Movie Night Friday – Coming To America

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It is a treasure to find movies that have it all, and Coming to America is one of those movies. Comedy, History, and Symbolism.

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For the most part, I fell in love with this movie for the same reason that everyone else did, because of its humor. If you need something to help make you laugh then put this movie in. I’m not even going to ask you if it’s part of your collection. I mean, you do have Coming to America…..right???? But as time went on I also started to notice other information of importance that surpassed the laughs. Not only is this movie extremely hilarious, but it also includes many messages.

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Starring Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall, Coming to America is about Akeem Joffer, the crown prince to the throne of the wealthy African nation of Zamunda, who lives a prosperous life. But having been appointed a wife from birth and forced to marry her, Akeem is unfulfilled to take a woman who would obey him and submit to him. He is also uneasy with the idea of the arranged marriage. In fact, he is sick of being pampered in general. As a result, he decides to take a trip to America to find his bride; as he puts it, “someone who will excite his intellect, as well as his loins.” To make a long story short, he takes with him his friend (or personal side kick whichever fits), named Semmi and together they end up in Queens New York, an impoverished part of New York City, and opt to stay in a run-down apartment in one of the most disgusting rooms in the building (“it’s a shame what they did to that dog”…lol)

Now, since there is so much here, I’m going to take only a couple aspects of the movie that I see that involve a deeper message than the ability to tickle the funny bone.

#1: Authority and Submission

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To start, part of Akeem’s travels is that he is not interested in taking a submissive woman as wife. It’s more than the arranged marriage; it is also the woman’s trained obedience to his authority. The famous, “Whatever you like…” scene showcases this well. While many of us laughed at this and threw our “I know that’s rights!” into the air, smashing our judgmental comments of Imani Izzi (arranged bride-to-be seen here) at the screen, in truth there was nothing wrong with what she said. Of course they had to exaggerate it, but the point is that a woman is supposed to obey her husband. She is his helpmate and her desire is his desire. Contrary to popular belief, authority has nothing to do with money. A man is not the head of his household because he’s supposed to make the money and a woman’s money does not appoint her as the head either. This is society’s definition of authority and it is the reason many women think they can step all over a man because they make more money than he does. And isn’t it a shame? That the one thing we value most in a man, many of our men do not have. No wonder 70% of black women are single.

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A man’s authority is to be the leader and the protector of the family. A man provides more than just money. He provides protection, leadership, and guidance just to name a few. Contrary to feminist thought, submission does not mean weak nor is it synonymous with slave. Submission just means to give respect and to be in agreement. When a woman is respectful and in agreement with her husband she is following his direction. In addition, she strives to keep him happy in every aspect. The saying that a woman is a lady in public and a freak in the bedroom is not made up by happen chance. It just means that a woman works to keep her man happy in every capacity. Even something as subtle as King Jaffe sitting on the throne and Queen Aeoleon standing by his side; this is an accurate portrayal of how it should be. It is no wonder the King walks around with a lion hanging from his shoulders. In the animal kingdom, the lioness hunts down the food, she brings it to the lion, and he is the first to eat. Like I said, respect. As you can see from this example, the woman is by no means idle and her job is not insignificant. She must work to keep the family strong just as he does and ensure her home is a happy and thriving one for her family. She may do this by working or staying at home. Either way, she is helping to add to the strength of this business of sorts called family. She makes decisions and suggestions as well but this authority does not surpass that of her man’s. There can be only one CEO of this business and he stands up to pee for a reason.

In short, Akeem refuses a woman from his own cultural background who will be obedient and respectful to him, and instead seeks a woman from America who is more independent-minded.

#2 Identity

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Akeem is in line to receive his father’s possessions. He is the royal descendent of a great people, much like the children of Israel. As he and Semmi maneuver their way around the “Land of the Free”, you start to notice an unraveling of their culture. They do not desire to be a set-apart nation of priests; they are simply, “Ordinary Americans.” They go from living in a palace to living in poverty; from letting their hair grow long to cutting it off; to being draped in gold, to designer jackets; from being pampered and provided for by a King, to having to work a 9-5 at a restaurant. Akeem and Semmi go from being among a powerful and set-apart people, to a downtrodden and despised people. They go from being in line to inherit the blessings, to accepting of the curse. In America, Akeem is not proud of his cultural heritage, he is ashamed of it.

Even the end of the movie is significant, but I will leave that part alone for the 2-3 people reading this who have not seen Coming to America (smh).

Trailer:

Funny Movie Mistakes:

When Akeem and Semmi get their apartment, the landlord says that the room has only one window facing a brick wall. But when Akeem is out on the fire escape, he yells out to a street, not a wall. And there are two windows.

Watch the movie and see if you can spot the knot!

“What’s your favorite movie? Is this among your collection? Why do you love it?”

Movie Night Friday – A Beautiful Mind

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Good Day everyone and welcome to Movie Night Friday, where I list some of my favorite movies and why I love them. So today’s pick was actually not next on my list, but I decided it was a good time to include it since John Nash just passed.

BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 28:  (CHINAOUT) American mathematician John Forbes Nash looks onduring day one of the 2011 Nobel Laureates Beijing Forum at the National Museum on September 28, 2011 in Beijing, China. The 2011 Nobel Laureates Beijing Forum will kick off on September 28 and last to September 30 with the theme of Innovation and Development.  (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)
The real John Nash (Getty Images)

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“A Beautiful Mind” is one of my favorite movies and as the winner of four Oscars, apparently a lot of others love it too. What I didn’t know is that the movie was based on the life of the real John Forbes Nash Jr. who recently died in a car accident with his wife. Despite the movie however, there are some who say that it was not very accurate with his life and that the book was way better. For what it’s worth, even if the movie was not very accurate (movies usually aren’t exactly the same as the books they are based on because every page is money to a production company. Therefore, sometimes they have to eliminate some things and even make up some things. But since I’ve never read the book I cannot give an opinion on the matter. Needless to say the movie is good) the concepts involved are still very much profound if you understand the spiritual side of things, but I digress.

I do find that this movie is challenging to explain because it’s easy to give away the good stuff. But I will do my best to explain the plot to your interest without spoiling it for you:

 

A-Beautiful-Mind-DINash is an anti-social man who seems to exist in a different world, often seeing things in the form of mathematical equations and would much rather spend time solving them than socializing with people. While Nash does befriend a college roommate named Charles, instead of attending class, which he says “dulls the creative mind”, John would much rather analyze pigeons in a park with his own thoughts. A child prodigy, John Nash is a mathematical genius at Princeton University struggling to come up with his original idea. And his mind’s ability to decode numbers and letters and see formula in everyday occurrences is simply remarkable.

 

242532After graduate school, Nash begins teaching where he meets his wife Alicia who is a student of his. The turning point happens when the government asks his help with breaking Soviet codes, which soon gets him involved in a terrifying conspiracy plot. As Nash and Alicia marry, things begin to unravel for John as his world jumps from his head and into the real world. He eventually grows more and more paranoid until a shocking discovery turns his entire world upside down. Ironically, John’s mental strength is tested against the very brilliance of his mind. But there is still a beautiful thing left: Alicia. I love the portrayal of the bond between husband and wife and the way Alicia’s strength is needed to help get her husband back on track.

Trailer:

Funny Movie Mistakes:

a-beautiful-mind_03When John’s wife is in the bathroom she drinks all of the water in a cup, but when she throws it the cup is full again.

Watch the movie and see if you can spot the knot!

 

“What’s your favorite movie? Why do you love it?”

Movie Night Friday – Lean on Me

Good Morning everyone and welcome to another week of Movie Night Friday. Where I present some of my favorite movies and why I love them.

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“Lean on Me” is one of my most favorite movies. In fact, as I think about it, this one should have been first! Then again, I’ll probably say the same thing about next week’s pick. This is after all my most favorite movie list.

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“Lean on me” (’89) is a movie based on the real life story of a New Jersey High School principle, Joe Clark, who was called in to be principle of East Side High School. A former teacher of the school back in the 60s, the place to which he returns is anything but the way he left it. It is no longer a place of learning, but a place of drug abuse, gang violence, and despair. The premise of Clark’s return is built on the coming closure of the school. If Clark cannot get the children to pass the minimum Basic Skills Test, the school will close.

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What I like about the movie is the dramatization of someone who truly cares about his students and their well-being. Joe Clark is a principle, a teacher, and also a father. I also like Clark’s no non sense demeanor. When he steps into the school to find it in such chaos, he focuses his attention on the teachers. He scolds them for their lack of authority and effort in maintaining the school. He does not accept their excuses, nor does he accept their advice; for if they had done it right the first time, he would not be there. His methods are strict yes, and he is in many areas arrogant and in need of a little scolding himself, however, his stern approach is exactly what the school needs. Why is the music teacher preparing her students to perform Mozart at a concert when they can barely read? The school is overrun by students who’ve been there over five years and have no intention of getting an education. As a result, those trouble-makers are thrown out and everyone, from student, to parent, to teacher, to Vice Principle, is held strictly accountable for their actions. Even the school board feels Joe’s rage.

LEAN ON ME, Morgan Freeman, Lynne Thigpen, and cast, 1989.
LEAN ON ME, Morgan Freeman, Lynne Thigpen, and cast, 1989.

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But eventually, his unconventional methods lead to a clash with city officials and outraged parents of students who’ve been expelled. One parent in particular is out for Clark’s blood. If only she can be added to the school board to vote Clark out. And when Clark puts chains on the school doors to keep the gang members out, the Fire Marshall warns about the fire hazard, though Clark dismisses his threats. But if the Fire Marshall catches Clark with the chains on the doors however, it won’t be good for him, his students, or the new school he is trying to build from what’s left of the rubble.

Movie Trailer:

Funny Movie Error:

lean-on-me-roof4When Joe Clark is having his talk with Sams on the edge of the roof of the school, Sams is on the right and Clark is on the left (when viewed from the ground). When they’re done talking, Sams turns to his left and walks away – turning to his left would have made him fall off the roof after just a few steps.

LOL! Watch the movie and see if you can catch it!

“What’s your favorite movie? Why do you love it?”