Wednesday, March 28, 2012

...And Knowing Is Half The Battle

Accessing Netflix from an Ipad is wonderful...especially for an insomniac who prefers to watch movies in bed, positioned flat on his back. I've recently discovered the films of documentary filmmaker, Nick Broomfield. Not only did I enjoy watching all four films from this one-of-a-kind English documentarian, but I felt like I learned something as well. So I thought I'd share....

I first watched Biggie and Tupac (2002)

Broomfield delves deep into the deaths of the two rappers by interviewing friends and family, while exploring the East Coast-West Coast Hip-Hop rivalry that culminated with the murder of both Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G., a.k.a. Christopher Wallace.
Had he survived the drive by shooting that occurred on March 9, 1997, I'm not sure that Biggie would be too famous nowadays. Tupac, on the other hand, was a huge talent who I think would still be relevant today. While I got the impression that Tupac was definately a punk-ass, Six bucks and my right ___ says he would be a major movie star today; kinda like a Hardcore Will Smith, if you will.
I enjoy being presented with evidence/testimony and then forming my own theories and opinions on what transpired. It's one reason that I consider myself a "True-Crime Buff." I've always wanted to be "a Buff."

Anyway, here's some nuggets of information that I learned from this documentary:

1. Nobody has ever been charged with either of the two homicides. It's very strange, particularly in Tupac's case. I mean afterall, he was murdered on the Las Vegas Strip in almost stand-still traffic after a Mike Tyson fight.

2. Tupac had made it known that he was leaving Suge Knight's Death Row Records and was to be owed 10 million dollars on his departure. Many people suggest that Suge Knight hastened Shakur's departure by ordering The Hit as Tupac rode in the passenger seat with Knight at the wheel.

I don't buy it. No way would Knight order a Hit where his own life would be in grave danger (he was grazed in the head by a stray bullet). Also, security cameras in the casino in which the post-fight brawl took place captured Suge stomping a mud-hole in a guy (a.k.a. Giving him the 'ol "Frank at the Boars Nest" treatment) which ended up costing Knight many years behind bars for violating his parole. If the rival gang members did whack Tupac after the fight, I don't believe it was because Suge Knight had ordered them to do it.

3. I'm almost certain that Suge Knight had everything to do with the murder of the Notorious B.I.G. After Knight was incarcerated for his parole violation, a fellow inmate confessed that The C.E.O. of Death Row Records had told him so. By the way, if Suge Knight confessed to me that he was The Zodiac, I'd probably keep it to myself out of fear.

4. Police officers from the LAPD (David Mack and Rafael Perez among others) who were rumored to have ties to "The Bloods" street gang, we're spotted outside the Soul Train after party moments before Biggie was killed. It's all but absolute fact that these guys shot Biggie at the behest of Suge Knight, in retaliation for the death of Tupac.

5. Contrary to what many people believe, I'm not the inspiration for Denzel Washington's memorable character named Alonzo in Training Day...that honor goes to Rafael Perez. As G.I. Joe would say, "now you know, and knowing is half the battle."

BTW, this movie inspired me to create my first Music Mix since "Chris Chamberlain's Nashville Nostalgia Trip" (see Jive archives). "Still C.W.C.: Based on the Mix Frank Outta Compton by Franker" chronicles The Old School Rap that we still have to turn down low when we drive through a black neighborhood. Lemme ax you this: you like you some Snoop, Dr.Dre, Ice Cube, Coolio, LL Cool J or Pras featuring Mya and Ol' Dirty Bastard? If so, you'll dig this compilation.

I then watched Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (2003)

Although it wasn't Nick Broomfield's purpose, I've never really considered whether I was for or against the Death Penalty until I watched this documentary. In this film, Broomfield covers Aileen's trial in which the issue of mental competence is examined leading up to her execution in 2002. The film begins with Wuornos contradicting her convincing testimony from a decade earlier in which she gave specific details regarding the seven murders that she committed while working as a hooker. She tells Broomfield that nobody should go to their execution without accepting responsibility.
Broomfield was confused at Aileen's recent confession. He was totally convinced that her testimony regarding abuse she took from the "Johns" who paid for her services was absolutely legit. As a viewer, I can tell you that there was no way that Aileen was that great of an actor. Charlize Theron, who won an Oscar for portraying Wuornos in Monster(2003)couldn't have acted that convincingly.

