Tag Archives: jackson mitchell

MUDBOUND (2017) – MY rating: 7.5/10

Mudbound is an American period drama directed by Dee Rees and written by Rees and Virgil Williams, based on the novel of the same name by Hillary Jordan. Mudbound is a Netflix Original production. The film depicts two World War II veterans – one white, one black – who return to rural Mississippi each to address racism and PTSD in his own way. I never really wanted to see this movie because it just stirs up painful issues of yesterday, which I’ve seen enough of.  However, I found Mudbound different from what I’m use to seeing — all history albeit redundant is significant, so I watched it, especially because Mudbound is Oscar nominated.

Henry McAllan (Jason Clarke) and his brother Jamie (Garrett Hedlund) struggle to bury their recently deceased father, Pappy (Jonathan Banks) during a rainstorm. When the coffin proves too heavy for the two of them, Henry flags the passing Jackson family for help, despite the obvious tension shared by both families.

The film then flashes back to 1939, when Henry buys a farm outside the fictional town of Marietta, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta, and moves there with his wife Laura (Carey Mulligan), with whom he shares a passionless marriage,  their daughters and his racist father, Pappy. The Jackson family, led by tenant farmer Hap (Rob Morgan) and his wife Florence (Mary J. Blige), work the farm’s cotton fields and dream of owning their own block of land one day. As World War II begins, Jamie commissions to become an Army bomber pilot while the eldest Jackson boy, Ronsel (Jason Mitchell), enlists in the Infantry and commands a tank. While serving in Europe, Ronsel strikes up a romance with a white woman and enjoys relative freedom from racism.

Both families suffer the threat of poverty when the Jacksons’ mule has to be put down and Hap breaks his leg. Florence, who worked for the McAllans as a housekeeper, has to give up the job to help cover Hap’s work, and an unsympathetic Henry forces Hap to rent the McAllan’s mule, cutting his wages in half. Laura takes pity on the family and pays for Hap’s doctor.

When the war is won, both Ronsel and Jamie return home. The handsome and charming Jamie rekindles his attraction to Laura, but suffers from alcoholism, PTSD and the scorn of his father, who disparages air force bombing as “easy and anonymous killing”.  Ronsel, on the other hand, is defiant when Pappy demands that he use the back door of a general store instead of the front door, because he is black. Henry warns Hap and Florence that Ronsel’s fiery streak could provoke problems for all involved if he does not keep it to himself, and Ronsel is forced to apologize.

As usual, I will stop here to avoid spoiling the rest of the movie.  I thought Mudbound was interesting and had significant history.  As hard as racial movies are to watch, it’s important to know what happened.   This story has much more to offer so I recommend you take the time to watch it.  Mudbound is streaming on Netflix and is also available on DVD and Blu-ray.  Check it out.

 

NOTE: Rachel Morrison is the first woman ever nominated in the category of cinematography and Mary J. Blige became the first person to ever be nominated for an acting and song award during the same year.

[Mudbound is Oscar nominated for BEST: Supporting Actress, Original Song, Adapted Screenplay and Cinematography.]

 

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (2015) – My rating: 9.5/10

 

StraightOuttaComptonStraight Outta Compton definitely lives up to the hype.  For the first time I actually see Hip Hop in a different light, I even think I might understand it a little.  I never cared for it, sharing the opinion of many, that it’s just gangster rap with a lot of cursing, disrespect for women and Ebonics that no one could understand except the rappers.  This still might be the case with a lot of rap but there’s so much more behind the words and the beats that’s worth exploring and understanding.  Plus, one rap doesn’t fit all.  Straight Outta Compton starts out in 1986 in a ghetto called Compton, located in Los Angeles, California that is equal to the old Watts neighborhood most of us have heard of.  Crime, drugs, poverty, hopelessness, danger, murder and a bad place to be, let alone live.  To emerge from Compton alive, clean, not on death row or a junkie is a miracle in itself.  Hopelessness is a terrible thing.  Being born into it is suicidal, to say the least.  The attitude usually is “what do I have to lose?”  These young African American men are harassed and disrespected by the police as well as the rest of the world.  When rap came about, it was a way to make honest money but more importantly, it was a way to express what they felt, a way to let the world know what they go through every day.  A way to achieve fame, dignity, respect and rise up out of an impossible situation.  5 young men, Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.), Eazy-E (Jackson Mitchell), Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), DJ Yella (Neil Brown, Jr.), ( and MC  Ren (Aldis Hodge)  formed a hip hop group called N.W.A. They worked hard to make great musical, hip hop tracks that would soon escalate them to stardom after hooking  up with a manager named Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti) and a record producer named Bryan Turner (Tate Ellington), at Priority Records .  N.W.A. was enjoying their fame, traveling, continually on tour, partying and life was looking up but Ice Cube and the others had no contract.  Easy seemed to be the only one who was offered a contract to sign.  Ice Cube also noticed Eazy-E and Jerry Heller owned the company and was convinced he and the rest of the group was getting shafted.  After much confrontation, Ice Cube would be the first to leave and go out on his own.  Dr. Dre soon followed, leaving Eazy-E to carry his company alone with the two remaining members.  After time, Eazy-E became broke and discovered Jerry had been cheating him all along leaving him in huge debt.  As usual, I will stop here so I won’t spoil the entire movie for those of you who haven’t seen it.

Straight Outta Compton runs for 2 hours and 27 minutes and is worth every second.  The language is harsh, the nudity is explicit, the violence is graphic and the theme is very street.  The story is quite interesting and if you are unfamiliar with the history of the group N.W.A. or hip hop, you’ll certainly get much out of this movie.  These are characters we are familiar with as Ice Cube is not only a rapper, but a successful movie actor who starred in films such as Barber Shop, Friday, Boyz n the Hood, Ride Along 1 and 2 and Are We There Yet? and many more.  Dr. Dre is also well known for producing Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem and 50 Cent. He also started Beats Electronics, which was bought by Apple in 2014 for $3 billion.  BTW:  Ice Cube’s real son (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.) played the role of his father and looks just like him.  As a matter of fact, the casting company did an incredible job because the main actors closely resembled the real characters they were portraying.  Straight Outta Compton is now on DVD and Blue-Rey and is more than worth seeing.  Check it out, you won’t be sorry.

[STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON is nominated for Original Screenplay]