Monday, September 04, 2006

Your Soul Is Required In Hell


During the eighties, I loved the movie New Jack City. My friend Hank and I would watch it for the camp fun -- it was about crack cocaine, the inner city, reviving Judd Nelson's career, wearing bad clothes involving lots of epaulets, and many good songs by Public Enemy. I saw it the other morning on cable for the first time in years and was shocked by how well it holds up as a morality tale. Ice T is a cop with a grudge, stuck with an immoral but competent whitey (Judd Nelson) as a partner to crack a case of the biggest drug kingpen, Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes) in an unorthodox manner. Throw in a big screen television running Scarface over and over and a few Italians looking for a connection, Chris Rock as a crackhead looking to reform by infilitrating a crack factory (bad idea!) and you have a story. It's all about how everyone does everything right and Nino still walks by making a deal. Of course, the mandatory old black neighborhood dude shoots his ass at the end, yelling, your soul is required in hell. It's funny that I couldn't remember the ending until I saw it again.

The movie came out around the time of that lightning rod figure, Bernard Goetz, shot four guys on a subway, and becoming a symbol for vigilante justice. Nobody, it seemed, could protect us, not the cops, not the laws, only ourselves and big guns. Bernard walked and became a New York City icon for the streets. I became entranced with the case because of its moral complexities, and it holds the same questions as New Jack City did. Of course, it didn't include such bon mots as Quit sucking on the glass dick. I don't think I'll forget the ending this time around, the spiral staircase that Nino falls down in his last big power play as he says the American justice system is the best in the world. Something about the epaulets on his shoulders, I think.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"Get me Nino Brown." New Jack City

Cocktail Hour

Morning Glory

glass of champagne
1 part Peach Fuze drink

Benedictions and Maledictions

Happy End of Summer!

4 comments:

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle,
another enchanting post, as always. I have a feeling my soul may be required in Hell also if I am not careful. It may be "reconciliation" time again. Bravo! New Jack City is a fun one.

Sheila said...

Great post! I don't remember much from the eighties except that I was born in 84. I kinda remember the style (which unfortunately seems to be making a huge comeback) and I vividly remember Madonna.

Page missing said...

"I'll see you in hell!"--from Clint Eastwood's "The Unforgiven"

Jason said...

I always dug Menace II Society more. Maybe it was all the high top fades, but I could ever get into it. You won't soon forget Menace's ending.