Top Five (2014): A comedian tries to make it as a serious actor when his reality-TV star fiancée talks him into broadcasting their wedding on her TV show.
Top Five-the best movie of the year. (Thus far)
That's right. Top Five has come out of nowhere, and currently is my favorite movie of the year. It is my recommendation to anyone who is ok with an R-rated comedy living up to that title that this movie is a must-see. However, you don't come to Enter the Movies looking for a two sentence review, right? It would be kind of weird if I just ended the review right now. Fortunately, we're not going to. So. Moving on. Top Five is a wonderful celebration of African-American culture in the United States. What do I mean by this? Well, for example, one of the many highlights of this 102 minute flick is its namesake: at one point there is a discussion between Chris Rock's character and his character's family discussing their personal top five favorite rappers our society has seen. It is a great moment in the movie, and one of several examples of this celebration. The rest I'll leave up to your own personal discovery, but take it from me: this movie could not come at a better time in our society. I really hope that Top Five breaks out at the box office and becomes a huge runaway hit because there is such a wide appeal here.
So, why is it my favorite movie of the year thus far? Well, let's start with the man. Chris Rock. He wrote, directed, produced, and was the lead of the movie. It's his baby. The story he wrote really is him telling the story of himself and his life/career and where it is right now. 10 years ago the main character of this movie, aka Chris Rock, was at the top of the comedy world. But now, after a failed attempt as in the dramatical world, he's fallen into the dumps of being, well, not funny. The same can be said for the real Chris Rock, who, after deciding to cast his lot in with Adam Sandler, has lost a lot of his influence in the world of comedy. Well, to say Chris Rock has found his stride again is something of an understatement. This movie's story is very unique as it takes place over the course of a single day in the life of Chris Rock's character, Andre Allen, and a shadow-like interview with a New York Times reporter, played by the talented Rosario Dawson. The chemistry of these two characters together is fantastic. Actually, the chemistry of Chris Rock with everyone in this movie is phenomenal. The supporting cast is fantastic, but you get the sense that they are fantastic because Chris Rock is really pushing them along. Seriously. The last time I saw a performance like Chris Rock's I was watching Leonardo DiCaprio put in the performance of 2013 with The Wolf of Wall Street. J.B. Smoove, Gabrielle Union, Cedric the Entertainer, Jay Pharoah, Tracy Morgan, Kevin Hart, and several other great cameos I wouldn't dare spoil for your own enjoyment all show up here, and they all feed off the intensity of Chris Rock. This movie.....THIS PERFORMANCE BY CHRIS ROCK IS WHAT ADAM SANDLER COULD BE IN ONE OF HIS MOVIES. I'm sorry did I say that?
And then there's the third act. FINALLY. FINALLY. We have a movie that not only doesn't fade away or implode in the final act, but instead turns it up in the final act! The third act of this movie is phenomenal, and leads to one of the more emotional climaxes I've seen in a movie all year. Ya! That's right. Emotional. In a Chris Rock comedy. But that's how good this movie is! Now granted, it's not perfect sadly. There are some huge corners cut at times to get the movie from point A to point B, and the movie does take a bit of time developing early on, but none of that really matters if the movie brings the laughs. And to say Top Five is funny is an understatement. It is right there with 22 Jump Street for being the funniest movie of 2014, however it excels in the drama of itself which is where it separates from 22 Jump Street. I never once felt tense during 22 Jump Street, as we all knew the good guys would emerge victorious. Here, I was as tense as can be, because I honestly had no idea where the story was heading. And while some of the corners cut would break immersion briefly, there was always something else right there to bring me right back into it.
In short, go see this movie. It is a wonderful celebration of a culture that deserves something like this right now in our society. I hope that the word gets out on this movie and it breaks out at the box office. It should, because while it is great, but it is not widely known. The press on this movie has been lackluster, and sadly not a whole lot of theaters are showing it. So here is Enter the Movies attempting to raise awareness for Top Five. Go see it. Now.
The Critique: An awesome celebration of African American culture. Chris Rock's best performance in years.
The Recommendation: if you can get over the fact that this is an R-rated comedy, then go see it. Everyone. Please.
The Verdict: 9.5/10 Damn Near Perfect
Oscar Talk: I really hope this movie gets some attention, but I doubt it. Since it got no love at the Golden Globes sadly I can't expect it to receive any love at the Oscars. Unless if it pulls a Frozen and breaks out through word-of-mouth advertising.