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What I’ve Been Watching: Idlewild by jason
May 26, 2010, 6:02 pm
Filed under: Movies | Tags: , , , , , ,

Idlewild. Universal Pictures, 2006.

I remember seeing the posters to Idlewild at the theatre back in 2006. All the poster showed was an old-timey microphone with a rooster sitting on it. There were tiny pictures of the cast, including Andre “Andre 3000” Benjamin and Antwan A. “Big Boi” Patton, but besides the smallish “Music by OutKast” label, there wasn’t much to announce that this was the OutKast movie. Still, I had heard about it…how it was kind of a prohibition-era movie about bootlegging in the South, and how it mixed music styles from the era with hip-hop.

I hate that kind of thing…the anachronistic musical thing really turns me off. It’s part of why I hated A Knight’s Tale, and it’s why I completely avoided Moulin Rouge! It’s a thing for me.

That’s why when I finally saw Idlewild the first time, I was pleasantly surprised.

I was expecting nothing but a flimsy backdrop for OutKast to perform their newest (at the time) album. What I got was much better. Idlewild is kind of a coming of age drama with elements of Magic Realism.

Don’t get me wrong. This is a story that’s been told 3000 times before. Two friends, growing up in a small town, feel held back by the isolation of this town. One friend, Rooster (Patton) is a singer at a nightclub, but has aspirations of being a gangster. That is, he does until shit gets real. The other friend, Percy (Benjamin) is a pianist who wants to go professional but feels he must stay behind to take over his father’s mortuary.

I won’t go into the spoilery particulars, but Patton and especially Benjamin are believable in these roles, and Terrence Howard, Ving Rhames, and Ben Vereen flesh out an already surprisingly good cast.

The music, too, while anachronistic, was not distractingly so. Rooster’s performances at the nightclub feel like they fit, and Percy’s main number is strange enough (with his 20-40 cuckoo clocks singing the chorus) to make me forget that the music was not the right era.

So yeah. Since that 1st viewing about 2 years ago, I’ve seen this movie 2 more times and eventually bought a used copy. I don’t know if I would have paid full price, but it was worth going into the used movie/music store specifically to look for this one.



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