Sunday, March 05, 2006

Joy On Celluloid

Last night I saw the movie The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. I highly recommend the film, but I want to tell you about another movie. Waiting in line to buy my tickets, I noticed a couple debating on what to see. They were talking to one of the movie employees asking about Dave Chappelle's Block Party. The employee hadn't seen it, and gave complaints he heard from other people. After he left, I felt I needed to step in. Throwing out my fear of talking to strangers, I told them, "It's a great movie. I saw it last night. Chappelle's funny and the live performances are outstanding." They didn't listen. I hope they will eventually change their mind and see this movie. If they don't, they will miss out on one of the most joyful films I've seen in awhile.

A month after signing his $50 million contract with Comedy Central Chappelle organized a block party in Brooklyn. This is the documentary covering not only the concert, but organizing the block party, and Chappelle in his home town passing out tickets to the party. Now I should let you know that Chapelle grew up in Yellow Springs, OH which is maybe five miles from Cedarville. So, I got a personal kick out seeing him walk around places I recognize. The personal highlights for me being him at Ha Ha Pizza talking about how you used to be able to order "special" mushrooms for your pizza, and offering a trip to Brooklyn for the Central State drum line. The same drum line I would go watch every now and then.

There are two stars in the movie. The first obviously being Chappelle and his easy going manner with everyone. Everyone loves Chappelle and it's clear why. It's not just because he's so damn funny. The second star is also the live performances which show the power and what the good in Hip-hop. Chappelle has recruited his favorite acts that include, The Roots, Talib Kweli, Kool G. Rap, Cody Chestnutt, Dead Prez, Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Bilal, Kanye West, Big Daddy Kane, Jill Scott, Common, and a reunited Fugees. My one complaint is that the performances are cut a little to fit the film. This isn't just a bunch of bands playing their hits and leaving. This is a democratic concert. All the groups work together to show the genius and passion of live Hip-hop. The biggest goose-bump moment was having Kanye West in the throws of "Jesus Walks" while the Central State drum line backs him up. This is what hip-hop is, and it's not what you see on MTV.

Joy is seen in the faces through this whole movie from Chappelle hanging with kids at a care center, to the audience, to those visiting New York for the first time. Those aren't the only faces that will be smiling with joy. Yours will too.

Watch the trailer here.

Since I have the albums of most of those in the film, I put them up in the player on the right. I also threw in some other songs that are great. I guess I should also warn you there is some strong language.

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