I thought Suicide Squad or SS was a fun ride.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie with so many too-cool-for-school characters.  I would have to think back to The Usual Suspects.  As a youngster, I was obsessed with anti-heroes.  I remember having a poster of Dennis Rodman on wall.  The badder, the cooler.  So, it is no wonder I liked the bad boys and girls of SS. 

Improving SS is not difficult.  First off, I would’ve 86’d Enchantress and her brother.  I feel like David Ayer did not get or fully understand The Joker on the level of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.  I would have made The Joker a stand alone villain.  It is established in SS that he has squad of henchmen at his beck and call.  This was also established in The Dark Knight — a mastermind that can strategize, wants to see the world burn, and the power to lead men into battle.  

Making The Joker the villain would also put Harley Quinn in pickle — who does she pledge her allegiance to?  Does she support her newfound motley crew and her burgeoning friendship with Deadshot or does she side with her bad boy lover?  There could also be a Hitchockian raised suspicion of her backstabbing or betraying one side.  

Those are my main fixes.  I think two of the strongest characters, Quinn and The Joker, were under-used and by developing the plot around the latter it becomes an easy fix.  I do believe that the director did not fully understand the scope and dark power of The Joker and so a super villain finds himself relegated to the B/C plot instead of the main. Where Christopher Nolan succeeded in The Dark Knight is contrasting The Joker with Batman in a kind of ying yang dichotomy or dual existence.  One cannot exist without the other.  Why not borrow that remarkable heat and apply it to Deadshot or the entire squad?   

This is coming from a guy who never read the comic but felt disappointed walking out of the theater.  I can imagine how many of you know of greater plots that have been hatched in the comics.  Nonetheless, DC is becoming what The Joker is to Batman for Marvel.  They shoot during the day, DC shoots at night.  Marvel shoots on the main streets, DC shoot in the alleys.  I’m loving the separate universes.  DC/WB are almost there in their cinematic universe.  There is one missing link.   Maybe Ben Affleck is that piece.  We will see. 

I read a beautiful passage in 2 Corinthians 9:8 that I wanted to share.  The scripture reads…

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

Further bible commentary teaches, that he man who gives, therefore, should have faith in God. He should expect that God will bless him in it; and the experience of the Christian world may be appealed to in proof that people are not made poor by liberality. I have made a pledge this year and every year moving forward to increase my tithes by 1%.  This is inspired by Pastor Rick Warren and his wife Kay and their concept of “reverse tithing”.  He states…

When we got married 30 years ago, we began tithing 10%. Each year we would raise our tithe 1% to stretch our faith: 11% the first year, 12% the second year, 13% the third year. Every time I give, it breaks the grip of materialism in my life. Every time I give, it makes me more like Jesus. Every time I give, my heart grows bigger. And so now, we give away 90% and we live on 10%. That was actually the easy part, what to do with the money–just give it away, because I’m storing up treasures in heaven.

I feel liberated in giving God more.  I am asking for more blessings so that I might be able to give more.  I challenge you to give more to your local church and special causes.  Let me know how God is blessing you through giving. 

