I See You, BET: ‘The New Edition Story’ Review

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There’s been many constants in my life.  One of those constants is New Edition.  For those of y’all that were born after 1990, New Edition was an R&B/Pop powerhouse during the ’80s and ’90s that consisted of Ralph Tresvant, Michael Bivins, Ricky Bell, Ronnie DeVoe, Johnny Gill and last but not least, Bobby Brown.  Yes, that Bobby Brown.  I’ve loved these fellas since I was 4 or 5 years old, and many of their songs still remain in heavy rotation on my IPod.  Not only, but their solo and side group projects have become just as legendary.  I’m sure y’all have heard Bobby’s solo stuff, and Bell Biv DeVoe was amazing.  Johnny and Ralph’s solo songs are just as timeless.  So, when I first heard about the The New Edition Story during the 2016 BET Awards, I couldn’t wait to see it.  I patiently waited and finally, this past week (Jan. 24-26, 2017), the miniseries aired.  I loved it.

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Let me get the technical stuff out the way first.  The production value of this film was gorgeous.  The sharp picture and flawless editing made this minseries look like a Hollywood feature film.  Ever since the early 2000s, BET stood more for “Bootleg Entertainment Television” instead of Black Entertainment Television.  For the longest time, they only aired videos throughout the day, and when they did air TV shows—entertaining as they were—they looked like they cost all of $30,000 to make, if that.  Then TV One came along and brought some serious competition.  BET answered back with Centric, their sister channel, but TV One still had more viewers.  It looks like BET realized they had to step up their A game, and hired a sleek production team to handle their movies and TV shows.  With The New Edition Story, Being Mary Jane and upcoming movies and series like The Quad, Mandiba and Rebel, BET is reminding everyone that they’re still relevant, dammit.

Now onto to the actual acting and storyline.  The performances and plot were on point.  The miniseries was divided into three parts, which were all great, but I have to admit that parts one and two were a little bit better than part three.  The final section was slightly rushed, and I don’t know why on God’s green Earth the director and producers thought that Bobby Brown was still rockin’ a high top fade and leather suits in 1996 and 1997.  I promise you he let that look go by that time.  Just check out the “Hit Me Off” video if you don’t believe me.

Other than that, the movie was pretty flawless.  There were a lot of big name actors in it, too:  Wood Harris, Lala Anthony, Faizon Love, Lisa Nicole Carson (I was happy to see her come back to the industry!), Michael Rappaport, Monica Calhoun and Bryshere Gray aka Hakeem from Empire.  I was very proud of Bryshere (I’ll call him by his real name for the purposes of this post, but he’ll always be Hakeem to me).  The role of Michael Bivins is a far cry from spoiled brat Hakeem Lyon, and Bryshere more than proved that he’s a good actor, and he actually has some pipes.  Oh, yes…just like the films Cadillac Records and Walk the Line, these actors had to sing themselves.  By the way, Luke James, who played Johnny Gill, really did the film (and Johnny himself) justice.  If you have absolutely no interest in watching the miniseries, at least watch the scene where the fellas record “Can You Stand the Rain.”  It blew everyone away.  I also have to give props to Tyler Marcel Williams, the actor that portrayed Bobby as a child.  I swear he looked and acted like a miniature version of him.

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Another thing I loved about this film is that like most biopics that take place between the ’80s and ’00s, it brought back a lot of good memories (I LOVE how they recreated Video Soul!).  Like I said, I grew up listening to these men, so I remember when “Cool It Now” and “Mr. Telephone Man” got heavy rotation and when Bobby’s Don’t Be Cruel album was the hottest joint of the year (man, I remember my mother and I listening to that tape everyday she picked me up from school when I was in second grade.  Such nostalgia…).  However, I learned a lot of stuff from this miniseries, too.  Allow me to list some of the facts I found out about, assuming they’re true.  You guys know how biopics exaggerate and create scenes and characters for the sake of entertainment. (SPOILERS HEREIN)

