So far in my brief stay here on planet earth I have experienced a few notable pleasures in life such as good food and just as good music. For better or worse, I just so happen to be a bit of a thinker and sometimes ponder what exactly electrifies my taste buds enough to render a food delectable or why some sonic vibrations make love to my ear drums more efficiently than others. While nothing is quite conclusive at all these days, I flirt with one particular fundamental that appeases my logic at this point in time and that is "chemistry."
Sort of like the "Chemistry" you took as a general requirement in high school that you never paid attention to because you were too busy flirting with some hot girl sitting right next to you in the classroom. For the purpose of this review I'm going to be more specific in the direction I'm taking "Chemistry", which I mean in it in the way of connection. When something has chemistry we think of it as meshing well collectively. Just like that Eel Sushi roll that may have ingredients which might not ideally taste well by themselves, but together they have chemistry, and (in my opinion) taste delicious or in this case, when a producer and emcee have a seemingly telepathic bond/undeniable chemistry creating porn for the ears. What's the recipe you may ask? Well, Pete Rock & CL's "Main Ingredient" (Pun Intended) for quality product is chemistry. All setting aside the supreme individual talent each of them possess by themselves. This album is the phenomena that some of us experience in life of something just "clicking." That rare occurrence of beautiful harmony.
This, in theory, is a review, but not really because I feel you should have already heard this album as well as Pete Rock & CL Smooth's previous work. If not, you are losing at life and have the opportunity of redeeming yourself since this album is being reissued. These two bring back the lost art of one producer providing the sonic backdrop for one whole album, which generally creates the most cohesive bodies of work. What these musicians have done for hip hop is create a foundation to study and build upon both with the rhymes and beats.
"The Main Ingredient" has that grown-feel-good essence to it. The rhymes and flows are fluid along with rhyme patterns that blend bars together, narratives that hold your attention and can pleasure the average listener, but also contains jewels of wisdom hidden that can engage the deeper listener. It's hard to criticize this project especially if you take the music for what it is, but as people we can find criticism in anything. For me this is an example of a hip hop album made to almost the degree of perfection based on our human criteria. Transitioning is smooth between each song creating the illusion that "The Main Ingredient" is one long song because it's that cohesive. So good it's hypnotizing.
-Editor's Note: Scott wrote his review before the actually reissue CD made it's way here, so to give some details on what you have in store with this sweet reissue. It's packaged in a nice hardcore box. It's a 2-Disc Set. Disc 1 has the album in it's original context, while Disc 2 has the 12" single versions (remixes, instrumentals, and acapellas)!! There are also extensive liner notes with a foreword about the making of the album, photos and scans of all the single and album artwork, shout outs, and a breakdown of each song by Pete Rock!! Another Traffic Entertainment Sure Shot!!
Catapulting from his elusively maneuvering under the radar scary good debut album "The Good Sun", the new addition to the Stones Throw roster follows up 2 years later from his 2010 release with the "Subject: Matter EP." Homeboy Sandman the Elmhurst, Queens representer is truly an underrated talent and a spray of Febreeze in a high school football teams locker room filled with must and smothering body odor. Also an advocate of organic produce and following your inner voice, Boy Sand embodies a genuine, eclectic nature both sonically and individually as a graduate from an Ivy League school personally deafening the external forces influencing him to use his advanced degrees instead of pursuing his aspirations of making a living off being an emcee.
The "Subject: Matter EP" may arguably have the most verbally introspective and informational artwork ever. It basically breaks down the EP as a whole, what he meant to convey, as well as a track by track explanation along with thoughts on Frequently Asked Questions about his stage name.
