Dave Chappelle's Block Party
March 3, 2006
On the Big Board
||Surprisingly and consistently entertaining and upbeat.
||Provides a glimpse of Chappelle at a pivotal point in his life without being obvious. Plus contains some great music.
||So much fun. Come back, Dave!
||Wonderful celebration of life; a movie I would expect virtually everyone reading this to enjoy.
||Chappelle is engaging as always. I can't wait for the third season of Chappelle's Show...ah shit.
Dave Chappelle takes a break from making people speculate about his reasons for giving up his popular talk/variety show for this documentary comedy film, which was inspired in part by the 1973 documentary Wattstax. That movie was filmed at the 1972 Watts Summer Festival and ended with a day-long concert at a sold-out L.A. Coliseum. A variety of African-American performers were the centerpiece, including Isaac Hayes, the Dramatics, the Staple Singers, the Rance Allen Group, and the Emotions. The movie also included some commentary about how Watts had changed since the riots took place some seven years earlier.
Michel Gondry, he of the weird and wonderful Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, directed Block Party, in which Dave Chappelle basically decided that he would throw himself a big party. He brought in some of his favorite artists, including Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Kanye West, Common, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Cody Chesnutt, John Legend, The Roots, and a reunited Fugees for an old-style celebration. The movie follows the party, intercutting the performances with backstage antics and a chronicle of Chappelle's attempts to organize the event.
The movie made a huge splash at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was widely recognized as one of the best entries of all. Rogue Pictures will distribute the film, and the buzz should be overwhelming by the time it hits theaters. Expect this flick to be a big surprise at the box office. (Kim Hollis/BOP)