For those that don’t know there have been many great Black movies. Many of these movies have enriched to many lives. So, I have created this list to showcase some of these films. Many of these films you may not know and some you might, but they are all worth a look.  Feel free to comment on the list, but most of all enjoy. These movies will enrich any movie collection. This is part 3 and final part of my list.

10. Love & Basketball (2000)

A romantic drama this film spans a thirteen years of friendship between childhood sweethearts Monica Wright and Quincy McCall. Monica and Quincy’s love of basketball is only matched by their love for other. This is movie shows not only how love grows, but how people grow as well.  This is one of the few movies that blended sports and love together in a compelling story. This movie will make a few eyes tear up.

9. Selma (2014)

selma

A chronicle of Martin Luther King’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. This film presents a unique perspective of the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A movement that is fragile, ego driven and a leader who is all too human.

8. Coming to America (1988)

It is the 21st birthday of African Prince Akeem of Zamunda and he is to marry a woman he has never seen before. The prince breaks with tradition and travels to America to look for the love of his life. This film stars Eddie Murphy, but boasts an all star black cast of actors, including James Earl Jones. This comedy is the story is of a young man’s journey to find real love.

7. Get On Up (2014)

get on up

Born in South Carolina and survived abandonment, abuse and jail James Brown become one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. He joined a gospel group as a teenager, but the jazz and blues along the “chitlin’ circuit” became his springboard to fame. Brown’s ability to ability to mesmerize audiences with his music, signature moves and sexual energy is captured in this film. This film has an excellent performance by Chadwick Boseman and presents another side of the enigmatic James Brown.

6. 12 Years A Slave (2013)

12 Years A Slave

In the years before the Civil War, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South. Subjected to the cruelty of one malevolent owner, he also finds unexpected kindness from another, as he struggles continually to survive and maintain some of his dignity. It takes a lot of courage to tell a story like this, it takes even more courage to watch it.

It's going to take guts to walk around with this novel.

It’s going to take guts to walk around with this novel.

5. A Raisin in the Sun (1961)

 

This film is actually an adaptation of the Broadway play. Walter Lee Younger is a young man struggling with his station in life. Sharing a tiny apartment with his wife, son, sister and mother, he seems like an imprisoned man. Until, that is, the family gets an unexpected financial windfall. The film itself is a look into the life of an African American family in the Mid-1900s. This film shows how Blacks were at a crossroad between longing for as past and a future that may be unattainable.

4. Do the Right Thing (1989)

This movie sparked a national dialogue on race in America. The film scene is Brooklyn as this film pushes just about every racial hot button there is. This film is also noted for its style and look.

3. The Color Purple (1985)

This movie follows the life of Celie Johnson as she struggles through life in the early 1900s. This movie has some very classic  performances. This movie raised the consciousness of the United States to domestic violence.

2. The Matrix (1999)

Neo has always questioned his reality, but the truth is far beyond his imagination. Neo is contacted by Morpheus, a legendary computer hacker branded a terrorist by the government. Morpheus awakens Neo to the real world. A world that is a ravaged wasteland where humanity has been enslaved by a race of machines which live off of their body and imprison their minds within an artificial reality known as the Matrix. If you think movie is not a black movie, then you need to Free Your Mind.

1. Roots (1977)

This was movie that was broken up into a mini-series, but nevertheless it shook the moral consciousness of our American nation. This movie detailed the struggles and horrors of  slaves. There hasn’t been a movie  made like it since.

Honorable Mentions:  Lillies of the Field, The Great Debaters, Lady Sings the Blues, Hollywood Shuffle, When the Levees Broke, Hotel Rwanda, cornbread, earl and me

All of the movies on this list are movies of note. Movies should not be judged on things that can be manipulated such as box offices, internet popularity, etc. Movies are art as art it should be viewed on its content, merit, style, direction as well as impact. As you have probably guessed by now I have listed more than 30 films. In truth, I could have compiled a list of over 100 movies, but I feel that after viewing these movies anyone will have a greater understanding of African American culture as a whole. Pick a few movies from the list and see for yourself.

