You can’t even go see silly comedies these days without being reminded of real world headaches. In “Fist Fight,” Ice Cube plays an eternally pissed-off high school teacher who challenges a flustered colleague (Charlie Day) to an after school fight. It’s wacky, it’s vulgar — and it can’t help but remind us that the American school system is going to be even worse shape once Betsy DeVos gets her hands on it. When we talk to the rapper/movie star, 47, we can’t help asking him to weigh in on what’s going on outside the multiplexes.
I get the feeling that comedies are going to be really necessary to get us through the next four to eight years.
I hope so. We’re gonna need to remember who we are. A lot of things can roll downhill to make us forget who we are. We’ve got to fight against that with everything we’ve got.
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It’s important for our mental health to remember that not everything’s bleak.
If you’re looking for it, you can find something wrong with anything. People can find something wrong with a birthday cake, you know? Sometimes it’s about smelling the roses, man. It’s not about planting new roses all the time. It’s about looking around, seeing what we’ve got and realizing it’s not that bad — or not as bad as we make it sound all the time.
After the election some of us were down in the dumps, but lately I think we’ve started pulling ourselves together, getting organized, feeling a bit more optimistic.
I think everybody was shellshocked and blindsided. Everybody thought we were better than this, you know what I’m saying? Now we’re not sure if we are better than this. It’s cool to see real people, who most of the time would be the silent majority, get out there. Everybody’s feeling like, 'Yo, we need to do something, let people know who we are.'
The protests seem to be working.
Now we’ve all got a common enemy. We all know who Darth Vader is. [Laughs] Now we can form an alliance against that kind of direction.
We have multiple Darth Vaders now. We have Steve Bannon, too.
Without a doubt. That’s the evil empire for real.
The last eight years gave us a look at what an America that’s tolerant and progressive can look like. It was shocking to see how much of the country was against that.
I’m a little disappointed — not in Obama, but in the people who were supposed to stand with him and fight with him that you didn’t hear from. The Congressional Black Caucus was kind of silent over these last eight years. He needed more people fighting for him and not just waiting for him to do it all.
Even a comedy like “Fist Fight” actually reflects real life problems. It’s ultimately about broken school systems, underpaid teachers, undereducated kids.
It’s a crazy, wacky movie that’s politically incorrect in most parts, but it does have this undertone of reality. That’s what makes the movie hold together so it’s not two hours of me chasing Campbell [played by Charlie Day] around the school. It’s grounded but crazy, too.
Strickland’s not just a bully. He really cares about education and is pissed kids don’t know basic history.
I remember seeing guys like that in school. I’m pretty sure they’re gone now. Because you just can’t do the things you need to do sometimes to get respect as a teacher. I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t be breaking students’ laptops with bats, but those cellphones can damn sure get Babe Ruthed out of the damn classroom. [Laughs]
Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge