7 Movie Classics

1) Pursuit of Happyness and John Q

I loved both these movies for exactly the same reason. I kept thinking,

“What would I have done if that was my child?”


And both times, I agreed with what the main characters did. A couple of tears were shed over these two movies. Wonderful protagonists

2) Soul Flicks

Anything that involves:

Beautiful, black women and;

Confident, respectable and so-smooth-it’s-ridiculous African American men and I’m there.

The only movie I would add here that is a bit out place would be Guess Whose Coming to Dinner. That movie may be decades old but Sydney Portier’s portrayal of a black man caught up in the prejudices of a mixed race engagement had an excess of class and maturity.

3) Good Will Hunting

Movies such as Good Will Hunting are basically excuses for men to get emotional. I just loved the fact that Matt Damon could jump from being a crude rebel to an absolute genius at the drop of a hat: paradoxes and contradictions like that always make me happy.

Robin Williams is also an absolutely phenomenal actor and human being. Great story.

4) Moolaade

A movie that took me way way back. Though it’s set in modern times, it’s set in a rural West African village that still has old school superstitions and customs, including female circumcision. The movie hooked me in with the story and was quite easy to understand in spite of how foreign the customs were.

The ending struck me as ‘pandering to Western sensibilities’ but still…….great movie. The West and Southern Africans are definitely kicking butt in regards to making great African films.

5) Make it Plain

I have already spoken about how much I am a fan of Malcolm X. This documentary, which you can also watch for free here, delves into his life, his past and his psychology. If you are sitting on the fence in regards to Malcolm X right now, after watching this movie you’ll definitely have an opinion on him.

I just love Malcolm!

6) The Other Boleyn Girl

This is in cinemas now. If you don’t know the history of the English colonial barbarians, watch this movie. If you do know it, watch it, if for no other reason to notice all of the inaccuracies and still be in for a helluva ride. It has more twists and turns than a game of twister with a contortionist.

It’s story line is so convoluted and full of outlandish deception and deceit that it was actually appropriate for me to scream in the middle of the movie, “Don’t do it!” A movie that was definitely a pleasant surprise.

7) Shrek

I think I will forever stop reading movie reviews and just go to the cinema and see what happens. Just like the Boleyn girl, I knew nothing about Shrek when I went to watch it in the cinema many years ago. I laughed and I was completely hooked by the movie’s blend of childish fantasy with adult contemporary humor.

Moral of the story: Don’t watch trailers or read reviews, let the movies speak for themselves.

So what movies have had an impact on your world? Leave a comment and let me know and maybe you can pick up a couple of the above movies this weekend and tell me what you think.

May the Magic of Movies Come Alive in Your Life,

Mwangi

24 Comments

  • By Alex Kay, April 13, 2008 @ 5:26 am

    Hey man,

    nice picks!

    I also really enjoyed both Shrek and The Pursuit of Happiness :)

    One of the movies that really changed me personally was actually the movie “You, Me and Dupree” with Owen Wilson.

    I know it’s kind of cheesy and cheap in some ways, but it really touched me.

    Friendship, love, relationships, life, happiness, all important subjects.

    Great movie in my opinion.

    I have seen 100’s of other fantastic movies too, of course.

    But “You, Me and Dupree” is just an example of a movie that shouldn’t be judged by it’s “cover”.

    Nice post mate.

  • By Caustic Blonde, April 13, 2008 @ 9:14 am

    I just have to say quickly, Good Will Hunting is one of my favorite movies of all time! I am glad that my boyfriend at the time insisted that I watch it because I didn’t want to.

  • By Mwangi, April 13, 2008 @ 9:44 am

    @Alex Kay: I will get “You, me and Dupree” sometime next week and say it came highly recommended ;)

  • By Mwangi, April 13, 2008 @ 9:46 am

    @Caustic: Did your boyfriend get choked up and sentimental during the movie? Somehow in my mind I imagine a lot of construction workers giving each other hugs (not the weenie girly man hugs but the manly clap-your-hands-on-each-others-backs hugs) and sobbing through the movie.
    Great movie though!

