Things Fall Apart (and how!) in new 50 Cent trailer

Though some rap and hip-hop artists have managed to appear, or act (depending on your definition of the word), in films without ruining their musical careers – Chris “Ludacris” Bridges does it all the time, Marshall “Eminem” Mathers did it with 8 Mile, and Sean “P Diddy” Combs managed it with I’m Still Here and Get Him To The Greek – it doesn’t mean everyone can do it. And with the release of the trailer for Things Fall Apart, it’s more than a little obvious that Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is having a harder time than his contemporaries…

Curtis plays a talented young college football athlete who is struggling to realise his dream in the face of a debilitating illness. Things Fall Apart, the most literal and fitting film title to come along in a while, isn’t bad just because of its low budget (although, that really doesn’t help). Hoping to somehow “hide” his illness from others, it seems Curtis will struggle on to achieve what we can only assume is his dream, with the help of his parents and a compassionate doctor played by what looks a lot like a comedy comatose version of Ray Liotta – who knew he was having such a hard time in Hollywood these days?

But perhaps the “best bit” in the trailer is when they “graphic match” Curtis doing weights with … Curtis doing weights. That transformation from long hair and a shirt to a shaved head and no shirt certainly communicates the pain and suffering his illness induces to great effect, doesn’t it?

Well, at least the story makes sense: cutting from Curtis asking why God is doing this to him, to an actor (whom we can only assume is his brother ) telling him he won’t “cover” for him anymore because it’s both bankrupting and tearing the family apart, the story is indeed comprehensive and compelling. Ahem.

Question is, if Curtis is crashing out after a wee jog up the bleachers, how exactly is he keeping his illness a secret in the first place? Can’t very well play ball if you can’t even walk up three or four stairs. I’m sure someone would have noticed during the live games, no?

Whilst it might well be, as the voice-over claims, “the most critically acclaimed” performance of Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson’s career”, one has to wonder why on earth actor/director Mario Van Peebles and Ray Liotta ever agreed to it. But I guess, at the end of the day, we all gots to get paid, yo. Word.

Enjoy it for yourself here.

Fittingly, Things Fall Apart does not yet have an Australian release.

Discuss: What are some of your favourite moments from the trailer?

7 Responses to “Things Fall Apart (and how!) in new 50 Cent trailer”

  1. >As someone who has spent my life living between Australia and the United States I have noticed there are usually two typical extreme viewpoints responses to films that herald an ‘African American’ slant by way of the lead actor. On one hand you have pockets of the Australian population who fetishize African-Americans for their perceived prowess or ‘cool’ and will trip over themselves to see anything that depicts African-Americans (usually males). And than you have the other side which can be condescending and dismissive of any storyline that nods towards the African-American experience. I feel Tara Judah falls into the latter category.As a Critical & Cultural Studies major you could say I have a compulsion towards critiquing texts, with a particular fondness for ‘popular culture’. I am relentless in my opinions, however, I feel what separates my intent from Ms. Judah is that I am not outright dismissive of ‘art’, especially of films that I have not yet seen in their entirety which again, I feel is Ms. Judah’s response to the trailer for ‘Things Fall Apart’ and which I will expound upon my using several references of her writing below.First of all, I am curious as to why Ms. Judah would state ‘Fittingly, Things Fall Apart does not yet have an Australian release’. Why is fitting that the movie would not be offered for viewing to Australian audiences? Chinese, French, Brasilian, Canadian, British and American films regularly see release in Australia. What makes this piece of cinema, whether one has interest in or not, not worthy of being offered and interested individuals making their own conclusions on the film? I do not want to form presumptions on Ms. Judah’s stances on cultural perceptions of the Black experience let alone her perception of American ‘sports’ hence why I suggest she provide a more clearer conclusion to her ‘review’ of the films trailer.I am also curious about the following paragraph: “Well, at least the story makes sense: cutting from Curtis asking why God is doing this to him, to an actor (whom we can only assume is his brother) telling him he won’t “cover” for him anymore because it’s both bankrupting and tearing the family apart, the story is indeed comprehensive and compelling. Ahem.” Why the cough, Ms. Judah? Anyone with interest or knowledge of Pan-African and/or Black Cultural Studies has noted that American popular images usually revolve around three main images in regards to black males: the criminal menace to society (whether through Jim Crow era white supremacist films like ‘The Birth Of A Nation’, Black films such as ‘Menace II Society’, ‘Paid In Full’ or the sensationalism of trials such as the OJ Simpson case), the entertainer (whether white supremacist parodies of minstrelsy or the glorification of rappers) or, the most financially rewarding ‘commodity’, the black male body in the spectacle of American sports. It may not be of interest to you per say but to someone who has knowledge of the ruthlessness of the national/global sports franchise I personally AM interested in how this story will be conveyed to the audience.

