Five Ways Black Movies Can Do Better

Um, yeah.

“…while there have been quite a few entertaining Black movies produced in the last decade or so, the only ones that would be categorized as “very good” or “great” in the same way a “Boyz n the Hood” or a even a “Devil in a Blue Dress” would be are films like “Precious” that deal with subjects so unrelentingly heavy and depressing that moviegoers should watch them with buckets of hot buttered Zoloft instead of popcorn.”

This quote is from “Three Ways That Black Movies Can Do Better,” an article published at Ebony.com yesterday that discusses how the best term to describe the Black movies made in the last decade or so is “instantly forgettable,” and lists some things that can be done to reverse this trend.

And, while I think the three things I listed (1. Bring The Sexy Back, 2. Chill With All The Church Scenes, and 3. Hire Angela Nissel) represent a good, safe start, my word count limit and the fact that, for obvious reasons, I can’t be as, um, “colorful” as I want to be when writing there limited what I was able to say…and how I was able to say it.

Today, here’s the rest of what I would have said yesterday if I wasn’t strong-armed by the Team Ebony Drop Squad.¹

4. Chill With The Got Damn Positive F*cking Messages All The Damn Time

Two of the three best Black movies I’ve seen in the last decade² both had cameos from numerous porn stars and strippers, both revolved around pimps who did some truly effed up things during the course of the movie, both dealt with a seedy urban underworld, and both featured dozens of hilariously misogynistic, racist, and homophobic jokes. And while “Black Dynamite” and “Hustle & Flow” were entirely different types of movies, part of what made them as entertaining as they were was the fact that they reveled in and had fun with some very “unpositive” subject matter. Yet, despite the fact that they were both good movies that featured numerous working Black people, neither got anywhere near the guilt-trip marketing push that “positive” or “important” movies like “Red Tails” usually receive.

I understand why Black filmmakers may feel burdened to always have some type of positive message in their movies. Generally speaking, we (Black film goers) are some thin-skinned motherf*ckers who will think nothing of creating a petition to protest anything less than an onscreen depiction of a “Black life” that never actually existed.

Still, despite the inevitable push back from the Black Blog Tea Party, I think there’s enough of us who don’t necessarily need to have positive and/or message-laden shit pushed down our throats to have a good time at the movies, and I think we’re ready for some Black filmmakers to start having some more quality and ratchet fun.

5. More Nicole Beharie

I don’t believe in the Illuminati, but I do believe that there’s a secret Black society led by Steadman Graham (Why Steadman? Because he doesn’t have shit else do to.) that forces each burgeoning Black producer or director to cast either Paula Patton, Taraji P. Henson, or Meagan Good in their movies. I know it seems far-fetched, but it has to be the only reason why one of those three chicks has been in every single Black movie made in the past eight years.

I know secret societies love them some fresh blood to hold their ceremonies with, so why not cast Beharie in one of those roles? She’s hot, she’s talented, she’s wicked smart, and, wait…did I mention how hot she is?

Anyway people of VSB.com, what do you think needs to happen to make Black movies less damn forgettable? What additions or subtractions would you make if you were Black Movie Czar for a day?

¹Just to be clear, I realize there are a ton of indie Black films that would definitely qualify as quality and entertaining. Today though, I’m more focused on major motion pictures. 
²The third movie? “Akeelah and the Bee”

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

***For all the folks in the DC area, this Saturday, April 7, from 930pm-3am at Liv Nightclub (11th and U Street, NW) is another edition of #REMINISCE, the party dedicated to all 90s everything brought to you by VSB, Shine On Me, and Just Cause Events. It’s FREE BEFORE 11 w/RSVP (reminiscedc.eventbrite.com), a Courvoisier sponosred open bar from 930-1030pm, and no dress code! It’s cheaper to come out and party. Last month’s party was OFF THE HINGES! Somebody shook my hand when they left and just said, “Thanks P, for throwing this party…” <—- not lying. So come and make it do what it do this Saturday at Reminisce!***

Just Wright! Makes Sense To Me

In the next few weeks, the movie Just Wright starring Common, Queen Latifah, and Paula Patton will be hitting your local theaters. It’s a story about an NBA All-star who is dating a beautiful chick (Patton) who drops him when he gets hurt and ends up falling for his physical therapist (All hail the Queen) while she rehabs him back into shape and the chick that dropped him shows back up and I assume that he must choose and they fight and lots of Black people get acting jobs that don’t include a check from Tyler Perry.

At least that’s my take based on the trailer and promo campaign. And yes, Virginia, you have seen this movie before in some various format; it just had a different title. It looks to be a fairly good movie aside from the sheer unbelievability of Common as an NBA All-Star, much less an actual basketball player. No dis to Com Sense, but he doesn’t even look remotely athletic to me, but perhaps I’ll be wrong. Though I’m oft amazed at the people they cast in sports roles without any real athletic ability. That’s why I appreciated Duane Martin in say, Above The Rim, because he could actually play, and you could tell as opposed to say, Fredro Starr, in Sunset Park.

Anyway, I’ve yet to see the movie so I can’t really comment on it being good, bad, or ugly. No Kanye. But I have had a few conversations with various women about the possibility of Common’s character falling in love with Queen Latifah’s character and to me, it makes perfect sense.

Quick sidenote: Casting Queen Latifah as the unlikely catch is usually puzzling for me. It’s more based on her being bigger (and she’s not even THAT big) than it is on her being unattractive or anything. For the record, I don’t think she’s ugly at all. Put Precious in that role and NOW you have a real underdog story.

Perfect sense. That’s what it made to me. And that’s for a very simple reason: all you need to fall for somebody is time and opportunity. That’s it. It’s the very reason so many women end up dating really unfortunate faced funny guys. The dude charmed the pants of them. Literally. It’s also the reason, subconsciously, why women shoo so many guys away from them quickly. It takes literal seconds to say something to make somebody smile. And once you make a woman smile she’ll give you the chance again and again and again until she’s smiling in the kitchen making you pancakes wearing only an apron…and a smile.

Time (keeps on slippin) and opportunity. Nas needed one mic. Men (and women really) just need time and opportunity. In this movie, Common and Queen La are working together out of necessity. He needs a therapist and she’s one. They are forced to interact. They will spend enough time around eachother to discover something that makes them go hmmmmmmm (no Freedom). Even the most unfortunate faced of us could be charming enough to make a really attractive person consider you as a partner. Please not the “consider” in italics. Let’s face it, a lot of us would talk ourselves right out of dating a Mudduck McGooface really quickly but we’d be shaken because we were even interested in the first place.

Common and Latifah is TOTALLY believable because they had a chance to really get to know one another with no pressure. Neither was looking for more in each other so all communication and dealings were honest – the cornerstone of a real relationship.

Or at least until a fine humdinger of a woman shows back up. But I won’t let a simple thing like that ruin my main point here.

And what’s that?

Simple.

If you look like f*ck, you should work in the service industry to maximize interactions with people. The more people you deal with the better your chances of snagging somebody.

It was written.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL, HE A 3