Sunday, August 30, 2015

Auteur Watch - Damon Dash

Oh, I love that game!  I go on Facebook and... oh, wait.  Isn't there a game called "Demon Dash"?  Sorry, wrong blog.  No, it's time to focus on our next auteur, the one the Mortals call Damon Dash, and he's one of the first I've seen to actually refer to "street cred" in their IMDb Bio page.  Well, when you're a cousin of Stacey Dash, then sure, "street cred" could be a big problem.  Also, if you were dating Aaliyah at the time of her death, that could also be a problem... I mean, you probably won't want to use that as a pickup line, at the very least.
But you'd think that directing would be the last thing this guy would want to do.  He was apparently part of a big sale to a record company, along with Jay-Z.  Not exactly David Geffen-type numbers, but still pretty big!  I guess the Dash family comes from money, but you know... even old rich Monty Burns would "trade it all for a little more."  And Damon's no dummy.  He knows that film directors are held in high regard in today's global society and economy, so let's take his director filmography one by one.  There's 2002's Paper Soldiers, starring, among others, Shawn Corey Carter, Stacey Dash and Kevin Hart!  Something tells me that, when this is available in the discount DVD bin at WinCo, it's Kevin Hart's picture that will be the one thing on the front cover.  That's right... he's just that big.  Maybe Jay-Z, but probably not Stacey Dash, unless they market it specifically for the Fox News market.  As for what the critics thought, well... apparently, no one saw it, so let's move on.
Damon's next movie is 2003's Death of a Dynasty.  I'll admit it: I don't know anything at all about the hip-hop world, if I may use that term in mixed company... is David Katz supposed to be Rick Rubin?  Anyway, to be fair, this features a cast with names I've heard of: Chloe Sevigny, Kari Wuhrer and... LORRAINE BRACCO?!!!!  How the hell... anyway, that's a big deal, right?  She took time off from The Sopranos to do this, so it must be a big deal.  So, Damon used whatever "box office cred" he got from Paper Soldiers to get a more prestigious cast for Dynasty.  And the critics said... oh, The Village Voice lost the page.  And this one, well... the joke may be on Damon, but I'm assuming he's laughing all the way to the bank.  Why, he's exploiting black culture almost as profitably as Tyler Perry!  Clearly, he took a big risk by letting someone else portray him in the film.
Well, after conquering the comedy genre, it was time to conquer the prison genre with State Property 2, the much awaited sequel to the Jay-Z-involved property State Property 1.  See, usually filmmakers like to do a prison movie because, well... you spend all your time at the prison, shooting stuff.  The Coens, of course, have to make it a small part of the whole, as with Crimewave and Raising Arizona, but normally, when you've got something like Shawshank or The Green Mile, it feels like you're in that prison for the full sentence, no chance of parole... wow!  The Green Mile is #42?  I didn't think it'd be that high.  I know Shawshank is staying at either #1 or #2... God knows why.  That I will never understand.  But let's get back to the instant case.  Let's see what the critics thought of State Property 2... ah, yes!  The coveted "Commentary Tracks of the Damned" section.  I do like that section.  When I was listening to part of the commentary track of 1984's Dreamscape, I couldn't help but think that whoever was talking sounded like they were a bit damned.  They were everything I've been taught about Hollywood phonies: everything's wonderful, except the stuff that isn't, like Dreamscape getting slapped with the dreaded PG-13 for a heart removal, when Temple of Doom only gets a PG for the same sequence?  How can the universe be so cruel?
Anyway, having conquered every genre he's attempted, like every great director before him, it was time for Dash to try a new genre.  How about the documentary?  Well, how about something called This is Jim Jones?  Now, I know what you might be thinking, and no, it's not that Jim Jones.  Get real.  But... you know, that's not a bad idea, actually.  And Dash does know a guy with that same name... boy.  What it must do to a man with such a bland name that has such a long, storied history of infamy.  Hence, we get This is Jim Jones.  And the best part, of course, is that it gives Damon a chance to be an interview subject in his own right, telling a story that he knows and that he's an integral part of.  And what do the critics have to say?... well, apparently no one's seen it yet, so let's move on.  But the message is clear: suck on that, Ken Burns!
And so, having conquered all the fiction genres and the documentary genre in one fell swoop, it's time to conquer the Last Frontier, so to speak: the TV miniseries for the Spanish/Mexican market.  Hence the upcoming "Loisaidas."  I'm assuming Damon's going to cast himself at some point in a major role.  Well, clearly Damon can do it all, and, even though he's not as beloved as Tyler Perry is, at least relatively, it's just because everyone's jealous.  As for me, I can't help but reflect on why this planet will soon be uninhabitable to all except the extremophiles we've only recently learned about, because putting solar panels on every rooftop is far, far too expensive, and it doesn't help anybody's "street cred."

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