Monday, May 21, 2012

Movie Review: "Soul Men"

   I am an ardent fan of the cinematic arts. Although I have certain genre preferences, I don’t let that stifle my curiosity and close myself to different flavors of entertainment. That said...I am a huge fan of science fiction, super hero and action movies! Please visit my other blog The Boxed Office for reviews, exclusively, on these types of movies.
The Cast: 
   Samuel L. Jackson has made 143 films (at the time of this post). Let that number sink in as you’ll find very few actors in the history of movies that have made more...and only one of them is still working. Jackson is one of those actors that always has a hint of himself, a familiarity if you will, with every role he plays. Having said that, he is an excellent talent that always works hard in every role he plays. Bernie Mac (RIP) was one of the funniest comedians to grace a stage and brought that talent to the big screen on many occasions. I’ve always maintained a theory that comedians excel in dramatic roles if they commit their all to the task (Will Smith, Robin Williams)...and Mac was no exception. Sharon Leal is best known (to me) for her roles in the “Why Did I Get Married” films, and she brings that talent to this film as well.
The Plot: 
   After the death of an R&B legend, his back-up singers are invited to sing at his memorial tribute. Enter Louis Hinds (Jackson) and Floyd Henderson (Mac), better known as “The Real Deal.” They haven’t seen each other in years, haven’t sang in even longer...and have nothing for disdain for each other, but both have fallen on hard times and could use the cash influx from a special appearance. 
   With five days to get from Los Angeles to New York, they must drive across the country without killing each other, and finding their vocal legs by performing small venues along the way. Along the way, they stop to see an old flame (of both of them) only to discover Cleo (Leal) instead...a daughter one of them never knew they had...and the other did! 
   As the trip progresses, they must learn to get along, and find acceptance of the past while seeking forgiveness to push forward. The soul searching and mayhem that becomes the staple of their trip just might spell the end of their dreams...or be the beginning of something big.
The Verdict: 
   I had very high hopes for this film, just on the strength of the acting talent that was in it. I like both Jackson and Mac and was anxious to see how they would balance the comedic approach Mac brings with the dramatic flare Jackson is known for. Unfortunately, the direction of the film never quite married these two together in a presentation that met my hopes.
   The film seemed like it couldn’t make up it’s mind to be a comedy or drama. The comedy never was funny enough, probably due to poor writing, while the drama came off as too heavy handed for the effort the film invested to be funny. It probably would have been much better if it simply abandoned the comedic aspect of it altogether...and tried to be a serious film about these two men reconciling. With that approach, some simple situational comedic injections would have gone over much better than the “forced funny” feel of the film.
   Essentially, this film had every right to be everything it could have been, had it been allowed to be what it should have been. Instead it was a film that was almost funny, but not quite serious...that just wasted the time and talent of two great entertainers. I came away from this viewing with my hopes dashed and a feeling that I was almost entertained, but instead couldn’t produce a sound accounting of the two hours lost in the attempt. This is probably why there was only one cinnamon stick, out of five, in my cold cup of tea.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sticking Together...It’s a Female Thing.

   Maybe I’m just being paranoid...or maybe I’m really experiencing and observing things correctly, but it seems to me that no group of any kind exhibits the quality of togetherness and oneness than does a group of women...allied against a man.
   It would be simplistic, but not wholly inaccurate to say all females stick together. My observations have shown me the truth of this sentiment, although “all” is a subjective generalization since there are always exceptions to the rule. I’m sure, insofar as I believe what the opposite sex has shared with me, that in the company of themselves, they harbor some resentment or sour feeling for at least one other of their group for either real or imagined infractions of the “Girl Code”...but it’s nothing that will be divisive enough to have them side with a man, especially when he has incurred any sort of infraction.
   I know, I know...exception to every rule, and I’ve seen some of the shows that directly contradict what you’re reading (Basketball Wives, Bad Girls Club)...but I’ve also experienced exactly what you’re reading, without having committed any infraction other than being born male (an infraction in itself). It’s really weird...and even highlighting what’s going on, while it’s going on...doesn’t diffuse, what’s going on.
   Let me give an example so we’re all on the same page. A couple go to the store. The man gives the female cashier the money to pay for whatever is being bought. The female cashier hands the change back to the woman. If the man protests, he is verbally assaulted by his partner (truth be told, it could be his friend, cousin...the relation doesn’t matter), the cashier...and the woman in next in line! They will all be of one mind, on the same page...seeing the man the same way, as the villain.

   I’ve seen this. I’ve been a victim of this. It’s a true phenomenon. The circumstance doesn’t matter. If a man has a contradictory opinion or opposing personal view with a woman...every woman within earshot of this occurrence automatically sinc together, form a hive mind...and go on the offensive mentally, some even verbalizing their thoughts. The fact that the man is a complete stranger is of no consequence. The ethnicity of the women has no meaning. There are no cultures or colors...just the X and Y chromosome.
   I’ve even tried to use reason (what the heck was I thinking?) and point out the fact that total strangers were engaging in a conversation that was devoid of any relevant facts to be a productive one...and it didn’t matter. My facts were acknowledged as such and admittance of the behavior was embraced...and the male lambasting continued shortly thereafter. I could not help but to admire the “oneness” of it all. If not for the fact of being the subject of the ridicule, able to mount about as much defense as a baby seal at its own clubbing...I’d put some effort into achieving that low level buzz in my skull that must connect all women to each other.
   As observed, woman can...and will, go at each other with reckless abandon and unrestrained emotions. They will also drop all that like a stone when a man presents himself to be an alternate target (usually by just being a man). I realize this post must come off as biased, but I bet every woman reading it is thinking the same thing. I rest my case.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Secret Truth

