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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Debaters" is Debatable For Me....

OK, this is a repost of "Yawn" (with an addendum), a ditty I wrote back in June (yes, your Black Cinemist is always on top of it) on "The Great Debaters":

Oprah Winfrey is set to produce "The Great Debaters" directed by and starring Denzel Washington. Now before you panic, this isn't Winfrey's first time producing. She's produced a number of films to include Their Eyes Were Watching God, Halle Berry's project for ABC, a few years back. The movie is based on the true story of an underdog debate team that went on to beat Harvard's team.

As for Washington, this is his second directorial job following the 2002 film Antoine Fisher, in which he also served as one of the producers. Written by Robert Eisele and Suzan-Lori Parks, The Great Debaters is based on a true story of Melvin B. Tolson. As a professor at Wiley College in East Texas, he has been inspires by his students to create the college’s first debating team, which successfully conquered Harvard in the national championships.

"The Great Debaters", features Washington as Mel Tolson, along with other cast members such as Jermaine Williams as Hamilton Burgess, Nate Parker as Henry Lowe, J.D. Evermore as Captain Wainwright, Justice Leak as Harland Osbourne, Breon Pugh as Wiley Student, Charissa Allen as Benita, and Robert X. Golphin as Dunbar Reed among others.

From Invisible Woman: Sorry, but as Homer Simpson would say.... booorrrriiiing. I have as much patience for these Stand and Deliver/Dangerous Minds/Freedom Writers/Whatever That Movie Terrance Howard Was In movies as I do TV remakes. NEWS FLASH! When inner city kids are given the same resources, materials, attention, focus, and opportunities as "suburban" or private schools, guess what? They can excel JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE! Hollywood (Oprah and Denzel included) can we get a movie with some risky/dark/interesting/sexy subject matter? I'm just sayin'.....

I.W. 12/18: OK, maybe I rushed to judgement on that, but 6 months later, I still don't want to see that ish. Yeah, I said it. So, I'll give love to D. Yobachi Boswell, who wrote about it on his blog "Black Perspective":

The Great Debaters--By D. Yobachi Boswell

Is the Great Debaters another in a long line of Lean On Me wanna-be movies gone bad? Mmmm, probably not. For one it takes place 70 years ago, so you don’t have the cliché’ ‘gang riddled school with graffiti tatted walls’ thing going. Also unlike all the ‘teacher rescues the natives’ movies we’ve been cursed with since Lean On Me starring Morgan Freeman as our protagonist and Stand And Deliver starring Edwards James Olmos in the position of youth inspirer; we don’t have the great white hope condescension of some do-gooder whitey coming from outside to save the Blacks and Hispanics.

Here the protagonist is played by Denzel Washington, and as he is, his students are Black. He comes from their community. Furthermore, these aren’t wayward young folks, looking to run the streets, who’s parents don’t understand the importance of education; where the protagonist must bring them along. These are Black college students in the 1930s; they really choose to be there. From what I’m reading this film leans more Dead Poets Society than Dangerous Minds.

And good. I’m from Hip Hop and I could do without the pimped out low riders and 2 hours filled with “ya know what I’m saying” for once.

There’s a decent review of the movie here .

The film is the second directed by Denzel Washington, following Antwone Fisher, and also stars Forrest Whitaker and a grow up Jurnee Smollett who you might remember as Eve in Eve’s Bayou.

I don’t know if it’s a good movie quality wise, I haven’t seen it; but it seems like worth giving a chance at least as much as the numerous crappy movies made by white people that we flock to spend our money on; and then complain about how we get no love in the movies.

You vote with your dollars baby.

The film opens on Christmas.


Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

Denzel is making some paper

clnmike said...

LOL, yeah you can say the material has been done to death, but considering what we normally get I will give it my support. No bootlegging it.

Undercover Black Man said...

Is Jurnee Smollett the second coming of Tisha Campbell or what? said...

I have as much patience for these Stand and Deliver/Dangerous Minds/Freedom Writers/Whatever That Movie Terrance Howard Was In movies as I do TV remakes.


I'm so godamn sick of this shit I could scream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh. I am SCREAMING. [SCREAMING!!!] I'm sick of this shit; that's why I don't go see it!!!!!!!!!!!!

can we get a movie with some risky/dark/interesting/sexy subject matter? I'm just sayin'.....

I'M JUST SAYIN, TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

do-gooder crap. fukit!

Whew! Ahhhhhh. Better now. said...

When she gon come to the 21 century; everything she do happened in 1860 or in this case, i guess the 60's.


Danielle said...

I'm going to check it out. Compared to alot of the stuff "passing" for movies from black folk, I'm prepared to give this film my $$$.

Slaus of O Hell Nawl said...

Yeah ive got to check it out. anytime we produce a movie that is not about coonery, im going to support it.

... and i can watch Jurnee's lips move for hours.


hottnikz said...

I agree, I'm tired of the coonery. I used to be on the debate team in high school, I think the movie will be interesting.

Invisible Woman said...

thanks for co-signing blackactor--everybody else...don't come running to me with you wake up at the end of the film with drool on your armrest! lol :-)

Invisible Woman said...

UBM--that is an excellent observation--the more I think about it, the more it's true...

Kayos said...

You know what...I hear you on this.

These are the movies that I really and truly wait for to come out on DVD. Then I Netflix it to see if I want to buy it.

I'm just not a big fan of Oprah and the last thing I want to do is support anything she puts her name on. But I do love me some, "You told Harpo to beat me!" LOL!

Invisible Woman said...

@kayos I might (emphatic 'might') see it on DVD, but I doubt it!

Yobachi said...

Didn't know you posted this. I'm always find out late when you repost my stuff. Wander if I missed anything.

I'd agree with you Invisible if it really was more Dangerous Mind crap; that's why my preview focused on it the issue that it seems like it's not.

I agree with Slaus of O Hell Nawl on both the coonery point and about Junree Somllette. I can of feel dirty though since I been watching her since she was a little girl; though we're both in our 20's.

I used to have the same hang up about Raven Samon, until I saw her grown for awhile; so I'm looking forward to getting over my Jurnee hang up.

I think this movie is going to be in somewhat of the vien onf Akeelah and the Bee - a little formulaic and a little predictable but still inspiring, good stuff a bought our people.

I gotta support folks trying to do some quality stuff about black people.

MrsGrapevine said...

I am hoping it's good, but Oprah vision sometimes isn't always clear when it comes to film-making. I was disappointed with Beloved and Their Eyes Were Watching God, because the books were so great. I hope this movie is different. Maybe Denzel's vision will help.

Invisible Woman said...

@MGV: I think it is very difficult to translate a book into a film...I try to look at it as a film standing alone, but somtimes it's hard.

@yobachi; sorry blog bro--I should have asked first, i'm glad you didn't mind. I find it interesting that people say they will go out and support this film in the theater, but with "perfect holiday" they want to wait until it comes out on DVD.

Why one and not the other? Is it the cast? The subject matter that makes a difference? Like I said, interesting....

Anonymous said...

Why is it that when black folks put out quality films many of our people criticizes them? Why don’t you haters make your own damn movies? Junk in and junk out. No wonder the “black” so-called community is in a state of flux, melancholy, and moral decay; no doubt, due to many of you clueless bloggers. What is it about the REALITY of our ancestral African American past you refuse to FACE? The Great Debaters is an excellent film. Many of you need to apply the lessons from the movie to your own dismal life. Yet, your predilection is to sit at your computer screen posting claptrap and disparaging remarks of the wonderful work of others.