Saturday, June 16, 2012

Auteur Watch - Keenen Ivory Wayans

Wayans' World!  Wayans' World!  Party time!  Excellent!  ...that's out on the web someplace.  Yes, from humble 80s beginnings with Robert Townsend's Hollywood Shuffle, Keenen Ivory has undoubtedly built a film empire that either reaffirms the stereotypes that that film was trying to attack, but probably has made something entirely different, something that even that film couldn't predict.  Wayans seems to have gone farther than Townsend, anyhow, and he's taken a lot of family and friends to the top with him.  Keenen likes being the funny guy in such projects as In Living Color and I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, but he also likes being the cool guy, as with such projects as A Low Down Dirty Shame and Most Wanted.  MAKE UP YOUR MIND!!!!
We saw a little bit of 1988's gang-sploitation flick, Colors, with Damon Wayans playing a doped-up badass.  Clearly playing against type, but black people were scarier back then, even the funny ones.  You know how uptight America still is.  Hard to say which decade is Keenen's favorite.  Probably the go-go 80s, when he was starting out, young, lean and tall, and hungry.  Rubbing elbows with Arsenio and Eddie Murphy.  The 90s cooled down a bit.  The 2000s was a time for building up a cinema résumé, and instead of rubbing elbows with Eddie Murphy and Arsenio, it was time to rub elbows with the Weinsteins and Miramax.  Some have almost died trying to get to those elbows.  What do the 2010s have in store for the Wayans?  Well, In Living Color's getting a reboot, but I'm sure they know better than to try to take SNL down.  SNL's dug in their heels, and they've got more political allies than ever.  No, about all you can ask for these days is comments on your IMDb page like the following: "He's 54 but he looks 40."  Viva Hollywood!  A toast to anyone and everyone named Wayans!

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