“…without football I don’t know what I love…”
3.5 out of 5
***This review is not a spoiler free zone***
As you may know I have a penchant for the films of 50 Cent. Usually they are exploitation style crime dramas with lots of guns and an awesome sex scene. However with All Things Fall Apart Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson went for something wildy different. For that I commend him.
If you keep up with the celeb gossip then you’ve probably seen photos from this flick which had been dubbed, “the football cancer movie” more than once. During the filming a ton of photos were released showing how 50 had committed to the role by losing a ton of weight. They were quite shocking.
Normally I wouldn’t be up for a sports related movie but I really wanted to see this drama. The movie was co-written by 50 and directed by Mario Van Peebles (who also costars as 50’s dad). The most glaring thing about the movie is, obviously, that 50 Cent is now in his late 30s playing a college football star. But hell I totally understand his motivation. I would want to play the starring role in a movie like this if I were making it.
Being a drama there isn’t a bunch of out and out fun like other flicks in his repertoire. There is one thing that I want to share because I did chuckle. This movie hits you over the head with foreshadowing. The most prevalent use of it is when we see 50 in a variety of hats covering his dreads. Knowing what the plot is when going in you can tell this is to starkly contrast with him later losing his hair from chemo. However it’s still sort of funny that they used so many and at times I wondered if they were in fact attached to his wig and the whole thing was jimmy rigged to stay in place.
In All Things Fall Apart 50 is the Big Man On Campus. He’s a football star. Pussy comes easy, grades come easy (in fact he has a scholarship but doesn’t really attend class much) and he’s a local celebrity.
His parents are not well off. His mother runs a bar and is a caterer while his father runs an auto shop. However they are counting on him to get picked up by a pro team. Then they will be set. So all of that is riding on his shoulders.
His bro is the shy, nerdy type who actually gets called Urkel on occasion. Things come so easy for 50 that he seemingly accidentally, well at first, picks up his bro’s crush for himself. I won’t really be discussing her cuz yeah, not a fan of that character. No, these brothers do not get along.
When 50 is diagnosed with cancer their oncologist (Ray Liotta) tries to be optimistic with them but his parents want to be overly so. All of the sudden he’s super ill and having an identity crisis. He’s no longer a star, people don’t even recognize him. He’s lost his scholarship and hasn’t earned any credits due to his previous goofing off. It’s almost like he’s a ghost of his former self. Even at the family dinner table he feels an outcast since he can’t really eat because of the treatments.
His brother has to give him a reality check on how the whole family has actually been living. Now they are really scraping to make ends meet. 50’s medical bills are really taking a toll on the whole family financially and emotionally. In fact the dad moves out because
he’s a dick can’t take it. His bro basically tries to tell 50 to get his act together.
So 50 sleeps in a cardboard box outside of his father’s auto shop. His dad tries to hire him to help out. 50’s just not good at it though. He feels downtrodden. But he also gives him some advice, “you can sell shit Deon, that’s a legit skill”. You see in another earlier bit of foreshadowing 50 got the price jacked up on a car his dad was trying to unload. This comes in handy since another job offer that he’d had was just lip service.
50 decides to go groveling to his bro who is now working at a car lot. He literally gets down on his knees and begs. But his bro still isn’t over that whole living in his shadow thing and says he couldn’t even if he wanted to. So instead of giving up 50 takes a chance and sells a car right outside, without being hired, on the spot. The cowboy doesn’t even need a test drive. That’s how swell a salesman he is.
Things are falling back together. 50’s rolling in the dough. He even manages to donate to his own charity jar at his mom’s bar (aw, so sweet). Plus he doubles the companies sales in the process earning his bro a promotion. Now they can finally be pals.
But it can’t all stay rosy. He does, after all, have cancer. So when 50 starts feeling ill he goes in for some honest advice from his doc, my man Ray Liotta. Liotta takes him outside of the hospital for a completely honest heart to heart that this hospital can never know went down. You see 50 has 9K saved up right now. Liotta gives it to him straight. 50 doesn’t have long. If he goes back in for treatments it will put his family back in the hole for at least 100K, plus he will live out his last days hooked up to medical BS. Liotta illustrates this with a story of an early patient of his.
At this point there really is only one option, partay! Seriously though 50 decides, to as his weed addled friend (who also planned the party, “I’ve always been the entrepreneurial type, how else was I gonna pay for my weed?”) tells a singer, “I think he just wants to go out on top”, with a fun white party ala something you’d see from Puff Daddy. Shut up, you know you’ve always want to go to one of those too. He tricks his mom by making her think she’s just catering. Sike! You and dad are so getting back together! It is pretty great. He ends up making amends with his whole family.
All in all I do recommend All Things Fall Apart. It doesn’t totally hit the mark authenticity wise. It’s a bit over dramatic. But I think that they did a very good job all in all. I think that a lot of heart and hard work went into this movie. 50 and many of the other actors give very heartfelt, impassioned performances. His character even has a pretty good arc. I mean he goes from just having it easy and being oblivious, to down and out and then to a full man. I find it sad that it only had a limited theatrical run.
Disclosure: This film was provided to me courtesy of Image Entertainment but that doesn’t effect my views on it.