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State Property 2

Crimes:

  • Slowing down the momentum with an endless barrage of flashbacks and narration
  • Prominently billing stars like Kanye West, Mariah Carey, and Ol' Dirty Bastard for performances that barely amount to cameos
  • Making a sequel to State Property

Defenders: Executive producer Beth Melillo and director/producer/star/world-class egotist Damon Dash

Tone of commentary: Self-aggrandizing with splashes of self-deprecation. Dash immediately establishes a comical level of self-adoration by gushing "This is the part I love!" over the opening credit proclaiming that the sequel is a "Dash Films" production. He elaborates, "I have my own film company. I produce, I direct, I act, I write... That's what a film company should be." Whenever Armadale, a brand of vodka co-owned by Dash, appears on the screen, Dash says "Armadale plug, holla!" Still, he later admits that it was a real challenge integrating all the brands, labels, and products he owns into the movie with any degree of subtlety.

What went wrong: When someone prominent appeared on the set, Dash had to "freestyle a part" for them, regardless of their acting ability. At times, the absurdly convoluted film confused even its director. During a sequence with N.O.R.E., Dash says, "When we originally shot this scene, this shit didn't even make no sense."

Comments on the cast: Dash regularly alludes to the unreliability of his rapper-laden cast, conceding that he had to plan scenes around whoever showed up. It's also apparent that much of the film was "freestyled" on the spot. Dash notes the meta-irony of having Beanie Sigel's real-life lawyer playing his onscreen lawyer in a trial sequence filmed right before Sigel went to trial offscreen. Bit player Mariah Carey is praised as the only person alive who can "out cake-talk" Dash, a talent that apparently involves flamboyantly discussing one's wealth.

Inevitable dash of pretension: Dash points out sequences "influenced by" Martin Scorsese, Scarface, The Usual Suspects, and what Dash calls "The City Of Gods." Dash somewhat wishfully describes the first State Property as a "cult film that people love" and its sequel as an "urban classic."

Commentary in a nutshell: "I didn't go to film school," Dash says. "No one taught me how to direct. I'm an emulator, how 'bout that? I just know the right shit to emulate. Wait 'til we do the next movie, though—I'm-a really lay Martin Scorsese down! Word up!"