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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 90 - Amos and Andrew (1993)

Yay!  Racism!  I’ll keep this short.  Amos & Andrew is an offensive comedy of errors about an African American writer named Andrew (Samuel L. Jackson) who is mistaken for a bugler in his own house by white members of his affluent neighborhood.  The police arrive and, realizing their mistake, bribe a convict (Nicholas Cage) to abduct him.  The two then realize they are pawns in this political face-saving game and turn the tables on the suits.  

The title Amos & Andrew comes dangerously close to a minstrel show from the early 1900’s into the 50’s called Amos n’ Andy, which is famous for it’s white cast in blackface.  I’m not really sure what went through the heads of the producers with this one as, given the close title and the racial (racist) overtones of the film, it just can’t be a coincidence, though any connection has been denied.  That said, this film should have been given the red light at the pitch, it’s not funny; rather, it’s actually quite uncomfortable.  What’s worse is this movie was produced by one of guys behind Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia and the John Adams TV miniseries!!!  I guess everyone is entitled to make a bad decision every once in a while, but sheez!
Fortunately for us, the two leads (Cage and Jackson) had many of their best performances ahead of them, and if they were just a little bigger at the time of this film's release, it may have had detrimental effects on their careers. In about a year Pulp Fiction would turn Samuel L. Jackson into a superstar and Nick Cage would win an Oscar in 1996 for his performance in Leaving Las Vegas. So, I'm happy to say this movie didn't hurt its stars. I'm happy... really. I like Jackson and Cage both and I never like to see good actors who are distinct and talented wasted in a mess of racially offensive and pathetically unfunny material. Besides, I don't think any actors could have really saved this work. If they used a time capsule to capture a young Sidney Poitier (yes, I know he's still alive) and Jimmy Stewart and bring them to the 90's for filming it still would have been a disaster. This just isn't good material, no acting talent could have saved it. Sorry.

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