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Monday
Oct032011

Broke Ass People Movies

Oh, how time is flying. It’s a pleasure to start of the first week of October this year by hosting the Monday Movie Meme. Today, the tour stops here after Dale at Smurfin the Web had us traveling through our country last week for a fun-filled Monday. This week’s topic is Poverty. Bloggers participating in this week’s meme are welcome to write about movies that either feature characters experiencing financial hardship or have plot lines centered on the difficulties of making ends meet. Here are my selections of films that are on or below the poverty line.

The Local

Categorized as an action-drama, “The Local” is an independent film that someone recommended to me earlier this summer. The story follows a man who is pretty much down on his luck and has not accomplished much in life. He makes like $35 a day as some kind of errand boy, running drugs for a group of off-the-wall dealers and lives in the cold basement of a couple’s home. All seems to look bleak in his future until a wealthy businessman comes along and offers him a lot of money. Sounds good but there is just one catch.....he has to rescue the strung-out daughter of this businessman.

This poverty stricken man has to make a decision on whether risking his life for a total stranger is worth the cash or declining the offer and continuing in the current danger that is already present as he does illegal stuff just to get by. The associate who told me about this movie said it “looks like a documentary” where the production is concerned. I would agree but sometimes the scenes are far too shaky for me to even pay attention. The acting works for this type of story but the same type of performances would fall short in a similar crime drama such as “The Town” or even other gritty street stories like “The Local” stars Dan Eberle, who also directed this movie. Rent it, or hell....buy it....it’s only like $3 on Amazon!

Born into Brothels

This documentary tells the story of children in the Calcutta district who are taught photography skills, which help them go on to have more options for education and improving their lives. As always in real life, some of the childrens’ adult relatives influence the decisions that they make about staying in the same predicament or trying to whether to take advantage of the opportunities given to them. “Born into Brothels” is an inspiring movie and the main characters are children.....who can say no to that? Not me. Can you?

"Million Dollar Baby" was a runner up for this post but I already discussed this movie in more than a few previous posts on this blog, so it doesn't have to be repeated.

That’s all I have for now. If I think of any more throughout the week, I’ll add them to this post.

What movies come to YOUR mind on the subject of poverty or being broke?

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Monday
Sep262011

City Centered Movies in My Netflix Queue #GBE2 #amwriting #meme

Or shall I say, my Quickster queue? That’s a discussion for another day. It’s time for another stop on the Monday Movie Meme tour and this week’s topic title, courtesy of Dale over at Smurfin’ the Web is “The City’s The Place.”

Monday Movie Meme

Dale says:
The topic of this weeks discussion is movies that contain the name of a city in its title. Pretty simple really, but can you come up with some good ones? Lets see shall we?

After reading Dale’s post, it looks like another participant took all the good ones.....even ones that are set and were made where I live right now...so here are a few selections I came up with while quickly browsing through my movie rental list. These titles are from movies that I have not yet seen but want to watch sometime in the near future. I selected them to also keep in line with the Group Blogging Experience’s week #15 prompt: Longing while trying to get up to date after slacking off since the week of Growing Wild.

ATL
Set in City: Atlanta, Georgia
Monday Movie Meme

What is all the hype about? It is the same question I ask myself every time a friend, relative or acquaintance talks about this movie. Most people that I know who saw “ATL” enjoyed it and have good things to say about this movie. In fact, it is one of my cousin’s favorite movies but I just don’t understand what makes it so special. Maybe it’s the hip-hop/R&B music industry centered story that caused my confusion about it’s huge amount of support among movie goers, maybe it’s the fact that it is directed by a guy who has worked on more music videos and television commercials than films or maybe it’s the singers, rappers and video models in leading roles more than actors who make most of their living doing just that.....acting.

I didn’t want to see “ATL” when it was released in theaters because the movie trailer nor the cast made me put it in my weekend plans and if I never watch this film, I probably won’t wonder what could have been, but......it’s in my Netflix queue so that I can at least find out why people praise this movie.

If I must leave you all with one thing, it is that while these movies are currently on my Netflix queue, this does not mean I will get it from Netflix. I’m still going to rent them but it may be from another company or service depending on the title’s availability my schedule.

Jasper, Texas
Set in City: Jasper, Texas (but c’mon, you all knew that already, right?)
Monday Movie Meme

After watching a documentary called “Two Towns of Jasper,” I am interested in finding out if a Hollywood version does this true-life murder any justice. Sometimes, the producers get it right (hmm, maybe “Antwone Fisher,” anyone?) and in an attempt to add their own flair to it, sometimes they transform what actually happened into an absurd story that makes it almost offensive to those who lived through the reality of what a film is trying to represent.....you know, like “Pearl Harbor” (I still like this movie though, in a dramatic sense, from a Hollywood-ized, entertained viewer’s standpoint).

