29 Days of Black Love in Film Part 2

Originally posted on my pop culture blog Uncanny Pop last year.

We continue our list of black films all about love with this second and finale entry.  Click here to see part one.

15. How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)

Stella is a highly successful, forty-something San Francisco stock broker who is persuaded by her colorful New York girlfriend Delilah to take a well deserved, first-class vacation to Jamaica. As she soaks in the beauty of the island, she encounters a strapping, young islander, Winston Shakespeare. His pursuits for her turn into a hot and steamy romance that forces Stella to take personal inventory of her life and try to find a balance between her desire for love and companionship, and the responsibilities of mother and corporate executive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvQJozvEqSY

16. The Best Man (1999)

After writing a soon-to-be bestselling novel, writer and committed bachelor Harper Stewart (Taye Diggs) attempts to hide the fact that his saucy new book is loosely based on the lives and loves of his tight-knit group of friends. Harper is set to be best man at his friend Lance’s (Morris Chestnut) wedding, and all his friends will be in attendance. When an advance copy of the book makes its way into the hands of his ex-flame, Jordan Armstrong (Nia Long), Harper attempts to keep it under wraps.

17. The Wood (1999)

Three old friends — Mike (Omar Epps), Roland (Taye Diggs) and Slim (Richard T. Jones) — recount memories of their shared childhood in Inglewood, Calif., as they prepare for Roland’s wedding to his fiancée, Lisa (LisaRaye). When the groom goes missing without a word, Mike and Slim struggle to find their nervous friend and return him to his impatient bride before the wedding begins. Along the way, they continue to swap stories about lessons learned during their awkward teenage years.

18. Love & Basketball (2000)

Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) are two childhood friends who both aspire to be professional basketball players. Quincy, whose father, Zeke (Dennis Haysbert), plays for the Los Angeles Clippers, is a natural talent and a born leader. Monica is ferociously competitive but sometimes becomes overly emotional on the court. Over the years, the two begin to fall for each other, but their separate paths to basketball stardom threaten to pull them apart.

19. Brown Sugar (2002)

Sidney (Sanaa Lathan) and Dre (Taye Diggs) can attribute their friendship and the launch of their careers to one single childhood instant … witnessing the birth of hip-hop on a New York street corner. Now some 15 years later, she is a revered music critic and he is a successful, though unfulfilled, music executive. Both come to realize that their true life passions will only be fulfilled by remembering what they learned that day on the corner.

20. Men Cry in the Dark (2003)

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The future has never looked better for Derrick Reed. Bachelorhood is great, he has a group of guys he can really call friends, and he’s the publisher of a magazine that he named after his philosophy of life, Happily Single. Little does Derrick know, appearing on Atlanta’s hottest radio station morning talk show to promote his new magazine, he is about to go on a whirl-wind ride, which will eventually take him to the heart of a woman who will change his life forever. He finds the perfect woman and the perfect reason to stop womanizing and make a commitment. This mystery woman is about to have a lasting impact on Derrick’s life by changing the way he thinks and feels about women and relationships.

21.  Hitch (2005)

Dating coach Alex “Hitch” Hitchens (Will Smith) mentors a bumbling client, Albert (Kevin James), who hopes to win the heart of the glamorous Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta). While Albert makes progress, Hitchens faces his own romantic setbacks when proven techniques fail to work on Sara Melas (Eva Mendes), a tabloid reporter digging for dirt on Allegra Cole’s love life. When Sara discovers Hitchens’ connection to Albert — now Allegra’s boyfriend — it threatens to destroy both relationships

22. Something New (2006)

Career-minded Kenya McQueen (Sanaa Lathan) is set up on a blind date with architect Brian Kelly (Simon Baker), but backs out when she realizes that he is white. Impressed with his work on a friend’s mansion, McQueen hires Kelly to design her new garden — and he sweeps her off her feet. But, after her friends introduce her to executive Mark Harper (Blair Underwood), McQueen must choose between the type of man she always dreamed she wanted and giving in to life’s little surprises.

