Sunday, November 30, 2014

Alone Again Naturally

Sometimes in the drama that is romance, you fly solo.

So while my choice of film was labeled a "chick flick," I had no girlfriend with me. You could also call it a date night movie, but I couldn't find one of those, either.

On the plus side, the evening began on a complimentary note when an apparently near-sighted ticket seller at Movieland addressed me as "Miss" and inquired if I was getting a student or adult ticket. Naturally I responded with every dimple on my face.

I'd decided on "Beyond the Lights" because two friends  - one with a degree in film and the other with a pop culture blog - had confessed that they, too, intended to see it. Even the Washington Post's critic Ann Hornaday had raved about it, even putting it in her top ten for 2014, so I had her blessing, too.

My point? There was no shame in seeing what I knew would be a full-on romance. That it had a woman director only added to the allure.

The problem with going to a somewhat mainstream movie quickly became apparent: half a dozen previews of not only movies I'd never go to, but previews I could barely stand sitting through. Horror, sex, aging stars and contrived plots, who wants to see this schlock?

Not that the film I'd come to see wasn't without its own cliches: rising R & B hip hop artist at the mercy of her driven stage mother attempts suicide and ripped, handsome police office saves her and they begin to fall in love.

Can you say "shades of "The Bodyguard"?

Romance aside, the film made a lot of subtle and not so subtle commentary about the objectification of women in pop culture and especially in hip hop. It jumped out at me, but I wonder if that wasn't because I don't watch TV or music videos so it's more glaringly apparent and offensive to me.

What the film had going for it was the radiant actress (with the unusual name of Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who conveyed so much with her eyes while hinting at the inner turmoil she was feeling as her career took off and her life ceased to be her own.

Let's just say we didn't have a lot in common except a mutual devotion to fried chicken.

But it's the chemistry between her and Nate Parker as the cop that totally wins the audience over. I couldn't have been the only one getting warm watching these two interact and react to each other.

Part of what appealed to me about the film was that it was a romantic drama, not a romantic comedy. Let's be real here; when it comes to creating a successful (read: long term) romance, real people are probably going to have as many problems as laughs.

Maybe it's my life experience, but I find that kind of story more appealing than your typical rom-com.

But it's still the movies, so when the couple needs to get away from her crazy lifestyle with its non-stop pressure and paparazzi, it's an easy drive to the coast of Mexico and an oceanfront cottage.

How can you not be in love with the sound of waves crashing just outside your windows? It was enough for our heroine to take off her fake nails and remove her weave and her man still loved her. Since I don't do fake hair or nails, I don't know how I'd prove myself.

There was a charming scene in a Mexican karaoke bar where he gets up to sing a song for her, choosing New Edition and butchering it so badly she gets up to rescue him. Honey, it must be love if he's crooning '80s boy bands to you.

Weave or no weave, I'm not going to hold my breath until that happens to me.


  1. sounds like a misstep but hey it's good to immerse one-' self in mainstream on occasion.'s a mainstream're just an island in it. I mean u can not get more Americana than fried chicken...& oh by the way i'd gone to see J. Taylor the other week instead of the minor acts you attended...but hey it's 2014...diversity baby! BTW i've been to many a flick by's OK. not so much anymore but if i ever see you...popcorns on me.


  2. I like your analogy of me being an island, cw. How was the JT show? I've been going to the movies by myself so often for so long that it just seems normal. I'd love to run into you and take you up on that popcorn offer. Lotsa butter!

  3. or why wait, vmfa this coming monday. talk..i guess & do lunch...maybe not at Amuse though...someplace with booths. 'round...11?...... does that sound too easy...sort of like Hitchcock?


  4. Monday is a possibility but I won't know for sure until I hear back from an interviewee whom I told I could meet early next week. If he picks another day, sure to Monday. I can let you know once I know.
    But 11? I don't get up till 10, cw, so that's a bit early for lunch for me.

  5. the day -- just let me know
    same with the time --
    we'll work it out

  6. I'll let you know as soon as I know.

  7. this is too easy...

  8. maybe not that easy..