Roll Bounce Would Be The Perfect Movie…If Not For One Insignificantly Significant Problem. » VSB

Featured, Music, Pop Culture, Theory & Essay

Roll Bounce Would Be The Perfect Movie…If Not For One Insignificantly Significant Problem.

I love the movie Roll Bounce. And if you’ve seen it, you probably love it too. It’s lovable. It makes me happy. It’s like sun your wedding day. Its like when somebody offers you a free ride RIGHT before you’re about to pay! Or even like, good advice that you take and it works!

That’s how I feel about Roll Bounce. It’s the perfect coming of age story. You’ve got a bunch of kids on the Southside of Chicago in the late 70s for whom roller skating is their refuge from the boredom of summer vacation. Bow Wow is great as Xavier, the kid whose mother died and whose father has tried to pretend like nothing happened. It has roller skating and who doesn’t love roller skating? It has kids trying to beat the street lights home, a reality so many of us knew in our youths. It has the dozens. It has a character named Sweetness and nods to Good Times. It has Megan Good. And God is good all the time, and all the time Megan Good.

Mike Epps and Charlie Murphy even provide great comic relief as your neighborhood trash collectors and good lawd Kelita Smith is in this movie and she could have all my money. We’ve got disco and Nick Cannon, going by the name B-Nard, doling out wisdom as he picks out his afro. Speaking of which, that transition from the late 70s into the early 80s must have been a confusing time for everybody.

All that to say I love this movie. I will watch it every time it comes on and I own it on DVD. I even named one of my cars Black Sweetness in tribute to Roll Bounce many moons ago. That car was totalled in 2008 (TWO MONTHS BEFORE BEING PAID OFF IN FULL!!!!!) so Black Sweetness never rode again, but we had a good run while it lasted. I’d call this movie perfect if not for one glaring mistake.

There’s a scene after Xavier and his father, Curtis (played by criminally underrated Chi McBride) have their big blowout argument where X smashes his mother’s car that Curtis has been trying to maintain in some sort of memoriam to his dead wife. X is mad that Curtis has been lying to him about having a job and goes ballistic and Curtis realizes how hard things have been for X and his little sister. In the following scene, Curtis is sitting on the couch looking at pictures listening to the Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack song, “For All We Know” while X looks on from the stairs. It’s one of those scenes where after Curtis realizes how hard Xavier has had it since the loss of his mother and Xavier realizes how hard Curtis has taken the loss of his wife.

Quick aside here: I’m a Donny Hathaway enthusiast; stan might be a better word. He is my favorite singer and I own every recording Donny ever attached his name to, though to be fair he isn’t Stevie Wonder or Fela Kuti whose catalogs include dozens of albums. I’ve spent crazy money to get albums shipped from Japan JUST because I needed to have everything that was blessed by Donny. His version of “A Song For You” is one of two songs to have ever brought tears to my eyes (Phyllis Hyman’s “Be Careful (How You Treat My Love)” is the other). I have introduced more people to Donny Hathaway than I could shake a stick at and quite a few of them have personally thanked me for that gift. Point is, where this is Donny, I’m paying attention.

The song, “For All We Know” was a record from the 1972 album Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway. I love this album mostly rfdhbecause of the album cover (it’s got a bunch of handprints all over it) and also for the song “Be Real Black For Me” a song sampled by Scarface for his hit single, “On My Block”. It also includes the song “Where Is The Love” a song that most folks are pretty familiar with.

Well in this aforementioned scene while Curtis is listening to “For All We Know”, the camera pans over the album cover…except its the wrong album. The album that the camera pans over is Donny Hathaway’s 1973 seminal work, Extension Of A Man. The song “For All We Know” is not on this album. I’ve attempted to find a version of this album that contains that song and my search has proven fruitless like an apple tree in the desert. Which I’m pretty sure isn’t a thing. It bugged me the first time I saw this movie and it bugs me every time I watch the movie. I’m always hoping that the next time I see it, the CORRECT album will be shown on screen. I’m always disappointed.

dheoamIn the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a big deal. But its a big deal to me. It irks the shit out of me. Why NOT use the actual album cover if you’re going to imply he’s listening to a song from that particular album? I’ve tried to come up with reasons why that would be the case. Donny’s Extension album was his last solo album and was popular so maybe it was more noteworthy to the general public? I wont even go into the other implausible theories. It really frustrates me because it’s just inaccurate. For no reason. They clearly had the album in order for Curtis to LISTEN to it, WHY NOT SHOW THE RIGHT ALBUM COVER?