Usual suspects such as 2 Hungry Bros contribute to the project on the production end. "Subject: Matter" is not too much of a departure from his previous release from a beat standpoint; still containing that soul and jazzy boom bap feel to perfectly compliment the New York natives style. Sandman is a little more serious and laid back on this record getting personal on the silky smooth, yet tastefully pu**y whipped cut "Unforgettable." Still maintaining his melodic flow and intelligent, deep witty thought out lyrics on "Canned Goods", which is about his experience with canned goods in addition to capturing the escalating modern crisis' around the world where he chants "Canned Goods, other foods spoils much quicker. The spoils go to the victors..."
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/05-Canned-Goods.mp3|titles=05 Canned Goods]
In conclusion, this is a strongly recommended listen. You will truly get your own experience dealing with a Homeboy Sandman project for better or worse. "Subject: Matter" is only available through direct .mp3 download via various outlets and on vinyl; meaning no CD love. (Whoever made that decision to do so needs should consider being a guinea to an experiment by a mad scientist and lab assistant that resembles Igor to scramble their brain cells, consequently rearranging their logic to better suite the needs of next time offering this project in disc format.)
For further diagnosis of the non social networking using emcee (except myspace, maybe) check him out on MTV's Made serving as a rap coach.
-EDITORS NOTE: You can learn more about Homeboy Sandman in our detailed interview HERE!!
If you know me, listen to Redefinition Radio, regularly read any of my wordy online ramblings, or had any discussion with me in the last ten years about my favorite new(er) MCs then you should be aware that I’m a big Chief Kamachi fan. He’s among a select elite few who I consider natural MCs. He just has “it”. It’s a gift. However, he doesn’t let that allow him to be lazy. He loves it, values it, and still strives to achieve higher levels of mastery over the craft.
That in mind, I’m going to focus the bulk of this review on taking a deeper look at the lyrics. That is the primary driving force behind a Chief Kamachi album. It’s going to be a rather challenging effort for any album this year to surpass “Rise And Rhyme” lyrically, the bar has been set pretty high early in 2012.
All the lyric talk is not to say the production is worth ignoring, because there are some quality beats present. However, in some cases, there’s nothing particularly dynamic about the production. In general, it sets the tone and stays out of the way and let’s Kamachi go to work. Many of the beats have an interesting vibe or premise, but the biggest critique is the arrangement. Beyond that, they tend to have a similar signature cinematic epic warrior sound, invoking visions of theme music for a Future Primitive B-Boy entering the arena for combat. As powerful of an image that induces, it is still good to hear him on some varied sounds. It’s these alternate tracks that shine the most on the album; “Chuck D”, “Return Of The 7”, & “Get Righteous Or Die Trying” [all 3 produced by Audio Narcotics], as well as “Rise And Rhyme [Produced By Diract Beatz] and “Bulletproof Auras” [Produced by Junior Makhno].
As far as guests, there are four tracks with vocal appearances. With the exception of Killah Priest, none of the names were recognizable to me, but some of those unknowns drop enough quality gems to have sparked my interest in searching for more of their material. I’m not exactly sure who is who on each track, so the complete list of MC collaborators are Vendetta Kingz, G8abak, Columbo Black, Contra Psalmz, & Merc Versus. DJ White Shadow is also a solid presence on the album, supplying cuts and scratches.
Here are just some of the albums lyrical highlights below. This is my best interpretation from listening in headphones. Hopefully Kamachi will correct any misquotes if they exist…
The album opens with “3rd Lecture”, an on-going saga from his previous albums (except “Concrete Gospel” where an installment is now noticeably missing). This is a 2:43 minute lyrical exercise where he drops a series of gems such as “Pyramid builder trying to find tenants/What we find behind the sky is MY limits” and “African lion, war for Orion/Old ancestors used to Breakdance with the Mayans”.
“Chuck D” was the first leak from the album and has an ill and controversial video. Building off the title, the scratches in the hook and pieces of his lyrics pay homage to Chuck D and Public Enemy. The video itself gives life to the PE concept “Louder Than A Bomb”. It’s a great song on it’s own, but for the full effect I suggest viewing the music video. It’s virtually impossible to single any of the lyrics out, as it is pretty lethal thru out, but the final bars to the first two verses are both pretty stellar,
Verse One: “One, Two, Mic Check, Sunzu/Run away slave, in the jungle wearing one shoe/I am the body the great leaders can come thru/Neck loose from every noose that it hung thru!”
