By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Never leave anybody out...ever! Just about five years ago I was writing a review for a movie called 'The Place Beyond The Pines'. Easily both the best and most underrated movie of a landmark 2012 that saw an 'Avengers' assembling and the anniversary of 007 himself, James Bond to name just a few. 'Pines' was more than an indie darling that showed cinema lovers what real filmmaking was all about however. It was also a story that transcended the nature of doomed sweethearts motorcycle driven to a life of crime. It was all about the choices we make and how they birth new generations of consequences. As this wasn't just a movie that starred two of Hollywood's biggest heartthrobs, but one that gave life to a new generation of stars for Los Angeles' city of Hollywood. In a decade old ode that was as much father and son as it was man and woman. Not only did this film star not one, but two of the movie worlds leading, leading men in Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper (although they shared a mere but monumental moment of screen time), but it also featured two of the best, most sought after actresses in the industry with Eva Mendes (who began her relationship with Ryan whilst filming this film) and the in everything that year, Rose Byrne. Not to mention two next gen actors in 'War Machine's' Emory Cohen and the real star of this movie, 'Valerian's' Dane DeHaan and legends like 'Star Wars-Rogue One' enemey Ben Mendelsohn and the 'Goodfella' godfather of gangster flicks Ray Liotta. With this all in, all-star cast you could have been forgiven for forgetting someone in this Derek Cianfrance cinematic gem, but when this writer wrote his review there was one actor in this ensemble he forgot to wrote about who he should have never slept on. And now because of that ignorance I'll never write about a movie again without paying my due to all the major players involved with the picture. The man I forgot? You might know him. He goes by the name Marhershala Ali.
Ali is a K.O. acting knockout. Already one of the greatest, after only a few rounds and 'bouts. And in the main event this year, this time Marhershala Ali socked Ryan Gosling in the jaw. And all the blonde bomber from 'The Place Beyond' could do was laugh. Marhershala made moviemaking history as he became the first Muslim to win an Oscar for 'Best Supporting Actor' (as a matter of fact the first Muslim to even win any sort of acting award from The Academy) for his mesmerizing turn in the magnificent 'Moonlight'. And to think he won it off less screen time than it took Anthony Hopkins to win Best Actor for 'The Silence Of The Lambs'. Appearing in only the first act of this boys life and journey into manhood and sexuality told over three ages. But what an act it was. From teaching a young Chiron how to swim in the Atlantic Ocean of South Beach to how to wade with the social sharks of a schoolyard smelling young blood. From saving him from a crack house, to trying to take drugs out of his own one. Despite cruelly, in hypocritical contradiction also being the pusher who provides the contraband to the kids mother. Yep, that's the groundbreaking 'Moonlight' for you. 'La La Land' this 'Best Picture' is not. Now have you got the right envelope? Because this sent the hash-tagged 'Oscars So White' packing and rewrote the wonder of the history of cinema, signed, sealed and delivered. And although it wasn't just thanks to your new Ali-the big-three of the awesome, Alex R. Hibbert, the amazing Ashton Sanders and the terrific Trevante Rhodes all playing one should have split the 'Best Actor' Academy Award in three-Marhershala moved us compellingly with his moonstruck, pugilist performance of passion, pain, poetry and of course...black power. Like his Juan character said, "at some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you're going to be. Can't let nobody make that decision for you."
Moonlighting seems to be the man who began his career raising Brad Pitt in reverse in 'The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button', being food for aliens in 'Predators' and backing up Jennifer Lawrence in the 'Mockingjay' parts of 'The Hunger Games' trilogy plus one franchise forces game. As last year as well as his Oscar moment in the spotlight, Marhershala Ali had no chill. Starring in two hit streaming Netflix show series in addition to even more movies throwing out tackle to the Oscars. From a beautiful bit part reuniting with both 'Button's' Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monae ('Moonlight') in the history and legacy equation, chalk board changing 'Hidden Figures' women behind the first men on the moon. To some Matthew McConaughey Academy bait in the slave revolting Civil War force of the 'Free State Of Jones'. And even with all that Ali looks to follow in the floating Texan footsteps of McConaughey's Rusty as he has just been confirmed to star in the third season of HBO's 'True Detective'. And you thought you were excited by the announcement of the new 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' series! Exactly at the right time, Ali is exactly the right actor this dark detective drama needs right about now. The one that McConaughey and Woody Harrelson began to rave, "best T.V. show ever" reviews, but faltered in it's slumping second season that still had inspired performances from Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch, a straight Vince Vaughn and most notably the ever great and underrated Irish actor, Colin Farrell. Taking this precient changing, beat cop genre back to station the only question that remains is who he will partner up with in his jurisdiction? Last season there was a 'Curious Case' of a Brad Pitt rumor, but how about a Rusty reunion with fellow 'Jones' co-star Matthew McConaughey. Either way the man whose about to continue his 2017 sting with the 'Roxanne, Roxanne' movie based on rapper Roxanne Shante is as dead cert for small screen success as he is big screen, Oscar gold. He's even starred in some duked out vivid visuals to accompany Jay-Z's new '4:44' album spinning on Tidal. You've already watched him on your phone for five seasons straight, sharing some of the White House lawn with Kevin Spacey's Trump era President in the fall favourite 'House Of Cards'. All whilst becoming one of the best villains in Marvel history in just a mere 'Moonlight' amount of episodes as 'Luke Cage' adversary Cottonmouth, trying to take power from the man in yellow tank. Looking to reign as the King of New York like standing in front of that crowned Biggie portrait in perfect, notorious symbolism. The greatest Ali since Muhammed seems to be laughing that trademark cackle all the way to the belt. As in less time then it took Muhammed Ali to deck Liston in a first round canvas, Marhershala Ali is becoming a Hollywood heavyweight. And no one...especially no no name writer will ever count him out again. Sorry! Rumble young Marhershala, rumble!