Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns - Original Soundtrack | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic
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He was eager for his dad to call again, his twice-yearly call, so that he could tell him what he was going to do. In a strange way he was eager for his dad to call again every year for the next twenty or thirty years because, while his dad would be calling from a different house every time, Clint was going to be in the same house with the same woman and the same baby, growing older and older, and it filled him with a thrilling sense of superiority to think that.
Then, two weeks after those visions had begun to fill his head, they stopped. When he closed his eyes it was like he could see his future stretching out before him in a long, unbroken roll of tape; when he had found out there would be no baby, the tape broke off and fell to a grand cosmic floor and became an amputated, alternate future to be swept up and thrown away.
He could no longer see what was coming. Clint had lived in a sort of dread that at some point during his year-long relationship with Erin his father would come into town and meet her. His father would not like her. He was the kind that understood the appeal of a person like Tammy, Dolly Parton-like in her looks and liberal with her hugs and kisses.
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His own mother, waiflike during her marriage, had swollen around the middle from the beer and self-imposed confinement since being abandoned, but there was still something cadaverous about her. Soon he has driven out past the houses of anyone he might possibly know and is on his way over the county line. It looks as though the baby is staying with him. He feels like he has been on the road for hours, though it is still dark outside. The road cuts a thin swath through a forest, yet the only trees he sees are those caught by the edges of his headlights.
The baby remains mostly quiet in the backseat, gurgling occasionally as if it is trying to say something. When it starts to fuss, Clint turns up the radio and the baby calms down. Yes, the weight of an undersized body in the backseat is familiar to him. He is becoming almost comfortable with it. But he is realizing now that there is something else that makes this eternal, late-night drive feel a little like a dream he has had before: If trips could be placed in genres, like songs, this would be the genre of his journey—revenge trip—and it is the second of its kind he has taken.
He is reminded of a recent yet nearly forgotten drive he had taken with Tyler—his childhood best friend he now seems to have little in common with except for the fact that they are always together.
Tyler had laughed lazily, but it was a ruse. He rolled his head around on his neck and by the time it fell forward again he had a violent gleam in his eyes. Darwin Jefferson was a black kid, second-string lineman for the football team, arms as big around as milk gallons. Tyler was like Clint—people thought they were brothers—thin, toneless, washed out.
They walked around like shadows of one another. But now, against all reason, the beer-swirling girl, who Tyler seemed to know, had given him the idea that he needed to find and fight Darwin Jefferson. It felt like a crazed, doomed mission. Tyler drove, spurred on by revenge and a fearlessness borne by alcohol.
They drove in the dark for hours. They never even found Angela or Darwin—together or otherwise. What would they have done if they had? He sees it now.
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That is what this trip is for: He imagines arriving at Chick-fil-A, picking his dad and Tammy out of the crowd—he hopes they will be sitting in camping chairs and not inside a tent—and approaching them with the baby in his arms.
He will have to say it is his. He has burned that bridge by taking the baby. For this he feels a gentle surge of something like gratitude for the baby. Pink Floyd is on the radio and the baby seems to have fallen asleep again. This is perfect lullaby music, Clint thinks, and adds it to his mental list of songs to sing to future baby. This is what he thinks just before he sees lights behind him flashing red and blue with the rhythm of a casino sign.
He sees the lights even before he hears the sirens. He fully intends to surrender himself. To pull to the side of the road, step out of the car with his body tensed and ready to be flattened against the car window, his wrists twisted behind him and cuffed. Instead his foot falls harder on the gas pedal.
The car accelerates quickly, and soon he is doing as he takes off down the empty stretch of highway. He comes up behind a car inching along and swerves around it. His hands are sweating so badly that they lubricate the steering wheel and make it hard to hold. Clint reaches for the radio dial and turns the music all the way up, as if hoping to drown out the wail of the baby and the siren. Run, rabbit, run, Pink Floyd urges coolly while Clint keeps steady pressure on the pedal.
Cops have always been kind to him. His mother has been arrested twice and both times the cops seemed sorry for him. He lurches to the right, dodging a car in the left lane, and then, on an impulse, takes off down an exit ramp. Better than a deserted two-lane highway.
