Monday, December 30, 2013

The Wolf of Wall Street

Based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfort, The Wolf of Wall Street follows his rise from a penny stockbroker in a Long Island strip mall in the 80’s to a tycoon, complete with mansions, a helicopter, luxury cars, a yacht, a model wife and lots of drugs and hookers. The movie is shameless, vulgar, savage, filthy, and a hilarious re-telling of Belfort’s maniacal and short reign at the top, masterfully crafted by director Martin Scorsese.

Jordan Belfort was the ambitious and charismatic founder of a white-shoe criminal enterprise disguised as a legitimate brokerage firm named Oakmont Stratton, who made himself and his partners fabulously wealthy at the expense and exploitation of the desperation of the broader American public and got off nearly scot free--even after multiple fraud convictions. But this film could care less about the victim’s of his crimes. This is not a message movie. This film is about Belfort living high on the hog at the expense of other's desires to get rich. And he lived comfortably in the abyss as long as there was a multi-million dollar cushion to sleep on every night.

Leonardo DiCaprio gives a wildly mesmerizing and over the top performance as Belfort, narrating his own tale with the smirk and the swagger of Anthony Robbins mixed with Gordon Gecko high on Quaaludes, Xanax, Adderall, Weed, Morphine and Cocaine “because it’s awesome.” For three quick hours, DiCaprio (and his merry band of broker thieves) bang hookers, snort coke from the cracks of hooker’s asses, do copious amounts of drugs and live lavishly at the highest velocity in a wash of testosterone, adrenaline and insanity. His fellow cast mates are also impressive. Jonah Hill embraces his inner scumbag as Jordan’s right hand man Donnie Azoff, Margot Robbie gives a stellar performance as Jordan’s second wife Naomi and Matthew McConaughey delivers a scene stealing performance as Jordan’s mentor in a brief scene schooling him on money, masturbation and cokeDiCaprio will get a best actor nod at the Oscar’s nomination ceremony, if not; someone really has it out for dude at the academy.

From the first person narration to the clever soundtrack, the movie plays like a master course in cinematic excellence. The screenplay by Terence Winter featuring set pieces about the various grades of prostitutes, inner-family marriage and gay sex is hilarious and a marvel of indecency. In addition, recent critics of director Martin Scorsese will be astonished at the brilliance of this bacchanal masterpiece that follows in the cinematic footsteps of other Scorsese classics, Goodfellas and The Departed. In fact, Jordan Belfort reminded me a lot of Goodfellas’ protagonist Henry Hill. They are both men that did despicable things, but I liked them both and although they broke the law I found myself rooting for them. Similarly, at the end both characters endure the same fate.

If you are, looking for a cautionary tale about the evils of Wall Street bankers or a scathing indictment of capitalism this movie is not for you. The Wolf of Wall Street is a tour de force of gorgeous filth and is not a film for the faint of heart. The greed, debauchery and decadence of the lifestyles of the rich and sleazy are all on display here. I will admit that the film could have been a half an hour short. A three-hour running time is a bit self-indulgent, but my criticism ends there. The Wolf of Wall Street is not thoughtful or groundbreaking. However, if you are a fan of excellent film making and incredible acting, you will not be disappointed.

Friday, November 22, 2013

10 Things I Learned at the Yeezus Show Last Night

1. For everyone who said the Yeezus album sucked. Last night, there were about 15,000 people who disagree with you.

2. According to Kanye West, YEEZUS doesn't mean he compares himself to Jesus, it is an anagram for Ye Is Us. 

3. I understand the Yeesuz album much better now that I've seen the songs performed live.

4. Some white people’s bodies still respond strangely to rhythm.

5. As an artist Kanye West is an instigator. Everything he does is calculated. He is trying to get under our skin deep enough to keep us talking about him. He wants to live in our mind's forever.

6. You won’t kill Kanye West’s motherfuckin' dreams. I heard this so much last night I believe it.

7. When you hear an arena full of people singing the chorus to “Don’t like” in Unison while simultaneously holding up the roc-a-fella sign, shit starts feeling and looking cult like.

8. Kanye West's music is so good that it makes white girls hug each other and cry.

9. Kanye is really pissed off at the fashion industry.

10. Kanye West feels like a martyr or at least that’s what he wants us to believe. My Libra senses were tingling last night and I paid attention to all of the messianic imagery and religious overtones. Dude believes he is a pop culture sacrificial lamb or some shit. To be clear: He'll die for his art and he doesn't give a fuck!

