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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Quincy is a documentary about Quincy Jones, a multitalented musician, composer, and producer. Co-directed by one of his six daughters, actress and filmmaker Rashida Jones (with Alan Hicks), the movie encapsulates a lifetime of personal milestones, achievements, and struggles, and, as a bonus, presents an in-depth, clear-eyed picture of the man today, in his mid-80s, still vital and creative. The movie is intended for both admirers of Jones himself and for fans of a variety of iconic artists like Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, and Michael Jackson, whose lives and work he influenced. Best for mature viewers, as there's occasional profanity, including "f--k," "s--t," "ass," and one use of the "N" word. In addition, references are made to Jones' issues with alcohol and infidelity.
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What's the story?
A wide range of interviews and archival film footage, as well as extensive time spent with the subject as he is now, are at the heart of co-directors Rashida Jones' and Alan Hicks' very personal look at Quincy Jones in QUINCY. Jones' 70-year-plus career includes performing, composing (six Academy Award nominations for his film scores), orchestrating/arranging, producing (most famously Michael Jackson's Thriller video and Academy Award-nominated film The Color Purple), and mentoring young talent. He's the most Grammy-nominated musician in history with 79; he's won 27. In addition, he is the recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award given by the Motion Picture Academy. His personal life -- three marriages, seven children, recurring physical challenges -- is integrated with the musical history. The narration is primarily delivered by Quincy himself as he reflects on his successes, his failures, and the lifetime effects of an impoverished childhood and mentally ill mother.
Is it any good?
Rashida Jones and co-director Alan Hicks have filmed a celebration of the life of an extraordinary talent with an illustrious musical history and an intriguing personal life. And Quincy is without question a celebration. The man's struggles -- with a fraught childhood and a less-than-stable personal life in his adult years -- are reflected upon, but not explored in-depth. It's the filmmakers' choice, as is having Jones himself do the narration. It's a daughter's prerogative to help establish her father's substantial legacy. Jones and Hicks clearly give Quincy Jones his due. The many historical moments -- his partnerships with other musical icons, earliest jobs with Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, and others, his stunning participation in film scoring and producing (The Wiz, The Color Purple) -- are film highlights.
Running a little over two hours, the film feels long at times, and the countless moves from the present to the past and back again aren't always seamless. Still, Quincy is a welcome tribute to a man whose work ethic is almost as astonishing as his talent, and whose efforts on behalf of others deserve recognition.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the intentions of documentary filmmaking: to inform, entertain, persuade, and/or inspire. Which category or categories best characterize Quincy? Why?
The film chronicles decades of American music, all as one man participated in its evolution. List the many genres of music in which Jones made his indelible mark. How does this fact help explain Quincy Jones' very earnest instruction "Stop categorizing music!"?
What character traits and/or life skills did Jones demonstrate as he built a successful career (e.g., perseverance, determination)? Which traits or skills did he demonstrate as he reached out to help others (e.g., gratitude, compassion)?
- On DVD or streaming: September 21, 2018
- Cast: Quincy Jones, Rashida Jones
- Directors: Rashida Jones, Alan Hicks
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: History, Music and Sing-Along
- Character strengths: Communication, Compassion, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 125 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: July 17, 2020
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