Wednesday, December 3, 2008

After All This Years...Why Isn't There A True Classic Black Holiday Film?

Why isn't there a great classic African American holiday film? Last Holiday is a guilty pleasure, but it's not really a Xmas film. I love Soul Food, but I don't consider that a Christmas holiday film either, that film is more than that. Most black films around the holiday are either too corny, too campy, or too heavy-handed with the Christianity. Last year, we got a couple of new holiday films with black casts, the results were clearly mixed.
This Christmas - watchable, but stereotypes galore. Professor Tracey's eyes were rolling hard at the hidden white wife, good sister/bad sister/baby sister rivalry, making out with the new boyfriend in the pantry, the cheating spouse storyline that even a blind man could see coming, and the mama I wanna sang plot line.

And I do not like films that depict violence between black couples, especially with the intent to get laughs or some kind of revenge response out of the audience. Domestic violence is a serious UNSPOKEN issue in the black community and the "baby oil and belt beating" scene in this film is not funny or appropriate .

That's why I skipped The Family That Preys and was turned off with Why Did I Get Married?, Tyler Perry uses this domestic violence device in his films too much for my comfort. With the real-life murders of actress Jennifer Hudson's family by her brother-in-law, black folks should not be cheering black man/black woman violence in movie theater.
The Perfect Holiday - perfectly horrible! The only time I laughed was looking at that brotha in the elf outfit and trying to put on that Santa suit later on in the movie. Corny as hell and what in the hell was Queen Latifah and Terence Howard doing in this movie? And what in the hell happened to Morris Chestnut and Gabrielle Union's careers?

I love the idea of the traditional holiday film that everyone watches over and over, knows all the lines, has a favorite character, sings the songs, etc.... And I would really love to have a holiday film like that about a black family. I'll put that hope on my Xmas list for next year.


MsFancyPants December 3, 2008 at 10:00 AM  

I know, I know, I know it's a remake...but you know what movie has that Christmas-y feeling (and that I absolutely love!)? The Preacher's Wife with Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington. But again, not originally ours to begin with.

Christopher Chambers December 3, 2008 at 10:19 AM  

You really wanna hear why? Yeah, white Holywood is part of the equation...but we ourselves as the audience is the other part. We can only handle Tyler perry-esque crap. Anything deeper, or with humor that isnt the analogy to Vicne Vaugn's movie (and the sad fact that old Oscare winners like Sissy Spacek and Duval etc degrade themselves in this stuff), and we don't bite.

cinco December 3, 2008 at 12:38 PM  

Thankfully I've missed all of these films. I don't find it funny for a movie to glorify infidelity, abuse or just plain ignorance.

Claudia December 3, 2008 at 2:51 PM  

Wow, you're right. There aren't many. I was thinking about The Preacher's Wife as well. And wasn't there a remake of A Christmas Carol with black characters (or am I thinking of "The Jeffersons")? Man, this is pathetic.

Well at least we've got the classic Christmas album locked down: Donny Hathaway, Nat King Cole, Four Tops, Boyz II Men...

wisdomteachesme December 3, 2008 at 4:44 PM  

so not into black men and women going through violent issues on tv or the screen. not cool unless you are bringing Awareness and Speaking out about the problem that everyone knows about but does not to help.

i like the whitney a denzl on- that is the one we can really take.
i also like the queen latifah one it's good--and the acting is pretty good also.

but violence or making fun of black people just is not cool for us whether it's Christmas or not.

the news has enough of that--or you can go in any store and see plenty of dysfunction happening.

i agree with CC above--that it's the black film makers and the audience.
if they are about money and staying within the boundries of white film rule--then they will never make a very good Christmas movie that highlights people of color.

the mass 'audience' craves laughing at themselves and thinking that is ok not understanding the difference between something that is really funny and something that is a crack and putdown on us as a whole.

i pray that someone will do a movie as we speak of--it has to come--look at all the other changes tha have come to pass!

oh- how about that remake with vanessa williams as scrooge?
it came on the other night and we caught the tail of it--i like her--she is a good actress and singer. a good heart.

but i know, you mean original.

Selena December 3, 2008 at 5:56 PM  

ITA Christopher,

Black folks are soooo picky. If it has too much educational value to it, we won't support it with our dollars.

If its boarderline "classic" it gets slept on...

I personally don't care whose in it as long as it can be enjoyed by everyone in my family.

I gave up on "black" movies years ago.

Anonymous,  December 3, 2008 at 7:28 PM  

I so agree with domestic violence in our community; in how it is an UNSPOKEN killer and we love to laugh about it in the "black" movies. My spirit ached in "Family that Preys" when ol' boy knocked Sanaa's character over the counter. I mean, people cheered, stood up, and clapped. I was appalled! I think that is why I hate Tyler Perry's movies...and he's chavonistic.

As far as a holiday movie, the closest I could think of was "This Christmas". I liked the movie!

TD1016 December 4, 2008 at 12:59 AM  

I'm not sure why we can't have a nice black holiday film. I thought This Christmas was okay, just needed more of a plot. I think too a point the Holiday story is still kind of new to Black Entertainment. As far as the Tyler Perry stuff goes, I like his plays and movies and I think sometimes that people IMO may take them in the wrong ways. I don't feel that he is in anyway condoning domestic violence, but to say that this is real, it's what happens but here is the lesson to learn from behind it. And for some women because he does the only way out is to fight back, which he shows. I liked the Family that Preys a lot and I was in a theater too where some people applauded and cheered when Sanaa's character got hit over the counter by dude from BET's Soul Food (I know his first name is like Rock but anywho). I know my reaction was damn. But I don't think people were necessarily cheering because she got hit, I think it was more of her character (which she played a ruthless sista) now felt the she put on his character felt throughout the entire 2 hrs almost of the movie. I think sometimes we think too much and look too deep into what a movie is displaying rather than just relaxing and thinking of it as entertainment and possibly what lesson could be got from it. Ive always found a positive message from his movies and came out thinking.

Sheryl December 4, 2008 at 5:19 PM  

TD1016 I think the problem is that we as Black people don't think enough about what we see and hear. It's not just entertainment.

I'm going to leave it at that.

TD1016 December 6, 2008 at 12:39 PM  

@ Sheryl

LOl, sorry can't let you just leave it at that. If it's not entertainment than what is it?

But if we're going to get into the whole how it plays out in the mind of people and influence on young people like Hip Hop music, we can just leave it.

Anonymous,  December 6, 2008 at 8:35 PM  

This Christmas was ok. I watched Perfect Holiday a couple of weeks ago and also wondered why Terrence Howard was there. Truthfully, I don't like any Christmas movie. Every year I look forward to watching all my favorite cartoons. Charlie Brown, The Grinch, Garfield, Rudolph and 'em brighten up my December every year. Oh, and the Good Times episode I love to hate. The one with Keith. He had to work on Christmas Eve so the gang brought the party to his job. In classic black sitcom fashion a talent show ensues. Uggghh.

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