Posts Tagged by Movie Reviews

Jumping the Broom isn’t so bad, as long as the handle is low…

This past Friday the 13th, I decided to stick with tradition, and go see a horror movie. But my overpriced ticket to Jumping the Broom was not quite as horrible as I expected. Before I delve into the details, let me say that the key to enjoying any movie experience is to go in with low expectations. This moment of finite pessimism works for the cinema, but not for life which has infinite expectation, so it is not an argument in favor of low expectations in general, but only for given moments, like almost any movie involving Hollywood born films featuring “African American culture.”

The movie began with an adorably gorgeous character played by Paula Patton facing a shameful morning after scene where the guy she just slept with has a phone conversation with another girlfriend (or wife) in front of her. She makes a promise to God that she wont engage in any such physical intimacy unless it was with the guy she marries. And low and behold, moments later, she runs her car into said wonderful, hot, considerate, good job having man. But the every day realism doesn’t end there. She is exceedingly wealthy, a woman of pedigree with a good job, and he is a pulled up by his bootstraps, fine specimen of a man but from “the hood.” So of course when it comes time for the wedding, the family mix is like oil and water. Or maybe like wine and kool-aid. Either way, they don’t mix. The resulting drama is like driving in a straightforward 4 lane highway of entertainment. It didn’t offer unexpected twists or turns of amusement, and was not really laugh out loud funny, but it did the job of maintaining interest. As with everything else in life, there were some good points and bad points:

The good:

I actually thought this movie had a good message, and ultimately, that was that people in relationships should stick together, and that people in your family, no matter what their particular neuroses, should be loved unconditionally. I loved that the mother of the bride (played by Angela Basset) and the father of the bride stuck together despite the obvious issues they needed to work through. Also when the bride and groom faced challenges and stressors, they too decided that their status as a couple, as a unit, would guide them through difficulty.

It showed a diversity of “African American culture” albeit a very clichéd one. There really are certain levels of dissociation that exists amongst Black folk, and I thought the movie did a good job of bringing to light the essence of some of those issues. Although both the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom were both overbearing bitches, their obnoxiousness showed a distinct polarity of Black woman abrasiveness, and thus offered a nice layering of negative portrayal.

The bad:

On the flip side, the movie did reinforce an unrealistic portrayal of a “prince charming” type who is completely wonderful and sweeps a woman off her feet. The couple was happily going to the opera, to picnics in central park, he proposed to her suddenly with violins in the evening, El Debarge himself crooning, pleading over piano keys, everything was very fairytale-ish, as it should be. Problem is women who watch this are left disappointed with their own reality. But the real problem is that men don’t watch enough of these movies, or aren’t inspired to live up to these beautiful movie moments.

The story made an attempt at some secret familial drama to thicken the plot, but all of the “issues” in the movie were very easily resolved. You were never left wondering what would happen.

There were a lot of dangling modifiers and incomplete thoughts. For example, the wedding planner was a very potentially funny character, but her perspective and purpose in the story was completely underdeveloped. They could have either done without her, or incorporated her into some sort of hilarious plot progression or at least a source of consistent rhetoric. Additionally, the ‘bourgie’ bridesmaid (played by Meagan Good) had some sort of affair with the chef (Gary Dourdan) which was supposed to be a scandal, but was left hanging like an untied shoelace. The whole thing just made you kind of shrug your shoulders.

Then the most dramatically compelling part leaves a disappointing sense of blue-balls. As the strongest protagonist (the mother of the groom played by Loretta Divine) spins a constant web of hatred, she is finally clearly outted, her true colors fuming, and in that moment, we are expecting her son to explode on her, to put her rightfully in her place! He returns in a storm, and then lets out a light drizzle at best, showing her he was, upset, but devoid of real anger. That was annoying.

The hilarious

The most hilarious part (although not meant to be) was when the chef (Gary Dourdan) was seducing the bridesmaid (a very easy job I might add) with an oyster and champagne. That did it. The next scene together, they were ‘at it’ in the kitchen, and then the next scene, she was all vulnerable asking him “What do you think of me?” You know what his response was? I hate to spoil the movie if you haven’t seen it, but I have to share this gem… with a straight actors face, he goes : “You know, you’re like a pomegranate… you have this hard protective shell, but… your beautiful on the inside.”

Did he just call Meagan Good a pomegranate? A pomegranate?? Doesn’t get any better than that folks.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta and the Female Haterade Problem

One of the deepest problems facing women today is HATERISM. Women hate on each other constantly. Is this natural? Instinctual even? (Even Jay-Z touted jealousy as a female trait). Or is this one of the many negative byproducts of an egocentric, fear mongering, dog eat dog competitive society?  Are haters perpetrators? Or are they victims?

