My Top 5 Favorite Terrible Movies

Growing up, I didn’t have cable. This was partially because my parents objected to us watching too much brain-rotting television (my siblings and I all have graduate degrees so I guess it worked!), and partially because we couldn’t afford it. My husband grew up with cable and loves watching movies. Between him and the fact that I’m making up for 18 lost years of pop culture exposure, I watch a lot of random sh*t.  Some movies are just so bad, that they’re good. So I’m cataloging a few of my favorite hidden gems.

  1. SAVAGES

You guys. THIS IS MY FAVORITE BAD MOVIE OF ALL TIME.  I first saw this movie with Tex and Teddy McBright. It has a gratuitous threesome in the first 5 minutes, and the ending is completely insane. On top of that, Benicio del Toro and Salma Hayek utter each line of this cheesy script as if it were a Shakespeare play. You can’t look away. It’s magnificent.

2. HOMEFRONT

This is a close second with Savages because it’s just as foolish. Jason Statham is my guilty pleasure that I don’t feel guilty about. I discovered him in The Transporter wayyyy back in ’02 and he’s been bae ever since. Anyway, he’s starring in this opposite James Franco as a meth king in the Louisiana bayou. I sh*t you now. Tex’s uncle and aunt who always host Thanksgiving are retired, and unc has all the time in the world to go down the Netflix rabbit hole. This was the after dinner movie for 2014. I think I was the only person who genuinely enjoyed it, and I have no shame. I laughed. I gasped. I yelled at the tv. It. was. everything!

 

 

3. THE FAMILY

A Luc Besson film that was given a scandalous 29% on Rotten Tomatoes, this movie is a diamond in the rough. It’s like Home Alone, except instead of a little boy setting booby traps for robbers it’s a formerly connected family setting booby traps for  the mob. Totally worth it just to see old man DeNiro scowl while trying to act like a regular, suburban American dad…in France. Tommy Lee Jones is more deadpan than usual as their humorless FBI case officer. Honestly, this might be the most quality film on this list.

 

4. THE PRINCE

What do you get if you mix Taken with John Wick and add Bruce Willis? A hit, ladies and gentlemen, that’s what! This was the 2015 after Thanksgiving movie. It didn’t quite live up to the splendor that was Homefront, but it was pretty good nonetheless. Bruce Willis stars as Bruce Willis and John Cusack stars as an unconvincing bad guy. There are gunfights and explosions and Rain is criminally underutilized for him to be pictured on the movie poster.

 

 

5. LAWLESS

The story of the Bondurant brothers is predictable. We know it won’t end well and that the women are just going to get them caught up. The accents are offensive at worst and merely bad at best (I swear some of these folks just swagger-jacked Cletus the slack-jawed yokel).  But the scenery and the costumes are gorgeous, and the actors make this entertaining. I came for Shia LaBeouf (don’t judge me!), but I stayed for Tom Hardy. That man can act his way out of a paper bag.

So that’s my top 5 bad movies. Have you seen any of these? Do you plan to watch them? Any bad movie recommendations? Let me know in the comments!

Currently…

Felt like blogging but not about anything serious. Saw this circulating around as I caught up on the past few weeks of posts in my Feedly over the weekend so here goes!

 

Currently about to start cooking dinner.

Currently needing to study for my income tax exam next week…*sigh*

Currently wanting to get my diploma already #soIknowit’sreal

Current Book is the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett (a great satirical fantasy collection). I have them all in paperback but just got the digital versions, so I’m about to start re-reading them ^_^

Currently drinking water.

Current Excitement- moving in with Tex. I still have to move a few more things from my apartment and clean up for inspection, but from here on out we’re living together full time! If I knew how to do cartwheels I’d be doing them right now.

Current fashion trend I’m loving is lace. I actually just got a beautiful cerulean top with lace trim around the collar.

Current Favorite Blog is The Curvy Fashionista.