  • Bobby is the one that started the group.
  • Once upon a time, Bobby actually had stage fright, if you can believe it.  Hence, his reason for starting the group.  He didn’t want to perform alone.
  • The group originally consisted of Mike, Bobby and Ricky.  They asked Ralph to join after deciding that three guys wasn’t enough.  Ronnie came along much later, after the group was already pretty well established in the neighborhood.
  • The original bad boy of the group wasn’t Bobby, it was Mike.  Mike was known as the troublemaker in the neighborhood, and his attitude almost got him thrown out of the group.
  • New Edition was headlining shows early in their career.  Apparently, Kurtis Blow and Madonna opened for them.  Yes, Madonna.
  • According to the movie, Kurtis Blow was kind of an asshole.  He didn’t like that he had to open for a bunch of pre-teen boys.  No wonder he felt like The Fats Boys got robbed when New Edition beat them during the talent show.  Don’t know what I’m talking about?  Watch Krush Groove.  🙂
  • Maurice Starr actually paid the boys $1.87 for Candy Girl.  They had to split that amongst themselves.
  • A personal observation:  “Is This the End?” sounds a lot like “Please Don’t Go Girl” by New Kids on the Block (I used to love that song).  I never noticed that before.  By the way, Maurice Starr also managed NKOTB.  Coincidence?
  • Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis produced Heartbreak, the comeback album that has the hits “Can You Stand the Rain,” and “If Isn’t Love.”
  • Ralph was groomed to be lead singer of the group from the beginning, and Maurice even tried to coerce him into being a solo artist.  Ralph refused.
  • It turned out that per MCA’s contract, any member of a music group that was seen as beneficial was still bound by said contract if he ever left the act.  Hence, MCA approached Bobby to make a solo record after he was voted out of New Edition.
  • The Home Again tour was a hot damn mess.  It turns out the fellas’ ego had gotten so large that they were spending money they didn’t have and were even taking separate tour buses to shows.  The tour ended with a huge fight on stage complete with gunshots fired during the performance.
  • The men didn’t just fight during the Home Again tour.  During the Cool It Now tour, a fight broke out between the fellas onstage due to Bobby’s showboating.
  • Bobby first became a father at 17.  Ralph was also expecting a child with his long-time girlfriend around the same time, but she unfortunately, she miscarried.  The manager they had at the time did everything he could to keep the news of Bobby’s first child out of the media for fear of losing fans.
  • Bobby wasn’t the only member of the group with substance abuse problems.  Ricky also had issues with addiction, and actually overdosed.
  • Bobby’s signature look on the “Every Little Step” video was made purely by accident.  The barber wasn’t paying attention and cut the side of Bobby’s fade off.
  • Mike brought Johnny into the group after Bobby left to give New Edition a more mature sound.
  • Since Bobby and New Edition were still under contract with MCA, they still had to tour together, with Bobby and Al B. Sure! opening for the group.
  • “You’re Not My Kind of Girl” is actually a New Edition song.  All these years I thought it was a Ralph Tresvant solo song.  By the way, that song always perplexed me.  He doesn’t want a good woman that’s pretty and carries herself well.  Are you looking for a THOT?
  • Boyz II Men named themselves after the New Edition song “Boys to Men.”  They became part of Mike’s East Coast Family (Boyz II Men, Another Bad Creation aka ABC, and Bell Biv DeVoe aka BBD) when they auditioned for him in front of New Edition’s tour bus.
  • Bobby may have been voted out of the group unanimously, but it wasn’t a decision that the fellas took lightly, and it hurt them immensely to do it.  Seeing that tear stroll down Ricky’s face nearly made me cry.

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All in all, this film was excellent, and whether you’re a fan of New Edition, or you’ve never heard of these guys in your life, or the closest attachment you have to these men are seeing Bobby Brown on various reality shows, please check this miniseries out.

—Written by Nadiya

So, what did you think about The New Edition Story?  Was it the TV event of 2017, or was it highly overrated?  Did it bring back fond memories of the ’80s and ’90s?  Did you learn a ton of new things about the group like I did?  Let me know in the comments section!

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Top 10 Songs of 2016

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Happy New Year, y’all!  I know it’s been an extremely long time since I’ve posted anything on this blog (October, to be exact), but since I have a tad bit of free time for a change—and I’ve ended my Christmas vacay from writing—I’ve decided to do a little somethin’ somethin’ regarding the past year.

Now, 2016 wasn’t exactly the easiest year for most of us, and I’m sure that a lot of us are happy that it’s come and gone and we were blessed enough to survive.  However, I have to say that one of the good things about 2016 was that the music was on point.  2016 actually had a a resurgence of music, in my opinion, and I decided to make a top 10 list of the best songs the year had to offer.  Mind you, these are just the songs I’ve heard this year, and the majority of the songs I listened to belonged to the genre of Hip-Hop and R&B.  Most of the Pop songs last year made me promptly turn the station, and I’m more geared towards Classic Rock than the contemporary stuff.  With that being said, let’s jump right into this!

10.  “Hotline Bling” by Drake

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I realize this song was actually released in 2015, but it got some crazy airplay in 2016, and I first heard it around January or February of last year.  Drake isn’t a strong singer, but the tune of this song is really catchy, as is the music that was used.  I have to admit, this is the first Drake song I’ve liked (I don’t listen to a lot of today’s Hip-Hop), and I uploaded it to my IPod not too long after discovering it.

9.  “Phone Down” by Erykah Badu

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Like many of the songs on this list, I heard this gem while listening to The Steve Harvey Morning Show on my way to work.  It’s one of Erykah’s most straightforward songs, but the music and lyrics draw you in.  Lord knows it’s hard to make someone put their phone down in this day and age, but Erykah has you believing that she can easily make her man do it.  The video leaves much to be desired, but the song is gold.

8.  “In Common” by Alicia Keys

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A lot of folks say that Alicia hasn’t been the same since she got together with Swizz Beats, but in my opinion, she hasn’t missed a thing, and “In Common” proves that.  I came across this song this past summer while browsing for new music on You Tube.  The haunting tune and lyrics about still being in love with a man that she knows she shouldn’t be with got me hooked immediately.

7.  “Formation” by Beyoncé

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Y’all know “Formation” had to be somewhere on the list.  Pretty much every song on the Lemonade album was legendary, but I had “Formation” playing just about every day, twice a day on my IPod for weeks.  “Formation” had a bangin’ beat, as well as memorable lyrics (“I got hot sauce in my bag…swag.”).  Not only is the song itself the bomb, but the video is extremely inspiring with its homage to contemporary—as well as antiquated—African-American culture.

6.  “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd

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If you watched any videos regarding The Mannequin Challenge this year (which really impressed me, by the way), you’ve heard this song playing in the background.  There was something about the soft music and the hook that really got me into this song, which is saying a lot, considering I couldn’t get into too much of contemporary Hip-Hop nowadays.  Hip-Hop made a comeback in a major way in 2016.

