biopic

Beyonce as : Etta James “Cadillac Records”

Biopics seem to be on the rise these days.  It’s almost like the Reality TV craze. Once a couple of good shows emerged, Hollywood  kept popping them out. Now everyone and their mama literally has been on Reality TV, and networks have made a killing off of them.  It seemed like, we got a few good biopics at one time. Then came along Jamie Foxx’s ghostly portrayal of Ray Charles in the film Ray.  It’s  like that sparked a new film trend. Ray was  great. However, when you see how biopics are done today, It forces you to wonder: Are biopics more helpful or harmful to one’s legacy.

When we watch a biopic, we have no choice but to take that depiction of one’s life as it is edited to us on film. We put a lot of faith into the directors and writers hands when we view the film and verbally repeat  what we have seen in simple conversation.  In the story of Bonnie and Clyde (via Lifetime) there was a few scenes when Clyde was in prison. He was beaten, degraded,  and raped repeatedly by a particular inmate. This was shown to the masses so casually. My question is: If this true,  how do the writers and director  know about this? That is a degrading and belittling experience for anyone to go through. I seriously doubt Clyde spoke of this to anyone even though he got out of prison and embarked on an even bigger crime-spree with Bonnie. How do we know if we are watching the truth or are we being victims to false information used strategically to make us feel a certain way. It’s the same thing with even the Anna Nicole story. Her biopic was told in Anna’s  narrative beyond the grave.  How do we not question the narratives opinion especially in the end? We never question if the real story is being told accurately? Let’s be real, Hollywood has a jaded way or telling things and rewriting the truth.

When I watch a biopic about a singer, and the music is done any kind of way, I feel disrespected as a fan and viewer. For instance, the Aaliyah Biopic. If you are doing a biopic about a musical artist, please use the original music. If you cannot get the original music cleared with the family, then maybe that biopic doesn’t need to come out. I am still having nightmares about the Aaliyah, Princess of R&B situation that Lifetime and Wendy Williams brought us via boobtube. It is true this Biopic was like the second most viewed pic this year, however, that does not equal success. The Aaliyah biopic was a major disappointment because my generation really wanted to see her story told well. In the case with the Aaliyah picture, they did a horrible job all the way around the board. Now, the fans that did see it, wish that they did not patronize the film with their viewership because it was just GOD AWFUL! That production was ridiculously wack, I had to pinch myself and ask Jesus,”  Is this forreal?” while watching.  Her music also sounded like Kidz Bop and they failed to pick her most popular songs. I’m not trying to be funny but they picked the boring joints like “Journey from the Past“The music should be number one priority when you are doing a film talking about a singers life.

Often times with these biopics, we are seeing that the family of the deceased (if the main character isn’t living) get nothing. This happened in both Get on Up, the James Brown story and Aaliyah picture. What is ugly about Hollywood is that the rules are bent and twisted in so many ways. Your life story could be told by someone else and you not receive a dime. You can even boycott the production and still have no real “say so” at the end of the day.  Could you imagine being related to someone like James Brown, who contributed so much to music? Now imaging being related to James Brown and Hollywood decides to tell his story one day regardless of how you feel about it. Then to add insult to injury, they exploit the story and don’t even break bread with the family at the end of the day. More and more of these films come out with stories of the family getting nothing.

A good biopic is hard to pull off. When you watch a biopic, the actor is supposed to literally transform into who they are acting. In a biopic, you have to channel the spirit of the one you are playing. Jamie did it in Ray, and Angela Bassett did it in What’s Love got to do with it.  Halle Barry even did so in Alex Halley’s Queen. So, it isn’t impossible to do. However, it takes a certain amount of skill to do. You can’t just throw the leading role in a biopic to just anybody and everyone is not “biopic” worthy. Let’s be real, It seems like some people are getting biopics that really haven’t earned it. What I am afraid to see is the value of biopics dropping because of Hollywood over-saturating our Television screens and Movie theaters with these flicks.