Sunday, January 02, 2011

I hope this doesn't sound racist

I just watched 16 Blocks with Bruce Willis and Mos Def. It was a surprisingly good movie. It wasn't the action or story. It was the fact that the director actually had the actors playing real characters and not cardboard cut outs. Bruce Willis plays a NYC cop. He is also a depressed alcoholic. This is not the one liner spewing guy from Die hard. He look old, he looks tired. He walks with a limp.

What made the movie for me was something a lot of people must have thought was annoying. Mos Def's character of Eddie Bunker. This is not a street wise thug, funny sidekick or an innocent bystander. he is a kid who had done bad things. He looks out for himself. Mos plays him with a nasal whine and he is constantly talking. Constantly.

And while it was annoying it was also a breath of fresh air. Because I have met that person.  When I lived in Ohio City near W. 25th I had three black neighbors and what amazed me was that they were constantly talking like this. The woman upstairs used to get into fights with her husband and would physically toss him down the stairs and throw things at him. One time I managed to find a parking space right in front of the building and wouldn't you know it. She starts yelling and throwing things down the stairs onto the street.

 We used to keep goalie stick in the apartment for defense so I casually stepped outside and leaned against my car with the stick to defend my property. Everyone was tired of this woman and her fights and I wasn't going to let her throw crap that might hit my car and I sure as hell wasn't going to move.  I was going to tell her that in a calm, cool badass way.

Never happened. When she came down to throw more things at her husband she noticed me and started screaming all manner of obscenities. She asked me what the fuck I was doing and I would have told her but she just kept on yelling and threatening. If I wanted her to hear me I would have had to start yelling at her. I really wanted to. I mean, I had a badass line and everything. But she just kept up a constant stream of blather.

That is real life. That is what some black people sound like. That may not be a particularly PC thing to say but listening to Mos speak brought me back to that time and place.

There is no lack of annoying characters in movies but they never seem to convey that actual annoying blabbering. The annoying character starts out annoying and the cop starts out all hard nosed but by the third act the annoying character has stopped being annoying and the cop had revealed he actually has a heart of gold. Not so in this movie. It was refreshing to see the actors portraying people in a realistic way.  And it gave it a very real feel. I recommend you Netflix it.

1 comment:

Author Guy said...

Doesn't sound racist. Merely an observation.
I worried about the same reaction when I posted this: