This movie is everything I was looking for when I saw that pitiful movie "Django." Instead of rewriting history because it's not interesting enough to a creator, you base the film on a true story and maybe incorporate some humor and a small amount of make believe. I'd never heard of Chadwick Boseman although he's been in a bunch of TV roles, but he did an excellent job playing Jackie Robinson in this film. I watched him on "Windy City Live" and was a bit skeptical about whether he could pull it off, but I loved him in this role. He knew when to be charming, when to be annoyed, when to be at his absolute boiling point, when to laugh and when to cry. I was talking to my grandfather yesterday about an episode of "House of Payne," and he said, "You know an actor's good when his facial expressions can do all that without him talking." That's how I felt about Boseman. Even when he was silent, the audience had the opportunity to read the thoughts going on in his mind (or at least assume them).
Been a minute but the past few weeks have been a few hair-pullers and a lot of laughs. This time around I could probably fill up 15 LOL moments but I'll stick to "head nods of approval." Let's go.
1. My godsister getting married: I won't say her name on this blog, but I almost ended up in another lane of traffic while I was on the phone and found out she sent a photo wearing a wedding ring. I saw her wedding photos this week on Facebook and stole plenty of them. Is it stealing if you let the bride know you did it? Probably not. She got married in the Bahamas, and the background was beautiful. It was great seeing my godsisters all dressed up and watching the bride-to-be seal the deal with her boyfriend (now husband). I'm extremely happy for her and looking forward to her party next month.
2. "G.I. Joe Retaliation": I loved that movie. Click here to read my movie review.
3. "Tyler Perry's Temptation": Folks were mad about this movie. I was not. Click here to read my review.
4. Cracking jokes with Mom at a movie theater: This is one of those had-to-be-there stories, but she asked me for some lotion while we were sitting in a movie theater. I gave her a high-five instead and she started rubbing her hands together. It took her a minute to realize that I gave her a high-five with the hand with no lotion on it. We both laughed way too loud and long. We ended up with the giggles so bad I thought the guy behind us was going to move into another row, but eventually we got ourselves under control before the previews started.
5. Watching my grandfather do the Truckin' dance: I would say he's got that Denzel/Sam Jackson swag, but he's 89 so his cool was around before they were even born! And whenever he is in a dancing mood, it's a treat. I've got a couple videos of him dancing with my father and one he recently did on his own while we were in his living room. He gets it in! I love it. I know he was never on the dance floor alone during his pre-married days.
Update 4/24/2013: I couldn't be more baffled by folks who enjoyed that horrific movie "Django" but are mad at L.L. Cool J. One completely rewrote history and did a terrible job of it. The other actually acknowledged our history but wants to get past the finger pointing. You want to see a film that's accurate and amazing? See "42," "Roots" or "Queen."
I bought Brad Paisley's CD and it came yesterday. I listened to this song nonstop the whole way home. I still stand by the blog I wrote below, but I do understand the venom coming at L.L. Cool J. I think if he'd have challenged himself to not do end rhyme and revert back to '80s and '90s rap, his point would've been much better. I also think that another hip-hop artist should've done the track. Anybody seen Yasiin Bey? But I just can't see being more mad about someone justifying wearing a Confederate flag than I can see Nas and Kelis walking around with outfits on that say "nigga" or Ludacris in a full Confederate flag outfit, and we're just cool with it. I'm still amazed at the amount of people I have to check for thinking I'm going to be cool with you calling someone a nigga. It's never cool. If we want to honor history, then we're all equally responsible.
But giving rappers poetic license and defending them for Freedom of Speech but then lambasting another artist for the same thing? I can't agree to it. And at least these two guys' messages was to come together and try to unite regardless of our ugly history. Some of the songs I've heard on the radio over the years have been nothing but ratchet lyrics doing their best to make sure we hate ourselves and everybody else. I'm still sticking to my guns on being a Brad Paisley fan. L.L.? I really wish you'd do a remix and rewrite all of your lyrics, especially the "iron chain" verse. As far as Brad Paisley, the 13th Amendment passed, but that didn't stop Jim Crow, racial profiling, police brutality, Black Wall Street destruction, projects construction and then deconstruction, gentrification, etc. But on that same note, I'm not about to blame everybody by complexion shade for the actions of those who are primarily long gone. I still say the song had very good intentions. It just needed a workshop group to say, "Good idea but get back to the writing board."
Original blog starts here: Yesterday was my first introduction to "Accidental Racist" by Brad Paisley, but I've been a fan of his music for a couple years now. I've heard every song he's released since "Who Needs Pictures" and a bunch of his songs are on my Pinterest "Songs I'll Never Get Tired Of" folder. So when I heard about a "racist" "failure" song he put out, I was thinking, "Are we talking about the same country artist who made 'Welcome to the Future' and sang for Pres. Obama at the White House?" Hell, the last time I heard an artist reference Rosa Parks in a song, it was Outkast and she was a bit annoyed about it. (I love Outkast, by the way.) All the videos for the song had been taken down so I read the lyrics of the song repeatedly trying to find the part that was so offensive. I was never offended. Then today I jump on Twitter and saw another rampage going on about the song and how L.L. is rapping about how we should forget the history of slavery. I won't lie to you. I'm not a fan of the song. The beat is a bit clumsy. The chorus could use some work. The lyrics definitely required a completely rewrite. But you and I both know the theme of the song was to not judge people solely based on looks. We can dissect all the lyrics, but you knew that's the goal both artists were going for.
Now they knew the song would be controversial and judging from their interview on "Good Morning America" they were prepared for a bit of a backlash, but what blows me away is not the song but too many people who are mad at the song. Here's why.
I'm not a big action film fan (minus the "Bourne" films), but I'm a huge supporter of both Channing Tatum and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson so I saw this film solely to check them out. I am not a fan of spoilers but one particular scene left me disappointed and that's the reason why this movie got 4.5 instead of 5 stars. Those who have seen the film can pretty much guess why from those first couple of sentences. I enjoyed this film. It had plenty of jokes, action, fun fighting tricks, impressive weapons and a lot of deceit. There were points in the film where I wondered "Will the bad guys win or lose?" because of a scene early in the film that proved this film was not going to be as predictable as I thought it would.
I avoid spoilers in my reviews, but it's almost impossible to do this without saying why I appreciated the movie. So don't read anything in blue because it's all SPOILERS. But before I do that, let's get this out of the way. Tyler Perry pretty much sticks to the same formula and plot for every movie. Someone is either molested, raped or attacked (sometimes 2 out of 3 or all three), there's a drug user, someone is thinking of cheating or did cheat, someone is pretty loud and obnoxious telling jokes and there will be model-pretty/handsome people included who show skin. This movie was no different. So if you're mad at this film because it fit this formula, you should've stopped watching Tyler Perry movies and plays long ago.
I wanted to see the film because I'm a long-time supporter of Jurnee Smollett-Bell (favorite film of hers is "Great Debaters" but I liked her in lighter films like "Roll Bounce" and still remember her sitcom with the rest of her siblings). I also think Lance Gross is absolutely gorgeous, enjoyed him on "House of Payne" and admired him for keeping his word to his fans. I had zip zero interest in Kim Kardashian's role in the film but I wasn't mad she was in the film either. I just didn't care.
The previews of the film leave no room for wondering what the plot is about. The wife Judith (Smollett-Bell) feels left out and isn't getting enough attention from her husband Brice (Gross). Meanwhile a rich start-up technology client Harley (Robbie Jones) comes along and makes her wonder if the grass is greener on the other side. Meanwhile a new retail employee Melinda (Brandy Norwood) is hired at Brice's pharmacy and has a checkered past. Whatever you think her checkered past is will probably be true. Now watch these folks mingle.
It never fails. Every year when I participate in Earth Hour, I always end up doing it longer than an hour. I'm considering making Earth Hour monthly instead of annually because it's an opportunity for me to get a bunch of writing and reading done without the electronic distractions I usually zone in on (TIVO, notebook computer, Smartphone, etc.). I could spend hours on end messing around with my Web site and if I ever open my work e-mail on the weekends, that's my day...gone. With that said:
1. Earth Hour 2013: I love participating. I enjoy going green, recycling and participating in organizations that help with the environment. I haven't totally given up on purchasing a hybrid car, but I love my ride too much to give it up.
