The success of R-rated comedies in recent years might as well be broken down to a formula: blend boundary-pushing raunch comedy with heartfelt sentimentality — and if you're most movies produced by Judd Apatow, center the story on male coming-of-age, even for characters well into adulthood. Teary eyes, full raunch, can't lose.
In 1968, two music producers went to a Detroit dive called The Sewer to hear a Mexican-American protest singer with a small cult following.
The producers' client list was mostly Motown, but they immediately signed Rodriguez (full name Sixto Rodriguez), whose stirring lyrics they hoped would speak to disenfranchised outsiders of all stripes and their champions.
Together, they made two albums — one of which, Cold Fact, provides the soundtrack for the thrilling new documentary Searching for Sugar Man.
The savings are never passed on to the consumer, but a little product placement has become standard practice for Hollywood movies — a pizza box here or a conspicuously angled soda can there, and few take notice. But product integration is another matter: If a movie has been explicitly designed to accommodate a sponsor, it's worse than just a commercial movie. It's a movie commercial.
Comedian. Writer. Twitter sensation. Baratunde Thurston may be the most media-savvy provocateur around today. His latest bestselling book is How To Be Black, half tongue-in-cheek guidebook on such topics as "How to be the Black Friend" or "How to be the Next Black President," and half memoir about his life experiences with identity and race.