Trouble Man (1972)
Lost amidst the Shafts and Superflys of the blaxploitation era is this tough and tight detective story, directed by The Spook Who Sat By the Door director Ivan Dixon, about a badass private dick who goes by “Mr. T.” (Spoiler alert: He’s not played by Mr. T.) And if the story doesn’t suck you in, the cucumber-cool score by Marvin Gaye will.
The white kids may have had Woodstock, but the brothers and sisters of Los Angeles had this funky love-in. Captured by the late Mel Stuart (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), this doc records the day Stax Records dispatched many of its best artists (including Isaac Hayes, The Bar-Kays and the Staple Singers) for a day of music. A young Richard Pryor also shows up to give “color” commentary.
Wild Style (1983)
Everyone knows that hip-hop started in New York, right? Charlie Ahearn’s guerilla snapshot of the Big Apple in the ‘80s tells the story of one graffiti artist using his talents to get somewhere, all while the movie makes sure the elements of hip-hop -- breakdancing, rapping, DJing and, of course, graffiti-painting -- are properly represented. It’s an awe-inspiring time capsule of a movie.
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Craig D. Lindsey is a freelancer whose work has been seen in Vulture, RogerEbert.com, Nashville Scene, and The Raleigh News & Observer. He wishes February was 30 days long, so he could've thrown in Fear of a Black Hat. You can holler at him: @unclecrizzle.