Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 33:31)
Posts Tagged ‘Jackie Robinson’
Richard and “CP24 Breakfast Weekend” anchor Jamie Gutfreund discuss the life and career impact of the late actor Chadwick Boseman whose family reports he passed away after battling cancer for four years.
Watch the whole thing HERE.
Watch the whole thing HERE!
James Brown is probably best remembered as the hit maker behind “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” and “I Feel Good”; a larger-than-life, cape-wearing showman who made funk a household word over a career than spanned six decades.
A new film, “Get on Up,” aims to fill in the blanks, detailing Brown’s rise from poverty to the top of the R&B charts.
Chadwick Boseman, who, after earning accolades for his performance as Jackie Robinson in”42,” seems to be making a career of playing 20th century legends on screen, plays Brown from age 16 to 60.
In non-linear, cut and paste style, the film tells of an abusive South Carolina upbringing at the hands of his sharecropper father (Lennie James) and a mother (Viola Davis) who abandoned the family early on to career highlights like the incendiary T.A.M.I. Show performance where he upstaged the Rolling Stones, (whose singer Mick Jagger produced this movie). It covers his close friendship with singer-songwriter Bobby Byrd (Nelsan Ellis), a brush with death on a USO show and a young James pulling two-tone loafers off a lynched man.
“Get on Up” is the second musical biopic of the summer but the first one to vibrate with energy, spirit and soul. Where “Jersey Boys” felt staid and straightforward, “Get On Up” is as loose-limbed and funky as one of Brown’s groove-heavy singles.
Some may find the non-linear time jumping scenes that bookend the film arrhythmic, but the randomness of those sequences—it jumps, willy nilly from the 1940s to Brown’s 1970s heyday to a wild scene that lead to his 1988 arrest—breaks the standard rags-to-riches-to-arrests biopic formula. Director Tate “The Help” Taylor takes an impressionistic view of Brown’s life, integrating some magic realism and fourth wall breaking dialogue direct to camera in a bold approach to a very mainstream genre.
Stylistic flourishes aside, there are the usual biographical “one day everyone will know your name” show biz clichés, but the movie is smart enough not to rely on those elements to tell the story. Instead Tate relies on an extraordinarily charismatic performance—one guesses it’s a liberal mix of fact and fiction, life and legend—from Boseman to illuminate Brown’s angels and demons.
He’s called a musical genius more than once, and given his legacy it’s hard not to agree, but some of the more unsavory parts of Brown’s life are glossed over. The drug use and domestic abuse that checkered his life (and arrest record) are touched on but not explored with the same interest as the upward trajectory of Brown’s musical career.
Like the expert backing bands that supported Brown throughout his career, here the character is supported by very good actors. As life-long friend Bobby Byrd, Nelsan Ellis shows he has more range than simply playing Lafayette Reynolds on “True Blood” every week and Dan Aykroyd has fun with the role of Brown’s manager. It’s a shame that good performances from Craig Robinson, as sax legend Maceo Parker, and Viola Davis as Brown’s mother, are limited to extended cameos.
“Get On Up” is one big chunk of funk with a gold standard performance from Boseman and music that will make you want to… er… get on up.
The second baseman is remembered not only as a veteran of six World Series, the recipient of the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947 and an inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame but especially as the first African American man to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era.
His accomplishments are many. He was the first black player to win the National League Most Valuable Player Award and was awarded both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
In tribute, every April 15, the date the Brooklyn Dodgers started Robinson at first base, all uniformed personnel at 15 different ballparks wear Jackie’s retired number 42.
This weekend a tribute of another kind comes to theatres. The movie 42 details the Hall of Famer’s history-making breaking of the color barrier in professional baseball. The film focuses on Robinson’s (Chadwick Boseman) relationship with Branch Rickey, played by Harrison Ford, the MLB executive who facilitated the player’s signing to the ball team.
The story is custom made for the movies. Spike Lee tried unsuccessfully to get a biopic of Robinson, starring Denzel Washington, off the ground in 1995, but others have had better luck.
Robinson portrayed himself in The Jackie Robinson Story. Filmed over the winter in 1949 – ‘50, during the off-season from the Brooklyn Dodgers, the film earned good reviews at the time, with the New York Times saying, “Mr. Robinson displays a calm assurance and composure that might be envied by many a Hollywood star.” Despite his acclaimed performance, he never made another film.
Since then he has been the subject of a variety of projects. A 1978 ABC Afterschool special called A Home Run for Love used the player—portrayed by John Lafayette—as the heart of a tale about friendship and racial tolerance.
The First was a short-lived Broadway musical starring David Alan Grier as Robinson, and both Andre Braugher and Blair Underwood have played him in television dramas.
Back on the big screen Robinson was played by Keith David in Blue in the Face, an improvised love letter to Brooklyn featuring celebrity cameos by everyone from Harvey Keitel and Lily Tomlin to Madonna and Lou Reed. In a cameo we see Robinson from behind as he talks about breaking the color barrier in baseball.