Verse Two: “Nat burner, don’t wanna be a crack earner/God Body, historical fact learner/House Ni***as…Uncle Toms…Janitors/I’m in the lab with the pen like Ben Banneker/Cure for A.I.D.S in a West African canister/The killing fields, Cannonball brandisher!”
“Return Of The 7” has Kamachi making use of a more relaxed tone to his approach, but the subject matter remains heavy, as he reasons, “Don’t need a dollar if it gets me or my family hurt” while enjoying drinking a “Glass of wine from a old Egyptian distillery”, and spends his earnings and time responsibly, ”…Invest in rare books, don’t care about a sneaker sale/Power to the people, the only thing the speakers yell/Mission complete when all of my messages can reach the jail”.
The start of the third verse is a excellent example of his seamless weaving of words, “Young Tut it gotta be, New Millennium odyssey/Digging deep, thinking they hit the spiritual lottery/All they found was fragments and pieces of old pottery/Searching in the sky, but the secret’s kept inside of me/Me and my rituals, different camaraderie/ 9th Wonder, light thunder, laughing at Socrates/Children in my village I raised got better prophecies/Our stolen legacy, they begging me to stop it please/For our knowledge we were strung up and dropped in seas (?)*/But was reincarnated one of the top MCS…”
*this could also be “dropped and seized”???
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/04-Return-Of-The-7.mp3|titles=04 Return Of The 7]
“Get Righteous Or Die Tryin” deals with the struggle of trying to escape the street life and showcases his gift for disturbing visuals, as he outlines the limited world view of a drug dealer on the corner, “Talk to the karma king trying to get the game score/It ain’t red or blue, the color green starts the gang war/I did some things in life that I should be ashamed for/Eight hour shifts in the snow by the same store/Dope fiends bopping their heads with a vein tore/Walk with the steel umbrella if the rain pour/Welcome to the world young fella, we getting slain more/Can’t think straight, they putting poison in our brain core/My sneaker money taking food out of children’s stomach/three weeks in the street, watch the good feelings plummet…”
Near the end of his journey he finds himself nearing a path of Righteousness, “See the light and the force come, dance to the war drum/All this bulls**t music making us more dumb/The stress, drugs and sex is weakening our health/I ain’t preaching to ni**as, I’m just speaking for myself/Yeah…Child of Africa, raised in America/Traveling back home, trying to purify my character”.
He relentlessly continues with the grim visuals on “Soul Soldier”, “Came from the east, trying to raise my family in the wild west/Daughter jumping rope in a pretty colorful Nile dress/Blood on the playground fence making her smile less/ni**as dead, case getting buried under the file chest/My son’s play astrology, science a hobby/Now they study crack viles in a project lobby…”
Kamachi is also deserving of a salute for another of his strengths, writing hooks that are worthy of equal praise to the verses. This is clearly evident in the dire scene of the “Soul Soldier” chorus, "Soul Soldier, still singing Sankofa/Cops at the door and the gun’s under the sofa/Before I open the door I kiss my Black Panther poster/You’ll ni**as scared to ride this American rollercoaster!”
“The Gypsy” is testament to his story-telling skills, which is already evident thru the use of visual imagery described above, but hearing it in this context invites a different appreciation. It depicts his meeting with a Gypsy and the story cleverly combines his potent mixture of the street life, mystics, and intellect.
Mind you, that’s just a touch of the highlights. I didn’t even speak on the title track, “Rise And Rhyme” which is pretty bonkers from the opening line to the last bar or “Rapwhore” which is essentially a reworking of Common’s “I Used To Love H.E.R” concept with an ill twist.
