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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Idlewide (2006)























Starring:
  • AndrĂ© Benjamin
  • Big Boi
  • Paula Patton
IMDB.com
A musical set in the Prohibition-era American South, where a speakeasy performer and club manager Rooster must contend with gangsters who have their eyes on the club while his piano player and partner Percival must choose between his love, Angel or his obligations to his father.

What could Outkast do next to top the success of their double cd speakerboxx/love below? The Impresarios of Rap present Idlewild—a hip hop love story set against the daily grind of running a juke joint during Prohibition in the town of Idlewild, GA. All the players were there, the piano player, the singer, and of course, the bootlegger. Whether it's a murder mystery, a gangsta tale, or a love story can be debated after you see it…just go see it.

Idlewild, a film by Bryan Barber starred Antoine Patton and Andre Benjamin. However, the music was done by Big Boi and Andre 3000. Outkast fans will get the difference. The rest will have to see to believe. Let us not forget, where there is a Big Boi and an Andre there will be a fair amount of quirky, a little bit of weird, a lot of imagination, and some stepping outside of the "speakerboxx".

The film had the musical stage appeal of Chicago with the black gangsta love of movies like Harlem Nights and Hoodlum. But unlike those Yankee tales, this story took place in the south before it became dirty or is it derty???? (where's my ebonics dictionary?) It speaks to a time and place accurately and without insult. It was clever and funny but also a little predictable. Which was ideal because the storyline is actually just scenery for all the incredible musical numbers and didn't need to be complicated. The characters had that two-dimensional feel reminiscent of the melodramas so popular in the 1930's. Idlewild rose to the challenge and very successfully captured the times, which is often a difficult task in a period piece.

Saying Outkast has an innovative approach to music is like saying that guy Picasso is alright with a paintbrush. The original score by Outkast blended the sound of the 30's, the jazz, the blues and the swing with rap and soulful rhythm and blues. It was kind of like a family reunion for home-grown syncopation. It was ingenious as well as inspired. The choreography only complimented the musical numbers giving the audience a complete juke joint experience.

The film also offered notable cameo appearances by Cicily Tyson, Ving Rhames, Bruce Bruce, Patty Labelle and the tease of Tony award winning Ben Vereen who doesn't dance. Also noteworthy is Macy Gray's performance as the falling diva Taffy.

If Rappers must make movies, they should all be so good.

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