5.  “Don’t Touch My Hair” by Solange

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Over the years, a lot of people slept on Solange and wrote her off as Beyoncé’s little sister, or the little lady that managed to whup Jay-Z’s ass in an elevator (I couldn’t resist).  However, when Solange released A Seat At the Table, she proved she was so much more and shut the naysayers up.  One of the many great songs on that album that stood out was “Don’t Touch My Hair.”  When I first came across the video, it had just debuted on You Tube, and what I thought would be a sassy tune about not messin’ with a black woman’s hair turned out to be a thought provoking song about the pride and culture of African-American people.  The video blew me away, too.  Much like Beyoncé’s Lemonade, “Don’t Touch My Hair” showcased the beauty of black people, but it did so in a more art house type manner.

4.  “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars

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Anyone that knows me knows that I love ’80s music, and “24K Magic” brought ’80s realness.  Just when I thought that Bruno Mars hit his peak with “Uptown Funk,” he released “24K Magic,” and I fell in love with it right off the bat.  The synthesizers and the lyrics take me back to a simpler time, when MTV was actually entertaining.  Yeah, I went there.

3.  “Crush” by Yuna feat. Usher

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I had never heard of Yuna before coming across “Crush” on You Tube, but I’m sure to hear a lot more from her, considering how well made this song is.  Yuna and Usher make a perfect duet about a man and woman that have both have feelings for each other and are just starting to act on it.  On a side note, Yuna has a very pretty voice that’s similar to Jhene Aiko’s, another artist that I just discovered this past year.  Ironically enough, on Yuna’s album Chapters, Yuna and Jhene do a duet together.

2.  “Lazarus” by David Bowie

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Like “Hotline Bling,” “Lazurus” was actually released in 2015.  I listened to it a few days prior to Mr. Bowie’s death, and I really enjoyed it, even more so than the title track.  Then, Mr. Bowie passed away and I realized what “Lazurus” actually was…a goodbye.  Now it hurts me to listen to the song, or any of the songs featured on the Blackstar album.  I certainly can’t watch the video.  Nonetheless, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a great song, and it’s had an extreme impact on music fans.  We still miss you, Mr. Bowie.

1.  “Cranes In the Sky” by Solange

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Yes, Solange made the list again, proving how good the songs featured on A Seat At the Table are.  I first heard “Cranes In the Sky” on The Steve Harvey Morning Show and initially, I didn’t think it was quite as good as “Don’t Touch My Hair.”  Then I gave the song a second chance, and realized just how beautiful it was.  The video for “Cranes In the Sky” was equally gorgeous with its artful images of landscapes and African-American people.  I’m lovin’ this new neo-soul side of Solange.  I’m more than happy to see that folks will finally look at Solange as an artist in her own right, and she’ll finally be leaving her big sister’s shadow.

There were a lot of great songs released this past year, but only 10 of them could make this list.  However, I wanted to post some honorable mentions, too:

“Can’t Wait” by Jill Scott

“Love Me Now” by John Legend

The Lemonade album by Beyoncé (yes, the entire album)

“Blended Family” by Alicia Keys

The TWENTY88 album by TWENTY88 (Big Sean and Jhene Aiko)

—Written by Nadiya

So what were your top songs of 2016?  I mostly listened to Hip-Hop and R&B, so I’m interested to read which songs got heavy rotation in your playlist!  Let me know in the comments section!

‘Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge and Michel’le’ Review

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Real talk, folks that aren’t African-American and/or weren’t around during the early 1990s may not remember Michel’le.  She received a lot of airplay on R&B stations back in the day, along with the likes of Surface, Skyy, Keith Sweat and Al B. Sure!  When I was in third grade, you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing Michel’le’s songs “No More Lies” and “Something in My Heart” playing on the radio.  It wasn’t until recently that I learned that she was a part of Ruthless Records, the same label owned by Jerry Heller and Easy-E, which also launched N.W.A.  I also recently learned that Michel’le and Dr. Dre had a serious relationship during the height of her career…and that Dre horribly abused her for years.  Michel’le finally got to tell the story that unbeknownst to me, she’s been telling for years, in Lifetime’s TV biopic, Surviving Compton:  Dre, Suge and Michel’le.

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In Surviving Compton, the story is told through Michel’le’s eyes, and we learn things that were conveniently left out of Straight Outta Compton.  The story reveals how Michle’le got her start with Ruthless Records, and eventually ended up dating Dr. Dre.  At first, Michel’le’s career is skyrocketing and her relationship with Dre is a sweet and caring one.  However, Dre’s drinking and puffin’ on the good stuff starts to increase, and all hell breaks loose.  Thanks to bad advice from her well-meaning, but completely clueless grandmother, Michel’le continues dating Dre and even moves in with him, although his violence towards her escalates more and more.   Michel’le tries her best to keep her career going in spite of the beatings she suffers at Dre’s hands, which lead to her own substance abuse problems.  She eventually meets Suge Knight, who treats Michel’le like a queen…at first.  Suge and Michel’le eventually end up in a relationship themselves, and Michel’le soon learns that she pretty jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire.

