Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Gangsta Gone Fishin'
March 30th, 2007
Anybody who’s ever listened to an Ice Cube record can tell you he’s a badass. With genre defining albums like Amerikkka’s Most Wanted and The Predator (Not to mention his work with Westside Connection and N.W.A., jheri curl and all), there’s no doubt that “the other rapper with the word Ice in his name” is one of the most quintessential voices in the business. But when it comes to making movies…hmmm, not so much. Older films like Boyz n the Hood and Friday are undoubtedly hood classics, and more recent fare like Barbershop ain’t too shabby either. But Anaconda? Are We There Yet? With the Are We There Yet? sequel, Are We Done Yet? coming out on April 4th, takes an in-depth look at some of the Cube’s hits, misses, and overall bizarre movie choices. How many of these have YOU seen late at night on DVD?

Boyz n the Hood:
The film that made Ice Cube a household name (We mean with the Roger Ebert crowd). Ice Cube’s performance as Darin ‘Doughboy’ Baker was pretty much perfect as a gang banger in South Central L.A. just trying to live (Too bad he doesn’t). With morality, a deep underlying message, and unforgettable characters, it might be Cuba Gooding’s story, but Ice Cube’s the heart of it. And that scene where Ice Cube avenges Ricky’s death in the parking still haunts us today. If you don’t think Ice Cube can act, then you haven’t seen this film.

With Wendell (Faizon Love) from “The Parent ‘Hood” playing Big Worm, and Chris Tucker’s outlandish performance as Smokey (“You got knocked the f*ck out!”), you might tend to forget that Ice Cube was actually the main character in this broad comedy that takes place in only 16 hours. Portraying Craig Jones, a poor guy who just got canned, this adventure of two guys just trying to pay off a drug dealer—oh, and by the way, Chris Tucker counting a wad of cash, telling Worm to turn his head, flipping over the money and counting it over again is one of the funniest scenes of all time—showed that Ice Cube could deliver the funny if he wanted to. And Michael Jordan even likes it! This one’s a keeper.

And thus began the melting of Ice Cube’s movie career. Fighting a giant snake that eventually swallows and regurgitates Jon Voight is one thing, but then exclaiming: “Is snakes out der dis big?!” is another. Also of note, this film features Danny Trejo, Owen Wilson, and Jennifer Lopez’s ass. That alone should make it a winner, right? But sadly, no. Not at all. Thank God he didn’t star in the sequel.

The Player’s Club:
Ice Cube was working overtime with this one. Working as an actor, writer, and making his directorial debut (As well as working on the soundtrack. Remember ‘We Be Clubbin’?), whether this was actually a good film or not is debatable. But with Bernie Mac, Jamie Foxx, Charlie Murphy, Michael Clark Duncan and the sultry LisaRay, Ice Cube has certainly made worse films. Did we happen to mention Anaconda?

Three Kings:
Sharing screen time with Oscar winner George Clooney and recent Oscar nominee Mark Wahlburg should spell utter disaster for Ice Cube in this strange comedy/political actioner. But strangely enough, Ice Cube seems to fit in just fine as Sgt. Chief Elgin. After finding a treasure map in some dude’s ass, Ice Cube and the gang go on a treasure hunt across Iraq. From the hood to the desert, nobody can say Ice Cube hasn’t gotten his frequent flyer miles.

Now here’s the Ice Cube we like to see. Smart, funny, and still giving that good old gangster stare, even as a barbershop owner just looking to keep his shop from going under. Portraying Calvin Palmer, it seems that Ice Cube once again tips his hat and let’s everybody else get all the laughs, especially Cedric the Entertainer, who slays as a braggadocios barber who seriously hasn’t cut any hair since Palmer’s father died. The sequel wasn’t nearly as good.

Are We There Yet?:
Biggest-transition-ever. Who knew the gangster could go from being a boy n the hood to raising a boy in the neighborhood in this PG rated comedy? Then again, Eddie Murphy did it. And at least Cube didn’t have to dress up in a giant stalk of broccoli to get any laughs. Cube at least has that going for him.

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