Friday, March 18, 2016

$110 round trip flights to Chicago...anyone interested?

I’m  not even sure how to phrase any of this because I’m still not even sure what I’ve seen here, but what I do know is that this was a complete mess, and  by ‘mess’ I mean M-E-S-S.  Reviewing something like this is causing me all sorts of grief because there is nothing I can say to make any sort of sense out of this convoluted exploitation film.  It’s tacky, it’s offensive, it’s abrasive, it’s vulgar, it’s stupid…there are few things that this movie isn’t.

Oh, yeah, it isn’t genuine.

I’ll try and get to some sort of review in a minute, but I felt like the best way to do this may be to take you through a play by play of how I was feeling while watching this movie.  Like I said, I blame Mario for this.  He had to write a review that made me…anxious to watch this hot mess?  And then he pressured me into doing it immediately.  No, for real.  Like, he literally pressured me into stopping everything I was doing and sitting on the couch immediately to watch this mess of a film; and I did.

And I tweeted him the entire time.*

*Mario’s responses to my messages are omitted to protect the innocent

  • Shit, I just threw the kids in my room to watch a cartoon and I'm watching this in the living room.  What have I done?
  • What is up with this lyric video opening?  I feel like I'm watching Vevo.
  • Well, I feel no need to ever visit Chicago.
  • What the f*ck is wrong with John Cusack?  That is him, right?  Oh shit, is he banging Jennifer Hudson?  Why does he look like he worships vegetables?
  • This is either the best or worst movie I've ever seen
  • Oh my god!  "Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit"  I'm dying!
  • Oh, I hear you.  Like, what is this mess?
  • "Shut down the penis power"
  • The dialog is amazing!  Active duty va-gina.  At least it's entertaining as f*ck
  • Stupid as hell but I'm loving this mess.  I can't believe I considered not watching this at all.  OMG!  This church scene is everything!!!
  • I'm crying
  • Jesus hands coming up behind the singer is hilarious!
  • I love how Spike Lee thought this was a serious film.
  • This is like a really long Dave Chapelle skit.
  • Andrew Ellington
  • Oh shit, it's Cusack.  Is he like the Mackelmore of the black religious community?
  • I want a whopper and fries now.  Thanks for that Reverend Cusack.
  • I wanted to say that any film that opens with Nick Canon getting shot has my heart from the get go...but he was merely 'shot at' and so that means I have to continue to see him in almost every scene.
  • I want to be clear that I'm loving the unintentional awfulness of this.  It is in no way shape or form...a good movie.  Lol.
  • After watching Spotlight the other night, I can't look at John Cusack saying 'sexual appetite' and not feel creeped out.  Nevermind, it has nothing to do with Spotlight...that's just Cusack being Cusack.
  • OMG, the rhyming is amazing.  Like...this is such a hot mess.
  • This hallway army recruiting scene with the decrepit general is awkward.
  • Oh shit.  It just got worse.
  • What the actual f*ck is this?!?!
  • I don't want to see this.
  • Is he cumming on whistling dick?
  • "The n****s on the down low, even they say no blow"
  • I love how a day of no boning and they're already ready to bang each other.
  • Those strike signs!!!!
  • "Up dat booty".  Dude, this movie is awful but it's effing hilarious.
  • "Nappy pouch"?  This feels exploitive and degrading.  Spike Lee was pissed this wasn't nominated for Oscars?
  • So, they're basically singing to themselves...and performing for themselves...since the girls are inside grinding the floor?  Omg, did the girls just call the singing a bomb?
  • Lol he's being carried away on a cot because he's 'got booty on the brain'
  • I've gone three months without sex.  Its not that awful.
  • Wesley Snipes is hilarious here.
  • This film seems to be missing its own point.  I'm not even sure what this movie is about anymore.  Oh, yeah...pussy.
  • Omg, the Deliverance reference!!!
  • You said this movie was over four hours, right?
  • A showdown?  Oh dear this what you were talking about?
  • I swear, I thought Nick Canon was about to spell 'P-E-N-I-S'
  • Hot butter biscuits sound delicious.
  • What was Spike Lee smoking?
  • Wait, what?  Three months of no sex and now everyone gets a job?  What kind of SNL skit is this?
  • Lol, rewatch?  This?  Who's going to do that?
  • I can't take Nick Canon's purple sneakers seriously.
  • They match his tank top
  • Like a bitch
  • Omg, I just realized that Samuel L Jackson is 'Uncle Sam' Jackson
  • Thank Jesus this movie is over.
  • Dell needs to see this!

I don’t even know what to say here.  I think I said it all, but I didn’t really say anything at all, to be honest.  This film is a mess.  It claims to attempt to shed light on a truly staggering and alarming problem but it completely loses itself in its own tackiness and becomes derailed by its blatant vulgarity.  By the time the film was over, I had completely forgotten that this movie was SUPPOSED to be about the senseless violence and innocent victims lining the Chicago streets.  Instead, this became a ridiculous sex comedy that had zero intelligence in its construction.  Nothing was clever, it was all preposterous, exploitive and offensive.  It was funny as hell, sure, but in a completely unintentional manner.

