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As a proud Howard University alum, I knew that after reading the synopsis I had to watch this film. I have attended many Homecomings over the years and thought it would be cool to relive them again vicariously through the characters in this movie. And here I thought I would be reliving yard festivals, parades and step shows! Boy was I wrong! The actual plot in this film was completely unexpected to say the least. It was actually much more profound than the synopsis let on. I was pleasantly surprised by the characters and the competent writing which had a few layers. The ending and film, in general, was an original take on a deep subject matter. I most definitely recommend this film to any viewer who enjoys character driven plots and more depth to storytelling; and also for those have ever attended college or an HBCU (Historically Black College and University) and still hold those college friendships near and dear.
Bring It On (2000)
Nothing To Cheer About
The opening scene of this movie made me jump to the conclusion that perhaps what I was about to see was going to be smart and satirical. . .The opening scene ended up being the best scene in the film. Stereotypes prevailed and the script ended up being typical and unoriginal high school fanfare which consists of: crude humor, skin, and attractive twentysomethings pretending to be secondary students. This is not new stuff. We've seen it before in the countless number of teen flicks that have plagued us for the last few years. Except these kids wear skirts and sport pom-poms.
Six Degrees of Separation (1993)
Will Smith Can Act?!?!?!
That's the rhetorical question that I think most people will have wandering through their minds while watching this film, a favorite of mine. Yes, friends, Will Smith indeed can act, and he does so quite well in this film. So well, you wonder why he keeps picking flicks that show up during the Summer months versus the flicks that show up in the Fall. If you don't see this film for any other reason, watch it just to witness Will Smith break away from his usual mold.
Mysterious Ways (2000)
The X-Files Meet Touched By An Angel
After viewing The Pilot, I thought that The Adventures of The Believer & The Skeptic had already been done well and better on The X-Files. The Second episode, however, changed my mind. Adrian Pasdar and Rae Dawn Chong are engaging leads and are believable as the passionate Professor of Anthropology and the bitter scientist/Psychologist. Episode II was better written and was reminiscent of other feel good shows like Touched By An Angel, Early Edition, and Highway To Heaven. Mysterious Ways is worthy of a second glance.
Young Americans (2000)
Just One Of The Guys
The Hamilton/Jake subplot is the most interesting storyline in this entire show. The actors who portray them have genuine chemistry and I am actually interested in what is going to happen to them. I see a lot of aspects of the 80's comedy Just One Of The Guys within this subplot. Then again, there are many lines from movies found in the Young American scripts. Perhaps this is the show's gimmick, like the usage of twenty-five dollar SAT/GRE vocabulary words are on Dawson's Creek.
Though the writing isn't stellar, the show is becoming a guilty pleasure. And one more noticeable thing: The gene pool. The cast is gorgeous. Even the supporting characters look good.
The West Wing (1999)
The White House Never Looked So Good
Admittedly, I started watching this show when it first aired because I had just spent four years of my life in Washington, DC and wanted to view the on-location shots. . .I got the location shots and then some.
The West Wing is a very well-written and well-acted drama that really stands out among its peers. If you have ever had any interest in politics or the politically arena, this is the show for you. If you just like well-written show with depth and acting to match, again, this show is for you.
In recent times, the drama has been nominated for several Emmys and deservedly so. I hope The West Wing takes home the glory.
Giving "Millionaire" A Run For Its Money
Much thought should go into who one chooses to leave the island, after all, each person is there for the million dollars. Making the decision to kick someone off Survivor's island is not like, say, kicking out the roommate who irks everyone's last nerve on "The Real World." This is not about who irritates people the most, this is about who will help one reach their goal: The million dollar jackpot. At the same time, those who one chooses to stay (because let's face it, when one votes someone off, they are also saying they want the rest to remain), will ultimately help and simultaneously hurt one's chances at the jackpot. That is why this show is so interesting. Moreover, there is no age limit, everyone counts, and eventually, almost everyone at some point or another will face rejection.
Will & Grace (1998)
In Another Universe They'd Be Soulmates
Will and Grace have a rapport that I think most would kill for in a relationship. They are good communicators and know each other so well that it seems as if their sexuality is the only thing that is stopping them from getting married. Jack and Karen, their side-kicks, steal scenes, sure, but it is the relationship between Will and Grace that keeps this show ticking. If you like watching witty shows about attractive New Yorkers who live in fabulous apartments, then Will and Grace is definitely the show for you.
Once and Again (1999)
The Cream of the Crop
If you liked Sisters, Thirtysomething, Relativity, or even My So-Called Life, you will absolutely love and adore ONCE AND AGAIN, a show so well-written and acted that you may recognize elements of it in your own life.
A Youthful Show Worth Watching
While the youth of today are a primary demographic focus, often the shows geared towards them aren't as well-written as they could be. This is not the case with Felicity. This show continues to surprise me, and Keri Russell is a wonderful pick for the title character. She's perfectly subtle. The rest of the cast is noteworthy as well.
