If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin
Baldwin is known for words across the literary world. Novels, poetry, plays – often delving into racial and class issues within this country. Maybe you’ve seen the film based off his book, maybe you haven’t gotten to it yet. Either way, his words will transport you to a time eerily similar to our present as he unfolds this intimate story of one mans’ false conviction and how it affects his entire world.
Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes are the perfect tag team on the basketball court. The enemies-to-friends pair hustle others in their South LA neighborhood in order to clear debts and make bank. At the time of its premiere, LA was between the injustice of the Rodney King beating and the aftermath following the “not guilty” verdict of his assailants. Those involved with the film made sure to collaborate with the community around them to make a film that was more than a tone deaf capitalization on Black culture.
Q Ball explores the San Quentin Prison basketball team and their journey of rehabilitation and possible redemption. The story closely examines life on the inside, not just for the Q Warriors, but for all the inmates in a prison that prioritizes the rehabilitation of convicts who will one day finish serving their time and rejoin society.
I will never look at nuts from a bar, scuba instructors, and ferrets the same after watching Along Came Polly. Ben Stiller, a risk insurance analyst who is afraid to risk anything, seems like he has everything until his honeymoon. Back home in NYC, his best friend Philip Seymour Hoffman urges him to attend a party when he meets the one and only Jen Aniston. It had been a minute since I watched this gem, but I promise, it’s just what you need this weekend.
Last Tuesday I told my boyfriend I wanted to watch a movie that was basically a Tasty video with a plot. And boy did this movie not disappoint. Chef follows the story of Jon Favreau, a chef who refuses to compromise his creative integrity, as he figures out what to do after he quits working at his fancy Brentwood restaurant. It’s hilarious, an incredible father-son story, and some of the best food porn you could hope to experience.
One of my favorite things about Moonlight is its patience. It takes its time moving through the quiet, hard moments because it knows they’re important and deserve as much space as necessary. Chison is a young Black man in Miami whose journey through exploring his identity is guided and embraced by members of his community with love and kindness.
Moonbeam City (Comedy Central/Amazon)
Not that we’re biased or anything, but you should definitely add Moonbeam City to your watch list this weekend. Besides the incredible aesthetic, the series routinely places its fictional police force as the cause of most of Moonbeam City’s problems, rather than the voices of reason. As we begin to have more conversations about defunding the police and enact policy that puts the community forward, this show is more topical than ever.
Inspired by Skate Kitchen, Betty is named after the term meaning – you guessed it, women who skate! It follows the friendship of a group of teens in their all girl skate group during summer on the lower east side of NYC. Everything about it feels fresh, current, and way cooler than me. Some things, however, I do manage to relate to. For example, I also feel bad for my socks when I don’t wear them for a while. Also there’s a surprise at the end! (it’s Tony Hawk)
In addition to checking out what we’ve been binging on a weekly basis, tune in to this Netflix podcast by Scottie Beam and Sylvia Obell to see what they’ve been binging on a bi-weekly basis. They started up at the end of April, so we’ve only had a taste of what their lives have been like mid-pandemic so far, but that hasn’t stopped them from keeping us updated on pressing cultural matters as well as sharing some laughs with us along the way.