Thursday, June 25, 2015
Get On Up (2014)
Like many biopics, this one hits the highs and lows of Brown's life and career. He was a man who wrote civil rights anthems and suffered through a Jim Crow South, yet who considered former segregationist Strom Thurmond a grandfather figure. Exploring complexities like that aren’t always doable in a short time and the movie falls short of perfection, to be sure, but is entertaining and educating none-the-less. The criticism that it prefers a safer, more sanitized James Brown is accurate, although his physical abuse of his wife is portrayed. What is left out is how samples of Brown’s music formed the cornerstone of hip-hop from old school to gangsta rap. The movie isn’t really interested in exploring how important Brown’s music was to any of the numerous styles it influenced, but rather focusing on the man, what formed him, and how he turned out.