These things keep me up at night. Again, in the grand scheme of things, regimes didn’t fall and nobody died. Well, Curtis’s wife and Xavier’s mother died. But nobody else died. Well lots of people have died. But not because of the movie. You get my point. It actually doesn’t matter to the longevity of mankind and it doesn’t diminish the value of the movie which is as lovable now as it was upon its release in 2005. This is unlike my relationship with Bill Simmon’s which took a downward turn after I noticed how inaccurate his hip-hop references were and how excited he was to make these inaccurate hip-hop references almost as if nobody would ever call him on it because his readership had a similar “I know it exists and I’ve heard of Jay Z” relationship with hip-hop that he does. I stopped reading Simmons mostly for those reasons.

Roll Bounce I will never give up because its a movie that makes me happy. It brings utility to my life. I just REALLY want to know why that glaring mistake exists.

Why? Why? And don’t tell me its human nature!

Are there any instances where something would be perfect to you if not for one seemingly insignificant, but ultimately annoying thing? Sharing is caring.

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at

  • meghadon

    Heey! I’m a longtime VSB lurker but I just HAD to chime in on this lol… PET PEEVE: in The Color Purple..when Sofia asks Celie if she wants a dead son-in-law! Harpo was definitely her stepson! I’ve been holding that one in for a while lol ….okay back to lurking

    • panamajackson

      Welcome to the party.

    • Nick Peters

      Someone needs to write a post about all of the inaccuracies in Oprah period pieces

    • TinaBang

      To be fair, Alice Walker is to blame there. That line came directly from the book.

  • This is how I feel whenever I see any film where there’s some mass outbreak of zombiechlamydiaebola and some antidote is “magically” created in a few minutes time. First off, how you creating cures without lab animals and hundreds of tests to see if said antidote is viable in humans? Second, why there ain’t no FDA approval process before it’s given out to the public? Thirdly, why ain’t no lab protocols and procedures being followed?! No one has PPE while they out here handling this so-called disease, lab bench all messy, I call bullshigiddy!!!

    • panamajackson

      That’s a whole lot of reality that you’re looking for in a magical world of make believe isn’t it?


      • I guess folks can’t suspend disbelief any more. I had a roommate back in the day who didn’t understand how Superman flew. Like he needed a scientific explanation for that ish.

      • Can I liveeeee?! Also this still doesn’t explain how they be popping out cures within a day. Do y’all know how long it took to find out that the world was round?!?!?!?

    • PhlyyPhree

      For this reason, I no longer watch horror movies. Like, for real? Oscar is living in a sterotypical hispanic neighborhood and never felt the need to be nosy until the day AFTER he graduates and suddenly finds that the witch that’s been haunting everyone is his MOTHER? Oh. Ok.

    • KB

      Folks is dying off by the millions, aint nobody got time for bureaucratic red tape lol.

    • KB

      SN: That zombiechlamydiaebola sounds like a helluva disease outbreak.

      • Reason 3001 to stay away from Black Bike Week!

        • KB


        • Sigma_Since 93

          I thought I caught something processing the negatives cats were dropping off at the photo lab back in the day and I was no where near Black Bike Week

    • cakes_and_pies

      I feel the same way about crime dramas especially Criminal Minds.
      Who out here giving jurisdiction in 1 hour?
      Why does everyone look like the just came off of vacation all fresh and clear-eyed?
      How is BAU popping up two states over in 30 minutes just in time to shoot the perp?

      • Val

        You think that’s bad? Watch an episode of Blue Bloods. The father is the police commissioner and somehow his detective son gets all the high profile cases in Manhattan. Then his daughter is an assistant D.A. and she somehow prosecutes all of the high profile cases in the city. That show is an exercise in stuff that would never happen.

