Saturday, December 1, 2007

Denzel's Hardcore ... AGAIN?

When they began filming American Gangster in Harlem I watched as the production team weaved through the area, watching how the crowds gathered to get a peek at Denzel Washington as he stood outside the iconic spot Lenox Lounge. As famous personalities go, Denzel Washington kept his distance, mostly pointing and waving from a distance. Cameras clicking, video cams held high, for the most part, the community was satisfied with what they got. I, on the other hand, wanted to know what that movie was about and what was Denzel’s motivation for doing the role. That wasn’t going to happen so I went home and did what I do best, research. I got home and googled Denzel for his current projects.

I was curious now. Denzel was filming American Gangster. For the longest I had wanted to see this film. I don't know why, maybe it was because I was caught up in the excitement of the NYC crowd, maybe part was that it was a Black themed film, or maybe it was bragging rights to tell people that I was there while the movie was being filmed in my hood. I guess it was more the fact that the story takes place in Harlem NY, although seedy, it was an American story.

I posted the film’s promos and linked it to my blog initially leading up to the premier but as the opening day quickly approached I must have been inundated with too much advertisement from shows like; COPS, JAIL, THE ACACDEMY, MSNBC: TO CATCH A PREDATOR, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICS: PRISON NATION, MSNBC: LOCKUP SERIES and BET'S: AMERICAN GANGSTERS. I was burnt out. By the time I got to the theater I stood in line waiting to buy my ticket and as I stood there second in line I just wasn't feeling it. I didn't care who was in it, Black or not. As I got closer to the point of no return I asked myself, “Did I really want to see Denzel Washington now playing the Gangster?”

Lets look at Denzel’s recent body of work since his last good film, ‘John Q’ released in 2002 – my opinion. We saw him play a Bad Cop in (Training Day) and again in (Out of Time). We saw him play the Bad Bodyguard (Man on Fire). Then we saw him play the intense and Obsessive Cop (Inside Man) and again in (Déjà Vu) and now a Cold a Cruel Street Thug kind of like the Alonzo character in Training Day just that he has not badge and he is a gang leader in 'American Gangster'.

I just couldn’t do it. I decided to watch something else.The next day I read the reviews, “THE NEXT TRUE AMERICAN STORY”, “A NEW AMERICAN CLASSIC”, “A STORY THAT WILL DEFINE AMERICA” and this one was the best, “THIS FILM WILL BE CONSIDERED THE NEXT GODFATHER TO A NEW GENERATION’.

The Black Gangster is now defining America. I was done. Weeks later, I have detoxed my mind with several days of no media stimulants and started back with surfing the Internet. I surfed and came across a new website called the Panache Report. There I read the real deal about Black Gangsters and you know what, I think I did the right thing by not seeing American Gangster. They got is all wrong.

Oh and looking at what Denzel Washington is filming next, ‘THE GREAT DEBATE’, a drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school's first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.

It would seem he’s doing 'REMEMBER THE TITANS' meets a debate team. “Oooooooo I can’t wait to be in line for that one.”

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