|Index||5 reviews in total|
I have seen many instances of this movie played on BET countless times,
yet each time I always seem to catch it when it is right in the middle,
or close to the end. Luckily, I happened to catch a full showing of the
movie in one instance, and after watching it, definitely warranted a
review that I do not see much of on this page.
Meagan Good, as always, is a pleasure to watch, though my qualms are more about the writing than the acting. While it may have been an interesting concept to make a movie about, the overall theme seemed very cliché and overused. Young girl who comes from a decent loving family decides to embark on a mouth-watering career that promises wealth and fame. Along the way, girl meets unscrupulous characters that steer her good natured ways to that of a darker nature. A couple of bad decisions later, usually drug-related and/or abusive partner, girl realizes this is not the life for her. Girl learns life lesson about herself and goes back to decent loving family. Again, cliché and overused. Then again, it is always interesting to see how different versions of the same concept are tackled by different writers/directors/actors.
When it comes to actual production, I am usually most critical, as this is an aspect of film making I enjoy the most. Camera work can only be described as moderately decent. I agree with another reviewer on this part...why they chose hand-held instead of staying on sticks is also something i am dumbfounded by. It worked for some scenes...some being the key word. Also, as an audience member, when a scene is supposed to imply flashy and glamorous, I don't usually expect it to look so dull and monotone. That's where the lighting for me failed to meet my expectations of certain scenes. Probably depends on what camera they were using. Audio wise, meh. For a budget of 5 million dollars, I'm sure they could have afforded some ADR work. The editing was a pass or play here. The music was sometimes not necessary in some scenes.
Overall, the movie was interesting to watch. It made it's point that being a Video Girl sometimes is not what it's cut out to be. Actually, I shouldn't just say Video Girl, as in , breaking out in the industry as a beautiful young naive girl can be very dangerous if you have not mentally and physically prepared yourself for the demands of being in the spotlight. That's why this movie gets a 5.0 in my books.
On another note, I had a friend of mine tell me, "Geez, so that's the atmosphere on a music video set, is it? Glad I don't work in the music video industry". I just want to point out that everything that happened in this movie was meant to serve the plot, and doesn't necessarily happen in reality. I have produced and directed music videos for big name stars for quite a while now, and never have I had an instance on my set where anybody was disrespectful of anybody. In fact, not that I like to brag, but my sets are always described as a fun place to be. Everybody treats each other like family, and the talent is always quick to notice this. So for any aspiring people wanting to work in the music video business, it's quite fun actually.
So, Next up to see is Dysfunctional Friends...another movie that the gorgeous Meagan Good is in. Let's see how she fares in that one.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Video Girl" got a lot of things right - acting, cinematography, and
direction are all notable. I always say we need to see more movies
about African Americans just living life and doing things everyday
people do. This is one of those movies. It tells the story of Lori
Walker, strongly played by Megan Good, who moves from her small town to
Los Angeles to pursue music video modeling. You can tell that the
people involved with making this movie knew the business, because they
got the nuances right, like the atmosphere of a music video set.
Lorie's submergence into the world of music videos also felt true to
real life, as did the interaction between the key players. Good brought
her considerable acting experience to bear in this movie, taking it up
There needs to be a separate mention for cinematographer John Barr, who was camera operator on Capote and Frost/Nixon. This guy knows what he's doing, and he gave the movie a professional, self assured look that is rarely seen in independent African American films. People may not notice small things like the lighting on the golf course music video scene, but as a photographer I certainly did. Bravo John.
Melyssa Ford has a nice part as a bad influence on Lorie. Esther Baxter also has a small part in the movie, as do Suelyn and Angel Lola Luv. All of the supporting cast is fairly good, and particularly La'Myia Good as Lorie's sister (La'Myia is Meagan's real life sis) and Haylie Duff (Hilary's older sister) as Lorie's "friend." (Haylie is uncredited in the movie for reasons unknown to me.)
The first half of the movie is enjoyable in a low key way. If you don't already like Meagan Good, you probably will after this movie: she apparently has no bad camera angles. The problem comes with the third act of the film, as Lorie succumbs to the fast life in Los Angeles. This part of the movie feels overwrought and drawn out. Additionally, Lorie's sudden cocaine abuse problem feels cliché and dated. (It probably should have been an oxy or vicodin addiction.) But the main issue is that we aren't shown any of the real problems an aspiring video vixen might encounter (e.g., being a single parent, homelessness, rape) in a meaningful way. Success actually comes pretty easily for Lorie, except that "Shark," the music video director who takes her under his wing, becomes overly possessive. There's some back story about issues at home leading to Lorie's unraveling, but it also seems cut and paste.
