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Top Five's Top Five

Have you seen Chris Rock's Top Five  yet? I found it affable and intermittently funny but perhaps never more than mildly so. Here are five quick notes on it..

1. Maybe a little too navel-gazing on Chris Rock's part but we'll let it pass since most comedians turned actors play it like that from Woody Allen back in the day to every comic with a sitcom deal from the past thirty years.

2. True story: This movie has a super cast. It would have made a smarter SAG nomination than The Theory of Everything. (But then what wouldn't? Sorry Theory. I like ya but that nom is a big "D'oh!"). It's great to see a film about a guy actually give actresses fun things to do and Sherri Shepherd, Gabrielle Union, Rosario Dawson, and Leslie Jones all have good moments. I attended a Paramount party a few weeks ago that sort of morphed into a Top Five party because Interstellar left early. I am usually very social at these things but somehow I spent most of it off in a corner discussing Vanessa Redgrave and Faye Dunaway with another writer (appropriate!). I was going to talk to Gabrielle Union but I didn't want to be one of those people and bring up the East Compton Clovers, you know? The reaction would surely have been...

Brrrrrr. It's cold in here.

I did actually talk to Rosario Dawson, though... 

Three more bits including that "top five" after the jump... 

She is, quite shockingly, more beautiful in person than onscreen. Which I would have not thought possible. I must have blurted some awkward variation of this out because she was all... 

Are you saying I should quit my day job?"

I asked her what she gets recognized for most because she's in so goddamn many movies and I was pleased to hear 25th Hour among the handful of titles (my favorite Dawson) but now I've forgotten the other ones.

3. I was not offended by the film's gay joke (detailed at Gawker if you're interested) save for maybe feeling a little bit bad for straight gays who probably have to deal with gay panic (their own & their girlfriends) if they actually like some ass attention. Doesn't make you gay. I figure Chris Rock is our POV character and he doesn't seem to be shaming anyone with his amused but non-hateful response to the DL situation happening around him. And the joke was totally worthwhile just to get to Rosario Dawson's society-approved-hypocrisy dismisal when Rock asked her why her fling with a girl in the past is any different than a guy having a fling with a guy.

Whatever. I don't make the rules."

4. That roundtable junket scene. I did not need to see actual junketeers onscreen. I see them whenever I show up to interview an actor at a hotel. You know they'll be bragging about being in this movie forever!

5. Finally let us end our Five with the movie's adorable titular bit, a very random very loud peppering of characters shouting out their top five hiphop artists. If I made a self-serving movie about trying to reinvent my career as a blogger (don't worry) you know the running gag would have been forcing people to shout out their top five actresses. But since we're playing by Chris Rock's rules and not by mine, here's what I would have shouted out as my top five* if put on the spot like that!


Missy Elliott
Salt n Pepa 
Lauryn Hill
The Beastie Boys

(I know this is only four)

This list dates me, but music dates everyone more than anything, you know it to be true! Plus my natural instinct when I'm asked "top ___?" is to list the classics and not 'what is awesome right now' unless someone says "top ___ contemporary???" And no one ever says that when they're asking, though they should if that's the list they're looking for. I have learned not to say "Classic or Contemporary?" when people ask me such questions IRL though. It was the looks they gave that taught me.

My Top Five are not mentioned in the movie (save Salt N Pepa - thank you Rosario!). But, like, some of the characters I would have struggled on number five but IF I didn't swing contemporary like Kanye I might have sheepishly name-checked LL Cool J just like in the movie with the same shouted caveat of "BEFORE THE TV SHOW" because, come on: "Goin Back to Cali," "Doin' It," "Mamma Said Knock You Out." On that same note, one priceless bit in the movie is the discussion of whether Tupac Shakur would have become a great politician or just ended up on a procedural like everyone else.

Top Five. Yours? 

* True confessionz: My actual 100% accurate top five list of hip hop artists goes like so: 1. Missy Elliott 2. Missy Elliott 3. Missy Elliott 4. (written by Missy Elliott) 5. ("feat. Missy Elliott"). I miss MISSY so much. It's been almost ten years since her last CD! Are we never going to get "Block Party" her now unicorn like seventh record... originally due in (gulp) 2008... and still not released.

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Reader Comments (15)

Top Five

1. Nas
2. Kanye
3. Biggie
4. Missy Elliott
5. De La Soul

6.) The Beastie Boys
7.) J. Dilla
8.) Killer Mike

I can't believe after hearing NPR and Gawker dedicate multiple pieces to it- I only saw the headlines and in passing heard about Terri Gross' cross-examination of Rock on her Fresh Air interview- that the 'gay' joke in Top Five was.... that. No wonder I've tuned out NPR and that website for self-care. I didn't see it as shaming but how it snowballed from being a kink that she went along with not thinking it was anything at all. It ultimately became Rosario's character having a pretty hilarious woman scorned revenge by being very resourceful into making that 'red hot chili pepper'. I laughed. I also laughed at many parts- a certain cameo made me think for a moment I destroyed my cheek bones from smiling and laughing so hard at it- but that one got a huge audience response at my theater despite mostly be the white, bourgeois patrons who probably heard that Terri Gross interview.

