Monday, November 30, 2015

November Rule

The holidays are upon us and that means some dudes are having second thoughts about spending money and committing to their mates.

That is the basic premise of the movie "November Rule" which stars Mo McRae and Fresh Prince of Bel Air alum Tatyana Ali. They start out as partners, but McRae's character 'Steve' develops cold feet as the calendar flips to November and decides to dump Ali's character 'Leah' -- just as he has every previous girlfriend. Except this time Steve has a change of heart and realizes Leah is a true catch who he didn't truly appreciate until she was gone.

Along the way Steve's two friends represent both sides of the commitment fence: one is happily married and the other is happily single until he meets his new flame played by Lala Vasquez. All-in-all this is an enjoyable rom-com and worth a few good laughs.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

4 Years In

In the Fall of 2011 I sat down in front of my computer armed with an idea and plenty of time on my hands (I just finished a film and was, shall we say, unemployed at the time). From that, was the start of FilmSwag. The blog celebrated it's 4th birthday this past weekend. My baby is slowly growing up.

Since the blog has begun, I've been amazed at the ever evolving deep pool of roles that people of color have been getting in television (more so than film) these last few years. One of my early articles covered the fact that Taraji P. Henson openly complained that she was not featured in any of the ads or promos for the CBS series "Person of Interest." Four years later, it's safe to say Taraji has had the last laugh thanks to some show on Fox.

It hasn't just been more roles either, but whole families coming into the fray. Two of the more well known shows "Blackish" and "Fresh off the Boat," aren't just shows with families that happen to be black and Asian, but make a point to tell the narrative through the perspective of those characters. In order to tell these stories, you need to have writers who are familiar with everyday colloquiums and norms of a particular culture. These shows reflect that.

As for the future of this blog, I'm working on some upgrades and new content. I do admit, I haven't posted much this year, but I haven't forgotten about you guys, the readers, and I will continue to try and put good material out there. Here's to another 4 more years at least. Peace.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Looking Back at Rudy

College football returned last weekend just in time to whet our collective sports appetite for the coming Fall. It's this time of year where fans of teams hope to see their squad reach the College Football Playoffs and win a coveted National Championship. Last year, the world watched as a little known third string quarterback by the name of Cardale Jones beat Alabama and took care of Oregon to give the Ohio State Buckeyes their first National Championship since 2002. Coming into this season, I couldn't help but think of another unknown character who would never win a National Championship, but nevertheless became a part of all time college sports lore.

The name Rudy is synonymous with underdog stories. Here you have a barely 5 foot guy weighing 100 pounds soaking wet, who aspired to play college football at one of the most prestigious institutions in the land -- Notre Dame. After not playing for two years, Rudy is on the verge of giving up his dream all together. That is until he hears a speech from Roc, played by brilliantly Charles S. Dutton.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

John Singleton Looks Back at Ice Cube and Compton

This has been a big weekend for folks from the Los Angeles neighborhood of Compton. The film " Straight Outta Compton" has grossed nearly $60 million at the box office this weekend exceeding initial expectations. The movie which profiles the rise and influence of members of the world's most dangerous rap group, N.W.A., has reintroduced people to early West Coast hip-hop. It's interesting to see where guys like Dr. Dre and Ice Cube are now in their respective careers compared to where they stood 25 years ago. As powerful as N.W.A. was in the early 90s, it wasn't just the music that was influencing people, but film as well.

In 1991 a young up and coming director had a major splash with the release of his film Boyz in the Hood that told the story of a group of friends trying to make it out of their South Central L.A. neighborhood. They guy who directed that flick was a man by the name of John Singleton. It was Singleton who also gave Ice Cube his first acting gig and it's something that Cube is grateful for even to this day. Check out the clip below to hear John Singleton talk about Boyz in the Hood and the impact N.W.A. had on him in this 2013 interview on Canadian television.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Getting A Seat at the Table

As we move through the last week of July and trudge through the dog days of summer, it's worth remembering that the looming shadow just beyond the horizon, is our national reminder that football season is coming. Training camps began their annual commencement this past weekend, and a deluge of journalists will be there to report every touchdown, failed snap, and pick-six that takes place. One of those journalists is getting some much deserved shine.

Josina Anderson is a well respected journalist who has covered a multitude of sports over the years, but is probably best known for her NFL coverage. She's be stationed at training camps, given live reports from the field, and as black woman, has stood out in an industry that has long been dominated by men.

So that's why it was good to see her not in the field this time, or outside some training facility, but with a prominent seat (literally) during a recent discussion on Raiders QB Derek Carr. We don't often see women -- especially black women -- with seats at the table when discussing sports, so it was certainly refreshing to see this. Much props, Josina. See you on Sundays this fall.