before i dwell on issues that make some of us (as in, me) happy and some of us (as in, the rest of the internet) bored with the same-old, same-old nature of them, allow us first to try and share conversation about the director that i like to refer to as John Singleton.
JOHN SINGLETON: A CAREER OF DISAPPOINTMENT
for the sake of this discussion, we need to go back to 1991, when Singleton’s Boyz N Tha Hood had been released, and he’d just become both the youngest and the first black director nominated for best director. these were good times for Singleton, we raved about Boyz (unless our last names were Hughes, in which case we got bitter, made a slightly better film in the form of Menace II Society, and talked a little shit about Singleton) and we planned for his excellent film career. of course, we all SHOULD have seen this as a jinx and noted that the Hughes Brothers were ahead of their time. why? well, let’s look at what Singleton proceeded to give us in the years that follow (Michael Jackson videos that sucked excluded):
and to think that this row contains his two best films, easily
–Poetic Justice (1993): two years after the well-done and somewhat gritty Boyz, Singleton gives us this? Janet Jackson attempting to act? i liked that concept better the first time, when she was on Good Times and getting burned with an iron. and acting in regards to poetry? terrible. and i LIKE poetry.
–Higher Learning (1995): while i DO take serious issue with some of the plot points (cops would never stop to beat Epps for no reason when they could be making their careers by busting a sniper), the writing isn’t the problem here so much as the terrible direction. every scene makes me either notice a shitty shot or a shitty acting job.
–Rosewood (1997): wins the less-than-stellar award of being Singleton’s second best film of all time. at least it contains Ving Rhames and a horse named Booker T, things that could have improved most every other film on this list. and i HATE horses.
Richard Roundtree would be rolling over in his grave if he was, you know, dead
–Shaft (2000): several problems abound here. you can’t really remake a 1970s classic that got by on attitude and the style of the times when you bring neither to the table, and frankly, considering the fact that a) Shaft was never an action star and b) i think Samuel L. Jackson is twice as old as Richard Roundtree, hell, they should have just cast Roundtree as Shaft again.
–Baby Boy (2001): i’m just going to point out that i have never met a single person who was willing to defend this film, even to say that it didn’t suck, and i know people that have defended Belly. and Killa Season. i’m just sayin’.
–2 Fast 2 Furious (2003): so now Singleton is signing on to direct the SECOND of a series of hack films that sucked from the jump because they could never have been good films? i mean, a man’s got to eat and all, but seriously, this is a low move for any director who’s supposed to have skills and abilities to bring to the table.
–Four Brothers (2005): benefits from following Singleton’s worst works; suffers from having Detroit assassins leaping out of vans with German military hardware and Desert Eagles. i’m just saying that there’s a problem there.
to make matters work, i have to admit that when i go back and watch Boyz, while it’s still a very good film and technically solid and everything, it also has some moments – let’s take the montage during which Cuba Gooding Jr. is trying to get Nia Long to give him some sex – that make me cringe and wish their hasty removal. Cuba, i don’t know why Singleton thought we needed 10-minute-long reaction shots of you mugging for the camera, but he was WRONG.
IN DEFENSE OF JOHN SINGLETON
counterpoint: why i don’t really hate John Singleton – the reasons:
01. he still made a good movie once (Boyz N The Hood) and a decent movie later (Rosewood), so technically i can’t call him a one hit wonder;
02. he gave us the single greatest fictional name for a character of all time: Furious Styles. if i ever change my name, it will be changed to Furious Styles;
03. he pretty much follows the rule of always casting one guy (Laurence Fishburne, Ving Rhames) that i will enjoy even in movies that suck;
04. his next project is supposedly the Luke Cage (formerly Power Man) film, and everyone knows that Luke Cage is awesome;
05. even though his production track record is not great, he DID produce Hustle & Flow.
Anthony Anderson = satisfaction
just the mention of “you Mormons is some brave motherfuckers” brings a smile to my face. yeah…
okay, now to the boring stuff:
SERIOUS TALK THAT MIGHT RELATE TO A GUN
and now, we welcome the newest member of janklow’s family, this IMI Jericho… or, okay, fine, this IWI Baby Eagle:
produced by Israelis, imported by Minnesotans, savored by Maryland nerd kings
he’s still very young, he’s from Ramat HaShron, Israel, and he likes 9x19mm ammunition (and i am saving some IMI “black tips” for his first birthday or some other special occasion).
upside for you anime-loving internet types: this is the pistol which is “carried” by cartoon icon Spike Spiegel in all those Cowboy Bebop episodes. true, it’s still not as cool as a data-filled Welsh corgi, but it’s a start. next stop for my anime collection: the Mateba revolver! one of the few automatic revolvers in existence! carried by Togusa in Ghost In The Shell!
the Mateba automatic revolver: somehow looks more out of place in reality than in anime
no, seriously, that’s not a good reason to collect handguns and the Mateba is ridiculously expensive anyway. scrap that plan.
as to the Jericho/Baby Eagle, on the downside, and this is total gun nerd talk here, it’s not some cool IMI Jericho, because even though it’s the same gun, they were only sold as Jerichos or Uzi Eagles back in the day. then, after IMI’s American buddies Magnum Research developed the Desert Eagle, they started to call their Jerichos “Baby Eagles” (and this was the name i bought it under). but to add insult to injury, some are stamped “Desert Eagle” … as mine is. this might only be funny if one knows how much i DESPISE the Desert Eagle. still, luckily, the Jericho is a very cool gun. but will it survive in the steel jungle of my other firearms?
ISRAEL VERSUS GERMANY: THE CONFLICT CONTINUES
well, next week they’ll be undergoing a bonding exercise out here that i like to call “shooting a toilet in the middle of a field.” i don’t think there will be much payback involved; i don’t think the toilet’s German, though maybe it’s at least a Kohler or something.