Under the Radar: The Week of Dec. 3
Fall From Grace
Premieres on Showtime 12/4
The documentary Fall From Grace provides a candid glimpse into the world of Pastor Fred Phelps and his radical Westboro Baptist Church (the friendly-neighborhood churchies who founded of the website godhatesfags.com). Phelps and his Topeka, KS-based ministry made headlines in March 2006 when they picketed outside of the funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder, who died in Iraq. The ministry showed up at the young man’s service brandishing signs containing anti-gay slogans, claiming that military deaths are punishment for America’s tolerance of homosexuals and for allowing homosexuals in the military. (A jury recently awarded Snyder’s family $11 million in punitive and compensatory damages.) First-time filmmaker K. Ryan Jones’ film features interviews with Phelps, members of his church, Topeka city leaders and officials, ministers, theologians, and two of Pastor Phelps’ adult children who have left the church and denounced the family.
Billy the Kid (2007)
Newbie director Jennifer Vinditti’s documentary (which won awards at the Melbourne, Edinburgh, and L.A. film festivals this year) paints a portrait of 15-year-old Billy, an awkward loner from a small town in Maine. While eccentric in some ways (his passion for heavy metal and martial arts, among them), the film has been praised for capturing how he’s really just your average, hormone-ravaged teenager, who’s created personal coping mechanisms to help with his adolescent quest to meet girls and grow up to be a famous rock star, actor, or superhero.
N.W.A, Straight Outta Compton, 20th Anniversary Edition
In stores 12/4
Twofull decades have passed since South Central’s infamous N—-z WithAttitude released their gangsta-rap masterpiece. (And if that isn’tenough to make you feel old, consider that it’s been a full 12 yearssince founder Eazy-E passed away.) Priority Records is commemoratingthe record’s 20-year anniversary with this special-edition CD, whichcontains a bonus track live version of “Compton’s N The House,” fourcovers of “Straight Outta Compton” (by Snoop Dogg and C-Murder, BoneThugs-N-Harmony, Mack 10, and WC), plus a package essay written bymusic writer Soren Baker. A true must-have for aging suburban males whostill think chicks are impressed by guys who know all the words to”F— tha Police.”
Blake Lewis, “Break Anotha”
American Idolrunner-up Blake Lewis’ official debut single (he previously releasedhis beat-boxy adaptation of “You Give Love a Bad Name” last summer)will get its world premiere on Yahoo this week. The lead single fromhis debut album — A.D.D. (Audio Day Dream), which also drops this week — “Break Anotha”is a funky little pop number that has had more than one critic singingthe Idol’s praise (and making Justin Timberlake comparisons) since itcame out in late October. The video was directed by Sanji, who’s alsoworked with Tori Amos, Jennifer Lopez, and Mary J. Blige, and Lewisteases that it employs an “interesting concept” using various specialeffects techniques.