As I listen this album, about the tenth time in the last 24 hours, it tempts my imagination to run wild. The way he speaks of black magic and things of the sort I ponder is it feasible that he conjured up a concoction that forces words to do his bidding and fall perfectly in place, in rhyme form, as he wills it so? That line of thinking is nearly more plausible to consider than any simple belief that he can “just rhyme that good”. Despite my previous comment, rhyming this well isn’t all entirely natural. It is actually rather uncommon. If you want to reach this level, “Rise And Rhyme”, as Freeway, his Philly brethren, says, “Early!”
Written By Kevin “Still A Rap Fan” Beacham
WARNING: This article is laced...heavily with sarcasm, but that doesn’t make the subject matter any less lovable or desirable. I got mine so you get yours…
Ah, the innocence of early Hip Hop…
I think the average person knows that the DJ invented Hip Hop, or so I hope. It’s pretty obvious that the MC quickly became the most popular part of the Culture once records came into play. However, I think many forget that it was really “Breakdancing”* that made Hip Hop a household name. Mainstream America was fascinated by the Hippity Hop moves of the Urban Youth…
I don’t know with absolute certainty where the wildfire started, but I have my suspicions. In ‘83 Style Wars and Wild Style both hit and made some noise in the Hip Hop community and started to resonate beyond, but didn’t quite take it mainstream. It took something a bit more commercially susceptible…
I can recall the “day everything changed” vividly. It was a Monday in Mr Asmir’s art class and the primary focus of conversation was who had been to the movies that weekend. It wasn’t small talk. It was specific. The real question was who had seen Flashdance? The film itself isn’t about Breakdancing, just as much as the talk in general wasn’t about the film, it was focused on that quick couple of minutes where the Rock Steady Crew graced the screen. That brief moment had people mesmerized. It created a domino effect in people trying to get their Breakdance on.
Around the same time as all of this, a inspiring filmmaker was finishing his documentary/variety show about the West Coast Hip Hop Scene called Breakin' N Enterin'. Of all the films mentioned above, it is perhaps the least known. However, it is infamous for what it inspired. Breakin’ N Enterin’ takes you on a journey thru L.A. to meet Chris “The Glove” Taylor, Egyptian Lover, Hen Gee, Ice T, Boo Ya Tribe, Nat The Cat, and of course, Taco, Shabba Doo & Boogaloo Shrimp… Yes, Breakin’ N Enterin’ was the inspiration for the blockbuster movie Breakin’.
Breakin’ was huge! It entered suburban America and never came back. I’ve always wondered how it was received in New York. I can picture hordes of New York youth heading to theaters to peep it and barely being able to get keep themselves from laughing uncontrollably at the sheer ridiculousness of this rendition of the West Coast Hip Hop Scene. I’m sure they thought it was just as corny as they expected Hip Hop outside of New York to be. Although, a bit unfair since Breakin’ isn’t the most authentic and/or complete look at the LA Hip Hop Scene. Then again Breakin’ N Enterin’, somewhat of a documentary, doesn’t make the scene seem that much cooler. However, what NYC probably failed to realize is that their scene may not have been as cool as they thought to outside eyes, particularly in hindsight. Such evidence of that was exposed to the mainstream later that same year with Beat Street. Sorry NYC, there’s a hint of absurdity in your history too, but we still love you!
Truth is, back then it was all a bit silly, but it’s irrelevant because it was a time of innovation, fun, empowerment, entrepreneurialism, and more. Hip Hop had already been around about a decade before Breakin’, but it was definitely a turning point for corporations realizing they could make a lot of money exploiting this Culture. They now recognized that they didn’t have to stop at just giving out bad record deals. They could also get over with movies, TV commercials, and other forms of visual media. That made Breakdancing the best exploitable medium, as it was most visually appealing.
