Roll Bounce Would Be The Perfect Movie…If Not For One Insignificantly Significant Problem.
I love the movie Roll Bounce. And if you’ve seen it, you probably love it too. It’s lovable. It makes me happy. It’s like sun your wedding day. Its like when somebody offers you a free ride RIGHT before you’re about to pay! Or even like, good advice that you take and it works!
That’s how I feel about Roll Bounce. It’s the perfect coming of age story. You’ve got a bunch of kids on the Southside of Chicago in the late 70s for whom roller skating is their refuge from the boredom of summer vacation. Bow Wow is great as Xavier, the kid whose mother died and whose father has tried to pretend like nothing happened. It has roller skating and who doesn’t love roller skating? It has kids trying to beat the street lights home, a reality so many of us knew in our youths. It has the dozens. It has a character named Sweetness and nods to Good Times. It has Megan Good. And God is good all the time, and all the time Megan Good.
Mike Epps and Charlie Murphy even provide great comic relief as your neighborhood trash collectors and good lawd Kelita Smith is in this movie and she could have all my money. We’ve got disco and Nick Cannon, going by the name B-Nard, doling out wisdom as he picks out his afro. Speaking of which, that transition from the late 70s into the early 80s must have been a confusing time for everybody.
All that to say I love this movie. I will watch it every time it comes on and I own it on DVD. I even named one of my cars Black Sweetness in tribute to Roll Bounce many moons ago. That car was totalled in 2008 (TWO MONTHS BEFORE BEING PAID OFF IN FULL!!!!!) so Black Sweetness never rode again, but we had a good run while it lasted. I’d call this movie perfect if not for one glaring mistake.
There’s a scene after Xavier and his father, Curtis (played by criminally underrated Chi McBride) have their big blowout argument where X smashes his mother’s car that Curtis has been trying to maintain in some sort of memoriam to his dead wife. X is mad that Curtis has been lying to him about having a job and goes ballistic and Curtis realizes how hard things have been for X and his little sister. In the following scene, Curtis is sitting on the couch looking at pictures listening to the Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack song, “For All We Know” while X looks on from the stairs. It’s one of those scenes where after Curtis realizes how hard Xavier has had it since the loss of his mother and Xavier realizes how hard Curtis has taken the loss of his wife.
Quick aside here: I’m a Donny Hathaway enthusiast; stan might be a better word. He is my favorite singer and I own every recording Donny ever attached his name to, though to be fair he isn’t Stevie Wonder or Fela Kuti whose catalogs include dozens of albums. I’ve spent crazy money to get albums shipped from Japan JUST because I needed to have everything that was blessed by Donny. His version of “A Song For You” is one of two songs to have ever brought tears to my eyes (Phyllis Hyman’s “Be Careful (How You Treat My Love)” is the other). I have introduced more people to Donny Hathaway than I could shake a stick at and quite a few of them have personally thanked me for that gift. Point is, where this is Donny, I’m paying attention.
The song, “For All We Know” was a record from the 1972 album Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway. I love this album mostly because of the album cover (it’s got a bunch of handprints all over it) and also for the song “Be Real Black For Me” a song sampled by Scarface for his hit single, “On My Block”. It also includes the song “Where Is The Love” a song that most folks are pretty familiar with.
Well in this aforementioned scene while Curtis is listening to “For All We Know”, the camera pans over the album cover…except its the wrong album. The album that the camera pans over is Donny Hathaway’s 1973 seminal work, Extension Of A Man. The song “For All We Know” is not on this album. I’ve attempted to find a version of this album that contains that song and my search has proven fruitless like an apple tree in the desert. Which I’m pretty sure isn’t a thing. It bugged me the first time I saw this movie and it bugs me every time I watch the movie. I’m always hoping that the next time I see it, the CORRECT album will be shown on screen. I’m always disappointed.
In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a big deal. But its a big deal to me. It irks the shit out of me. Why NOT use the actual album cover if you’re going to imply he’s listening to a song from that particular album? I’ve tried to come up with reasons why that would be the case. Donny’s Extension album was his last solo album and was popular so maybe it was more noteworthy to the general public? I wont even go into the other implausible theories. It really frustrates me because it’s just inaccurate. For no reason. They clearly had the album in order for Curtis to LISTEN to it, WHY NOT SHOW THE RIGHT ALBUM COVER?
These things keep me up at night. Again, in the grand scheme of things, regimes didn’t fall and nobody died. Well, Curtis’s wife and Xavier’s mother died. But nobody else died. Well lots of people have died. But not because of the movie. You get my point. It actually doesn’t matter to the longevity of mankind and it doesn’t diminish the value of the movie which is as lovable now as it was upon its release in 2005. This is unlike my relationship with Bill Simmon’s which took a downward turn after I noticed how inaccurate his hip-hop references were and how excited he was to make these inaccurate hip-hop references almost as if nobody would ever call him on it because his readership had a similar “I know it exists and I’ve heard of Jay Z” relationship with hip-hop that he does. I stopped reading Simmons mostly for those reasons.
Roll Bounce I will never give up because its a movie that makes me happy. It brings utility to my life. I just REALLY want to know why that glaring mistake exists.
Why? Why? And don’t tell me its human nature!
Are there any instances where something would be perfect to you if not for one seemingly insignificant, but ultimately annoying thing? Sharing is caring.