This isn’t my favorite movie (It’s actually been a long time since I’ve seen it) but it is one of those coming of age movies I liked growing up. While I don’t like everything about it, like all the movies I enjoy, it does combine elements from some of my favorite things. Before we get into some of what I love about it, let’s get a quick glance at what this movie is about.
In this sequel, Las Vegas performer Deloris Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) is surprised by a visit from her nun friends, including Sister Mary Patrick (Kathy Najimy) and Sister Mary Lazarus (Mary Wickes). It appears Deloris is needed in her nun guise as Sister Mary Clarence to help teach music to teens at a troubled school in hopes of keeping the facility from closing at the hands of Mr. Crisp (James Coburn), a callous administrator. Can Deloris shape the rowdy kids into a real choir?
As you can see this is a sequel but I am not a fan of the first one. I’m not a Christian/Catholic and I just wasn’t moved. I think what made me enjoy this one though is the element of the youth being involved. To me they literally made the movie.
Letters to a Young Poet – The first time I heard of Maria Rainer Rilke was watching this movie. It’s funny because in the example Deloris used to encourage one of her more rebellious students (Rita played by Lauryn Hill), she used an example in which she talked about writing. saying:
“Don’t ask me about being a writer. If when you wake up in the morning you couldn’t think of nothing but writing, then you’re a writer.”
She was comparing this to the young woman’s desire to sing and that if she wakes up wanting to sing, then she’s supposed to be a singer. Not only did I believe what Deloris said (that if I woke up and all I could think about was writing then I’m a writer) but I also went out and bought the book when I grew up. (You gotta understand I was only six when this movie came out and didn’t see it until I was a little older). Sometimes I would watch the movie just to see this one part. Since I thought about writing, I knew she was talking about me.
Comedy – Of course, I love Whoopi’s comedy in the movie as well as the other women playing the nuns. I love to laugh and will rarely pass up a movie that gives a few chuckles.
Music – One of my favorite things about the movie is obviously the music. I loved hearing the kids voices and watching them transition as the choir began to take shape. And of course ya’ll know they jammed at the end.
Investing in our Youth – Just the fact that the movie is about someone taking the time to invest something positive into the lives of children is a huge plus for me. Now, it’s no Lean on Me but its still cool. The students were, as the description calls them “rowdy” when Deloris first met them. Talking back and playing cruel tricks on their teacher. Largely Black and Hispanic, the children live in the community and are barely being taught as the school does not have enough money for books. In fact, the school is in danger of closing down due to a lack of funding and of course, this will displace the children to schools in other districts. I liked seeing the different personalities of the children and seeing how they grew throughout the movie. With a passion for singing it is possible that they could be the first in their families to graduate and do something with their lives they never thought possible.
Some of my favorite quotes:
“If you wanna go somewhere, if you wanna be somebody, then you better wake up and pay attention. Cause the world out there don’t care how cool you think you are or who you kick it with. It don’t matter. If you don’t have an education, you don’t have anything and that’s the truth honey.”
“So because you think they sang it better, ya’ll are ready to leave cause you got scared…Let me remind you of something OK? If you wanna go somewhere and you wanna be somebody you better wake up and pay attention because if every time something scary comes up you wanna run, ya’ll are gonna be running for the rest of your lives.”
Sister Act 2 Trailer (even though to me they didn’t really show the good parts lol)
Since the TV show I want to feature today as part of our “Movie” Night Friday was Underground anyway, I decided to combine it with Black History Fun Fact Friday since it is on the same lines.
Today, we are discussing Underground, one of the most powerful TV shows on right now. (One of the deepest movies is GET OUT. You must check into it if you have not gone to see it).
First, let’s catch you up:
Wikipedia: About Underground
“Driven by the dreams of a courageous blacksmith named Noah, some plantation slaves in 1850s Georgia band together to attempt a daring escape. The fight for their lives, their futures and their freedom leads to Noah’s risk-filled plan to travel hundreds of miles away via the Underground Railroad. The landmark 10-episode anthology is created by Misha Green (“Sons of Anarchy”) and Joe Pokaski (“Daredevil”) and co-executive produced by John Legend, who also oversees the series’ score, soundtrack and musical elements.”
