February 26 and 27, 2000, the Original Kings of Comedy play Charlotte, NC. The themes are Blacks and Whites, men and women, old-school and hip-hop. Steve Harvey emcees, celebrates '70s music and lyrics of love, and pokes at folks in the front row. D.L. Hughley mines racial differences and talks about his marriage. Cedric the Entertainer riffs on a Black president and on being grown up. Bernie Mac, who says he expresses what's in the back of our minds, closes with reflections on being 42 (new aspects to his sex life and his attitude toward children). Spike Lee's camera takes us backstage and off-stage with the Kings and into the crowd where everyone's laughing.Written by
The Kings of Comedy, black comedy as seen by Spike Lee. The script, in a word FUNNY. Judging from some of the movie theater audience reactions to some of the jokes, "The Kings" demonstrate the power of today's leading kings of stand up. Pryor and Murphy would be proud to pass the crown down to these funny men. Steve Harvey (the best MC in the business, sorry Martin), stole the show with his antics about "ol' school" music and black folks on the Titanic, stirred the crowd to a frenzy before each of his fellow "Kings" took stage.
So why do I hate this film? Answer: SPIKE LEE, The RIGHT movie, wrong director. I paid $9.50 to watch a bad Spike Lee home video. Try sitting through a feature-length film of images transferred from video onto a giant silver screen, It is no picnic, believe me. The production values were non-existent. Transferred video images show pronounced jaggies from anti-aliased edges, a obvious result of bad video compression, VERY distracting. I'm sitting in a Loews "state-of-the-art" theater with stadium seating, a curved screen, dolby surround sound, getting dizzy from all the fuzzy, out of focus, video images with scan lines flying across the screen. My portable DVD player has better resolution than that. To add insult to injury, Lee placed a unmanned, motorized video camera in front of the stage, making it pan left and right by remote control (for a similar effect, try taping a videocamera to a remote control car and let it go back and forth, at full throttle while filming a subject). PRODUCTION NOTE to aspiring film makers: Jerky camera movements will induce motion sickness and bad headaches.
Dumb move, Spike. Documentary style filmmaking can be funny too. Learn from Robert Townsend who directed Murphy's RAW. Watch Alek Keshishian's Madonna: "Truth or Dare". Why not take the viewer to really meet the "Kings" while on their tour? Lets meet some of the "Kings" family members. Why shoot the entire film in North Carolina? It is a 2 year tour right? Why not do more backstage and behind the scenes? Why did you not interview audience members? Spike, Wazz up??
As for production values, Spike, we gotta draw the line. Just because it is easier for you to shoot video, doesn't mean you have to. People get up and go to theaters and pay good money to watch FILM. NOTHING compares to images captured on conventional film. WE GOTTA HAVE IT!
Coincidentally, one of the trailers played before the "Kings" feature is an upcoming feature film also directed by Lee entitled "Bambozzled" or something like that. it looks like Lee shot the film by himself, left the mike in his pocket. Used the same damn camcorder, too. Its like watching a TV through a dirty fish tank. I'll skip that one and stay home, watch HBO instead.
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