‘Cool’ mocks music, movies

If nothing else, seeing The Rock play a gay bodyguard is more than enough to get people interested in seeing this movie. “Be Cool” is the latest installment in the saga of Chili Palmer, played by John Travolta. The one time gangster turned movie producer has become jaded by the industry and seeks to make a name for himself in the music business.

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By Johnathan Kroncke

By Johnathan Kroncke

If nothing else, seeing The Rock play a gay bodyguard is more than enough to get people interested in seeing this movie.”Be Cool” is the latest installment in the saga of Chili Palmer, played by John Travolta. The one time gangster turned movie producer has become jaded by the industry and seeks to make a name for himself in the music business.Palmer finds himself promoting a new music sensation with Edie Athens, widow of late music producer, and Palmer’s friend Tommy. Athens, appropriately played by Uma Thurman, joins Palmer in the quest to promote the next big thing in the music world. However, the girl they choose to make a star is already under contract.Enters Raji, a smooth, laid-back pimp who is headstrong and equipped with one of the most menacing bodyguards ever to hit the big screen. Sadly, he also happens to be a confused white boy who wants nothing more in this world than to be rich and black.Perhaps the best character in the movie, Vince Vaughn’s portrayal of the delusional Raji is nothing short of unforgettable. But while he may walk and talk like a stone-cold killer, he is really a coward who backs down at the first sign of bodily harm.Much to his dismay, Raji is only second fiddle to his partner Nick Carr, played by the extraordinary Harvey Keitel. If it did not already feel like a big enough reunion of the “Pulp Fiction” crew, Keitel serves as the straw that broke the movie producer’s back.Carr is a rival music producer who just so happens to hold the contract to Palmer’s potential star and will risk murder to hang on to it. Cedric the Entertainer plays Sin LaSalle, producer of one the most popular hip hop groups of all time and a gun toting gangster himself. Through a strange coincidence, LaSalle also gets mixed up in the mad dash for the future stardom of one young girl.While the three producers are all scrambling to one-up each other in a contest of blood for the next big thing, Raji, being the big baller that he is, decides that he is tired of taking a backseat to his partner who treats him like dirt. Accompanied by The Rock, the epitome of a gay bodyguard trying to make it on his own in the movie world, Raji sets out to frame Carr in an attempt to overthrow the music industry and take what he thinks is his.Pot-holes aside, “Be Cool” plays out as a hilarious trip through the back alleys and bright lights of the music industry in Southern California. This is not the type of movie that is meant to be an award-winner nor is it one where the actors are looking to make their mark, as most of them already have.Right from the very beginning, “Be Cool” feels like a party for the actors as well as a chance for them to get a few ribs in at the movie industry. The opening scene finds Travolta and James Woods cruising through Hollywood in slick convertible, debating whether or not it is a good idea to make sequels or if it is just a ploy by the production companies to rake in some money. Although the obviousness of the irony in the situation is glaring, the scene is funny and gives the impression that the entire movie will be played as a light-hearted goof on movies in general. Driving along in his car, Palmer often looks up at billboards depicting big name stars such as Tom Hanks and Nicole Kidman appearing in hollow and meaningless flicks and simply roles his eyes.Travolta has definitely given better performances in his career, such as his portrayal of Vincent Vega in Quentin Tarantino’s, “Pulp Fiction.” However, Travolta is an established actor who, along with Thurman and Keitel, has earned the right to appear in a movie that may not require their best efforts.As previously stated, this movie certainly brings back memories of the 1994 classic, “Pulp Fiction.” If Travolta, Thurman, and Keitel together again in a movie do not jog the memory, the dance sequence in the club scene of “Be Cool” will definitely ring a bell.But while this movie falls short of anything in any of the actors’ repertoire, it serves its purpose by being entertaining. Of course, it helps to have a heartier plot to balance out the strength of the talent in the movie. Whether or not a movie is made to be an Oscar-winner, any movie is entitled to have a reasonably well-written script. Star power and pot-shots on the film industry will not carry a movie all by itself. The script has to be relatively believable as well as easy to follow. “Be Cool” falls short of this goal but does prove to be quite entertaining.Movies are made for the sole purpose of giving the audience a good experience to take with them. Dramas evoke emotional responses, horrors quicken the pulse give the viewer a thrill and comedies are meant to make the audience laugh and feel good when they go home. “Be Cool” may not be the best movie of the year but it does do its job and is well worth the price of admission.