A year i remember for a lot of reasons, especially because some great music albums was released this year, how about the debut album K from British rock band Kula Shaker ? Or the third album from British disco funk soul band Jamiroquai simply called Travelling Without Moving ? This was also the year when American hardcore punk rap band Dog Eat Dog released their second album Play Games ( loved their CD single Isms back in the day ). Of course we have to mention that British pop artist Mike Flowers Pops released his debut album A Groovy Place, an album you should own. Now, the year of 1996 was great for many other reasons as well, especially for the films released this year ( not talking about the terrible sequel Lawnmower Man 2 - Beyond Cyberspace ). The brilliant drama film Lone Star from director John Syles with really good performances from legendary actor Kris Kristofferson and a young Matthew McConaughey, giving a strong performance as well. Of course the action classic The Rock with Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery, Ed Harris and Michael Biehn made the summer of 1996 magical. But there was one film this year that made a lot of Buzz, both in news papers but also from Movie critics, with a performance that everyone seemed to love. And this was the performance from actor Cuba Gooding Jr. in the film Jerry Maguire. This film had superstar Tom Cruise, and a young Renée Zellweger, but it was Cuba Gooding Jr, who won an Oscar for his performance in this film. I have not seen this film for many years, probably not since the late 90´s, but i remember Cuba´s performance. He continued making a lot of films over the years, some were ok, while some are not so good ( especially remembering Snow Dogs ). I will say that i did enjoy his 2008 film Hero Wanted, directed by Brian Smrz. Hero Wanted may be a very simple action film, but actually worked because of the cast including Ray Liotta, Norman Reedus, Kim Coates, Ben Cross and Jean Smart. But i am going to be honest and say, i have not seen a lot of Cuba Gooding Jr´s B movie releases. Why ? I don´t know, i guess some of them did not make me interested. Until i watched him play O.J. Simpson in the TV series The People v O.J. Simpson. The best performance i have seen Cuba do in his career so far. Recently i bought his latest film Bayou Caviar from Gravitas Ventures. This is actually his directorial debut film as well. Does this film deliver more than expected, or is this another film you will forget from the Gooding catalogue ?
Rodney King ( Cuba Gooding Jr. ) used to be a boxing champion, even being on the Olympics team for boxing. Now, many years later he is training younger people to learn the skills of boxing. But his personal life is a big mess, especially after he witnesses a crime from Russian mobsters led by Yuri ( Richard Dreyfuss ). Since Rodney witnessed a murdered, Yuri demands that he will work for him, and find some information on Isaac ( Gregg Bello ), that will make him look bad. Rodney´s friend Nic ( Famke Jensson ) is working hard to deliver erotic photos of beautiful women, and she is in desperate need in cash. So Rodney have an idea, a young girl he just met known as Kat ( Lisa Marie Johnson ), could be filmed having sex with Isaac, in secret. This would destroy the life of Isaac, who is a respected landlord with a pregnant wife and a son. They set up a video camera, as Nic films them having sex. But there is a problem, it turns out that Kat is not 18 years old, younger than they expected. Rodney realize that they are in deep shit over this, and Yuri can not find out about this.
Bayou Caviar is a film that has a lot of different issues. We get to see the story of the main character Rodney Jones, who used to be a boxing champion and now survive as a criminal. We also get the story of his friend photographer Nic, who is trying to get new photo jobs and even sleeps with clients. We also get to see the life behind a boxing club, where Rodney still tries to help younger people learn the sport, even though he puts himself in problems. You could call this the boxing version of the 1998 film Wild Things in some ways, but with a different twist included. The most interesting part of the film is when Rodney finds out that the new girl Kat is not as old as they thought she was, and they have made a sex tape of her. And this is where the problems become more clear in this film, when you make a really bad decision. As a drama film, there is an interesting plot here. Maybe the plot is divided a bit too much in some scenes, but you are especially interested in Rodney´s background, and what went wrong with his life. Unfortunately we don´t get to know some details that would have been interesting, but you get a sesne that he lost track when his boxing career ended. Cuba Gooding Jr as Rodney Jones, gives a pretty good performance. I have seen him doing better acting in the past, but i still think he deliver an interesting character. The best performance in this film comes from legendary actress Famke Janssen ( remember her classic performance in Bond movie Goldeneye ? ) as Nic. You can tell that she is a woman who have a passion for taking pictures of beautiful women, and Famke manage to show this through the personality of Nic. Legendary actor Richard Dreyfuss ( from classics such as Stakeout and of course Close Encounters Of The Third Kind ). is also included in the cast. You don´t get to see him much in the film as criminal boss Yuri, but i appreciate that he is in this film, being such a iconic actor. Actress Lia Marie Johnson gives us a performance that fits with her character. The biggest problem with this film in my opinion is the ending. The ending is one of the worst endings i have seen in a long time. It feels very cheesy, too predictable and should have been corrected. Bayou Caviar is not a film for everyone, this is the kind of film for you who like to see a realistic portrait of people who are living with a lot of personal problems. For a directorial debut, i think Cuba Gooding Jr. have made an interesting film. Worth a watch if you enjoy independent films.