Self Destruct

Review: Before I Self Destruct (2009)

By Parker Bowman – www.junkfooddinner.com

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Best Bad Quote:

“I’m droppin’ ten inches of dick in that bitch every night. Plus balls.”

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Some movies are obvious labors of love. These films are made by the filmmakers not for money or critical acclaim, but because they love the subject matter. This idea is epitomized by the film “Before I Self Destruct,” written, directed, produced by and starring rapper 50 Cent. In short, the film acts as a love letter by 50 Cent to 50 Cent, written on 50 Cent brand stationary.

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The movie centers around Clarence (played by Mr. Cent), a streetball player who is described by announcers in an opening-scene montage as “the best in the world.” At the height of his career, Clarence is cut down by a knee injury and forced to retire and loaf around the house he shares with his genuis little brother and his mom, who seems to have male pattern baldness. Despite being in his mid-30s at the time of filming, 50 Cent plays a character who seems to be in his late teens or early 20s. Clarence’s mom gets cut down by a local thug named Tiny, leaving her two sons to fend for themselves. Naturally, Clarence becomes a hitman to pay the bills.

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In a striking blow to the concept of a dramatic climax, Clarence’s first job is to take Tiny out and get revenge for his mother’s death. This results in Clarence becoming a sleep-deprived ball of nerves and culminates in him throwing up the realest puke I’ve ever seen on film. Though, once that bit of unpleasantness passes, we’re treated to a montage of 50 Cent joyfully murdering a half dozen or so people with a big, cheesy smile on his face. At one point, our protagonist even takes time to smoke a blunt with a victim before putting a few bullets in their face. This scene is scored by the standard rap song about putting blowing brains out, but the happy montage would probably be better suited with a song like “Walkin’ on Sunshine.”

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In between gratuitously murdering people, Clarence falls in love with a thick girl named Princess (Sasha Delvalle), who he meets at a pool hall. If you take anything away from this review, let it be this: Never fall in love with a girl named Princess, who you met at a pool hall.

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This meeting results in the dirtiest soft core porn I’ve ever seen. And I had Cinemax all through my adolescent years. This scene, though (while dirty) is by no means sexy, as the focal point is very clearly 50 Cent. And his glistening muscles and close ups of the lust in his eyes.  The scene plays as if 50 Cent told the camera man to completely avoid Princess at all costs and the goal of the scene seems to be to make 50 Cent look like a sex god.  By contrast, a later sex scene (of which there are many) features a man who reaches his, uh.. “climax,” prematurely and is then made fun of by his woman for a while. The lesson the director wants you to take from this: No one can put it down like Fitty. And remember, that director is Fitty, himself.

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Sadly enough for Clarence, all good things must end, especially when you’re from the streets, and this story soon turns tragic and becomes something of a cautionary tale, as you might imagine. I don’t want to give away the spectacular anti-climax, but suffice it to say that Clarence’s fate shadows his aforementioned genius little brother’s fate when his Ivy League dreams are smashed by the reality of the harsh streets and vengeance. It’s ironic Greek tragedy on par with the likes of Sophocles, if Sophocles were a complete ego-maniac with no concept of  how to tell a story.

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“Before I Self Destruct” is (perhaps surprisingly) a few notches above something like “Birdemic” in terms of production values, direction, dialogue and plot.  This, of course, still means it’s astoundingly crappy. It’s also pretty watchable. Despite the movie’s obvious lack of CGI birds divebombing SUVs or midgets wearing goblin masks, there’s a ton to make fun of with a group of beer-feuled friends in this flick.

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Rating:

Three out of five unrealized potentials

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