Filled with excellent writing, stylish, breakneck direction, and phenomenal performances by a stellar ensemble cast, The Shield remains proof that television can at times be better than film. In fact, each episode of creator Shawn Ryan's drama is like a movie, with the 13 episodes of the second season making up an epic film better than nearly everything released in theaters last year.
Super Fly--For numerous reasons, director Gordon Parks Jr.'s 1972 urban crime drama is seldom regarded as part of the classic pantheon of 1970s American cinema. But the truth of the matter is that Super Fly is, was and always will be one of the best films of the decade. Ron O'Neal stars as Priest, a midlevel cocaine dealer who decides to reach for the brass ring with one final score and then retire from the business once and for all. But nothing is that simple: Everyone from Priest's right-hand man Eddie (Carl Lee) to the corrupt cops wants him to keep on with business as usual. Only Georgia (Sheila Frazier), Priest's loving woman, supports the dope dealer in his decision to go straight.
Driven by Curtis Mayfield's Greek-chorus-like soundtrack, which provides the perfect marriage of music to film, Super Fly remains a classic gangster film, cut from the same cloth as 1931's Public Enemy. Often referred to as the blaxploitation version of Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets (which itself was supposed to be a blaxploitation film), Super Fly actually came out one year earlier. But for whatever reason, O'Neal and Lee--both giving Oscar-worthy performances--never achieved the success of Mean Streets' Harvey Keitel and Robert DeNiro.