Monday, September 8, 2014

Chris Rock is a Haitian Hero in "Top Five"

"Top Five" is one of those films where someone writes a check to the filmmaker and says "lay thine hands on this money and go forth and make your movie." It's every filmmaker's dream. No studio or financiers controlling your artistic vision. And truly Chris Rock did whatever the heck he wanted to do in this film and it worked. It is a hilarious movie. It's not pretentious. There's no "message". It's nearly 2 hours of raunchy hilarity. The depth of a couple of characters surprised me. Like Gabrielle Union who plays a superficial reality star. In one scene, she breaks down and I felt her pain for a second. Just a second then back to the funny. Warning: If you're a prude, when the movie gets to Houston 2003, close your eyes. 

Chris Rock plays Andre, a comedian, recovering alcoholic, who is now sober and has decided to do serious movies. His first dramatic movie is called "Uprize", a feature film about Bookman leading the Haitian revolution. Haiti is weaved throughout the film. The Haitian flag appears in several scenes. Unfortunately, no one takes "Uprize" seriously. Some people just can't see this comedian in a serious role. Others are too consumed with his upcoming wedding to a reality star to care about his career. And many are just upset that he would make a movie about killing White people. That joke is repeated throughout. A movie about the greatest slave rebellion of all times, Black slaves killing 50,000 Whites, that was not acceptable. White people were mad. In one scene, Andre says "George Bush killed thousands of Brown people in real life and I can't kill 50, 000 Whites in a movie?" Given the difficulties filmmakers have had to make a movie about the Haitian Revolution, most notably Danny Glover, that part of the film struck a cord with me. 

"Top Five" has numerous very funny bits, including a Seinfeld, Adam Sandler and Whoopie Goldberg cameo. But its most hilarious moment? D.M.X. what y'all really want?!?

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