MONDO EXTRAS

Crip-Crapra: Crapmen

by Pamie May 15, 2001
Hip Hopera: Carmen

So, someone at MTV thought it'd be a good idea to let Robert Townsend direct again because B*A*P*S wasn't punishment enough. This time he's taking Bizet's Carmen, although he's really taking Carmen Brown and hip-hop-ifying it for "the kids." Let's roll.

My machine missed the first second of the tape and starts with some intense drum-playing in a parking lot as Wyclef Jean's name flashes over my screen. These things cannot be good signs. Everyone is playing and drumming around Da Brat, who is in black and white. She's really digging the beat. She tells us in rap that this is a "classic story retold." This "hip-hopera" will allow us to "watch the drama unfold." She continues with the exposition, rhyming that this is the tragic tale of a girl trying to capture the gold with a free spirit. At one point, Da Brat catches a rose and tosses it in the air toward us. It is the only thing in color around this black-and-white scene.

The scenes are edited in quick cuts with different shots of the action spliced together. You know, in this reality-programming saturated world, the one nice thing about watching something scripted is that it can just flow. There's no need to edit the scenes or lines together in a way that makes it interesting to hear. So when people are edited this way now, it doesn't seem very Oliver Stone. Now it seems like it's all improvisation. Two police officers are in their car. One is our hero, Mekhi Phifer, playing Derrik Hill. They talk about "chicks" -- good ones and bad ones. Derrik mentions that he's with a good one and doesn't need to hear stories about bad ones. They laugh and talk quickly.

Opening credits continue through splicing and editing not appreciated since the days of Krush Groove. We see several Sneaky Handshakes of Drug Dealing and people executing the Chin Touch of Innocence. Sirens. The cops arrive in shaky, bad-editing repetition. Everyone stops running when they see that it's not a cop car, just "Miller undercover." At least, I think his name is Miller. It could be "Nilla." It's Mos Def. You know because he gets his own slow-motion close-up as he lifts his head. He's dressed out in full "Smooth Criminal" garb, and I hope he can do that thing where his body goes almost horizontal while he's standing up. The guy leaning into the car says that he just saw Mos Def two days ago. Mos Def says that the guy saw him two days ago and that's the "same difference." I am only transcribing, I am not trying to explain. Mos Def says all innocently that he can't hear anything the other guy is saying until the other guy fills Mos Def's straining-to-hear hand (because he is "Mos Def," you see, not "Sorta Def") with enough money. It's Afterschool-Special dumb. Mos Def can't hear out his right ear or his left ear, since they edited this scene so poorly. One hand is up and then the other hand is up. They don't care. I saw Making the Movie for this thing. The entire film was done in less than a month. Writing, rehearsing, recording, directing, shooting -- all less than a month. I've worked longer on productions for Mother's Day starring me, my sister, and fifteen stuffed animals. "You're killing me, man," the drug dealer tells Mos Def, referring to the amount of money Mos Def is requesting. "You know what'd be killing you? Killing you." He then says that getting all of what he's only getting half of now would also be killing him. I don't understand all this drug money talk, but that's because I'm a good girl. Mos Def then explains that it's like he's a pimp, and the guy leaning on the car window is a ho. OH! Now I get it. Mos Def says something to his driver, but it sounds like he was singing about peas. I'm sure that's not it, so I'll move on.

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Crip-Crapra: Crapmen

by Pamie May 15, 2001
Hip Hopera: Carmen So, someone at MTV thought it'd be a good idea to let Robert Townsend direct again because B*A*P*S wasn't punishment enough. This time he's taking Bizet's Carmen, although he's really taking Carmen Brown and hip-hop-ifying it for "the kids." Let's roll. My machine missed the first second of the tape and starts with some intense drum-playing in a parking lot as Wyclef Jean's name flashes over my screen. These things cannot be good signs. Everyone is playing and drumming around Da Brat, who is in black and white. She's really digging the beat. She tells us in rap that this is a "classic story retold." This "hip-hopera" will allow us to "watch the drama unfold." She continues with the exposition, rhyming that this is the tragic tale of a girl trying to capture the gold with a free spirit. At one point, Da Brat catches a rose and tosses it in the air toward us. It is the only thing in color around this black-and-white scene. The scenes are edited in quick cuts with different shots of the action spliced together. You know, in this reality-programming saturated world, the one nice thing about watching something scripted is that it can just flow. There's no need to edit the scenes or lines together in a way that makes it interesting to hear. So when people are edited this way now, it doesn't seem very Oliver Stone. Now it seems like it's all improvisation. Two police officers are in their car. One is our hero, Mekhi Phifer, playing Derrik Hill. They talk about "chicks" -- good ones and bad ones. Derrik mentions that he's with a good one and doesn't need to hear stories about bad ones. They laugh and talk quickly. Opening credits continue through splicing and editing not appreciated since the days of Krush Groove. We see several Sneaky Handshakes of Drug Dealing and people executing the Chin Touch of Innocence. Sirens. The cops arrive in shaky, bad-editing repetition. Everyone stops running when they see that it's not a cop car, just "Miller undercover." At least, I think his name is Miller. It could be "Nilla." It's Mos Def. You know because he gets his own slow-motion close-up as he lifts his head. He's dressed out in full "Smooth Criminal" garb, and I hope he can do that thing where his body goes almost horizontal while he's standing up. The guy leaning into the car says that he just saw Mos Def two days ago. Mos Def says that the guy saw him two days ago and that's the "same difference." I am only transcribing, I am not trying to explain. Mos Def says all innocently that he can't hear anything the other guy is saying until the other guy fills Mos Def's straining-to-hear hand (because he is "Mos Def," you see, not "Sorta Def") with enough money. It's Afterschool-Special dumb. Mos Def can't hear out his right ear or his left ear, since they edited this scene so poorly. One hand is up and then the other hand is up. They don't care. I saw Making the Movie for this thing. The entire film was done in less than a month. Writing, rehearsing, recording, directing, shooting -- all less than a month. I've worked longer on productions for Mother's Day starring me, my sister, and fifteen stuffed animals. "You're killing me, man," the drug dealer tells Mos Def, referring to the amount of money Mos Def is requesting. "You know what'd be killing you? Killing you." He then says that getting all of what he's only getting half of now would also be killing him. I don't understand all this drug money talk, but that's because I'm a good girl. Mos Def then explains that it's like he's a pimp, and the guy leaning on the car window is a ho. OH! Now I get it. Mos Def says something to his driver, but it sounds like he was singing about peas. I'm sure that's not it, so I'll move on.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13Next

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