23. Premium (2006)

Reginald “Cool” Coolidge (Dorian Missick) is an actor hoping for his big break away from stereotypical black roles. When his ex-fiancée, Charli (Zoe Saldana), pulls in to the gas station where he works, Cool realizes that he still loves her after three years apart. But there is one problem: Charli’s wedding to another man is only 36 hours away. Desperate to win her back, Cool uses his talents as an actor to convince Charli that she is choosing the wrong man.

24. A Good Man Is Hard to Find (2008)

Several women suffer through crises in their relationships and their faith.

25. Just Wright (2010)

Physical therapist Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah) lands the dream job of working with basketball superstar Scott McKnight (Common). All goes well until Leslie finds that she is falling in love with him. Scott, however, is oblivious to Leslie’s romantic overtures and focuses his attention on Morgan (Paula Patton), Leslie’s gorgeous friend, who would love to be the basketball player’s trophy wife.

26. Jumping the Broom (2011)

Sabrina Watson (Paula Patton) is a successful corporate lawyer who comes from an old-money family. When she meets Jason Taylor (Laz Alonso), she thinks she’s found Mr. Right and eagerly accepts the Wall Street worker’s marriage proposal after a whirlwind courtship. However, when Sabrina’s aristocratic parents (Angela Bassett, Brian Stokes Mitchell) meet Jason’s postal-worker mother (Loretta Devine) at their estate on Martha’s Vineyard, the class division seems very wide indeed.

27. Think Like A Man (2012)

For one reason or another, friends Dominic (Michael Ealy), Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara), Michael (Terrence J) and Zeke (Romany Malco) just can’t seem to seal the deal with the women in their lives. When their lovely ladies buy a book by comic Steve Harvey and start to apply its advice to their relationships, this band of brothers gets all shook up. Learning that they have been betrayed by one of their own, Dominic and his friends conspire to use the book’s teachings to turn the tables.

28. Beyond the Lights (2014)

Though she’s been groomed for stardom all her life by an overbearing mother (Minnie Driver), singer Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is having trouble dealing with her success. Feeling unable to cope any longer, Noni tries to kill herself, but luckily Kaz (Nate Parker), the police officer assigned to be her bodyguard, thwarts her suicide attempt. Noni and Kaz feel an instant attraction, but those in their orbit oppose the romance for fear the pair will stray from the course planned out for both of them.

29. Dope (2015)

Life changes for Malcolm, a geek who’s surviving life in a tough neighborhood, after a chance invitation to an underground party leads him and his friends into a Los Angeles adventure.

Movie Marathon: 28 Films to Watch this Valentines Day Weekend Part 2

And we’re back with part two of 28 films to watch this Valentines Day weekend (Read part one here). Here’s the list:

15. Romeo & Juliet

16. Ever After

17. The Graduate

18. He’s Just Not That Into You

19. This Means War

20. Don Jon

21. Love at first Bite

22. Hitch

23. The Philadelphia Story

24. Moonstruck

25. My Best Friend’s Wedding

26. Love Jones

27. The Princess Bride

28. Poetic Justice

These films not enough for you? No worries, here’s more film suggestions for you!

Pop Sugar has a list of 110 romantic titles streaming on Netflix.

Movie Marathon: 28 Films to Watch this Valentines Day Weekend Part 1

Originally posted on my pop culture blog Uncanny Pop last year.

This weekend, Valentines Day arrives and you know what that means, it’s time to have a romantic movie marathon! There are many films in this genre but I’ve narrowed it down to 28 just to get your started. Here’s the first 14.

1. When Harry Met Sally…

In 1977, college graduates Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) share a contentious car ride from Chicago to New York, during which they argue about whether men and women can ever truly be strictly platonic friends. Ten years later, Harry and Sally meet again at a bookstore, and in the company of their respective best friends, Jess (Bruno Kirby) and Marie (Carrie Fisher), attempt to stay friends without sex becoming an issue between them.