I've seen a lot of live shows in my time and this was one of the most impressive live concerts I've ever seen. The show included a 50 foot mountain with a circular projection screen hovering above it showing images throughout the performance, an ascending stage, a dozen or so female dancers, an insane light show, two epic Kanye rants and a wolf with LED eyes. I was both amazed and inspired last night. Kanye gets a lot of flack for the outrageous statements he makes, but what intense creative doesn't make questionable statements from time to time? Kanye has been every bodies homie in at least one Jam and all of his antics aside, I get Kanye and what he is trying to accomplish in music and in the fashion industry, but I think often his passion gets confused with madness. Anyway, epic night. Had tons of fun. Til next blog...Two fingers.

Monday, August 26, 2013

See Miley Twerk

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The MTV Music Awards invaded Brooklyn, NY last night. The annual event was held at The Barclay's Center on Atlantic ave in The County of Kings for the first time. I didn't watch the show. Ridiculously paid singers, under performing in front of a room full of other ridiculously paid entertainers, groupies and weed carriers just doesn't appeal to my entertainment value system. On my usual morning trek around the internet universe I came across a few videos of performances from the show. Justin Timberlake performing and receiving the Michael Jackson award or some shit for his contributions to music, Bruno Mars singing what sounded like a love song titled Gorilla and Miley  Cyrus doing everything she could to make you weep for the memory of Hannah Montana.

Upon further investigation I realized that I am not the only person that wanted to bleach out my eyes after seeing her performance which included, horrendous singing, random horny teddy bears and a 20 -year old Miley twerking her emaciated ass cheeks all over 36- year old Robin Thicke’s crotch while he was decked out in Beetle Juice couture and looking smirky and comfortable in the glory of his Marvin Gaye thievery. Blurred Lines is a cool song, but it is “Got to Give It Up” the White dude version. I mean, come on people.

Anyways, Social media is on fire about Miley’s attempt at entertainment last night. I came across so much hilarious slander from tweets, statutes and comments this morning that I had to add my two cents. A big area of contention is over Miley Cyrus ‘fascination with twerking. Twerking is a dance that young hood women (and some brothers  0_0)  did happily and without public scrutiny in strip clubs, house parties and bedrooms all across America until a few celebrities caught on and made its ratchet genius known all over the world. Just to be clear, twerking was a phenomenon before Miley Cyrus and to be real she is horrible at it. You can go on YouTube, WorldStarHipHop and other video sharing sites and see young, supple bunned tenderonis shaking their money makers to whatever song that brought the twerk out their scantily clad spirits doing it the right way. You can even find some older, molded pieces of bread shaking their cabooses too, but I digress.

My two cents is: I don’t give a shit about a young, white and filthy rich singer adopting one element of black hood culture and utilizing it to her professional advantage. That is nothing new. Our less melanated brethren and sistren have been doing that for years. Miley isn't the first singer to use her sexuality to compensate for a lack of vocal talent. I was more horrified about her running around on stage, half naked, rubbing her flat pale turd cutter against Robin Thicke who was dressed like a prisoner from the 1800's. All jokes aside. I’m too old to be concerned about what a 20-year old that is not my daughter is doing anyway. To keep it real and right, it’s her ass, her image and her life; she can do whatever the hell she wants to do. Her choices. Her consequences.

I think that the effect of criticism blood lust perpetuated by bandwagon bashing makes some folks forget that popular entertainment is just an illusion. None of that shit is real, so relax. I get that comment threading is a virtual cultural experience, but why get so worked up over something that doesn't personally affect your life? Miley seems to be doing what other former Disney stars have done in the past and that is aggressively asserting her adulthood  because she wants to do what other adults do without being stigmatized because of a show she started before she got her period. Public acceptance of her new life seems to be the motivation for her behavior (and perhaps recreational drug usage, but that’s another blog post.) She isn't Hannah Montana. That is a character she played when she was a pre-teen. And I’ll bet money that she isn't the tongue wagging, awkwardly twerking chick shaped like Hank Hill from King Of The Hill in the privacy of her own home with Thor’s brother or around friends and family either. The fascination with Miley Cyrus twerking is the blue pill. The entertainment industry profiting off of our fascinations is just the other side of the game. No Badu. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Moet Movie Review: Lee Daniels' The Butler

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Let me start this review by saying I liked Lee Daniels’ The Butler, however, I think it would've been a more potent and affecting film without the quickie presidential drop –ins by big names stars wearing bad make up. And although I couldn't deny some of the stumbles in this epic historical drama about the battle between Uncle Tom-ism and radicalism that divided African-Americans during The Civil Rights movement, Lee Daniel’s The Butler captivated me and won me over by movies end.