Love,

Kingslee Purcell

  1. http://biblehub.com/commentaries/2_corinthians/9-8.htm
  2. http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/2005/10/rick-warrens-second-reformation.aspx?p=2
large_eqDR8ALKjvSVYrNwdZundSYKfaOIt was 2008 and Will Smith was the biggest star in the world. It was an era of filmmaking for the Philly native that was hit after hit. It was more than just another movie, it was a Will Smith event. For two hours we were swept away by a cult of personality, unbridled charisma, and sheer force of nature. But now knee deep in his 40s, has the king lost his crown? 
It was Will Smith who declared “I will make my best films in my 40s”. I thought how awesome. While many movie stars are trudging out to pasture, Mr. Smith is taking an already stellar career to another level. But let’s take a closer look at the films of his 40s. 
after_earthA lot of people slept on After Earth. I thought it was terrific. It had the misfortune of being labeled “nepotism at its finest in Hollywood”. There was the perception that Mr. Smith was forcing his son upon us. I did not share this sentiment. If anything, Jaden acquitted himself nicely in The Karate Kid. Also, Will made the dubious decision in hiring M. Night Shyamalan whose filmmaking career is somewhere in the wilderness, trying to find its way back to the promise land. I thought Sony tried to hide M. Night from the marketing and when the audience got wind of his signature on the film, they lost trust. After Earth landed with a thud in the states. Internationally, it was a hit, grossing nearly 200M dollars. Smith maintained his international muscle. Most importantly, the film hit upon some personal themes very close to the life affirming philosophy of Will Smith. I personally liked the message of conquering our fear.  Kitai (Jaden Smith) comes to the understanding that fear is not only a choice, but an illusion created by the mind.  By focusing on the moment instead of the outcome, he devised a fear suppression technique called “ghosting”.  
large_focus_ver2Then Mr. Smith released Focus. This movie was a step back for me. It was pale imitation of Ocean’s Eleven and one of my favorite grifter films from the 70s Harry In Your Pocket. Though it wasn’t cohesive and fully baked, I was most disappointed with walking away with no message. I believe the mark of a great film is its lessons on life. Am I exiting the theater better than I was on the way in? Otherwise, it’s just popcorn and soda.
Mr. Smith seems to be taking himself very seriously in his 40s and shedding the charismatic playboy we came to love in the 1990s and 2000s. It’s an interesting new direction. I trust him because I believe he gets it.  Case in point, when he turned down Django Unchained because “Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead.”  I love that.  He’s a king and kings play second fiddle to no one.  
men_in_black_iii_ver3Mr. Smith has also gifted us Men In Black 3 in the 40s era.  I totally understand why he chose this project. It was his unofficial return to movies and he needed a big brand name. What better than a billion dollar franchise?  Next up?  Suicide Squad. Mr. Smith is the name above title and far and away the biggest star in an ensemble piece.  He is playing the hero/anti-hero and leader of a counterculture motley crew of meta-humans.  He mission is to both save the world and emotionally reconnect with his daughter.  
It is safe to say that Will Smith has diversified his portfolio in his 40s.  It appears Will Smith version 4.0 is a little darker, edgier, and driven.  There are very few bona-fide leading men today. To get to that level takes, as Lillian Gish said many moons ago, taste, talent and tenacity.  As a believer in the smarts and gusto of WS 4.0, I am confident that he can successfully craft a new image – a new beacon of truth.  It may not be the lovable Fresh Prince Of Bel Air, but it will be a manifestation of an artist that knows his time and place on earth, knows his kingship, and the power for change that lies in his hands.
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MPW-46700Three buddies wake up from a bachelor party in Las Vegas, with no memory of the previous night and the bachelor missing. They make their way around the city in order to find their friend before his wedding. This is the plot to 2009’s ‘The Hangover delivered by Warner Bros. This movie and its two sequels grossed over a billion dollars.

Tuesday night, October 27th, a woman named “Zola” on black Twitter wrote a dizzying and mind-bending short story in 150 tweets that will take you on the wildest ride you’ve ever been on. It’s ‘The Hangover’ on steroids. It’s Twitter at its finest. Dare I say, if it were not for the tweet box’s rigid demands, Zola’s underworld would’ve never come to life. There’s a challenge in squeezing a message in that tweet box. If it were confined to family Facebook, it would be rated PG. If it were spelled out in Instagram, would a picture really be worth a thousand words?

One of the key elements of a great movie you can usually find in the title: ‘The Hangover’, ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’, ‘Cecil B. Demented’, ‘The Lost Weekend’, ‘He Who Gets Slapped’, ‘Wings of Desire’, ‘Irreversible’, ‘Double Indemnity’, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’… These movie titles are not only appropriate for Zola’s wild weekend in Florida, but they also tickle the imagination. Most importantly, great movie titles typically have one overriding problem or goal for the hero, giving the story drive, momentum, and a sense of priorities.

