I’m having a painfully slow day at work, so I’m fooling around with my Google Drive database of all the films in my collection and it’s interesting (at least to me) to see which directors crop up repeatedly. The most frequent, Alfred Hitchcock (25 films) and Ingmar Bergman (16 films), are, logically, my two favorite directors (and the gap between them reflects the gap between first and second place in my affection), but the distribution of the rest is an interesting mix, though - for the most part - it accurately represents my taste and sensibility. I’ve reprinted all directors with three or more titles in my ~550 film collection after the cut.
In an interview he gave to Variety when “Holler” was on the ropes but before the closing announcement, the show’s lead producer, Eric L. Gold, said, “If we don’t succeed, it’s going to be very difficult to do another rap or hip-hop show on Broadway,” suggesting that producers would cite the show’s failure as proof that Broadway audiences — who are overwhelmingly white — resisted “Holler” because they found the music unfamiliar or unappealing.
In truth, the problem with “Holler” wasn’t really the music at all, but the ham-handed, sentimentalized story line concocted to underpin it. I tended to perk up during the musical numbers, which capitalized on the forceful rhythms of Shakur’s raps, layered over music that often had a strong melodic core. Then I’d sink back into my seat when the clichéd narrative ground back into gear, telling us what we already knew about the travails of young black men in the ghetto, trying to resist the toxic environment to forge viable futures for themselves. The characters — the ex-con trying to go straight, the drug lord beginning to question the path he’d chosen — were underwritten and familiar, and while the cast members were strong, there was little they could do to imprint any true originality on the material.