Note: I don't remember where this was taken from.
If you know... and I'll give credit. Enjoy!
Don't Be Somebody's Fool
Mr. T isn't some phony over-therapized jerk. He's actually qualified to give us advice since he made something out himself before he started telling other people how to make something out of themselves. He was a bouncer, a bodyguard to the stars, a boxer, a movie star, a dwarf tosser, a TV star, a personality, and a janitor. His jewelry is worth more than the home you grew up in, and if he punches you, you're out.
If you add up all the advice your parents ever gave you during commercial breaks, it's not even 10 percent of the knowledge Mr. T and his team of singing children pass on to us in the hour long Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool.
The video starts off like everything that makes you feel special-- with a song. Kids from around the world sing, "Be some-booody! You know you can! Be some-boooody! It's in your hands!" And any time there's a pause, Mr. T comes in, points at the camera and fills the gap with a gravelly "That's right!" or "I ain't playin'!"
It's a new technique of self-motivation. He doesn't teach you how to organize your planner or let the system work for you. Mr. T makes it very clear during the opening song that if you don't start feeling good about yourself, he is going to kick your butt. He's serious about it. For your own safety, you better get happy.
This stud is from the segment on Rapping. Note: despite it's spelling. Rapping is pronounced phonetically without the g. And obviously, you're not supposed to do it if you look like this kid.
The film is broken up into short segments about how to solve problems in your life. Problems like Anger, Peer Pressure, and Not Knowing How to Breakdance. And Mr. T didn't get just any kids off the street for the terrible skits and ridiculous songs. He got a talent agency's top up-and-coming stars: two future Kids Incorporated members (one of them was Marta, who later because singing sensation Martika, who later became underwear inspecting sensation, Inspector #8) and Kelly Jo Minter, the girl who couldn't drive in Summer School (which should have made the American Film Institute's top 100 movies).
More Ways to Be Somebody.
From the intro song we can tell that whatever Being Somebody takes, it looks like it's a lot of singing and sliding down slides. Some parades of children are involved too. Then in Shyness, a little girl tells us that everyone deserves a chance to get heard, but proves no one's going to be listening unless you're hostile and insane.
Next Mr. T takes the kids to the park to tell them the importance of roots, using trees as a metaphorical aid, and occasionally to pee behind. He describes his own proud heritage by showing that he wearses his fatherses boots to remind him of home. And if they smelled anything like they looked, a few of the children were probably hospitalized with third degree burns on the inside of their nostrils. It looked like Mr. T's dad put his foot in lawnmowers for a living. Also, Mr. T wears his hair like his ancestors in Africa, the Mandika tribe*, and his gold chainses symbolize dat his ancestors was brought over here as slaves**. Then Mart(ik)a interrupted him with a song about loving each other that had nothing to do with anything, but made me wish that they thought I was somebody soon. I didn't know if I could take another song like it.
*A documentary years later stated that Mr. T's mohawk was originally supposed to be in the shape of a T so he could point to his scalp when people asked his name. When they were cutting his hair, they messed up and made it a not-T. It didn't have anything to do with Mandika tribes. It is possible Mr. T read about them in a book, though.
** When he was a bouncer, the rest of the bouncing staff would give any gold chains they pulled off of misbehavers to Mr. T. Eventually, his neck was buried in them, and that's how that got started. So they don't really symbolize his slave heritage. They're more like a symbol of how much butt he and his colleagues kicked while they were at work.
"Styling" is the real highlight of the movie. Mr. T gives us fashion advice. Yeah, the guy holding his pants up with a rope and wearing boots made out of 80 percent duct tape is telling children how to dress. Mr. T has the kids perform a fashion show, and he does the announcing. He describes how their outfits combine flair and function, and they dance. And as amazing as everything in this movie is, there's something that's insanely brilliant about having Mr. T read a cue card that says, "And here's Marta, our subway sweetheart. Taking the A-Train to fashion. With her mustard socks and her ketchup sash. She is a real hot dog."