Getting the right title for Zola’s wild weekend in the sunshine state is like trying to capture lightning in a bottle. We must take into consideration that the only way to do justice to Zola’s story is to make it Rated-R. Also, we can’t look any further than the ‘The Hangover’s success in a title that captures a wild weekend in a specific location. Two things: Zola wasn’t drunk and ‘Zola’s Wild Weekend’ lacks originality. Let’s try and name this descent into the Florida underworld… ‘Fucking Florida’…  ‘Girls Interrupted’… ‘The Turnpike’… ‘Tricked’… ‘From Hooters To Hell’… ‘The Trick’…  ‘My Wet, Hot, American Weekend’… ‘Girl B. Gaga’… ‘Deuces Up’… ‘The Proposal’… To really capture how much of this story takes place at night, let’s run with ‘Savage Weekend’. 

Gone-Baby-Gone-images-6fe2e3e1-e3aa-48c6-8eb0-78dc41e72daAnother key element in a great movie is the hero with a moral problem. GONE BABY GONE: a child goes missing. It turns out that the chief of police (Morgan Freeman) kidnapped the girl, Amanda, to try and give her a “better life”, living with him and his wife. The hero, Kenzie (Casey Affleck) has to decide whether to rat the Chief out and return Amanda to her incompetent mother (Amy Ryan), or let her live with the Chief and his wife.

What is Zola’s dilemma? She has had enough of the danger involving Jessica and is ready to go back home. Jessica breaks down and cries. She confides in her fast friend that she does not want to be left alone.  Knowing the dangers of their industry, Zola simply cannot abandon her. Later, when Zola discovers how Jessica is underselling her body, it pains her that a fellow female would have such a lack of self-worth. She empowers her and sets up a small business, charging Johns quadruple the old rate. Most importantly, it is clear that Zola has taken Jess under her wing and has assumed the big sister role. 

One of the most important elements of a great film is that the audience believes what each character is fighting for. Jessica is clearly fighting for her life while battling the inner demons of growing up in a house with no strong father figure. Pimps have taken on the identity of the lost father. She also has no sense of self-worth, selling her body for a c-note. She is attracted to terrible, broken men. Her boyfriend is mentally unstable, suicidal, and co-dependent. Her pimp/father figure is a sex trafficker and tosses her around like a Frisbee.

3238602100000578-3493867-image-a-57_1458068895640Twitter has already cast Ving Rhames as the hulking “Z”, Jake Gyllenhall as the bi-polar boyfriend “Jarrett”, Margot Robbie as “this here bitch” “Jessica”, and Kerry Washington as the all-seeing “Zola”. If there was a studio that does counterculture stories ripped from the headlines, look no further than the shield — Warner Brothers. If there was the perfect director, look no further than the twisted minds that brought you ‘No Country For Old Men’, ‘Burn After Reading’, and ‘Fargo’ – the Coen Brothers.  

‘Savage Weekend’ is not so much a road trip, but if there’s a blueprint in terms of style and substance look no further than ‘Thelma and Louise’. Florida has produced some fun movies over the years, but one film in particular really mirrors the mad eroticism and that’s ‘Wild Things’. And finally to serve Zola’s odyssey right, the genre has to be dark comedy.  Who didn’t laugh when Jarrett got slapped by Z or Zola decides to walk over to the motel pool?  This is why ‘The Hangover’ serves as the master blueprint for a story about two tricks, a pimp, and a castrated boyfriend in a car headed for a Florida weekend. 

