Top Five: Black Excellence

I have been thinking about what to say about this film for some time. What’s very clear about Top Five is that it is an exceptional film. In fact, I think it’s a special film.

I understand that out of all the film genres, comedy is the one where tastes vary considerably. I don’t like the widely loved Airplane or Caddyshack, but I understand that they are important films.

Top Five gives me similar feelings to the ones I have when I watch Coming to America, and I find that scary because I absolutely revere that Eddie Murphy classic. Chris Rock manages to pull off the same effortless funny, effortlessly epic and effortlessly cool trick that Eddie and John Landis conjured up with their 1988 standard barer.

The humour in Top Five is tailored for me – it is cutting, political, a little dark and sometimes crass. It is so hard to pin down this film. I would say that it’s a light watch but when I think about it, it deals with very dark subject matters – alcoholism being chief of them.

What I love most about Top Five is that it feels like a celebration and affirmation of black talent in Hollywood today. It’s a constant complaint of mine that there isn’t enough great black films, or films led by black actors. Well, here is an exceptional film which was written and directed by a legendary black comedian, stars a majority black cast and has a cameo from… Jerry Seinfeld and Adam Sandler.

Top Five feels like a very small film but it really isn’t. It is grand in scope and it’s ambitious with the story and themes it’s trying to tell. I have no doubt in my mind that this will be considered a classic in the future.



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