geezer cinema: revisiting contagion (steven soderberg, 2011)
music friday: kalie shorr

african-american directors series: fear of a black hat (rusty cundieff, 1993)

Another movie for "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2019-20", "A 33 week long challenge where the goal each week is to watch a previously unseen feature length film from a specified category." Week 26 is called "Rock It or Mock It Week".

"Oh yeah, well, I'll make my own documentary, with rock music and comedy! In fact, forget the documentary!"

-Bender Bending Rodriguez, probably.
(That's right, another Futurama reference, I can't be stopped.)

This week's challenge is to watch a previously unseen rockumentary or mockumentary film.

Fear of a Black Hat has two movie reference points. This Is Spinal Tap established the music mockmentary genre, and CB4 (which came out the same year as Black Hat) applied it to rap music. I've always thought Spinal Tap was funnier in concept than in execution, although it has some iconic scenes. It's been a long time since I saw CB4, and all I remember is that it was weak but had one song I found hilarious:

Fear of a Black Hat has more good parodies, some of them fairly subtle. Because of this, I suspect it plays better to fans of early-90s rap, because that's where their targets come from. Does it matter if you know that "I'm Just a Human Being" is inspired by P.M. Dawn? Does anyone still know P.M. Dawn? Here's the Black Hat Version:

When I doo-doo is my shit not brown
It's a universal thing we all flush it down
And when you wipe do you look at the tissue
Most folks do, it ain't even an issue
Hot stuff makes it burn comin out
I bet everyone knows what I'm talkin about
'Cause we are all one race on this planet
We all burp and fart, and that's the way God planned it
So don't act like you're superior
Eat something bad an just like me you'll get diarrhea
'Cause black, white, yellow, red, brown or gold
Our shit all comes from the same little hole
You are just like me
I'm just a human

Like other modern comedies, Fear of a Black Hat is hilarious at its best, dead on arrival at its worst. Kasi Lemmons is in the cast ... she later directed Eve's Bayou.

Here's P.M. Dawn, for comparison purposes:

(Here is a letterboxd list of movies with African-American directors.)


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