  2. >I understand that Ms. Judah may be coming from a stance where the trailer conveys that the film does not convey a coherent story arch. BUT, to dismiss the premise of the film, of a young Black man naturally gifted in sports who is now dealt the blow of ill health and who, is committed ‘by any means necessary’ to use the terms of Malcolm X to fulfilling his goals and/or obligations to team/family reeks with absolute relevance, ESPECIALLY if it is divulged that the character comes from a low-income bracket making his success especially crucial to the survival of himself and the family unit especially in the wake of ill-health and ESPECIALLY when the subject healthcare has been such a hot-topic in the United States since the tenure of President Obama’s presidency.Which brings me to my third critique of Ms. Judah’s comments: “One has to wonder why on earth actor/director Mario Van Peebles and Ray Liotta ever agreed to it. But I guess, at the end of the day, we all gots to get paid, yo. Word.” First of all, Ms. Judah, why the snarky Hip-Hop lingo? 50 Cent may be a rapper but he is not playing a rapper and yes, not every person with brown/black skin pops slang like they from the ‘hood. I am interested in your edification of Mario Van Peebles and Ray Liotta and your ASSUMPTION that they ONLY signed on to do the film due to monetary gains. As a woman who spent years living in Los Angeles I have a birds-eye view into how competitive and fickle the industry is which in turn has a real effect on the ability for some actors/directors to maintain a steady stream of work. But did it also occur to you that both Mr. Peebles and Mr. Liotta might have had a sincere interest in the script? Whether from a cultural viewpoint or because of an interest in sports, it is presumptuous to believe that neither man read the script and thought ‘You know what? I see something in this’. Until we see the film or interview either gentleman it would be arrogant to presume their intentions as to why they chose to become involved in the project. It is even more condescending to state that in regards to Mr. Peebles who over the years has created/pursued projects with Black lead actors (Sweet Sweetback, Panther, New Jack City etc).From a personal view, from what I have seen of 50 Cent’s performance I am not feelin’ his attempts at the embodiment of his character. I have no doubt when I see the film (being a Critical & Cultural Studies major let alone someone who has been immersed in the study of Pan-African cultural expressions/depictions of ‘Blackness’ through various texts) I will def be talkin’ smack either to myself or between my bredren. I can already see myself kickin’ back with my peoples and clownin’ on fitty’s wooden performance and the extreme depictions placed upon his body by casting and hair-makeup (someone pistol whip the costume department – what were they THINKIN’ attaching that weave/wig?). If ‘The Boondocks’ returns for a fourth season I cannot wait to see Aaron McGruder’s satirical take on the casting of yet another actor with no real natural talent let alone training within the mechanism of Hollywood. I am curious to see if critics will connect the films title to the influential novel by Nigerian Chinua Achebe, which also uses sports (in his case wrestling) to speak on broader themes. I doubt it will be as coherent or influential but still, intertextuality is at work here. I have no doubt the film does NOT reference British colonialism outright but what the film apparently have in common is the effect of some element on the community by way of the individual, sports team, institution applied to the sports team and the lead actors immediate family unit. BUT, from an academic point of view I will also be putting in context the totality of what I am watching/reviewing rather than ONLY reacting to it from a place of derision, using slang out of context un‘fittingly’ which I feel is the intent of Ms. Judah. Thank you for reading my response.Sincerely,Michelle

  3. >As editor of the blog, I was the one who included the line – "Fittingly, Things Fall Apart does not yet have an Australian release." Not Tara.The "fittingly" is not meant to be a thinly veiled racial slur, but rather a comment on the fact that the film looks terrible, does not yet have an international – or even U.S. domestic – distributor, and is unlikely to get one any time soon.Secondly, there is absolutely nothing wrong with adding commentary (positive or negative) to a film we haven't seen. Be it a multi-million dollar blockbuster or a small indie film – we're aloud to be as excited or derisive as we like. As are you! In fact, considering that trailers are merely marketing tools, we NEED to view these things with a critical eye. Which is exactly what Tara has done.I mean, did you SEE how terrible this trailer is? Tara did not convey any ideological issues with the film – rather the trite, almost incompetent-seeming execution, as shown in the trailer. Hey, maybe it'll be a masterpiece. I'm sure we'd all readily admit it if it were the case.If you look through the past few articles on the blog, you'll notice a negative review of The Rite (the entire film) and a pre-emptive dismissal of the Wolfman direct-to-DVD reboot. It's a blog. This article is just meant to be a fun little commentary. I'm sorry if you took offence from the story, but I defend Tara's tone.

  4. >But thankyou for your thoughtful comments Michelle (sorry, hit post comment pre-emptively on the last one).

  5. >Thank you for your comments. My own are restricted to the material in the trailer and do not extend to the representation of ethnicity nor the film as a whole.

  6. >Lighten up Michelle, its a review of a movie trailer, not a policy on international relations. Save the thesis for uni!

  7. Oh good grief. It’s a movie and by the sounds of it…a bad one. Has nothing to do with race or colour of one’s skin. Tara’s review doesn’t mention anything of this aspect.

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