Lackawanna Blues
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Product Description

Based on the acclaimed autobiographical one-man show by ruben santiago-hudson. This is the story of rachel nanny crosby a woman who built a community & circumvented segregation in her own determined way. Studio: Hbo Home Video Release Date: 01/16/2007 Starring: S Epatha Merkerson Mos Def Run time: 95 minutes Rating: Nr

Cool music, a wonderful atmospheric feel, and first-rate performances by a stellar cast distinguish Lackawanna Blues, a 2005, 90-minute film originally broadcast by HBO. Director George C. Wolfe's theater background (as a writer and/or director he's been responsible for The Colored Museum, Jelly's Last Jam, and Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk) is apparent; adapted by scriptwriter Ruben Santiago-Hudson from his own autobiographical play, Lackawanna Blues is less a story than a reminiscence, told by a young man (an affecting performance by Marcus Carl Franklin) raised by the indefatigable Rachel "Nanny" Crosby (an equally fine turn by S. Epatha Merkerson, known to many from her role in TV's Law & Order) in that upstate New York town. The focus is on Nanny's rooming house, which is populated by all manner of colorful characters (played by the likes of Macy Gray, Jeffrey Wright, and many others, with Jimmy Smits and Carmen Ejogo as the boy's wayward parents). The roomers include drunks, hustlers, ex-cons, and other shady types, but while plenty of bad stuff goes on, it's all coated with a certain patina of sentiment that tends to minimize the hard realities of life for African Americans in the early 1960s. That's fine; Wolfe, with the help of some superb editing by Brian Kates, gives the film such a delightful period vibe that it's easy to overlook its few shortcomings. The music (available on a soundtrack CD), ranging from downhome country blues to uptown swing, jump blues, and more, also makes a major contribution to the delightful diversion that is Lackawanna Blues. --Sam Graham

Customer Reviews:

