Pull Out the VHS: Best Black Films of the ’90s PART II

May 15, 2012  |  
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Subsequent to the release of the box office hit Think Like A Man that came out last month, we decided to go down memory lane and reminisce about some of the best black films of the ’90s. Last time we gave you few movies that we loved in part one and noticed many of you were quite anxious for part two, and even had films that you wanted to recommend. Well, here it is: Part 2, and you will not be disappointed. And if you are…*Kanye shrug* We tried…

Love Jones (1997)

Many people seem to love Love Jones. Why? Because most would agree that unlike most romantic films, it’s one of those movies that just keeps it real about the struggle in searching for love. It’s a black urban romantic comedy set in Chicago, involving a a male poet named Darius (Larenz Tate), who persistently pursues a female photographer, the lovely Nina. But feelings are soon assessed by her after a series of romantic obstacles are set in motion that force her to try and find out if her old beau is the real deal or if she needs to be with Darius. The movie includes a great soundtrack and several scenes intertwined with soulful jazz music and spoken word.

Crooklyn (1996)

It’s a heartwarming Spike Lee Joint that I have to say has been overlooked, and a pretty funny movie as well.  Taking place in the ’70s in Brooklyn, we follow the semi-autobiography of a school teacher, her husband, and their five interesting children. As I watch how the children interact with one another it reminds me of how I was brought up as a child, not wanting to eat my vegetables, arguing with my sister over the dumbest things, dancing to “Soul Train,” and basically being a kid. Plus, the collection of music used in the film will have anybody jamming.

New Jack City (1991)

Who could forget the notorious Cash Money Brothers with their big gold chains, shoulder-padded coats, and high-top fades? Or what about the hot Christopher Williams?  This crime-packed thriller about the drug game is a must see, which also features Ice-T’s acting debut. And who doesn’t have at least a few lines memorized from this classic?

Cool Runnings (1993)

“Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, it’s bobsled time! COOL RUNNINGS!”  Who could forget this popular quote from Sanka Coffie, one of the Jamaican bobsledders played by actor Douglas Bourne (aka, Doug E. Doug). Walt Disney’s Cool Runnings is a fun story that shows the courage of a group of friends (though they didn’t all necessarily get along all the time) from Jamaica who try to compete with the big boys in the winter Olympics. This movie is seriously hilarious, and a nice film pushing for the underdog.

Losing Isaiah (1995)

Losing Isaiah is a heartfelt drama about an adoptive and natural mother’s love for a child surrounded by a bitter and controversial custody battle. Halle Berry kills it as she portrays a recovering crack addict fighting to get her son back.  This movie will certainly bring tears to your eyes as we see how the story unravels and find out which mother will ultimately get to keep the young boy.

Mo’ Better Blues (1990)

This is another Spike Lee Joint that got two thumbs up from Siskel and Ebert, but it should have received an Oscar in the Best Actor category for Denzel Washington and the supporting actor, Wesley Snipes. This drama has a bit of an Idlewild flair in some scenes. It’s not only filled with great jazz music and great looking people, but it’s also a poignant tale about love, brotherhood, and rivalry on the stage.

Malcolm X (1992)
Phenomenal.  It’s one of Spike Lee’s most powerful films. And honestly, Denzel was probably the only actor who could make the portrayal of the the famous historical and controversial leader so believable.  Not only did Denzel look the part but he possessed the intelligence and talent for it. There never seemed to be a dull moment in the movie as viewers praised the lengthy biopic.
Menace II Society (1993)
Violence, suspense, and drama. This classic dramatic thriller is a must see.  In the mean streets of South Central L.A., we watch as a gun wielding O-Dog (Larenz Tate) and his friend Caine get into some crazy situations in those dangerous streets, while also trying to find a way out of the only way of life they’ve known.
Poetic Justice (1993)
Who could forget those unique names like Chicago, Justice, and Lucky?  And who else thinks that Janet Jackson and Tupac could have made a cute couple in real life?  I do! The two played a mismatched pair on a road trip in a mail truck where fate and drama somehow brings them together, despite how much anger they have towards each other. There were definitely many memorable scenes in the film, but the best might be the ones at hair salon with the nosey gossiping women! 

A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996)
This is a must see hilarious comedy-meets-crime-thriller showing the true essence of fatal attraction. Lynn Whitfield, who I say is definitely the perfect person for the movie (she has that look), plays Brandi, a psychotic and vengeful woman getting back at Darnell, played by Martin Lawrence, who claimed he loved her only to get her in pants. Come to think of it, its not the last time Whitfield would play a determined psychotic woman pining over Martin. Remember that episode of “Martin” where played a character named Ellen who stalks Martin on a cruise ship? Crazy looks great on her! But back to this movie, it’s a funny film that I think will keep you laughing from start to finish. And just a reminder to all my brothers out there, never tell a woman you love her if you don’t mean it. She might try and take you out…
Jason’s Lyric (1994)
Its one of the best love and relationship films of the ’90s in my opinion. This drama, starring Allen Payne and a young Jada Pinkett will have viewers glued to their seats as they watch how a young man named Jason confronts his fear of love, family, friends, and relationships, when he meets the one who brings him true happiness–Lyric. If you thought your family was crazy, just watch this movie and you might not think so. And on a sidenote, wasn’t that romantic boat ride on the lake and love scene on the bed of flowers something else?
Which would you add as your favorites?

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