Then he remembers that towns have traffic lights. What do people in car chases do at traffic lights? Clint decides to deal with that problem when it comes. Still, these streets are deserted and thin; at first there is nothing surrounding him but trees.
Then some signs of civilization start to appear: Then the buildings grow taller and closer together. This is not the dizzying metropolis he was hoping for. Finally, he makes a sudden, sharp right in hopes of running the cop into the curb.
The further into town he gets, the more cars materialize, though still there are not many—this road has only two lanes traveling in each direction. He dodges them swiftly, darting briefly into oncoming traffic, and plows over a median to flip a split-second U-turn. His skill surprises him. The solitary wail of the siren now grows into a chorus. Clint glances into the rearview mirror and sees that he is now being tailed by three cop cars, the up-and-down laments of their sirens creating a horrible modulating harmony.
The street he turns on to, however, is not empty. Everything in his vision flashes white and he feels a crack from his collarbone to his eyesockets. There are two people pulling, shouting, trying to pull him right out the window. They have him out on the street, lying in the turn lane when someone socks him in the stomach.
He cranes his neck back toward the car and is socked again, drawing his head into his chest. He cranes back once more, searching for the baby in his blurry field of vision. He sees the car accordioned from tip to windshield. At his side is a woman, similar in girth, a fire of revenge in her eyes, shouting unintelligibly in a high, thin voice.
The large man gets in one last punch to the stomach. The woman at his side claps like a happy baby. At the edge of his consciousness Clint hears the sirens still. Just closer is the indistinct buzz of walkie-talkies.
Now the uniforms pull Clint to his feet; his stomach throbs in protest. He lets them drag him. They push him against the window of the car and wrench his arms behind his back, thrusting his wrists together.
In fact, most of the scenes in the TV trailer take place in the first few minutes of the film and there is so much more to see. What director Paul King does with the story is pretty magical.
Yes, there is some slapstick that the kids will love, but those scenes are a lot more elaborate than someone slipping on a banana peel. Each is caused by a real mishap in the story — not something that was just tacked on to be cute.
There is plenty of dry humor for adults too. In addition, King chooses some truly unique ways to move the story along that gives the film its charming tone. There is no bathroom humor — except for the funny scenes that actually takes place in the bathroom!
The movie has strong messages about family, marriage and taking care of people — or bears — less fortunate than you.
Scott Glenn plays Pfc. Keith Carradine and Cristina Raines, who played lovers in a little-seen picture called Hex, repeat the relationship here. We even leap across media for a droll cast-list clue: Merle Kilgore—Trout no wonder Kurt Vonnegut flipped over the movie!
And throughout the film stalks a character with camera and tape recorder who claims to be making a documentary on Nashville. Next door some less finicky performers are doing their stuff, so he takes her there. Beyond the glass of the control booth a troupe of black gospel singers is working up a number. Someone among them seems a bit out of place, but we have only a glimpse of her before she is obscured by Opal Chaplinwho fusses interminably before settling into her seat.
Lily Tomlin in a black gospel troupe—sounds pretty precious. The singing resumes and she throws herself into the performance with the exaggerated enthusiasm of a honkie determined to acquire rhythm. The camera zooms in slowly. The woman—Lily Tomlin or Linnea Reese? Good faith is firmly established in Nashville and is rarely in jeopardy thereafter. One of the disappointing things about Thieves like Us was that, for all its limpid look of a time and place and race of people reconstituted rather than gauzily remembered, it was so small and self-contained.
The Panavision format has rarely been treated to such dynamically enclosable material as it encounters here. Indeed, the Tricycle Man, unencumbered by characterological baggage beyond an air of benign eccentricity and a ready visibility, virtually constitutes a visual and connective principle within the film, and frequently serves as a kinesthetic bridge between, say, last night and came the dawn. A scene ends and, whether Tricycle played a part in it or not, we accept his presence at the beginning of the next.
And that eye will be aesthetically satisfied. The zoom, as Altman mostly employs it, alters perception; camera movement adjusts the world.