  • A Really Great Movie
    This was so good. I loved it. It's about Nanny and her story (told by a young man who was raised by her). Macy Gray and Jimmy Smits were two of the more known people to star in this, but Nanny took the cake. She was amazing and what an actress. I wished this movie was a little longer, because it was so enjoyable and over before I knew it. You'll enjoy the music too - it's really beautiful....more info
  • an excellent film
    this is an excellent coming-of-age film (autobiographical, i've heard) that contains an array of characters rendered deftly by an outstanding cast of actors and actresses. if you're looking for a film saturated with "positive images", this is not your fare. rather, it's a gritty, realistic tale of a vibrant community. it's the story of a particular community, yes, but also the story of black communities across the nation.
    i highly recommend this film....more info
  • Love This!
    I saw this movie when Ruben Santiago did his one-man show and enjoyed it immensely. His performance was superb and he really brought each character to life. The movie is wonderful and shows the richness of a culture and one woman's spirit. It has won several awards and is well worth seeing....more info
  • Baybeyyyy, we gone dance!
    I won't pontificate, but whatever you do, rent/buy this film. It is one moving, stirring piece of work. The characters are gritty but lovable. Ms. Merkerson gives a simply outstanding performance. You just want to HUG her! She is the epitome of "Nanny." Anyone lucky enough to have had an older matriarch in a family knows what I'm talking about. One can almost feel her warmth and smell her simmering neck bones on the stove. She brought tears to my eyes--she reminded me so much of what a lot of black American families need--a stabling force to be reckoned with. Just her uttering the title of my review, "Babeyy, we gone dance!" makes me remember the love I had for a great aunt who once had to come to my rescue after witnessing the terror in my eyes upon being approached by a belligerent alcoholic. She was my "Nanny," God bless her......more info
    S. Epatha Merkerson is so real in her role, it is hard to believe she is acting. I can watch this movie over and over again. The music is fabulous! God surely helps those who help others. ...more info
  • Lackawanna.......
    makes you wanna watch it again and again!!!
    The music is wonderful and the actors/charactors are great!!!
    Defintely a must see! The soundtrack was really good too!!...more info
  • Best movie ever
    This is one of the very best movies I have seen. It is an old movie but is still an enjoyable movie. Once you have seen it, you will want to look at it over and over....more info
  • One of the best Black films I've ever seen
    I absolutly loved this movie. I bought it on Amazon; because I could never catch the entire movie when it was showing on HBO. I have watched it twice and shared it with my mother who was growing up during those days. I would recommend it highly. ...more info
  • Wonderful!!
    I finally got around to renting this film when I read the reviews on S. Epaka Merkeson's performance. At the end I thought to myself "WOW"! Not only is she amazing as Nannie, everyone in this film brought something to the table...and I for one had a wonderful feast. I think I knew (or am related to) some character in this film. It's a wonderful testament to how people can get together and form their own special kind of family. SEE THIS MOVIE!! ...more info
  • The Best Acting and Storytelling
    My girlfriend suggested I see this movie. I was blown away at the storyline and the acting. Every black person knows someone like the lead character. Always willing to take in a lost soul and help them along their way. S. Epatha Merkerson is fabulous. I had never heard of this movie before watching it. I'm glad I have it for my collection. Every character was outstanding. The actors meshed well. I give it 5 stars.
    ...more info
  • I'm very pleased with my purchase
    It was like a brand new product. I would definitely buy from the seller again. ...more info
  • Stellar performances by talented actors!
    How can you go wrong by viewing a movie with such talented actors, S. Epatha Merkeson, Ruben Santiago, Terrence Howard, Louis Gosset Jr? This movie is a collector's item! ...more info
  • "Lackawanna, New York"
    Now this a movie worth spending money on. If you have not seen "Lackawanna Blues", then you are missing a treat. The movie is based on actual facts, and the city still functions in upstate New York. The all-star cast of actors, gave excellent portayals of their characters - who were persons that lived in Lackawanna New York - during that period.
    Great acting, great story, based on true events, you can't beat that! ...more info
  • Brings back old times
    Hbo really did it with this wonderful trip down memory lane. The music, the story, the cast, the photography are all first rate. A must see event. The Cd is also wonderful....more info
  • Can't watch it enough
    I laughed, I cried, I learned. I only wish people were still like this....more info
  • Fantastic Movie
    This movie will make you laugh, cry, get angry and reflect on the detailed workings of relationships. It shows life for Black people in New York during a time when people helped each other and life was hard but rewarding. I would recommend this movie for everyone to see. It is not a movie for young children but 16 + will find it interesting. Adult supervision and discussion a must!...more info
  • Great movie with superb actors
    I loved this movie starring S. Epatha Merkerson, Terrence Howard, Lou Gosset, Mos Def, Macy Gray, Jimmy Smits, and Marcus Carl Franklin and others. The acting was superb. Terrence Howard and S. Epatha Merkerson made their roles very believable. Growing up in the Black neighborhoods, there was always a grandmotherly type whom everyone trusted, and could go to whenever they had a need. They would always look out for others in the neighborhood who were down and out.
    I can watch this movie over and over. ...more info
  • Moving, Emotional, Funny, Feel-Good...Relatable
    I can't beleive I ignored this movie for so long! My father told me to watch it. So I bought it (you have to trust your dad, right).
    I popped it in a week later and was going to watch it while I cooked dinner. I was stuck from the openning scene and dinner didn't turn out too well. I grew up in a small town filled with memorable characters with stories to tell and this movie was so relatable.
    That said, S. Epatha Merkerson was amazing. She allowed her character, Rachel "Nanny" Crosby, to show strength, love, understanding, and true loyality to the those around matter their story. If you were raised around a woman like this you will understand better than I am describing.
    My hat goes off to the creators, cast, HBO, and anyone that played a part in bringing this project to light....more info
  • Reflective and Absolutely Wonderful!!!
    After much initial prompting, I have seen this movie over and over and over - Now it is time to purchase the DVD.....The Music, the characters, the story....There is nothing in this movie to not like....Brought back memories of lessons learned from sharing the experiences of others........more info
    A really upbeat, fun, movie. It will make you laugh, cry & wanna dance....more info
  • Great performances
    This is a good film. Great performances by S. Epatha Merkerson, Terrence Howard and Jeffrey Wright. For this reviewer the performances turned just a descent script into a good one-which suffered because there were so many people. The best scene for me was the one with Ms. Rachel and Jesse (The Golden glove boxing champion.) It had me snapping my fingers at the screen. "You go, girl" Anyhoot, one source of nuiance for me was the narrator. I didn't like Hill Harper's voice for narration. I know that sounds like I'm being picky, but it bothered me. His voice didn't carry the emotion or authority like say a Morgan Freeman or a James Earl Jones. This is a good film that many can relate to. We all know that one woman-who always put the need of others before herself-that one earth-bound angel that often seems too good to be true. Thank the heavens for each and everyone of them. Overall, this is a good movie and definitely worth seeing....more info
  • Outstanding Actors
    I watch this movie twice.It was just that good. It reminded me of my old neighborhood where you got some of the best education about life.This is a keeper,a great movie. I'm going to purchase the soundtract also.Buy it, you won't be dissapointed....more info
  • Great Movie!
    It took me so long to see this movie, but after just seeing it once...I bought it! Terrence Howard is the sex-symbol of the year! Good story-line too!...more info
  • Enjoyable Film
    There were times in the film that I wondered whether it was really 1956 or the 30s, but regardless, I definitely enjoy films of the juke joint era where house parties are thrown regularly, the culture of dance (Lindy Hop?) is done with people throwing themselves on the dance floor, the tight atmosphere of love, and a feeling of family. This movie is told from the narrative viewpoint of a young boy who, after his parents had issues with taking care of him, they both agree to let Nanny take over. The young boy learns his street smarts from the other people living in the home (a lesbian, ex-convicts, handicapped, musicians, couples with domestic violence issues, beauticians, labor workers, and so forth). To someone like a social worker, this is the house from hell to raise a child in, but from the viewpoint of the boy and the giving nature of Nanny, this is a family and a home full of soul--soul music, soul food, and positive souls. Once again, I was thrilled to find Mos Def in yet another movie, and as I knew he would, he played his role as a musician well, and I enjoyed his songs. Macy Gray acted as weird as usual, and nobody could've played crazy quite like she does. The woman who played Nanny did a great job as well, but I paid the most attention to Terrance Howard. I loved his role, with all of his faults and immature ways, he was my main focus. As a young, charismatic man trying to carry on a relationship with someone who people would find it slightly taboo to be with, still trying to enjoy his youthful years, and protect his home, he was a complex character that I found the most interesting. I'd recommend this movie to anybody who is interested in a musical drama with depth....more info
  • Very Good
    This was a very heart warming movie. Very good acting. I truly enjoyed it....more info