Howdy all you Supercultists out there on the interwebz! I’m Bad Movie Professor Cameron Coker (BS in “Michael Jai White” with a minor in “whorephanages”) and I’ll be posting my hype-tacular speeches every week along with some long lost speeches from past Supercult Shows!
This week Supercult fights the Man and helps keep smack off the streets alongside Black Dynamite!
Vietnam Veteran, former CIA officer, Kung Fu mater, and card-carrying lady-killer Black Dynamite is the only one who can save us! The Man is pumping heroin into local orphanages, has flooded the ghetto with poor quality malt liquor, and even killed Black Dynamite’s brother and now Black Dynamite is a powder keg of black fury that’s about to explode! He’s super bad, he’s outta sight! He’s Black Dynamite!
Black Dynamite is a 2009 action/comedy send up of Blaxploitation films of the 1970s. But before we talk about that let’s talk about Michael Jai White, an actor, martial artist, and expert in the superculty. White began his acting career working on films like The Toxic Avenger Part II, and Supercult classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. In other words he’s a kindred spirit and Black Dynamite almost feels like a personal gift he created just for us.
White came up with the idea for Black Dynamite in 2006 while listening to James Brown’s 1970 song, Super Bad. White had originally wanted to call his film Superbad, but that title had already been taken by some stupid teen comedy starring skinny white kids, so instead he came up with Black Dynamite.
White rented costumes, photographed himself, and presented his concept to director and writer Scott Sanders, who instantly fell in love with it. Sanders said, “It’s just a little too badass. That’s the tone of the movie. Our humor comes from the fact that the movie is just a little too badass.”
After joining forces the two produced a trailer before starting actual production in order to raise money. The trailer incorporated scenes from old blaxploitation films with old voiceovers from the late Adolph Caesar, who had done the previews and radio commercials for classics of the genre like Superfly and Cleopatra Jones. The pair incorporated numerous cultural references that placed the film in the 1970s such as referring to the star, White, as a Baltimore Colts running back and reveling in Black Dynamite’s “five thousand dollar car” and “hundred dollar suit”. The trailer was shot on Super 8 film and had a budget of about $500. When the team showed the trailer to producer Jon Steingart his reaction was, “Oh my God. Okay, we can raise the money for this.” Black Dynamite had a budget of $2.9 million.
White and Sanders collaborated with Byron Minns to write black Dyanamite and thanks to Minns nearly encyclopedic knowledge of the genre the writing process took just a few weeks. White starred in the film as Black Dynamite while Minns joined the cast as Bull Horn. The film also gives several female adult film stars their mainstream debut.
The crew emulated the style of the period films by using Super 16 Color film stock and intentionally leaving many filming errors and inconsistencies in the film. Even the restaurant featured in the film, Roscoe’s Chili and Donuts, is a play on the actual Hollywood restaurant Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles founded in 1975. White was reportedly worried that anything modern, even character dialects, would destroy the illusion and worked diligently with the actors to keep their tone correct. White has even stated that he was not just playing Black Dynamite, but also the actor playing Black Dynamte. The actor, Ferrante Jones, was a running back for the Baltimore Colts whose career ended due to a broken neck. If you pay attention you’ll notice that Black Dynamite has a hard time turning his neck to one side. This is because of Jones’ neck injury.
Black Dynamite debuted at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, went on to win several awards and was picked up for distribution. The film had a viral marketing campaign on the web spearheaded by a mock nonprofit organization called FISTO (Fight Smack in the Orphanage) and had a limited release with a run time of just 2 weeks. Despite it’s brief stay in theatres, the film got a significant amount of attention from both critics and audiences.
Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars saying, “Black Dynamite gets it mostly right, and when it’s wrong, it’s wrong on purpose and knows just what it’s doing.” However, some critics were less enthusiastic. A.O. Scott of the New York Times said that Black Dynamite made for a better “five-minute clip on YouTube” that a full length film and asserted that Black Dynamite’s shtick is fun for a while but wears thin fast. In a 2012 interview Black Dynamite himself responded to A.O. Scott with, “Well, obviously A.O. stands for “asshole’s opinion,” ‘cause we here talking about it right now. Damn movie’s been tweeted about every two minutes since 2009.”
Black Dynamite spawned a graphic novel an animated TV series on Adult Swim. There’s even talk of a sequel on the way. It has a 7.4 on IMDB and an unprecedented 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. Black Dynamite was built from the ground up to be the smoothest, baddest, blackest movie of all time, but it also just happens to be a perfect example of what our long lost Supercult show-runner Jared Simpson was striving for: a movie that’s trying to be bad and does it so well, that it’s actually amazing.
He’s black, flack, stack, attack and mac! Backtrack, slapjack, hooplack, flashback, ramsack, jam pack, and still coming back!
The Supercult show is proud to present Black Dynamite!