2. Fools Rush In

Three months after a one-night stand with Isabel Fuentes (Salma Hayek) in Las Vegas, New York City real estate developer Alex Whitman (Matthew Perry) learns she is pregnant. Despite being a terminal bachelor, Alex is drawn to Isabel, and the pair marries. Isabel’s father, Miguel (Tomas Milian), suspects Alex has bad intentions, and the couple finds themselves pressured by both their families. When Alex is offered a promotion, he is torn between his new life in Las Vegas and success in New York.

3. The Wedding Singer

Set in 1985, Adam Sandler plays a nice guy with a broken heart who’s stuck in one of the most romantic jobs in the world, a wedding singer. He loses all hope when he is abandoned at the altar by his fiancé. He meets a young woman named Julia (Drew Barrymore), who enlists his help to plan her wedding. He falls in love with her and must win her over before she gets married.

4. Coming to America

Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is the prince of a wealthy African country and wants for nothing, except a wife who will love him in spite of his title. To escape an arranged marriage, Akeem flees to America accompanied by his persnickety sidekick, Semmi (Arsenio Hall), to find his queen. Disguised as a foreign student working in fast food, he romances Lisa (Shari Headley), but struggles with revealing his true identity to her and his marital intentions to his king father (James Earl Jones).

5. Romancing the Stone

A dowdy romantic-adventure writer is hurled into a real-life adventure in the Colombian jungle in order to save her sister, who will be killed if a treasure map is not delivered to her captors. She is helped out by a brash mercenary, and together they search for the priceless gem located in the map.

6.  Pretty in Pink

Andie (Molly Ringwald) is an outcast at her Chicago high school, hanging out either with her older boss (Annie Potts), who owns the record store where she works, or her quirky classmate Duckie (Jon Cryer), who has a crush on her. When one of the rich and popular kids at school, Blane (Andrew McCarthy), asks Andie out, it seems too good to be true. As Andie starts falling for Blane, she begins to realizes that dating someone from a different social sphere is not easy.

7.  A Cinderella Story

Sam (Hilary Duff), a teenager in California, is obliged to work as a janitor and dishwasher in the diner of her stepmother (Jennifer Coolidge). After a cell phone mix-up, Sam begins an anonymous text-messaging and e-mail relationship with a boy. They agree to meet at a school dance, but when Sam finds out that her secret pen pal is none other than Austin Ames (Chad Michael Murray), the cutest boy in school, she panics and looks for a way to make herself cooler.

8. Easy A

Prompted by her popular best friend to spill details of her boring weekend, Olive (Emma Stone), a clean-cut teen, decides to spice things up by telling a little lie about losing her virginity. When the high-school busybody (Amanda Bynes) overhears the conversation and spreads it all over campus, Olive is suddenly notorious but for the wrong reasons.

9. The Proposal

Faced with deportation to her native Canada, high-powered book editor Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) says she’s engaged to marry Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds), her hapless assistant. Andrew agrees to the charade, but imposes a few conditions of his own, including flying to Alaska to meet his eccentric family. With a suspicious immigration official always lurking nearby, Margaret and Andrew must stick to their wedding plan despite numerous mishaps.

10. Monster-in-Law

Charlotte (Jennifer Lopez) is smitten when she meets Dr. Kevin Fields (Michael Vartan). So when Kevin pops the question after they start dating, Charlotte happily accepts. But she soon realizes that Kevin’s mom, Viola (Jane Fonda), is not quite thrilled to have a new family member. Viola, a newscaster, has just lost her job and is feeling rather attached to Kevin, so she regards Charlotte as her new competition — and will apparently do anything to make her son call off the wedding

11. Pretty Woman

In this modern update on Cinderella, a prostitute and a wealthy businessman fall hard for one another, forming an unlikely pair. While on a business trip in L.A., Edward (Richard Gere), who makes a living buying and breaking up companies, picks up a hooker, Vivian (Julia Roberts), on a lark. After Edward hires Vivian to stay with him for the weekend, the two get closer, only to discover there are significant hurdles to overcome as they try to bridge the gap between their very different worlds.