Current Food obsession is protein powder. I finally found one that doesn’t upset my stomach, now I just have to figure out the

Current Song I’m jamming to is “Pour It Up” by Rihanna. She’s not much of a singer but I love her rap steeze.

Current Indulgence is a Chick-fil-A fudge brownie since it’s getting dropped from the menu 😦

Currently Pondering whether to take out a small  bar study loan to cover the other half of my bar prep/bar application costs.

Current New Find is  Stylit.com, which sends you weekly outfit suggestions based on your personal style. Given my current employment status I need some help shopping my closet!

Currently wearing green cropped pants, a chambray shirt and plaid flats. #imfancyhuh

Current Weather is sunny, in the 70s with a light breeze.

Current Peeve is the pollen. Definitely puts a damper on my enjoyment of the spring weather.

Current Triumph is that I’ve been moving out of my apartment gradually through the semester, so I don’t have to drive home a U-Haul after graduation!

Current TV Show is Elementary, the Sherlock Holmes reboot on CBS starring Lucy Liu as Watson. I love it. Their Sherlock has all the classic traits, with a modern twist. It doesn’t feel at all derivative.

Currently Listening to an episode of Duck Dynasty that Tex is watching in the living room.

Currently delaying studying income tax. Sometimes your brain just needs a break and today is one of those times!

Currently planting seeds of success in my mind 🙂

Currently planning my post-graduation frolics! Can’t wait to hang out with my peeps.

Currently feeling anxious to be completely done with law school!

Currently loving my wedding invitations! They came out really well.

Currently looking for a J-O-B. Holla at me.

Currently finding out that half of my classmates hated law school as much as I did, they just wouldn’t admit it til now.

Currently savoring the quality time I’m getting with Tex. No more Sunday goodbyes!

Currently dreaming of my wedding day.

Is Marriage for White People?

The analyview returns! I got a free copy of Dr. Richard Banks’ book, Is Marriage for White People from the professor who advises the BLSA group at Orange Law. It was a good read and surprisingly easy to get through; despite my impending finals, I managed to get through in just a few hours.

Thesis 1: The “marriage crisis” is not unique to black folks.

Hallelujah! Finally somebody said it, and it was a man, so people might actually believe it (true, but *eye roll* all the same). Marriage has been on the decline for decades now, and a lot of it has to do with the “success gap”–women both white and black are surpassing their male counterparts in education and income. However, the negative effects of societal trends are exacerbated in the black community by racial baggage.

Thesis 2: Marriage is a market.

A) The Man Shortage. We see the usual suspects: high rates of black male incarceration, interracial marriage of middle class, educated black men, and the success gap. However, he points out that the men who end up in prison are overwhelmingly not the men that successful black women are looking for anyway. The interracial marriage statistics are a bit more worrisome though–black men outmarry at three times the rate of black women (more than one in five black men, vs. less than one in ten black women). Finally, traditional ideas of marriage promote a male breadwinner. But given that black women earn college degrees at more than twice the rate of black men, and a labor market in which high wage industrial jobs are disappearing, that’s increasingly implausible.

Banks opens Chapter 4 with a bit of sensationalism on “man sharing”. He includes an anecdote from a physician with a largely black female population who says “Women are not surprised by the fact that their men are cheating on them. .  .  .They’re not shocked and they aren’t mad.”  o_O Really though??? So white women never get cheated on and when they do, they go slash some tires? Moving on, a 1980s study done at the University of Chicago did find that African-Americans were the least likely of all groups to have a monogamous relationship. In one predominantly black neighborhood, almost two out of every five men had simultaneous relationships with more than one sex partner. Now, the footnotes (I’m a history major and law student, how can I not read footnotes?) do state that these conclusions were drawn from much smaller sample sizes than that of the study as a whole, and thus the inference may not lie with the greater population. I know from the experiences of myself and others that man sharing definitely does happen, but I don’t know if I want to believe that women are just meekly putting up with it. Unfortunately, the rising STD contraction rates of black women and articles like this aren’t coming from nowhere.