2. Paying off my car note: Speaking of cars, clicking on the "Payoff Quote" and paying off my car note in full made me want to scream to the top of my lungs at 3 a.m. While running errands this weekend, I got my car washed and just stared at it. Paying off a note for a new car is an expensive task. Once you do it, you'll either think: "Is it worth all this? Do I even still like this car?" or "Hallelujah, finally money to set aside for other stuff." I thought the latter, and looking at my shiny car made me love it more!
Heads up, lights off! Earth Hour 2013 is this Saturday at 8:30 p.m. I'm participating. Are you? Feel free to check out my blogs on what I did in 2010 and 2011. I was banned from people's homes for walking in and unplugging all of their stuff (ha, ha, ha) so last year I brought in Earth Day on my own. In 2012, I did a lot of journal writing, caught up on some reading and appreciated plenty of Cheddar Chex Mix. See photo below.
Hollywood almost always misses the boat on movies that can make a change in people's perception. I'm not sure why this movie was not promoted like it should've been. Could've been a money issue or it could've been what it usually is -- Hollywood telling moviegoers what they want to see versus us proving the types of movies we'd like to see more of. Clearly "Unconditional" falls in the latter category for me. I didn't have a clue this movie even released, and the only reason I found out was because I follow Michael Ealy on Twitter and saw a retweet. I got the movie On Demand after not being patient enough to wait for it on my Netflix queue. It's worth the money.
Michael Ealy plays Papa Joe Bradford, a young man who has two failed kidneys, a prison record for stealing $200 but who graduated at the top of his class in college. His childhood best friend Samantha Crawford (played by Lynn Collins) is an artist who is struggling to mentally survive after the murder of her husband Billy Crawford (played by Diego Klattenhoff). Samantha doesn't know who killed her husband, only that a red clothing item was left behind and she's hell bent on finding the killer, whether it's through her drawings or snooping into the projects.
And her snooping leads her to meet two children, Macon (played by Kwesi Boakye) and Keisha (Gabriella Phillips) in two unfortunate situations at the same time.
I don't go to movie theaters only to see good-looking people, but checking out Morris Chestnut (one of my Pinterest "50 Sexiest Men") and Halle Berry (absolutely beautiful) on the big screen together sure doesn't hurt. And whoa! David Otunga (Jennifer Hudson's fiancé, also unfortunately nicknamed Punk from reality dating show "I Love New York") looks outstanding in this film with his new fit figure and low cut. But good-looking people cannot carry a movie if the movie is not good. Fortunately for me, "The Call" held its own.
I was already fascinated with 911 operators after Chicago Tribune's article "Feeling the stress of the job" about them and then the recent CPR fatality at a nursing home ("Refusal to perform CPR at senior living facility probed") so this film came out at the right time.
Veteran 911 operator Jordan Turner (played by Halle Berry) gets an emergency call from an abducted teen Casey Welson (played by Abigail Breslin). It's deja vu for her considering the kidnapper Michael Foster (played by Michael Eklund) is someone Jordan already knows of for killing another girl. Officer Paul Phillips (Chestnut) and Officer Jake Devans (Otunga) play two of the cops searching for the abducted girl, and Alan Denado (played by Michael Imperioli) gets caught in the middle of the drama.
Hello! How are you? Time for round 3 (and 10 since I missed last week).
1. Justin Timberlake's vegetarian skit: I'm already a vegetarian so seeing Mr. Sexy Back in a tofu outfit was going to catch my attention regardless. He's funny, but this was absolutely hilarious. By the time he got to the Trinidad James remix ("veggie, veggie, veggie") part of the song, I was crying laughing. So glad to see him back on the scene. Click here to get to the video.
2. George Lopez on Big Boy's Neighborhood: I wish Big Boy had full-length versions of his interviews online. I think he's an excellent interviewer. But George Lopez took the cake with this one. I wish I'd heard it in my ceramic painting days. "You're just using me for my arts and crafts!" Click here to get to the video.
3. Compiling 50 Sexiest Men: I just couldn't agree with most of the guys VH1 chose for their countdown. I cheated and used some actors and comedians, but those two professions are "artistic," too, so I'm rolling with it. Click here to see who I think are the 50 Sexiest Men.