code kansas

After being away for much of the last month, I finally got to have a date with Anne on Saturday night.

We made dinner together (seriously, that's one of life's great, simple pleasures) and then watched Black Dynamite from Netflix on our Roku.

The original plan was to watch Forbidden Zone on DVD (remember those?) but I stupidly bought the color version, and I wanted Anne to see it in glorious black and white, so we went to the on-demand section of Netflix to find something that would entertain, without being too serious. I recalled one of my friends raving about Black Dynamite a few months ago, and Netflix said that I'd probably give it 5 stars, so we paid the ticket and took the ride, and were completely on board within the first three minutes of the movie. There may have been some high fiving and jive talking from the two of us, or I may have made that up; we'll never know for sure and I ain't telling. 

"This is everything I wanted Grindhouse to be," I told Anne when it was over.

"This reminds me of when we were dating," she said. "I'm so glad we watched this!"

Let me explain: when we were dating, we watched tons of bad 70s movies, and our favorites were the Blaxploitation films like Coffy, Cleopatra Jones, and of course Shaft. We loved those movies so much, that when we got married, we walked into our reception to the theme from Shaft. For reals.

Black Dynamite the greatest homage to Blaxploitation this side of I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. It's clever, it's self-aware, it's a whole lot of fun, and it looks and sounds fantastic.

I love movies like this that aren't afraid to take risks, that aren't focus-grouped into an unsatisfying beige paste, that are unapologetic and proud to be different. If you like the same things I like, I think you'll want to give it 5 stars and a thousand upboats, too. 

50 thoughts on “code kansas”

  1. I have just been telling everyone about this as I too just watched it on Netflix. The last 30 minutes are completely bananas (In a Woody Allen Bananas good way), and I found myself giggling and smiling the entire way through.

  2. I love how you and Anne are such a couple of bad mamma jammas.
    I also love how you seem to have more fun together than the requisite laws allow.

  3. I’m also a huge fan of Blaxploitation films. I love Shaft and Dolemite. Have you seen Blackbelt Jones, starring Jim Kelly (Enter the Dragon)?

  4. If you haven’t ever seen Kentucky Fried Movie, I think you would love it. It makes fun of the movies of the seventies, with it’s own parodies like “Fistful of Yen” and “Cleopatra Schwartz.” Classic! It is for adults, though.

  5. The first time we got a babysitter for our then 16-month-old son we went grocery shopping. Yes, the simple dates are the best.

  6. I was really hoping that “code kansas” was going to mean w00tstock or some such was coming to Kansas with you headlining. I will walk away and pout now. With the Theme From Shaft reverberating in my head.

  7. I’ve been preaching the complete and total awesomeness of Black Dynamite since it came out to anybody who will listen. It was easily the most underrated movie of last year. The only reason I can figure every single man woman and child on this earth hasn’t seen it yet is because of KONG FU TREACHERY.
    Please, people – PLEASE. See this movie. Rent it, buy it, whatever you have to do but see it. Movie making of this caliber needs to be supported and encouraged so we can enjoy more movie making of this caliber.
    Just trust me. It’ll give you ‘OOOOOOOOO!’

  8. Sounds like you two had a great night. My Husband and I are also a fan of simple things. Hope you have many more.
    Have a great night and thanks for sharing your story.

  9. We had a Black DynaNite party a few weeks back. We got all done up in our swankiest 70′s threads, had a porn-style pool party, then hunkered downto show the film. If I’d known you hadn’t seen it, I’d have invited you, man! My wife made me grow a righteous Fiendish Dr. Wu’stache, and I’ve had it ever since. Welcome aboard the Black Dynamite ride, my friend. Put your ankles in it!

  10. Haven’t seen to many Blaxploitation films, but I have seen a great many old kung fu’s and this movie did a great honor to those. I especially liked the awesome razor boomerang thing, “Ha, I threw that before I came in the room!”

  11. I’m glad you had a great time watching Black Dynamite, but if you want to watch Forbidden Zone in black and white without waiting for a b&w DVD, just adjust the color settings on your TV.

  12. Those dating movies always leave the deepest impression. Ours are Cold Blooded and The Matrix. The Matrix needs no explanation, but Coldblooded is a movie that few people seem to know anything about. All of the actors do a fantastic job. Robert Loggia, Peter Riegert, Jason Priestly, Janeane Garofalo, and all of the rest are obviously having a great time. Just a fun damn movie from start to finish.
    It’s one of those movies that has lots of repeatable lines like, “A relationship is nothing without trust, let this be the start of that relationship.”
    I have no idea why Wallace Woldarsky’s closest brush to a big hit since then is Monsters vs. Aliens. Nor for that matter why it’s not been released on DVD.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112702/

  13. Speaking of the color version of Forbidden Zone, I recently broke down and bought it, having managed to get this far through my life without seeing it, but also seem to have accidentally bought the color version. Am I going to be disappointed? Should I go buy the b/w version instead, and have two copies? The cover insists that this is the way Richard Elfman intended it.

  14. “Let me explain: when we were dating, we watched tons of bad 70s movies, and our favorites were the Blaxploitation films like Coffy, Cleopatra Jones, and of course Shaft. We loved those movies so much, that when we got married, we walked into our reception to the theme from Shaft. For reals.”
    You just won the internet for this.
    *applauses*

  15. What? No “But you don’t have to take my word for it?” or were we supposed to just hear that in our own heads? Too much sun today… I’m a bit loopy.
    Anyone see Count Blackula? Only when I was a kid as a feature to Don Melvoin’s Count Zapula program… cheesy yet the 8 year old version of me is still terrified of open work staircases because of it.

