I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Monday, October 15, 2007

Poor Boy's Game (2007)

Against George (Danny Glover) and Ruth's (Tonya Lee Williams) wishes, Donnie (Rossif Sutherland) is paroled from prison. Donnie beat down their son, Charles (K.C. Collins), leaving him brain-damaged. The Canadian town they live in is racially divided, and the African-Canadian community takes Donnie's parole as a slap in the face.

Donnie could have been out of jail in three years instead of spending ten, but his temper kept getting him in trouble. He comes home to a dysfunctional family that hasn't changed much in that time. His brother Keith (Greg Bryk) is a hothead who disrespects his wife, Emma (Laura Regan), and his uncle Joe (Stephen McHattie) runs a nightclub that has a policy of not allowing African-Canadians inside. Joe hires Donnie on his security team, and expects that his nephew continues to think the same old way. Donnie has changed, and his manner suggests that he does feel remorse and guilt over his crime.

A professional boxer named Ossie (Flex Alexander), who is a friend of Charles, gets the idea to stage a match with Donnie. He and Donnie had fought in the past, and Ossie sees the fight as a way to even that score, and get revenge for Charles. The African-Canadian community is behind this, but George begins to have second thoughts. Ossie is looking to kill Donnie in the ring. George is eaten up inside over his son, but he's not sure that he wants retribution in that manner. He tries to convice Ossie to cancel the fight, but Ossie refuses. The revenge machine is in motion, and there's no way to stop it. George then decides to train Donnie on how to beat Ossie. "I ain't doing this for you," George tells him. Of course, George's decision to help Donnie is not appreciated, especially by Ruth and Keith.

The film is framed around boxing, but the strong central theme is forgiveness. Both George and Donnie have to go against the grain in order to stop perpetrating the hate, and their paths aren't easy. There are a lot of quiet moments in this movie, where the characters are thinking about the turmoil inside of them, and wrestling with it.

Danny Glover was the abusive husband in The Color Purple (1986). Rossif Sutherland is a half-brother to Kiefer Sutherland. Stephen McHattie is a character actor ("Look What Happened To Rosemary's Baby") who's appeared in many TV and movie productions. Tonya Lee Williams was a cast member on the soap "The Young and The Restless". Flex Alexander was the dad on the sitcom, "One On One".

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Why Did I Get Married? (2007)

Although not as preachy as Tyler Perry's previous films and plays tend to be, this film still gives out the usual good messages. Four African-American couples (Perry, Sharon Leal, Malik Yoba, Janet Jackson, Michael Jai White, Tasha Smith, Richard T. Jones, Jill Scott) have their annual vacation, and a Colorado house is chosen as the spot. Patricia (Jackson), a prominent professor and author, organizes the time as sort of a marriage encounter group.

Mike (Jones), starts off the vacation wrong. His zaftig wife Sheila, (Scott) is asked to leave the plane they are on because she is too fat. He does not defend her from this humiliation. Instead, he tells her to drive to Colorado. Sitting next to him is Trina (Denise Boutte), who is secretly his mistress. Mike ain't about to leave Trina alone on the flight. When he shows up in Colorado with Trina, and displays no concern for her safety, the other wives are instantly suspicious.

Other secrets are going on: Marcus (White) has contracted VD from an affair, and is scared to tell his loud, tell-it-like-it-is wife Angela (Smith). Terry (Perry) hasn't had relations with his wife Diane (Leal) for a long time, because she is too busy. Truth is, she doesn't want another child. And the seemingly perfect couple (Jackson, Yoba) have yet to deal with the loss of their child. Things blow up during a dinner, and the couples are forced into dealing with their issues.

The movie is very amusing in the beginning, and the dinner scene where everything comes to a head is very funny. The movie bogs down a little after that when the couples deal with the fallout. Jill Scott, who is a singer, is very good here, and she makes you want to root for her character. Richard T. Jones (The Wood) plays a character that all the women in the theater where I saw this movie hated from the first time he came on the screen. You spend your time wishing that he'll eventually get his. Janet Jackson (Poetic Justice, "Good Times") gets more praise for her singing than her acting. There were times, especially during a heavy emotional scene, that I couldn't quite believe her lines, but she's not horrible in this. The scene stealer is Tasha Smith, whose character says exactly what she wants, and doesn't give a damn who doesn't like it. Also, Lamman Rucker, who plays a sheriff who comes to Scott's rescue, has some nice scenes.

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