Entertainment / Movies

16

Nov 2013

Best Man Holiday Success a Shocker?

Opinion: Industry just now realizes "Black" films appeal ...
By Kyra Kyles

Best Man Holiday Success a Shocker?


We like to do a feature here on JETmag.com called “What Year Is This?”

Essentially, we call out current day events that definitely belong in this country’s not-so-distant past, for example a lawmaker saying he’d vote for slavery if that’s what his constituents wanted or an Italian gymnast remarking she wanted to paint herself “black” so she could win like Simone Biles.

Welp, it appears it’s time for another edition.

This time, pertaining to The Best Man Holiday and its extremely impressive showing this weekend, on Saturday tracking to beat the $33-million mark and threatening Thor‘s domination. 

No sooner had the Malcolm D. Lee written and directed film surged in the box office, the breathless remarks by White critics began.

A few samples of the snatched pearls in action:

“We all like to act surprised over and over when Tyler Perry scores again or when Kevin Hart’s concert film breaks out in limited release. But black audiences like seeing themselves onscreen. More importantly, they really like seeing black characters onscreen in starring roles in films that don’t necessarily revolve around racially-based adversity.”– Forbes

Say word?  It’s news that people want to see representations of themselves in pop culture that don’t include fighting The Power or being whipped into submission by Leonardo DiCaprio or Michael Fassbender?  Egads!

Moving on to another gem, though it doesn’t rate as high in the “duh” factor as the aforementioned example.

“From Universal, Best Man Holiday — projected to top out at $20 million — sees Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Monica Calhoun and Melissa De Sousa reprising their roles. The first film, opening to $9 million in 1999, is credited with helping to usher in the era of aspirational African-American comedies.”–Hollywood Reporter

What, may I ask,  is so aspirational about Black people in love?  It happens every day.  Not to put the full weight on that particular article, but I’ve seen far too many of these quotes when it comes to movies where those of us with brown skin are gainfully employed, not running from the po po or trying to rescue the loves of our lives from cruel slave masters.

Why are the well-heeled characters that make up the cast of “Best Man,” “Best Man Holiday,” or even  “Why Did I Get Married” so jaw-dropping?  Hell, I have friends like this and am confident my pals of other hues can relate to the plot points.

I mean,  what? Do Hollywood suits actually believe people relate more to a mythological beefcake with a magic hammer than a group of friends reuniting for the holidays?

Think about how some of these reviews and performance recaps sound.  Have you ever seen an article excitedly exclaiming that “Avatar” was a win for blue skinned Nav’i?

Odd how the average moviegoer can stretch his or her imagination in those clearly outlandish examples, but only “the Blacks” want to see a romantic comedy with a stunningly gorgeous cast, smart humor and 90s-era nostalgia.

Please.

I am absolutely excited and inspired that the “Best Man Holiday” is turning some industry heads.  I will be even more thrilled if after some of this amazement (reminiscent of similar sentiment after the success of “Think Like a Man), results in more movies with diverse casts hitting the silver screen.  And that doesn’t seem too much of a reach in an era where we have self-driving cars, talking smartphones and the ability to send Lady Gaga to sing in space.

REQUIRED READING

Update on 11.17: Check out what hilarious writer and JET honoree Awesomely Luvvie had to say about this.  CLICK HERE. Turns out USA Today had the nerve to take this “Black” movie ball and run with it.  **throws hands in air.**

 

 

5 Comments »

  1. Jinnie Cristerna November 16, 2013 at 6:42 am - Reply

    I don't see what is wrong with the comments they made.

  2. kkyles November 16, 2013 at 7:18 am - Reply

    I am sure they don't either, but I added the links so you can read the whole article. It was more so the shock and awe, and the "aspirational" aspect. A number of critics show surprise when Blacks are depicted as having money in movies. Was "Bridesmaids" seen as aspirational? Nah, because it is expected for non-Black characters to have a little dough and not spend all their time fighting the power. Thanks for your comment though!

    • Jinnie Cristerna November 17, 2013 at 10:40 am - Reply

      After going through the required reading, I can see why it is offensive; I wish it had been there initially. On another note, I am curious if we don't play a role in their shock. If we want to call foul then we have to look at the pitch. I mean let's look at the number of good, solid vs. and horrible, stereotyped movies WE created come out of Hollywood (e.g. Love Jones vs. Soul Plane). I mean, really, how upset can we be that white people are shocked at the success of Best man Holiday? Hell, I am even surprised when we create something that shows us in a different light; and to have it top the charts just makes me proud and validates that we are more than jungle jokes, slavery, and the ghetto. I am looking forward to movies like Best Man Holiday being our new normal :)

      • kkyles November 17, 2013 at 11:54 am - Reply

        Hi there! The required reading is an update because more foolishness happened. No time travel skills just yet. :) But glad you understand the issue better. Unfortunately, the film business is a tricky one and though many great movies are made with African American crew and casts, they often are shunned by movie execs. Tyler Perry got to where he is by bankrolling his own success. We definitely want to encourage more films like this and the silver lining is that Hollywood loves patterns. This is a good one for them to follow. Thanks for the comment!

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