12. Life After Beth

A guy (Dane DeHaan) discovers that his girlfriend (Aubrey Plaza) has returned from the dead, but his joy turns to horror as she slowly undergoes a horrible transformation.

13. Blind Dating

Danny (Chris Pine) is a blind man who does not let his impairment get in the way of living his life to the fullest, except when it comes to love. Danny’s brother (Eddie Kaye Thomas) sets him up on a series of blind dates, but all of them go disastrously wrong. Just when Danny is about to give up, he meets Leeza (Anjali Jay), a nurse who works for Danny’s doctor. There is just one catch: Leeza, who is from India, is promised to another man.

14. Crazy, Stupid, Love

Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is living the American dream. He has a good job, a beautiful house, great children and a beautiful wife, named Emily (Julianne Moore). Cal’s seemingly perfect life unravels, however, when he learns that Emily has been unfaithful and wants a divorce. Over 40 and suddenly single, Cal is adrift in the fickle world of dating. Enter, Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), a self-styled player who takes Cal under his wing and teaches him how to be a hit with the ladies.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

29 Days of Black Love In Film Part 1

I originally posted this over at my pop culture blog Uncanny Pop last year.

In honor of Black History Month and Valentines Day, here’s a list of 29 black films all about love (click here to see part 2). The films are in order by the year that they were released.

1. Paris Blues (1961)

Ram Bowen and Eddie Cook are two expatriate jazz musicians living in Paris where, unlike America at the time, Jazz musicians are celebrated and racism is a non-issue. When they meet and fall in love with two young American girls, Lillian and Connie, who are vacationing in France, Ram and Eddie must decide whether they should move back to America with them, or stay in Paris for the freedom it allows them.

2. Nothing But A Man (1964)

African-American rail worker Duff Anderson (Ivan Dixon) has left his 4-year old son with a nanny, and now drifts through life with little ambition. Duff’s outlook on life changes when he meets schoolteacher Josie Dawson (Abbey Lincoln), a gentle preacher’s daughter. Although Josie’s father (Stanley Greene) disapproves of Duff’s lifestyle, the two eventually marry. Duff and Josie struggle to hold on to their marriage as Duff must face up to the oppressive racism of 1960s America.

3. For Love of Ivy (1968)

Two Long Island teens force a roving gambler (Sidney Poitier) to date their maid (Abbey Lincoln), to keep her from quitting.

4. Lady Sings The Blues (1972)

Pop star Diana Ross portrays legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday in this biographical drama. Beginning with Holiday’s traumatic youth, the film depicts her early attempts at a singing career and her eventual rise to stardom, as well as her difficult relationship with Louis McKay (Billy Dee Williams), her boyfriend and manager. Casting a shadow over even Holiday’s brightest moments is the vocalist’s severe drug addiction, which threatens to end both her career and her life.

5. Claudine (1974)

Claudine (Diahann Carroll) is a single mother in New York City who endures an exhausting commute to the suburbs where she works as a maid for wealthy families. In one carefully tended white community, she meets Roop (James Earl Jones), a charismatic but irresponsible garbage collector. Romance quickly ensues, but Claudine doubts that their relationship is good for her six children, and Rupert, despite his good nature, is reluctant to take on fatherhood.

6. Mahogany (1975)

Struggling Chicago fashion design student Tracy (Diana Ross) goes from rags to riches when a chance meeting with hotshot fashion photographer Sean (Anthony Perkins) in the department store where she works leads to a runway life as a model in Rome. Tracy’s overnight success and strong ambitions bring her professional success as a designer, but her diva antics may destroy her relationship with social activist Brian (Billy Dee Williams), as well as her respect in the fashion world.

