Bart says the band will soon be forgotten. Fifty years later, The Stones are still performing together, and frontman Mick Jagger is this film's executive music producer and one of its main producers. See more »
When the madam pays James, she peels off a roll of $1 bills.They're federal reserve notes with a green seal, introduced in the early 1960s. The bills should've been silver certificates or US notes with blue or red seals. See more »
When I hit the stage, people better be ready, especially the white folk
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All the time, effort and money that went into making this movie represents nothing more than a lost entertainment opportunity. There probably won't be another movie made about James Brown and his unique music, and instead of using all those resources to tell a story that celebrates the origins and making and performance of his incredible music, we get a beginning-to-end mish-mash of rank stereotypical negativity: angry black-man abusive father, absent uncaring mother, obligatory scenes of racism, and the ever present non-stop bickering.
Even worse, this whole sad story is told via the ridiculous overuse of senselessly jumping back and forth from time period to time period. The movie begins in 1988 with one of the worst opening scenes (and dialog) in movie history. Another cheap and senseless effect was to have our lead actor (whose vocal inflections often channeled Chris Rock) repeatedly look into the camera and speak directly to the audience.
The performance scenes, which should have been the highlight of the movie, had visual production value (he did a reasonable facsimile of JB's dance moves), but were musically weak (even though I believe they were JB's original tracks) because they never lasted long enough to capture nor portrayed the repetitively driving funky "groove" that was THE signature sound of James Brown and his kick-ass band.
One bright and intriguing performance was the brief scene by the actor who played Little Richard. One can only hope when and if a movie about HIS life is ever made, the screenplay will be written featuring and celebrating the music, not simply the gimmicky, amateurish editing of cheap, stereotypical drivel, as was done here.
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