Despite this, "Video Girl" is still a pretty likable movie. It's not everyday you see a quality black, indie like this, and I suspect that as word gets around, this will become a favorite in the community. Kudos to all involved.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are some great things about this movie; Megan Good works hard to
humanize her character, Mylessa Ford has fun as a bad girl and we like
it, and this projects looks well put together more so than most films
with a similar target audience. You can actually see the budget being
put on screen here.
Unfortunately it stops there. The problems lie in the story telling and at the end, the audience doesn't really... care.
Problem 1: the 'Shark' character. He's build up to be the bad guy, a possessive boyfriend that hinders our heroine's progress to become the next great talent in Hollywood. We see glimpses of these actions with vague hints of mental and physical abuse. But the clichés that ultimately make our heroine (Megan Goode) spiral out of control into her ultimate tragedy are exactly what he was trying to protect her from so is he 'really' the bad guy? A simpler way to explain it: picture your mom telling you not to see a certain friend, he's a bad influence; he's going to get you into trouble. You disobey and do so any way. Later you end up an accomplice to a murder he committed? Is your mother 'really' the bad guy? Problem 2: Real life video girls Mylessa Ford, Suelyn Medeiros and Esther Baxter are underused. While Mylessa is clearly a negative influence there is not enough screen time so you can accompany Goode as she spirals down her slope. We as the audience should first be enamored by Ford to follow her down the path, and then be tempted by the apple once we get there. Ultimately we are not. We're just given these very obvious 'movie-moments,' that while high light Ford, are so very contrived and again, cliché and ultimately steal away the connection with Goode. The brief scenes of Ford are clearly her best as she actually looks like she's having fun with the role, much more than her past ones. Suelyn (whom I saw in Still A Teen, which was God awful) and Esther (Just Another Day, much better film) are mere glimpses on the screen. Do not blink or you'll miss them. It would have been far more interesting to see them used as character defining personalities then the set dressing which they're reduced to. A blown opportunity as their public life already adds a layer to them while they're on screen.
Problem 3: The trite ending. All of the bad things that happen when you possibly get in the industry happen to her. Each of which takes an entire film to tell the story and effectively explain the subject matter. Here, it's all thrown into a pot and mixed like some kind of movie gumbo. And it all gets resolved in a counseling session? One very annoying technique the clearly shows that a writer is very BAD at the job of story telling is the ending the film with a monologue that explains the conclusion. The prose here is even made worse when the heroine is NOT the one that comes to the resolution but has her counselor tell her how she should be.
There are essentially 3 other problems I have with this film, none of which I'll explain if only to save you repetitive points on why this isn't a good movie. There issues with the shot selection, the direction to go hand held instead of staying on sticks, and the indecision by the director/cinematographer: 'does he want glamorous or gritty?' I can't recommend this. The popularity of Karrine Steffans book helped torpedoed this film once the writer typed the opening words of this script on his laptop. He was fighting a loosing battle. It didn't even try to reach the level shock value 'Video Vixen' did, a book which everyone knows the contents of. And ultimately because of that, this film falls short on every level.
Overall I enjoyed the movie, but IMO it was too slow getting off the ground. Luckily, I DVR'd it so I watched it in my spare time while eating here and there.. In addition, the characters could of been developed more fully. The main character seemed to do a 180 degree turn for no reason and there was really no build up to that. Also, Bun B's character and the incident that caused the climax was a bit random as well. The only consistent character was the Director (the cutie from Training Day) who chose the video girl to begin with. If the goal of the story was to deter young girls form making bad decisions or choose another career besides dancing in Hip Hop videos- I didn't get that. What I got was a small town girl who got an opportunity of a lifetime, but blew it by biting the hand that fed her and ultimately making poor choices. Were her choices a result of what happened in her family, was her boyfriend abusing her? That's where more character development could of come in..
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Meagan Good, as usual, is beautiful in this film, but the film is
predictable and in a lot of ways, not relevant. Made in 2011, the
concept of the video girl is long gone. None of the music channels
actually show music videos anymore and haven't in a long time, so it's
kind of hard to believe that being a "video girl" has the sway it had
in say, 1996.
But the plot...well, there are things that happen, that don't seem to have any point to the story, like her sister getting shot (which, like everything else in this movie, you saw coming a mile away). And that's the problem: there is nothing new or original about this movie and you can see exactly what's going to happen and when before they even show it to you. It makes a for a predictable and boring watch. It just seems like all of the actors in this movie were weighed down by a poor story and script and just tried to make the best of a bad situation. I wouldn't recommend watching this unless you have to have something on in the background while you take a nap on the couch.
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