OK, OK. This isn’t meant to be all cynical & bitter, it's a light-hearted piece. I suppose it is also true that very exploitation also added the fuel to the fire that allowed Hip Hop to become a multi-million dollar industry…including my job and ability to get paid for writing this article, so unfortunately I probably owe those greedy people, bad fashion, and horrendous trendy Hollywood writers a thank you…sigh.
Anyway, I can’t lie, I was 14 years old and I loved Breakin’ when it came out. I was amazed by the Popping moves of Boogaloo Shrimp (Turbo in the films), leading myself, along with countless other young kids, to trying out our Popping moves with a broom after viewing this movie.
Breakin’ has a pretty standard Hollywood premise. There’s the Suburban White girl, Special K, from the upscale upbringing who is an aspiring Jazz dancer who just happens to stumble across Street Dancing and falls in love…not just with the dancing either. A romance begins to brew between Special K & Shabba Doo (Ozone in the films). All the while they train Special K in the art of Breakdancing, tour the LA Hip Hop Scene, win some dance battles, and get Street Dancing respected by a committee of Professional Dance snobs…pretty impressive I say.
Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo took the silliness to a whole other level, which you might not even think is possible, but it is. However, the heart is in the right place, as this time around the mission is to save a neighborhood community center from demolition. Guess what? SPOILER ALERT: Hip Hop wins again!
Alright, confession time. Those movie synopsis’s are from memory and IMDB.com descriptions because I haven’t seen either one of the Breakin’ movies since the 80s probably. Part of the reason I ordered this double pack DVD was so I could finally own them myself. With that said, don’t judge me if my description isn’t 100% on point, I know it’s the basic idea, so just roll with it OK? ☺
Another thing interesting about these early Hip Hop inspired movies was the lack of Hip Hop on their Soundtracks. They would generally have more Hip Hop song clips in the movies that didn’t make the Soundtrack. I take that as more proof of the superior popularity of Breakdanding. The corporate leaders, who saw dollar signs with a movie on Breakdancing, didn’t think that people would buy a Rap Soundtrack. That is my best guess. In any event, the Breakin’ Soundtrack is still pretty awesome, even with it’s ONE Rap song. It’s a reflection of the West Coast scene’s Roots deep in the Funk and fusing it with Electro. This invites lots of Vocoder, Drum Machines, bright Keyboard sounds, and plenty of singing.
I have no idea where the duo Ollie & Jerry came from, but they represent admirably with the perfectly catchy theme song, “Breakin’…There’s No Stopping Us”. This song just makes you want to dance for the revolution of self, you can barely resist it. The team returns for “Showdown”. It doesn’t reach the same heights, but uses similar elements, plus throws in some minimal scratching, on this primarily instrumental track designed to set the battle scene. Although, the tempo and mood of the track makes me visualize people dancing in slow motion and with lots of smiling faces. The legendary Bar-Kays contribute the fast paced dance jam, “Freakshow On The Dance Floor”…it’s pretty great. I completely forgot about Hot Steak’s “Body Work”! It’s the home to the acapella intro “I Don’t know what I been told/Music makes you lose control…” Despite the fact that if you don’t know what you’ve been told then you’re probably not a good listener, this song is still a good listen. Man, as I listen to this I am reminded of how sweet this Soundtrack is! I am going to need a Breakdance lunchbreak… Carol Lynn Townes “99 ½” is another nice joint with some low tuned Roland TR-808s, sparse use of some Heavy Guitars, and some singing pulled up from the Soul in the name of love. 3-V’s “Heart Of The Beat” has the most Hip Hop styled drum programming of the tracks so far and acts as a slowed down Hearthrob track a la The Cover Girls, Debbie Deb, and the like. Fire Fox’s “Street People” isn’t ringing the same familiarity as the other tracks mentioned, but I’m feeling it. It’s the Street Dancers anthem and I’ll gladly ride for it and with it, this is one for the convertible! Re-Flex holds it down for the “New Wave” craze and could have fit just as easy on the Footloose Soundtrack. The album ends on two classics of a different type. Chaka Kahn’s “Ain’t Nobody” is colossal! I love this track; the production, the arrangement, the written words, and of course her amazing voice! When she drops the jewel, “It happened so naturally didn’t know it was love”…whoa! Touching hearts son! This is a 80s favorite for me. It all comes to a close with the lone Rap track and it’s a monster. Ice T and Chris “The Glove” Taylor** pick up the pace for this super team-up to praise the DJ skills of The Glove. I can clearly remember sitting in my room and listening to this and just marveling at that elegant intro, “Once upon a time a DJ’s task/Was just to play records, what more could you ask?/But then came remixes scratching, and cuts/Which was too much for many, drove some DJs nuts!” As if you need another reason to buy this Soundtrack, this reissue on Get On Down Records includes a full length poster!!
