Dave Chappelle's Block Party (Unrated)
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Comedian Dave Chappelle decides to give a little something back to the people, so he stages a Block Party (aka big music event) on a small street corner in Brooklyn. The film also covers Chappelle going around his hometown, giving out tickets, and a behind the scenes look at what it took to put it all together.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
To be honest with you, Iím not sure if Iím the best person to helm a review of this material. Iím not a big rap or hip-hop fan, not really even that knowledgeable in the arena of music in general. (Hey, Iím a film critic, not a music critic!) Someone with obvious know-how about the artists that make up DAVE CHAPPELLEíS BLOCK PARTY, like Kanye West, Mos Def (whose acting work has been quite stellar!), and Erykah Badu, could tell you all the wonderful highlights about their concert work here. Seeing as I have to take the film as just that, a film, let me focus on what I know best, the elements that surround the main musical thrust. Shooting documentary style, Director Gondry does something very interesting; he shows us a much more human side of funnyman Chappelle. Not that he isnít quick with the humor and goofiness, but by talking to folks from all different places and races, Gondry shows us the real reasons behind the whole idea of a block party Ė bringing people together, and itís simplicity is quite powerful.
And while he may want to distance himself from the more altruistic elements of the whole experience, Chappelle has really created something nice here. Going back to his hometown, giving out tickets and rides to the average Joe who may not have gone to the event in the first place, really shows that Chappelle is someone who didnít forget where he came from. Of course, for all music fans, the concert and musical numbers are fast and furious, guaranteed to get even the most anti-rap fans' hearts pumping. But the real winner here is not the few fans who got the Golden tickets; itís the show of real human spirit and the gathering of a very diverse group of people just to have fun. Throw in the occasional ďwhiteyĒ joke, and weíve got ourselves a party.
You can either play the Unrated Feature which runs 1:49:49 or choose to Play Unrated Feature With Extended Musical Acts, which could have been a real treat for music fans, but runs only when you hit enter on the remote whenever the megaphone icon pops up. Universal, thatís way too much button pushing over an almost two hour period!
September In Brooklyn: The Making Of Block Party (28:10): A very interesting mini-doc, which has most of the key players talking about how and why they decided to do the event. Super cool to be in on the conference call between Dave and all the musical artists, plus in lieu of a commentary, itís nice to see and hear from Director Gondry. (But didnít dig the rock up the nose bit, bro!)
Ohio Players (18:41): More with Dave taking a tour of where he grew up, while handing out the special ďWonka styleĒ tickets. But the real interesting angle here is the extended interviews with the folks who receive the tickets. Itís an even more heart warming look than the film itself.
DAVE CHAPPELLEíS BLOCK PARTY is certainly not for everyone, but itís actually a little more than a "what you see is what you get". Itís a big musical show (definitely more for fans of rap and hip-hop ), masked in a shell of a documentary style making-of that turns out to have what you would least expect from a concert film about rap Ė heart.