Thursday Movie Picks #305: Girls’ Trip

ThursdayMoviePicksHappy Friday everyone! I’m a bit late to the TMP party but I love this week’s topic that I still want to participate. The Thursday Movie Picks blogathon was spearheaded by Wandering Through the Shelves Blog.

The rules are simple simple: Each week there is a topic for you to create a list of three movies. Your picks can either be favourites/best, worst, hidden gems, or if you’re up to it one of each. This Thursday’s theme is… GIRLS’ TRIP.

For this topic, the ones I pick isn’t necessarily about girls taking a trip together, but more about female friendships. Honestly I actually haven’t seen too many of movies about women taking a trip together, though I know there are a bunch of them. So I picked three that really resonated with me even from decades ago.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)

Five years after the events of Mamma Mia!, Sophie prepares for the grand reopening of the Hotel Bella Donna as she learns more about her mother’s past.

I have to admit I have a soft spot for these Mamma Mia! movies. I almost didn’t even want to see it, but when I visited my best friend in San Diego, she had this DVD and we decided to watch it together. Well, I ended up really enjoying it! I like the second movie even more as it traced back Donna’s past and how the relationships she forged in the past affects her, as well as her daughter Sophie’s, present. The three of them went on a trip to the Greek island and of course Donna ended up staying and built a hotel there. I love how in the sequel you see their friendship is still as strong as ever, and passed through generations.

I adore Lily James as young Donna (and this girl could sing!) and the other two actresses who played her two besties Rosie (Alexa Davies) and Tanya (Jessica Keenan Wynn). It helps a ton if you enjoy ABBA’s songs (which I do), and it also shows the friendships of Donna’s men (aka Sophie’s three dads) which is quite amusing also. Of course the island scenery (filmed in Croatia) is to die for!


Waiting to Exhale (1995)

Based on Terry McMillan’s novel, this film follows four very different African-American women and their relationships with the male gender.

I can’t remember when exactly I saw this movie but I still remember it fondly to this day. Even specific scenes still feels fresh in my mind, I mean who can forget Angela Bassett burning her husband’s car?

Based on Terry McMillan’s best-selling novel, it has such an amazing cast, Loretta Devine, Lela Rochon, Angela Bassett and Whitney Houston, that work amazingly together. I’m actually a fan of Whitney as an actress, and she seems more comfortable here than in The Bodyguard.

As these women go through struggles in men, careers, and families that took them to different directions, it’s the bond and friendship that sustain them. Even the song Count On Me became an anthem for strong friendships… “When you are weak, I will be strong…Helping you to carry on.” 


Thelma & Louise (1991)

Two best friends set out on an adventure, but it soon turns around to a terrifying escape from being hunted by the police, as these two girls escape for the crimes they committed.

This movie has become an icon and perhaps still one of the most famous roles Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, and likely the most celebrated. I often forget it’s directed by Ridley Scott, where he’s nominated for Best Director at the Oscars.

The story of two friends who initially embarked on an adventure and ended up being on the run from police after an unexpected incident is certainly juicy. But it also features authentic and loyal friendship, as tragic and misguided they may be. I thought the ‘morning after’ scene when they both realized Thelma had been swindled by the seductive JD (still one of Brad Pitt‘s most memorable roles) was priceless! Many men think this movie is anti-men, well obviously that speaks more about themselves than about the filmmakers.


What do you think of my picks? Have you seen any of them?

Acting Black Blogathon: 5 Favorite Roles of Wesley Snipes

When I first saw the post on Wendell’s blog about the Acting Black Blogathon, somehow my first inclination is to write about Wesley Snipes.

Snipes_ThePlayer

I know there are a ton of other great Black actors I admire – Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Laurence Fishburne, Don Cheadle, Samuel L. Jackson, etc. but I watched an interview w/ Mr. Snipes recently, when he was promoting his NBC show The Player (which I still might watch just for Snipes), and I was struck by how affable, charismatic and humble he is. Thankfully he got a second leash on his career after being imprisoned for tax fraud (he was sentenced on April 24, 2008) and he came back a wiser man instead of being a bitter recluse.