Trailer of Season One:
We are now in Season Two and it is already off to a blood racing start. One of the reasons I love this show is because it is well-written, something that does not happen often on television. What I mean by well-written is that the history is accurate. While there are plenty of sad parts (as slavery was not pretty) it is well balanced with factual information. The creators (and actors) of this show didn’t just throw something together. They did their research.
Who Ran the Railroad – The Underground Railroad is often portrayed as being ran mostly by white abolitionists with lots of people. While white abolitionists and Quakers surely helped, a lot of the people running the show were free blacks from the North too and I love how the program shows this (though subtly) by having Rosalee and the others front and center of the operation and not in the background just being “carried” by the helping whites. “…very few people, relatively speaking, engaged in its activities. After all, it was illegal to assist slaves escaping to their freedom. Violating the 1850 Act could lead to charges of “constructive treason.” Being an abolitionist or a conductor on the Underground Railroad, the historian Donald Yacovone related in an email to me, “was about as popular and as dangerous as being a member of the Communist Party in 1955.”
– Henry Louis Gates Jr.
The most noted black man who helped to run The Underground Railroad is William Still who operated with the assistance of white abolitionists. William Still, a free-born Black, became an abolitionist movement leader and writer and was also one of the most successful Black businessmen in the history of the City of Philadelphia. Next week, I’ll do a Black History Fun Fact on him with more details.
Humanizing Harriet Tubman – Another thing I see is that the writers and directors of Underground humanizes Harriet Tubman. As much as we complain about too many “slave stories” we really don’t know as much about slavery as we think we do, first because we weren’t there and second because we don’t study history. All we really know about Harriet are the quotes we read but in this show she is brought to life and has feelings. She is brave but also fearful. She is fierce but also concerned. She’s a warrior but still a woman; a gentle mother-like figure to Rosalee (The Black Rose) as she takes her under her wing. One of the ways to which Harriet is humanized in addition to these emotions is the calling of her by her nickname: Moses.
Female Moses – Also, called “General Tubman” people began to call Harriet Tubman Moses because of her leading her people out of slavery like Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt. The powerful thing about this to me is that we are the same people. There is countless evidence of the physical appearance of the ancient Israelites but not just the physical appearance but also the culture of the people. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 c.e. by the Roman Emperor Titus and his general Vespasian, we fled into East Africa (Ethiopia, Egypt, the Sudan, etc.) and from there migrated to other parts of the African continent, widely settling on the West Coast to the extent that some tribal African nations still observe Hebrew customs and traditions. Tribes such as the Yoruba, Congo, and Ashanti can still be found keeping laws that can also be found in the Old Testament.
Upon The Transatlantic Slave Trade and our enslavement in the U.S. and pretty much everywhere else (we did not just come into America but were spread across the four corners) we sang many songs (spirituals) that told the history of who we were as a people before slavery. These songs, like “Go down Moses” and “Wade in the Water” (for which a lyric is, “Who’s that dressed in white, must be the Israelites”) was not just the symbolism of a spiritual people but the history of a people who lived the lyrics. Thus, Harriet’s nickname is powerful not just because her leadership in freeing her people from America is symbolic of Moses freeing us from Egypt, but also because she is his ancestor. In the words of Malcolm X, “You are the people of the book. You are the lost sheep.”
Harriet Tubman’s Spells – Speaking of Moses, I was excited to see that they put this in the show because it is a fact we don’t hear often. Harriet Tubman suffered from severe headaches, and seizures. She also had a form of narcolepsy where she would fall asleep without notice. Her condition caused her to have visions believed to have helped her in her missions. They showed this in Wednesday’s episode when she fell asleep at the table.
