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Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.82%
Worth A Look: 9.09%
Average: 29.55%
Pretty Bad38.64%
Total Crap: 15.91%

4 reviews, 20 user ratings

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Black & White
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by Chef ADogg

"Defies description. In a bad way."
2 stars

"Black and White" is an utter mess. It would be easy to pin most of the blame on writer/director James Toback, but I'll shoulder a good deal of it. After "Two Girls and a Guy," I vowed to never again walk into a Toback film. Ever. Not only did I break a contract with myself, I wasted five bucks and lost respect for all involved "actors" (even Raekwon, one of my very favorite MCs).

What's better--fun formula or failed experiment? Under normal circumstances, I would jump at something new. Toy with the conventions of cinema all you like. I'm game. But this is something else entirely. I don't know if I shall be able to find the words.

Basically, the movie comes together slowly, as sort of a hip hop quilt. We start off with a bunch of characters, of varying races (BLACK and WHITE...get it?) and backgrounds. Their stories become intertwined, and eventually a tired "gangsta" plot emerges. It's typical art house stuff, but "Black & White" is getting major theatrical release all across the country. Why?

Because it's so of the now. It's not atypical for a film to traffic in white suburbia's obsession with all things hip hop, but Toback's is the first really serious look at the subject. That's why it's such a disappointment. Rap is pure, pulsing brilliance; how did this movie turn out so damn dull?

Blame the structure. You think, for an hour and forty five minutes, that the story's going to pick up soon. "Anytime now," you tell yourself. It doesn't. In the end, it remains a bunch of vaguely interesting scenes strung limply together. "Black & White" is a well acted, interestingly directed, ultimately lifeless concoction.

Whatever you do, don't blame the actors. They're good. Very much so--I haven't seen such a talented cast in a long time. Heading off are various and sundry members of the Wu-Tang Clan (watch for Method Man's cameo), Brooke Shields, Robert Downey, Jr., Bijou Phillips, Ben Stiller, and Mike Tyson. Yeah, you heard me. Mike Tyson. Giving advice on conflict resolution.

"A bug needsth to be squasthed. Take care of the repercussthions." Heh.

James Toback tried to do something interesting. Kudos for that. But he failed, and rather badly. I just can't forgive such blatant misuse of my time and money.

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originally posted: 04/08/00 13:15:22
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User Comments

1/12/08 mr.mike Found it surprisingly watchable , and Downey and even Shields were very good. 4 stars
4/01/06 Tanya interesting I liked robert downey jr. 4 stars
6/14/05 Weltner Anti-White cinema,same old,same old. 1 stars
10/13/04 Laura If u don't have any thing nice to say, DON:T SAY IT AT ALL!!! 5 stars
10/04/03 Josh better than most think 4 stars
2/22/03 nanite if you think this movie is idiotic, it goes all the way to being ludicrous in german 2 stars
12/13/02 Monster W. Kung Ok premise, but the film structure goes nowhere and the plot falls apart more and more. 2 stars
6/24/02 blake loved it 5 stars
1/03/02 jon j waste of time 1 stars
9/01/01 Butterbean Bad enough that it was a shitty, directionless movie. But it was long as hell too! 1 stars
8/31/01 Amy A numbing mess, some solid acting, but I'd be more entertained doing laundry 2 stars
7/29/01 the Grinch Black and white like a turd with peanuts in it... 1 stars
5/09/01 zer0 Mike Tyson is the only reason to watch this film. Watch him bitchslap Robert Dwney Jr. 2 stars
11/19/00 The Bomb 69 all over the place, glad he tried something different, but overall... 2 stars
10/18/00 Klute Plenty to enjoy, but the sum of it's parts don't equal a good film. 3 stars
5/03/00 H'wood bigshot Didn't go far enough. Bro's shoulda killed all, cussed out audience/shot the finger at all. 1 stars
4/15/00 PJ I love Toback, Fingers, and 2 Girls and a Guy, great as was this mess of a good movie 4 stars
4/14/00 D117 Makes Black people look like a bad influence. That's a bad message for the film to give. 1 stars
4/12/00 Moskkina Toback rips off Clark's "KIDS" horribly lame flick about pathetic & sad wannabe white kidsd 1 stars
4/07/00 leah this movie could have been 4 hours long and i still would have been completely content. 5 stars
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  28-Sep-2000 (M)

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