Thursday, March 4, 2010

Krush Groove, Sheila E., More Jackie Chan, More de Beauvoir

Surveying the panoply of classic films easily available to the modern cinephile in advance of the Oscars, I finally watched the DVD of the ensemble rap drama/comedy Krush Groove from 1985 that I picked up at a convenience store recently.  It was pretty awesome.

I admit that for me, no hiphop fan, the big thrill is seeing the charismatic Sheila E., the she-Prince, not only performing numbers like “Love Bizarre” but acting — even doing a big love scene and getting into a heartbreaking triangle with Run from Run-DMC.  She’s so lovely even when just speaking (rather than writhing onstage in pseudo-eighteenth-century garb), I feel it vindicates my long-term plan, formed in childhood, to live in the big city with her and Annie Lennox, not so wholly unlike the way things turned out, really.  Hearing how unnatural E. sounds in the two scenes that require her to rap, I was further charmed, in an admittedly assimilationist way.  She’s no more street than I am.

But in Krush Groove, we also get to see the Fat Boys getting in trouble in high school and celebrating the Sbarro’s on West 49th St. with their heartfelt rap “All You Can Eat.”  We see Run get into a fight with a fledgling hiphop record exec over Run’s last-minute unilateral decision to put the untested Ms. E onstage.  Drama!   And will the exec’s fledgling company, aided by the likes of Kurtis Blow, be able to come up with the $5,000 they need to pay off the loan shark who made the printing of their first big record possible?  Mainly, though: Sheila E. (did you know her brother is the biological father of Nicole Richie?).

Two brief chronal oddities of note: a short-shrift cameo of only a few seconds by some guys called the Beastie Boys — and a DJ wearing a Husker Du t-shirt when they weren’t yet well known (not that they were ever huge, really) — but Husker Du are from the St. Paul, MN area, like Ms. E’s colleague Prince.  Coincidence?

To broaden my horizons, I will make a point to watch the 1940s ballet tragedy The Red Shoes at some point soon, and my friends Jake and Holly’s thirteen year-old son Max recommends this song by They Might Be Giants and Strong Bad, which sort of bridges two eras and oh so smoothly integrates two musical genres in the process.  (Max’s younger sister prefers the Blue Cheer version of “Summertime Blues,” so, like Strong Bad, she’s likely to turn out a headbanger.)


Comparably inspiring is Jackie Chan, whose physical prowess I mentioned in yesterday’s non-wimpy entry — and it occurs to me now that if you love watching his hair-raising, wince-inducing (and completely uninsured) bloopers during the credits of his later films, you should really watch the bloopers at the end of the Thai autistic-girl-martial-artist movie Chocolate sometime, since (unlike with Chan films) I actually had sat through Chocolate repeatedly thinking “How could they possibly have done this scene without people being injured?” (for instance, when multiple combatants rain down upon each other in heaps, falling from fourth-floor balconies), and indeed the blooper reel reveals that they couldn’t do such scenes without people being injured.  The reel even ends with embarrassed-looking cast members visiting one injured actor in his hospital room, politely bowing to him.

But my favorite moment is when the autistic girl spins through the air and neatly lands spread-eagled in a dead stop atop a metal bookcase.  I may try that someday.

(Getting back to Chan: I guess the reason his crews can’t find anyone to sell them accident insurance is their habit of doing things like having Michelle Yeoh, reportedly on the very first day she’d ever ridden a motorcycle, jump said motorcycle onto the roof of a passenger train.)

Speaking of tough dames, since I sorta slighted Simone de Beauvoir’s looks (at least by comparison with Vanessa Paradis’s) in Tuesday’s entry — even though de Beauvoir at least has that stern/impressive Jeane Kirkpatrick thing going on — I will compensate today by linking to a famous picture of her butt.  More culture tomorrow.

1 comment:

Gerard said...

Sheila E. (did you know her brother is the biological father of Nicole Richie?)