7. Coming to America (1988)

Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is the prince of a wealthy African country and wants for nothing, except a wife who will love him in spite of his title. To escape an arranged marriage, Akeem flees to America accompanied by his persnickety sidekick, Semmi (Arsenio Hall), to find his queen. Disguised as a foreign student working in fast food, he romances Lisa (Shari Headley), but struggles with revealing his true identity to her and his marital intentions to his king father (James Earl Jones).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqfJqLFQSIk

8. The Bodyguard (1992)

Best-selling pop diva Rachel Marron (Whitney Houston) has a stalker whose obsession has risen to the level of disturbing threats. At the urging of her manager (Gary Kemp), Rachel hires former secret service agent Frank Farmer (Kevin Costner) as her bodyguard. Initially resented and treated with disdain for his hard-nosed security procedures, Farmer soon becomes an integral part of Rachel’s inner circle. As they spend more time together, client and protector become closer still.

9. Boomerang (1992)

A cocky ad executive, Marcus (Eddie Murphy) has a reputation as a ladies’ man. However, Marcus gets a taste of his own medicine when a merger finds him working under the beautiful Jacqueline (Robin Givens), who has a similarly cavalier attitude about romance. Marcus and Jacqueline become involved, but he is put off by her noncommittal approach to their relationship. Meanwhile, Marcus also begins to develop feelings for the pretty Angela (Halle Berry), who is more thoughtful than Jacqueline.

10. Poetic Justice (1993)

Still grieving after the murder of her boyfriend, hairdresser Justice (Janet Jackson) writes poetry to deal with the pain of her loss. Unable to get to Oakland to attend a convention because of her broken-down car, Justice gets a lift with her friend, Iesha (Regina King) and Iesha’s postal worker boyfriend, Chicago (Joe Torry). Along for the ride is Chicago’s co-worker, Lucky (Tupac Shakur), to whom Justice grows close after some initial problems. But is she ready to open her heart again?

11. The Inkwell (1994)

Drew (Larenz Tate) is a quiet 16-year-old still recovering from the trauma of accidentally burning his own house down. Drew’s parents, Kenny (Joe Morton) and Brenda (Suzzanne Douglas), take the family to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., to vacation with their wealthy relatives for the summer. On the island, Drew discovers an upper-class black community that centers on parties held at a beach called the Inkwell. There, he falls for two different women (Jada Pinkett, Adrienne-Joi Johnson).

12. Jason’s Lyric (1994)

In a violent, drug-infested neighborhood in Houston, Jason (Allen Payne) dreams of something better. He works as a TV salesman and helps out his mother, and tries to steer his criminally minded brother, Joshua (Bokeem Woodbine), onto the right path. But real joy enters Jason’s life when he meets Lyric (Jada Pinkett). As their romance develops, Jason starts to see a future for himself — while also being forced to confront a painful secret from his past.

13. Mr. and Mrs. Loving (1996)

In the American South, a black woman and the white man she loves are hounded by racist police and inflexible family members. Mildred “Bean” Jeter (Lela Rochon) and Richard Loving (Timothy Hutton) have fallen hard for one another, but an antiquated statute still in effect in the 1960s says that their relationship is against the law. Their fight to forge a life together puts their freedom at risk as they wage a legal battle that takes their case to the Supreme Court.

14. Love Jones (1997)

Two urban African-Americans, Darius (Larenz Tate), an aspiring writer, and Nina (Nia Long), an aspiring photographer, share an instant connection after a chance meeting at a Chicago club. The two bond over music, photography and poetry, and eventually begin a torrid romance. However, when Nina decides to move to New York and mend her relationship with her ex-fiancé, Marvin (Khalil Kain), it leaves Darius heartbroken, and the couple’s future in jeopardy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOYPqcb_jig