B) Purchasing Power and Brand Loyalty. The simple fact is that middle class, educated black women outnumber black men who are the same. So black men hold all the cards, and they exploit them. It’s nothing personal, just human nature. Banks points out that many women put up with philandering behavior because they don’t want to be alone but insist on getting something out of the deal. In exchange for their acquiescence, they want expensive trips, dinners and trinkets. However, this perpetuates a cycle of distrust and discord. Successful black men now have three major disincentives to marry: the numbers on their side, women are supposedly gold diggers, and black women will remain loyal no matter what. Meanwhile, women resent men for expecting a lack of commitment with no repercussions, given that a woman who can’t carry on with multiple men without being deemed a whore.

Thesis 3: More black female led interracial relationships will benefit black people as a whole.

The same way competition forces business to adjust their prices and practices, competition shapes human mating behavior. A man who is less attractive will try to make up for it through humor, accumulating wealth, or other such mechanisms.So it logically follows that if black women outdated and outmarried in the same numbers as black men,  black women would step their game up and adapt to the new competition.

One of the biggest problems with black women’s determination to marry within the race is the inequality. Tyler Perry movies tout the “Blue Collar Brother” as the answer but the truth is, how many bus drivers have the heart of a poet? How many mechanics have the talent, drive and ambition to open their own auto shop and thrive? Marriages are based on shared values, and a weed smoking high school dropout who lives with his mama, or even the electrician with the associate’s degree who grew up in the hood, likely have little in common with a woman who went to an Ivy League school and works for a multinational corporation. That’s not good or bad, it just is. Suburbanite that I am, I’ll be the first one to admit that I dropped a potential suitor like a hot potato because he did a little “dope boy magic” in addition to his college internship. If the choice is ride or die, I’ll just walk. Basically, compatibility in a marriage relationship goes far, far beyond race.

At the end of the day, it’s about the children. Marriage isn’t what’s good for children–healthy, functional relationships between the two parents are. However, it’s hard to provide this stability between two people who are ill suited to each other. White middle class men arguably have much more in common when it comes to values than middle class black women and blue collar brothers. Furthermore, since white men and women outmarry at more equal rates and white men vastly outnumber black men, the man shortage disappears. Black women don’t have to settle for a lack of monogamy, and they can avoid the health consequences that come with it.

Thesis 4: It’s more than just numbers. 

A) Desire. At the heart of the interracial dating issue is the fact that many black women are either not attracted to white men at all, or just have a strong preference for black men–the way some men have a preference for women with light skin, long hair, or big boobs. What’s so wrong with it? Nothing really, and there’s no way to make someone feel attraction where there is none.

B) The Black Family. Some black women (like myself, admittedly) feel they have a duty to preserve the black family. As interracial marriages increase, we are moving closer to a beige America and some of us want to preserve the culture in our own small way. But the big issue is loyalty. Some women also feel that it would be a slap in the face to their beloved fathers, brothers and grandfathers to marry outside the race. The world still looks down on black men and it’s our job to lift them up, right? Well…not really. At least, not in the way that we’ve been doing.  Marrying outside the race doesn’t mean that you think black men are unworthy, and you don’t have to stop supporting the black community just because you marry outside of it. Black men feel no such loyalty to their women; marrying a white/Asian/Latina woman doesn’t mean to them that they love their mothers, sisters and cousins any less.

This is the really complicated bit. My sister is one of the few intrepid souls to try dating a white man; coincidentally, so is her best girlfriend! And they’re happy together. My brother and father don’t feel in any way put out by her choice. But many families aren’t as open as mine; in fact, some of my extended relatives still look at her boyfriend as an exotic and expect the drama to pop off at any moment. But even if they were to break up, that doesn’t mean interracial dating is a failure. Most relationships don’t make it to marriage, regardless of the two people’s race. Still, it’s hard to go against a lifetime of social conditioning, much less do so amid the objections of the people you hold dear.

