Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Black Snake Moan


The last time I was in the south, I hadn't been off the plane for six hours before I had a toothless hillbilly panhandler offer to share his Jack Daniels with me. When I declined, he tried to sell me his coat. I'd already given a panhandler money that night and was exhausted and ready to get back to my hotel. When I started to walk away, he yelled, If those niggers out there get me tonight, it's your fault. It's all your fucking fault, little girl. Welcome to the New South! Lest I disavow my roots completely, I must say that the South has produced some of our greatest musicians and writers, both black and white. So how best to capture this heady mix of racism, sexism, heat, language, lushness, beauty, and general craziness? My answer at the moment-- the movie Black Snake Moan.

Black Snake Moan has gotten a whole mess of mixed reviews -- some love it, some hate it, but nobody can turn away. In a sea of bullshit, politcally correct pablum, this country-fried sexploitation flick stands out. Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci carry the day; he as a washed up, embittered blues player whose wife has left him for his younger brother, she as a deeply ill incest survivor who fucks everything that moves, not to put too fine a point on it. By the time we're into it, there's a chain around her waist, there's a chain around his heart, and a lot of blood is shed. The movie gets its title from a Blind Lemon Jefferson song about an affliction that won't let you go. If this isn't the song for our times, I don't know what is. Who doesn't have an affliction that won't let them loose, no matter how hard they try? Once again, I found myself laughing at how real everything seemed despite the bizarre set-up. And really, what alliance doesn't have some strange shit at the center of it? The blues speaks of redemption, salvation, sex, the bottle, adultery, and loneliness all mixed together to make one heady cocktail. I ain't gonna be moved, Samuel L. says in one scene, when he's got his plan together to save Christina and himself. But I was, and I suspect that anyone who dares to see this film will be too.


Michelle's Spell of the Day

"There's only one kind of blues and that is what consists between a man and a woman." Son House

Cocktail Hour

Drinking soundtrack suggestion: Black Snake Moan (the music in this movie is fantastic!)

Benedictions and Maledictions

33 days until The Sopranos airs!

32 comments:

Tony Blundetto said...

I have a St. Patrick's Day date for Grouchie that I won in the claw game at Kroger's. He likes getting his ashes hauled on holidays. I'll Fedex it.

The Elephant Man said...

Interracial sex is a turnon. I'd pay big money to see Obama and Coulter in action.

Oscar Winner said...

Ricci and Jackson are lightweights. I will not see this film.

Rodney Dangerfield said...

I'll bet Coulter could make Obama's black snake moan. I'd bet she'd bite it off if he has one, if you know what I mean.

John Wayne Bobbitt said...

Rodney Dangerfield is hereby awarded my Golden Penis statue for blogging excellence.

the walking man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the walking man said...

the walking man said...

A week ago yesterday I went to a regular venue to read and of course it was no smoking (curse all no smoking coffee shops.)

I was outside standing on Woodward and Orleans or what ever cross street it was having my thirteenth smoke and as expected i was approached by the first panhandler,his rap was that he needed food.

I don't mind panhandlers, I'd rather give to them than any flame lit charity, I always carry a few extra bucks and cigarettes on the nights I go out anyway but i don't like being lied to . Hearing shit like I need bus fare is always bullshit or my car`ran out of gas and you know by the look of them the last car they were in said Detroit Police on the side.

So first panhandler was asking for money for food, I told him he just needed to get something to drink and not food, well I'll be damned if he didn't pull out a cheap bottle of bottom shelf gin and said "No sir i got my drink; I'm hungry."
That did it for me I gave him enough to go to Churches chicken (his restaurant of choice).

The next guy was toothless old man who always during the spring and summer had a drum circle of one going on down the block, I'd never met the guy before but he tagged me for a half pack of smokes and two dollars and on a freezing cold night he went down the street and began his drumming.

During the summer time there was always a zen like feeling to it, but on the bitter cold night I just wanted him to go to his flop and get as warm as he could.

If I had met the guy with the Jack and coat and he started his rap with a need for food or something then I might have heard him out but he wasn't really panhandling he was selling and If he had said that to me I may even have gone back and given him a few bucks for his coat and gone and found me a black panhandler to give it too.

W. C. Fields said...

There's a sucker born every minute.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'd planned to avoid this because it looks so predictable, but maybe with your recommendation I'll give it a second look.

the walking man said...

W. C. Fields said...

"There's a sucker born every minute."

Hope you have a good rap when it's your turn to be homeless brother

W.C. Fields said...