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Surviving Compton was a very enjoyable film.  There were some slight flaws (i.e. Suge Knight watching news footage of Tupac being shot in Las Vegas when he was actually in the car with ‘Pac when he was killed), but for the most part, it was a great movie.  For the last three or four years, Lifetime movies have fallen off, especially the biopics.  The June Carter movie was shit (sorry, Jewel), and the Aaliyah movie was just as bad, if not worse.  But Surviving Compton was very engaging, and never had a dull moment.  I actually learned some new bits of trivia in this film, like the fact that Michel’le is close friends with Tichina Arnold (aka Pam from Martin), and that her first single was “Turn Off the Lights” with World Class Wreckin’ Cru.  I’d heard that song a million times when I was little, but I never knew who sang it.  Rhyon Nicole Brown did a fantastic job as Michel’le.  I’ve liked her ever since her days as Lizzie in Lincoln Heights, and as usual, she delivered.  Rhyon had Michel’le’s high pitched voice down pat!  At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d like Michle’le narrating the film in person, but it worked for the film, especially when she got emotional after reliving the first time Dre assaulted her.  Just as he did in Straight Outta Compton, actor R. Marcos Taylor reprised his role as Suge Knight, and delivers once again as the evil CEO of Death Row Records.  A surprising treat was seeing Jamie Kennedy play the late Jerry Heller.  Was he as good as Paul Giamatti?  No, but Jamie still did his thing.  Last but not least, cutie Curtis Hamilton did an excellent job playing the more sinister side of Dr. Dre.

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What I really liked about Surviving Compton is that it not only tells Michel’le’s story, but it also gives us the darker side of Dre’s story, warts and all, unlike its more well known counterpart, Straight Outta Compton.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I loved Straight Outta Compton (that’s cutie Corey Hawkins playing Dre in SOC in the pic above), and I’ve always been a fan of Dre’s (although this movie really has me giving him the side eye), but there was one thing about the movie that got to me just a little bit—and I’ve told friends and family members this a few times—Dre was portrayed as Dudley Do Right in the major motion picture.  Never mind the fact that the film didn’t have any focus on Dre’s relationship with Michel’le or his violent encounter with Dee Barnes, but they even made sure to overlook Dre’s beef with Easy-E.  As a matter of fact, everyone else’s faults and shortcomings were portrayed in the film except Dre’s.  Surviving Compton, on the other hand, displayed everyone’s faults.  Not only did it show Michel’le’s naivety and bad choices in men, and how Dre pounded his fist into the poor girl’s face on a regular basis, but it also showed how the members of N.W.A, some of the hardest men on Earth—or so we were led to believe—watched their friend get beat up right in front of them, and they did nothing.  Only Easy came to Michel’le’s defense, whereas the other men were too scared, embarrassed or too apathetic to do anything.

As much as I enjoyed this film, I have to say that it’s left me a bit torn.  I’ve loved Dr. Dre since I was 11 years old, and I’m still a big fan of his music and overall genius, but as I said before, I have to give him the side eye now.  He apologized for his repulsive behavior towards women last year right before Straight Outta Compton was released, but in the same vein, he also tried to silence Michel’le when he learned she was making this film.  Of course, now that I’ve seen the backlash that he’s been receiving since the movie was released, I can see why he was so desperate to keep Michel’le quiet.  Folks that saw Surviving Compton have been draggin’ Dre’s ass up and down Twitter and Instagram.  Just look at this:

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Dang.  Sweetie pie, I hope for your sake you really are sorry, because despite the fact that all this happened over twenty years ago, I have a feeling you’re not gonna be able to bounce back from this hate too easily.  Hell, I’m not so sure if I want Beats by Dre headphones now (and yes, I’ve heard that damn “Beats by Dre has a new meaning” joke).  On one hand, I’m pretty disgusted with Dre, but on the other hand, they do a damn good job of canceling out background noise and making the audio more vibrant.  Seriously, those are some damn good headphones!

In all seriousness, Surviving Compton was a very good film, and a throwback to the greatness that was once the Lifetime channel.  So if you’re a fan of Michel’le, Lifetime movies, N.W.A, or Straight Outta Compton, I highly recommend this film.  Check it out.

By the way, is it me, or are they finding the cutest men to play Dr. Dre?

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—Written by Nadiya

So what did you think about Surviving Compton:  Dre, Suge and Michel’le?  Was it as good or as interesting as Straight Outta Compton?  Are you still a fan of Dr. Dre’s after seeing it?  Do you believe Michel’le did the film strictly for attention, or because she felt as if the whole truth needed to be put out there?  Do you think Dre deserves all the hate he’s getting on Twitter and Instagram, even though all this happened in the late ’80s and early ’90s?  Let me know in the comments!

Top 10 Worst Sequels

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Hey, y’all!  Yes, I’m still alive.  I’m so sorry I haven’t been around for the last two months.  I’ve been extremely busy with my day job, as well as my other writing assignments.  I haven’t forgotten about y’all.  To be honest, lately I’ve been so inwardly stressed about not being able to do all my writing projects that I’ve had trouble digesting food.  No lie.  Frankly speaking, my time on here will be sporadic, thanks to the long hours at my job and the amount of time it takes me to get to and from work.  The only reason I have time to finish this post now is because thanks to Hurricane Matthew (we got most of the week off.  I would’ve finished this sooner, but we lost power all day yesterday due to that damn storm).  However, I promise that I’m not givin’ up on y’all.  I may not be postin’ once a week like I used to, but you will still here from me.  Bet on it.  Now, on to the article!