When you have a message this important, you can’t present it in a way that completely dismisses the message.  This movie isn’t about children lost to stray bullets and a community ripped apart by violence.  This movie is about men losing their minds when they have no one to bang.  Everything else fades into the background.  We are too distracted by this tacky barrage of flaunted flesh, distasteful sexual jargon and preposterously constructed jokes aimed at the wrong ‘head’.

I ask, was Spike Lee serious with this?  I am no Spike Lee apologist either, so you’re looking in the wrong direction if you want someone who aches to defend him.  I have truly loved one of his films and find the rest of them bogged down by his inability to approach anything from an unbiased angle.  As a filmmaker and storyteller, it is his right to say whatever he wants and defend his opinion in whatever way he wants to, but as a moviegoer, it is my right to not like his movies.  That being said, at least the majority of his films (that I’ve seen) have a sense of self-respect associated to them.  He is passionate about what he wants to say and it bleeds into the fabric of his films and so I respect him for that, even if I find him to be an a**hole and don’t always agree with his viewpoints.  He at least tends to construct them in a manner that has merit.

Chi-Raq is a joke, but the wrong kind. 

I was laughing AT this film, not with it.


  1. I actually really dug this film. It was out there for sure, but it worked for me. I thought it had a nice balance between being over the top and actually making a good point.

    And "No peace, no pussy" will never stop being funny. lol

    1. It was just so messy to me...but funny, hells yes this was funny!

  2. Oh, I've been waiting for this....

    ...I won't apologize for Spike Lee. Instead, I will applaud him. I LOVED this movie. Audacious, crazy as hell, a singular vision delivered by a totally unique talent in American cinema. Like Lee's best films, it is theatrical, even stage-y (this one quite literally at times, and it delivers a message not about men who can't get laid but about lost men living in a society borne of violence. The theatrics of the "No peace, no pussy" concept are brilliantly executed and, through its fantasy, seems something that could actually work as a method to stop said violence. Here is a film that has no real answers but ideas.

    Black men are killing each other every day in many American cities (most excessively in Chicago), and it will take something as radical as "No peace. NO pussy" to stop it. It is an analogy for the type of radical progressive moves we need to be making in this country right now.

    I said fantasy earlier because this movie is a fantasy, and a play (written in totally "intentionally" hilarious verse), and a musical, and a comedy, and a drama. It does all of these things in a fun way and from all of that, and through that fun, it delivers plenty of ballsy heavy-handed least for me. Of course, I agree with Lee on this one, and I love many of his movies. I count two of his movies (Do the Right Thing and 25th Hour) as all-time favorites. This one is not at that level, but it is a fine return to form after some of Lee's latest projects.

    Miss you, man. And will continue to....

    1. I love that you connected to this. I feel so weird here because while I was watching this I was thinking "there is no way I'm in the minority here" but...alas...I am!

      I miss you, too.

  3. Aww, I was hoping you would like this one. I thought it was terrific, it hooked me in from the opening. Ditto what Kevin said.

    1. Sorry, bro...but good fodder for discussion!

  4. "Nothing was clever, it was all preposterous, exploitive and offensive."

    ...which is EXACTLY what makes it a perfect adaptation of Lysistrata.

    The Greek comedies were vulgar as hell, and often went for the lowest common denominator in their comedy stylings. But that didn't stop them from taking on important issues when the occasion arose. The power of Lysistrata comes from the sex holdout being completely ridiculous - that is how it shines a light on war (or, in the case of Chi-Raq, gang gun violence) being equally ridiculous, when you come right down to it. Because what is war if not men trying to prove who's the most manly, one aspect of which is their dick size/proficiency in the sack?

    Yes, the film is a bit of a mess. The scene with the old codger in the fort the girls take over is the most WTF thing I've seen in a good long while, but that messiness feels right somehow. Like, have you ever felt so strongly about something that words just pour out of your mouth without much thought for logic or form or coherence? Yeah, I know this is a professional piece of entertainment and we should expect more, but it really felt to me like a conscious choice, as opposed to a lack of focus or judicious editing.

    At any rate, is Chi-Raq a mess? Is it ragged, and ridiculous, and at times embarrassing? Yes. It is. But it is all of those things (and more) in service of a righteous sense of anger and passion. And I'd rather have more films full of that kind of fire than careful, well-groomed, over-directed schlock that pretends to greatness on the sole basis of its technical merit, any day of the week.

  5. Haha I love this review,yet another reason I'm gonna miss reading your posts. This movie was such atrocious garbage. I'm not even sure what was going through Spike's mind before he made this joke. It truly is a joke.

    1. I'll miss being here, but from time to time I'll post something.

  6. LOL, this review is BRILLIANT. I love how differently we responded to the film. Like, I'd easily call this Spike's best film in years.