Aug 24, 2005

An open letter to John Singleton: (AKA - What were you thinking, man?)

Re: Four Brothers

Dear Mr. Singleton, What were you thinking? I'm no expert or anything, but I'm pretty sure that movie wasn't just bad, it was terrible. Or to quote Enid from Ghost World, it was "so bad it went past good and back to bad again." Here's a quote from another viewer, this from IMDB: "MOST HARDEST PLOT TO FOLLOW EVER!!!" Granted the person who wrote this doesn't seem to be particularly articulate and may not be especially insightful, but I will verify that this was at least *one* of the MOST HARDEST PLOTS TO FOLLOW EVER! My question, by the way, wasn't rhetorical, I'm really curious, what were you thinking? You seem to have some idea what you're doing, you did afterall produce Hustle and Flow. I'm disappointed, sir, and I didn't go in with especially high expectations. Here are an assortment of things I found problematic about the film. Note, I didn't walk out. I thought to myself, "self, this is a horrible film! Are you going to just sit here and waste another hour and a half of your life you'll never ever get back again?" and I replied, "why yes, yes I am. I'm quite interested to know how much worse it can get!"

I found the flaws in the film so... Fascinating.

Why, for example, did you chose the soundtrack you did? Don't get me wrong, I'm mad about Curtis Mayfield, but, um, the movie is set in contemporary Detroit. I don't know what I would suggest, but maybe ... something more, lets see, CONTEMPORARY? See, I think I know where you were trying to go with this, lets see if I'm right. So, these four brothers were adopted by this crazy cat lady (okay not so much with the cats but whatever) in the mid-1970's? That about right? I'm just guessing here, Marky Mark (sorry, mark wahlberg) is about my age (oh and yes he is... actually he's a bit younger but never mind) which ... yeah okay, so these kids were all adopted roughly around 1970-something. So, I guess from the perspective of setting the mood and so forth, I see what you were trying to get at here. After all, the first dance I learned how to do was The Hustle and it made a big impression on me. So, maybe these guys in Dee-Troit really had Smiling Faces Sometimes going through their head when they showed up to kick some gangsta ass. But, hey Johnny, remember the 80's? And the 90's? They happened in Deee-Troit too, man. And I dunno, maybe it's just me, but this guy Bobby Mercer? He looked more like a Men Without Hats kind of guy than a Jackson Five fan. Safety Dance. And don't give me that whole, Detroit_Soul_City crap. André Benjamin was born in 1975. He nearly missed the 70's altogether.

I forgot to mention, this is merely my own bias showing, but for some reason I don't think "Detroit in the Winter" when I hear Motown tunes, I think "Chicago in the summer". And maybe there's something to this. Someone liked the soundtrack to this flick! But their review just proves my point:
The sweltering fusion rhythms create a malevolently languid backdrop that is perfect for late night hazy listening sessions.
  • sweltering
  • languid
  • hazy

These are all great words to describe soul music, but don't exactly set the tone for DEE-fucking-TROIT IN THE WINTER!

Just sayin'

Another thing I found problematic was the fact that none of the characters were even remotely likeable. I mean, seriously, even the kind hearted old lady, murdered by evil drug lords wasn't terribly sympathetic. I know that scene where her spirit was scolding the boys for shoving too much turkey in their mouths was supposed to be heartwarming and shit, but but it was just kind of annoying. And what was up with all the homophobic crap? The only slightly sympathetic character was the youngest brother. And he dies! Not only does he die, but his older brother is standing over him telling him, "don't die you fucking homo". What is the fuck with that?

There were no good explosions in this movie either, there was too much shooting. And come on, when a gun fight goes on EVEN IN DETROIT for over ten minutes, someone usually calls the cops.

You did a good job with the bad guys even though it was the hardest plot to follow ever. It was pretty cool when that one bad guy made that other bad guy sit at the kiddy table as punishment. Overall though, bad job.



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