C) Reciprocity. A study by the dating website OkCupid revealed that black women got the least responses to their personal messages. Closer examination of the data showed that other minority men–Native Americans, Asians, and Latinos–were all very likely to respond to black women, but black men were the least responsive, with white men in second. The racial divide goes both ways, and many white men think that women won’t be attracted to them. And black women are afraid of being treated as a fetish object. Their fears are not unreasonable–just look at the decades of sexual exploitation at the hands of white slaveowners, and the hypersexualization of black women that still saturates the media of today

Although Is Marriage for White People is a rather slim volume, Banks packs in a ton of information. I’ve merely summarized the main points of the book,  but I still highly recommend that you give it a read. While interracial dating is presented

The Tyler Perry Question

I am (give or take 5 weeks) a college graduate. I am pursuing a graduate degree. I am an independent, successful black woman and yet, Tyler Perry doesn’t make me feel any certain way.

More often than not, I find Tyler Perry’s work hilarious. I enjoy seeing a movie with a cast full of black folks who have a spectrum of skin complexions and body types, and who don’t get by selling drugs or tricking the welfare office. I like seeing us in suits and dresses instead of wifebeaters and booty shorts. I like seeing black folks who can speak proper English and say “big” words without being made to seem inauthentic because of it.

Shoot, I’m happy to see some black humor portrayed on screen every once in a while–I refuse to see Precious because it looks damned depressing. I find his movies a decent alternative to the Magic Negro/Tragic Negro/Good-Natured Black Sidekick that we’re normally relegated to in white films. When Morgan Freeman got cast as God in Bruce Almighty I wanted to stand up and clap in the theater. How often do you get to see a black person cast as a character who is all powerful? Not everyday, I tell ya!

It’s true that the drama goes over the top and that the characters can be one-dimensional in order to further the plotline. But how is that different from any other movies? How many movies that come out anymore are works of art? Mainstream movies are entertainment, and they exist to make money, period.White people have been making movies about themselves that range from the controversial (Brokeback Mountain) to the touching (Forrest Gump) to the downright foolish (Pineapple Express) and it’s never a big deal. White folks aren’t up in arms at Judd Apatow for making them look bad, so why are we bashing Tyler Perry? If you don’t like the movies, just don’t see them and sit down, please.

Tex made the insightful observation that white folks who haven’t been around black people look at what’s in movies and on televisions and assume we act exactly like that. But you know what? ANYBODY who lives their life strictly based on something they saw in the entertainment media, without ever questioning it, is STUPID. And I’m tired of having to make allowances for stupid people! If Spike Lee, John Singleton, Oprah, Denzel Washington, Cicely Tyson, Don Cheadle and their ilk haven’t convinced white folks that we are just as capable of being noble, sensitive, intelligent, self-sacrificing and introspective as white folks, then Tyler Perry isn’t going to hurt our community one bit.

Now, on to accusations against the man himself. It has been said that Perry is colorstruck–dark skinned black men are bad, light skinned black women are all saditty, professional black women don’t know how to treat a man, he disfranchises older black actresses by donning a dress and wig instead of allowing them to portray the “Madea” role, etc. I think it’s all bunk.  especially the colorstruck accusations–I’ve seen every one of his movies (and most of the plays) and there is no pattern of colorism that I can detect. Sure, the golden-hued Shemar Moore and Boris Kodjoe played the knight in shining armor in two Perry films–but that’s because, in terms of the hotness factor, they’re the Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise of Black Hollywood. But the chocolatey Morris Chestnut and Idris Elba played the same role in two other Perry films, so the scales are balanced. (The nerd in me really wants to make a spreadsheet right now but that’s time better put towards my research paper, I think.) As for the saditty and professional black women, Perry is simply bringing up issues that we talk about all the time. Many, if not most of us, know that pretty chick who thinks her beauty is an excuse to act stank. Pick up an issue of Essence or Ebony and you’ll see articles on achieving work-life balance, and editorials encouraging us to “let a man be a man”. Yet all of a sudden Perry is a misogynist for reflecting these sentiments in his films? He’s simply doing the smart thing and writing about what resonates and causes controversy with his audience. Finally, as for the excessive comedy and melodrama–would you pay to see 2 hours of well dressed folks having polite conversation about the weather?….didn’t think so.

