Why I Really Don’t Want To See The Best Man Holiday (…Even Though I Probably Will)

Really?

Every several months or so for the past few years, a rumor will circulate about The Wire returning to the screen. Sometimes the rumor is about a possible 6th season. Sometimes it’s about a three or four episode mini-series coming to HBO. Sometimes it’s even about a possible major motion picture adaptation.

Usually, these rumors will have no basis in reality. Someone read something where someone said that they overheard David Simon say something about a grown-up Namond,” and after a couple rounds of the telephone game that turns into “The Wire is coming back!!!”

Naturally, since everyone who’s ever been within 125 yards of me knows my feelings about The Wire, whenever one of these rumors pops up, I’ll get a couple excited emails or texts from someone who thinks they’re about to tell me the best news I’ve ever heard. I mean, I am the person who once said…

“If I were single and season 4 of The Wire were a woman, I would literally drink her bathwater…after she just ran a marathon…while on her period. (I know)”

…so of course I’d be giddy about reuniting with Michael, Marlo, McNulty and the rest of my Baltimore-based buddies.

Except, no.

As much as I loved The Wire, there are no parts of me that wants to see a remake, rehash, or reunion. It had its five season run, it ended, and, well, it ended. I spent enough time with those characters and that cityI already drank my The Wire cup of tea. It was great. So great that I’m content to let it sit in my stomach instead of attempting to regurgitate it and drink it again. 

And, if I’m thirsty again, I’ll just get a different drink.

This feeling isn’t unique to The Wire. I don’t mind sequels, repeats, and retreads when it comes to action movies that are more about the franchise than the character (The Dark Knight, The Bourne Identity, etc), fantasies (Star Trek, The Matrix, etc), or sprawling stories that need multiple installments to be told (The Hunger Games, The Godfather, etc), but when it comes to character-driven stories, once the story is done, I’m done with them.

And yes, although The Best Man Holiday may actually be a great movie, that story and those characters were done 14 years ago (Yes. 14 years ago. You are officially old as the fuck.), and I don’t want to drink no 14 year old cup of tea.

But some of you do. And, I don’t understand this.

And, please don’t give me any shit about “I’m just happy to see Black faces on screen” and “I gotta support our people” and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. The buzz over this movie has nothing to do with that and everything to do with our depressing tendency to wallow in nostalgia. You don’t want to see this movie to see Taye Diggs or Sanaa Lathan or Wet Wipes Howard. You’d just rather hold on to 14 year old characters and stories instead of inventing and investing in new ones.

But while you might reunite with these characters, you won’t reunite with the person you were in 1999—which is what you’re really trying to do. We don’t want throwbacks. We want to be thrownback. And we need to stop doing that. You’re not the same person, this isn’t the same world, and…there’s nothing wrong with that. Shit happens. More shit happens. People grow. You grew too. The world is not stopping for any of us. 1999 will never happen again. Fortunately, as much as some of us want to vice grip the past, 2014 hasn’t happened yet. It (probably) will. And you might even like it if you give it a chance. But you need to give it a chance. Try something new.

That said, I’ll probably end up seeing the movie eventually. For no other reason than when The Best Man Retirement Community comes out in 2027, I’ll need some points of reference if I decide to write about it.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Who I’m Iz In 5 Karakters Or Less…

1330010904_35icj4It’s Friday. And on Friday at VSB we try to have a little bit of fun around here. Well, a few days ago I made a few references to the movie Class Act which starred Kid and Play. I’ve long been associated with Kid. I always get told that I look like him, which I’m totally on the fence about. But real talk, I can totally associate with Kid’s character in the House Party movies. I didn’t have an overbearing comedian father who died and went to heaven in part two of my life story, but we are both lightskint.

Well, this got me to thinking, what five characters in movies or television shows, or whatever, would encompass the greatness that is Panama Jackson. And there’s a lot of greatness here to encompass.

So here’s my shot at picking characters that I think would best make up moi, Panama Dontavious Jackson.