Fight Club (1999)
An Overlooked Classic
Fight Club is one of those films that I think will be appreciated more as time goes on. The story has so many twists and turns and is never boring and the outcome is even a bigger revelation than the one in The 6th Sense. From start to finish the film never slows down. It is mind-blowing and amazing and the direction and other camera tricks by Fincher is top notch. Perhaps, the most impressive thing about this flick is Ed Norton. There is one scene that Norton's character has with his boss that is Oscar-worthy. It's a shame the Academy, however, decided to ignore him this time. Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter, and Meat Loaf also give noteworthy performances.
The Ice Storm (1997)
The Ice Storm, reminds me of American Beauty in that it shares some of the themes, yet did not receive nearly as much praise, which is a shame. Great acting accompanies a great script by James Schamus that is moving, haunting, symbolic, and real. The film doesn't try too hard, and is simultaneously effective. Like American Beauty, The Ice Storm focuses on a nuclear family with problems, however, the approach in Ang Lee's film is more subtle. You don't see children conversing about "offing" their parents without any real motivation. But you do sense the existence of an underlying pain that begins to float to surface through a series of actions brought about by the characters, and finally surfaces at the film's finale when the unthinkable has happened. The interesting thing is that, the characters in this film, aren't baffled by the event in the film's final scenes. The event is an awakening for the characters and quite cathartic.
Strictly Ballroom (1992)
Though predictable, this little gem never ceases to entertain. It possesses a weird humor, even weirder characters, but is always fun and engaging, and at times, touching as well. The standouts in the film were the actors who portrayed the leads' parents. Watching Scott Hastings' dad make an attempt at reliving his glory days, with his version of "dancing" is almost worth the price of admission alone. This movie is hard not to like.
The Sound of Music (1965)
A Unique Love Story
The idea of pairing an optimistic nun in training with an unyielding Captain is ingenious. That's what makes this film enjoyable to watch. . because you know the whole time that she is going to break through to him, and that underneath the intimidating facade lies a beating heart. The cute kids who join in on all the singing is just a bonus.
American Beauty (1999)
Perhaps I'm In The Minority
It amazes me how many people love this film. I'm not one of them. I did like the film, but I often wonder if American Beauty is somewhat overrated. There are times when this movie is right up there with genius, but then at other times, it just seems like a poetic mid-life crisis. I was, however, very impressed with the acting. Wes Bentley and Chris Cooper especially moved me.
The Best Man (1999)
I actually got the opportunity to see The Best Man several months before it hit the theater. Perhaps I got the rough cut. Well, rough cut or not, I was impressed with this movie. I wasn't alone. The audience howled! What I was most impressed with was Lee's creation of characters. They were all very distinctive and well-acted. I was especially impressed with Morris Chestnut. Terrence Howard also stood out. It's interesting to me that the site recommends Steel Magnolias, if you liked The Best Man. I, however, recommend love jones, another movie that presents to the viewer young, black, professionals.
Being John Malkovich (1999)
Quirky, Original, and Fun
Being John Malkovich, for me, was a surprisingly good film. Yes, I read the reviews, but so many films lately possess great reviews, but then when I see the flick, I just can't comprehend the praise. Not this one. This movie truly deserves the praise it has been given. This film is quirky, odd, original, which is hard to come by, unusual, strange, unnatural yet natural, bazaar, silly, exact, and in general, a pleasure. I was pleased with the direction, the acting, and most of all, the story which never ceased to amaze and always found a new door to crawl through and a new insight always lay at the other end. If you're tired of seeing mindless drivel, see Being John Malkovich, a film in which, even the title character appeared and performed well.
Vividly Remains In My Memory
I saw Se7en at the theater and was glued to the screen the entire time. Maybe it was the dark and dreary atmosphere combined with great classical and jazz music. Maybe it was the performances, namely those given by Freeman and Spacey. Or perhaps it was just the gruesome subject matter and satisfying ending. Whatever it was, this film takes hold and doesn't let go, not even after you've left theater.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
My Favorite Film
The Shawshank Redemption was a film that I was always on my way to the theater to see, but unfortunately, I got sidetracked each and every time. Critics felt that the long title kept people away, I guess I was in that category, no matter how great I heard this movie was. I finally saw the movie the day it hit videotape. To this day, it continues to dominate the number one position on my list of favorite films of all time. There is so much to love about this film. Especially the writing by Frank Darabont. This is one of the few films that does Stephen King's material justice. It's a very uplifting story, one that you can't really articulate with words. This film is about the experience. I'm proud to say that I own a copy of the movie, a copy of the screenplay, and a copy of Different Seasons, in which the original story derived. This is the one picture I recommend to people, even strangers, on a regular basis.
For the longest, I felt like I was the only one who knew this film even existed. Thank goodness for word of mouth. This film is genius. Classic. So dry and droll and witty. Did I say dry? The dialogue is some of the best there is. From, "A five keeps the neighborhood alive" to Veronica sticking a cigarette in her mouth at the right moment in the finale. . .it just makes me want to cry it's so good.
The Video Store's Best Kept Secret
You want to see horror? See Duel. This film is a nightmare for anyone who has a driver's license. What scares me about this film is not that an eighteen wheeler is trying to run a businessman off the road. What is scary is that due to Spielberg's precise direction, the driver of the eighteen wheeler remains unseen throughout the entire film. This film gives me the chills just thinking about it. The movie is definitely one of Spielberg's best films, and it will always amaze me that it was made for television and not the silver screen.