Antoine Fuqua|Equalizer 3 & the ethereal scope of emotional epiphanies.

Equalizer 3 is tentatively the last movie I am “scheduled ” to see in theaters this year. Going into writerhead mode where I’m a cinematic teetotaler of sorts so I can focus in a particular way on finalizing a novel draft.

My moviehead season was going to end officially on Barbie until I saw the trailer for the third installment of The Equalizer. Shifting to accommodate that led to fully focusing on all the physical therapy this summer.

Like the rest of the Black population on planet earth, I too have a Denzel Washington thing. But mines was never an “ooooh, Denzelllll~” of my filthy minded “aunties”… who were only behaving because they saw all the beauty and whupass woven up into his gorgeous wife Pauletta that they too would have been exhibiting beside him.

My thing with Mr. Washington was more along the lines of seeing how he always registered to the kid in me as the uncle figure who would pop my elder creative brothers in the forehead to course-correct when they truly had no one else on offer to wield that pop. In real life there are not many dudes out there that can give Hov the eye and elicit the pure, innocent nervous titter at the timbre it rang outta him when he was like seven. But Mr. Washington can.

It’s not the Belafonte or Poitier effect, it’s something more audacious, more deadly and it’s 100% in tune with my generation of artists hitting the ground running however the fuck we wanted to that bewildered everyone as the centuries turned.

The invigorating energy of watching Denzel morph is only comparable to Prince, IMO. He’s that level with his craft and will turn you out watching him inhabit a soul, when he wants and where the fuck he wants.

…and it’s a beautiful thing.

Back on the black global family pantheon, Uncle Denzel is the uncle who slipped out and devoured the world while everybody was fussing at the cookout about what they did or could’ve done while all who got there incorrectly “on time” are waiting for someone to turn on the BBQ. That dude is usually also the uncle who makes the upper generation bag up offa the weirdos coming up in the generation under his so that they can breathe, grow and thrive regardless of where & how God is calling for them to be the Abrahams in their bloodlines.

He knows who he is…to those he is that to.

Personally? Him whupping ass in Book of Eli brought my prodigal ass home. Him putting tha hammer BACK the first time he showed up in Equalizer one made me burst out like the hilbilly swinging his hat, screaming “Hot Dayum!” in Footloose or Top Gun or whatever. I even cheered when he murked Marton Csoskas-and That dude had been my archetypal husband since Yorgi & Borias.

But all that is not what’s compelling me to write this missive.

I am writing this an hour after devouring Equalizer three purely due to Antoine Fuqua and what he captured with this installment that cut me wide open , tips to tahts(how’s that for a visual?).

Equalizer three is not just one of most arrestingly beautiful movies I’ve seen in years. Across the board. Like… “fight me” level crescendos of- my eyes couldn’t race across the screen taking the details in fast enough. &that, in itself would have been enough in the desert of the copycat “real” that often populates American cinema.

I would’ve been impressed by the painterly, manic beauty he demanded to express his realm… but not gutted.

Where he tore me open like that curtain hiding the holy of holies is in how he encapsulated without a word what people like me … have gone through… finding unsuspecting enclaves wedged in clefts of cliffs in our wandering… that. .. just let us live and BE who we are amongst them, fully accepted.

That was my experience.

In Italy, months before I’d turned 21.

…without the wholesale slaughter of humans. But you better believe some serious shit got killed.

I was supposed to be in Rome ONE night.

Passing through.

Sandy and coppery as fuck after living in Mykonos for a month with a french artist with an Italian last name who met me on my last day there walking across the island to Super paradise beach, the morning after the only night on the island had in my budget.

I hit Rome solo…but I knew I was safe soon as my foot touched the curb.

What I did Not know… was that that dude had prayed over my wild ass going to run through his homeland and had spiritually activated a gaggle of teeny Roman grandmothers to surround me in the streets and baptize me in broad daylight with welcome and instructions for dousing my parched hair and skin in olive oil to prime me for playing amongst their children, stroking me & laughing about how their hair was curly like mine’s when they were young.

I fell in love with Romans then & there, and they never stopped dousing me in that love the entire time I raved alongside them. Every age. All heart. Motherfuckers walking around with their hearts blazing out of their eyes. When they understood that I was there in love, they loved.

It was the simplest it had ever been. & it was so real that I began imagining retiring in Italy. After everything else I was gonna “do” in life. By 50. Eons before La dolce Vita, before any Fellini flick or any Italian polyglot living it up underground or above in nyc. If it hadn’t been for Tokyo, that dream would’ve never let me go, I used to think.

I sat there so moved by how Fuqua cracked that expat experience open… that it muted all the decadent violence to this sweet hum of re-awakening and alignment with something that once defined what I was meant to be…here.

I’ve been chasing that high via AOLAB for over a decade. Here. But I saw today it wasn’t a high. It was a sense of home.

Will this movie speak to you & to other wanderlusts trying to do the right thing where they are the way it’s spoken to me? Perhaps.

It definitely poses an interesting query.

Once you find your “home,” who in the fuck are you willing to kill that tries to get in the way of you finally finding that flavor and embracing it? What demon thinking it’s wise to fuck with you would you walk through the same now officially beloved streets on their hands and knees like a dog for trying to harm the harbor you love that loves you too?

Was not the kind of bemused querying I was expecting to have on the far side of an uncle Denzel/Fuqua film; but I’m here for it.

He penned a dark loveletter to expats everywhere about Home being a real time thing.

I’ve been being asked to be thinking about being abroad again all year. In Europe.

& I’ve been deflecting.

Because of China. I’m right here. you know? & I’m glad I have spent the years here that I did.

Put in my 40 quarters as elder gypsies instructed me to while I was a whippersnapper. & With the dark, decadent , glorious hedonism I drew abroad then~ I may not have made it To 48 as intact as I am… but I’m sure …it would’ve been FUN, those wild parallel universe blazes of glory.

& I may be weirdly in love in these parts. In a way that could go toe to toe with the love always received, felt and honored abroad. I can’t not walk that all the way out here just to see if it could be and still say I’m about that life there. That’d be a cop-out. Cowardice. & I mean it’s like 2% of the…whathaveyous…. but even the United Nations is based on American terroir.

So in my last foray into film outside this year all the things I have been tiptoeing around asking myself and answering are reframed.

Surprising start to #Septemberian season.