  16. My wife ans I saw Black Dynamite as part of the After Dark Film Fest last year and the whole theatre was killing itself. Funniest film We’ve seen in a long time.
    Wrold of Hurt is the #1 blaxploitation webcomic and easily worth a click. Then check my webcomic Smooth N Natural for a goofier take on the genre.

  17. As a completely neutral third party (or as neutral as a fan can get), I can also endorse World of Hurt and Smooth N Natural. In fact, I read through the comments to see if anyone would beat me to it, and there both those fine gentlemen had themselves shown up.

  18. Wil,
    They make films for all taste. Other art forms seem to create the same varieties. I wish you and Anne an eternity of movie watching happiness.
    FG

  19. Mr. Wheaton,
    I am with the Kansas City Improv Festival, and we would be interested in bringing you into town Sept. 10th and 11th, to be a part of it. If you are interested, my twitter account is Penguinfilter, if you want to follow me and direct message. Or you could send an email to [email protected]
    We would of course pay you.
    Hope to Hear from you.
    Joe Henley

  20. Thanks for the recommendation! I <3 Netflix streaming. I’ll add this to my list right away. My husband and I will probably share a similar experience.

  21. WDTV, eh? Damn, I missed that. I purchased one of the Korean beta gens of that tech a couple years ago, but it arrived DOA, so I forgot about it. Nice to know WD got a hold of it. I might just get one now.
    And the ROKU, when I saw it I said, “A black box that you attach to your tv that allows you to watch more shit? We had that in the 80s, dude, it was called a ‘converter,’ duh.” lol
    I love living in the future!

  22. I’m Gonna Get You Sucka is high on my list of guilty pleasures, along with the two Wayne’s World movies. I taped Sucka off of HBO many moons ago and still have that tape (and a VCR) around here some place. Haven’t seen Black Dynamite yet, though I hear it’s great. I think it’s a case of picking it up if I stumble across a used copy.

  23. I have to say I haven’t really seen any of the old 70s movies you mention, but I did watch Pootie Tang. I don’t know if you’ve seen Pootie Tang, but to me, Hilarious. So, give that a try. Or see if Netflix thinks you would like it.

  24. Wil,
    The ultimate Blaxploitation film was, “BLACULA”, starring the late great William Marshall, (Richard Daystrom, ST-TOS – The Ultimate Computer). That was terrific movie!!!!
    Manny

  25. I’ve never been a fan of the genre itself, but my husband and I really like Michael Jai White so we watched last night. Loved it! So many great lines:
    “These kids are orphans…and orphans don’t have parents!”

  26. One of my husband’s shipmates literally forced us to rent it one night, and by the end we were actually exhausted from laughing so hard! I would spout off “fav lines” but there are waaaay too many to include in a concise and coherent comment, lol.

  27. “The militant turns, startled. How’d you get in here?”
    The commentary to Black Dynamite is also excellent–I’d recommend buying the DVD, not least because it helps support such a great movie.
    Michael Jai White had a secondary character, “Farante Jones”, who was the actor playing Black Dynamite. So when he’d look irritated at the boom mike in the frame, or at the militant saying the stage directions, he was “playing” Farante Jones who was playing Black Dynamite.
    Anyway, the commentary is a hoot.

  28. Completely different genre, but have you seen “Dorkness rising”, Wil? Best. Gaming. Movie. Ever. I will preach the praises of this movie until I am blue in the face.

  29. BD has become one of my favourite all time movies. I caught it as part of a film festival last year and have been trying to explain its awesome-ness to my mates ever since. It’s getting a limited UK release in august so hopefully the dvd/blu-ray won’t be too far behind that so I can introduce them to it.
    It’s a film that rewards the viewer for paying attention to the details. I absolutely lost it at the reaction of the guy Bullhorn slaps in the poolhall.

  30. I love the part where the militant says something to him and he steps in front of him and delivers the most awesome smackdown of all time:
    “Listen sucka, I’m blacker than the ace of spades and more militant than you and your whole damn army put together. While you out there, chantin’ at rallies and brow beatin’ politicians, I’m takin’ out any money-frontin’ sucka on a hummer that gets in my way. So I tell you what, when your so called revolution starts, you call me, and I’ll be right down front showin’ you how it’s done. But until then, you need to SHUT the FUCK UP when grown folks is talkin’.”
    Seriously though, this film is so spot-on with reproducing every element of 70s blaxploitation movies. I also watched all of them back when I was a film student in the 90s so I know them well. It is truly an amazing piece of work.

  31. Uh Wil old buddy, you’re kind of freaking me out. If it isn’t obvious, you’re getting your geek in your wifely awesome. It might be like Reese’s Pieces now but I’m just saying, your kids are a total lost cause, have you noticed any odd behavior by Ann lately? Is she running a fever? Maybe reading more fantasy related novels? Seriously, did you hear what she said to you? “This reminds me of when we were dating, I’m so glad we watched this!” It is a verrryyy slippery slope to “This reminds me of when we were dating, I’m so glad we watched this, can we watch Nausicaa next? *giggle*!” AAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
    Sure, it seems fun and exciting now but then comes the day you walk in the front door and she’s sitting there with her Friday night D&D group going “Hi Honey, can you warm up some more pizza rolls for the gals? I am right in the middle of this horde of Trolls from Storm Front Keep. Ann, how long have you been a DM? I’ve always been here love. And you’ve always been the caretaker here, Mr. Wheaton.” AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
    You need to institute spot checks to see if she’s at risk for the change. Remember, her skin starts to go blotchy, you take 30 cc’s of Seinfeld and inject it straight into the heart.
    I pray we aren’t already too late.

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