My conclusion: Sometimes, a movie is just a movie. But if you feel differently, lemme hear it!

Analyview of “500 Days of Summer”

[Note: I wrote this a little while ago and never posted it, so you get a real post today. Enjoy!]

First of all, this is much more analysis than movie review. Either way, if you haven’t seen the movie yet and care about spoilers, this is your official warning. Still reading? Okay then. Watching this movie was a trip for me, because Summer seemed like a female incarnation of HWSRN. It was rough watching the poor guy get his feelings stomped on because I know how it feels to be with someone who is perpetually out of reach. Basically, Summer is a temp at the greeting card company that Tom works at and from day one he’s captivated by her. He convinces himself that she’s out of his league, but with a little prodding from his friends and a lucky twist of fate they end up dating. In the first few months of their “relationship” he asks her what they’re doing and she says, “Who cares? I’m happy. Aren’t you happy?”

RED FLAG!!!

Later on in the movie, Summer is at a bar with Tom. She’s sipping on a cocktail looking bored when another man starts hitting on her. She refuses his advances but he just won’t shut up, so Tom punches him and ends up getting punched back. Once they get back to Summer’s place she acts distant and tries to send him home so she can go to bed. Joseph insists on talking it out since he got beat up for her and she coolly states that they’re “just friends.” Tom is understandably upset- they’ve been dating for three months, spending all their weekends together, exchanging life stories and of course, having sex. He storms out but she knocks on his door in the middle of the night to apologize for getting mad. They have a bit of a heart to heart that ends with the following exchange:

Tom says, “I want…some consistency. I need to know that you won’t wake up in the morning and feel differently.”

Summer says, “I can’t give you that. Nobody can.”

Damn if that is not the EXACT same conversation HWSRN and I had right before I broke things off!

The one thing this movie taught me (well, the thing it would have taught me if I hadn’t already learned by experience) is that people who need labels have no business being with people who don’t like them. It always signals an unreadiness for commitment, because a person who doesn’t want the option of saying “Let’s just be friends” or simply leaving you without explanation doesn’t have a problem with being called your boyfriend or girlfriend.

But to be fair, Tom should have known better. Summer stated upfront that she didn’t want anything serious and she never cheated on him. Although they acted like a couple, she never led him on by talking about their future together, taking him to meet her family or anything of that nature. At the same time though, I can’t help but think it was a bit selfish of her to get involved with Tom. He was clearly smitten from the beginning and was always trying to get her to admit that they had a deeper connection. It should have been equally clear to Summer that he wasn’t capable of a having a casual fling.

Life isn’t like the movies, but they sometimes they’re awfully good at showing people what NOT to do. So have you seen the movie? What did you think of it?

Analyview* of "He's Just Not That Into You"

I know I’m extra late–I almost never see movies at the theater. But I finally got around to watching HJNTIY and I must say, it was a trip. Such a trip that I actually had to take notes so I wouldn’t forget what I found to be especially thought provoking. I will go ahead and give the official *SPOILER ALERT* , if you haven’t seen this movie and you don’t want me to ruin it for you then click away now. Okay, here we go!