Aldis Hodge as “Noah”
Full Beards – I love the full beards and the masculine image of the black man. It was a subtle thing but present. I imagine Moses, David, or Gideon wore beards like that. Nonetheless, this is how men grew their beards back then, very thick and covering the whole lower face. Sometimes you couldn’t even see their mouths.
Slave Examinations / NFL Combine Evaluations – Speaking of black men, they showed you how enslaved blacks were inspected when they were looking at Noah’s teeth and body when he was in jail. (Speaking of jail, such physical examinations also happen there.) Enslaved blacks were naked and examined before they were bought to show potential buyers that they were of good stock and to determine how useful that person would be based on age, size and health. With the NFL combine, evaluators try to project the player’s longevity. Players strip down to bare minimums to have their bodies pricked and prodded for size and strength in an eerily similar way as their ancestors were pricked and prodded by slave buyers. The more they can get out of a player, the better. Enslaved Blacks worth was similarly judged by what the plantation owners believed they could get out of the enslaved long term.
Moss on the Tree – Another subtly, it is a testament to the story’s attention to historic detail. As Noah is trying to escape his captors, he notices the moss on the tree. This told him which direction he was going because there’s a tendency for moss to grow on the north side of the tree in the Northern Hemisphere.
Sweet-grass Baskets – The baskets the women carried on their heads are sweet-grass baskets, one of the oldest handcrafts of African origin used to separate the rice seed from its chaff. Speaking of women, we didn’t even talk about how fearless they were. I loved the part when Elizabeth thought they were going to pull out sewing items but they pulled out guns but I will stop here.
I hope I’ve sparked enough curiosity for you to go ahead and watch the show! Or at the very least get some young people you know to watch it as a History lesson. It airs every Wednesday @ 9:00a CST on WGN. (No one paid me to say this. Maybe I should ask for a check).
Welcome back to Movie Night Friday. Doggie, say hi.
I know what you’re thinking “That movie was whack”. Which is exactly why we are reviewing it today! This movie has so many messages it’s not even funny. And as a box office disappointment worldwide, I am sure that many of us missed them.
In the 21st century, an environmental cataclysm forces the human race to abandon Earth and to settle on a new world, Nova Prime. One thousand years later, the Ranger Corps, a peacekeeping organization commanded by General Cypher Raige (Will Smith), comes into conflict with the S’krell, alien creatures who intend to conquer Nova Prime. Their secret weapons are the Ursas, large predatory creatures that hunt by “sensing” fear. The Rangers struggle against the Ursas until Cypher learns how to completely suppress his fear, a technique called “ghosting”. After teaching this technique to the other Rangers, he leads the Ranger Corps to victory. Meanwhile, Cypher’s son Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) blames himself for the death of his sister Senshi (Zoë Kravitz) at the hands of an Ursa. Kitai trains to become a Ranger like Cypher, but his application is rejected due to his recklessness. Kitai’s mother Faia (Sophie Okonedo) convinces Cypher to take Kitai on his last voyage before retirement.
The movie gets going after their spaceship crashes due to an asteroid shower. The crash kills everyone on board except for Cypher and Kitai but Cypher’s leg is broken. It is then up to Kitai to move across the dangerous planet to where the other part of the ship landed to retrieve the instrument that will allow them to access the help they need. The planet is dangerous and filled with animals and aliens that kill humans. Welcome to earth.
As stated, there’s a lot in this movie but I am drafting this late and so I’m kinda tired. Buuutt, I like you. (Kinda …lol) So I still managed to choose five of the key lessons that stuck out to me:
#1. You’re Not Ready
In the beginning of the movie, Kitai is rejected from being a ranger which makes him upset. However, sometimes we think we’re ready for something that we have no idea we’re not ready for. We can feel ready but without the experience of enduring the necessary hardships it takes to get to that level, we will not actually be ready. Without falling and getting back up babies do not learn to walk. Kitai is a baby and still has a lot of fear in his heart.
#2. Fear is not real
This leads me to the next, most prominent message. The most popular quote from the movie:
“You have to remember, fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real, but fear is a choice.”