1. Harper Stewart (The Best Man)

Minus admitting to be a b*tch a**, Harp was an ole writing arse ninja who put too much of his business out there for world consumption and paid for it dearly.  He almost got thrown from a roof. That’s never happened to me as I’m not Vanilla Ice (even if it is a myth I find it hilarious), but the writing and putting it all out there is similar. I’ll take the Oprah shoutout but you know she ain’t caaaaaaallll me? Anyway, Harp’s on my list.

2. Andre “Dre” Ellis (Brown Sugar)

I promise I won’t make this a Taye Diggs-a-thon. But Dre was the hiphop dude who got caught up in trying to keep it real while trying to keep it profitable. Hello, VSB? Constant struggle. Granted, I feel like his hiphop knowledge was a bit fugazi and mine is extensive as a ninja rocking Extenze with a Swedish penis pump, but thats just splitting hairs.

3. Preston Meyers (Can’t Hardly Wait)

I was the quintessential guy everybody knew who was pining away for the girl who had no clue I existed back in high school. Though thats not completely true. I had a girlfriend. I just shouldn’t have. But I did have a crush on a girl back then. And she ain’t care. But I was a cool kid and everybody knew me. The stoners loved my theories. The skaters loved my wheels. The black folks were my friends and the white folks respected my intellect. I was cooler than you. Word to the guy who sings that song.

4. Steve Urkel (Family Matters)

Hopeless romantic with a good heart extraordinaire. And the killer glasses and suspenders set. Not in 2013. But in 1995? Awwww…that’s me.

5. Will Smith (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)

I was never really a Theo. I was more Will. But Will who applied himself in class and school. But even now. I’m cool as a fan but goofy as all get out. Goofy in the…well I don’t know how to describe it fully, I just know that in my own estimation, I feel like i matchup well with Will Smith from the Fresh Prince. I could be lying to myself, but now I’m lying to you all too.

So those are 5 characters that I feel help make up the essence of Panama Jackson. Who makes up the essence of you? And why? Share with us like you are Brother Numpsey.

It’s Friday. Happy weekending.

Somebody’s birthday is Monday.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

Characters Who Need Spin-Offs

(Today we have a guestposter, Morgan Collins, who I came across via Twitter amid a conversation/debate we were having about Black movies. Please welcome her to the podium with a soul clap.)

tyrone-biggums1Every now and then, a movie or TV show will have a supporting character that keeps our attention as much as the lead does. Here are a few characters I wish we could see more of in their own spin-off or sequel.

Roger from Sister Sister

After Tia and Tamera got boyfriends, went to GA Southern, and turned into some freaks, I still wonder what happened to annoying next-door neighbor Roger Evans? Yes, Marques Houston, the real-life Roger and Jaleel White’s half-brother, if you believe the Internet, went on to work on a solo music career with mild success, but what I still need the type of closure that a singing cameo on the show’s finale episode couldn’t provide. The first revamp of the Roger character that comes to mind is a show in which he helps police catch criminals using the advanced stalking techniques he groomed while living next to the twins, but more lighthearted fare would be better. No, Roger’s show would revolve around his relationship consulting business. Grown-up Roger, after trying to forget has mackless past, now helps other unlucky lovers–with the occasional slip-up. Har-dee-har-har!!!

Gerald from Hey Arnold!

Though Arnold was the coolest 4th grader, Gerald Martin Johansen was a close second, and even the second coolest 4th grader deserves his own show. Why? In addition to being a confidant and wing-man to Arnold, Gerald was the glue to kid culture in his role as the Keeper of the Tale (maybe a tribute to Are You Afraid of the Dark?). Just a little bit of bongo playing and Gerald would recite all of the legends of the hood with a flair deserving of a half-hour show. Imagine a mystery-adventure show in which the legends come to life as crimes. Gerald, the only person who knows the legends like the back of his hand, is forced to solve them and the save the day without messing up his (super) high-top fade.