A little while ago, I watched the film The Huntsman:  Winter’s War.  Now, unlike most folks, I greatly enjoyed Snow White and the Huntsman, and y’all know how much I love Chris Hemsworth, so I was sure that I’d enjoy the sequel.  I couldn’t have be more wrong.  It wasn’t the worst sequel I ever watched, but Lord knows it wasn’t the best, and I had no desire to watch the film again.  The continuity was all screwed up, and they completely diluted The Huntsman’s character to a happy-go-lucky jokester.  Ugh.  After watching the movie, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “What are the worst sequels I’ve ever watched?”  It inspired me to make a top 10 list that I’m finally presenting to y’all today!  So, here it is!

10.  Graffiti Bridge

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Now, y’all know how much I love Prince…but this movie is shit.  I knew it when I was 10 years old, and I know it now.  If Prince didn’t come out and say that Graffiti Bridge was a sequel to Purple Rain, we’d probably never know it.  Aside from Prince, Morris and Jerome returning to the cast (and Jill; forgot about her for a sec), there’s hardly any connection between the two films.  Crazy lookin’ sets, an even crazier plot, and what the heck happened to Apollonia?  She’s not even mentioned!  Skip this one, or at least watch it on mute (Prince is so cute in it).

9.  Speed 2:  Cruise Control

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Speed was an exciting movie with explosive chemistry between the two leads and an unforgettable villain.  Speed 2:  Cruise Control was a dull movie with zero chemistry between the two leads and a completely forgettable villain.  Seriously, the only things I remember about this film is Sandra Bullock elbowin’ Willem Dafoe in the face (that was the only badass scene in the whole film), the ship crashing through the city, and thinking that Jason Patric couldn’t hold a candle to Keanu Reeves.  Sorry, Jason.

8.  Pirates of the Caribbean:  At World’s End

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Folks love to give Pirates of the Caribbean:  On Stranger Tides all kinds of hell, but I actually liked that film!  At World’s End was much worse!  In my opinion, On Stranger Tides went back to basics, whereas At World’s End was completely overblown and ridiculous.  This movie had the ship capsizing to go from one world to another, Elizabeth being elected the pirate queen, the crew “trapping” the goddess Calypso (by the way, who didn’t predict that Tia Dalma was actually Calypso?), a million Jack Sparrows running around, a big showdown between The Black Pearl and The Flying Dutchman (all while performing a wedding ceremony), another big showdown between The Black Pearl and the East India Trading Company (although I must admit, that ass kickin’ was kind of cool)…ugh, the list goes on and on!  Then the movie was nearly three hours long!  Have y’all ever heard the phrase, “Less is more?”  And I thought Dead’s Man Chest brought everything but the kitchen sink!  Lord!

7.  Once Upon a Time In Mexico

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When Once Upon a Time In Mexico was released the summer of 2003, I remember Salma Hayek saying, “It’s been seven years since we did a follow up to Desperado, and this film is seven times better than [the previous one].”  Why do actors lie to get us in the theatres?  Why not just make a good film?  In this case, the lie worked, and instead of me walking out the movie theatre hyped up, I walked out with a splitting headache.  Like At World’s End, this movie had too much going on, it was just executed in a different way.  Instead of too many over-the-top events going on, Once Upon a Time In Mexico decided to have fifty million characters introduced in the movie, each with their own storyline!  Ironically enough, Johnny Depp was the best thing about this film.  Antonio Banderas was pretty much wasted in his own film, sadly enough.  I hated how El Mariachi immediately went from being an ass kickin’ vigilante seeking to avenge his wife and daughter’s death (and why did he have to go through more heartbreak!?) to one of the “sons of Mexico” on a mission to protect the president.  Ugh.  Give me El Mariachi and Desperado any day of the week.  You what’s really sad?  El Mariachi probably cost all of $20,000 to make, and it’s vastly superior to this hot mess.

6.   Rocky V

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This is where the Rocky franchise started to go left.  First off, Rocky loses all his money, thanks to him allowing Paulie to handle his finances.  For all fans of the franchise, I ask this question:  Who in their right mind would allow Paulie’s silly ass to handle his finances!?  Secondly, Rocky moves back to his old neighborhood, falls out with his now teenage son—although just before he left for Russia to fight Ivan Drago, his son was about seven years old—and takes in some ungrateful redneck to train him for the big time.  In short, this film was boring and a pale shadow of what the franchise was.  Even the “big fight” at the end was just meh.

5.  Transformers:  Revenge of the Fallen

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This movie probably shouldn’t be on the list, because quite frankly, I didn’t watch the entire film.  I fell asleep on it, and I when I woke up again I had no desire to finish watching it.  Like a lot of the movies on this list, it had too much going on.  I only watched it once, so I can’t even remember all the shit that happened, I just remembered it was a lot of shit, and it didn’t impress me.  Not only that, but I got tired of all Megan Fox’s gratuitous booty shots, and if I heard Shia Lebeouf’s roommate scream like a woman one more time, I was gonna come through the damn TV and slap the hell out of him.

 4.  Ghostbusters II

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You know, The Karate Kid Part 3 was set to take the number four spot on this list, but as I was typing this out, I remembered…Ghostbusters II was much worse.  Folks love to put down the Ghostbusters reboot and credit it for ruining the franchise, but they seem to forget how horrendous Ghosbusters II was.  I adored the first installment (still do), and when this movie came out during my grade school years, I couldn’t wait to see it…and I was sorely disappointed.  This movie was full of lame jokes, a crazy plot (even for a comedy/sci-fi film), and even a corny theme song (sorry, Bobby Brown).  They even committed the cardinal sin of sequels:  rehashing all the jokes/plot lines from the original film.  God, I can’t stand that.