Cypher explains this to Kitai after explaining how he Ghost for the first time and even though it’s a movie, I do believe it is true. We choose to be afraid and we choose what fear makes us do. Danger is real and it is only foolish not to prepare for danger but the act of being afraid is something we choose to do. Why? Because we limit ourselves to physical limitations but faith? Faith is limitless and where there is faith, there is no fear. Where there is fear, there is no faith. The two cannot coexist.
Speaking of fear, one of the dominant messages in the movie, the thing that Kitai set out to perfect is Ghosting. It is when the soldiers can rid themselves of fear. When this happens, the aliens cannot see them, thus they Ghost. This gives them an upper hand and they can now defeat the enemy. Throughout the movie Kitai’s goal is to be like his dad and Cypher is known for Ghosting. It is what makes him strong. (There’s another part to this. Masking his emotions makes Cypher stronger but it also makes him weak in a way because by coming across emotionless and cold he is unable to connect emotionally with his son).
To fight your demons, you must rid yourself of the fear of them because fear is the power they have over you. I remember watching Nightmare on Elmstreet. At the end, Nancy turned her back on Freddy and he disappeared. Once she let go of her fear of him, he could not exist. Maya Angelou said the greatest of all virtues is courage because you can’t practice anything consistently without courage. Fear will always hold you back.
#4. Your Father Knows Your Heart / Leads, Guides You
One powerful scene is when Kitai lied about his number of breathing elements. Since humans are no longer in tuned with the earth, the air has changed and can kill them so they have to take breathing fluids. Long story short, while Cypher can’t accompany Kiati on his mission because of his leg, he can see him, monitor him and guide him along the way. Kitai can’t see his father physically but he’s there watching over him. Anywho, Cypher asks Kitai how many breathing fluids he has left and he lies about it. When he lies the heart monitor goes off. Cypher asks him to repeat his answer. His father knows he’s lying. The message is that a father (Like YAH our father, the creator) knows our hearts. He also watches over us and guides us. Even though we cannot physically see him, he’s there.
#5. Endure Trial
Once Kitai spent time in an environment that tested his faith and forced him to move passed the fear, by the end of the movie he was actually ready to be a ranger. Not that he wanted to after what he and his father had been through but in essence he was ready. When you ask for strength be ready to receive it. It is not something that will fall into your lap “Wilily Nilly”. It is something that comes only as a result of overcoming. Truth is, Kitai couldn’t be made Ranger at the beginning because he had never been through anything. (By the end Cypher also learns to be vulnerable with his son).
You see, the reason many people disliked this movie is because the movie itself is spiritual and packed with symbolism when most people just want to be entertained. Not only did Will and Jaden carry the entire movie but they did so well.
Next week, I will speak about the TV show Underground and why I love it. Stay tuned!
As promised, welcome to the resurgence of Movie Night Friday. Whoop Whoop! If you’re new to this blog, please visit the Movie Night Friday Page HERE and then take a look at last week’s post HERE.
Since this is the first week of our return, I decided I won’t go in hard. For our welcome back I decided to choose a movie that’s light and fun. One that is entertaining but also has many lessons that we can learn from. It’s been a minute since I’ve seen it but don’t worry, doggie and me was more than happy to re-watch it for you. To be transparent, I am watching it as I am writing this.
There aren’t many movies I watch just for entertainment but I do love this one (I’m a sucker for all black casts! Gotta love my people). Probably one of Terrance Howard’s funniest roles, let’s jump right in shall we?
“Harper Stewart (Diggs) is a young man living in Chicago with his beautiful and devoted girlfriend, Robyn (Lathan). However, Harper has a professional life as an author and is on the verge of a major breakthrough. He is hesitant about committing to a woman. Harper’s debut novel, Unfinished Business, has been selected by Oprah’s Book Club, pretty much guaranteeing him a bestseller.