Tyrone Biggums from Chappelle’s Show

It’s been 10 years since Chappelle’s Show and seven years since the show abruptly ended after host Dave Chappelle’s received a fame reality check. And yet dudes still dress up as Tyrone Biggums for Halloween and sometimes just for an ultra casual Casual Friday. Though Chappelle had many great skits, a few I would argue that are better than the Tyrone series, this loveable crackhead still resonates with us, which is why Tyrone deserves his own feature-length movie. It may seem hard to imagine Tyrone being able to have the desire to do anything that lasts up to 90 minutes other than smoking rock, but as many an episode has shown us, if you give a crackhead the possibility of some rock, he’ll ask you for some hot sauce. Tyrone’s Excellent Adventure would be in the vein of National Treasure, only instead of money, there’s a giant, mythical crack rock hidden in an exotic locale. A repentant fellow crack addict passes on the Legend of the Golden Rock to Tyrone, who sets out on an adventure around the world to find this elusive treasure. Before he can reach it, he has to battle the toughest crackheads in the world and his own inner demons, brought out by his would-be Narcotics Anonymous sponsor played by Andre Royo, AKA Bubbles from The Wire, in an amazing cameo.

Daughter of a Son of a Gunfighter from Django Unchained

Most of the conversation surrounding Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained was about whether it was too racist, too long, or too anachronistic. This thought-provoking dialogue surely made for dozens of well-written pieces of film criticism. But with all this heavy analysis most people skipped over Amber Tamblyn’s brief cameo as the Daughter of a Son of a Gunfighter AKA That Girl In the Bandana. You probably missed this too if you took a quick nap around the time Django was having a good ol’ country shopping spree. Her character’s name is a little long-winded but not the product of a Tarantino cocaine-induced writing binge. Tamblyn’s father, actor Russ Tamblyn, made several westerns for MGM, including Son of a Gunfighter, in which Tamblyn Sr. seeks revenge for his mother’s death. Supposedly intended as an inside joke for Western fans, this was a failed opportunity for an interesting character. It’s not surprising in a movie where all attempts at developing complex female characters were as half-hearted as throwing a tampon into a flood. To make up for this, and to give a job to an actress whose talents are severely underrated, Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants notwithstanding, Tarantino could develop a Daughter of a Son of a Gunfighter TV show. The setup? Think Deadwood meets Xena. The Son of a Gunfighter is on his deathbed, and he needs his daughter to settle some unfinished business, and of course the Daughter will be able to fill his gun holster.

So, what other characters do you think should have a spin-off?

-MORGAN COLLINS

A graduate of The University of Florida, Morgan Collins writes about TV and film at www.nostoryboard.wordpress.com Soon she’ll learn how to write movies and TV shows as a graduate student at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. She currently lives in Brooklyn. Follow her on Twitter as @mashclash.

Most Iconic Black Movie Characters (Post-Blaxploitation)

This guy.

If there’s one thing I love in life it’s Black movies. I can’t get enough. I like it, I love, I want more of it. It’s like that. In fact, my Netflix queue is full of movies that most people don’t know exist, and largely for good reason. But me? Naw, I want to see more productions by people who are just trying to create riveting entertainment that will stand the test of time.

Now, most directors and movies fail horribly at creating anything worth remembering, much less seeing again. However, they’re all chasing that elusive goal of creating a piece of art that inspires ripples through the community through development of characters and story lines that impact our lives. So with that in mind – and as I hope to one day create one of these movies – I created a list of the 10 most iconic Black movie characters, post blaxpoitation. You may disagree with a few of these, but that’s what makes for good television. Well, actually today what makes for good television is crazy women talking about who shook the table and what not. And pure ratchetness. But that’s another talk show. Moving on…here’s the definitively debatable list of characters that have changed your life.

Allons-y.

1. Darius Lovehall (Love Jones)

This character has single-handedly ruined more relationships than any other on this list. Ever since Love Jones (the quintessential educated ninja Black movie) dropped, every. single. woman. has wanted to date a man like Darius. You know the guy…actually you don’t, because he doesn’t exist. He’s the perfect mix of intelligence and cool and artiness and focus and hell, everything. And the ninja makes omelets. Who can compete with that? Yeah, he’s #1.

