4 April 2005 | blakndn
Should've been a movie of the week on TV
I went in wanting to like it, but y'know a movie is in trouble when it tries too hard to be sentimental. During a screening here in L.A., I began fidgeting in my seat fifteen minutes into it thinking, "Okay, already, something has got to HAPPEN." I found myself looking at background extras to see how many black people with afros I'd see to remind the audience that this was the '70's. I love coming of age stories where I see characters showing me their world with fresh eyes, and sadly, I didn't care in this one.
Tea Leoni always annoys me in any movie she's in. Every scene with her dragged the story, and there's only so many forced "funny antics" I can watch with Robin Williams and the lead kid until I'm ready to walk out. I only stayed to see how bad it got. Of course, there were some scenes where I felt an emotional pull. This was toward the end where Erykah Badu the "Rapunzel with an afro"--to quote DD--tells the boy to run away from his problems. But the build up to that moment was too long, and by then you already knew his life turns out fine. Too bad. As soon as it was over, and DD stepped on stage for a Q&A, I turned to my partner and said, "This is not going to make money. It would better be marketed for television where a huge audience would watch it to get away from Reality TV".
It helps to be DD and have friends to connect you with folks to get this made. I'm sure there's some poor schmuck out there with a better story who will never get a chance to get a movie made. Too bad. DD told the audience that he lost funding several times, up until the moment it came to do principal photography. But believe me, he had it easier than most. At least he got in a room with someone to convince them to fund this poor thing.