Let me just say that I have nothing but love and respect for the following films and those involved with them–I just never want to watch them again. Power to the people!
The Wiz (1978)
I have to start off by giving The Wiz its props. The movie is based on the 1974 Broadway musical of the same name, a black rendition of American classic The Wizard of Oz. A pretty progressive project for black folks in the 70s, right? I saw The Wiz for the first time in my 7th grade music class. I was the only black kid in there. While everyone else hated it, I was super invested in it because I felt the need to support my people. Holla! Since then I’ve tried several times to watch the movie, but I just can’t because it’s so, so bad. First off, instead of a tornado in Kansas, Dorothy (Diana Ross) is whisked into the Land of Oz after getting caught up in a bizarre New York City blizzard whirlwind. The whole scene is just a mess. And while I love and respect Miss Ross “The Boss,” she was far too old to be playing Dorothy at the time and ruined the movie’s signature song, “Home.” If you try to tell me her version is better than Stephanie Mills’, we fighting. Other than the film’s fire soundtrack, Michael Jackson’s portrayal of the Scarecrow, and what it did for the culture, don’t put yourself through watching The Wiz more than once. I’m sorry.
Try this instead: The Wizard of Oz or The Wiz Live! (it’s seriously way better than the movie)
All Tyler Perry Movies (2005 – Present)
If you meet a black person who claims they don’t watch Tyler Perry movies, just know that this person is a liar and you shouldn’t trust them with your pet. Tyler Perry movies are like that bad boyfriend you’ve broken up with nineteen times, yet keep going back to for reasons you can’t understand. I’m actually a hypocrite for even listing them, because any time BET, Vh1, Lifetime, or TBS shows at least three back to back? Yeah, I’m probably in front of the TV watching them. Now, don’t get me wrong, Tyler Perry does have some redeemable work. For Colored Girls is a masterpiece (or maybe I’m just basic) and Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor sent a nice social message, AKA cheat on your husband and get HIV. The problem is those darn Madea movies. I low key agree with Spike Lee. Characters like Madea and Brown set black people back thirty years. On the flipside, though, Perry’s films do send solid messages about family, faith, love, and forgiveness. And I guess we shouldn’t complain about the representation (I guess).
Try this instead: Anything by Spike Lee (get you some knowledge)
Can anybody tell me what ATL’s plot is? Is there a theme? Probably not. It’s T.I. and his best friends roller skating while he falls in love with Lauren London and his little brother gets caught up in the drug game. Yeah, I think that’s it. Aside from the soundtrack (cue T.I.’s “What You Know”) and memorable lines such as “School year’s almost over…thank ya, JESUS!” and “I got some cuddy last night,” there has never been anything overly great about ATL. Let’s be real. And don’t get me started on how we were supposed to believe T.I. was a high school senior. It was like Diana Ross portraying Dorothy all over again. One thing I do love about ATL, though, is that you’re immediately transported back to that time when you watch it now. The movie is soooo 2006, from the airbrush t-shirts to New New’s gold bamboo knocker earrings with her name planted in the center. It takes me back to a happier ratchet time.
Try this instead: The Wood. It’s another coming-of-age story, but with a more comical and interesting plot.
I remember seeing Precious in theaters when I was 15. I left thinking Who would write that? Why would anybody write that? and Why would anybody want to see that? (I was judging myself here). This is a film about an overweight teenager who has been sexually and physically abused by both of her parents and has had two children by her father, who we eventually find out infected her with HIV. Oh, and she’s illiterate, too. TOUCH LORD! Precious was based on the novel Push by Sapphire. During the hype of the movie, my mom bought the book but forbade me from reading it because it was “inappropriate.” I sneaked and tried to read it anyway (yeah, I was a real rebellious teen, sneaking and reading books and all). I barely got through ten pages before closing it in disgust and thinking, “Whyyyyyyy?” I think what bothers me most about Precious is how realistic it is. I, like most sane, happy people, enjoy fairytale endings. The knowledge that stuff like this happens and having it shoved in my face so explicitly was simply too much. That’s why I don’t see how people care to watch this more than once. Shout out to Mo’Nique’s Oscar win, though!
Try this instead: The Color Purple. It deals with abuse on a less brutal scale and has a happier ending.
12 Years a Slave (2013)
Don’t get me wrong. 12 Years a Slave is an impeccable historical drama. I just feel that you shouldn’t watch it unless you want to be mad at white people for at least a week. I call it the Roots Effect: you watch a slave movie or documentary and get heated at all the people who have wronged your people in the past and can’t get over it for a small bit. I think I have similar issues with 12 Years a Slave as I do with Precious. The real, raw, honest depiction of slavery is just too much to bear, and this is coming from a history minor who is all about some truth! Oh, and it’s also too long. But I guess it was 12 years…
Try this instead: Django Unchained. It’s even longer and revisiting slavery will always suck, but at least he clapped back.
X’s and O’s,