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Part 1 Part 2

For those that don’t know there have been many great Black movies. Many of these movies have enriched many lives. So, I have created this list to showcase some of these films. Many of these films you may not know and some you might, but they are all worth a look.  Feel free to comment on the list, but most of all enjoy. These movies will enrich any movie collection. This is part 2 of my list.

20. Fruitvale Station (2013)

Fruitvale Station

 

22-year-old black man Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) is now trying hard to live a clean life and support his girlfriend and young daughter. The film uses flashbacks to reveal the last day in Oscar’s life, in which he accompanied his family and friends to San Francisco to watch fireworks on New Year’s Eve. On the way back home, he became swept up in an altercation with police that ended in tragedy. This story is powerful because it is sadly an everyday story.

19. Malcolm X (1992)

 

This is a biopic of the life, philosophies and transitions of Malcolm X, an influential American figure and Nation of Islam minister. Malcolm X is portrayed by Denzel Washington. This film is based on the book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X . For those who don’t know of Malcolm X this film, with the book, is a great teaching tool, to learn about the man and his life.

18. Antwone Fisher (2002)

 

A sailor prone to violent outbursts is sent to a naval psychiatrist for help. Refusing at first to open up, the young man eventually breaks down and reveals a horrific childhood. Through his therapy, he confronts his painful past and begins a journey to find the family he never knew. This movie is moving and heartwarming. This entire film is a journey of self-discovery, through the eyes of Antwone Fisher. This story is about the need to be loved and the need to forgive.

17. Boyz ‘n the Hood (1991)

 

This movie is a gripping tale of a group of childhood friends growing up in the ultra violent South Central Los Angeles. As far as modern urban dramas go this one has it all. This film makes important points regarding the struggles facing black boys in the inner cities. It is Simply Powerful.

16. Amistad (1997)

 

 

This film takes a little known chapter in African American history as gives it weight. This is the story of a bloody revolt of African captives on a Spanish slave ship off the coast of America in 1839, and the subsequent trials that followed. This story is as compelling as it is real.


 

15. Ray (2004)

 

This the true life story of legendary blues singer Ray Charles. The movie follows Ray Charles from the losing his eyesight in early childhood, to his rising career during the 1950s and 1960s, and his problems with racism, drug abuse, failed relationships and his revolutionary idea to change the pace music by combining soul and gospel music. This movie provides incredibly insight into a brilliant man.

14. Cooley High (1975)

 

This film follows a group of high school friends, who live on the North Side of Chicago, in the mid-1960. Life changes for two of the characters when they meet a pair of career criminals and get falsely arrested in connection with stealing a Cadillac. This is a coming of age film for young black men, as high schoolers deal with their triumphs as well as their struggles.

13. Soul Food (1997)

Mama Joe has held her family together for over 40 years around a traditional Sunday dinner of soul food. When diabetes hospitalizes her, the dinners stop and tensions among her three daughters start to break the family apart. This movie epitomized life in present-day America for many African-American families. Soul Food deals with multiple family issues, the struggles, the triumph, but most of all it portrayed African American family’s a real familial unit, with real problems.

12. Love Jones (1997)

The story revolves around a young poet in Chicago who starts dating a beautiful and talented photographer. This movie deftly deals with the differences between just kickin’ it, or are we really in love. This movie plays equally to men and women. This movie is similar in fashion to Brown Sugar, but this movie introduced Spoken Word to the world and that sets it apart. Love Jones is a real slice of African Americana.

11. Purple Rain (1984)

“The Kid” with a gift for music meets an aspiring singer and finds that talent alone isn’t all that he needs. This is a complicated loved tale with “The Kid” not wanting to repeat his father’s self destructive behavior. “The Kid” comes to grips with life, love and loss. This movie is usually overlooked as a glorified music video and it is music set on fire. Glorified or not this film positively burns long after you are finished watching it. After all, this movie made it possible for similar movies such as, ‘8 mile’ to be made.

