Notorious

Year: 2009
Directed By: George Tillman Jr.
Written By: Reggie Rock Bythewood and Cheo Hodari Coker

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie surprised me.  I did not expect much from it and I think Amber and I actually watched it on a whim one night because we had nothing else to do.  It not only surprised me but I found it exceptional enough to add to the collection.

I was still fairly young when Biggie Smalls was on his rise to the top but even at a young age I knew who he was.  Even in my household, of all places in the world, his music had been well received.  Although the edited version, supplied by Wal-Mart, who at the time only sold such.  I specifically remember my mom and step dad being really fond of “Big Poppa.” I find that perplexing even until this day but it serves as a glowing example of how overwhelming popular he was as an artist.

I was too young to understand the East vs. West feud that was brewing in the rap world in the mid nineties but I was starting to listen to both Biggie and Tupac around the time they were both killed.  I do remember some, but my understanding of it was vague and they were both gone before I really learned anything about the feud.

I do not know specifically how accurate this movie is but I think it covers the basics well enough.  I don’t think any film, no matter the content, should be taken as truth when it is “based on a true story,”  but I think they can offer an outline for the truth.  The story this one tells is a good one regardless where it might have embellished things here and there for dramatic effect.

The part of Biggie Smalls was a difficult one to play, but I think Jamal Woolard did as well as anybody could have.  In the part of the younger Biggie the part was played by the late rapper’s son Christopher Jordan Wallace. With such an iconic character as Biggie came to be it was a difficult role to play and I thought both held up nicely.  The same can be said about the role of Tupac Shakur.  Anthony Mackie didn’t look the part enough to sit right with me but his performance was good enough.  Derek Luke, in the role of Puff Daddy/Puffy/P. Diddy/Diddy/Sean Combs, didn’t look the part enough either but it wasn’t for a lack of trying.  He always has sunglasses on so he is doing the best he can but the guy just doesn’t look enough like Combs to me.  With a movie like this you can never find someone who looks enough like the person they are trying to portray but I do think they could have done better beyond Biggie.

Angela Bassett brought credibility to the film with her fame and she did a great job playing Biggie’s mom.  My favorite female role in the movie has to go to Naturi Naughton though.  She is just so smoking hot and does a fantastic job playing Lil Kim. I was never a fan of the actual Lil Kim myself.  I found her to be too vulgar, even in my immature and horny teenage years.  She is a very attractive woman but she was always too aggressive and obscene for my taste.  I will never forget her boob at the VMAs or whatever award show it was when she had one exposed breast covered only by a seashell or something.  I think it was Diana Ross who came on stage and bounced it up and down on live television.  This was before the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” at the Super Bowl that scarred the innocent eyes of Super Bowl viewers and led to a timed delay on live television.

This is a really great movie.  The only thing I can criticize is the casting which I’m just nitpicking about anyway.  I think a movie like this could have been bigger budgeted and more heavily promoted but I think what was ultimately produced serves well.  It surprised me the first time I saw it and it did exactly what it should have done by sparking a new interest in the rapper’s music.  Biggie Smalls was a significant cultural icon that maintains his big time status even nearly twenty years later.  This movie about him is worth your time to see.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I made Ryan watch this and now it’s in our collection. You have to understand, I get really excited about such things because Ryan doesn’t like to take my suggestions easily. He normally loves the things I suggest (imagine that after 13 years), but he doesn’t go into them with a smile on his face. I remember seeing this and stoping it, thinking Ryan should watch this with me. I think this a really good biopic movie. The characters are portrayed well, and I think the story is really interesting. Nobody really knows the full details about how close a movie like this is to the real truth, but the way this movie is laid out, is close to what my recollection is of how these events played out.

notrious

I really, really like this poster. I think it is cool and collective, just like most people remember BIG being. I love the dark monochromatic coloration of the portrait, and how very important it was to show the pinstripped suit and the rings, and the glasses; mostly showing the things that made Notorious, BIG. I love the tagline, which is everything to his story, and the simple typography of Notorious is well played, simply because this picture does the whole poster justice, the typography of the title simply becomes a needed assets, instead of the main focal point or purpose. It’s also in gold. That’s the perfect color for Notorious. This is such a simple way to convey the message and is probably one of my favorite posters to date.

NEXT MOVIE: Office Space

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