   Truth...often thought of as immutable, is in reality, such a subjective thing. The truth for one, might not hold true for another. Now I know what you’re saying...”truth is truth, there’s nothing subjective about it”...well, true...but only when truth and fact are joined. See...the facts are true, but the truth isn’t always a fact (see 2B below). It’s one of life’s dirty little secrets...well, it’s not always dirty, but it’s true.
   To have an “honest” discussions about truth, and the secret thereof, we should first define what truth is...or more accurately, what the meaning of the word is.

1.) a archaic : fidelity, constancy
  b : sincerity in action, character, and utterance
2.) a (1) : the state of being the case : fact (2) : the body of real things, events, and facts : actuality (3) often capitalized : a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality
   b : a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true <truths of thermodynamics>
   c : the body of true statements and propositions
3.) a : the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality

   So now that truth has been defined, it seems elementary to do the same for “secret”...but I endeavor to be accurate and present a clear picture to what is surely shaping up to be a murky subject.

1.)  a : kept from knowledge or view : hidden
      b : marked by the habit of discretion : closemouthed
      c : working with hidden aims or methods : undercover <a secret agent>
      d : not acknowledged : unavowed <a secret bride>
      e : conducted in secret <a secret trial>
2.) : remote from human frequentation or notice : secluded
3.) : revealed only to the initiated : esoteric
4.) : designed to elude observation or detection <a secret panel>
5.) : containing information whose unauthorized disclosure could endanger national security — compare confidential, top secret

   The world is full of secrets. Without going all “conspiracy theory” I think the logical mind can deduce that people conspire, in secret, from simple profound incidents. When you think about it, there is no theory to happens. The problem is when we try to determine the “truth” without enough information to formulate facts. Instead, we need to stick to the facts. Unfortunately some people confuse what they are told for what actually is. Here is a revealing nugget for you...somebody knows something you don’t. Who they are and what they know is the real source of debate.

   Getting back to the “The Secret Truth”...oh, you thought it was just the title for this post? No,’s quite real. Not only is it real, but you are engaging in it at this very moment as you read this. Everyone has a secret(s) (pick a definition above) and that is the truth (pick a definition above). The Secret revealed.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Obolvate Posterium Tuum

   It may be a fancy way to say it, but these words are serious words of wisdom that everyone should endeavor to follow. We all find ourselves in compromising situations at times...and it’s either prior to, or during these moments that we should have, or at least start to, obolvate posterium tuum.
   My Latin isn’t good at all...and honestly, I’m not the originator of the translation, so forgive me in advance if I have it wrong or if it’s a little off. I know someone reading this is an expert in Latin (Murphy’s Law and all) and will have a conniption at how I’ve butchered the mother of modern languages. However, instead of harping on how bad I am at speaking dead languages (I can hear it now...”Latin is NOT dead!”), let’s focus on the message that’s trying to be delivered.
   Life is just one situation after the next, with the experiences comprising of both good and bad, depending on the choice of perspective these situations are viewed from. Granted, if you’re seeing yourself as possibly being compromised by the circumstance you find yourself in, then the choice has already been my opinion. Depending on the variables that contribute to getting you where you are, when you don’t want to be there, it’s always a great habit to “cover your ass”...or as they might have said in Latin, “obolvate posterium tuum.”
   Planning ahead to make sure your backside is covered might not sound easy, but a large percentage of doing that is simply doing whatever it is you’re supposed to do...instead of cutting corners, taking shortcuts...or disregarding guidelines, which could open you up to an unpleasant situation that was totally avoidable. 
   Guidelines and procedures, either in the work place or as a matter of law of ordinance is a great example of what I’m talking about. Most work environments have standard operating procedures...or S.O.P’s. Every workplace has rules. When dealing with any aspect of your job, either internally or as a matter of customer service, following the established guidelines and rules act as a protective shield for your hiney. After all, if you do everything you are supposed to do, the fault or lapse in service isn’t yours, but instead within the guidelines laid out for you to follow. It’s when these established procedures are not followed, regardless of whatever good intent was the catalyst, that one can find themselves in the proverbial hot water...with their ass exposed.
   The liability just increases when you are a manager, supervisor, or in a position of authority. Not only are you responsible for your actions, but the actions of your subordinates, to some extent. As a supervisor now, I’ll never forget the wise words of my superior then. It was an interesting analogy...

“Cover your ass always. Think of this job as a boat, and when you don’t cover your ass, you put yourself in the water. I’m the one that has to throw you a life jacket and pull you back keep me in the boat. If you drag me in the water with you, then I can’t help you because I’m trying to get my own life jacket, and get back in the boat. If we’re both in the of us is going to drown, and it isn’t going to be me. So cover your ass...cause I’m covering mine.”
   Wise words (in any language) that have never left me...and now I share them with you... obolvate posterium tuum!