My Brother's Wedding
Despite amateur acting and preachy dialogue, writer/director Charles Burnett's 1983 My Brother's Wedding remains an emotionally wrenching experience thanks to the honesty of its story line and the humanity and energy produced by main character Pierce Mundy (Everett Silas). As the wedding of Pierce's older brother (Dennis Kemper) to his buppie fiancée (Gaye Shannon-Burnett) approaches, he is distracted because his best friend, Soldier (Ronnie Bell), is coming home from jail. And after Soldier gets into some more trouble, proto-slacker Pierce--30 years old, stuck in a dead-end job at his parents' dry cleaner's, and still fooling around with ruffians like Soldier--is faced with the most difficult decision of his life: to stick with the folks of his beloved downtrodden neighborhood or to join in his family's aspirations. That class-based choice sounds unfairly loaded, as it also means choosing between family and friends, but Silas--as skinny, loose-limbed, and effortlessly charismatic as Dave Chappelle--plays Pierce's decision as honestly as any veteran actor. My Brother's Wedding is also valuable for its well-shot pre-hip-hop South Central Los Angeles locales, and for the host of bit players who occupy much of the screen time, including Pierce's ripe, teenaged crusher and a large and lovable mumbly gentleman who has ripped his pants.