For an animated slice-of-Black-New-York-life, Disney’s new Pixar film Soul joins Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse in showing new parts of New York not typically glamorized by Hollywood. Despite being one of the most famous cities in the world, there are dozens of neighborhoods and experiences viewers never see on the silver screen. New York City isn’t just the glitz and glamor of midtown, the brunch bunch of Brooklyn, or the gentrified hives in Harlem.
The new movie takes us to an ordinary Queens middle school, where Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a down-on-his-luck band teacher. On his way to a gig in the Village that could finally make his music career, he falls down a manhole and dies. After he escapes the Great Beyond, he hides out in the Great Before, where pre-souls find their “spark” before being sent to Earth to be born. His mission? Help the dispassionate, uninterested-in-humanity pre-soul Number 22 find her spark, then use it to get back to Earth in time for his gig.
How does one define living or existence? Where do these meaningful drives that we get, or the desires we have – those moments of inspiration and wonder where we try to reach out and define the purposes we make for ourselves in our own lives — where do they all come from, and why do we have them? We can’t possibly quantify such things, or even explain what and why they are, but we still know inside they’re there; an indelible and innate part of us that, if nothing else, creates the full mosaic we know to be the individual human experience. For any film or studio to depict visually, conceptually what these ideas and notions that possess us are, let alone what they mean, would be seemingly impossible.
Then there’s Pixar, who comes along and says, “Hold my beer!” Thus, we now have Soul.
Pixar’s Soul takes a musical journey into the meaning of life — literally. In the film, Joe Gardner seems to be the prototype for “if you can’t do, teach.” But he very much wants to do. However, just when he’s about to get his first jazz gig, he dies. *insert Price is Right trombone.*
The first 35 minutes of the jazzy New York-set movie that I saw were great. Joe (Jamie Foxx), upon his death, is sent to the Great Before. There he meets apathetic New Soul 22 (Tina Fey), who finds it in her own best interest to help Joe return to his life on Earth. Sensing the direction of the rest of the movie, I imagine it will be as heartfelt as every other Pixar classic. It’s new Christmas Day home release feels like a really good choice to celebrate life, the purpose of art in our lives, and exploring how we connect with ourselves and others.
The NRW Crew of Glenn Lawrence (of Level Up Comedy), Loy Lee AKA “Stand Up Comedian Stand Up Guy” and yours truly, Kuya P AKA Patrick Michael Strange are back with more of The NRW Show: #WTF2020 Edition! Tune in as we discuss The Presidential Debates with Joe Biden & Donald Trump, The Melania Trump Tapes, Shia Labeouf, Rick Moranis, Amazon & Covid-19, John Legend & Chrissy Teigen, Jamie Foxx back as Electro, Megan Thee Stallion’s new music video, Blackpink breaking the internet and the new trailer for Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm!
It’s no secret that the justice system in the United States is a mess like no other. However, the odds of navigating it and coming out unscathed — if at all — are worse for the Black community. Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer and founder/executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, witnessed just how brutal it is, as he worked tirelessly to free Walter McMillian from death row, after being arrested for a murder he did not commit. Just Mercy tells that story.
One thing Japan gets screwed out of are movie release dates. Half the time we won’t get a movie until a good four to six months from the original date from the States. There are a few exceptions though, with The Amazing Spider-Man series being one of them. Having watched it about a week ago, I’ve had some time to reflect on the sequel to the 2012 superhero reboot.
Over the weekend, Jamie Foxx spilled some pretty spoilery secrets aboutThe Amazing Spider-Man 2 and a potential Sinister Six spin-off movie. Foxx plays the supervillain Electro in the upcoming superhero sequel, and it got me thinking about the comic book movie legacy of In Living Color, one of my favorite shows growing up.
The year was 1990. I was a shy, nerdy 10-year-old living in Newport News, Virginia. Like my origin post said, I was practically raised by television because my mother was constantly working. When I wasn’t watching horror shows like Tales from the Crypt, you could find me watching anything that would make me laugh. My favorites were sitcoms like The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Family Matters. Since there were no Asians to look for on television, I turned to these shows to find any kind of cultural connection — and to laugh uncontrollably. And no other show made me laugh harder than In Living Color.