#FBF: Stuck in the Suburbs

Last month, I revisited The Color of Friendship, a groundbreaking, Emmy award-winning Disney Channel Original Movie about racism both during Apartheid in South Africa and here in the U.S.

And this is something that couldn’t be more different.

Stuck_in_the_Suburbs

Stuck in the Suburbs is a DCom that came out in July 2004, so right after we graduated high school. I would say that it’s because I was a “college kid” when this was released and why I didn’t watch it. But that doesn’t explain why I was into all of the High School Musicals and Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place, etc. The point is is that I never saw this. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I found out this even existed, because the one and only SNL great Taran Killam apparently plays a pop star in it? I’m not really sure, but I’m about to find out. Here are some of the most important things I missed out on in 2004 that I am happy to share with all of you 11 years later.

  • Taran Killam is the type of celebrity who is talented and cute but also is funny above all other things that the best job he can be is a comedian. Kinda like how Jimmy Fallon is like a “heartthrob” of SNL, Taran falls under the same category. What I’m saying is that Taran’s role as teen idol Jordan Cahill is completely believable but you know that he’s better than playing a pop star on the Disney Channel.

STARBURST ON THE COVER OF A TEEN BEAT-LIKE MAG!

  • Let’s just say I’m watching this not on a DVD, and I’m 97% sure someone uploaded it off their VHS tape.
  • Danielle Panabaker is in this. Still don’t know the which name belongs to her and her sister.
  • You know you’re old when you relate more to the suburban mom driving the mini-van than the four tween girls she’s driving home from soccer. Although I relate to them rushing home to sit in front of the TV to watch a TRL-esque  show with their favorite pop star Jordan.

Jordan is really singing his heart out, you guys.

 

  • Oh god pop music wasn’t THIS bad back then, guys. I promise.

  • BEYONCE WAS MENTIONED SHE IS STILL RELAVANT. REMEMBER THESE ARE THE DESTINY’S CHILD DAYS.
  • The girls find out Jordan’s coming to town and there’s a screen shot of both four-way calling on land lines AND 10 million IMs trying to get Brittany’s attention. Ah, nostalgia.

*puts up away message. is actually still sitting in front of computer*

 

  • Brittany and her friends all have their lockers lined with pictures of Jordan, and say, “Good morning Jordan!” to it before blowing him a kiss. Ugh.
  • Enter Brenda Song, who looks EXACTLY the same

Drinking that Bianca Lawson potion.

  • Brittany thinks Brenda’s character Natasha (Kwon-Schwartz, because, diversity) is so cool because she used to live in Europe, so Brittany in turn attempts to be cool to be her friend, and subsequently takes down all her Jordan paraphernalia. She obviously can’t hide it.
  • This is especially troubling when Brittany and Natasha go watch Jordan film a music video, mostly to make fun of all the other girls. Meanwhile, Jordan thinks his director’s suggestion of looking at his reflection in a puddle of water then splashing it away is extremely *shallow* and not the kind of artist he wants to be. Uh oh – someone’s gonna crack.
  • Plot Point: After the music video, Brittany bumps into one of Jordan’s entourage, and all her stuff falls on the ground, and his assistant Eddie also falls to th eground with his belongings going everywhere, and he accidentally takes Britt’s pink Nokia cell phone instead of Jordan’s high tech palm pilot that has access to TV and internet.
  • They each go a little while without recognizing that they have each other’s phones. Unrelatedly, Brittany is a songwriter. Good to know for later.

She’s channelling Mandy Moore from the Candy vid

 

  • Side Note: Jesse McCartney’s Good Life started playing and I’m ashamed/not ashamed that I could identify it.
  • Brittany refuses to give Eddie Jordan’s cell phone back. Like in reality tho, this adult is negotiating with a teenager. Grow some balls and get the damn phone back. Madonna has already called and Britt and Natasha already messed it up by answering then screaming into the phone.
  • Britt and Natasha also decide to have some fun with it by helping Jordan become more famous, I guess? So they saw he had a hair appointment thanks to his phone calendar, and Natasha told the hairdresser to cut off his famous long locks, bow in front of him, and serve him only raisins (he hates raisins). Luckily, he ended up liking the hair.

    nice highlights

  • Oh and Britt’s mom is trying to save some old dilapidated house, which her mom calls the “only thing making their suburb unique”. Earlier, she went to the wrong house because everything looks the same in the suburbs. It’s like an ” an island of hope in a sea of sameness.”
  • So now this little teen is basically extorting Eddie and making him convince Jordan to play at her mom’s rally in order to get his phone back. Like how much time has passed since she’s had his phone – she’s intercepting calls from Jordan’s girlfriend!