Don't lay that communistic "brother" on me, loser.

Short bus and Special said...

You can lay down on the bed next time Michelle with your Easter eggs out!

Short bus and Special said...

And no black snakes in too. We don't like it.

Sister Peter Marie said...

Oh my God. What would Jesus say about all of the above?

Fr. Damien said...

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition--in Aramaic.

Monsignor Fisher Bass said...

I think this Spell should be submitted to the National Legion of Decency for review and comment.

Cardinal Spellman said...

I'll be the judge of that.

Short bus and Special said...

We can come over and shiver under the covers with you. We have special space heaters! We can make tents in bed!

Short bus and Special said...

Our space heater are white ones!

Rodney Dangerfield said...

I think they've got something with those space heaters, if you know what I mean.

the walking man said...

W.C. Fields said...

"Don't lay that communistic "brother" on me, loser."

Ok sister how about this , you're a self centered, greed filled, egomaniacal cocksucker, who is nothing but an anonymous whore. Who speaks with your George Bush flap jack lips and, any time, any day, anywhere, you'd like to come and try to take a few dollars out of my pocket or a few pounds out of my ass you're more than welcome to come up to Motor City Jo's in Warren at Hover and 12 mile and call my liberal ass out and we'll have us a nice discussion on what a motherfucking dickhead you are.

Shithead bitch.

Lana said...

You'd said; "Who doesn't have an affliction that won't let them loose, no matter how hard they try?" In my experience, most people aren't trying very hard to overcome their afflictions, to be honest. It's easy, after all, to talk the talk, but there's not a lot of walking the walk going on.

If this movie was about a white man holding a black woman in chains, I suspect the cries of "racism" would be loud, fast & furious.

Michelle's Spell said...

Lana,

I appreciate your point, but I have to disagree with you -- most people I know are trying everything to get over addictions, bad relationships, etc. and it's a very popular idea that if we want something bad enough or want to get over something bad enough, we can. I don't really buy it. Nor do I buy into the idea we are victims -- my sense is that we are defined by our damage as well as our strengths and our chains, visible or invisible. Change, in my mind, is nothing short of a miracle. But I do believe in those, for what it's worth.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Perhaps if I examined what defines me, I'd see more than I bargained for.

W.C. Fields said...

Don't hold your cancerous cigarette breath waiting for me. I'm surprised Tony and Silvio haven't scheduled you yet.

Susan Miller said...

Oh hell yeah, I've been waiting to go see that movie and knew it would be my kind of movie when I heard about them shooting it. My dear Samuel, truly one of my favorite actors, was in a town nearby for the premier. Thank you for the review, Michelle.

I've always loved the fact that the South is known for its prejudices. Having the opportunity to live in other regions and countries it became evident that you could find large groups of people everywhere that were plagued by superiority complexes. Of course, this is a generalized statement because everywhere you go you can also find someone just like yourself.

My friend who lives across the street is from Belize but lived up North for a while. She followed an asshole down here and then decided to stay once he left. Once she told me that her friends up in North Dakota told her not to come to the south because she was different and that they do bad things to people who are not white. We both laughed at about this over our Sangrias and I explained to her it was a myth we intended to perpetuate because we like our trees and our pastures. Other than the politicians for the most part we're not too much on industry or an increase in population.

the walking man said...

"W.C. Fields said...
Don't hold your cancerous cigarette breath waiting for me. I'm surprised Tony and Silvio haven't scheduled you yet."

Awful lot of mouth, the last thing I am worried about is two more anonymous peckerwoods like yourself. I am easy enough to track down and the one thing that never seems to have left me from my youth is not being afraid of anyone.

C'mon WC you can do it,I've smoked for 47 years, I'm blind in one eye, have five fused vertebrae, been through 14 surgeries and 18 broken bones, even your crusty old ass ought to be able to do me in to my face. Or did your momma keep you to close to be masculine?

It's been a couple of years since I made some boy my bitch you up to be next. Bring a gun if you think it would help you because I never shoved one up someones ass while they triggered themselves.

And I have my own blog for this conversation but I set it up to not take anonymous posters, you piece of ass tissue.

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Susan,

I agree with you totally -- racism gets such a bad rap in the south, but it's everywhere -- hell, living in Detroit, I'm in the most segregated city in the U.S.! And your story about your friend is funny -- people gave me the same kind of warnings when I moved to Detroit from Texas -- people are evil there, they'll kill you, there's utter lawlessness. Ten years have passed and I'm still alive. :)

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