I was out and about this past week so I only watched a couple of movies at home. Last Black Man in San Francisco is a MUST SEE; while, House Shark is NOT. Let me explain…
Written by Joe Talbot and Jimmie Fails, directed by Joe Talbot, The Last Black Man in San Francisco is beautiful to watch with richness in color and texture with a story about two friends trying to reclaim what was once Jimmy’s childhood home.
First, the opening montage with the silhouette in color style–I don’t know how to explain it–a stillness mixed with slow-motion, I guess. Second, the way the city is portrayed is beautiful, expansive, and yet discarded. Third, there are many moments when the film allows you to sit in the moment. No dialogue, just observing the actors in the moment.
Jimmie Fails, played by Jimmie Fails, is a young Black man who has been “working” on his childhood home–despite the repeated homeowners telling him to stop and go away. They come home to find him painting the trim or arriving with flowers to plant. Jimmie’s best friend Montgomery Allen, played by Jonathan Majors, is a writer and observer of life in San Francisco. The house becomes empty so Jimmie and Mont decide to live there as long as they can. Meanwhile, life continues in the city with the usual group of guys who manage to spend the day standing on a corner talking about whatever, a street preacher, Mont’s blind grandfather, played by Danny Glover, and Jimmie’s parents who make small but impact-full appearances.
Overall, this film takes its time to tell the story of a young man holding on so tight to his past, and the house which represented a better time, he does whatever he can to get it back. Those who know Jimmie want the best for him and support his endeavor, even those on the corner who act like they don’t. Both lead actors are well spoken and thoughtful in their approach which made certain events disappointing in the outcome. Their hearts were in the right place but the execution of the plan was not well thought out nor the outcome considered. Events occur which bring reality of who they are and where they live to the story which ultimately becomes the downfall of the plan and the friendship. A touching story, not the tearjerker the ‘critics’ claimed, but never-the-less, a story of belonging and being.
Included in Amazon Prime. Watch the trailer below:
Let me just say, I love shark movies and also ‘bad-so bad they’re good-bad’ movies; however, this is just plain bad. Written and directed by Ron Bonk, House Shark is the story of a shark who manages to find its prey inside a home. *It was mentioned in Twitterland and I was intrigued.*
The reasons it’s bad:
#1 The premise. A shark inside the house. A house with no water in it. (Except for one scene…)
#2 The script. The premise would be hard to build dialogue around, sure. But seriously, the jokes are off-color, misogynistic, and crass; the characters are culturally inappropriate; and the scene continuity doesn’t work. The babysitter takes off her clothes on the way to the bathroom and sits on the toilet. Really? Frank returns from a date with his mouth covered in pubic hair. Really? Frank’s crying spells often include large amounts of spit and snot coming out of his face. Really? An Native American dressed in a scary robe with “force-like” power gets involved to hunt the shark. Really? An slow-motion, underwater fight scene…actually, that part was okay. The giant shark, or should I say, shark costume was obviously funny. There are scenes with the actors inside the shark’s mouth talking to Frank…
#3 The actors. Frank, played by Trey Harrison, is supposed to be an ex-cop with a teenage son, played by Nathan Bonk, who looks more like an older brother than a father. Frank is crass, not very bright, and a huge crybaby. It’s no wonder he’s not on the force anymore. Theo, the teenage son, while scared of monsters in the closet and who still needs a babysitter, is strangely unaffected by the mess in the bathroom after the babysitter is *spoiler alert* eaten by the house shark. It’s never explained why Frank and Theo sleep in a backyard tent instead of a hotel or why Theo lives with Frank when his mother, Lady Bird (?), played by Melissa LaMartina, seems more capable even though absent and obviously not concerned about her son’s welfare. Michael Merchant plays Zachery, the questionable house shark expert. Wes Reid plays Abraham, who is sent to help with the house shark. Reid cannot decide which impression to do here so he does a few including Ace Ventura and Quint (Jaws) as well as a couple others sprinkled in.
I think it tries to belong in a “bad” movie or spoof genre but often when people ‘try’ they fail because they try too hard or overthink and add too many kitchen sink ideas. Innuendos are fine and good but not every other line. Nudity works but only if there’s a reason. The evil laughs would have worked if it turned out the Real Estate guy “put” the shark in the house to get rid of the family so he could sell it and make a fortune…but he didn’t so the laughs didn’t.
Available on Amazon. Watch the trailer but don’t bother seeing the whole thing. Unless you want to. In that case, you’ve been warned…