  • By Caustic Blonde, April 13, 2008 @ 7:14 pm

    Yes, he got “choked up,” but I don’t recall him hugging anyone but me. ;)

  • By Mwangi-the Displaced African, April 13, 2008 @ 10:07 pm

    So the men take women to horror movies so they grab on to them and now women have a strategy to get more hugs….Matt Damon and Ben Affleck writing a script. :)

  • By gal africana, April 14, 2008 @ 5:39 am

    I liked “Love and basketball” and love the true story behind “The pursuit of happiness”…didn’t quite like the movie…maybe because I saw the interview with Chris Gardner on Oprah and didn’t quite see Will Smith as Chris Gardner.
    “Crash” is a big movie for me…I wept through out the whole movie the first time I saw it…the quiet desperation of some of the characters and the mix of bad and good in most of them just shook me. Love “The Shawshank Redemption” can watch it over and over again…the depiction of human resilience and friendship at its best. “Lock stock and two smocking barrels” I think is brilliant as well.
    And then anything romantic…best of them being “Love actually”, “Nottinghill”…hmmm wait…anything with Hugh Grant in it….

  • By Mwangi, April 14, 2008 @ 6:52 am

    @gal: Have you read the book? I had watched the movie first and the book seemed like a depressing cousin to the movie….the guy went through so much strife, sodomy, getting beat over and over again, losing an Uncle etc and Chris is far from the typical Hollywood protagonist he is portrayed to be in the movie.
    “Crash” I just thought was a very clever movie but I don’t remember it resonating with me on an emotional level like it did with other folks.
    “Shawshank” is simply a classic; whatever way you look at it, I laid back movie with great characters, a simple phenomenal tale and a great ending.
    As for Hugh Grant, my leading men are pretty much Mr. Denzel Washington and Morris Chestnut- those two could be leading men in a movie about paper bag manufacturing and I’ll still show up. In fact I had no idea what “Inside Man” was about, I heard the names Spike Lee and Denzel and I was on it – another great movie that really surprised me.
    Lock Stock; I would love to know Guy Ritchie’s process behind writing scripts because it’s such an amazingly quick and witty and convoluted storyline.
    Have a great week.

  • By Kelly, April 14, 2008 @ 3:45 pm

    It seems our taste in movies (at least the classics) is quite similar.
    ‘John Q’ was actually the first movie I ever cried while watching.It was beautiful. Watched ‘Love and Basketball’ years ago, still remember it, such a sweet story.’Deliver us from Eva’ – Anything with gal power, count me in!
    Others for me include Shaw shank Redemption, Philadelphia, Forest Gump – All stories of what determination can achieve.

  • By gal africana, April 14, 2008 @ 11:48 pm

    I haven’t read the book…only watched the interview…and he come across as being so full of humility and peace…such humanity…that I couldn’t watch Will Smith trying to depict him. I like “The Inside man” as well…Denzel always comes out so cool and collected though, I instinctually want to reach through the screen and ruffle his hair or tickle him lol

    You have a great week too!

  • By Mwangi, April 15, 2008 @ 7:08 am

    @gal: I have heard many reactions to Denzel, but I want to ruffle his hair and tickle him….that’s a first, that’s a first hahahahaha

  • By Mwangi, April 15, 2008 @ 7:24 am

    @Kelly: I am yet to see Philadelphia, Forest Gump was such an inspirational story and the way he happened to be at the center of so many important historical events is absolutely hilarious. I think the coolest part of Forest Gump for me (may be alone on this one), is when he just got up and started running and kept running until he felt like stopping.
    That moment reminded me of how much choice we have as human beings, at any moment, should we so choose, we can get up, start running and keep running until we feel like stopping.
    Have a great week.

  • By Kelly, April 15, 2008 @ 3:15 pm

    yeah, I agree that was a cool moment. You should watch Philadelphia, it’s also a Tom Hanks movie, with Denzel. Enjoy your week too!

  • By Mwangi, April 19, 2008 @ 5:04 am

    @Alex: I just watched “You, Me and Dupree” and what a fantastic movie about friendship!

  • By Frank, June 11, 2008 @ 3:17 pm

    Hi Mwangi:
    Liked your blog. Movies: Best of all, “Make it Plain” by Malcolm. I like the way he is an iconoclast. He has inspired me to walk head held high, even as an immigrant. What do you think of the two scenarios below:
    1. Malcolm commenting on “a religion that teaches you to turn the other cheek being an evil one” (paraphrased.)
    2. His view on MLK “If you see a war general getting a peace prize before the war is over, then be suspicious” (paraphrased.)

