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Lobby Pass The Popcorn topic #740075

Subject: "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (Davis, Wolfe, Boseman, Netflix, 2020)" Previous topic | Next topic
Castro
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Mon Dec-14-20 03:33 PM

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"Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (Davis, Wolfe, Boseman, Netflix, 2020)"


  

          

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EKpzqI1TyU

Give it up to the Gawds putting it down in tribute to the GOAT, August Wilson.

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One Hundred.

  

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
very ready for this
Dec 15th 2020
1
RE: very ready for this
Dec 15th 2020
2
      O_o
Dec 15th 2020
3
           RE: O_o
Dec 17th 2020
4
I interviewed Glynn Turman for this...
Dec 17th 2020
5
Cooley High, married to the Queen, the Colonel on a Different World
Dec 21st 2020
10
I left this feeling heartbroken honestly
Dec 19th 2020
6
That scene he had calling out to God about letting bad
Dec 19th 2020
7
I adore Wilson
Dec 20th 2020
8
woops
Dec 20th 2020
9
I think structurally, it is a hard play to adapt to film
Dec 27th 2020
12
      Yeah, the shot that really stuck out to me was when Slow Drag
Dec 27th 2020
14
      EXACTLY!!!
Dec 30th 2020
17
      I agree.
Dec 28th 2020
15
           just read the Als piece. I like his points
Dec 29th 2020
16
Don't know how it stacks up to the play, but a very good film
Dec 27th 2020
11
Very good film and great acting from Chadwick and Viola
Dec 27th 2020
13
chadwick's performance was amazing.
Dec 30th 2020
18
really good
Jan 03rd 2021
19
give him the Oscar
Jan 03rd 2021
20
Its haunting considering what he was dealing with physically....
Jan 05th 2021
21

CherNic
Member since Aug 18th 2005
37095 posts
Tue Dec-15-20 09:31 AM

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1. "very ready for this"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Chadwick's final role. I know Viola won't disappoint. Looks to be a stellar supporting cast as well

Semi-related, I've been telling myself I'm going to buy the century cycle of plays for months now. Can't see giving Amazon $150+ for it, but I checked a Black owned bookstore and they asked for $250 :/

  

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Castro
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49169 posts
Tue Dec-15-20 09:39 AM

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2. "RE: very ready for this"
In response to Reply # 1


  

          

I have the audio recordings of the cycle.

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CherNic
Member since Aug 18th 2005
37095 posts
Tue Dec-15-20 10:47 AM

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3. "O_o"
In response to Reply # 2


  

          

Like available for share?

  

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Castro
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Thu Dec-17-20 04:53 PM

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4. "RE: O_o"
In response to Reply # 3


  

          

****nods silently****

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PolarbearToenails
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Thu Dec-17-20 06:44 PM

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5. "I interviewed Glynn Turman for this..."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

He is a pretty incredible guy. It won't be out on my show (Bullseye with Jesse Thorn) until January, but it is a heater.

Really excited about the movie.

-
Bullseye with Jesse Thorn
A public radio show about things that are awesome.
http://www.maximumfun.org
"This is the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world." - McSweeney's

  

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Castro
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49169 posts
Mon Dec-21-20 09:10 PM

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10. "Cooley High, married to the Queen, the Colonel on a Different World"
In response to Reply # 5


  

          

He has had three to four major phases where he was in the public eye and now he's back. Incredible.

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CherNic
Member since Aug 18th 2005
37095 posts
Sat Dec-19-20 03:08 PM

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6. "I left this feeling heartbroken honestly"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Like the looming presence of Chadwick the person no longer physically being here + how well he portrayed Levee....

I'd like to watch again because I know I missed something (imo it definitely felt like a play at times b/c of the dialogue) but I don't know when I'll be able to.

  

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soulfunk
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Sat Dec-19-20 10:56 PM

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7. "That scene he had calling out to God about letting bad "
In response to Reply # 6


  

          

things happen was so tough to watch. Knowing he did that scene while going through his sickness? Wow.

  

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jane eyre
Member since Jan 16th 2007
706 posts
Sun Dec-20-20 01:05 AM

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8. "I adore Wilson"
In response to Reply # 0
Sun Dec-20-20 01:07 AM by jane eyre

          

...but this adaptation didn't do it for me. When I finished watching this adaptation, I had the same feeling I get when I'm excited to see a Wilson production in the theater and it falls flat. A Wilson play is, strangely, a spiritual experience. His plays are a clear, specific, unmistakable phenomenon.

--Ma Rainey didn't feel like Wilson to me. Sometimes the pace of the play started to get into a groove but it was never sustained.

--Viola's makeup and that fat suit was a bizarre choice. I refuse to believe August Wilson would've signed off on that.

The best Wilson adaptation for tv/movie I've seen is the "Piano Lesson." But Wilson himself did the screenplay. It's excellent. Fences wasn't a bad adaptation, either, and all of the performances hit the right mark.

Boseman did better than I expected. It wasn't a bad performance at all. But I think I have a thing where I feel like it's hard to find actors and actresses to enter the space Wilson is vibrating at. It's always fascinating to me, for instance, to listen to Phylicia Rashad talk about this...

I love Wilson, and there were parts of this adaption that I liked. But overall, this didn't feel like a Wilson play, but like people performing Wilson. Even when I watch Wilson plays that don't do it for me, I can always find a moment that's beautiful. For instance, in this play, I was moved to hear echoes and connections between characters in the cycle as it related to Ma Rainey, but also as it related to their own circumstance. The voices speaking in the cycle across the years was especially poignant for me in this production. I could hear Boy Willie, Doker, Troy, Aunt Esther, Gabriel....it was quite moving.