3.  Breaking Dawn Pt. 1

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Yes, I’m a fan of the Twilight franchise; the books and the films (the books more so than the movies).  Just like with the books, I was greatly enjoying the film franchise until it got to Breaking Dawn.  I wasn’t surprised, mind you.  The book was shit, and as Elvis once said, “you can’t polish a turd.”  Just like the Breaking Dawn novel, the movie was fine until Bella got preggo with that demon spawn.  Then it all went to hell.  It even had the gall to take it a step further.  I can deal with wolves communicating telepathically, but when they have hybrid human/wolf voices to do it, it’s time to change the channel.  And I still can’t stomach Edward giving Bella that damn C-section with his doggone teeth.

2.  Batman and Robin

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*Sigh*  Lord, give me strength…  There’s really no need of beating around the bush.  Batman and Robin is a horrible movie, and it completely ruined the franchise, plain and simple.  It’s the epitome of cheesy.  Cheesy writing, cheesy plots, cheesy sets, cheesy one-liners, cheesy acting—it’s enough to make you constipated.  And that sad excuse of a Batmobile?  Lord, have mercy!  This movie actually ruined some of the actors’ careers.  For some reason George Clooney—and to some extent, Arnold Schwarzenegger—walked away unscathed.  The only good thing about this movie is that it was such a bomb that there was practically no where else to go but up, and the The Dark Knight franchise rose from the ashes of this turkey.

1.  The Matrix Revolutions

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I’m getting sick to my stomach just thinking about this movie.  When The Matrix Reloaded was released, I was disappointed, but I was still anxious to find out what would happen with Neo and Trinity in the next installment.  What happened was a hot ass mess.  The dialog was even more cryptic and convoluted, the plot was boring as well as confusing, and the movie was dragged out to a torturous three hour run time, that felt more like five hours.  When the film finally got to the scene we were all waiting for—the big fight between Neo and Agent Smith—it was just as disappointing as the rest of the film.  Just a long, dull, drawn out mess.  Then, to top it all off, the ending wasn’t exactly happy.  After all that nonsense I sat through, y’all could’ve at least allowed Neo and Trinity to live happily forever after in Zion.  I walked out of that theatre with a flattened ass, severe aggravation, and a date who complained about paying for the mess we just watched.  Y’all should’ve just stuck with one damn movie.

Whew!  That was tough!  So tell me, do you agree with my list?  What movies do you think are the worst sequels ever?  Let me know in the comments section!

Oh, yeah.  Get out  and vote this November!

Rock Throws Shade!

Rock Closeup

What’s poppin’, y’all?  As some of y’all may already know, I am head over heels in love with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  Rock is one of my many fantasy men, and earlier today, I came across some news about him that really had me scratching my head.  Now, Insights from a Southern Girl isn’t a gossip blog, but I really felt compelled to share this tea with all y’all.

Prince Sipping Tea

Rock is currently shooting the eighth installment of the Fast and Furious franchise (Lord, help us), and according to the Instagram post he put up last night, he’s in his final week of shooting.  Aside from letting the fans know how far along he is with his scenes, he also had this to say:

My female co-stars are always amazing and I love ’em. My male co-stars however are a different story. Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don’t. The ones that don’t are too chicken shit to do anything about it anyway. Candy asses. When you watch this movie next April and it seems like I’m not acting in some of these scenes and my blood is legit boiling – you’re right.

Look at All the Fucks I Give 1

Wow.  I’ve been a fan of Rock’s for a long time, and I’ve never seen him throw that much shade at his co-workers.  Well, correction:  not his Hollywood co-workers.  There’s been some shade thrown at his wrestling colleagues, but hey, most of them deserve it (not all, but most…they know who they are).  I can’t help but wonder who pissed Rock off, and what he did.  I don’t think it was Vin Diesel, Tyrese or Ludacris, considering that they’ve all worked together before and got along great in the past.  Rock is the type of man that doesn’t get angry very easily.  If any of y’all remember his legendary appearance on Punk’d, you know that it took him being blamed for a trailer exploding to get him riled up.  He’s gone on record before and said that unprofessionalism is one of his pet peeves, so one of those fellas must’ve really showed his ass on that set.  Thankfully, Rock channeled all that anger into the performance, and not the culprit’s face.  Word to the wise:  you don’t wanna anger a 6’4″ 255 lb. black/Samoan man that once tried to rip a man’s tongue out.

—Written by Nadiya

So who and what do you think ticked Rock off?  Also, do you think that Rock’s performance as Hobbs will be that much better since he used his genuine anger to pull off the fight scenes?  Give me your thoughts in the comments section!

Top 10 ‘Outlander’ Moments

Outlander - Claire and Jamie (Alt)

What’s poppin’, y’all?  As die hard fans like myself may already know by now, season 2 of Outlander officially ended a few weeks ago, and we’re officially in the time period known as “Droughtlander.”  To be honest though, if I have to endure an entire season of bratty ass Brianna Randall, I’d rather brave the drought!  Anyway, despite losing Starz a while back, I was able to catch up on the last couple of episodes (and got royally pissed off at the events of the season finale, namely Claire’s spoiled brat of a daughter), and now I’d like to do a top 10 list of the most memorable moments—good and bad—of the Outlander TV series!  Let’s hop to it!

