(Campus, 1973) ****The Mack
was fucking awesome, Max Julien was super suave and charismatic and I'm stunned he didn't do more because the dude can act and has an empathetic presence despite having made some questionable, and some would say evil, choices in The Mack
. I'm looking forward to checking out a few of his other films, the few he made, most notably Psych-Out
, The Savage Seven
& Thomasine & Bushrod
...and hell, even Cleopatra Jones
, I'm ashamed to say I've never seen, which he wrote the screenplay for. There's an interesting character transformation here, I love the parallel between Goldie and his younger brother, who has managed to propagate a Black Panther esque Civil Rights Movement within their community while Goldie was in prison. He's doing the good they had always talked about, and out of prison Goldie goes down a different path, he's a changed man, and in many ways there is no going back. Richard Pryor was great also, I love his stand up, he's such a funny historical figure that gives added life to the solemn nature of the film.
Often times you'll believe you know the characters, what drives them, what they'll do, especially Goldie, but I quickly found out I had no fucking clue and it was naive to come to such conclusions. This is one of the best Blaxploitation films out there, I really loved it, it's a rich, rich screenplay with some fine performances, sometimes the best way to get the answers you're searching for is with a whole lot of questions and introspection. The soundtrack was also exceptional, the film does have a heaviness behind it but it also has a bunch of more lighthearted forays into the seedy underbelly of pimp pushing (
) with Richard Pryor in the mix there's a good amount of comedy, some of it absurdist based solely on the situations they get into. This is a film that lingers in your mind, it sits with you, maybe indefinitely. Looking into the film's production a little bit really has me wondering why much of the crew didn't do much else, from the director to the screenwriter (his one and only credit) right down to Max Julien. I'm looking forward to watching it again...and again, sometime down the road. Highly recommended.
I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.