Thursday, June 15, 2006

"Killa Season": Murderous Misconceptions

Aside from the hefty portion of my semi-monthly paycheck that living at home allows me to keep, there are few moments when I actually find myself grateful to still be under my parents roof. Courtesy of Cam’Rom and his feature street film “Killa Season” last night was one of those moments.

After a long day in my cubicle I made my way home to find my youngest brother, a graduating senior in high school, watching Cam’Ron’s recent street release on DVD. Having heard a decent amount about the film on the radio and online, I thought I’d spend some quality time with him and see firsthand what all the buzz was about.

After watching the film, I’m still trying to figure out what the buzz was about.

Admittedly, I began to watch the film around the middle of its 2-hr, 2-minute duration, but in that time I consumed enough profanity, drug use, selling and misogyny to last me the rest of the summer. I’m no prude and there’s certainly a place for each of these areas in feature film, but there’s a significant theatrical and aesthetic difference between “New Jack City” and “Killa Season”. In simple and direct comparison, New Jack City educated America on the drug epidemic sweeping across major US cities, while Killa Season offered little more than the shallow biopic of a Harlem knucklehead who enjoys easy money, easier women and wreckless gunplay.

Produced and directed by Cam’Ron, perhaps I should be criticized for expecting too much. After all, Cam paid out of pocket for the production of this film-- and it was quite evident. Rocafella Records urban tale “State Property” starring Beanie Siegel and the rest of the former dynasty (throw your now defunct diamonds in the sky!) operated in much of the same shoe string budget fashion, but to its credit at least took a significant cue from the classic film Scarface. To be clear, “State Property” was a poor film and solidified the notion that unless your name is Will Smith, Nick Cannon, Ludacris, Ice T or Ice Cube (arguably) you should stick to rapping, but it offered far more of what can be considered as acceptable theatre than Cam’s recent release.

That said, I was glad to have a chance to watch the film with my younger brother, as he’s still in the adolescent process of evaluating these popular culture offerings of urban life, using such to create his own sense of reality, individuality and urban sensitivity as a young black male. Throughout the film he asked me questions about just how realistic everything we were watching was, and I was glad to be able to offer him, what I consider to be, my balanced assessment (i.e. there are certainly people living a lifestyle similar to this, while it’s glorified beyond reasonable comprehension).

Upon further reflection, I thought about just how many young men and women will watch “Killa Season” without the considerate eye of an elder. Considering the vivid and disturbing picture the film creates, the reality of that reflection truly saddens me. I find a fragment of solace in the fact that I use my weekends to mentor the same demographic Cam's film appeals to, while his level of influence and mine are eerily disproportionate.

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