Song of the Day #4,641: ‘Fight For You’ – H.E.R.

Best Films of 2020
#6 – Judas and the Black Messiah

Director and co-writer Shaka King’s stroke of brilliance was his decision to make a biopic into a gritty 70s-style crime film. His Judas and the Black Messiah is an illuminating exploration of Black Panther Fred Hampton’s short, impactful life, but it’s also a tense, riveting nail-biter.

Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons and Dominique Fishback breathe vibrant life into their real-world characters, making decades-old history as immediate at last summer’s protests.

Kaluuya has received deserved praise for his riveting performance, and is likely on his way to a Best Supporting Actor win, but Stanfield is just as impressive in a trickier role. His Bill O’Neal is the film’s conflicted villain, a man too deep into his deception to claw his way out once he finds real purpose.

[Verse 1]
All the smoke in the air
Feel the hate when they stare
All the pain that we bear
Oh, you better beware
Their guns don’t play fair
All we got is a prayer
It was all in their plans
Wash the blood from your hands

Freedom for my brothers
Freedom ’cause they judge us
Freedom from the others
Freedom from the leaders, they keepin’ us
Freedom gon’ keep us strong
Freedom if you just hold on
Freedom ain’t free at all, oh no

I’m gon’ see it through
There’s no one, there’s no one like you
Long as I’m standing, we can never losе (Uh)
I’ma always, always fight for you
I’ma always, always fight for you

Oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh
Oh, oh, oh

[Verse 2]
Mental institution causing so much confusion
Seems the only solution is a new еvolution
We can’t take it no more
No, it can’t be ignored
When they knock on your door, will you be ready for war?

Freedom ’cause they need us (Freedom ’cause they need us)
Free from how they see us (Oh, oh)
Freedom, won’t you free us? (Free us)
Freedom doesn’t hang from the trees
Freedom from injustice (Injustice)
Freedom from corruption (Corruption)
They aiming for destruction

And you know, they gon’ see it through (Yeah, yeah)
There’s no one, there’s no one like you (Like you)
Long as I’m standing, we can never lose (Uh)
I’ma always (Always), always fight for you (Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh)
I’m always fight for you

Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh
See it through
There’s no one, there’s no one like you, ooh-ooh
I’ma always fight for you
For you, for you, fight for you

13 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,641: ‘Fight For You’ – H.E.R.

  1. Peg says:

    I agree this is an excellent movie with wonderful performances and could win best picture.

  2. Dana Gallup says:

    This would make my top 10 as well, though it would rank lower than the wonderful Trial of the Chicago Seven, which is conspicuously though predictably missing from your anti-Sorkin list. Maybe someday you will reevaluate your disdain for Sorkin in the same way you recently did for Joni Mitchell.🤣

    • Clay says:

      I’m a fan of Sorkin’s early work. A Few Good Men is a classic. Malice is great fun. I love Moneyball and really like The Social Network. He is clearly a gifted writer. What I don’t like is the preachiness that oozes out of his more political work. And I don’t like that all of his characters think and talk exactly the same — like him — which makes him incapable of depicting honest human emotion, and particularly bad at depicting women. And I find the man himself super smarmy.

      • Dana M. Gallup says:

        He certainly has a distinct style that results in his characters sounding much alike–but so does David Mamet and Woody Allen among other great writers. Still, I didn’t think everyone sounded the same in Chicago Seven. You think Abby Hoffman sounded like Tom Hayden or Bobby Seals?

        And I didn’t find Chicago Seven preachy at all. Perhaps if it had been a work of fiction or if it took liberal dramatic license of true events I would have, but the screenplay followed closely actual events, actual people and borrowed heavily from actual trial transcripts. Indeed, Sorkin actually cut out some of the more outrageous things that happened during that trial.

        I think, regrettably, at this point, you approach an Aaron Sorkin film with a fair amount of confirmation bias, expecting not to like the movie and so the pet peeves you have built up going in bother you to the extent they evidence themselves in any way at all. It’s a shame, in my view, because it prevents you from truly appreciating what most critics and nearly all of your friends and family consider to be a great movie.

        • Clay says:

          You’re making it sound like I hate the movie with a fiery passion! I gave it 3 1/2 stars out of 5 and I would recommend it, but no, it’s not going to fall anywhere near my top ten (along with dozens of other movies I saw this year).

          My main issue with the movie (apart from the Sorkin tics that, yes, bother me in much of his work) was the ending. Not just the reading of the names — which I know happened in real life, though under very different circumstances — but the (in my view) ridiculous way it was staged and shot. I honestly found myself laughing out loud at the corniness of it. I know he was going for a Capra-esque old-school Hollywood crowd-pleasing vibe, but in a year of violent upheaval, it seemed tone deaf for a movie about these issues.

          Contrast that ending to the shot in Judas of Dominique Fishback’s face reacting as the cops confirm that Fred Hampton is dead in the room behind her. That was powerful cinema.

          I don’t know if you saw Mangrove, but it’s very similar to Chicago 7 in terms of plot (a courtroom drama about people arrested for protesting) and the way that verdict is shot is heart-wrenching and emotional. I wanted more of that from Chicago 7, and I don’t think Sorkin is interested in that.

          • Amy says:

            Is Mangrove another installment of the miniseries Small Axe? 😛

          • Dana Gallup says:

            Well, as I think you have established by making fun of all of my 3 1/2 star reviews, you view that rating as average or mediocre, so don’t act as though it signifies a positive review in this instance.