All in all, these are fun 80s movies that give you a glimpse of the LA Scene, plus you get to see a bunch of awesome stuff like; Ice T in fantastic outfits, Jean Claude Van Damme busting some Popping moves in the background, the correlation of Breakdancing and magic, Spandex, and all sorts of smile and/or head-shaking inducing antics. Pick up the movies and the Soundtrack, share it with your children, laugh about it with your friends, or reminisce about your days as a Street Dancer with pride. Whatever the reason, just do it, I know you want to…
*Breakdancing: I know this isn’t a term embraced by all in the Culture, but it’s certainly fitting here in a discussion about Hollywood movies. To keep it a tad bit realer though, shout out to all my B-Boys and B-Girls!
**Both Breakin’ & Breakin II had some other Ice T cuts that I always wanted to have, but where only in the movies; “Combat”, “Go Off”, and a couple others I think. I still hope those surface one day….
***Breakin' N' Enterin' Isn't available on DVD or otherwise far as I know, but you can watch it in pieces on Youtube. You can BUY THE SOUNDTRACK HERE!
When it comes to TV, Movies, Music and I suppose anything for that matter, I appreciate creativity, fantasy, alternate reality, and the conquering of the impossible. I’m willing to accept that people can fly and shoot lasers from their eyes, that dragons existed, Time Travel is possible, that animals can plot and mutiny against humans, alien invasions are inevitable, that under the right circumstances the threat of the living dead is plausible and just about anything else. In general, I believe in the possibility of the extraordinary, so I find myself entertained by the most outlandish possibilities in entertainment.
However, what I can’t accept is what I hope is poor representation of human emotion and decision-making or better yet, just lazy writing. Don’t get me wrong, I assume all writers have the issue. I certainly don’t think everything I write is award winning, far from it... But, when I spend my $30-$50 to go see a movie (one of best parts about being single is being on the low end of that these days…ha) or spend an hour to watch a TV show I have some, what I consider realistic, expectations*.
I spend a great deal of time working and so it’s always nice to have one or two TV shows that I enjoy to escape reality for a couple hours a week. I can’t count how many shows I started watching because they had an interesting premise, but I had to abandon because of plot loopholes or one character was so unbelievable/annoying that they became too painful to watch. Two recent things come to mind.
I like Mark Wahlberg. I like action movies. Although, I don’t expect big budgeted #1 Movies In America to be well thought out masterpieces. I go just to enjoy something visually stimulating and some over the top action, but it’s frustrating when there are these things that should have been obvious rewrites that get over-looked. Particularly when there are so many other options in how they could have been handled.
I went to go see Contraband because the trailer looked action-packed and that’s the mood I was in. In general the story was interesting. It had a psychological premise of how far would you go to protect your family? Would you risk your own safety? The safety of others? Your freedom? And to what degree?
