Monday, January 18, 2010

Chili and donuts

This past weekend, I experienced two different movies that I responded to in exactly polar opposite ways: Black Dynamite and Rob Zombie's Halloween 2. I had considered watching Halloween 2 a few hours before Black Dynamite, but I chose to watch them on different nights (Black Dynamite on Saturday night and Halloween 2 on Sunday night).

Boy did I make the right call with that one.

I will admit that I was really excited to see Black Dynamite while I had more of a curiosity in seeing Halloween 2. I mean, while I have a lot of hostility towards remakes in general, Zombie's first Halloween is quite good (and Richard really, really liked the theatrical version of H2). Knowing that the unrated, director's cut of H2 is what you get on DVD, I figured this was closer to what Zombie wanted in his mind instead of the studio's. Can't go wrong there, right?

Well, what Zombie had in mind wasn't exactly what I had in mind for something I'd like to purchase, let alone watch again.

I admire how the film is just brutal and doesn't rehash the beats from the previous film. But because the film is almost 100 percent bleak, I can't say that's what I'd want to watch again. I'm not somebody that must have happy endings to be good or rewatchable, but H2 felt like being in the UFC Octogon for fourteen rounds (instead of three) with no flash KOs, submission, or TKOs allowed.

Still, I'm glad I watched that to reflect on the exact opposite from the previous night.

I went into Black Dynamite hoping that it would be the blaxploitation equivalent to the genius slasher spoof, Student Bodies. As great as its trailers were, this was bound to be a favorite of mine. Putting such high stakes on the potential greatness was worth it, at least in my eyes.

After seeing a midnight screening at the Inwood, I can't begin to tell you how incredibly funny and smart this film is. If you thought the trailer was good, the whole thing rewards you aplenty.

Black Dynamite is a fast-paced, mocking-but-loving spoof of blaxploitation films from the 1970s, like Superfly, The Mack, Dolemite, and so on. There are plenty of visual gags, musical gags, Fourth Wall winks, smart plays on words, and a restaurant that specializes in chili and donuts. Yes, chili and donuts.

Seeing the film with a full capacity crowd that really wanted to see the film definitely added to the enjoyment. That experience was certainly different than seeing Halloween 2 at home by myself.

I didn't expect two completely different movies to have the polar opposite effect on me, but that's what happened. I like those little epiphanies in life, and look forward to the next one.

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