Based on the life of Eugene Allen a fixture in The White House for over three decades. The Butler begins on a segregated cotton plantation in 1926 where a young Cecil Gaines watches his mother (Mariah Carey) raped and his father (David Banner) murdered by a white plantation owner (Alex Pettyfer). Taken in and made a “house nigger” by the family’s matriarch (Vanessa Redgrave), Cecil soon leaves, picking up a job where he is trained to serve professionally, that lead to employment at a ritzy Washington D.C. hotel and ultimately 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The opening scenes in the film do a good job of indicating the fear that builds subservience in Cecil’s psyche.

At The White House Cecil’s humility and charm disarms his fellow butlers (Lenny Kravitz and a great Cuba Gooding, Jr.) and the various presidents he serves.  Those scenes are cool but, it’s the family angle that gives The Butler its greatness. Oprah Winfrey is a revelation as Gloria, Cecil’s obstinate and not so dutiful wife, who sublimates her frustration over her husband’s devotion to The Oval Office by finding solace in booze and an affair with a neighbor (Terrance Howard). Winfrey is awesome; she fills her role with heart, attitude, and wonderful resilience.

It’s Gloria who tries to provide common ground between Cecil ( a stellar Forrest Whitaker) and his oldest son Louis (a solid David Oyolewo) who looks down on what he perceives to be his father's servitude to the white man and sprints in the opposite direction by attending marches and meetings. The father and son rift reaches a breaking point when Louis indicts Sidney Poitier as Hollywood’s Uncle Tom, a not veiled attack on Cecil that make the dramatic sparks roar.  The Butler is at its best in those moments when it's addressing how the different approaches of two men to racial inequality — one working from within, one from without — can be equally valid courses of action and might even complement each other. The rest of the time, the film is entertaining but awfully slender — a light look at heavy history.

Despite its flaws, The Butler is strongly crafted, solidly acted and it shows Lee Daniels’ has evolved as a director. It is a turbulent, emotionally, overpowering film at times that’s a touching reminder of how the possible is possible and for that reason you may leave with a tear in your eye, if not a few. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My First Chapbook

Jive Talkin' With The Universe is the title of my first chapbook. Although, the pieces I selected to be included in this collection are pretty old, I am satisfied with how the book came out. I struggled with the idea of releasing a chapbook initially, but after various threats, teeth sucking and eye rolling from various friends who felt that a book release was long overdue I decided to put this collection of poems together with Two Pens and a Lint publishing services. The pieces in the book represent a certain time and space in my life and a lot has changed since I first penned these particular poems. Some of the themes are no longer relevant to me, but they are damn good poems-- to toot my own if I may. Themes include: My introversion, marital separation (we are still great friends though.), my adoration for Nas,  self-reflection, love, individual expression and other stuff. If you like me and I know you do, I mean, how could you not? *big smile* You can purchase my book at or order it from me directly, just send me an email inquiry: and I will send you an autographed copy.

Titles Included:

    Haiku Intro
    Moet with Medusa
    2 Rappers Slain
    Mind Spray
    Haiku Break
    Sugar Cane Brain
    Sometimes I
    Crisis Teaching Rap
    Haiku Break
    Things I Didn’t Want You to Know
    The Declarations of Jason
    You Are
    Ralph Off of Fulton
    Light Verse
    Haiku Break
    Mt. Rainier Unhinged
    Benning Road
    Haiku Outro

    Thanks in advance. October out!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Moral Dilemma: Hit and Run

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One morning you are driving to work, and as per usual you are running a bit late, so you are driving a touch faster than the speed limit. You reach down to your stereo to change the CD, when all of a sudden your car hits something solid. You spin to a stop, but not before several more cars have run into you and each other in an attempt to avoid the accident.
As you look up and out of your car, you can see that you hit a person, and that the person is not looking very good. In fact, you are sure that they are dead. You shakily get out of your car, and look around at the damage that has been caused. Several cars have been badly smashed up, but more importantly you have killed someone with your careless driving.
As you are standing there in shock, a woman comes up to you, tears running down her face, and obviously very shook up. As a natural reaction, you ask her what is wrong. She gives you a funny look, and then she explains that she just ran over someone. You ask her where this person is, and she points towards the person that you ran over!
You don’t understand why, but for some reason this woman thinks that she caused this accident and killed the person, when in fact you are well aware that you were the cause. Whoever accepts the blame is likely to be placed in jail for a very long time. If you let the woman take the blame, there is a very good chance you will get away with it all. However, there is also the chance that you could be placed in jail for even longer for trying to cover it up.
What do you do?