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Eyes on the Prize (1987)
One Of The Best Documentaries Ever Made
This is the most comprehensive, detailed, and informative series of any covering the Civil Rights struggles from the early stages through the 1980's. This is a must see for any person looking to get information and insight on what the struggle for equality was like for black people in America. They compile actual footage from historical events, along with interviews with some of the people who were actually there. This series will make you go through a range of emotions as you actually feel of part of the history that you are viewing. Julian Bond, (who participated in many of these events) does a masterful job a narrating the entire series. This is one series that you must have in your collection.
Purple Rain (1984)
The Purple One Reigns Supreme
When this movie first came out back in 1984, Prince was one of the hottest acts around. Everyone wanted to see this movie, which was not much more than a extended music video. The acting was pretty bad, but what can you expect from musicians acting on the big screen for the first time? Despite that, it was still a very entertaining film! Morris Day and Jerome Benton provide some all time classic comedy, especially their rendition of "The Password", which will make you think of Abbott & Costello doing their "who's on first" baseball routine.
Appolina (who went by a single name then) provided some beautiful breasts, so you had the brief nudity covered. Plus, she is very attractive. And of course, the soundtrack of the album is one of the best Prince ever recorded. Prince later on had a fallout with Warner Bros. and changed his name, but at this particular time in his career, he was at the top of his game.
This movie doesn't rank in the all time great category, but it is pretty entertaining.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
When I first came across the title "Shawshank Redemption" I didn't have a clue as to what it was about, since I didn't know the plot. But it had Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman as it's stars, so I figured that it was worth a peek. What a peek!! This movie is awesome!! Not the classic tale of a innocent man being sent to jail for a crime that he didn't commit, this movie was much more detailed. It shows you how cruel prison life can be. (Although, if you want a better picture of prison life today, I suggest watching "American Me") You have everything in this picture, Corrupt Prison Warden, Sadistic Guards, and a innocent man caught in the middle. You can not help but admire Tim Robbins character "Andy Dufresne" as he waits patiently for almost 20 years before he is able to rectify his situation. Talk about patience and perseverance! This is one movie that will tug at your heart. Excellent movie.
When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
A Cute Little Love Story
This movie has one of the most classic scenes in the history of cinema. The scene where Sally tells Harry how easy it is for a woman to fake an orgasm and then, demonstrates it in the restaurant is straight classic!! That part alone, is worth watching the movie. On a whole, it's a cute story about falling in love, and finding love where you least expect it. The principle characters Harry (Billy Crystal) & Sally (Meg Ryan) find their paths keep crossing after a chance meeting while driving to New York. They try to set their friends up with each other, before realizing that they are the ones who are meant for each other. A cute film.
New York Undercover (1994)
The Best Police Drama Of The 90's!!
This series was without a doubt, the best police drama made in the 90's. It was action packed, contemporary, well written, cutting edge material. The show evolved around the characters of J.C.Williams & Eddie Torres who were so connected with the gritty streets of N.Y.C., it made them naturals for the undercover work that they were assigned. Lt. Cooper was perfect as the no nonsense commander of the unit who gave them just enough flexibility to get the job done. The story lines read out of the newspaper of the day and every week, they would have whoever was the top current musical artist perform at "Natalie's", so the show stay current with the times.
The show went south when the stars tried to pull a "Friends" and demand higher salaries and wanted their contracts renegotiated. The producers responded by killing off Torres and replacing Cooper. It was a shame, because the show was a hit. After DeLorenzo & D'Arbanville left the show, it only lasted one more season, and it was not as good as the first three seasons. I'm not sure if it is on DVD, but if it is, it's worth the price.
Porky's II: The Next Day (1983)
A Sequel That Should Have Never Been Made!!
This movie is terrible. STRAIGHT TERRIBLE!! One of the worst movies ever made!! I went to see this movie because the first one was so good, I thought that the "sequel" would be at least decent. WRONG!! The plot was weak and the acting was hokey. It was just a terrible movie. The director tried to capitalize on the popularity of the first movie, and rushed to make this B.S. They should have just left well enough alone. Kim Cattrell (Who later gained fame on "Sex And The City") didn't even bother to reprise her role as "Miss Honeywell" which should have been the indicator of how bad this movie was. Don't even watch this on video or DVD! A total waste of film!! Matter of fact, you need to find the producer and ask him for a refund!!
A Blind Man Who Had A Vision
When you do a bio of a person, usually the movie lacks in some capacity, (See Malcolm X or The Greatest) however,this movie does Ray Charles justice.
The movie takes you from Ray's early childhood in dirt poor Florida, going blind as a young child, having a strong mother who wouldn't let her son's physical handicap stop him mentally, through his rise to stardom and his drug habit. Also, his womanizing ways are documented, which was an unexpected sub-plot.
The music is authentic, and the casting is superb.
Jamie Foxx does a brilliant job portraying Charles. He is so realistic, you can actually look at the pictures of him and the real Ray at that age, and do a double take.
This is a movie worth going to see.
The Mack (1973)
The "Ultimate" PIMP Movie
If you want to look at the orgins of the so called "blaxploitation" movies of the 1970's, then look no further than "The Mack", as one of the forerunners. This movie explored the world of the street PIMP, which during that time, in the black community, was actually a quasi respected way of making a living. Up until that time, PIMPS were just accepted in the black community, however, this movie sort of "glorified" PIMPING, and gave it some twisted form of respectability. Not that PIMPS were looked upon as leaders in the community, on the contrary, they were not. However, with their flashy clothes, cars, and high end living, theirs was a profession that was envied by many. Men wanted to live out their fantasies of having multiple women, and PIMPS provided this escape.
As far as the movie, for the time period, it was good. If you look at it 30 years after, you have to put it into perspective for the period. Max Julien is Goldie, a petty thief who turns to PIMPING upon his release from prison. Richard Pryor is his loyal sidekick, Slim, and together they go from the bottom to the top of the PIMP game. Along the way, you see the Goldie has a heart, it was is really a heartless business.
Of course you have your crooked white cops and some other hilarious PIMPS. (NOTE: Some real live PIMP'S were also used in this movie, so it does have some degree of authenticity) Roger E. Mosley does a great job as Goldie's brother who is against everything that Goldie stands for.
If you are interested in PIMPING, then this is a must see movie.
The Fugitive (1993)
The thing about this movie that makes it so great, is that if you knew the T.V. series from the 1960's of the same name, you knew the outcome. Yet, they were able to make this movie very interesting. It doesn't hurt to have Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones, (Who was superb as Sam Gerard) star, but this movie is very well done.
I only saw a couple episodes of the original "Fugitive" starring David Jansen, but I know from research that it was a extremely popular show in the 1960's. The same basic plot was used in the motion picture version, with a twist, that can be related to in today's society. That's what makes the picture credible. This movie may not match original T.V. series in popularity, however it does do it justice in terms of believability.