        • cakes_and_pies

          I know you have to suspend belief at times, but glaring plot holes drive me up the wall.

      • mssporadic

        Criminal Minds fan here: (1) they are invited by the local police so that’s how they get around most of those issues; (2) a lot of the unsubs do something that makes it an automatic federal case (i.e. crossing state lines). I think they explained it in the first couple of seasons.

        • cakes_and_pies

          I still watch Criminal Minds, but somethings it’s like “Is you serious? How are you pulling up dental records, school records, ACT scores, and Favorite playlist on Itunes in 5 seconds creating an UnSub profile in 2?

          • mssporadic

            Well they do have an expert hacker working for them; she did break into the gov’t website (I think that’s how they caught her). I mean if real life hackers can obtain celebrity nudes and Sony emails, then what Garcia does isn’t completely implausible. Also it’s the gov’t, they have our cell phone records at the ready so you know they can get all of that with no problem. It’s one of the few shows I think has addressed the majority of the extreme jumps that they make. I’m in law school and it’s really the only procedural show I can still handle. Sad to have to let Law and Order go.

            • cakes_and_pies

              I had to let L&O go years ago too.

              • gurlgamer05

                I tried to let it go years ago but it keeps brinigng me back, I think it’s the nostalgia factor. I may have to let CSI Cyber go now that I’m studying software development. Nothing they do on that show makes much sense lol.

                • cakes_and_pies

                  When you know what happens in real life, TV reality will drive you crazy.

    • mssporadic

      In the case of an pandemic, epidemic, or other extreme emergencies there are provisions in place to bypass the FDA testing requirements. I think DOD has to approve it, which wouldn’t be difficult in those situations.

      • Lea Thrace

        True but can we wear proper ppe please? The lack of safety glasses and proper gloves just grinds my gears. I cant!

  • eyecande

    Coincidentally, just tonight I noticed they spelled/abbreviated Oklahoma wrong on Mad Men. It was written on a side of a tow truck as “Oakla.” I thought I was trippin so I used the magic of DVR to confirm. I’m from OK, born and raised (but on the farm is not where I spent most of my days – ha), so I found this quite annoying. “Okla” is a Choctaw word meaning red (“humma” = people). It ain’t like we befuddled with oak trees and whatnot. I’ma let Don and ’em still make it though.

    • KB

      My fam used to live in Lawton/Ft. Sill area many moons ago

      • eyecande

        Bless your heart (from what I hear; I have never been).

  • Fellow Donny Hathaway stan and I agree with you. They made an egregious error. In fact, I was listening to “I Love The Lord, He Heard My Cry” last night. What a coincidence.

    • panamajackson

      I just don’t understand why they DIDN’T use the right album cover. If I were ever given the opportunity to ask somebody associated with the movie, I’d need to understand why.

  • I’ve come to terms with the fact that Bill Simmons is a 40 something white dad which ranks at the bottom of coolness power rankings…. Jalen on the the hand… Let’s move on

    Some pet peeves of mine

    The 300 Romans line on black skinhead

    Every “hacker” who thinks they can type fast and bypass any plot hole

    When characters shouldn’t realistically be able to afford their apartments

    I’ve heard 3 songs with Oochie Wally samples in 2015

    Sirens in hip hop songs

    • I don’t get Simmons’ appeal. I tried… In the end I keep trying to use hypnotic suggestion powers that I don’t have to get the people on screen with Simmons to punch him.

      • Nick Peters

        He is the guy you hang out with at a bar…were he used to work and talk about sports with

        • Nah, my get hang out with a bar and talk sports guy couldn’t be that insufferable.

    • All white guys from New England are punchable.

    • panamajackson

      I get his appeal. Or at least I used to. I hate to be “that buy” but it seems like the more famous he’s gotten, the more annoying he’s gotten. He’s still a good writer. I just think he’s taken his megalomania to new heights and Its hard for me to deal with him. And because of said megalomania, he seems to think that because he’s speaking on it, he knows what he’s talking about. And it seems like unless its basketball, football, or baseball, when it deals with the Blacks, he’s wrong. His hip-hop missteps have been egregious. And it irks me to no end.

