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Photo illustration: Save As; Source: Everette Collection

After pulling the trigger in Hollywood’s most ominous drive-by, Lloyd Avery II began to mirror the lifestyle of the gangster he portrayed on-screen. But the late actor’s demise is much deeper than life imitating art.

Based on numbers alone, Lloyd Avery II’s character in is a minor role. Four scenes. About eight lines of dialogue. At most, two minutes of screen time. He’s listed in the credits as Knucklehead #2, but fans of the film know him as the Blood who shot Ricky. He’s best remembered emerging from that cardinal red Hyundai clutching a sawed-off shotgun like he’s death incarnate, set to perpetrate one of the most tragic movie murders of all time. Radiating intensity, Avery’s charisma elevates this nameless henchman into an iconic villain.

“Lloyd had a presence that I…


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

How has the DMV not revoked every last license?

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Universal Pictures/Amazon Prime Video

7. Driving a car onto a moving boat (‘2 Fast 2 Furious’)

is when things began to get 2 reckless, as seen in this scene that finds Brian (Paul Walker) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson) driving a classic car from the road onto a moving yacht in open water. When you consider the objective — rescuing Eva Mendes — it sounds pretty reasonable.

6. Running across a falling bus (‘Furious 7’)

Aboard an express bus to doom, Brian escapes the overturned vehicle — which happens to be slowly tilting off the edge of a cliff — by sprinting across its long exterior and jumping onto the back of Letty’s (Michelle Rodriguez) car. Is he ever gon’…


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

‘It’s Friday; you ain’t got no job… you ain’t got shit to do’

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: New Line Cinema via Amazon Prime Video

4. Friday: The Animated Series (2007)

We knew this short-lived MTV2 toon would be weird when we realized John DiMaggio — the voice of ’s Bender — would attempt to channel the greatness of John Witherspoon’s Pops. What we didn’t anticipate was Smokey’s character looking like dude from . has never felt so fugazi.

3. Next Friday (2000)

Ranking this sequel so low should be as illegal as the cash stuffed in Joker’s hydraulic pump. Sure, Chris Tucker’s absence is felt in this follow-up set in the suburbs, but Mike Epps seamlessly fills the void as Day Day. Damn near every moment he’s on screen is hysterical…


The ‘Bad Trip’ duo talk chemistry, almost dying on set, and the magic of Tiffany Haddish

“Bad Trip.” Photo: Netflix

“First of all, are you safe? It looks like somebody kidnapped you.”

Lil Rel Howery has just beaten me to the punch. Not to be outdone, Eric Andre quickly follows up with, “Blink twice if you’re in a hostage situation.”

We’re about 20 seconds into our conversation and we’re already laughing. I’ve forgotten the questions I’d prepared, let alone their sequence. But the laid-back air and laughter also confirm a suspicion I’ve had since watching the duo’s new film: These two have genuine chemistry.

That chemistry is the driving force behind , which lands on Netflix on March 26…


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

To number one — and beyond!

Characters from Toy Story.
Characters from Toy Story.
Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Pixar via Disney+

6. “Toy Story That Time Forgot”, “Toy Story Toons”, and other shorts/specials

They’re always great, but the various Pixar shorts and half-hour TV specials from the franchise are largely interchangeable and never quite as satisfying as the movies. These are good for occasional play but ultimately remain at the bottom of the toy box.

5. “Toy Story 4”

The fourth movie in a franchise like this doesn’t have any business being as solidly entertaining as this one does, but the addition of dynamic new characters (Tony Hale’s Forky, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele’s sublime Ducky and Bunny) and a tear-jerking send-off to Woody elevates a saggy middle and a creeping case of hijinks fatigue.

4. “Forky Asks a Question”


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

Do the funky Charleston!

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

5. ‘House Party: Tonight’s the Night’ (2013)

Listen, Hollywood: “Take the plot from the original but make it trash” has never worked. There’s no redeeming quality here, but at least give the producers some claps for having Kid ’n Play make a special appearance. In summary: The party’s over.

4. ‘House Party 4: Down to the Last Minute’ (2001)

The key art tells you all you need to know. Kid ’n Play weren’t part of the film, and IMx (formerly Immature) got star billing. Group lead Jon Jon (Marques Houston), housesitting for his rich uncle, only has two jobs: Don’t have a party (in a film called ), and don’t put the keys in the ignition…


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?

Photo: James Devaney/Getty Images

5. ‘Central Intelligence’

If there’s one role Dwayne Johnson was born to play, it’s a CIA agent who can kill 12 people with a mechanical pencil. gave The Rock (as Bob Stone) an extra layer of character development by making him wildly insecure, looking up to Kevin Hart of all people. This is like and all rolled up into one movie.

4. ‘The Rundown’

While showed that Johnson could be a box-office action hero, proved that he could play comedy and charisma as well as any movie star around. Don’t sleep on this one, jabroni.

3. ‘The Fast & the Furious’ franchise

From…


Eddie Huang discusses his directorial debut, and what it was like working with the late Pop Smoke

Eddie Huang at The Vulture Spot on January 27, 2020 in Park City, Utah. Photo: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

For the past decade, Eddie Huang has maneuvered with the passion of a mixtape rapper. Whether through memoir or food, the author-chef-restaurateur-producer-host-attorney used that mentality to produce generation-defining projects that highlight his experiences as the first-generation son of Taiwanese immigrants. And now, he can add “film director” to the list.

Huang is less than a month away from the release of , his directorial debut. It tells the story of Alfred “Boogie” Chin (played by actor and former yakitori chef Taylor Takahashi), a basketball player living in Queens who dreams of NBA stardom. …


Over the weekend, after watching , writer Jelani Cobb came under Twitter fire for hoping aloud that Assata Shakur gets a biopic at some point in the future. While the tweet seemed to come…


Hampton’s story, even in the abbreviated form that ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ provides, is too important not to tell

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Inc

My Blackness came to me while I was a student at Ohio State University.

To be clear, I always knew I was Black. My mother, who grew up silt-poor in the mud hills of Nelsonville, Ohio, made sure all of her sons knew we were Black. Not knowing was akin to signing your name to a suicide note. But I did not know its properties, the alchemy of its historical bonds in reaction to my daily life. I only knew its consequences. I was aware of the American problems that pursued my Blackness but could not see the joy that…

LEVEL

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