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Friday, August 17, 2007

Spotlight On....

Since invisibility is rearing it's ugly head in spades this week, with not one black film, one black director, or a black actor of note in any opening this weekend, I'll talk about our community on my own.

One person who has come up on my radar several times is Michael K. Williams. The first time I saw him, it had been one of those weekends at the video store where I'd either seen everything, and what was left did not look like anything I'd want to rent. I half-enthusiastically picked up a movie called "Hard Times" , with Boris Kudjoe's big bald head plastered on the entire front of it. Boris is not one of my faves, but sometimes I rent films to support black filmmaking/production companies.

Anyhoo, as I watched the film (which was OK but not that great, about a buppie dude going to jail and going through some serious jail time drama), I noticed this hard-core looking dude was seriously stealing Boris' thunder. He turned a mediocre film into one that I watched with interest, and his dilemmas seemed real and were surprisingly moving. His acting was among the best I'd seen in a long time, very non-Hollywood, and I'd never seen this dude before. Even the scars on his face seemed real, and you could vividly imagine him actually facing the hardships in this film in real life.

The film was pretty low-budget, so I figured I wouldn't see him again any time soon, but very soon after, I saw him as Macy Gray's husband in "Lackawanna Blues", in a small, but still very affecting performance. And now, after seeing him every week as Omar on "The Wire", I am completely hooked. He is mesmerizing, and keeps your eyeballs glued to the screen.

Someone told me that he is in all of those R. Kelly "Trapped in the Closet" episodes, but everybody makes mistakes, and I refuse to watch that mess. But it is really saying a lot that you can keep your hard, scarred up face, play a depths of the ghetto homosexual/robber/killer (as he does on The Wire), and be one of the most sympathetic characters on the show. And have a straight code of ethics at that, so straight, that the police believe everything you say and are usually on your side, even knowing your criminal activity. And to top it off, he's darkly funny. Now that's real acting.

Next out for him on the big screen is "A Day In The Life" directed by Sticky Fingaz (?!) and co-stars Omar Epps, Mekhi Phifer, Michael Rapaport, Fredro Starr, Melinda Williams, Clarence Williams III, Faizon Love, Bokeem Woodbine and Ray J. Wow....I really wanna see how that's gonna turn out.
Trivia: he used to be a dancer and then a choreographer for music videos


Sincere said...

The Wire is one of my favorite series on tv!! probably the most favorite. I have been watching since the 1st season. growing up in the DC metro area, I've been to Baltimore alot and I have to say, the writing is pretty much on point. I hate that this will be the last season though. My favorite characters are Omar, Snoop and Stringer bell (RIP) and you can't forget about Bodie!!!

Mrs. Grapevine said...

I just saw a top ten of all movies, and not one black movie was on their. We need a top ten list of black movies of all time. I nominate Sparkle and Lady Sings The Blues.

No seriously, we do need one. I hope you will take on the cause. I'll vote, if you set it up.

justjudith said...

i made a list a couple of years back and it was controversial. people have their own distinct feelings about what is best. but i'd be game to see someone else's. no pressure!

Invisible Woman said...

@Sincere-Bodie went down like a straight soldier! I was sorry to see him go though, especially when he was starting to develop some morals...I am also very sorry that this is the last season, there is practically nothing on TV that I watch on the regular...and the Sopranos gone too? Too much. I've heard people in the Baltimore metro area say that The Wire is very realistic, which is slightly depressing in a way.

@JJ & Mrs. GV I am going to do a whole Sunday about your comments...

justjudith said...

i went to howard and visited baltimore a few times back then and i was there again about three years ago -- the wire is reality tv for real. one of my friends lives there and she freaked out when someone with a name very close to marlo stanfield came in to her office lol.
it is sad but kudos to the city for putting it out there. i don't know any other city that would openly embrace its reputation for corruption, poverty and drugs.

coloredgirlswhohaveconsidered said...

I will search for this film. I've become a #1 fan of Michael K. Williams. I was late on the Wire and have been playing catch up. But, between Michael and Idris I've been searching eBay for the collection, starting from the first year.

Invisible Woman said...

@colored girls...the guy in my video store kept telling me I needed to watch The Wire earlier this year but I wasn't interested....I finally watched it, and was gonna write it off until the last 5 minutes of the 1st episode. It was like "wow". I was so hooked that I watched every episode back to back in 2 weeks. I was on the late train too.