first movie review: Notorious

Hi and welcome to:
My first movie review!
Notorious (Rated R)
3.75 out of 5 stars
Featuring: Jamal Woolard, Derek Luke, Angela Bassett, Anthony Mackie, Antonique Smith, and Naturi Naughton.

Notorious tells the story of murdered rapper Notorious B.I.G, from his beginnings as a Brooklyn crack dealer to an East Coast hip-hop sensation. The movie is narrated by the man himself, who was, along with Tupac Shakur, one of the best rappers of all time. However, this film also depicts the true events of his life, many of which were negative including selling drugs–apparently even to a pregnant woman, doing time in prison, getting women pregnant, cheating on his wife Faith Evans, and getting into a seemingly pointless East Coast/West Coast beef with one-time friend Tupac. That being said, this movie did an excellent job of showing off his unmistakable vocal style. I feel that this movie came out way too late, after all BIG passed away over a decade ago. However, I am still grateful to finally discuss this film and it did not disappoint. It was so well done that I was brought back, in my mind, to that day in march of 1997 when I heard the bad news. It was all over the radio, and I was thoroughly shocked, I just couldn’t wrap my head around what had occurred.

A few have argued that “Notorious” did not accurately describe the life of Notorious B.I.G. There even has been a law suit filed regarding the validity of this movie. Nevertheless, when I listened to this film, I didn’t rate it upon how truthful it was, my opinion is based on its quality and how captivating I found it to be. Newcomer Jamal Woolard carries his screen time well, and although I was disappointed in the beginning of the movie (no one can exactly duplicate B.I.G.’s voice) he won me over about halfway through. He makes notorious feel somewhat approachable which is no easy feat considering the reality that he might not have been the nicest guy when he was alive. I also thought that Naturi Naughton did a fine job as Lil’ Kim, and the actors and actresses in this documentary seemed to be well-cast.

The bottom line is that hiphop has not been the same since it lost one of the greatest, BIG of course. I encourage all of you to see this movie, however I would advise you to watch it with an open mind: Put aside any issues you have with how true it is, how certain characters are depicted, and your personal judgments about Notorious B.I.G. (I would never condone selling drugs to a pregnant woman, cheating, ETC) I simply say to you: go to watch this movie for educational purposes, the experience, and to share in the life of a very interesting man. (Note: if you dislike violence, drugs, and/or hiphop, this might not be the right movie for you). If you have seen this film, please let me know how you feel about my first movie review.

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