      • st george doesnt exist

        i still love bill though. He is entertaining writer and well I think he upped espn boring nba coverage overall as that is his thing. I dont miss the jalen and jacoby pod each week. But 6 mill a year. Bill aint got that kind of pull. Im going to miss grantland.

    • KB

      The entire 300 movie was one big historical inaccuracy. They want you to believe that the Spartans killed off waves upon waves of the Persian army before being killed, when in reality it was a f*****g slaughter, I mean not even a contest. I’m talking Stephen Hawking getting in the ring with Mike Tyson in his prime type of mismatch. But hey, that’s Hollywood for you.

      • Nick Peters

        white people and historically accurate are mutually exclusive

        • MzzPeaches

          Word. Cause you can’t tell me that bump “Exodus:God’s and Kings” made any sense with all the Africans being servants and white people being Egyptian royalty.

          • KB

            I hope no one paid money to go see that foolishness

          • st george doesnt exist

            I didnt waste my time on it. I wouldnt watch it for free.

            • MzzPeaches

              Me either. You can’t make me suspend my disbelief enough to accept Sigourney Weaver as a queen of Egypt.

      • DBoySlim

        It was based on a graphic novel so I give them some leeway.

    • MzzPeaches

      “When characters shouldn’t realistically be able to afford their apartments”

      Yes! I’m a HUGE Sex and The City fan, but dammit ain’t noooo way in hell Carrie Bradshaw was able to afford that apt (even if it was rent controlled) in Manhattan off a writers salary (1 column), afford to buy Jimmy Choos, Manolo Blahniks and Louboutins and designer labels. I think a secret plot was her behind was really a high end escort or something.

      • HeyBooHey

        They almost had me with that cuz a rent controlled apartment in Manhattan in the 90s could’ve been manageable. But that one column job Carrie had for damn sure couldn’t pay for an apartment, high-end foot wear and the finest of designer clothing. Carrie was definitely pimpin out her box on the side

      • Mayborn7

        I hate to be “that chick” but it came out in a later season that Carrie was living off her credit, had about $500 to her name in a savings account and couldn’t afford to buy her apt when it went co-op. Charlotte had to sell her engagement ring to loan Carrie the money for the down payment so she wouldn’t be out on the street.

        • miss t-lee

          Yup. Carrie was dead broke.

        • menajeanmaehightower

          Remember when Miranda told her she had $40,000 worth of shoes in her closet but not a dime in the bank?!

          • MzzPeaches

            A hot mess. Carrie used to piss me off to no end with her mess. How you get mad that your friend didn’t offer your broke behind money but you got $40,000 worth of shoes???

          • miss t-lee

            Yup. She was wild financially irresponsible…amongst other things.

        • MzzPeaches

          Well she must have had excellent credit cause she had to be charging everything.

        • MsSula

          That is a fact. Carrie was just living off of credit as a lot of women her age were doing at the time. When it was time to face the music, well she had to…

  • Idris Elba would be perfect (in appearances) if it weren’t for his accent

    Books that would be great but the author makes characters say things that don’t make sense to the profile the author created:

    Ex 1. Having a Black man from Georgia, who was very close to his Black extended family say that he has “never had sweet potato pie”

    Ex 2: Having a bitter ,alpha male ,former athlete say “Oh honey!” to comfort his sister.

    • panamajackson

      You must not read “urban lit” novels much then. Those books are entire exercises in “who the f*ck talks like this” and “this would never happen”.

      • st george doesnt exist

        yes.. so damn true. Throw in tyler perry movies on the list. Especially the male parts.

        • MzzPeaches

          smh…I’m still waiting on my Rick Fox/Shemar Moore/Boris Kodjoe look alike to magically swoop in and love me past my pain and give me a fairytale ending cause I went to church and prayed on it.

          • Ain’t no khaki colored negro coming…. Roll with the winners bae

      • True. A lot of street lit books require complete suspension of disbelief and common sense.

    • Nick Peters

      or like “The Help” where the women loved being maids to the point that when they were unable to their heart broke and they died…

      • MzzPeaches

        That’s why Minnie and that pie are my favorite.

      • The Help is a perfect example of this, I am not a fan of the ode to fried chicken given by Minnie.

