Hustlers — The Real Story

Posted on September 16, 2019 at 8:00 am

“Hustlers” is based on the real-life story of strippers who drugged men and then stole money by running up charges on their credit and debit cards, figuring (mostly correctly) that the men would be too embarrassed to do anything about it.

TIME Magazine wrote about the real story.  Many of the details of the story are accurately portrayed in the film, though names and some facts have been changed.  After business fell off at the strip clubs following the financial meltdown, the women did sprinkle a concoction of MDMA, ketamine, and cocaine into the men’s drinks. And the police had an informant,, a man who was willing to complain, and a sting operation, which  gave them what they needed to arrest the women.  And the woman who inspired the character played by Constance Wu is writing a book.



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Posted on June 11, 2018 at 9:55 am

This is how a lifelong game of tag helps the “tag brothers” literally stay in touch.

The taggers first got national attention in a Wall Street Journal story (though the reporter was a man, not a beautiful blonde as in the movie).

You can read the formal legal agreement signed by the real-life taggers.

The movie inspired by this story opens this Friday, starring Jeremy Renner, Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Jon Hamm, and Hannibal Burgess.

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The Real Rainbow: “black-ish” Inspiration Dr. Rainbow Edwards Barris on Parenting, Marriage, and What You Don’t See on TV

Posted on May 22, 2018 at 8:00 am

Copyright Kingswell 2018

Last weekend at DC’s first-ever Momference, doctor, mother of six, and inspiration for her namesake character on the hit television series, “black-ish,” Rainbow Edwards-Barris described a conversation she had with one of her sons after he was less than polite to her friend. “I told him to treat a girl like she is treasured and honored and honorable,” she said. “It is important to instill in my boys especially.”  The Momference was a truly inspiring event “designed to Engage, Equip and Empower the melanated, millennial mom.”  I wrote about it for Medium.  Edwards-Barris was one of the highlights and I had a chance to talk to her one-on-one about her new book, written in the voice of the character she inspired, Dr. Rainbow Johnson, portrayed by Tracee Ellis Ross.

Dr. Barris told me that she recently discovered notes she had made nine years ago, long before “black-ish,” with some of her thoughts about parenting, and that helped her begin to think about what she wanted to cover in her wise, funny, and inspiring book. I asked if she ever found herself doing something her mother did that she swore she would never do, and she admitted she had finally resorted to a “Because I said so.” But “I corrected myself. I went back and told him I made a mistake. I said, ‘You’re teaching me as much as I hope I’m teaching you.’” She said that her husband, Kenya Barris, asked how she would feel about a storyline on “black-ish” about the Johnsons having marital problems. “I was very supportive that it show this side of the couple, so people know they’re not alone. No one’s life is perfect. Couples go through tough times but it is not not repairable, not something that can’t be overcome, not something that can’t be a lesson.” The book gives you “the episodes you don’t see on television, and it gives you Rainbow’s perspective.” Both Rainbows.

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Dog Day Afternoon: The Real Story

Posted on July 19, 2017 at 8:00 am

Bilge Ebiri explores the real story behind one of the most indelible movies of the 1970’s, Dog Day Afternoon. The gritty reality of Sidney Lumet’s direction, the strangeness of the story (according to the film, the motive for the robbery was money to pay for the sex reassignment surgery of the transgendered romantic partner of one of the robbers) and the stunning performances by Al Pacino, John Cazale, and Chris Sarandon captured the moment. Audiences of the era remembered the bungled bank robbery as it unfolded, with the hapless criminals stuck inside the surrounded bank ordering pizzas and the hostages and the crowd outside rooting for the robbers.

Ebiri looks at the contemporary coverage of the robbery and the film. According to this story, there was a mob involvement as well. And the guy behind it all learned that “moviemaking, like crime, does not pay.”

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Dunkirk: The Real Story

Posted on July 18, 2017 at 10:02 pm

Dunkirk was in most ways a loss, the Allies driven by the enemy to the shore and trapped there to be picked off. But it became a moral and morale victory that has resonated for nearly seventy years. It is featured in two films this year. “Their Finest” depicts a fictionalized version of the WWII propaganda operation that selected the rescue at Dunkirk as ideal for reassuring the British civilians. And Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” is a gorgeously filmed re-telling that is grand in scope but intimate in focus. While some of the details and characters are imagined, the overall story is true.

To learn more about the real story of the heroic evacuation of more than 300,000 men, watch some of the documentaries about the rescue operation.

And read The Miracle of Dunkirk by Walter Lord.

Here is then-new Prime Minister Winston Churchill giving one of the most famous speeches of the 20th century after Dunkirk.

Never surrender!

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