Monday, August 11, 2008

The soul lives on?

With the sudden passings of both Bernie Mac and Issac Hayes, it's been a pretty rough week for imposing, black celebrities. Fortunately Morgan Freeman survived the week but, alas, his marriage did not. Seeing as how such episodes of mass celebrity deaths have a tendency to come in threes we may not be out of the woods yet. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if Tom "Tiny" Lister or even Della Reese were more than a little nervous right now. Looking back, I really can't remember another time since that crazy July 30th day last year when such a group of notable celebrities died in such a short span. Of course according to the Wikipedia Recent Deaths section, "notable people" (usually an esoteric collection of scientists, former politicians, and foreign athletes) die all the time. However as amazing a cricketer Bob Cunis was or for all the memorable roles portrayed by the late Terence Rigby, I doubt their passings have made the nightly news, at least stateside. Further compounding the tragedy of the loss is that in contrast to Snyder, Walsh, and Bergman; both Issac Hayes and Bernie Mac were relatively younger, active individuals with plenty of life and projects ahead of them. In fact one of the greatest losses in this may be the now unsure future of "Soul Men."

Now I'm not saying they were making "Citizen Kane" or anything. The film's plot of two former friends coming together again to achieve somethings is so old and tired that there are probably primitive cave paintings depicting that device. It stars Samuel L. Jackson in one of the 80 or so random movies he makes a year. The film also contains Sean Hayes who will no doubt will play his signature movie role as an unlikable, uptight, effeminate, white guy. Without any knowledge, I suspect it'll probably have a scene where one of the main character comically splits their old pants or jacket after trying it on for the first time in years. All in all this probably nothing picture; one that originally seemed destined for a quick run in the theaters and then straight to a modest retirement in rentals and pay cable, may now be the final sad testament that will link both passed celebrities together forever.

I can't recall any other film that lost two of their co-stars over a span of two days no less! Sure there are plenty of films that soldier on posthumously after losing one star (in fact I think there's one in the theaters doing pretty well right now) but two is down right unheard of. In my opinion though, assuming they have enough footage of Mac and Hayes completed to properly finish the movie without having to resort to Plan 9 style movie trickery I think the producers should go for it. What was once just a mere piece of pre-holiday cineplex fodder has, by a cruel twist of fate, become possibly something more. At its best it'll be a final documented farewell for fans of both artists (although more in the Phil Hartman "Small Soldiers" category than James Dean in "Giant"), at the very least there will be an element of morbid curiosity. In reality it'll probably be combination of the two. Regardless, it's always the more logical choice (and in most cases the more profitable choice) to go on and let a film play rather than have it die with the actors.

Will a Bernie Mac posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar petition on Facebook not be far off?

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