What to do while watching:
What to eat while watching:
What's black and busty and bad all over? Pam Grier in Foxy Brown, that's what! You dig? Sho' do! On the night of the lunar eclipse, I had a return engagement with my friends Josho and Celeyce with whom I had watched another Pam Grier classic, Coffy. (See my archives.)
Outside their studio in Oakland, we rested on a trampoline, slightly wet with dew and watched the shadow of the earth embrace the moon. It became a sliver in the sky beside a chocolate-red haze like a gigantic Godiva truffle. At last, the moon was completely dark, and we went inside for ice cream and rum, and to cuddle into bed and watch the flick.
With the opening credits, Pepito the cat climbed on my lap and stayed until the film ended. Pam Grier appeared on the screen dancing to her theme song. Her outfits changed each chorus and her hair proved as versatile as the word cool. Celeyce noted the similarity between this opening and the openings of the James Bond films of the time, and the theme lyrics provided the perfect epilogue: "Foxy! Foxy Brown! She's cute and she's sweet, but she don't play around!"
The cute and sweet aspects were apparent by the second scene. Foxy rises from bed to answer a phone call, and, dressing to leave her home, removes her fluffy night, revealing two fantastic breasts-I mean fantastic-for a very brief time. A tease, sure, but strangely satisfying, I think because it made me anticipate more of the same.
Foxy goes to rescue her no-good brother, Link, whose first line into the phone is: "'s Link." Indeed he does. Clever scripting! He's in bad with a high-powered drug ring, having stiffed them for $20,000 which, in 1973, is enough to get his skinny butt bumped.
Foxy rescues him using her big car as a weapon. The two goons cling to the car's roof and hood as it speeds through the night streets. It's Starsky and Hutch style action all the way. And seeing Foxy Brown reminded us of her role as a bus driver in Mars Attacks, which Josho liked but I didn't care for (again, see my archives).
Foxy stashes Link in her apartment while she goes to visit her boyfriend in the hospital. Michael Anderson is his new name and he's just undergone a facial reconstruction. He had also run afoul of the drug cartel-from the right side of the law. As a detective, he'd brought the case all the way to trial, but the judge and jury were "fixed" by the evil drug-queen's prostitution ring.
When Foxy comes to visit, Michael's excited to see her and closes the curtains around the hospital bed, himself, and Foxyuntil the fat, gospel-singing nurse comes in to sponge-bathe him. Reprimanding them both, and spotting his off-screen erection, she slaps him in themanner of a reproach. Funny! This film's got it all!
But tragedy befalls Foxy when Link rats out her boyfriend and he is killed. Foxy goes to Link's place and trashes it. She also shoots off the tip of his ear. Link's topless, white chippie asks "Who's that?" and Link delivers the crux of the matter: "That's my sister, baby, and she's a whole lotta woman."
"Vigilante justice: it's as American as apple pie." Foxy embarks on a one-woman rampage. As in Coffy, she must pretend to be a hooker to get in with the top evil-doers. She's caught and raped by rednecks, but escapes and destroys them violently. We get to see more breasts, but Grier's are painfully hidden, except in one scene as she struggles to escape being tied to a bed. I'm sorry, but the scene was too stressful to really enjoy the sight of her chocolatey nipples.
After lots of violence and revenge of the bloody, merciless kind, the film ends suddenly. So why, after all that is there a quarter-star chip from my rating? Maybe because I'd seen it before in Coffy. That film had even more action--and more original action. I'll never forget Grier as Coffy hiding razor blades in her afro so that during the cat fight, her hair-pulling adversary got her hands all cut up on that dynamite 'fro! This film just didn't do it like that.
But you watch a movie like this as a time capsule. This film takes you back to the 70's not ironically, but actually. It also reminds us of the anger and challenge of being black, and female, in the United States. The racist, sexist, classist attitudes throughout the film are enough to make a contemporary viewer cringe in discomfort, and yet this film wasn't made that long ago.
It's fascinating. It truly is. We rewound the film and stopped
it to see Pam Grier's first topless scene a few more times.
©1999 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights happily reserved.