10.  Brianna Cusses At Her Mother

Outlander - Claire and Her Brat 2 (Alt)

In the season finale, 20 years have passed, and a 50 year old Claire and her rotten daughter Brianna travel to Scotland to attend Rev. Wakefield’s funeral.  While there, Brianna learns the truth about her father—her real father—and basically tells her mother, “You were just fucking another man behind Dad’s back!”  What’s even crazier is that Claire didn’t smack the child silly!  Okay, did Brianna have the right to be upset?  Sure.  Did Claire’s story about traveling to the 18th century sound ludicrous?  Yeah.  But did she have the right to drop an F bomb at her mother and basically call her a ho?  HELL NO!

I’ma need you to have several seats, Brianna.

Jesse Williams - Sit Down

9.  The Spanking

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Yep, I went there.

In this scene, Jamie has just rescued Claire from Black Jack’s clutches, but feels the need to punish her since he ordered her to stay with Willie in the woods, but she “wandered off” towards the stones at Craigh Na Du instead, leading to her capture.  What does he consider punishment?  Puttin’ a belt to her behind.  Okay…I know I’m gonna catch holy hell for this one, but as I always say, I have to keep it 100%.  I’m a black woman from the south, raised during the ’80s and ’90s.  When I got out of line as a child, my mother and grandmother spanked me.  Some people look at this scene and see abuse.  I see a spanking.  Now, did Claire deserve the spanking?  Hell no, especially given the fact that she was running back to the stones to go home (which Jamie later learned and deservedly ended up with egg on his face).  Do I believe a husband should whup his wife’s booty with a belt?  Not unless it’s for kinks.  However, I laughed out loud when I first watched this …because Claire whupped Jamie’s ass more than he whupped hers.  Homegirl refused to go down without a fight, and she gave him the silent treatment for the next week, to boot.  Jamie had no choice but to literally get on his knees and beg for forgiveness.

8.  All of Gellis’s Moments

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Yes, you read that correctly.  All of Gellis Duncan’s moments are memorable.  Whether she’s worshiping mother nature, killing both of her husbands, channeling her inner Malcolm X at a Prince Charlie rally, whipping up her potions or announcing that she’s “going to a fucking barbecue,” when Gellis comes on screen, you know it’s about to go down.

7.  Angus Dies

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In the episode “Prestonpans,” Angus returns from the eponymous battle bruised from a cannon blast that exploded next to him, while Rupert was unconscious and seemingly circling the drain.  Ever the faithful best friend, Angus never left his side, and it looked as if he was going to lose his partner in crime.  However, it turns out that Angus was the one that was dying.  He passed out after bleeding internally for the past few hours from the cannon blast, and all Claire and the others could do was watch in horror as he bled to death.  Ironically enough, Rupert woke up the second Angus died.  This scene really broke my heart.

 6.  Black Jack Violates Fergus

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Just when we thought that Black Jack couldn’t get any more evil, we learn that Jamie found his ratchet ass raping Fergus, the 10 year old boy Jamie and Claire took under their wing.  Hence, Jamie broke his word to Claire about waiting a year to kill Black Jack, and went ahead with their scheduled duel.  I cheered when Jamie stabbed his no good ass in the balls towards the end of the fight.

5.  Dougal Gets Killed

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Another reason this season 2 finale pissed me off.  After realizing that crazy ass “Bonny” Prince Charles is going to send the Scots to their death no matter what, Claire suggests killing him via poison.  Dougal overhears this plot, goes into a murderous rage and lashes at Jamie, with Claire presumably to be next.  Jamie and Dougal fight, and Jamie eventually gets the upper hand with Dougal’s knife aimed at his chest.  Dougal’s a tough SOB, and he struggles to keep the dagger from piercing his body, so Claire, being the ride or die chick she is, bears her weight down on Jamie, causing to knife to enter Dougal’s chest.  Let’s face it, Dougal McKenzie was a bastard.  He cheated on his sick (and supposedly lonely) wife, 90% of the time he was out for self, he knocked up Gellis and forgot about her, and he tried to hook up with his nephew’s wife on his wedding day!  In spite of all that though, I liked Dougal.  Really, really deep down, he had a good heart, and his love and loyalty to Scotland were very commendable.  He also cared a great deal about Claire as well as Colum, although he had a shitty way of showing it.  That’s why it broke my heart that Claire and Jamie had to kill him, especially given the fact that Dougal went out of his way to save Claire’s life previously (which makes it even more hurtful, considering that Claire is the one that sealed his death warrant).  Hell, he’s the reason they’re a married couple in the first place.  I hated that his last thoughts of Jamie and Claire were that they were a couple of traitorous bitches.

4.  Claire Loses Faith

Outlander - Claire Holds Faith (Alt)

“Faith” was the most powerful episode of season 2, hands down.  As previously mentioned, Jamie breaks his word to leave Black Jack alone for an entire year, and as a result, a very pregnant Claire goes into distress upon seeing him fight the no-good Englishman.  Claire goes into labor immediately after the duel, and the baby is stillborn.  Naturally, Claire is depressed and when the nuns allow her to see the baby, she holds the child for the remainder of the day.  In what’s possibly the most thoughtful and selfless act of her life, Claire’s friend, Louise de Rohan, convinces her to let the baby go for good.  If this episode didn’t pull at your heartstrings, I don’t know what will.  I wish the baby had lived and Claire and Jamie raised her.  I’d trade Faith for Brianna any day (it’s okay to say that about TV characters).