There can be no doubt that mass media shapes and forms our perceptions of others (and thusly of ourselves). But let’s take a case in point. The Real Housewives series. Namely the Real Housewives of Atlanta (cuz that’s the only one I watch). Why do I watch it? Same reason as anybody else. It satisfies some urge in me to see human drama played out, to watch conflict and turmoil, and judge and listen. To feel superior. To scoff. To connect with or empathize. To ridicule or to cheer on. HOWEVER, in watching and discussing, it struck me that I was harboring serious disdain for more than half of the women. So why was I watching it? I asked my room full of friends who they liked on the show, and each one mentioned no more than one or two names. So are we watching to connect? Or are we watching to hate???

Well honestly, I have been on a new kick lately. A love EVERYONE kick. And I have definitely been focusing on the things I love about each woman. But seriously? Do I get a small thrill when I feel someone has ‘learned their lesson’ or suffered the consequence of their despicable behavior??? Yep. Or more importantly, am I still judging? Do I still ‘hate’ on these women because I don’t find it legitimate that they should ostensibly ‘enjoy’ so much luxury? That they’re undeserving? Or am I mad at them for representing womanhood this way? For being stupid and trite? Or is that just what I really think of myself then? Why is there part of me that’s still hating? And quietly enjoying it…

Moreover, on the show itself, the housewives are the truest haters out!!!! All they do is sit and talk smack about each other! I wonder if they’re forced through the production to be friends when they really don’t like each other, or if they’re really that two-faced. They delight on gossiping about each other. Marveling at all flawed circumstance. All failures and embarrassments. What a multilayered cycle of hate. They hate on each other. We on them. We on we. All on ourselves.

And we are basically forced to consume all of this. Forced into falsified images of happiness and beauty! Duped into believing that our own lives lack! That we are somehow insubstantial. And the result is hate. Hate and consumption as we try to buy into what we’re missing. Literally. We’re puppets ladies! Puppets! It’s time to cut the strings….

Barfomatic Cinema

So I’m watching Back Up Plan, starring the ‘should have been just actress,’ J-Lo. Cool. Something I can totally relate to. Matter of fact, I have an appointment with the fertility clinic next week. The story starts off good. Independent woman. Left the corporate gig for something more touchy feely. Heart driven and warm. Okay, she’s totally me. Then not 5 minutes into the movie and what happens? Mr. Right. That evil malfeasant being. Mr. Right steps into the picture. Great for our heroine, the character we relate to, but realistic? Let’s see…

After fucking our heroine on the second date, Mr. right decides that he can’t be without her DESPITE THE FACT THAT SHE WAS ALREADY PREGNANT. Date #2. Already fucked. Am I missing something? So apparently I have to tell dudes I’ve been artificially inseminated in order to be actively pursued after fucking? Oh… okay. I’ll try that next time.
After date #2, Mr. right accompanies a pregnant J-Lo to the fertility doctor where they discover that she is carrying twins. Double bang for your buck. How does he respond? Freaked out, but still there. (After all, he’s 2 dates invested).
So she’s getting fat. Throwing up. All this cute stuff, set to the soundtrack that makes us smile and snap in a corn filled utopia. That darn J-Lo’s got it pegged just right…. (sigh) I can’t wait to get pregnant so I can meet the man of my dreams.
With a little baby ponch, this mother of a bitch is getting more action than I’ve considered all year! (So really I’m just bitter and jaded)… : (
And then after sticking in there to almost the final chapter, enduring the most gruesome and painful realities, supporting her in ways unimaginable even for married women, he made one minor blunder… a mere slip of the lip in which he truthfully states that her twins are not his and that… THAT is what formed a rift between them! That was the major transgression that formed the peak of their struggle???  Pardon me, but fucking his ex-girlfriend and getting her pregnant was not enough to part me from my wayward boyfriend, but this mere truthful utterance was enough to let Jlo let her beloved go…. Hmmmm
With a snap of the fingers, she has him back. Rushing with her to the hospital, trying to make up just in time, before she has the babies. Chasing her. Into the delivery room. Imagine that.
He’s so happy with the twin girls, he proposes in front of all her friends. (Sappy orchestra commence)

Realistic? Well, the guys I know can’t commit to a date, a phone call, or even a statement, much less commit to twins that aren’t his after the second date when he’s not even financially stable. But it’s not real life it’s a movie. We’re supposed to feel good. Feel safe. But is the hope we are fed through these images nutritious or noxious? Is this is another smack in the face to single women who watch and continue to wonder…. If Jlo can do it, what’s wrong with me? Or is this a gleaming example of what we should be trying to bring about for ourselves?