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PCR #450 (Vol. 9, No. 45) This edition is for the week of November 3--9, 2008.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Soul Men"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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"Soul Men"  by Mike Smith
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President 'o' .... .... ....  by Matt Drinnenberg
How 'bout Them Bucs? .... Chiller Theatre .... See Ya! .... Hail To The Chief .... Passing On .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1974 Should Have Gone To...  by Mike Smith
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Starring: Bernie Mac, Samuel L. Jackson and Sean Hayes
Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 43 mins

There is always a certain sadness when you know you’re seeing something for the last time. With his final project with director Terry Gilliam still on hold I took in Heath Ledger’s talent one last time this summer in “The Dark Knight.” With just one more film still yet to be released (“Iron Cross”) I often find myself watching “Jaws” or “All that Jazz” over and over again, getting one last look at my favorite actor, the late Roy Scheider. And that sadness passed over me again this week when I watched Bernie Mac in one of his final film performances, “Soul Men.”

The Real Deal was one of the biggest groups of the 1960s. Led by lead singer Marcus Hooks (John Legend), backed up by Louis Hinds (Jackson) and Floyd Henderson (Mac), the group had a series of hits through the early 1970s, when Marcus decides to go solo. Now a duo, Louis and Floyd continued to perform but split up a few years later due to “creative differences.” Each goes their own way: Louis goes to prison while Floyd goes on to open a successful car wash. When word comes that Marcus has died and will be honored with an elaborate funeral/concert at the Apollo Theater in New York City, Floyd convinces Louis to take a road trip and try to rekindle the magic.

In the 70s Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier starred in successful comedies like “A Piece of the Action” and “Uptown Saturday Night.” Thirty years later director Lee follows the same formula, only with an “R” rating. The animosity between the characters is funny but very vulgar. That being said, the language doesn’t take away from the underlying story, that of friendship. Both leads play off of each other well, a talent that lends credibility to the story. And even better, both men can sing. Working their way across country they book themselves into local hotels and try to shake the rust of 30 years off. Even a flat tire doesn’t disturb their plans, it just gives them a reason to work on their steps and do an improv dance number on the highway. Jackson does a fine job as Louis, and it appears evident that comedy is a secret weapon he needs to attempt again soon. Hayes, who plays the son of the group’s former agent and producer of the tribute concert, has fun with the role and shows why he won an Emmy award and was nominated six more times for his work on television. As for Mac, he uses his comedic talents to the best of his ability, leaving a lasting impression for the audience to cherish and take home with them.

As the film ends there is a brief tribute to both Mac and Issac Hayes, who appears as himself in the film (Hayes, who passed away one day after Mac, co-wrote the hit song “Soul Man” among others ), and it ends with a statement from Mac, who states his goal is to “always make them remember you.” Sadly, with only (2) television performances and a final film, “Old Dogs” due next year, all we will have are memories of this talented man.

On a scale of zero to four stars I give “Soul Men”

This week's movie review of "Soul Men" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2008, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.