It reminded me how much I enjoyed watching him as an actor. He may not be an Oscar caliber performer like Denzel but he’s got immense charisma. Though he’s mostly known for his action movies, I actually like him in dramatic roles as well, which I think he should do more of. In fact, I think he’s typecast for being the tough-guy-with-a-heart but I think he’s capable for gfLooking at his resume, there are some films of his I still need to see, i.e. The Fan, The Art of War, Unstoppable, and his most recent, Chi-Raq by Spike Lee. His career definitely peaked in the 90s, hence most of my fave movies of his are from that decade.

So here are five of my favorite Wesley Snipes roles that I’ve seen so far:

1. Blade (1998)

Snipes_Blade

Before Kate Beckinsale became a sexy vampire warrior in Underworld and those emo, sparkly Twilight vampires that reportedly Snipes himself wanted to hunt down, we’ve got an uber cool, genuinely bad ass vampire hybrid. I mean, even his moniker alone sounds cool and dangerous. Deadpool is definitely NOT the first R-rated comic-book movie out there, and I remember this movie was filled w/ some bloody action scenes, just what one would expect from a vampire hunter movie. I love the look of Blade here, his uniform, his sunglasses, even his ride (1968 Dodge Charger).  But it’s Snipes as the half human/half bloodsucker who’s the star here, oozing such swagger and quiet grace as the unlikely hero worth rooting for. I also like Kris Kristofferson as his mentor, who some reviewers mentioned as having that Obi-Wan quality. I for one would love to see Blade 4 at some point.  Heck, why not? Especially since R-rated comic-book flicks are back in fashion again now.

2. Waiting to Exhale (1995)

Snipes_Bassett_WTE

For some reason his role wasn’t credited in the film, but I always remember Snipes in a brief role as James Wheeler. From the moment he appeared at a bar, approaching Angela Bassett’s character who just went through a divorce, I immediately like his character. I wish he’d do more dramatic films, even a romantic drama, as he certainly can pull off the romantic hero role. I love this film by Forest Whitaker, which I’ve rewatched a few times. Some of my fave roles are the ones of Snipes and Bassett. There’s a scene of them in a hotel room. “Lets make tonight beautiful” Snipes’ character said, which would’ve been ultra cheesy in a Nicholas Sparks’ movie, but here it’s poignant because it wasn’t sexual. It was two people who’ve been through some tough times (divorce, deceased spouse) who found a soulful connection. It was a genuinely intimate moment that’s rarely seen in cinema, it still moved me to this day.

3. Rising Sun (1993)

RisingSun

It’s been ages since I saw this but I remember really liking this thriller based on Michael Crichton’s novel. In fact, I might give it a rewatch at some point. I like the pairing of him w/ Sean Connery as the Japanese expert, which is funny when I think about it as he ludicrously tried to pass as a Japanese in the Bond movie You Only Live Twice. Some people say there’s an awkward chemistry between these two, but I think the fact that they had such different background, it’s to be expected and works well as a cultural thriller. It’s not quite a buddy-cop type movie, but the interplay between Snipes and Connery are more fun to watch than the action. I think Snipes held his own against his older & wiser co-star. Both are immensely watchable, and the mystery aspect was pretty intriguing.

4. Passenger 57 (1992)

Passenger57_Snipes

I read this article about actors who deserve a Taken-style comeback and it included Mr. Snipes. Heck, I think Snipes was one of the action stars who popularized the reluctant hero roles, those who minded their own business but ended up being dragged into some violent predicaments.

I LOVE Snipes as John Cutter, a hard-working anti-terrorist agent who boarded a plane with an international terrorist under FBI custody. I’m sure Liam Neeson’s Non-Stop is partly inspired by this w/ the action hero playing an air marshal no less. It’s interesting that because of the color of his skin, he’s not immediately believed to be the good guy who’s trying to save everyone. I think that adds a certain an intriguing edge than if the role were to be played by white action stars like Bruce Willis, Steven Seagal, etc. Bruce Payne is pretty darn scary too as the villain, he reminds me a bit of Hans Gruber here and of course he’s also a Brit.