If you don't feel better about your own life by now, you probably never will. But as a wise man in a mohawk once said, "Jeff! Who's the hippest cat in town. Ain't no doubt when Jeff's around. With pants pegged tight and hair and fitness, he is the eighties nod to fitness splendor."
Sometimes it's hard to make fun of people who work so hard to do it themselves. Seeing Jeff get down puts us in an awkward position where we can't tell if we're supposed to watch him dance or treat him for an epileptic seizure. The expression on his face doesn't help either. He's going at it with such seriousness, it's like he's the last survivor of a secret government dance team, and if he fails in his dance mission, the Russians win. So, Jeff, I'm not making fun of you, man. You take this goofy dance stuff more seriously than I've ever taken anything in my life, and I think I respect that. But I'd still be surprised if you haven't reconstructed your face, changed your name, and moved to a country where this Mr. T video never got distributed.
Here's a song I wrote about Jeff:
Teen Steam, Gotta Let it Out
For Peer Pressure, Mr. T had to call in some outside help. The regular kids were overworked from the fashion extravaganza, and Mr. T can't do a skit on Peer Pressure. The only peers he has are the Incredible Hulk and constipated people screaming from the toilet. So he called the ultimate band-- New Edition. If you grew up in the nineties, New Edition is what you'd get if N'Sync put on jerry curl wigs.
At the start of the skit, Martika and her pals are walking on the dock and one of them finds a beer and a pack of cigarettes IN THE TRASH. (The beer was on top. He had to dig around for the cigarettes.) Like every anti-drug skit, it takes half a cigarette and a sip of beer before all of them are so deliriously high they better hope they're wearing diapers. In real life peer pressure is when your friend calls you a sissy for not emptying your pudding into the teacher's desk. In this show, it's four kids doing every single thing in their power to get their friend to put a cigarette in his mouth. There's no one more determined in the world than the peer pressure-ers in an anti-drug skit. If only they could channel that determination into something other than sharing.
The entire time it's going on, New Edition is four feet down the dock singing the words "Peer Pressure!" over and over. Seriously, the song is 6 minutes long, and there are only 4 words in it that aren't "peer" or "pressure."
While the non-smoking kid is fighting the temptation to take the garbage can cigarettes, he constantly looks over at Mr. T for guidance (who's two feet down the dock in the other direction). Mr. T keeps shaking his head as if to say, "You're not supposedta smoke! Even if you found it in the trash, sucka!" So the sequence goes: New Edition dancing - the kids trying to share their magic one-hit cigarettes - Mr. T shaking his head - repeat from top. I really have to give Mr. T special credit for this music video. He came up with 250 different ways to shake his head NO by the end of the song.
Let's say you're not a teen struggling with whether or not you should drink things you find in the trash. Let's say you're just some guy on the beach. You're taking a walk, enjoying the sunshine and the birds... and then you look over to the dock. You see a jogging team with tourette's syndrome repeating the same line over and over while a creepy man in hot pants hovers behind a group of children trying to stuff trash into another kid's mouth. Wouldn't you call the cops?
After the emotionally draining sequence on the dock, they show us one of the most important steps in becoming a Somebody -- learning how to pop and break. Does breakdancing really make you somebody? Let's check. Quick, name a breakdancer. That's what I thought.
Like every tape that isn't this tape proves, nothing's perfect. So we need to learn "Recouping." It's what you do after you mess up to make it less absoludicrous. To illustrate, Mr. T shows a tape of a kid tripping on the sidewalk while an business man points and laughs. In the updated Recouped version, when the kid trips he starts breakdancing. While Mr. T is telling us how effective it was, someone off-camera notices he forgot to put on his pants (oh... Mr. T). He looks confused for a second, then takes off the doctor's uniform he was wearing (I don't know why) and starts exercising. Most of what we learn is that next time you do something absoludicrous, you should either strip, breakdance, or both.
Final T-Nalysis, Jibba Jabberin' fool.
