Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 5

Now we settle in to the routine--two movies a night all week, then a big second weekend before the home stretch. Last night, I saw a couple of little gems.

First up, the documentary ICEBERG SLIM: PORTRAIT OF A PIMP. Judging by all the dapper dressed players in the audience, I and my front-row cohorts were probably the only people who didn't know about Iceberg Slim before the film. He was, as the title gives away, a pimp. More importantly, he was the author of  Pimp: The Story of My Life and other novels, essays, and short stories that revealed a raw, seedy world that previous books hadn't. But the man himself remained somewhat of a mystery, a blur of reality and fiction. He really was a pimp, his real name was Robert Beck but he went by the name Iceberg Slim. Legend has it when a stray bullet hit his hat and he didn't even flinch (because he was so high on cocaine) he earned that nickname. In any case, it's a great fuckin' name. Slim tells you he's a fit, good-looking, well-dressed guy. Iceberg tells you he's cool, and most of his reality is hidden. Anyway, he gave up pimping and started writing in his forties after a stint in prison. In fact, in his later years he would say that the only good that ever came of pimping was it sent him to jail and made him turn his life around. First time director Jorge Hinojosa, who has managed Ice-T for a long time, pulled on all his connections to interview celebrities (Ice-T, of course, but also Chris Rock, Snoop Dogg, Quincy Jones, Henry Rollins, Bishop Don Majic Juan, etc.)  Iceberg's family (his two ex-wives and his daughters) and various academics who expound on the merit and cultural impact of his writing. It's really a great job of putting together the whole life story of a fascinating man who led the life before he wrote the life.

And then I saw a kids movie about the horrors of war, I DECLARE WAR. This war is the game kids play after school, a kind of enhanced version of capture the flag with extra rules and water balloons full of red paint. Except in the kids' minds those balloons are hand grenades and the sticks they're carrying are guns. And that's a lot of the fun of the movie is to see kids running around on screen firing actual (prop) weapons at each other. The whole operation is run by PK, a genius strategist who is comically exasperated when his teammates don't know every historical war reference he makes. On the opposite side is the vindictive Skinner who kills his own general so he can capture and torture PK's best friend. Bad strategy, since taking a prisoner means you need a soldier to stay and guard him, and it's only five kids to a side. But exactly how far will PK go to win? Other side stories are deftly woven in, with young crushes (one girl actually joins the war!), loyalty, fantasy, and strategy. And it has an amazing cast of all-child actors, not a single adult ever appears on screen.

Total Running Time: 183 minutes
My Total Minutes: 314,426

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