At one point during a jailhouse interview, Aileen believes that Broomfield is not recording and admits to him (in a whisper) that she's only now changing her story because she couldn't take having to spend the rest of her life in prison. She wanted to be executed. Well, despite the fact that she was certifiably insane, she was definately going to get her wish. Afterall, Jeb Bush was the governor.

After hearing Aileen whisper her feelings to Broomfield, I decided that life in prison without the possibility of parole is the ultimate punishment. However, I think Aileen deserved to die-and not because I necessarily believe she murdered in cold blood. After years of parental neglect, living out in the wilderness, sleeping in the snow, and withstanding mental and physical abuse by perverts, I think that Aileen needed the break.

Then I watched Sarah Palin: You Betcha! (2011)

I really enjoyed this one. I learned a lot about the character of the former Mayor of Wasilla, who went on to be elected Governor of Alaska and then chosen as John McCain's Vice Presidential Candidate. I don't discuss politics unless I know the listener/reader shares my beliefs. Therefore, all I'm going to say is this: If a politician has a Nixon-like list of political enemies....well, they're trouble. That's all:/

And finally, I watched Broomfield's Kurt & Courtney.

What I learned:

I learned that the 90's Grunge-Look originated from a self-conscious Cobain; who weighing about 120 pounds, attempted to look heavier by wearing long thermal underwear and sleeves under his ripped jeans and flannel shirt.
I also learned that it was universally known that Kurt was going to divorce Courtney in the days before his death. Broomfield interviewed a ne'er do-well, punk rocker named El Duce, who was asked by Courtney Love if he would shoot Kurt for $50,000. He was given the same lie-detector test by the same guy who tested O.J. Simpson in '94. While Simpson understandably failed miserably, El Duce passed. He was also run over by a train two days after he was interviewed in the movie.
I can see why Broomfield wanted to research the death of Cobain. Let's face it, being as Kurt was going to divorce Courtney before his death, she would have about a half billion dollars less had he not committed suicide. However, Broomfield doesn't find sufficient evidence supporting anything other than Cobain's death was self-inflicted. However, he does uncover enough evidence that suggests Courtney Love is a mean-spirited, hateful woman.

Nowadays, I find it extremely difficult to listen to Nirvana. Their music isn't nostalgic or even pleasing to me. It's just noise. After seeing this depressing movie and how mean-spirited even Kurt could be, I don't care to listen to them ever again.

Because of Netflix on the IPad, I'm now a huge fan of the Documentary genre. I am able to watch films that I normally wouldn't have the chance to see in theaters. I watched Werner Herzog's "Grizzly Man" just last night. You need to see that one, fellow Jivers.

Top5 90's Alternative Bands that I can't listen to:
5. Alice In Chains
4. Everclear
3. Nirvana
2. Bush
1. Offspring

Feelin' Good All The Time


Lyle said...

Quick point: what do you think about the theory that Sean 'Puffy' Combs (aka Puff Daddy, P Diddy, untalented/poser/ hack who's only decent song was the cover of a Police classic) was behind Tupac's death? I've read things...

In my opinion, Tupac was a legit talent. Few have been able to spit lyrics like him, and he was a scene stealer in the few movies I saw him in.

Reminds me of the ESPN 30 for 30 "One Night in Vegas". Damn those 30 for 30s are good. I'm with you. I love a good documentary.

Christopher said...

True, there was talk of P. Diddy having something to do with Tupac's murder. After all, I'm pretty sure Tupac blamed him for orchestrating the Hit that occurred outside a New York studio (East Coast Turf) in which Shakur survived 6 gunshot wounds after a recording session outside Diddy's studio. However, that no-talent, gangster wannabe didn't have the balls to order a Hit on Tupac. Suge Knight, was such a legit gangster that he had members of the LAPD ("Alonzo") on his payroll who executed Biggie in an efficient and professional manner. Snoop (West Coast) has gone on record saying Suge ordered the Hit on Tupac but I still don't buy it.


Hooper said...

Im more scared of Suge Knight than i am any other human being. unreasonably so.

Watching this documentary now, thanks for the heads up.

Christopher said...

Let me know why you think after you finish the movie.

Lyle said...

Next on your list should be "Hoop Dreams". Think it's the best documentary that I have seen. It's on Netflix. Shit gets real. Hoy.

Christopher said...

Since Roger Ebert listed Hoop Dreams as the #1 movie of the 90's...ahead of Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, Shawshank etc, i've been waiting for the right time to give it my full attention. I'll probably watch it this week and post my critique.