2. Madea (The Tyler Perry Suite)

Did this ninja Panama lose his mind?? No, he didn’t and suck my left toe. Like it or love it, Madea is iconic. Nobody said this individual had to be positive or negative. But Tyler Perry wasn’t no fool. He created a character that nearly EVERYBODY knows, white or Black, who either makes people cringe in disgust or laugh in understanding. My parents love Madea. I hate Madea. If that isn’t success, I don’t know what is. Anyway, we all know somebody like Madea and she’s invaded our consciousness. Sucks for us.

3. Nina Mosley (Love Jones)

This may or may not be accurate, while Darius Lovehall is THE Black movie character and sh*t, Nina was more or less a siren for his intricacies. She allowed us the ability to get to know him as the unicorn that he is. I don’t know that she truly shined as anything more than a muze. But any muze that could create the most beloved Black male in history right after MLK and Malcolm X…and Obama, well, she deserves some credit as being written and created perfectly for him. It helped that Nia Long had that one scene where she wasn’t wearing a bra and sitting in the window. I haven’t watched this movie in years and I remember that vividly.

4. Smokey (Friday)

Not sure anything has to be said here. I mean, it’s Smokey. He was the most outrageous character in an outrageous movie with more one liners than Mitt Romney impersonating a presidential candidate. His energy alone made him an automatic mainstay in quotables and our consciousness. Plus, he let us know that Red was going to cry in the car AND that he had mind control over Debo…two lines that I used to hear weekly in conversations with white people studying to become friars.

5. O’Dog (Menace II Society)

That damn Larenz Tate sure was diverse. He’s both the most beloved and one of the most concerning characters in Black movie history. O’Dog was “young, Black, and just didn’t give a f*ck” and had the nerve to almost curse in religious household. While we were afraid of his potential, we also respected him…especially for telling Kaine not to be “actin’ like a little ho” when it was time to put in work. He was the originator of the true Cali Swag district.

6. Nino Brown (New Jack City)

He probably could go to the top 2, but whatever. Nino Brown is one of THE scariest ninjas on the planet because he had only money on his mind to detriment of all else. Hell, he’s the impetus for three Lil Wayne album titles. A movie from 1991 made its presence felt in the late 2000s (never mind that Lil Wayne’s last name is Carter). Plus, I’ve been telling ninjas to cancel motherf*ckers ever since. Nino Brown was not his brother’s keeper. Well, at least not after he had to kill him.

7. Bishop (Juice)

He could probably be #1 on most lists of most iconic. Tupac played the HELL out of this role. So much so that we learned he was never in character; he WAS Bishop. He was crazy. And he didn’t give a f*ck. And for worse, a lot of young Black men could relate. That hightop step fade he had was a bad look though.

8. Doughboy (Boyz N The Hood)

Of all the characters in Boyz N The Hood, the only two that truly mattered were Dough and the cop that hated Black people. Ricky and Trey were cool, but Ricky’s best shot at iconic was getting shot, and I live in DC. That happens all the time. But Dough was a conflicted character who was struggling with his moral compass and just wanted love, you know while he wasn’t out there doing dumb sh*t. But those thug tears when he shot the ninja that killed Ricky? That was poetic. Plus he delivered the most significant lines in Black movie history: “either they don’t know, don’t show, or just don’t care about what goes on in the hood.” Classico.

9. Marcus Graham (Boomerang)

Okay, this list makes no sense. Because he could totally be #2 or #3 and I have him at #9. Reason being? Somehow I forgot that Boomerang even existed despite it being one of my favorite movies. I suck. So what? But Marcus Graham is THE man. Until he isn’t. And then is again once he learns how to be his true self and find happiness in the heart of a woman. Yadda yadda, he was who 90 percent of us envisioned being before Darius told us we all needed to become poets. Forget the corporate job, let’s all get notebooks!

10. Celie & Mister (The Color Purple)

Controversial double pick here, but seriously, them ninjas  – hell the whole cast of this movie needs its own article – are the shining of example of life gone wrong and making both the best and worst out of the hand your dealt. Plus, Mister forced Celie to become the woman with “the fingers”.

Alright, that’s my list. What say you? And who do you think are the most iconic Black movie characters??

The floor is open.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka MR. THESE MOVIES BE ACTIN’ UP aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3