Both spatially and ethically, Altman tends to leave the world where and as he found it—except insofar as the act of discovery constitutes a transformation. The way Altman builds his movies, this sense of discovery can be shared—or a direct parallel to it experienced—by the viewer.
Once this strategy has been established and the viewer has either accepted it or resolved to sit back and grouse, the most mundane gesture has a way of seeming marvelous. Roland Barthes might write an essay explicating the delicious rightness of Ned Beatty committing the gravity of his form and physiognomy to waiting for the water to come to a boil so he can hardcook an egg; I only know that at the moment that image appeared onscreen—and stayed there long enough to assure me that Altman was as delighted with it as I—I felt as if the entire film up to that point had prepared me for a moment of co s mic beauty, a moment that somehow served to deepen the character of Delbert Reese beyond any regionally satirical gesticulations the shrewd actor in the role might and subsequently did indulge in.
I got no time. Bigness, as attained in Nashville, is inseparable from a species of stylistic vitality. When the starlets of the Tennessee Twirling Institute present their greetings to Nashville idol Barbara Jean after her recovery from a near-fatal fire, the screen is overwhelmed with red-white-and-blue jingoism, prancing sexism, and canny commercialism—but it is overwhelming, and the energy of the sequence does not inhere entirely in the spirit of awestruck mockery one senses just offscreen.
Yet this sort of bigness, this sort of vitality inextricably involves the threat, perhaps even the promise, of violence. Those martial charmers move on Barbara Jean as if she were a military objective. Did screenwriter Joan Tewkesbury have to make either place up? Violence is arguably a part of Nashville from that first bit of sensory overload that comprises the main title. The first moment of behavioral splendor in the film occurs when Haven, momentarily basking in the respectfully self-effacing support of the chorus, slowly sweeps the studio—his studio at that moment—with a stern-jawed, beady stare, as though personally Remembering the Maine from his private gun turret.
Potency and futility are utterly confused in his injunction to the hapless and disgusted piano player Frog: Comedy and violence underwrite one another throughout the opening movements of the film: And it is a multivalenced kind of violence that Altman catches in a moment like the actual disembarkation of Barbara Jean from her private plane. We watch in longshot as she is led toward the gate and ultimately the focal center of the festivities. Meanwhile, a gigantic airliner American Airlines… enters and passes through the frame; it remains in the background during its entire progress through the shot, yet its size and the roar on the soundtrack quite dominate the field.
And of course it also, back in immediate terms now, does satisfying violence to entrenched notions of what is customarily permitted to occur within a single take—which variety of stylistic violence is highly liberating. The return of Barbara Jean Ronee Blakley frame grab from DVD Beaver We experience a kindred, maybe even more complex feeling of violence done to safely discrete levels a few moments later. Earlier we have been referred to him by way of the monitor on the TV color camera, but now we look directly at him as though the television screen and the Panavision format had become one.
The two reflexive gestures of noncommunication coexist peacefully for a moment. WENO drones confidentially on. It is in the very fibre of Nashville that the membrane separating the performer and the audience, who-gets-to-be-on and who-gets-to-watch, is permeable in the extreme. Haven Hamilton trades backstage pleasantries with black singing star Tommy Brown, mutters a caustic follow-up for his own and, incidentally, our delectation, then strides onstage and launches into song, all in one unbroken take; a moment later, the camera tracking his stroll along the Opry stage only gradually shifts its focus from the audience to him, and many of the people in that audience are engaged in walking up and down, snapping pictures, looking at or for someone other than the official star; in the foreground of the shot, musicians exchange perversely un-overheard comments, and occasionally we cut to an irreverent John Triplette who, onstage behind Haven, offers snide cracks about his height or lack of same and costuming.
Nashville is intricately balanced between aspiration and desperation, between callous indifference and the realistic acknowledgment that life is irreversibly a one-way street, between crazy accident and obsessive vision, between adoration and exploitation, between being transfigured and being transfixed.
It is a volatile and by no means clearly predictable combination, even if it does go by the name of America. Can anybody tell me what happened? His peroration ended, he moves to reclaim his seat; but first he sweeps his arm before him in reinforcement of his spoken invitation: