Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The 20 Rules of Black Movies (or "How Leonardo DiCaprio & Claire Danes Became Stars")

A couple of years ago, I wrote "the 9 Rules of Black Movies". Well, if ever a lazy list column needed to be revisited, it's now. I've added eleven new rules, which means 55% original material! I've also re-written a few others.

So, won't you join me on a trip to the Black movies?

#1: The hottest, most desirable women in the movie have to be light-skinned sistas, Latinas or of mixed heritage. (Originally began as "The Rap Video Ho Corollary".)

#2: Black audiences love exaggerated scatological humor like gastrointestinal problems and bowel movements. See anything ever made by The Wayans Bros. for exhibits A thru Poop.

#3: There must be one ostracized brutha who has left his strong Black woman…for a white girl. The Black women in the audience must immediately end their simultaneous cell phone conversations and yell empty threats whenever this character is on screen. For example, "That n*gga ain't shit!", "Ain't no n*gga play me like that!" and "How you finna do her like that!?"

#4: Someone must be cast for the sole purpose of screaming all of their dialogue at the top of their lungs. And, when Mo'Nique and Anthony Anderson are in the same movie…cover your ears.

#5: Black Movies must be released with an awful soundtrack. And every one of them must include no less than six songs by a generic R&B girl group with a name like Blaq2Front or Soultré.

#6: If there are any white characters, they have to "prove themselves" to their Black peers. In the last five years, this has meant banging a drum or cutting hair.

#7: There must be a reference to a famous African-American that everyone in the Black community is tired of being associated with. Current favorites include Rodney King, O.J. Simpson, Mike Tyson and Michael Jackson.

#8: The clothing, car, hair or accessory style is anywhere from 1-2 years out of style from the day of the Black movie's release date. The most egregious examples include Tupac's hair in Juice, Ice Cube's dashiki in Higher Learning or the entirety of Kid n' Play in House Party 1 thru 15.

#9: It must have a part for Tamala Jones.

#10: It's not officially a Black movie until it's banned in at least one urban theater.

#11: Paula Jai Parker must be cast as a hooker.

#12: Only a white teacher who has nothing in common with her students can reach the kids that society and good hygiene have left behind. The students will, of course, resist her at first, then grudgingly accept her ofay ways.

#13: One of the students in the above mentioned example will be killed, jailed or killed in jail during the third act.

#14: If the movie is a "gritty urban drama", it must liberally steal from The Godfather, Scarface and/or Carlito's Way.

#15: Any movie with Cedric The Entertainer will, ironically, not be entertaining.

#16: Five words…"Guaranteed Jet Magazine cover

#17: At least one person in the cast has appeared as a series regular on The WB, UPN or "the new" CW.

#18: Black people must see Black movies during their first weekend of release and be prepared to discuss every scene in sketchy, inaccurate detail after church on Sunday or during work on Monday.

#19: Someone in the office must circulate a "reminder e-mail" on Friday afternoon to "make sure you see (random Black movie)". This will be sent out to the same African-American inter-office mailing list that regularly receives those ultra-religious emails from the God-fearing sista-girl secretary who genuinely believes that Jesus wants her to "forward this prayer to 10 friends".

#20: When yet another Black movie underperforms at the box office, there must be one ubiquitous Black conspiracy theorist who stirs the sh*t by suggesting that the studios and theaters want Black movies to fail. 10 years ago, there were genuinely people (in more than one city) claiming that they'd wanted tickets to Set It Off, paid for tickets to Set It Off, saw Set It Off, but afterwards, noticed that their tickets were for William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet remake.

And, that's how Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes became stars.


that mexican guy said...

I've got one: every black movie has to include one black actor that hasn't had steady work in 10-20 years (Salli Richardson, Tommy Davidson, Mario Van Peebles).

alex b. said...

If it's a black movie then it must someway offend the sensibilities of Revs. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or William H. Cosby, pHD.

mathan said...

Aaron Cameron; the new Dave Chappelle.

mr jones said...

You know you're watching a Black movie if Taye Diggs and Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ice-T are always involved with a Black wife/girlfriend. And, ONLY in a black movie.

Joe R. said...

Wait, I thought I'd already proven myself. You're saying I have to cut hair now?

tony gee said...

Maybe I don't fit the demographic of this discussion, but I'm confused. Does a black movie have to have all 20 traits to be a "BLACK movie"? Half of them? Two of them?

And, how does a movie like "Love Jones" fit in? It's obviously a "black movie" but doesn't seem to fall into any of the criteria above. Ditto for "Love & Basketball".

(And, no, I can't believe how much thought I've given this.)

That Bootleg Guy said...

Tony...let's say three. Any three of these 20 traits and you've got your Black movie. As for "Love Jones", let's look at the evidence:

Shitty soundtrack? Check.

Hottest chick in movie of mixed heritage? Nia Long? Check.

Immediately out-of-style hair? Isaiah Washington's burnt sienna hair twists. Check.

"Love Jones" = Black Movie