Posts Tagged ‘Public Enemy’

The 4 Most Essential Gangster Movies For Understanding Rap Lyrics

Posted 27 Mar 2018 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay

By Ezra Stead 

More than any other type of songwriting, rap lyrics are peppered with pop culture references, from movies to cars to sports to fashion to other rap songs. Of the movie references, no genre is more popular than the gangster movie (the most popular non-gangster movie references are probably The MatrixStar Wars and, thanks mainly to the Wu-Tang Clan, various kung fu movies). The classic gangster movie narrative of rising to great power from humble means via violent crime and the drug trade has a special resonance with many of the great canonical rappers of Hip-Hop’s Golden Age who found a similar path via rapping about the violent crime and drug trade that they either witnessed in the streets or, in many cases, actively participated in. Beyond that, violent crime has an undeniable entertainment value, whether in movies or in music. Once you’ve seen these four movies, you’ll have a lot better understanding of the references in rap lyrics, though I can’t really help you with the sports, car, or fashion ones.  Read More

The Goonies – Much Worse Than You Remember

Posted 14 Mar 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead

The Goonies, USA, 1985

Directed by Richard Donner

The Goonies might be the most overrated film of the 1980s.

You know what I love about the ’80s? Public Enemy, NWA, Prince, Guns N’ Roses, and the fact that The Toxic Avenger (1984), an unrated film that shows a kid’s head getting smashed by a car in graphic, bloody close-up within the first thirty minutes, was inexplicably made into a children’s cartoon on broadcast television.

You know what I hate about the ’80s? Reaganomics, Reagan, Bush, and now that I’ve pretty much got you all on my side, let me do a 180 and say that I hate The Goonies (1985).

Okay, so you’re probably yelling at your computer screen now, but I defy any of you, to give me any kind of logical argument for why anyone over the age of ten, with an IQ over 100, should like this film, let alone consider it “the greatest adolescent adventure film of all time,” as at least one critic has dubbed it.

Now, I’ll admit that I am lacking the one and only prerequisite for liking The Goonies: I never saw it as a kid. I know dozens of people who profess to love the film because they grew up with it. Most of them haven’t seen it since they were kids, but I guess that’s beside the point. The point is, I also never saw Labyrinth (1986) or The Princess Bride (1987) or The Neverending Story (1984) as a kid either, but I still love those movies now, after having seen them as an adult. Why? Because they’re actually good films.

The Goonies, on the other hand, has one good thing going for it: Chunk (Jeff Cohen). Perhaps the only worthwhile scene in the whole godforsaken film is Chunk’s tearful confession of causing a massive puke-fest, which would have been funnier if it were shown rather than merely described, a la Stand By Me (1986), an infinitely superior “adolescent adventure film.” Chunk’s other shining moment is, of course, the infamous “truffle shuffle,” a cheap joke at the expense of a fat kid that I would still rather watch for three hours than sit through the rest of the movie. Read More