Ultimately, the route he took seemed a bit outlandish. Mr Wahlberg needed to protect his wife’s brother and ultimately his family, who would inherit his “death debt” if what was due went unpaid. To do that he returned to his life of crime for what I assume was one of the more high-risk crimes of his career. That led him to travel on boat to challenge Panamanian gangsters, the coast guard, crooked boat captains, and his own inner moral conflicts. Maybe it’s me, but it seems rather than risk all of that it may have been easier to just deal with the one guy threatening you and your family. Sure, I get it, it doesn’t end with one guy, but he was clearly a psychopath who couldn’t be reasoned with and didn’t respect Mr Wahlberg’s street cred. That just seems like a better place to start. Truthfully, the risk he took by going on the voyage seems much greater than the risk of just finding a way to get rid of his adversary. Still, I get it. That is not as emotionally gripping of a movie. Fine, let’s let him go the long way, but wait there’s more…
We are supposed to believe that Mr. Wahlberg is smart, resourceful, and cunning. He is considered, by friends and foes, as the best and smartest smuggler in the business. He is virtually a one-man mission impossible. Yet, gangsters, particularly a psychotic loose-cannon madman, well played by Giovanni Ribisi, have threatened his wife and children on multiple occasions. When Mr. Wahlberg visits Mr Ribisi at home to reason with him, he is compelled to disarm and put a gun to his head, in front of the Ribisi’s daughter no less, which leads to more promises of payback to him and his family. After all of that, Mr Wahlberg still leaves his family on a boat mission giving no real warning to them of their safety being in jeopardy. No one is left to look after them. Perhaps he could ask them to go stay with friends or family while he’s gone. How could none of this cross his mind?? One might argue that the harassment of his family while he is gone is a critical piece to the building plot. I agree, but couldn’t that same point be reached more intelligently, not to mention interestingly. I don’t know, maybe the Gangsters hunt them down in their hiding place by being relentless in their pursuit (ya know more violence, which people love) or catch them surprisingly as they are packing to leave, or maybe just accidently run into them at a gas station...endless possibilities. Just something that shows there was some effort and that Mr. Wahlberg is truly as smart as suggested, but was just thwarted thru real-life loopholes and not Hollywood ones.
If that isn’t bad enough, the means in which Mr Ribisi actually gets into the house is beyond ridiculous. Imagine you are a wife of a guy who has lived a life of crime. He left that lifestyle to be there for his family and started a home business installing home security systems and helping homeowners be safer in their home. You are currently the nervous wife, overly concerned for your family’s safety due to the gravity of the situation at hand. Yet, your children and yourself are nearly killed because the Gangsters moseyed on in the thru an unlocked back door??? Seriously? No security camera, alarm or, heaven forbid, a lock! At least let them have to kick in a door or break thru a window. I understand that if they want to get in, they can, but let them work for it!
Honestly I can go on and on. I am pretty certain that the times and ways Mr Wahlberg put his family in harms way are far greater than the original threat itself. He could have stayed home and done nothing and kept them safer, just by being there. Only the Hollywood ending allowed them to be safe and alive in the end.
OK, apparently my frustration had me spend more time on that than I intended, so just one more semi-quick thing….Alcaztraz.
When I heard about this show and it’s connection to Lost, I was definitely intrigued. Upon hearing the storyline I was even more convinced, it sounded very promising. I made sure I was home for the 2 Hour Premiere Event and that further sold me on it.
I wasn’t familiar with lead star, Sarah Jones a.k.a Detective Rebecca Madsen. When I looked at her resume, which is very active, I realized I hadn’t watched her previous TV shows, but she did a solid job in the Premiere. I was already a fan of two of the lead co-stars. One is Jorge Garcia a.k.a Hugo from Lost a.k.a Diego Soto here. He was very likable in Lost and the same can be said here. He plays a similar character in the fact that he’s a cool-nerd that just seems like he’d be a great friend. On Alcatraz he’s a successful writer, comic book shop owner, and Alcatraz historian. Sam Neill is another key character, Emerson Hauser, and his resume goes back to the mid 70s, he’s put in some work! I was a fan of his other recent TV Show, Happy Town. It was very interesting and I was a bit upset when it got cancelled**.
