Why Can't Hollywood Let Us Be Great? - Love Jones: 13 Years Later

>> Friday, February 19





I was over on The Root and noticed this article about one of my favorite movies, Love Jones. I had no idea it was 13 years old. That movie never gets old, I could watch it over and over.

Here's a snippet of the article: To read the article in it's entirety, click here
Forget that it was released 13 years ago. Forget the striking cinematography, the star cast and the bomb-ass soundtrack. Forget that this was an artsy film that was accessible. Forget memorable scenes like when Darius tells Nina, “I just want to come up and talk.” Even if you forget all that, you still have to admit that no film in recent memory has come close to showcasing the struggles of black love--a film that’s unsentimental and breathtaking all the same.

So much is right with this movie. The chemistry of Nia Long and Lorentz Tate is remarkable. So much that we watch this film and begrudge the fact that this film represented the zenith of her career (and Larenz Tate’s for that matter). We even forgive the fact that Larenz Tate needs a haircut in this film. The characters hang out in smoky spots where men and women dress up and wear nice clothes. Not one gun in the entire film.

And when was the last time you saw a black film where the main characters quote George Bernard Shaw, invoke Gordon Parks, and play Charlie Parker? And whether you liked the poetry or not, you have to admit, it was sexy: ”Who am I? It doesn’t matter. I’m the blues in your left thigh, trying to be the funk in your right.” 

Why, oh, why Hollywood can't you let us be great? Why Hollywood can you not make good black movies like this anymore? Why Hollywood, why? I know this was an independent film but where are these black actors and actresses (Will Smith, Denzel Washington, etc.) that can use their influence to write, produce, direct films of such a caliber as Love Jones? Are we too caught up the box office numbers to care that our community needs to see more movies like this? I love the work that Tyler Perry brings forth, but I need to see a black romantic comedy/ film that has some substance where the two leads are not in need of salvation in order to find their love. I would spend my money to see such a film, even if starred Beyonce and we all know that Beyonce can't act herself out of a paper bag if it meant it would save her life. BTW, who the HELL keeps casting her in films and who keeps going to see said films in the movie theaters? 

I'm tired of seeing films where we as a people are not depicted as we truly are. Yes,  we have some in our community who feed into the media's description of what "they" think we are but there are a lot more of us that are intelligent, cultural, upwardly mobile and most importantly, capable of falling in love. Love Jones shows a unique side of black love that is rarely seen on film, on television, in the streets and in our homes.

This film shows the highs and lows, range of emotions, of a true relationship of real people and not to go unmentioned, the music and poetry truly enhanced the richness of the film. I loved the male characters in this film and that they were eclectic, intelligent, romantic, funny and at ease in who they were. They didn't need to be "thugged" out to prove they were men, they just were. It was nice, the dynamic of male/ female friendships and relationships in where they got together, hung out and had educated and thoughtful conversations. 

When did we as a community stop having group gatherings and just enjoying thought-provoking discussions together or even a simple couples game night?  Can we bring that back? Friends, I'm going to plan one real soon. We need accountability partners, that in relationships and friendships hold us accountable when we act up. Just as we need that on an individual basis, I think it necessary to have that for couples as well. When you need some advice or a place to vent, the couples can go to each other and offer up their advice. I'm not saying to always go them with your problems or issues but just having an open conversation about things that concern the two of you as  couple that you may want a second opinion on. 

Where in film, any film, does any leading man make love to a woman without even laying one hand on her just using his words? two words: Love Jones. That's what a real relationship looks like. MEN, listen closely: If you can get into my mind, you can definitely get into my heart. That's that good, good love. I loved how Darius (Larenz Tate's character) didn't need a power suit, sports car, impressive stock options, perfect credentials, corporate career to impress; he just let his words, his artistry, his heart and his character win over Nina (Nia Long's character). 

This film, the characters (music and poetry included) was pure magic. It can't be recreated, even if they wanted to and could, it just wouldn't be the same. However, I would love to see a sequel to catch up with Darius and Nina and see how they have managed their love. It would definitely be interesting to see whether they grew apart or grew together, I hoping for the latter. Again I ask, Hollywood why can't we have smart movies like this, where the characters are artistic, funny, sexy, intelligent, and loving? I'll pay, I promise you I will. 

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