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Review #56 of 365
Film: Block Party [R] 103 minutes
When 1st Seen: 7 March 2006
Where Viewed: AMC Theatres Westminster Promenade 24 Megaplex,Westminster, CO
Time: 5:15 p.m.
Review Dedicated to: Ming-Tai H. of Chicago, IL
I had very high hopes for this film. It looked like a lot of fun to make. Yet, here’s the scoop. Research at IMDB shows that the film was supposedly “…inspired in part by the 1973 documentary Wattstax.” From what I read about Wattstax, I am having trouble finding the relationship between the two with the exception of the focus being on talented, Black musicians. Still, I thought the idea behind the block party concept was a wonderful, and I think Dave Chappelle had his heart in the right place. The nucleus of the plan was to bring together a bunch of New Yorkers and people from Dave’s hometown for a huge block party, hence the title, in Brooklyn with live musical performances from some marquee groups and create some good will and good spirit. Along the way, Dave touched the lives of a bunch of little kids at a day care center near the location planned for the big party and the lives of some of the people in his hometown who got free round trip transportation and hotel accommodations so they could attend the party. The block party crowd was entertained by some amazingly gifted and talented artists including but not limited to: Dave himself, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Lauryn Hill, Dead Prez, Jill Scott, and Kanye West just as promised. Scattered throughout the film, there were some funny bits and some equally annoying bits especially some commentary that could be viewed as being racist toward Mexican people. The film played a bit more like a documentary than a movie. The concert was incoherent for the movie audience mostly because there were only a few performances that were shot from beginning to end, most were interspersed amongst other footage of Dave searching a Salvation Army Warehouse for furniture or Dave talking with other people about the significance of rooftops in NYC or Dave conducting off-stage discussions with the other performers and noting that there is a curious overlap between musicians and comedians as there are “…musicians who think they are funny and comedians who think they can play an instrument.” My summary judgment of the film, therefore, will be short and sweet because, really, there is not a lot else to say on this one. I really like the concept and the intention. The execution, from the perspective of either Dave Chappelle fans or fans of any of the individuals who perform, will most likely be viewed with disappointed for you won’t see much of either in the light you are used to seeing them. For people who are not Mr. Chappelle fans nor fans of any of the performers (I thought Jill Scott was amazing, by the way), then you will probably want to take a detour past this ‘party’. In my mind, what was missing was a big disclaimer tag at the beginning or end that said, “All proceeds from this film will be donated to improve the fine arts education in NYC Public Schools” or something like that. Otherwise, I can see no reason to make this film. It just wasn’t that interesting or captivating. I didn’t find the audience I was with to be very entertained either. So, kudos for the effort and idea, and Jill Scott, but that’s about all.
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Dave Chappelle's Block Party (Unrated Version--Widescreen) [DVD](2006) DVD
Dave Chappelle's Block Party [DVD](2006) DVD
Dave Chappelle's Block Party (Unrated Version) [DVD](2006) DVD
Dave Chappelle: For What It's Worth [DVD](2004) DVD
Dave Chappelle: For What It's Worth (UMD For PlayStation Portable)(2004)
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