SPOILER ALERT #2!!
However, when I watched Alcztraz this week I was a bit let down in the character development. Trying to paint Sam Neill as the hardened shell on the outside that is really an emotional timebomb just seems forced too quickly. In general, I can believe it, but the way it was portrayed here just seemed a bit much too accept as natural and should probably develop more over the course of the show. OK, OK, I might be being a bit picky. That isn’t even my main concern with the latest episode. The true problem rests in the Jorge Garcia character, Mr. Diego Soto. He is struggling with his place in helping with this investigation. He knows he has valuable information. He is obsessed in learning more about Alcatraz. Plus he thinks what he is doing is “super-cool”. However, he’s not really cut out for the danger, dead bodies, and all that. Completely understandable, the average person would feel that way. Although, it does seem a bit suspect because wouldn’t he have had to endure all of that stuff in his extensive research of every criminal activity of every inmate of Alcatraz? He should have some sort of cushioning to that right? OK, let’s just say that knowing it and witnessing it first-hand are not the same thing. Great point. Here’s my real issue. In this episode they are dealing with a Child Kidnapper-Murder. They already know they have a couple days to find this guy before the criminal returns that kidnapped child home, but DEAD. We later learn that Diego Soto experienced a similar or perhaps same experience at the exact same age, so he’s a bit more emotionally connected to this case. SO how does he respond??? He threatens to quit. Then he runs off on his own to solve the crime with no communication with the people who can actually help him stop it. Then, as we could have guessed, his theory helps him find the culprit and the child in a diner. Of course, magically at that moment he receives a phone call from Detective Rebecca and needs to wait for her to arrive. When the Killer and child finish their Cherry Pie snack and are about to leave, the only obstacle Diego can muster up to slow them down is dropping a pie plate in front of them. That lasts about 5 seconds. So he follows up by blurting out something like, “Hey what are you guys up to?”…You know because small talk with strangers blurted out uncomfortably always leads to a lengthy conversation. Those attempts hardly delay him a minute, but miraculously that’s all the time needed for Rebecca to arrive just in time to FAIL to save the day.
I don’t know, but I just really, really hope that in a real life situation, where you have the benefit of knowing that you are all that is between a child being murdered, that you are able to come up with a better plan to save that child’s life. Anything. I don’t even want to theorize about what he could have done because I agree any number of things could have worked better or possibly worse, but I’m just saying, dropping a pie plate?!?! Come on son!!!
As for Alcatraz, I’m still in. I’m going to continue to watch and just hope the character development improves. It’s just unfortunately there always seems to be THAT character(s) on a TV show that is so aggravating in their choices*** or movies with interesting or great plots that leave so many obvious loopholes in the script. Honestly my bigger concern is hoping that these thought processes don’t really reflect true human reasoning or lack thereof. I know the world is a scary place but lord help us! ☺ I really want to believe that human instinct is better than that. I don’t have any psychological advice for those on the losing end of that issue, so instead I opt for the easier fix. More and more it makes me want to get a job in Film as a loophole consultant. I think I’d do a pretty good job. Don’t even get me started on video games… I’ll share more of my ramblings of this nature as disappointments occur, which means, probably soon… Now go find loopholes in all of my writings and expose me, I can hardly wait ☺
Written By A Less Than Thrilled But Probably Too Picky Kevin Beacham
*Reading my writing is FREE and less time consuming so I get slight pass…ha. I suppose that time-consuming comment is questionable. I am pretty wordy…ha.
**But yes it had some character flaws too…ha
***I gave up so many show just because one character of facet of the show was just to annoying to watch. Ones that come to mind are Prison Break (second or 3rd season), Heroes (2nd or 3rd season), Flashforward (that girl looking for her sister which lead to her horrible choices and the boyfriend who just went along with all of it because of love…I nearly went insane…ha), The Cape (I tried so hard with this one), and the list goes on...sadly enough.