Also, remember when trucker hats were in?

  • Anddddd they broke up.
  • So, turns out, Natasha had been lying about her living in Europe and her parents’ being divorce. Her dad actually does sales and was in Buffalo, and her folks aren’t even separated. Britt confronts her about it and they get in a fight, and what better way to show that by a montage of their like 4-day friendship.
  • I guess Jordan and Brittany are friends slash I stopped paying attention. I think he left to get away and be anonymous then ended up calling Brittany and now they’re phone friends??Screenshot 2015-03-21 23.24.55
  • Jordan’s director is chasing after him to finish the video the way they want to do it. Jordan and Britt (and third-wheel Natasha) are meeting to swap phones, and they end up in one of those huge industrial underground pipes, because, of course. In the pipe, Britt sneakily releases Jordan’s own version of the song he wanted to release – against his record label’s wishes.Screenshot 2015-03-21 23.31.48
  • Jordan agrees to sing for Britt’s mom’s fundraiser, mainly because he lived in a suburb just like the one Britt lives in, and HUMANITY! When he addresses the crowd, Jordan says, “It’s not what’s out there. It’s what’s in here,” pointing to his heart.AND OH LAWD another montage of Britt and Natasha’s friendship. Like, really, you need it that bad?
  • Taran’s singing (is it really him singing, tho?) is like him singing in a sketch in SNL, mainly because he keeps looking directly in the camera and making ridiculous faces and he’s not playing the guitar at all, like he doesn’t move his fingers for the entire scene {you should probs view the whole scene here}.
Screenshot 2015-03-21 23.40.07

He’s actually mentioned this exact scene during an interview with Jimmy Fallon before.

  • Ok, so now assistant Eddie is a pop star who took Jordan’s song and music video set???? And the girls are in the video? I’m so confused but I don’t even care. Also, I’m even more confused because the end of the movie went straight to a random British cartoon with a kid who said ‘Brilliant!’ and it’s obvious this was on the VHS before Stuck in the Suburbs.

British kid on a bike that powers the attached blender. Idk.

 

Advertisements

#TBT: 50 Shades of The Color of Friendship

On this #ThrowbackThursday, we’re bringing you a movie that made its debut 15 years ago last month. The Color of Friendship was a Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM for short, obvs), when the first life of DCOMs were at its peak, years before High School Musical would reclaim the lives of tweens everywhere on Friday nights. In what I’m sure was a calculated move, this film about race aired during Black History Month, and re-aired again a few weeks ago, albeit at like 1am, but still. I remember watching parts of this in my younger years, but upon my rewatch this time around, it was quite a different experience, knowing what I know now (aka adulthood), and aware that this movie still has impact today, even 15 years later.

Basic Plot:

Piper lives in Washington D.C., where her father is a Congressman and outspoken opponent of the South African apartheid system and the oppression of black South Africans. Piper’s family decides to host an African exchange student for the semester, whom they assume will be black, but are shocked to find Mahree, who assumed her host family would be white, will be staying with them. She is a white South African whose father is a South African policeman and they live comfortably and greatly benefit from apartheid. Piper and Mahree get off to a rocky start but soon learn a lot from each other about their different worlds along the way.

I had a lot of thoughts throughout the movie, and I will attempt to make them cohesive with a ‘laterblog’ of sorts in the 50 SHADES (get it???) of The Color of Friendship.

1) I started DVRing it 10 minutes in and I’m already lost.

2) This woman, who looks really familiar as an actress, is a maid in South Africa (I’m assuming). Will go through the files in my brain before looking on IMDb to see who she is.

3) The maid is going through a basket and finds an article about a California congressman leading the charge against apartheid in South Africa.

4) I can’t figure it out, so I look it up and her name is Melanie Nicholls-King. She was in a lot of your favorite kids shows but also she was in The Wire and was AMELIA THE MOM IN ORPHAN BLACK.

5)  Based on the clothing and cars, I’m assuming the year is 1985.

6) Nope. I’m a dumbass. 1977. Apartheid. Yup.

7) Piper and her mom are going to the airport to meet Mahree and assume this girl dressed up in African regalia is the exchange student they’ve been waiting for, but she passes right by them. Piper and mom confused.

8) They go to ask an airline worker if Mahree got on her flight, she overhears and they face each other for the first time:

10) Second Mean Girls ref, whatever:

11)  Mahree thinks Piper and her mom are just the hired help to bring her to the Cognressman and his family. She actually tells them to get her suitcases. Uh oh.