This movie pointed out a lot of the common sense things that I’ve been preaching for years. I know I’m not that old but whatever. There were a couple of gems that I wish I had known before I learned them the hard way. E.g., if he doesn’t call then he doesn’t care. Simple as that. But what if he got really busy? Or he lost his phone? You know, anything could have happened. But 99% of the time anything didn’t happen and he doesn’t like you that much. Here’s another gem–when a guy says “I don’t deserve you,” he’s trying to break up with you but make it seem like he really does care for you, but he wants you to be happy and it wouldn’t be noble of him to keep you unaware of his glaring inadequacy. Pish posh! If he really loved you (or at least respected you) he would man up and say that he doesn’t want to be in a relationship.

Anyway, the film provides an interesting cross-section of relationship dynamics. There’s Jennifer Aniston and Ben Affleck, a couple who live together and been dating for 7 years. Of course, Ben doesn’t believe in marriage and Jen does, so they break up. Ben later reveals to his buddy that he doesn’t want to be with anyone but Jen, and gets back in contact with her after her father has a heart attack. Jen realizes, through the juvenile behavior of her brothers-in-law, that being with Ben is enough because he’s more of a real husband than her sisters’ men will ever be. Since this is a movie, Ben surprises her with a proposal because he needs to make her happy, in order to be happy himself. (*tear*)

Then there’s Gigi (sorry, she’s not an actress I know by name!), who is perpetually single and chases after guys who don’t chase her back. She meets Alex while trying to track down her latest prospect, who happens to be Alex’s best friend. Throughout the movie he gradually becomes her personal relationship guru- he stops making out with a hot chick in order to answer her phone call; says he’ll set her up on a blind date with a guy who doesn’t show because Alex told him the wrong night; and invites her to a house party. Of course, Gigi thinks Alex really likes her so after the party she makes her move. She is cruelly shot down. Gigi storms off saying that although she may embarrass herself, she’s closer to finding love than he is. Predictably, Alex can’t get Gigi off his mind once she stops calling; and by the end of the movie he’s come to her apartment at 11pm to tell her “You are my exception.”

Finally there’s the convoluted love…square of Connor, Scarlett Johansson, Ben (not Ben Affleck! this is the actual character’s name), and Janine. Ben and Janine are married, and dull. He runs into Scarlett at the supermarket, and they are instantly attracted to each other. He tries to hold out, but her friend says “What if you meet the love of your life and he’s already married? Are you supposed to let him pass you by?” (Well, yeah, unless you want to be a homewrecking hussy. But I digress.) They have a giddy affair that ends abruptly when his wife interrupts them making out in his office. Ben hides Scarlett in the closet and in a delicious bit of poetic justice, she is stuck there listening while Janine seduces him on the spot. (Greatness!) After this incident Scarlett drops him and jumps into a rebound relationship with Connor, a poor sap she’s been stringing along for foot massages, hugs, and ego stroking (classic friend zone scenario!). He asks her to move in with him and they break up (but he still wants to be friends…IDIOT). Meanwhile, Ben and Janine end up divorced, which is probably for the best seeing as he only married her because she gave him an ultimatum.

Questions to Ponder…

1. Ultimatums. They get results, but are they ever really a good idea? (example: telling your college boyfriend that he has to propose or you’re breaking up with him)

2. Do exceptions to the rule really exist? I’ve never personally known of a couple who lived together more than 3 years, and then magically ended up getting married. Or a guy who was a real jerk to women, but found a really sweet girl and changed his player ways.

3. Do you believe in marriage? If not, why? If you do, would you be willing to forgo formalizing the relationship if that person said he/she wanted to be with you forever?

4. In the movie, Alex says that “the spark” is a myth perpetuated by men so that they could treat women badly and mask the anxiety that their game-playing induces as “chemistry.” True or false?

And here’s a funny quote from the movie, just to end things on a light note.
“You know, I really hate it when guys say, ‘I’m really jealous of the guy who gets to marry you.’ Well it coulda been YOU! I mean, that’s what I was leaning towards!”  A true lol moment cuz I’ve heard many variations on that theme. SMH.

*analysis + review = analyview. Yes, I make up words.