Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon, & Gisele Bundchen Star!

 DATELINE: Bad Bad Bundchen

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Mrs. Tom Brady Did It!

Hail a Taxi in a New York minute! This is a must-see movie classic.

Well, okay, it isn’t exactly Citizen Kane.

However, the 2004 movie called Taxi impresses in so many ways. First, its cast includes Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon, and Giselle Bundchen. Unlikely and perfect casting?

Yes, the future Mrs. #TomBrady is in her movie debut with third billing. There is not even a hint of “Introducing….” She is the star. Having a billion bucks can do that.

She is top of the game as the villain, a tall model-type bank robber, heading a gang of shoot’em up women. What? You were expecting Anna Magnani in Open City? It’s enough to convince us that, if she teamed up with Tom Brady, for a movie career, we’d have another Burton and Taylor, or at least a potential Laurel and Hardy.

The movie is about a New York cabbie with a penchant for speeding (Queen Latifah in her patented sassy tough girl role) and an inept New York copper (Jimmy Fallon with a run-off at the mouth speed).

Luc Besson directs and writes this stuff to guarantee there is plenty of car-crashing action. He is the Fellini of the urban circus movie. Yeah, we give this one 8 and a Half.

If you expect to see Downton Abbey, you took a wrong turn at Antonioni’s Blow Up. Gisele rivals Vanessa Redgrave here.

We mainly stayed agog during the entire film because it is fifteen years old, and the three principal stars look exactly the same today. They have not aged one whit. #Latifah, #Fallon, and #Bundchen just stepped out of The Time Machine.

Who among us can make that claim? You might start to wonder where the Fountain of Youth is located in Central Park. Is it Tom Brady’s avocado ice cream that tells us the proof is in the pudding?

Yes, the cute strawberry blonde playing Jimmy Fallon’s mother is that Viva Las Vegas girl and Elvis co-star, Ann-Margaret. Talk about ageless

This movie is a Manhattan cake-walk.

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Oscar Ignores Bessie Smith’s Story Too

DATELINE: Movies about People

With the Oscars embroiled in charges of racial bias, HBO continues to produce interesting and diverse films that are ineligible for the Academy Award. One of this year’s best movies is relegated to a second tier and second class status.

Talk about injustice.

This year’s Bessie is a classic example. Before Hattie McDaniel and Ethel Waters, there was Bessie Smith. She just didn’t sing the blues. She lived the blues.

Queen Latifah never fails to surprise. And, with this film, she plays the great blues singer of the 1920s, Bessie Smith, with an elan seldom seen in performances. She clearly identifies with the benighted black singer who rose from obscurity, fell back, and rose again to a comeback with the likes of Benny Goodman.

As producer and star, Queen Latifah is the real story. Her talents range from comedy to tragedy—and she can sing too.

As Bessie, Latifah has met a subject she can sink her teeth into. And the film depicts the black audiences of segregated days with their own star system. Mo’Nique matches Queen scene for scene as her mentor and friend Ma Rainey.

Like Latifah, Bessie Smith was tough and brash. She had to be to succeed in the barnstorming days of musical acts from the American South that played to the affluent black audiences of its day.

Once again, the surprise may be how much American culture is derived from these entertainment pioneers in music. The black culture seems cutting edge, precursors to the attitudes and style to develop in white America decades later.

Audiences that miss Latifah’s Bessie may also miss a chance to learn what great talent truly is.