Steve Stebbing

Breaking down all things pop culture

Black Cop – The tagging of Cory Bowles to the Canadian phenomenon television series Trailer Park Boys may pigeonhole the writer and director to a bit of low brow humor but once people get a whiff of this hard-hitting film all of that is sure to change. Black Cop is a film of fed up and frothing anger but one that is articulate enough to get its message across, losing nothing in its artful translation. Lead actor Ronnie Rowe Jr. plays a cop fed up with the treatment of his fellow black citizens by other police on his force and after listening to a brutally islamophobic rant by another officer, he is pushed too far. In a move slightly reminiscent of Michael Douglas in Falling Down, he decides to flip the treatment of the brutal treatment systemic in North America and employ those tactics on white people. This film is unflinching and will leave you slack-jawed and on the edge of your seat throughout. The narrative is split between the main action on screen and Rowe in a dark room breaking the fourth wall in almost a soliloquy style, delivering powerful commentary and statements, the final one absolutely shaking me to my core. Cory Bowles has an intense and well-formed bullet of knowledge delivered through the weapon of Ronnie Rowe’s acting. Go support this one now!

The Onion Movie – Ten years ago this week the best news satire of our time marched a movie out on DVD that no one saw and it’s really sad because the film is hilariously brilliant in the way that only the Onion could provide. Britney Spears parodies, Steven Seagal as the Cock Puncher and Len Cariou as your trusted anchor Norm Archer is a perfect baseline for a solid vignette film and it shouldn’t be any surprising that the director really isn’t the credited “James Kleiner”. In actuality it is Tom Kuntz and Mike Maguire, the guys behind all of your favorite Electric Six videos but nothing since which begs the question “where’s the sequel?” Maybe our real existence feels like satire nowadays.

Big – It’s been thirty years since Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia danced across that giant piano in F.A.O. Schwarz and that information makes me feel old as hell. For me, when this movie was released, it was a cautionary tale of taking your youth for granted. As a kid, Josh feels fed up with his limitations and wishes it all away. Then as adult Josh, the crushing defeat of reality, work, relationships and the stigma that age gives comes crashing down on his naïve head. Hell, his own mother chases him out of the house believing him to be a sort of child predator. I’m describing this Penny Marshall comedy very darkly but it obviously had a very profound effect on me. Beyond that, the movie ages beautifully and still has that warm center to it, which is the humanity that Marshall brings to all of her movies. Give this one another spin with the family, you won’t regret it.

The Truman Show – It took master filmmaker Peter Weir to show the world the acting ability within Jim Carrey with this film that will break your heart but, at the same time, absolutely elate you. This film hits the twenty-year milestone this week and I think it’s become even more relevant today and I’m surprised that we haven’t received a real network version of this movie. How well would a television series that followed a human being raised under a microscope do? I’m sure it would have the entire globe captivated but maybe the fact that this movie exists is the reason we don’t. Like Big is a cautionary tale about the fleetingness of youth, Truman Show feels one about worldwide voyeurism, almost like a human zoo exhibit. Jim Carrey perfectly executes a story of essentially becoming “woken” to the work around him and rather than being driven mad by the complexity of this revelation he seeks answers and escape. It’s really quite inspiring if you think about it and it kind of brings the Talking Heads song “Once Ina A Lifetime” into my head.

The Kings Of Summer – A handful of years ago I discovered this brilliant little coming of age film that totally blew my mind. Headed by a the young rising stars Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias, the film depicted boys being boys in the ways that my friends and I did, creating their own reality within the depths of a forest, far away from any authority. This story was told artfully and beautifully by director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, a filmmaker that quickly made it on to my favorites list and followed up big time with Kong: Skull Island but that’s a heap of praise for another article. What still amazes me is that this incredibly heartfelt script by Chris Galletta sat on the blacklist for four years before getting picked up. Seriously, find this one if you haven’t seen it.

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