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AMERICAN FICTION (in theatres)

A sly, sensationally supercilious, slap at conventional, stereotypical, platitudinous attitudes perceived as “black culture”; writer/director Cord Jefferson, with brilliant aplomb focuses on author “Thelonious “Monk” (homage to composer of “The Giants of Jazz” 1917-1982) Ellison” (referencing Ralph Ellison (1914-1994) writer of the iconic “The Invisible Man”). Here is a film concentrating on an exceptionally bright family of doctors and one prodigious writer/professor (Monk), they have soared in their chosen professions, experienced lows and bountiful heights, and happen to be black. Jeffrey Wright (“Angels in America”, “Westworld”) is stratospheric as the disgruntled, intellectual author, whose books have been largely ignored while the predictably pedantic, pandering to the addiction of those invested in the slang-studded, drug-infested gang world, starring on the nighttime news, selling like hotcakes and landing on the best seller lists; in an inebriated fug he writes “My Pafology” using the sobriquet  “Stagg R. Leigh” (mimicking  Lloyd Price’s (1933-2021) “Stagger Lee” a murderous ballad). It is an instant hit and Monk’s incredulous disdain that this drivel is lionized by the public; Wright scores as disillusioned, but balancing his staid academic milieu with a fictional, fake protagonist, offering viewers some of the most hilarious moments in recent filmdom.

“American Fiction” is a delicious, iconoclastic romp, gifting audiences one of the most “colorful” movies of the year.


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