5. Demolition Man (1993)

DemolitionMan_Snipes

Snipes has played a fair share of good guys and law enforcement types, so it’s nice to see him relishing at being bad. With platinum blond Afro & half blue eyes no less! He played Simon Phoenix, a convicted crime lord who’s revived for a parole hearing well into the 21st century. Of course he immediately resumes his murderous rampage, with no one to stop him, except Sly Stallone of course, who else? Sandra Bullock is quite memorable here too in one of her earlier action roles. Yes this is a pretty cheesy action flick of the 90s but heck I enjoyed it, and I still remember that epic death scene at the end! Liquid nitrogen anyone? Snipes was deliciously over the top here with his manic energy. It’s definitely one of the most fun 90’s sci-fi action flicks.


So what’s YOUR favorite Wesley Snipes’ role(s)?

A mini tribute to one of the greatest singers of all time… RIP Whitney Houston

My heart is heavy today… I just heard about Whitney’s death this morning as I didn’t tune in to the news all day yesterday. I know that BAFTA is going on tonight and I was thinking of blogging about that but I felt like paying tribute to one of my all time favorite singers. Another reason her death hit me hard is that she died on my birthday… just like my late mother 21 years ago just two years younger than Whitney at the time of her death. At the age of 48, Whitney is gone far too soon…

As a kid of the 80s, I was a huge fan of her music… and THAT voice. Even as new singers came and went through the years, I felt like nobody could really match her majestic voice, her mezzo-soprano with ridiculous vocal range spanning three octaves that came out so seemingly effortless. I grew up watching her memorable music videos and humming her chart-topping songs all the way to my early college years. I owned most of her CDs and used to know a lot of the lyrics to her wonderful ballads. Seems like for a while everything she touched turned gold. According to Wiki, she was actually in the Guinness Book of Records as the most-awarded female act of all time (415 career awards as of 2010) and also one of the best-selling artists of all time with over 170 million albums, singles and videos sold worldwide. But unlike a lot of pop-stars whose rise to fame leave me scratching my head, Whitney had incredible talent. Her goosebumps-inducing voice alone is nothing short of magnificent, but she’s also beautiful and an amazing performer.

I even liked her presence on screen as an actress, whilst I can’t say the same thing about other singers who venture into films like J.Lo or Madonna. I think I had both the DVDs AND soundtrack albums of The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale at one time. Of course, it’s her musical contributions to both those films that are more celebrated, and rightly so. In fact, I Will Always Love You is so iconic and so synonymous with her glorious vocal than that of the original singer Dolly Parton. I always get goosebumps and even teary-eyed whenever that song came on. Another one of hers that will remain my favorite songs of all time is the 1998’s Summer Olympic theme One Moment in Time. I don’t think anyone could sing that amazingly inspiring song better than she ever could… nobody could performed The Star Spangled Banner more flawlessly and she made it look oh so easy!!

Jordin Sparks & Whitney Houston

Surely I was dismayed to hear about her constant personal problems of drug addiction and marital abuse, but I won’t comment further on that other than the fact that the higher one’s ascent is in life the further the fall. Still there is always hope for a comeback and even back in 2009 her album I Look to You received moderate success. She also has a movie coming out later this August, Sparkle, which is a remake of the 1976 movie about a successful singing group of three sisters who must deal with the fallout of fame and drugs, in which she starred as well as executive-produced. Whitney played the mother of the three daughters, co-starring Jordin Sparks and Omar Epps, and this would’ve marked her comeback to the big screen since The Preacher’s Wife 16 years ago.

In the pre-Grammy party earlier today, Tony Bennett dedicated the Frank Sinatra’s The Music Never Ends to Whitney, calling her “… the greatest singer I ever heard in my life.” (per MTV News)

So with that, let me close my tribute with five of my all time favorite Whitney Houston songs… but really, I could easily make a top twenty list as there are so many of her songs I LOVE.

Thank you for your songs and inspiring us with your amazing voice, Ms. Houston. You will be sorely missed but your timeless music shall forever live on.


Please join me in paying tribute to this music legend by sharing YOUR favorite song from Whitney Houston.