>Ok, here I is, lol. For those of you who like my blog, I am much, much, more active on Twitter (sadly) and my username is @BlkCinemaAtLarg. I guess I should put that on here, but I’m waiting for my new site design.
Anyhoo, while on the great twitterville I came across Entertainment Tonight’s “10 Historically Significant African-American Films”. And let me tell you, it was the best list I’ve seen so far from a mainstream outlet, which was surprising, cause I find ET about as deep and relevant to Blacks as Ryan Seacrest.
What’s Love Got To Do With It
A Soldier’s Story
Do The Right Thing
Boyz N The Hood
A Raisin In The Sun
The Color Purple
This is a great list, admittedly. There are a couple on there though, that while I do think are significant, are not necessarily historical. In the Black community, maybe, but not universally, which I believe was ET’s intended stance.
So I wanna talk about two a day, to kick off my theme weeks. I think I’ll start with A Soldier’s Story and Cooley High, since those two are grabbing me today.
I agree with ET’s assessment on this one. As a child who went to the movies with a father who was just as a voracious movie-lover as Ms. Invisibelle, I remember that this was the first post-70’s drama that was well directed, well written, well photographed, and well acted. This was an excellent story that had elements of suspense, mystery, and drama. It addressed an array of factors; racism in the military, the pressure of even being in the military, and wearing masks to hide our true selves from others.
I was very young, but I was completely captivated by the story in front of me. It is also the first time I remember having on screen crushes; despite his personal life (that I found out about afterward), Howard Rollins was a very powerful and amazing presence, and for some reason I was drawn to a very nerdy-looking and bespectacled Denzel Washington way before he was really known for anything…I guess he was born with it.
This film opened up a door that relayed Black drama was just as compelling, intense, and brilliant as anything else that was out there in the 80’s or any other decade. I think it’s a shame that there are certain entities (that will remain unnamed) that will play “Soul Plane” ad nauseum as opposed to playing this even once.
What can I say about this film? For some reason I love everything about it, so I’m in agreement with ET. It is the only film that I have seen more than repeatedly next to “Friday”, and I never get tired of seeing it. What Cooley High has is:
*A sense of nostalgia, even if you weren’t alive or remember the time period
*Characters that made you care
*Comedy and drama well-balanced–one was just as interesting and watchable as the other
*A very brief glimpse that, for at least one month, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs was fine as hell
*A very brief glimpse that, for at least one month, Glynn Turman was not weird and creepy as hell
*Arresting wardrobe and on-point set design
*The breeding ground of the classic song by Boyz To Men “It’s So Hard To Say Good-Bye To Yesterday”
*A coming-of-age story that was realistic and relatable
This film was testament that a very fine, touching, and universally Black story could be made on a relatively small budget. This film speaks to generations, and everyone from your grandparents to your grandchildren love it, and I really can’t think of another Black film like that.
Tomorrow two more.