Honorable Mentions: Hollywood Shuffle, Hoop Dreams, Within Our Gates, Eddie Murphy Raw, Lackawanna Blues, Boomerang, Precious, The Best Man, The Wood, Dream Girls,The Inkwell, Sparkle, I’m Gonna Get You Sucka, and New Jack City.

Part 1

Part 3

Star Trek

It has been 40 plus years since the original Star Trek aired and some would say that the series has grown old maybe even stale. But the series has sparked so much imagination over the years that someone inevitably comes along and tries to perform CPR on it. Star Trek’s days of being socially conscientious are over, as well as its days of innovation. That being said I decided to go to see a movie it took me two weeks to get up the nerve after being utterly disappointed by Wolverine. So I decided to pull the usually empty lever of the Studio Film slot machine once again. The obvious choice would be for me to see Angels & Demons, but the buzz on Star Trek compelled me spend two hours with them.

I have to say that this so-called prequel is in a word “Brilliant”. Many reviewers throw around terms like “Superb”, “Excellent”, “Visually Stunning” much too loosely. However, for J.J. Abrams’ vision of Star Trek those terms actually do apply. Most people will think that this film is a testosterone filled  heartless movies, but they couldn’t be more wrong. This film has something in it for everyone, and I mean everyone. Yes, there will be those who have issues with completely minor errors like, time travel, or the inherent danger of indiscriminate singularity creation, but I digress.

This film begins with James T. Kirk’s birth in deep space with his father sacrificing his own life so that his son and others could live. Kirk is later seen as a rebellious Iowan youth (think Rebel Without A Cause). Then we are treated to see how a young Half-Vulcan, Half-Human Spock’s is developing on the planet Vulcan. The young Spock is having trouble wrestling with those pesky emotions (Vulcan’s suppress them) while the other Vulcans believe that having a human mother is some type of handicap. Director J.J. Abrams plays Kirk’s father and Spock’s mother off of one another the entire movie and rightly so. Spock (Zachary Quinto) rebels at the high council when a crack is made about his mother and he decided to join the less prestigious Starfleet. Next we see an older Kirk (Chris Pine) as he continues to pursue women and a life built on destruction, but during a bar room brawl he catches the eye of Capt. Pike, who was an admirer of his father, who convinces him to join Starfleet. And from there we are introduced in order to the central characters of Star Trek: Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban), Hikaru Sulu (John Choo), Montgomery Scott (Simon Pegg), Yuri Chekov (Anton Yelchin). Choosing lesser-known actors allows the director to focus less on glamor shots and more on the acting. It takes a lot of guts to pull off that kind of trade-off clearly this movie was made with purpose. The casting on this film is topnotch except for Spock’s Mother (Winona Ryder), but she only has five lines. But casting Eric Bana as (Nero the Romulan Commander) was genius.

The script by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci from plot to sub plot is impeccable. All of the cliches and themes are there, but they are beside the point because this script does more than offer a great tale… it offers insight and back story to the characters themselves. They took a risk switching out the well-known and traditional enemy the Klingons for the lesser known Romulans, but it was a magnificent choice that opened up many more possibilities for the future of the franchise. There are some surprises, an unusual love interest (and I don’t mean between Kirk and Spock), and a slightly more emotional Spock.

Quite simply J.J. Abrams has accomplished what George Lucas could not by trying to reignite the Star Wars series. Frankly this movie puts the last ten-years of retread, rehashed, comic-book, sci-fi movies to shame. How: Story Development, Character Development, New Worlds, Surprise Guest Stars, Amazing Effects, and a Love Story. This movie has it all, yet it moves along so well you’ll think that it was 3- hours long instead of a run time of 127 minutes. Interestingly enough if you are a Trek fan that watched the movie and really paid attention you will realize that this is not the Star Trek you grew up with. What the writers have slyly done is created an Alternative Universe Star Trek, which couldn’t be done if the canon was discarded or the script was sub par. If you didn’t notice that then you really need to see it again and this one of those rare movies that is worth seeing again. Superstar actors be damned this is the kind of movie Hollywood should be making! J.J. Abrams should get very serious consideration for an Oscar and credit the writers. Whatever the case, the history of Star Trek has been forever changed.

10/9.5