12) Mahree walks into a room with Congressman Dellums and his fellow all black constituents and she still doesn’t realize he might not be white?

13) “This is a joke, right?” – Mahree, about to get the side eye from every single person in the room.

14) “I never knew silence could be so loud.” Piper’s mom, spittin the truth.

15) This movie is so not in the usual vain of other DCOMs, like Johnny Tsunami or Zenon or Twitches Too. The Color of Friendship is actually about something of substance, focusing on the topic of racism that kids who watch Disney Channel probably aren’t completely aware of or understand. It’s admirable and Disney (and other comparable networks) should continue to make these kind of films in 2015 and beyond.

16) Speaking of its groundbreaking themes, The Color of Friendship won an Emmy Award, a Writers Guild of America Award, and NAACP Image Award, and the Humanitas Prize in 2000/2001.

17) By the by, Piper has two younger twin brothers that provide comedic relief

18) I feel like everything in this movie could be like *borderline* racist based on the comments/dialogue and traditional clothing, but I must say they did a good job of toeing the line.

19) Case in point: “I thought we ordered a real African.” – One of the twins

20) Like an normal American family, the Dellums have cereal for breakfast, and Mahree is all, I want eggs and toast and milk and a lock of Rapunzel’s hair.

21) “You do drink chocolate, don’t you? Or maybe you only like vanilla?” – One of the twins again.

22) Mom Roscoe takes Maree through the projects of DC and it litrally looks like The Wire

cof_wire

23) A guy comes up and cleans their car windshield for them, and Mahree asks why the guy doesn’t have an ID pass as a window washer, because that’s a thing that black folks had to do in SA and I maybe, embarrassingly, didn’t realize that was a thing? You can learn from DCOMs even in your late 20s, everyone.

24) But also, I feel like washing a windshield should probably take longer than a red light.

25) Oh they are straight up saying the n-word in this movie.

26) Yeah, this scene gets heated.

27) Especially when Piper gets Bantu (Black) mixed up with Kaffir (N-word) and her dad goes nuts, goes apeshit. He’s all, ‘I’m going to call the embassy and have Mahree taken away’, which legitimately scares me.

28) Luckily Mahree doesn’t hear any of this, because she’s doesn’t pick up on what’s going on around her very easily.

29) Mahree can’t sleep, so she naturally goes for a walk around the house and finds a copy of Roots (the book) on their coffee table.

30) Congressman Dellums finds her and briefs her on the book, and she doesn’t know about slavery, because they don’t teach kids about it in South Africa, because of course.

31) “I don’t think youre a bad person, Mahree. I just think you’ve been taught some bad things.” Congressman Dellums. HI. THIS. THIS QUOTE IS VERY IMPORTANT AND MAYBE THE MOST IMPORTANT LINE OF THE MOVIE.

32) BTW Piper and Mahree are like BFF now.

33) Their bond has been sealed as evidenced by this fun montage of them shopping for questionable 80s clothing to the soundtrack of a 70s jam. Seriously, I feel like there should be more bellbottoms and shit?!?

34) “What’s the fun of living in Africa if you can’t be chased by a lion?” I mean it’s a legit question, tho.

35) Another fact about SA during apartheid: books and movies banned by the government to “protect” the white citizens.

36) Despite the fact I still believe this looks like it was set in 1985, the 70s soundtrack is on point with Earth, Wind and Fire in the background.

37) When word gets out that Steve Biko (real person), a black member of the South African liberation movement fighting against apartheid) is killed by South African police, SA embassy diplomats go to the Dellums’ house to take Mahree back to the embassy and send her back home.

38) Important remind that Mahree’s dad is a SA police officer who was super happy to find out Biko was captured at the beginning of the film.

39) Also, Mahree was taken away without the permission of either mom or dad Dellums.

40) Congressman Dellums goes all up in the SA embassy and just as Mahree is about to book her plane ticket home, he shows up and assures her that everything is fine and he’ll make sure she doesn’t have to go back home against her will.

41) Because Dellums is the man, he threatens to tell the press that the embassy kidnapped Mahree, and they’re all ugh fine and release her, but Mahree doesn’t really understand WTF just happened.

42) Meanwhile, Piper realizes that Mahree still isn’t understand just how unjust the apartheid system is and prejudice, etc., and they get in a fight.

43) Mom and Dad Dellums come to the rescue again and help Mahree and Piper reconcile, and Mahree finally understands what the liberation fighters in SA are all about.

44)  The Dellums have a sad goodbye with Mahree as she prepares to go back home frreal, and it includes a party where they all wear traditional African outfits.