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Set in City: Tokyo, Japan
Monday Movie Meme

How, exactly does this film fit within the whole Fast & Furious film franchise? It’s set in Tokyo with a story that involves Japanese organized crime gang, Yakuza, which may make for an action-packed story aside from the race cars. I’ve never been too interested in watching “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” but added it to my Netflix queue anyway just in case I can compare the movie to others in the series and learn some new ideas for event costumes or decorations.

What movies with a City in their title would YOU add to this list?

Thursday
Sep222011

Out of Wedlock Births on Film that Play out in Real Life #NWNW #atthemovies

The following post is an essay that I wrote for the No Wedding, No Womb blogathon that kicks off today. - Nicole

NWNW Blogathon

In “All Things Fall Apart,” Lynn Whitfield plays Dee, a single mother of two teenage sons. While very protective and nurturing, Dee has to make huge sacrifices to ensure the happiness and safety of her children but struggles even more when one of them faces a life threatening illness.

In “Jumping the Broom,” Valarie Pettiford plays Aunt Geneva, a woman whose married sister took her child to provide a more stable life for a baby that would be raised by a single parent otherwise.

What do all of these movie characters have in common? Their similarities go further than becoming pregnant and having a child out of wedlock. Each mother listed here lacked the resources necessary to take care of the baby that she brought into the world. The keyword here is RESOURCES.....an important factor that does not appear to be considered much when women decide to engage in activities that result in unplanned (or even planned, for those who are so infatuated with a man’s personality, looks, status or whatever attracts them that they want to have his baby) pregnancies.

NWNW Blogathon

Being a loving mother in “All Things Fall Apart” did not make up for the fact that the biological father of Dee’s sons were not in the picture and she gave the only man (played by Mario Van Peebles) who was a father figure in their lives her butt to kiss when he tried to convince this strong and independent woman to allow her ill son some room to learn how to take care of himself.

Dee had a job and an active side business but still struggled to afford the best possible life for her children and had difficulty paying her ill son’s medical expenses. Not only did this have an impact on her son’s opportunities to be all he can be, the resources that she does have are pretty much spread thin since Dee has not one, but two kids.

NWNW Blogathon

Aunt Geneva seemed more concerned about traveling the world than being a parent and good role model for her daughter. Unlike Dee, however, Aunt Geneva was gracious enough to realize that her sister could provide a better life for the child that she chose to have without ensuring that the daughter was born into the best possible circumstances....with two parents in a stable environment that did not include her mother flying off to Paris or some other getaway whenever she felt like doing so.

In reality, the percentage of mothers in the African-American community who are having children out of wedlock under circumstances similar to the main characters in “All Things Fall Apart” and “Jumping the Broom” are likely very small.

A lot of single mothers who have a chip on their shoulder but express pride in being “strong and independent” do not have a man in their lives who are willing to take over as step-father and pay for, motivate, encourage and care for children that they had from a previous relationship with another man, like Dee had in Mario Van Peebles’ character, Eric. There are even smaller numbers of single mothers who come from a wealthy family where their married older sister has the ability and resources to come in and save the day like Aunt Geneva had in her sister Claudine, played by Angela Bassett.

Often than not, the picture of out of wedlock births, especially among African-American women tend to be similar to “Claudine” starring Diahann Carroll or “Lean on Me” starring Morgan Freeman. There is a scene in “Claudine” where the main character spanks her suddenly pregnant daughter after learning that there will soon be another mouth to feed in her already financially shaky, welfare stricken household.

In “Lean on Me,” a high school student named Kaneesha Carter gets upset, scared and angry at her male partner after learning she is pregnant. A baby could not only affect her chances of doing well in school and going to college but also spreads her already limited resources very thin since her mother has been unemployed for some time and just landed a new job....so who is going to babysit this kid in 9 months?

The focus of this post is not about marriage, single mothers or African-American women. It is about out of wedlock births and the importance of lowering the rate at which these births occur and this can only happen when adults make more efforts to assess the resources that are available to them and consider the amount of resources that would be available to their children....before deciding to get pregnant and bring a child into the world that is at a disadvantage on so many levels, compared to other children who were born to parents who have the ability to care for them.

Children deserve all that they can receive when and after they are born but resources to cover their needs such as finances for basic expenses including food, shelter and clothing, a stable and safe home environment along with positive people around them are the least that they should experience, or else the children become at risk for social, mental, emotional and financial problems as they grow older while also likely having kids out of wedlock themselves, thus continuing this sad cycle of poverty and broken families.....and it doesn’t have to be this way. This can be prevented through behaving responsibility and taking family planning more seriously, because it means more than buying condoms at the grocery store or getting birth control at a free clinic.

For those who may be familiar with the Mario Van Peebles/50 Cent film, please note: I watched both of the movies highlighted in this post at a movie theater and am well aware that “All Things Fall Apart” is about a football player who wants to build a career in sports and provide a better life for his family. However, I chose to focus on a specific aspect of the plot as a way to help illustrate my point on the subject of out of wedlock births.

What do YOU think needs to be done to curb the growing rate of out of wedlock births in our country?

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