I was so jazzed for this movie to come out. I am an Azealia Banks fan; always have been and probably always will be. Is she a stereotypical #yourproblematicfav ? Yeah, probs…but honestly, her rawness as a person is what I find so endearing. And also, while I’m here defending the great AB, there are so many other potentially toxic celebrities out there who continue to be supported because of their “undeniable talent,” so why can’t this be her too? Especially since, if you follow any of her social media ranting you can actually see she is growing as a human being, like the rest of us. Which is frankly, refreshing and inspiring.
*Deep breath* …so back to Love Beats Rhymes. This movie is so cutesy. Which is my primary gripe. It is so corny 90’s–and some moments it feels cute and warm and familiar and the next minute I’m trying not to vomit in my mouth. The plot isn’t even that terrible (ala 10 Things I Hate About You; I’m corny but that’s what you came for), the acting is pretty good for most of the major characters, but the script! is so! yuck! Like, I’m glad we finally get to see Azealia Banks come into the movie world but I’m sad that now I have to couch my applause for her acting talent in the disclaimer about how the movie itself is kinda meh. I really, really hope this opens the door for her to do some more serious acting work.
(((And super tangentially, if we’re gonna spend any time talking about mini-Drake…can we talk about a real life Azealia Banks x Drake couple? How cute it could be? *hums Mariah’s “Make It Happen”*)))
I think what I loved most about the film was how it shows how there are so many different textures to rap/spoken word/poetry. How as an art form it can be used not only for bravado and anger, but also pain, happiness, romance, or uncertainty. The rap vs. poetry thread was a little heavy handed, but it ultimately does a good job of explaining about how each strengthens the other.
Summary: I’m glad I watched it once. I would watch it again if a friend hadn’t seen it. I would not watch it again by myself.
Black Girl Magic: We go to 11.
This was a good movie & I’m glad I got to see it in the theaters…but it could have been better.
For the most part, the casting was done well in terms of balancing actors who look like the real-life people, but are also able to act. My only small gripe was that the chick they cast for Faith Evans was a little too light–I only bring it up because in combination with using her time-appropriate bleach blonde look, it just looked like a white girl & for a second I was like “who is this again” until they started referring to her as Faith. Not a big deal, it was just a little confusing. I was also a little amused at Bonnie Bennett as Jada Pinkett?? Like…let’s look at this…
I’m not saying there’s no resemblance, but like…was Zoe Kravitz not available?? Let’s move on…
The way they were able to weave the hits into the fabric of the storytelling was well done. Not all music biopics do this well and it has the effect of feeling like a VH1 documentary rather than a cinematic endeavor. I also feel like, overall, they did a good job of showing Tupac as a complex man. This was really important to me because it is a huge part of what makes his music and message so meaningful.
One of my bigger gripes with the film were the general treatment of time transitions. They were spanning quite a lot of time, but they way they set up these cuts seemed a little disjointed. My other meh feeling is about the treatment of his death. Throughout this whole film, we see how his decisions to affiliate with the scarier members of the scene contribute to his untimely death. And yet, in the close of his death scene he has choruses singing like he was some fallen angel who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, when in reality he was involved in a world full of gang members who killed people. Not only is it not surprising that he was murdered, but it’s painful to see his demise almost glorified. Was it terrible that such an amazing artist and poet died well before his time? Yes. But it’s not like he got hit by a bus or his plane inexplicably fell from the sky. He was murdered -very probably- due to his interactions with some very dangerous people. My concern is that young folks will watch this movie and see the glory and fame of the rap game and interpret this choral rise to God scene as a glorification of a gangster death. Like that is some sort of height to be attained. And what we don’t need is any more kids joining gangs and ending up in these same idiotic feuds that killed some of our most talented musicians because they are seeing the 90’s gangster aesthetic reinforced in this film.
If you haven’t seen it in theaters yet, it is at the very least worth hearing some great song bumped LOUD. Also the acting was pretty good. If you have to pay more than $10 to see a movie in your town, then you can probably wait until RedBox. : D
Smino is a new fav. I cannot wait to catch ’em all. lalala
But in all seriousness. This is a nice little groove. I’m on a dancehall and hip-hop kick…so this is both. It has a really basic beat, but it’s so smooth.