LOL at that junketeers scene in terms of the air of desperation. Of course Neil Rosen would be among them and those lines did not seem like a stretch at all for him.

Rosario was incredible even if the way she is written as a journalist did not seem in the realm of possibility. But damn, she sold it.

I don't mind Rock's navel-gazing, especially in how it ended on a 'life goes on' note.

I will say, probably a good decision for him not to tap too much into the reality show world. The presence of Tracy Morgan and Sherri Shepherd- let alone them sharing scenes- would immediately put the show Union was on in competition with 30 Rock's sublime Queen of Jordan episodes. Hhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaammmm!!!!!

December 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

1. Kanye
2. Missy
3. Roots
4. De La Soul
5. Killer Mike
(alt top 5: Jay, Dilla, Quest, Pharcyde, Danny Brown)

December 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Beastie Boys
Eric B and Rakim
Wu Tang Clan
A Tribe Called Quest

December 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Troutman

Yo Yo
Foxy Brown
LL Cool J (even after the TV show)
Missy Elliott
Warren G

December 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge P

I'm just going to list the top 5 who have mattered most to me and not worry about who's best.

1. Kanye
2. Lauryn Hill
3. The Young Money crew (Weezy, Nicki, Drake)
4. Missy
5. Azealia Banks

(honorable mention: M.I.A., 2Pac, Nas, Das Racist, Chance The Rapper)

December 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTB

Nicki Minaj
Azealia Banks
Missy Elliott
Kanye West

Honorable mentions to Kid Cudi and Kendrick Lamar and Drake

December 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

I'm impressed with the quality and variety of these top five lists; The Film Experience's readership continues to impress.

Anyway, my list in alphabetical order:

Kanye West
OutKast (with the slight nod towards Andre 3000)

December 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMDA

I'll admit I'm really bad at this and only my number 1 is an artist I absolutely love. The others have made more songs I like than other rap/hip hip acts.

1. Lauryn Hill and Fugees
2. Kid Cudi
3. Macklemore
4. Flo Rida
5. Arrested Development
Sixth Man - Beastie Boys

The movie itself is great and will probably make my Top 10, but most likely not my top five.

December 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSean T.

I believe Rosario Dawson is one of the most highly underrated actresses working these days! She does not get the credit she deserves for constantly putting forth great performances in the films she appears in.

My two absolute favourite performances of hers would have to be the ones she gives in Descent and Trance. The former is this really low budget, independent movie by Talia Lugacy where Dawson portrays a rape victim getting revenge on her attacker. The latter, we all know, is the movie where she plays hypnotherapist to James McAvoy and Vincent Cassel, and gets tangled in their mess involving a stolen art piece.

More people should be singing her praises! :)

December 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBhuray

A Tribe Called Quest
P.M. Dawn
Funky Four Plus One

Top Five, Beyond the Lights, Selma, and Dear White People have made 2014 an intriguing year for African-American filmmakers.

December 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Group or Duo
1) OutKast
2) Wu-Tang
3) A Tribe Called Quest
4) Beastie Boys
5) UGK (Grew up in late 90s/early 2000s Houston)

1) Nas
2) Kanye
3) KRS One
4) Missy
5) JayZ (Reasonable Doubt to Black Album)
(Killer Mike, Chance, and Kendrick need a bigger body of work)

December 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Nat, I love your Rosario Dawson story so much. I can only imagine how her retort must've made you blush. LOL


1. The Beastie Boys (always and forever my favorite band of all time)
2. Tupac Shakur
3. Salt N Pepa
4. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg
5. The Notorious B.I.G.

Honorable mention: George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars, Keri Hilson, Mary J. Blige, M.I.A., Missy Elliott, Nate Dogg and Warren G, Ne-Yo, Nicki Minaj, Run DMC, and Stomy Bugsy (a French rapper)

December 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Top Five – Auteurs

December 22, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

New Song Video from Punjabi Fukri Song Lyrics Gurjant Bhullar

December 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersuruchi

I can't believe after hearing NPR and Gawker dedicate multiple pieces to it- I only saw the headlines and in passing heard about Terri Gross' cross-examination of Rock on her Fresh Air interview- that the 'gay' joke in Top Five was.... that. No wonder I've tuned out NPR and that website for self-care. I didn't see it as shaming but how it snowballed from being a kink that she went along with not thinking it was anything at all. It ultimately became Rosario's character having a pretty hilarious woman scorned revenge by being very resourceful into making that 'red hot chili pepper'. I laughed.
employment news 2015
recruitment 2015

May 28, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterakjes

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