Flickchart Daily: Matchup of The Day and the Week’s DVD/Blu-ray Releases
Matchup of the Day
Quentin Tarantino racks up his 49th year today. Let’s pay tribute with two films starring an actress who inspired him:
Foxy Brown and Coffy, both directed by Jack Hill, are the two Blaxploitation films Pam Grier is best known for. Tarantino has gone on record saying that Coffy is one of his favorite movies, and that he is a fan of Hill’s work. When Tarantino adapted the Elmore Leonard novel Rum Punch into the screenplay for Jackie Brown, he specifically had Grier in mind for the title role.
The opening credits to Foxy Brown is one of my favorites of all time. Willie Hutch provides the music. Pam Grier puts on a fashion show, dances seductively and even does some kung fu. She was around twenty-five:
By the time Grier appeared in Jackie Brown, she was forty-eight. Bobby Womack’s “Across 110th Street” accompanies her during the opening credits. Though the song was originally used in the 1972 film of the same name, it also has meaning for the Jackie Brown character. It’s about about remaining strong in the face of bad circumstances in order to find a better life. In the film, Grier devises a plan to escape her dead end stewardess job and the murderous guns dealer (Samuel L. Jackson) she’s been smuggling money for. The opening credits are much less flashy than Foxy Brown‘s (though more affecting in the context of the film):
Out of Grier’s roles in Foxy Brown, Coffy, and Jackie Brown, I believe that the Foxy Brown character is the most formidable. In terms of proactive, ass-kicking righteousness, Foxy Brown just can’t be beat. As Coffy, Grier is also righteous in her fight against evil. She just happens to fall for the smooth-talking charms of her shady boyfriend, which is not something Foxy would do. But, both Foxy and Coffy don’t hesitate to liberate villains from their mortal coil when the situation warrants it, and they have a clear moral purpose. Jackie Brown is the only one out of the three who knowingly works for the bad guys (at first) and doesn’t actually kill anyone. Of course, Jackie Brown is not an action film about confronting clear-cut evil, but rather about a woman trying to rise above her past mistakes. When Grier sings along with “Across 110th Street” at the end of the film, I feel slightly choked up.
MY THOUGHTS ON FOXY BROWN VS. COFFY
Foxy Brown and Coffy are Grier’s two highest-ranked Blaxploitation films. Currently, Coffy is 121 points higher than Foxy Brown in the Global Rankings. I personally like Foxy Brown more. Why? Well, as I said, Foxy is a more potent deliverer of righteous vengeance.
Take, for example, how Foxy and Coffy deal with burly lesbians. There’s this one scene in Coffy where she goes to interrogate this drugged-out prostitute and ends up in a knife fight with her (well, Coffy uses a broken bottle). The hooker is easily subdued, but then her butch battle axe girlfriend shows up. Instead of belting it out, though, Coffy opts to run for dear life. Not to say that I wouldn’t run from a woman of that size and temperament, too, but one must wonder if Foxy would’ve gone toe-to-toe with the monstrous mama instead of taking off. True, there’s a scene in Coffy where she brutally takes on a room full of call girls. However, Foxy pummels her way through an entire bar full of lesbians (one of whom claims to know karate). Foxy has a proven track record when it comes putting violent, butch women in their place. Coffy does not. Also, the theme music for Coffy isn’t as good as in Foxy Brown:
I will admit that Coffy does have the best “You go girl!” moment out of the two films, and her shotgun killing of the drug dealer is pretty badass.
New Blu-ray and DVD Releases
MGM Classics Collection is releasing these films:
Warner Archive has some more classics coming out today:
Here’s what The Criterion Collection has to offer this week
David Lean Directs Noël Coward