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Mainstream - Notorious - The Notorious B.I.G Story

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Notorious - Theatrical and Unrated Director's Cut
Jamal Woolard, Derek Luke, Dennis L.A. White
Directed by George Tillman Jr.
Fox Home Entertainment 2009
122 minutes

Biopic picta 'bout rappas probably betta if you know the playas.

Notorious is a musical biopic DVD about the life and times of Biggie Smalls, the biggest East Coast rap artist. Knowing absolutely nothing about the characters and rap music does not really stop a viewer from enjoying this movie. Notorious is quite entertaining if a bit long.

If you know anything about rap music, the East Coast vs. West Coast music gang war, and characters like Smalls and Sean Puff Daddy Whatever-He-Calls-Himself-This-Week Combs, Notorious is a lot more enjoyable. I would guess it also doesn’t feel quite as long as you know who is showing up in the story.

This movie is a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same: a kid from some poor neighborhood rises to the summit of musical fame before dying a tragic death. Hell, you can trace the story back to Amadeus, Benny Goodman, Buddy Holly, and a few others. It is just the music and general circumstances that change.

The DVD’s weak point is it introduces story lines and characters but doesn’t follow through on them enough to satisfy a viewer who does not have the necessary background to fill in the missing information.

Special features include Commentary with Director George Tillman, Jr., Co-Screenwriter Reggie Rock Bythewood, Co-Screenwriter Cheo Hodari Coker and Editor Dirk Westervelt and Commentary with Producer/Biggie's Mom Voletta Wallace, Producer/Biggie's Co-Manager Wayne Barrow and Producer/Biggie's Co-Manager Mark Pitts.

These can be useful to understand some of what is going if you watch this biopic DVD again.

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