Episode #126: Straight Out of Brooklyn
Listen to Episode 126 of the Podcast here while you enjoy the show notes.
SUMMARY - In Straight Out of Brooklyn, Lawrence Gilliard Jr. plays Dennis, a teenager who is living in the Red Hook neighborhood with an abusive father. Seeing a dead-end life ahead of him, Dennis figures out a way for him and his friends to make money fast so that he can get out of Brooklyn and find a new start.
Screenplay by Matty Rich; Directed by Matty Rich; and released on June 13,1991.
The VHS we watched had one preview, which doesn't have anywhere close to the same tone as our feature attraction. This was for the comedy "Livin' Large" about an aspiring journalist who gets his big break when he's on the scene when a reporter dies on-air.
The movie starts with a very melodramatic score and a scene of abuse. Unfortunately, the audio on the VHS made it a little tough to hear exactly what was said.
The audio troubles come and go, due to the minimal production budget. Words get muffled and background noises can take over at times.
The dialogue can also be hit or miss, but it's important to note early on that this was written and directed by a teenager, so some of the nuance is going to be missing.
The outline of good poignant subject matter is here. We hear the dad talking about the white man keeping him down and then we see him at work refusing to get up and actually try.
And we see Dennis and his girlfriend debate about what the "right way" to get money is since corporations are exploiting people.
A lot of the acting is solid and there's a great dynamic between this young couple.
The filmmaking is bare bones, but we learned that it almost had to be considering the age and budget of its director.
We honestly found the story to be a little more interesting than some of the subject matter.
The movie is not as gritty or bloody as other movies that deal with street violence, but it can't be.
The ending also comes about very quickly and is also a bit over the top.
Awards Talk: At Sundance, it won a Special Jury Recognition award and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. At the Independent Spirit Awards, Matty Rich won for Best First Feature, and it was nominated for Best Film Music (Harold Wheeler), and Supporting Male (George T. Odom).
TRUE CRIME & POP CULTURE
This week we don't have any true crime exactly, but we do have a strange tragedy.
On This Day -
On the golf course, during a tournament, lightning struck and caused a disaster and a ripple effect that has changed the policies going forward.
Moving on to TV, here's what you may have been watching
Salute to America’s Pets
Robin Hood Behind the Scenes
Lastly, here is the intro to Broken Badges, a comedy cop show that sounded somewhat interesting to us.
RANKINGS & RATINGS
Nikki 1-5 star scale - 2 out of 5
Jon 0-4 star scale - 2 1/2 out of 4
Would you watch it again? - To us, it was similar to Vegas in Space in that the story behind the making of this movie made the overall experience better. The film is not bad, but it's not worth watching again alone on its own. However, if we could listen to a director's commentary or see a Q&A screening to get more insight on how this teenager made this happen, that would be fantastic.
If you want to watch Straight Out of Brooklyn, as of this recording in August 2023, it’s available on VHS, DVD. Check your local listings.
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