Most of his advice was good. Believe in yourself, dance when you forget to wear pants, dress in torn layers of tablecloths, rapping is like a signature, your outfit should compliment the way you move, and most importantly -- learn to breakdance. It's all genius. Where was Mr. T when they wrote the Bible or the Declaration of Independence? His video was way better than any of those before he even got to the part where Jeff dances.
Absoludicrous Rating: 4/5
No matter what scale of rating you use to judge film, this is twice as good as anything I can put into words. So it's twice as good as these words: "This tape could beat the snot out of any other tape, and will probably break your VCR it's so cool. And it doesn't take a sense of irony or nostalgia to enjoy it like everything else from that decade. It is genuinely brilliant. After this, every movie you ever see will feel like a waste of 90 minutes you could have used to watch Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool again."
There are a lot of other celebrities out there that think they know what they're talking about. Dr. Laura wrote a book about how we're supposed to act called the Ten Commandments. Not to be confused with the ones by Charlton Heston or God. Mr. T has more wisdom in one of the feathers jammed in his earlobe than Dr. Laura has in her entire body. All you housewives that call Dr. Laura should start taking advice from T. When life gets tough, dunk your hand in some potato salad and smack yourself in the face with it. It's called Recouping. One out of one Dr. T's recommend it.
Paul Reiser wrote a book about our relationships, and it actually made it into bookstores. Paul Reiser shouldn't tell us about relationships. Mr. T knows more about relationships in those red biker shorts he forgot weren't pants. Now imagine how much wisdom Mr. T has in his pants, those camouflaged things have 38 pockets per leg. I don't care if you add up Paul Reiser and his whole family, they'll never know what Mr. T's pants know.
This is a relic lost to the eighties which is pretty sought after by anyone with a good eye for the radical. You either have to get really lucky at a thrift store or outbid some fruitcake on ebay.
Apology: Telling you Dr. Laura and Paul Reiser are wrong is like telling you not to mix caustic household chemicals. Unless you're really stupid, I'm wasting both our time. So let me tell you this. Mr. T's Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool is probably the only motivational/self-help tape that will actually make you a better person. Simply reading about it here right now is making you a better person. It's a scientific fact that leading a parade of singing children down the sidewalk is the highest goal of any individual, and this tape shows us step by step how to turn ourselves into the person that can make something like that happen. Be somebody! You know you can! That's right. Be somebody! It's in your hands! Reach out!
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If you don't really feel good about yourself, at least pretend to when Mr. T's around. Perhaps he can be tricked.
Above: Mr. T teaches us how to deal with frustration by leading us through his brave struggle to play the cello. Every 15 minutes it cuts back to his cello-playing mishaps such as falling out of the chair. That's right. He didn't know how to sit in a chair. After he gets that figured out, he flings the bow across the room (solved by tying it to his hand with a bandana), gets hit by falling ceiling chunks when his upstairs neighbor stomps at him (solved by gluing an umbrella to the cello), and of course he realizes he has no idea how to play the cello (solved by not caring).
Before the final parade and credits he overcomes and plays us an entire song. It's four seconds long and goes "uhhhhhhhhhhhh..... (then slightly higher)uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh."
In "Anger," the kids are enjoying a picnic while Mr. T (whose entire career in Hollywood is based on screaming and punching) explains how wrong it is to lose your temper. There might have been some sort of script they were supposed to follow, but Mr. T forgets all his lines and stutters his way through some kind of nonsense about pickle relish. It gets worse when he starts trying to smash a nearby fly.
Then the fly lands in the potato salad. Wa-wa-wa-waaaaaa.
By this point, instead of telling us how to control our anger, he shows us. By picking up a loaf of French bread and destroying what's left of the picnic table while the kids look on in panic. We know by now none of them can act, so that's real fear behind their eyes.
The Styling section highlights Xena and Zena who are dressed "for that exciting walk to the grocery store." They might not be able to sing or act or have great jobs, but they're good examples of Somebodies since they have funny names and dance when you don't normally excect a person to dance.
Mr. T and Mart(ik)a learn to pop, becoming more important, confident people with each jerky robo-move.