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   Now in our eleventh calendar year
    PCR #515  (Vol. 11, No. 6)  This edition is for the week of February 1--7, 2010.

"Dear John"  by Mike Smith
I Talked With A Zombie: The Seth Sklarey Interview  by ED Tucker
The Top 30 Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror Actresses, #8-6  by Lisa Scherer
Remembering Asian Pop Culture Magazines  by Jason Fetters
My Ten Favorite Hip-Hop Films  by John Miller
Heading South .... History .... Movie Notes .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf by Mike Smith
Lampin at the 6th Borough by John Miller

My Ten Favorite Hip-Hop Films

In honor of black history month I have decided to compile a list of my ten favorite hip-hop films. Here they are in no particular order.

Belly - 1998's Belly would bring together a who's who of hip-hop acting talent led by acclaimed music video Director Hype Williams for what is arguably the most underrated film of the 1990's and what I believe to be the peak of hip hop influenced cinema. I will never understand how film yuppies and art snobs could spend so much effort drooling over the likes of Tarantino, Kevin Smith and others from the '90's indie film boom yet sleep so hard on an incredible talent such as Hype Williams. The intro to Belly is the greatest four minutes of cinema ever filmed (or at least my favorite). Check it out.

Boyz N The Hood - This is the first movie I ever sat through in a theater solo. I was about eight years old and given the option of seeing either this or the other big film that weekend, The Rocketeer. Thankfully I made the correct choice and to this day I have yet to forget the experience of witnessing this masterpiece on the big screen.

Menace II Society - No such list would be complete without the inclusion of the Hughes Brothers. Before they were hacks making big-budget trash like The Book Of Eli, they were renegade filmmakers in their youth directing classics like Dead Presidents and most importantly, Menace II Society. This is probably the bleakest and most nihilistic film of its kind. Larenz Tate should have been nominated for an Academy Award for his role as O-Dog.

New Jack City - Scarface homages are a dime a dozen when it comes to hip-hop films. But none are quite as good as Mario Van Peebles' New Jack City. There is a lot to love about this film, but the greatest thing is the portrayal of a lovable crack head played by a then barely-known Chris Rock.

Do The Right Thing - Spike Lee's epic portrayal of a Brooklyn neighborhood on the edge of chaos is the granddaddy of all hip hop films. Not only is it absolutely brilliant, one of the greatest pictures ever made, it was also a vehicle used as a promotional tool by Nike to advertise the Air Jordan sneaker, creating one of the most genius marketing campaigns of all time. Of course, one cannot mention Do The Right Thing without also mentioning its soundtrack, in particular the greatest hip-hop anthem ever made, Public Enemies' "Fight The Power".

Juice - I have probably seen this movie a hundred times and everytime I expect to see a different conclusion. I have never really been into the music of Tupac Shakur (I always thought he was a hypocritical phony), but I give him props for his performance in this film as Bishop. Had the man lived I have no doubt that the sky could have been the limit in terms of his acting abilities.

Friday - No doubt the definitive comedy of this genre. As a lifelong Ice Cube fan I have always felt that he is at best when his surroundings are more down to earth and basic, whether it be his music or films. Friday is a perfect example. The thing that is so great about this movie is that anybody can sit down and watch it and still find it enjoyable whether they are fans of hip hop cinema or not. The only thing that sucks about this movie is that it is to blame for the successful mainstream explosion of Chris Tucker (who was brilliant in Dead Presidents and Friday but sucks in everything else).

He Got Game - As a teenager who lived and breathed on basketball courts, He Got Game maintains a special place in my heart. Not because it is such a good movie, but because it encompasses every single aspect of basketball culture, from the love of the game to our love of the apparel we wear playing it. Once again Nike manages to sneak in an Air Jordan commercial about half way through. They don't stop there though, nearly every classic sneaker that was released around this time period makes a cameo in this film, heck, even a pair of Kobe Bryant Adidas makes an appearance. Also worth mentioning is that Public Enemy re-united along with their production crew The Bomb Squad for all new material for the films soundtrack.

Don't Be A Menace - The Wayans were such an important part of my childhood that it would be almost criminal not to include something with them on this list. I remember back in the day when this was released I was almost terrified to go and see it in the movie theater. Having just seen movies like Pulp Fiction and From Dusk Til Dawn the Mirimax logo had an almost dangerous feel to it (mind you I was about eleven at the time), add onto the fact that this was a black movie and during this time in my cities history things were also a little tense. Nonetheless, my father forced me into seeing this opening weekend and to this day it is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen.

House Party - I was in the first grade (I think) the first time my parents let me rent this from the video store. At the time it was the greatest thing I had ever seen and probably rented it thirty more times back to back. I learned a lot from this film, all of which I'm sure has permanently scarred me in some way or another.

"Lampin' @ The 6th Borough" is ©2010 by John Miller.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.