3.  The Duke of Sandringham Loses His Head

Outlander - Sandringham's Head (Alt)

We all knew that the Duke of Sandringham was an asshole, but in the episode “Vengeance Is Mine, ” we learned that the duke was damn near evil incarnate.  It’s revealed that he was the one that orchestrated Claire and Mary’s attack in Paris, and to add insult to injury, we also learn that Mary was the Duke’s own goddaughter, and he still allowed the attack!  Apparently, St. Germain (aka TFF) wanted Claire dead, but Sandringham suggested rape, because it “wasn’t as bad.”  WTF!?  After finding out about the duke’s evil deed, Murtagh, who promised Claire he would lay vengeance at her feet for what happened to her and Mary, promptly buries an ax into the Duke’s skull and proceeds to chop off his head.  He then lays the head at Claire and Mary’s feet and lets them know that he fulfilled his vow.  Go ‘head Murtagh.  I cheered at this scene, too.

2.  Wentworth Prison

Outlander - Jamie and Nasty Black Jack

Jamie’s torture scenes in Wentworth Prison are stomach turning, to say the least.  Black Jack promised he would break Jamie…and he does just that, and makes the viewing audience cringe in fear and disgust in the process.  His tactics are enough to make Jeffrey Dahmer shiver:  brutal and multiple rapes, molestation, mutilation, and psychological games, all ending with a “mercy kill” that thankfully never happened, thanks to Claire and Murtagh.  When the founding fathers of America outlawed “cruel and unusual punishment” in the Bill of Rights, I believe they were thinking about Black Jack Randall (psych).  Seriously, I can hardly watch these scenes now, but you best believe they stayed burned in my mind.

1.  All the Times Claire and Jamie Hooked Up

Outlander - Jamie and Claire 2 (Alt)

Real talk, we all love the drama and action Outlander brings, but what we all salivate over is Claire and Jamie’s sex scenes.  Whether they’re consummating their marriage, having a sizzling make up session, or Claire letting Jamie give her a “good morning kiss,” we live to see these two hook up.  Claire and Jamie have explosive chemistry, and together, they’ve had some of the hottest love scenes I’ve seen in ages.  So much so, that everybody and their mama was beggin’ to see Claire and Jamie get it on in season 2.  Unfortunately, they only had two measly hot scenes together this season (and one of them was a quickie).  Boo!  Maybe they’ll get together a little bit more next season after their 20 year separation (God, I hate that storyline), but it begs the question…do we really wanna see middle aged folks get their freak on?

Oh, yeah…honorable mention:

Jamie's Got a Gun

“I’ll thank you to take your hands off my wife.”  I love it!

—Written by Nadiya

So tell me, what’s your favorite Outlander moment?  Did you agree with the list, or did you have a different opinion?  Let me know in the comments section!

 

‘Star Trek: Beyond’ Review

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What’s poppin’, y’all?  Star Trek:  Beyond was released this past weekend, and my mom and I decided to have a mother/daughter night and go see it.  I have to say, I was thoroughly entertained.  This go around, the Star Trek franchise has Justin Lin behind the helm as the director instead of J.J. Abrams, and the film received a fair amount of publicity, but not as much as I’d expect.  I caught a few commercials for it, and I saw Rihanna’s music video for “Sledgehammer,” and that’s about it.  When I learned the movie would be released on July 22nd, I was interested, but I wasn’t psyched about it.  However, like I said, I walked out of the theatre a happy lady.

This go around, Captain Kirk has been in deep space for 3 years and is ready for a bit of shore leave to break the monotony.  He’s even thinking about giving up his position as captain of the Enterprise, believing he can’t live up to his father’s legacy.  Also, his birthday has arrived, which is a bittersweet moment for Kirk, seeing as the date of his birth was also the date of his father’s death.  Spock also has some reservations about remaining with Starfleet after learning that Spock Prime (Leonard Nimoy) has passed away.  However, Kirk and Spock’s personal issues have to take a back seat once a fellow Starfleet captain requests permission for the Enterprise to assist her with finding her lost ship and crew.  In order to find the ship, the crew must travel through an unstable nebula, and what’s waiting for them on the other side has to be seen to be believed.

I can’t give away any more of the plot without revealing some major points.  Trust me, you’ll want to see the end result for yourself.  I really enjoyed this movie.  It wasn’t quite as good as the first Star Trek reboot or Star Trek Into Darkness, but I still had a good time watching it.  The first 20 minutes or so didn’t really draw me in, although the reason behind Kirk and Spock’s dark mood stirred up some interest (and it also explains why Rihanna’s “Sledgehammer” was chosen as the theme song for this film).  However, once the Enterprise went through the nebula and all hell broke loose,  I became fully invested in the movie.  I was extremely impressed with Idris Elba.  He played the villainous Krall in the film, and he did a doggone good job.  His makeup artist deserves full props as well.  He actually managed to make Idris Elba fugly and unrecognizable.  Kudos!  All the cast members provided solid performances, to be honest.  Seeing Anton Yelchin play Chekov was bittersweet, especially considering that Chekov is the best character he’s ever played, in my opinion.  I really loved that the movie was dedicated to the memories of Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin.  Another thing I learned as the closing credits rolled was that Simon Pegg wrote most of the script, which only furthers my love him.

Y’all, Star Trek:  Beyond is a really good movie.  If you liked the previous installments in the rebooted franchise, you’ll like this one as well.  I highly recommend it.

—Written by Nadiya

So, have you seen Star Trek:  Beyond?  What did you think about it?  Give me your thoughts in the comments section!