With all the movie remakes and tragic fad of turning classic television shows into two hours of nonsense on film, it was an entertaining change of pace to finally view an original (and I do mean, original) film.
When I heard the rumors years ago that Outkast members, Antwan “Big Boi” Patton and Andre “3000” Benjamin were working on a film featuring the talented twosome themselves, I took it as such. A rumor that I hoped had some truth in it, but nevertheless, a rumor. It was during the success of their multi-platinum dual disc albums, Speakerboxx and the Love Below. It was the same time when Andre 3000 wanted women to shake it like a Polaroid picture and were doing extra lunges to obtain a posterior like Ki Toy in the Big Boi video, I Like the Way You Move.
Fast forward three years later and you get Idlewild, a tale of drama, murder, love and lots of choreographed dance routines and tracks that went right along with the story.
Depicted to be taking place in the 1930s, Patton and Benjamin play childhood friends that grow up and lead two completely
Patton plays Rooster, a smooth-talking businessman who has a thing for money and for the ladies even though he has a beautiful wife with the children to match at home. Starting at an early age, he gets tangled into the hustle by selling “hooch” with his mentor, Spats (Ving Rhames) and continues until he is grown.
Benjamin plays Percy, the shy son of the town’s mortician, follows in his father’s profession despite the fact that music is his first love. To assist him with his dream, Rooster gets him a job as the piano player at “The Church.”
But this is not the kind of church one would take his grandmother to unless he can fool her into thinking that the barely dressed women doing the very provocative moves are chorus girls and not fast girls.
After “The Church” owner and his mentor are brutally murdered, Rooster must take over the club and his mentor’s business. He obliges but is quickly challenged by Trumpy played very convincingly by Oscar-nominated actor Terrance Howard. (What movie hasn’t he been in lately?)
Meanwhile, Percy is troubled with his own problems. He must make his father happy by maintaining his dead end job (pun intended) while also wanting to make himself happy by pursuing his dream of a music career. He must also decide whether or not to get close to the nightclub’s newest performer, Angel Davenport (Paula Patton).
The relationship between Percy and Angel was somewhat of a high school crush that quickly grew into a more genuine love that the both shared.
Their love scene was classy: not too much covered up to the point that they look uncomfortable but not borderline pornographic.
If this film was intended to have an underlined meaning, it would simply be to follow your dreams regardless of what obstacles might attempt to thwart you from your intended path.
Although novices in the acting game, Patton and Benjamin proved to have the potential to rumble with other mainstream material but they did not do it alone.
Idlewild sparkled because of its star-studded cast. In what other movie can you get Ben Vereen, Cicely Tyson, Patti LaBelle, Melinda Williams, Paula Jai Parker, Faizon Love and Macy Gray?
Idlewild was like watching an Outkast video for two hours. For some, that may be a good thing. For others, it may not be.
Check out Idlewild and decide for yourself.