Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|How U Like Me Now|
Actors: Darnell Williams, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Daniel Gardner, Debra Crable, Darryl Roberts
Director: Darryl Roberts
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Studio: Lions Gate Home Ent. Release Date: 07/13/2004
Inspired piece of filmaking by Roberts with an excellent per
SHAWN JAMES | Bronx, NY | 10/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I admit my only reason for buying the DVD of How U Like Me Now as a birthday present for myself is because I'm a huge Salli Richardson fan. I was surprised to learn that Writer, Director and Producer Darryl Roberts has made a very inspired satire about lives and loves of African-Americans in Chicago. After watching this intelligent, hilarious and thought provoking DVD, it has become one of my favorite movies.
How U like me now is the story of Thomas, a slacker who spends a lot of time hanging with his buddies, drinking beers and going to work when he wants to. His girlfriend Valerie wants him to do something with his life, but Thomas is too busy feeling sorry for himself to change things. Fed up with him, she starts to date a rich white man thinking he'll treat her better. When she finds out that the white guy treats her worse, she decides to go back to Thomas. However, when she goes knocking on his door, Thomas has taken time to better himself and is seeing a supportive sista he met at work. In this simple story Roberts adds many abstract layers and makes many comments about the black community and how blacks relate to each other. I recommend you watch the film twice to really understand it.
How U Like Me now is one of those the rare African-American films that is not only a comedy, but also a social commentary about the state of the overall black community. The film is quite symbolic; each of the characters represents a section of the black community. The main character Thomas represents the black everyman frustrated with the direction of his life in white society and feels there's no way of changing it so he gives up. Valerie represents the educated black woman frustrated by the progress of her black man as compared to White men in American society. Spoony (He reminds me a lot of Quagmire on Family Guy) represents the hedonistic young black male concerned only with physical pleasure. Alex represents the Black conservative Uncle Toms, wanting to be white, perpetrating pretentiousness but in actuality is just like everyone else, struggling to survive. There are two dark skinned females who represent gold diggers and strong women, and a gay character representing black homosexuals. Roberts himself portrays a character that represents intelligent self-aware African Americans striving for self-empowerment and self-fulfillment. He spends most of the movie trying to pass knowledge onto his friends so they'll wake up, but no one listens to him. This rounds out the circle of friends in this Chicago neighborhood and shows us the diversity of viewpoints in the overall black community.
Darnell Williams is great as Thomas. Williams expresses Thomas' frustration extremely well I could relate to his struggles because they're the same ones I face everyday. I'm an even bigger Salli Richardson fan after watching this movie. She gives one of her best performances as Valerie. She has great chemistry with Williams and does an amazing job of conveying Valerie's emotions. Watching her facial expressions during and after the film's only sex scene (I am so glad they actually had the characters discuss sex and relationships maturely instead of having people just roll in the hay in a gratuitous romp) made me realize how great an actress she is. She made that scene feel incredibly realistic! Those scenes and the scenes she has while staying at her mother's house are worth the price of the DVD alone; this is ACTING. Darryl Gardner is hilarious as Spoony, stealing every scene he's in. Raymond Whitfield does a great job playing Alex capturing the arrogance of the character. I wanted to slap him. Charnele Brown is great in her few scenes and Roberts himself is quite good as the self-aware brother no one listens to. The guy who plays the gay hairdresser does a great job; I'm so glad he didn't portray his character as a flamboyant cartoonish stereotype but instead played him as just an ordinary man who likes men. I'm sure I'm missing some people, but, everyone involved in this film should give themselves a round of applause. They've done a wonderful job of making these characters into real people who lived in the Chicago neighborhood.
The production values on this film are great, considering the low budget. Filming the entire movie on location actually works to Roberts' advantage allowing him to create a movie that feels like real life transpiring onscreen. I felt the grittiness of early 90's Chicago in every frame. Shooting out of real shops and homes gives How U Like Me Now a heart and soul most other Hollywood produced black films don't have. Roberts writes a strong screenplay with only a few weak lines of dialogue and has a few story elements missing. In trying to tell the story the Roberts' direction is a little uneven and has some transition and cohesion problems, but the story and the message are easy to understand.
My only beef is with Xenon on the crappy treatment they gave this great movie. Xenon printed this disc on the cheap making a bare bones one-sided wide screen DVD with no trailer or any extras. I would have loved to see some extra features and deleted scenes of this film. Better yet, I'd love to see a Director's cut of this movie with the deleted scenes added in. I know there were many important parts of this story cut out to make the 109-minute running time.
I was in a bit of a writing slump until this movie. Seeing it has inspired me to get back to work behind the computer writing positive stories about the experiences of African-Americans.
A Shawn James Five Star Essential Video BUY THIS NOW WHILE IT'S CHEAP. This movie is so good you'll wish you paid more for it!
Maurice Colbert | USA | 07/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THIS WAS A GOOD MOVIE. IF THIS IS YOUR CUP OF TEA. IT TOUCHED ON A VARIETY OF IMPORTANT TOPICS. PLUS I'VE MET THE DIRECTOR DARRYL ROBERTS IN PERSON. HE IS A REAL COOL DOWN TO EARTH BROTHER. THIS MOVIE IS WORTH