Harper travels to New York City, where his best friend, Lance (Chestnut), who is a running back for the New York Giants, is getting married to a young lady named Mia (Calhoun), who is also an old friend of Harper’s. Harper is picked up at the airport by his friend, Murch (Perrineau), and they catch up in the car. Eventually, they meet up with Jordan (Long), Harper’s old what-could-have-been female friend who has obtained an advanced copy of his book and has been passing it around their inner circle of friends. Due to its autobiographical nature, Harper never intended for any of them to read “Unfinished Business” prior to the wedding.”
A romantic comedy, the movie surrounds the friendship between Harper and Lance leading up to his wedding. Harper is Lance’s Best Man and the movie deals with the tension building up to the point where Lance reads the book written by Harper and the truth concerning his perfect little Mia. Stupidly, Harper has laid out all the juicy details in his book.
What I love about this movie is that it has laughs, drama, and a message. It is not a movie I watch all the time anymore but whenever I need to relax to a laugh I put it on. Here are some bullet points and dear authors, don’t be Harper.
#1. Never write a fictional book based on real life events that you don’t want to get out.
This was by far the stupidest thing ever. First off, everyone knew who was who in the book, so even though Harper tried disguising the individuals, it was still apparent who they were. Harper, these are your college friends you still keep in touch with. They know you well. Did you really think they wouldn’t know who they were? People, if you want to air your dirty laundry then just do it. Don’t write a book about it.
#2. Ladies, don’t be controlling!
Murch and Shelby’s relationship is annoying. It’s annoying because the woman is controlling and the man is too weak to call her on it. We are supposed to be there to support our men, to stand by them, and to help them, not to control their every move. Men are natural leaders. Let them lead!
#3. Don’t Judge
Candy was a stripper yes but she ended up being the perfect match for Murch.
#4. Don’t be a hypocrite
One minute Lance is quoting the bible and the next he’s giving Harper permission to cheat.
#4. You are not in control
The more we try to control what is beyond our reach, the more mistakes we are bound to make. Everything also happens for a reason. If Lance would have never found out, maybe Harper would not have appreciated Robyn the way he did in the end and the information could have come up later in Lance marriage and destroyed it.
#6. Be forgiving
Lastly, no matter what you go through in your relationship, be forgiving. Robyn could have walked out on Harper and Lance could have walked out on Mia.
Forgiveness is powerful not just because of how it changes the individual but how it changes everyone involved. You are not forgiving just for their sake, but for yours. Forgiveness is powerful because what goes around, comes around. The energy you put out will come back. It’s inevitable. If you want to be forgiven of your mistakes, then you must be willing to forgive others. It’s the only way.
As I did before, here’s the trailer to The Best Man and no, I do not recommend Best Man Holiday. As much as I love this movie I did not like the sequel. Not only do I not celebrate holidays but part two was just …whack. Some movies cannot be remade.
One day, a couple weeks ago after posting the Underground Trailer, some ladies and me were talking and joking in the comments about movies. I mentioned that I should do movie reviews. But, I realized I was doing a version of this already. It was two years ago in a PBS Blog segment called “Movie Night Friday”.
If you’ve really been exploring this blog, you may have noticed the Movie Night Friday page in the sidebar. I have decided (while watching Lean on Me the other day for the 1,000th time) that I’d like to start this back up again. This is my second attempt at re-starting this feature so I am really going to try sticking to it. I am not sure why I am making more work for myself.
The purpose of Movie Night Friday is simple:
To help you to get to know more about me through the kinds of movies / TV shows I watch.
There is little that I do just for the sake of doing it. That said, the movies / TV shows that I watch I do so for a reason as I stopped watching TV for pure entertainment a long time ago. I will start this segment up again next week. I will also now include TV shows.
Pop Quiz: What movie does this line come from?
“No matter how hard it gets we haven’t finished yeeet…don’t leave me with regrets cause we haven’t finished yet. Oh, no no no no nooo.” Lol.
Ya’ll like my sidekick? He says he will help me keep up with Movie Night Fridays.