1. Values Don’t Align

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Sanaa Lathan’s character reveals that she wants to be married with kids.  Morris Chestnut’s character is not interested at all.  Lathan’s character laments that she is 36 years-old and has given her beau two years of her life.  Whether she thought he change or not, being honest up front on values and priorities helps us avoid wasting time.   I have a friend who is a doctor, late 30s, and waiting for her beau to drop to one knee.  She wants to get married and have kids.  Her BF is in his mid forties and once divorced.  He does not want to marry till he gets his career back on the A side.  So, she is waiting.  Her clock is ticking louder and she is not getting any younger.  Truth of the matter, she is not really for sure if he will ever lower to a knee.  She has doubt because at the outset of the relationship she did not make sure their values were on one page. 

2. Moving Way Too Fast

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We notice Micheal Ealy’s character being physical very early in the relationship and Lathan’s character is along for the ride.  While it may be a thrill to be in heat and in the moment, moving too fast often causes us to overlook glaring holes, red flags, and character flaws.  We make the mistake of letting our bodies doing the talking. In my experience dating, waiting has forced our values to do the talking.  You would think Lathan’s character would have learned from her previous relationship and how being physical can cloud one’s judgement.  Now she finds herself in another relationship that is moving way too fast and already repeating a pattern of overlooking red flags. 

3. Interpreting Signs & Trusting Your Gut

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I’m a firm believer that people tell you from the outset what you need to know.  The only question is are you listening.  I remember an actress once telling me, “I told him I was crazy on the first date.”  She went on to say that later in the relationship he was shocked to find out she really was crazy.  I was on a first date once and a woman told me that she really doesn’t believe that we are to have only one lover in life, but multiple lovers.  That was all I needed to hear to ask for the check.  People always tell you what you need to know.  Are you listening? And let’s not forget our intuition.  I have a friend that met a guy on a dating website and set up a first date.  She says from the moment he walked into the coffee shop her gut said this guy is bad news.  She didn’t listen to the voice within and suffered badly.  Follow your intuition.  It is seldom wrong.  

4. Bad Advice From Friends

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Lathan’s character receives some unwise advice from a girlfriend when she reveals her new beau snapped in the parking lot.  Her girlfriend gives a total stranger benefit of the doubt and excuses a major red flag.  This is why it is important to be very careful with who you get relationship advice from.  I have friends who ask relationship advice from friends who are chronically single.  Why are you asking somebody for advice who can’t hold down a relationship for more than six months?  Many of our friends have good intentions but bad advice.  I only ask my married friends for relationship advice.  I only ask my successful friends for career advice.  There is no in between. 

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Part of the reason why I was so confused as to why Straight Outta Compton was completely overlooked was how similar it was Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Revenant

THEY ARE BOTH SURVIVAL FILMS

Check out the log lines for both movies:

THE REVENANT

While exploring the uncharted wilderness in 1823, legendary frontiersman Hugh Glass sustains injuries from a brutal bear attack. When his hunting team leaves him for dead, Glass must utilize his survival skills to find a way back home while avoiding natives on their own hunt.

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON

Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eric Wright and the other members of NWA must survive the mean streets of Compton, abject poverty, gang violence, drug culture, and police brutality, to name a few, to band together to start a record to that will revolutionize hip hop as we know today.

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Hugh Glass must survive against his environment that wants to destroy him.  Four young black men in Compton must survive against their environment that wants to destroy them.  Hugh Glass must survive against a freakish snowstorm, hunger, and attacks from the wild.  As stated above, the young black men must survive against a ghetto that acts as a retentive snare, pulling them down like crabs in a barrel.

THE BEAR & THE POLICE

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The most talked about scene in The Revenant is the bear attack.  The bear attack in S.O.C. is largely the villainous and racist Compton police whose sole mission is to dehumanize and step on the throats of any black man in their way.  The bear attacks with sharp claws and teeth, and brute strength.  The Compton police attack with guns, clubs, pepper spray, and verbal abuse designed to castrate and dehumanize.  After the vicious attack, Hugh Glass is left for dead.  After a police attack, a young black male is not only scraping himself off the ground, he is left to sort out the anger of being violated and mistreated by the very men and women whose mission is to serve and protect.  He is then forced to rearrange the order of things, supplanting the will of God with the will of the Compton police.