  • I’m so mad at myself for just discovering Donny Hathaway 2ish months ago. I literally had to put his entire discography on my phone after hearing him because his music is absolutely perfect.

    Aquemini would be perfect if it wasn’t for how Witchdoctor pronounces “Mamicita” on the track Mamicita. It is one of the most grating pronunciations to have ever entered my ears in my entire life.

    • “Mamicita” and “Slump” are so dope.

      • I can’t get over how Mamicita is pronounced. It’s so horrible. I have no idea why they decided this track should make the final cut.

    • panamajackson

      That reminds me of T.I.’s “Why You Wanna” off the King album, where at the end, all of the music drops out and he says, “IS YOU HAPPY?”

      Thing is, coming from TI, saying it properly actually sounds worse. I wrote an entire post about this many moons ago but I think the Internet ate it.

      • FYI: Some of the skits in between Biggie cuts were hilarious.

        • miss t-lee

          You mean, cringeworthy?

          • Cringeworthy is probably the best and most apt description of Biggie’s body of work in retrospect. Arguably the most talented rapper to ever touch a microphone, but listening to a lot of his albums is TOUGH in 2015.

            • miss t-lee

              Yeah no.
              I was talking about the skits, but good try.

      • OMG that line was the sexiest thing that nicca could do ever.

        country swag is the best swag and I WAIT for that line to come. ahem.

  • Oh and I thought of another one….

    I don’t see it for album skits… Fight me

    • PhlyyPhree

      Bruh. WHET?
      We need a resolution…and counseling. You have GOT to be kidding me? Album skits, when done right are freaking beautiful

      • Few have replay value… Like I don’t need to hear generic Latina moaning for 15 seconds

    • Sorry you don’t listen to Redman.

    • MzzPeaches

      Outkast has THE best skits, ever. In life. Period.

      That Kim & Cookie skit off Stankonia blesses my whole entire soul every time I hear it.

      • miss t-lee


  • Dougie

    People get paid a lot of money (well, a nice sum of money that allows them to continue to overpay their LA rent) to fact check things like this is TV and movies. Somebody (let’s call him Jamie Lannister) dead ass might have lost a contract because of that mistake.

    So feel better Panama. Not because that album cover will ever change, but because Jamie Lannister has probably paid his debt.

    • panamajackson

      Fair enough. I just can never understand how something so simple like that happens. How many people watched it before it was finalized and NOBODY said, “hey, that song wasn’t on that album…guys, I think we got the wrong album cover.” AGAIN…THEY HAD THE ALBUM. It seems like it had to be done on purpose, unless somebody put the album in the wrong album cover and NOBODY ever thought to look at it.

  • Letitia – TeachingClass

    I normally lurk, but this one pulled me out.

    I can’t stand period pieces where the women have perfectly groomed 2015 eyebrows, a la “A Raisin in the Sun” remake with Diddy and Sanaa.

    Commit. Grow them out.

    • panamajackson

      That is a very good point.

    • laddibugg

      Well, I mean tweezers have been around for a minute, if anything they should have over plucked brows….

      • Letitia – TeachingClass

        That’s true, but still. I’m not saying bush brows, but they weren’t doing the perfect arches. Tweezers being around don’t give threaded perfection. There’s a difference.

        • Maybe the ancient Egyptians???

          • Letitia – TeachingClass

            Touché. But they weren’t in Harlem.

        • laddibugg

          They’ve been doing threading too for a milena lol , or that’s what they tell me at the salons. I think it’s more that styles changed, and the current trend just looks out of place in period pieces.

      • Amber

        Yeah my grandmother plucked and arched(using a sharp razor) her eyebrows so much that in her old age she never had to do it because they were basically permanently arched at that point. People found a way even with limited tools to arch those brows.

        • Letitia – TeachingClass

          I get that. I’m just saying, their eyebrows don’t match the shape that ACTUAL PEOPLE living in the time period would have. How do you have 60s/70s clothes and 2015 eyebrows?

    • ishallcomeforthas

      Was definitely an issue in Django…. ALL the women had eyebrows #OnFleek…

      • Letitia – TeachingClass

        Yep. That one bothered me too.

More Like This