A tale of two black guys

This is a story about two men. Two black men. They are both tall. They are both straight. One lives in TV LA, the other lives in TV Chicago.

This is Brad.

This is Winston.

Brad, played by Damon Wayans Jr on ABC’s Happy Endings, an improv-heavy ensemble comedy about six friends in Chicago with lots of that quick, pop culture riffing that has become the tone de jour since 30 Rock and Community, is a metrosexual  with a pair of great, pearly white teeth and a hot, ultra type-A white wife Jane (Eliza Coupe).

Winston, played by Larmone Morris on Fox’s New Girl, an improv-lite ensemble comedy about three men and one girl living in a loft in LA with the will they/won’t they non-tension of imminent copulation always, perpetually on the horizon, is a black man who played basketball in Latvia for some time. He likes the musical Wicked. That’s about it for Winston. Read the rest of this entry »

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Shangela: Tokenism in ‘Boy Meets World’

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For reasons  fully understandable to me, though deeply, deeply shameful, I stayed up until 3 in the morning watching old episodes of Boy Meets World.

Actually, I should be more specific.

Some kind soul decided to upload and string together in an old-fashioned, homemade kind of way every significant clip of Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong), Cory Matthew’s troubled best friend, and Angela Moore (Trina McGee-Davis), Shawn’s first major girlfriend. The YouTube clips run 12-14 minutes each, and they are eight parts in total. Official Kxren, the dutiful uploader, explains why there is, as of now, no part 9:

LIFE IS HECTIC AT THE MOMENT, WILL FINISH IT ONCE I GET SOME SPARE TIME. THANKS FOR ALL YOUR COMMENTS AND PATIENCE.

That didn’t do me any good though, so I ended up using Wikipedia as my ad-hoc TV guide and watched the pertinent season 6 and season 7 episodes until I saw the end of their relationship to its forced, unnatural conclusion.

I know exactly why I spent three hours watching Shawn and Angela. It’s the same reason I have occasional, overwhelming longings to watch Something New. But I’ve already done that blog postRead the rest of this entry »


A Whole Lotta Woman

After watching Foxy Brown, I have so many questions, all about the hair. Forgive me for being an ignorant Negro, but were the Afros really that naturally glorious in 1974? I mean, I know there were a few wig moments, but my word, those ‘fros are so meticulously groomed, I watched in wonder.

Also Pam Grier.

My word.

Her body like whoa. Everyone that has watched this film knows this, because from the opening credits, pervy director Jack Hill had his camera all over her. Blaxploitation sure lives up to its name in this bad boy. So much gratutitous nudity. Am I hating because Jack Hill is essentially the proto-Tarantino? Not at all. Foxy Brown is a campy classic for a reason, so I can’t hate. Pam Grier plays the titular role, all hips and boobs in the opening credits, doing her little jiggy disco dance. Read the rest of this entry »


The Dark Knight Snoozes

Christopher Nolan desperately needs a sense of humor.

The Dark Knight Rises is so grim, so self-serious, that at some point halfway through the 2 hour and 40 minute slog, I just started laughing.

In no particular order, my thoughts:

-Increasingly, I’m beginning to realize and (appreciate) how much Heath Ledger made The Dark Knight watchable. Sure Bane has a weird voice and his neck is freakishly thick, but as a villain there’s not much that makes him compelling. I am not a comic book diehard, so I don’t know if that’s Nolan’s fault or the people that originally wrote Bane’s character. One thing’s for sure though, Heath Ledger’s Joker freaked the hell out of me because there was no backstory, no explication for his wanton, anarchic need for violence. That’s what was chilling. That and the bad clown makeup.  Read the rest of this entry »


About last night…

There is such a thing as too beautiful. This is not a compliment masquerading as an insult. This is just an insult.  Rob Lowe in the rather dreadful 1986 film  About Last Night (yes, I’m that bored) is simply too beautiful. As Lowe has gotten older, his face has inevitably cragged. But as a 22-year-old playing older than his years in About Last Night, his face is otherworldly. Perfectly symmetrical, eyes just blazing, cheekbones sculpted at unbelievable, model angles. It’s weird. It’s distracting.

Rob Lowe plays Danny, a college dropout who works as a restaurant supplier person in Chicago. His best friend is Bernie (Jim Belushi, always, I thought, unfairly tagged as the lesser Belushi. Until I saw this movie. Why invite the inevitable comparisons by playing such a John Belushi-like character, Jim?), a horrible miscreant of a person, who is just so contemptible in this film that how and why Danny and Bernie remain friends is one of the film’s unsolved mysteries. After a softball game, Danny and Bernie go to a bar where Danny picks up the enchanting Debby (Demi Moore), an advertising designer. The subsequent relationship that unfolds draws the ire of Debby’s best friend Joan (Elizabeth Perkins, who I just realized was in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street. She is such an underrated fox. Her eyes are beautiful.) Read the rest of this entry »


Hmm: Take This Waltz review

Take This Waltz is disorienting from the start, in no small part due to the fact that it is set in present-day Canada and my narrow, jingoistic American brain  could not figure out why Michelle Williams kept saying ‘soory’ until forty minutes into the movie. But even after I finally figured that out, the first two thirds of the film are still eyeroll inducing. Unfortunately, Take this Waltz suffers from Serious Writer syndrome,  an ailment comprised of faux subtlety and other advanced creative writing tropes that tends to afflict earnest, indie films like this one, about ordinary people with ordinary problems.

Margo, the film’s protagonist, meets cute with a guy in Montreal at some sort of 18th century colonial reenactment town. With the sort of happenstance that only occurs in the movies, they meet again on the plane back to wherever it is they live in Canada and immediately have one of those metaphorical conversations, too rich and too hokey to be true. “I’m afraid of missing connections.” Margo says to her muscular confidante Daniel played by Luke Kirby, one of those actors who you’ll feel like you’ve seen in a thousand recurring guest roles on TV, but whose name always escape you. Daniel, like characters in movies with Serious Writer Syndrome tend to do, can parse Margo’s intentions with the keen acumen of someone that only the creator of all the characters can posess. He is also a rickshaw driver.  Read the rest of this entry »


The dangers of false advertising: ‘Young Adult’ review

I broke my self-imposed Young Adult review embargo only a few days after the film came out late last year, but I still didn’t expect the prevailing sentiment from most reviews (much darker than intimated in trailer!) to be so, well, spot-on when I watched the film for the first time yesterday.

I was sooooo excited to watch this film when the trailer first came out. Wry humor, funky music, Patrick Wilson, Charlize Theron acting like a class-A-biotch in one of those classic-beautiful-movie-star-who-gives-off-inexplicable-bitchy-vibes-outbitches-herself-in-larger-than-life-film-role.

But my oh my, what a textbook case of false advertising! Lo and behold Young Adult is not a comedy. I did not laugh once. I winced a lot. I felt kind of sad. And then I rolled my eyes.  Read the rest of this entry »