Step y’all movie game up! Lol. Enjoy your weekend, we’ll see you next week.
Its been a minute since I’ve seen this movie, but I had the opportunity to see it this week. I love, love, especially black love. So anything portraying black men and women relationships in a positive light is a winner for me. Firstly, Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps are great actors, and together they brought it in this film.
Love and basketball is a romantic drama about two young people whose love for basketball and love for each other supercedes time, trial, and tribulation. Plus, they are super cute together. I think I fall in love with my husband all over again every time I watch this film. Lol.
In 1981 in L.A., Monica moves in next door to Quincy. They’re 11, and both want to play in the NBA, just like Quincy’s dad. Their love-hate relationship lasts into high school, with Monica’s edge and Quincy’s top-dog attitude separating them, except when Quincy’s parents argue and he climbs through Monica’s window to sleep on the floor. As high school ends, they come together as a couple, but within a year, with both of them playing ball at USC, Quincy’s relationship with his father takes an ugly turn, and it leads to a break up with Monica. Some years later, their pro careers at a crossroads, they meet again. It’s time for a final game of one-on-one with high stakes.”
And how can we forget the music? The soundtrack to this movie is off the chain. I think the movie is also well written. The timeline is divided into four quarters (to match the basketball theme) each section chronicling the couples coming of age and their relationship status over time. First quarter is their childhood for example and second quarter their high school days.
Welcome back to another Movie Night Friday. It’s obvious you guys don’t like the movies I like but nonetheless lol, here’s another EC Fav: Cooley High.
Cooley High is a classic! First, its set in my home town of Chicago and I have a cousin whose name is on the bathroom wall in one of the scenes. In fact, everyone from Chicago probably has a relative who was in this movie. That’s because while the starring actors were pros, the extras were recruited right from the projects. Yup, many of these kids lived right over there in the Cabrini Green Projects.
Now, what is the movie about anyway?
Richard “Cochise” Morris (Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs), a local basketball hero, and Leroy “Preach” Jackson (Glynn Turman), who dreams of a career in writing, are likable Chicago high school students in 1960s Chicago. They’re into hanging out with friends, pretty girls and the Motown sounds so popular during the era. Each wants to make it big in his own way, but not everybody they meet is looking out for them, as they learn when a seemingly harmless outing goes awry.- Google
A simple film, Cooley High captured our hearts because of its realness. Though I wasn’t born in 1975 when it released, I too once lived in the projects on the city streets of the Chi. I too can remember growing up poor with a single mom. Movies like this are relatable and showcase the realness and often the struggle of inner city youth. The history behind the movie is also interesting:
The story behind “Cooley High” is even more dramatic than the comedy-drama that unspooled on the screen. It’s the story of Kenneth Williams, who, like protagonist Preach, left Chicago’s Cabrini-Green projects with dreams of becoming a Hollywood screenwriter. Having dropped out of high school, he hitchhiked from the Windy City to Hollywood with $5 in his pocket and no connections, and for a while he supported himself selling drugs. But the aspiring writer, who renamed himself Eric Monte, also befriended actor Mike Evans, who’d been cast as neighbor Lionel Jefferson on the groundbreaking sitcom “All in the Family.” Through Evans, Monte pitched the show’s producer, Norman Lear, a script introducing the characters of Lionel’s parents, George and Louise Jefferson. Lear bought the script and eventually spun off George, Weezy, and Lionel into their own hit sitcom, “The Jeffersons,” but Monte was neither hired as a staff writer nor given credit or residuals for “The Jeffersons,” which ran from 1975 to 1985.
Monte and Evans would go on to produce the sitcom hit Good Times.
Since the movie is 41 years old, it was hard to find a Trailer that was clear enough and also interesting enough (Didn’t want to show scenes that made it look like a boring movie! It definitely is not). The one I found isn’t a trailer but just an excerpt from the movie. The only other option was from the old VHS and I didn’t enjoy that trailer. It wasn’t showing any interesting parts.