Dave Chappelle’s Block Party is my favorite concert movie. That’s saying a lot in a world where Jonathan Demme’s sublime Stop Making Sense exists. While both films are essential from a musical perspective, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party contains some interesting subtext that takes it to another level. It’s a portrait of a man who reacted to his escalating stardom by saying STOP and using his art to give a few thousand people a random act of kindness that they will likely never forget. Dave’s Chappelle’s Block Party is an act of love and inclusion, one that was just as important to the soul of its creator as it was his audience.
At the time of the concert depicted in Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, the comedian had become a victim of his own success -- success that eventually led to Chappelle walking away from his show and a $50M contract from Comedy Central. He didn’t like the direction things were going and the urge to throw this block party almost seems (to me) like an apology for what he was becoming which is infamous, an icon, something bigger than just a man doing comedy.
The concert sequences are like mainlining joy. It’s a perfect depiction of how music can take away all of your worries and send you soaring if just for a few minutes. My favorite musical sequences are the ones with Kanye West (back when he could give you chills that weren’t douche related) and the amazing Erykah Badu, whose music is like being shot into a groove that you don’t ever want to get out of. (Maybe it’s just me….I dunno…your mileage may vary. It helps if you love hip-hop and R&B as much as I do but I don’t think you need to be a fan of that music in order to like this movie.)
I can identify with Dave Chappelle strongly in one key way. He loves his audience in Block Party and, if nothing else, is just excited to share something cool with them. I feel the exact same way about every reader, contributor and listener of F This Movie! I’m so damn lucky to be a part of this site and be able to chat with all of you every week. Between F This Movie Fest, Junesploitation and Scary Movie Month, it’s like we have three block parties a year and that’s magical. Thank you all for that from the bottom of my heart for letting my doing my thing.