45) Mahree returns home and immediately embraces her housekeeper maid and shows her the freedom flag sown inside her coat showing her she’s on the same side as her.

46) Apparently I missed the part where maid Flora told a story about a weaver bird that does some kind of communal nest-building and she compares it to the idea of racial harmony. Congressman Dellums tells the story at said African party and I’m strangely emosh about it?

47) THIS IS A TRUE STORY??

48) AND RON DELLUMS IRL SON HAD A SMALL PART IN THE MOVIE

49) ALSO THE GIRL WHO PLAYED MAHREE IS AMERICAN AND WAS ON TRUE BLOOD

50) AND THE GIRL WHO PLAYED PIPER IS CANADIAN AND STARTED AN ACTING STUDIO IN TORONTO.

 

 

Happy (Fictional) Presidents’ Day!*

*Today is not Presidents’ Day. Monday is Presidents’ Day. Today is Lincoln’s Birthday. But we all know all these holidays blend together because we really never know which day is which, we just used to get them off when we were still in school.

But in honor of ALL the presidents of these United States of America, I think it’s also appropriate to celebrate the fictional presidents who have also put in hard work to pretend to be the leader of the free world. I’m sure I’ve missed some on my list, so chime in with some of your favorites!

And Happy Presidents’/Lincoln/Washington’s Birthday Day!

President Thomas J. Whitmore {Bill Pullman}

Independence Day

Independence Day is so American that I bet anyone who’s not American will feel American while they watch this movie. Especially during this epic speech. While it’s unlikely we’ll need a President to get us through an unexpected alien attack in the near future, I want Bill Pullman in charge of an air strike if that day does come. Or he can just give motivational speeches to me every morning instead. That works too. “We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our MONDAY!!”

President Andrew Shepard {Michael Douglas}

The American President

For some reason, The American President was one of the first movies I remember being my favorite ‘grown up’ movie. I was nine when this film came out. Maybe it was the allure of Michael Douglas. Maybe it was the romance between him and Annette Benning. Maybe TBS just kept playing it over and over again and I had no chance but to like it. Either way, Michael Douglas is one of the few actors who is actually really believable as the president, and if he’s romancing a woman while in office, count me in.

President James Marshall {Harrison Ford}

Air Force One

Presidential Badassery at its finest.

The President {Billy Bob Thornton}

Love Actually

Okay, maybe he wasn’t a good guy, but Billy Bob played a smarmy, womanizing, douchey prez and I can’t help but think a lot of our former leaders had a little bit of this guy in them.

President George Richmond {Dabney Coleman}

My Date with the President’s Daughter

Basically this movie is a classic DCom and I unapologetically love it. I mean, Eric Matthews! (sidenote: if anyone is interested in watching other DComs like Model Behavior & Life Size it’s all on YouTube, per my research for this clip. I know what I’ll be doing on Valentine’s Day)

President Fitzgerald Grant {Tony Goldwyn}

Scandal

It’s no secret we’re #Gladiators here. So what’s a list of faux presidents without our favorite adulterous Commander-in-Chief? He may have a lot of faults, and may not be the best pres the U.S. has seen, but Shonda Rhimes & co. are brilliant and make you root for a man who’s not only married and having an affair, but his wife knows about it and he STILL pretty much ignores her and their kids. And lest us forget he has also **SPOILER** killed a Supreme Court Justice, who was already on her death bed dying of cancer. But ugh, crisis, because Olitz scenes are 2 hot 4 TV.

Yet the scene above doesn’t involve any handsy moves by the pres. It’s a flashback scene which reminds us why these two fell in love in the first place. They’re no dumb dumbs. They’re independently smart and bring out the best in each other. Without Olivia’s faith in Fitz – the faith he never had in himself – he would have never won the presidency (election rigging aside). And without the dedication and devotion he constantly gives to her, she would have never been able to open up and love a man like Fitz (thanks to her Daddy Pope problems). So I guess all cheating aside, this apparent ‘love’ is what makes us (sometimes begrudgingly) root for them after all.

President Josiah ‘Jed’ Bartlet {Martin Sheen}

The West Wing

You didn’t think I’d make a list without the best TV president, did you? He had too many great moments on the show, from the Butterball hotline to the time he *another spoiler alert* got shot to the time he was high on drugs to the time he walked to the Hill, to the entire Two Cathedrals episode etc. etc. But this particular clip is from an episode called The Midterms which originally aired in 2000. He basically tells off this conservative radio talk show host in a tactful, humorous, ‘don’t disrespect me bc i’m the GD president’ way and it’s this attitude that won him two terms in fake office.