            I had a similar initial reaction to the ending, but viewed it differently when I learned that the names were actually read, albeit at the opening of the trial. And I don’t find the decision to change that detail to the end, or include it at all, to be tone deaf.

            Ironically, the criticism you are heaping on Sorkin here, coupled with the praise and lack of criticism of Promising Young Woman and the comparison of Chicago Seven to Mangrove directed by a woman of color, underscore my point. If the same movie, and more specifically, that same ending had been done by a person of color like Spike Lee, would you have seen it as ridiculous or laughable? Would you have seen it as tone deaf? Obviously, we can never know this, but my guess is you wouldn’t.

          • Clay says:

            Well, I don’t believe a person of color — particularly Spike Lee, of all people — would ever end a movie like this in this way. Issues of injustice aren’t the best fit for a feel-good Hollywood ending, especially to those who suffer injustice every day.

            So yes, I think the endings of Judas and Mangrove hit harder because they are made by people who fully understand the ongoing toll of the injustice they’re depicting. That’s why representation behind the camera matters so much.

          • Dana Gallup says:

            It was a Hollywood ending to be sure, but feel good? Tone deaf? I don’t see that at all!

            First of all, the real story ended with a victory for the defendants. Should Sorkin have changed the ending to have them convicted and imprisoned? Second, I would argue that the reading of names of those who died in Vietnam was actually a sobering counterbalance to the “feel good” ending of exoneration. I suspect that is why Sorkin moved that detail from the beginning of the trial to the end.

            My point was and remains that you are being hyper critical of Sorkin because he is a white writer and director, citing his purported inability to write female characters (which is absurd and handily debunked by Amy) and then characterizing an ending that had Amy crying as tone depth in light of George Floyd. It just seems that you are applying a heightened “woke” sensibility to your viewing of this movie, Promising Young Women and a number of other movies that have come out this year.

          • Clay says:

            If it ain’t woke, don’t fix it. 🙂

            I don’t think you appreciate how icky it is to say that I like Movie A or dislike Movie B because of “wokeness.” It’s dismissive of both me and the people who make those movies.

            Why didn’t I like Shirley or The Assistant or Time or The 40-Year Old Version or On the Rocks or the Billie Holiday movie if race/gender so informs my grade?

            This is a mindset that puts women and POC in a box where their art can never be appreciated simply for its merits.

            Outside of the arts, it’s why every woman or POC professional has to deal with opinions that they got their job in part because of how they look.

            The truth, of course, is that those professionals and artists likely had to work harder than their white, male counterparts to get a job or to get a movie made.

            Incidentally, this is a concept that has eluded Aaron Sorkin, as he has responded to criticisms about the representation of women by saying, basically, when women write better scripts, they’ll get to see themselves on screen. He believes the best work rises to the top in Hollywood, regardless of who creates it. THAT is tone deaf, and one of the reasons he turns me off personally.

            You say that I’m holding Sorkin’s whiteness and maleness against him, when my favorite filmmakers are the Coen Brothers, Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Woody Allen, Rob Reiner, and on and on.

            I can’t think of another white male filmmaker who rubs me the wrong way like Sorkin does, which suggests to me that it’s an issue with Sorkin, not his whiteness or maleness.

      • Amy says:

        I totally agree with you that the man himself is smarmy, but he can write women characters! Doesn’t hurt that he’s had phenomenal actresses play the parts he’s written. Allison Janney’s C.J. Cregg? Felicity Huffman’s Dana Whitaker? Mary freaking Louise Parker’s Amy Gardner? Olivia Munn’s Sloan Sabbith? Sloan and C.J. were all I wanted to be when I grew up, and I watched those shows well into my middle age. 🙂 Those are his tv characters, but I also think Annette Benning’s Ellen Wade and Demi Moore’s Lt. Galloway are wonderful characters. It’s true that most of his female characters are not overtly “feminine” in terms of the condescending ways we tend to think of women, but they are smart, sensitive, sexy, and sensational.

  3. Amy says:

    I adored this film and can only speculate what an even bigger impression it would have left if I’d seen it on the “big screen.” I felt that way about several films this year, most notably Soul, Minari and Nomadland. Still, each of those films wound up in my current top 10, which is a testament to how great art transcends any sort of obstacle. It must have been devastating to be the filmmaker who has worked perhaps for years to finalize your film and then have it released to tv sets around the world. It may have increased ease of viewership and the intimacy of the viewing experience, but it definitely wasn’t the manner any of those films were intended to be viewed.

    I agree that Stanfield was astoundingly good. It’s understandable that the less obvious or showy performance tends to get overlooked in films. Dustin Hoffman won the Oscar for Rain Man, but I maintain that it was Tom Cruise’s performance that brought that film its gravity. Still, it’s difficult to overestimate how completely Kaluuya inhabits Fred Hampton, bringing him beautifully and painfully to life as we know we are nearing the depiction of his brutal murder.

    My top 20 as of today, with about 10 films I’ve yet to see that could conceivably shake this list up:

    One Night in Miami
    Judas and the Black Messiah
    The Old Guard
    The Trial of the Chicago 7
    Sound of Metal
    Palm Springs
    The King of Staten Island
    Uncle Frank
    Da 5 Bloods
    Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself
    Let Them All Talk
    On the Rocks
    I’m Your Woman
    The Broken Hearts Gallery
    Saint Frances

    • Clay says:

      Great list. I haven’t seen three of these (King of Staten Island, Broken Hearts Gallery, and Saint Frances) but enjoyed all of the rest. For such a weird movie year, 2020 turned out to have a lot of very good movies, many of which I might have missed in a year more stacked with big-name titles.

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