Monday, September 14, 2015

Auteur Watch - Ossie Davis

Venerated, respected actor Ossie Davis.  Alas, he left this mortal coil far, far too soon.  I must say, however, that I slightly disagree with his IMDb Top 4.  Of course, Do the Right Thing, that's a given, no question.  He gets to say the movie's freakin' title, for God's sake!  Unfortunately, Spike didn't listen to his advice.  Bubba Ho-Tep, ... sure.  I haven't seen it myself, but it's got cult film written all over it.  Bruce Campbell can't help it, he surely doesn't deserve it, but cult film it shall be.  But Doctor Doolittle and Dinosaur (2000)?  I'm afraid it doesn't tell his whole story, but so be it.
But once upon a time, this venerated actor wanted to do more, and in the go-go '70s or so, he got bitten by the directing bug.  Alas, it's a different bird altogether, but it was still worth a try.  Certain people like Spike Lee are just born to direct, but I think Spike owes a slightly bigger debt to Ossie than even he'd care to admit.  Only three of Ossie's directorial efforts made it into Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide, and each effort got three stars.  Basically, Ossie tried to compete in the Foxy Brown business, but ended up putting too many actual human characters into his films.  That's not how you make something future-proof in this, the age of Memes and really really short attention spans.  Jon Stewart was trying to warn us with his ironically-titled show "Short Attention Span Theatre."  These days, it's like... yeah.  So?  Short attention span?  So what?  I wish it were shorter!  Hold on, gotta thumb through my Facebook feed a little bit more... but if I had more time and resources, I'd check out more of Ossie's stuff... hmm!  Maybe it's on YouTube!  I still kinda have fond memories for I'm Not Rappaport for some reason; haven't actually seen the whole thing.  Characters trapped in clichés; it'll be a permanent dramatic construct from now on in plays and literature forever and ever amen.

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