Sunday, August 16, 2015

Auteur Watch - Lee Daniels

...oh, THERE he is!  Never mind.  Now, I could say something snarky about Mr. Daniels, but he's my new hero now.  Why?  Oh, the usual reason: because he proves that, even for your big-time big-shot film directors, fifty is nifty!  He of course hit it big with 2009's Precious.  And of course, once you get a film on your C.V. like Precious, there's no turning back.  You get to write your own ticket, which he did in 2013 with Lee Daniels' The Butler, AKA Forrest Gump in the White House permanently.  Or maybe it's his friend, Bubba Blue.  But the main detail is this: did you catch the title of that film by any chance?  It's not The Butler.  No, that was made in 1916 starring Davy Don, but of course, you knew that.  Duh!  I mean, we're cinephiles, after all! 
Then of course there's 2005's Bob the Butler starring Tom Green... and if you ever mention that in a second context anywhere, you will be immediately stripped of whatever Cinephile status you may hold, either officially or unofficially.  So, clearly, the butler genre has been overworked to death... at least, until 2013.  Now, sure, it didn't all the Oscars that Oprah would have hoped for, but whatever.  Lee Daniels is here to stay, and with his hit new show Empire on Fox, he's showing Hollywood that he's not afraid to make a little money either.  Take that, Terrence Malick!
Speaking of 2005, it was a busy year for Hollywood.  And Lee Daniels is no slouch nor an exception.  He was busy in the Hollywood directing chair trenches, and his output was something called Shadowboxer.  Sure, it stars post-Jerry Maguire, post Snow Dogs Cuba Gooding Jr., and sure, it doesn't much stand out in its genre, the Retired Assassin genre.  HOWEVER, and this is a big however, check out the cast list... why, isn't that Mo'Nique?  And what's her character name?   That's right..... PRECIOUS!!!!  He's... oh my God.  Lee Daniels is Babe Ruth!  He called his shot!  Give the Daniels his due!

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