    Watched Godfather? I’d recommend it- just incase.

  • By Mwangi, June 11, 2008 @ 5:19 pm

    @Frank: Thx for stopping by and I’m glad you enjoyed my movie selection. Make it Plain moved me so deeply you can’t imagine and indeed, Malcolm, Steve and other Afrocentric philosophers and thinkers and artists gave me permission as an insecure teen to hold my head high in this world so there we agree.
    As to the comments:
    1) I don’t think the religion is evil per se, after all, in the perfect world we would never need to turn the other cheek and there would be justice every time they did, the problem is that powerful people use it against the weak, expecting them to remain peaceful, civilized and docile while they are being violently oppressed….look through the decolonization of Africa and all the way through we were called savages though we weren’t the ones who came and brutally took over and run things by force
    2) That statement has two parts: One thing I absolutely loved and respected about both MLK and Malcolm is that as far as I can tell they recognized that they were both chasing the same goal, a race-neutral society where people of African origin could sit on the table with people of any other origin as equals, they simply recognized that their means were different. Like I don’t know if you ever heard the speech where Malcolm said something to the effect of:
    “Dr. King I know you are going to the South where there’s a huge collection of KKK. Rest assured that we who are not held down by peaceful means will violently defend you against the KKK!”
    As to the second part, I think it goes without saying that the powerful give awards to people that they like, people who they can stomach and accept. Why give it to the Mau Mau who were unashamedly different from the Brits when you can give it to a polished gentleman like Mandela, for example. I think since De Clerk won the peace prize I have had my suspicions of it.
    I have watched the Godfather trilogy and though the movies were good, like a lot of great American movies I don’t see why they are held as such masterpieces…to me they were an alright cinematic experience.

  • By Frank, June 16, 2008 @ 3:34 pm

    Had actually seen the movies before, thought to comment when I saw your interest in Malcolm.

    1. I like Malcolm because of his passion in the N.O.I to reach out to those who needed redemption and “cleaning up”, and his orthodox religious views after his Hajj leading to founding Mulsim Mosque, Inc. He truly was a lawyer for the civil & human rights of people in his time. Nice view about justice prevailing hence no need to slap a cheek…

    2.Yes, Malcolm vouches for MLK in that regard. You know what jazzes me most about the two, even in their indifferences on the “how”, they left a legacy, dreams that have been accomplished today. I walked into an apartment complex leasing office and on the wall was greeted by “Equal Housing Opportunity Act” info. How true MLK’s dream was achieved.

    Pity Malcolm is not given the credit he deserves simply because his “By any means necessary” approach was sidelined as a violent approach. I read where he asks, (paraphrased) “If you came home and found your child had been bitten by a snake, would you go outside looking for a snake with blood under it’s fangs?I would kill the first snake i find” I feel he is misunderstood by those who are not exposed to his campaign. Whats your take on how best such people can be celebrated?

    I liked your views.

  • By Frank, June 16, 2008 @ 3:41 pm

    “Godfather”: I guess the PLOT unfolds very well, and bad guys seeking redemption, well, thats more than alright cinematic experience for me. Compared to other trilogies i’ve seen, this one came out very well.

  • By Mwangi, June 16, 2008 @ 4:49 pm

    @Frank: As to how we can celebrate heroes like Malcolm, I think the first step is to acknowledge that no one will do it for us and we have to do all the hard work to remember our heroes. If we assume full responsibility for not only remembering our heroes and passing the messages on to our children and continuing on with their work, include folks like Aime Cesaire in this as well, then that’s pretty much 80% of the work done there.

    Secondly, we shouldn’t expect Western cultures and societies to embrace someone like Malcolm who was so openly anti-authoritarian and such a clear hater on everything that Western society has to offer. So we shouldn’t expect him to be in the news or celebrated by Clinton or anything like that. But because of what he did for US we should remember, thank him and continue with his legacy.

    Thirdly make movies, write books, write blog posts, use them as the pictures on our phones, write Uni papers on them and keep them at the fore of our minds through conscious effort, day after day after day until we pass the legacy on to our children who also keep the heroes alive day after day after day.

  • By frank, June 17, 2008 @ 3:07 pm

    thanks my man. Sounds good. Keep the good work. Gooday

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