BEST PICTURE

I understand if you get your kicks from watching a man survive in the wild.  However, there is a different wild on the mean streets of our toughest neighborhoods.  In place of high winds, you have bullets. In place of animal attacks, you have the police raids.  No water?  Try no food in the fridge.  Extreme cold for a spell?  Try no heat for the winter.

The Academy overlooked a gem in S.O.C. for the more obvious and star-studded production.  They were caught with their pants down on this one.  What is ironic is how similar the pictures are.  Both central characters must survive against all odds.  Both central characters are on a long and hard journey.  Lastly, both central characters must conquer their environment in order to make it out alive.

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BEWARE OF THE DATEBOMB

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A ‘datebomb’ is defined as a shocking piece of information shared that ruins an otherwise good date.  I was on a first date once and the girl told me she prints out pictures of men she is pursuing and puts them in a frame on her desk.  She also suggested that she is crazy.  I’ve heard of countless other dates where men and women have confessed to something that should’ve been kept in the drawer to much later in the dating process.  Whether there is a God, what side of the aisle you’re on, pro-life or pro-choice, prescriptions to medications, criminal records — the first date is a “get to know you” date.  You are feeling each other out and seeing if there is a possibility for another time together.  In the movie Knock Knock, the two party girls pursuing Keanu Reeves’ character drop several datebombs.  They go as far as to talk about sex without boundaries.  Why on earth are you talking about sex with somebody you just met?  Unless you deem this elevator talk, it should be a major red flag and the last date. 

KNOW WHEN TO SAY ‘NO’

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There are several moments in the movie when Reeves’ character didn’t trust his gut.  There was the moment when he opened the door and allowed two strangers in his home.  There was the moment when the girls are making advances with a married man and becoming touchy feely.  There is moment when the girls ask to take off their clothes and have them cycled through the dyer.  In this dating world, we must trust our gut and know when to say ‘no’.  There simply is no room to be Mr. Nice Guy or Gal.  We must know in advance what line will not be crossed and speak up when it does.  There is a reason why they say “nice guys finish last”.  It goes for women as well.  All the moments mentioned above, Reeves’ character should have said stop.  Hard stop.  We all make mistakes like inviting somebody in to our space that shouldn’t be in our space, but we still have the power to remove ourselves from the situation.  I had a friend once who met a guy at a coffee shop for a first date.  She said when he walked through the door she felt a chill run through her body.  She didn’t trust her gut or heed her intuition.  The guy would eventually turn her life upside down.  

THE CHIMERA OF FALSE CONFIDENCE

Reeves’ character jokes to the girls that “I’m sure I can take the both of you”.  It is this false confidence or mask that many of us have experienced on first dates.  My aim on a first date is to start the process of peeling back the mask layer by layer.  I want to understand our values better and see if they might align.  I want ideally want to work through that false confidence that we both have.  It is a false confidence that suggests I am perfectly sane, slow to anger, well-balanced, super supportive, and have absolutely no baggage. There is no perfect person.  To date is to grow.  Most importantly, the dangers of false confidence is both not trusting your gut and not drawing impregnable lines. When we are making these mistakes, like Reeve’s character, we quickly find ourselves a stranger in our own home.  
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We take great pride in delivering unforgettable and timeless love stories, driven by the inexorable passion of our iconic heroes and heroines. Where fantasy meets faith is more than movie house, it’s a beating heart, aching to be loved. 

8 Kingspei Movies, 2 Kingspei Music Videos

just when you think you’ve had enough of the faith-based juggernaut and their annoying creative executive, Kingslee Purcell, the banner in the sky flying today over Will Rogers state beach read: “Kingspei in pre-production on their 9th film ‘The Circle’ to lens Summer 2016!”

Just wonderful…