Years ago, movies for, by and about black people were coming out at a rapid rate. Some of them we all know and love because they were so amazing. But then there are some movies – both good and bad – that are considered “underground hits,” or cult classics, that many of us eventually saw at home and may (or may not) want to admit you’ve seen! Check it out and feel free to add your own!
Just Another Girl On The IRT
I don’t recall ever seeing any promotion for this movie because if I had, I would have been right in the theaters watching it in all my preteen glory (it came out in 1992). However, when I finally got a chance to see it a few years later, I decided it was the greatest – and stupidest – movie I’d seen in a long time. I didn’t understand how Chantel, the main character, could have such ambitious goals but be so silly and naive at the same time. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that many other people never saw it in theaters but love this movie all the same.
I know, I know…wasn’t this a GREAT movie?! I can only assume the reason why this movie didn’t do better in theaters was because it wasn’t as “crisp” as Hollywood likes their movies to be in terms of the cinematography. The movie tells the story of the up and down romance of a paycheck to paycheck man (Lee) and his fairly well-to-do boo (Havilland). The movie definitely received critical praises and while it did make a profit (the film cost $65,000 to make and made $2 million), a lot of people didn’t see it in theaters. Make no mistake, you can watch this one over and over again. Oh and don’t forget the soundtrack; Babyface put his foot into that one as executive producer!
A Low Down Dirty Shame
Now you know that if there’s a list of black movies that went under the radar, at least one of the Wayans children will be on it! Growing up, my mom was pretty strict so seeing this movie as a teen was not going to happen. But when I finally caught up with the rest of the world, I saw what I’d been missing! “Save the tears honey, coffee is good with cream but better when it’s black.” Ohhh, that Keenan Ivory Wayans has more talent than he even knows. This was also the first time we got to see Jada Pinkett outside of her role as Lena James on A Different World. This movie is an absolute classic; so much so that you can find it randomly showing on cable a few times a year.
This is easily one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. I mean, it was terribly written, the acting was bad, the editing was horrible…just all-around bad. And yet, I do find myself watching all the madness. I know I’m not the only one because I’ve mentioned the film in conversation and people usually laugh and say, “That movie is so bad. But it’s like you have to watch it anyway just to believe it is that bad. What was Halle thinking?” Yeah, I don’t know either; maybe Halle thought it was important for us to see her funny side and wearing platinum blond wigs and gold teeth were the way to go. I’m still probably going to watch again the next time it comes on.
I really don’t feel like I should have to say anything else. Tupac plays Bishop, a young man hungry for the “juice,” or power, that he sees yields more respect in his Harlem neighborhood. He convinces his boys – Q, Raheem and Steel – that they should join him as he robs a bodega. As the story goes on, Bishop becomes a flat out killer but isn’t man enough to own up to all he does. At the end, Bishop dies and Q becomes the man with the juice, a title he wants nothing to do with. I don’t think I know a single person who doesn’t love this movie and can also recite almost every line.
The Players Club
This movie introduced us to LisaRaye and the thing she defines as acting. Needing some money to pay for her college education and to pay bills as a single mom, Diana turned Diamond (LisaRaye) turns to a stripper lifestyle after meeting two of the dancers at her retail job selling shoes. She quickly learns that their lifestyle will turn your world upside down just for a quick dollar. As we all know, Diamond’s mantra became, “Make the money, don’t let the money make you.” Although the film didn’t make a lot of money, it had quite the number of black stars including Jamie Foxx, Ice Cube and the late Bernie Mac.
If I’m being honest, this is one of my least favorite movies of the “cult classics.” I don’t really get why people like it so much. I know the lighting for the movie is mostly dark intentionally but it has always distracted me in a major way. Nas and DMX were more funny to me than anything, especially Nas when it always seemed to take him five minutes to say anything. I’ll tell you one thing: you all were disgusted by the sequel people act like it doesn’t even exist!
Go ahead, admit it: you love this movie. ATL might be the most recent film inducted into the hall of cult classics and yet, people do not like to admit they enjoy it! Admittedly, I avoided it for a long time because I didn’t see the point of watching a movie about teenagers hanging out in a roller skating rink. But when my own mother proclaimed it was her favorite movie (I’m hoping she just means her favorite recent movie), I knew I had to check it out. I wasn’t disappointed at all and it definitely stands out as one of my favorite movies over recent years.