I also love the idea that people are trying to bring Wilson's entire cycle to the big screen. I hope the project will be something that introduces people with new talent and gifts...

  

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jane eyre
Member since Jan 16th 2007
706 posts
Sun Dec-20-20 09:56 AM

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9. "woops"
In response to Reply # 8


          

>Even when I watch *PRODUCTIONS* of Wilson plays that don't do it for >me, I can always find a moment that's beautiful.

  

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Castro
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Sun Dec-27-20 07:10 PM

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12. "I think structurally, it is a hard play to adapt to film"
In response to Reply # 8


  

          

the lockerroom/band rehearsal space was excellent, but the recording studio and everything else was difficult for Wolfe.

Boseman was great. I think most actors would get caught in that Charles Dutton bag, where the stage goes EVERYWHERE. Boseman and Davis gave us moments from the stage, but they also gave us Ma and Levee on film too. That is what made it powerful for me. Everyone else felt like they were simply on stage.

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Nodima
Member since Jul 30th 2008
14277 posts
Sun Dec-27-20 10:43 PM

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14. "Yeah, the shot that really stuck out to me was when Slow Drag"
In response to Reply # 12


  

          

***spoilers*** I guess, for a 30+ year old play? ***spoilers***



Turns to the wall and takes his hat off after Levee kills Toledo while Cutler just kind of...looks at Levee and Toledo and then the lights fade.

I can imagine how powerful that is on stage with the echo of the theater and the fullness of the stage, the sudden silence and dropping of the lights, but the way it was shot it just felt like they faithfully adapted the play (assuming that's basically how the play is staged) but didn't consider how it'd present as a single camera compilation of reaction shots.


~~~~~~~~~
"This is the streets, and I am the trap." � Jay Bilas
http://www.popmatters.com/pm/archive/contributor/517
Hip Hop Handbook: http://tinyurl.com/ll4kzz

  

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Castro
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Wed Dec-30-20 01:36 AM

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17. "EXACTLY!!!"
In response to Reply # 14


  

          

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jane eyre
Member since Jan 16th 2007
706 posts
Mon Dec-28-20 10:41 PM

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15. "I agree."
In response to Reply # 12


          

It's hard to adapt this play to the big screen! I thought the stronger scenes happened in the band rehearsal space, too.

Ha @ the Charles Dutton stage goes everywhere comment...so true.

I'm not a super fan of what Ruben Santiago-Hudson did with the script, plus Wolfe's sensibilities sometimes came off heavy-handed/preachy to me.

I'm beyond excited that the cycle will be on film, though. I really really really really really really hope that it will open the door for new and developing talent of all kinds, not just re: acting.

Hilton Als wrote an interesting review of the film and mentioned a few things about Viola's performance that made me go: huh. Just. Food for thought. Anyway. I'm good if she takes a break from playing Wilson women for this project.

  

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CherNic
Member since Aug 18th 2005
37095 posts
Tue Dec-29-20 09:44 AM

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16. "just read the Als piece. I like his points"
In response to Reply # 15


  

          

I tend to enjoy Viola Davis as an actress but she doesn't make or break any work for me. Same for this film.

  

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Nodima
Member since Jul 30th 2008
14277 posts
Sun Dec-27-20 02:52 PM

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11. "Don't know how it stacks up to the play, but a very good film"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

...that had that old Netflix feeling of not quite all the way there-ness. I'm kind of learning to enjoy that for what it is (it really helps dreamy stuff like I'm Thinking of Ending Things) but still dulls movies like this a bit.

Structurally, it feels like a mirror image of one of my favorite movies, Glengarry Glen Ross, but it doesn't always let its symbolic moments really sing - when Levee breaks through the door to find a dead end, or does Toledo in, there's nothing cinematic about it really it just happens.

Any negative takes should be full of nitpicks or familiarity with the source material though, 'cause this is a fundamentally well done play-as-movie with great performances from everybody; it's hard to look past the symbolism of this being Chadwick's final role. I hope it helped him through the end.


~~~~~~~~~
"This is the streets, and I am the trap." � Jay Bilas
http://www.popmatters.com/pm/archive/contributor/517
Hip Hop Handbook: http://tinyurl.com/ll4kzz

  

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spirit
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Sun Dec-27-20 10:04 PM

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13. "Very good film and great acting from Chadwick and Viola"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Dialogue was top notch. Salute the legend August Wilson

Chadwick and Viola both deserve Oscars for this one

Peace,

Spirit (Alan)
http://wutangbook.com

  

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naame
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Wed Dec-30-20 12:45 PM

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18. "chadwick's performance was amazing. "
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

His eyes were so engaging during the entire film. I still think about HIM being the one to break down the door only to run into a brick wall.


America has imported more warlord theocracy from Afghanistan than it has exported democracy.

  

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Crash Bandacoot
Member since May 13th 2003
9854 posts
Sun Jan-03-21 03:38 PM

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19. "really good"
In response to Reply # 0


          

r.i.p. chadwick boseman

  

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rdhull
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Sun Jan-03-21 09:27 PM

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20. "give him the Oscar "
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

the denouncing god is going to win it for him

  

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Castro
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Tue Jan-05-21 09:36 AM

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21. "Its haunting considering what he was dealing with physically...."
In response to Reply # 20


  

          

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