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FILM REVIEW: Is “First Sunday” Worth The Money?

first-sunday.jpgBy Monica Medina

When I hosted David E. Talbert’s advance screening last week, David urged the audience to support good Black films. Black filmmakers today are at odds as to what constitutes “good black film.”  For the record, I think David E. Talbert is a talented filmmaker.  I’m not the one to try to take food out of someones mouth. Plus it seems like these are the only types of films that are keeping our legendary and underrated Black actresses employed. So, I’ll tread lightly. The premise of the film is about two friends Durell played by Ice Cube and Lee John played by Tracy Morgan who are up dire straights and plan to rob a church. The underlying story line is about Ice Cube’s character robbing the church so he can avoid having his son and his “baby mother” played by Regina Hall from being forced to move down South. But the blaring stereotypes at times override the positive message that the filmmaker is trying to convey. Simply put, “First Sunday” is not a great or bad movie. It is just “ok”, although I did laugh throughout the movie. Tracy Morgan’s character “Lee John” who was abandoned as a child is the saving grace of the film. I can say that Tracy’s character actually has some depth which may result in some more film offers for him. I admire the filmmaker David E. Talbert’s zest to make films that integrate inspirational messages. However, I don’t understand the need for stereotypical images. What I’ve learned from this movie is that what is funny depends upon the audience group. If you are a fan of inspirational plays you may think this film is funny. For others, First Sunday may be viewed as nothing more than predictable humor that pokes fun and magnifies stereotypes about the Black Church and Black people. One particular scene that some may find funny but many may find offensive is when Kat Williams tells an overweight church-member in the midst of the church hold up, “Not to worry because he [Ice Cube’s character] doesn’t have that many bullets.” No, I’m not a big woman, but it is commonplace in inspirational films and plays to make a big darkskinned women the brunt of the jokes. If a white filmmaker were to do that we would be outraged. I’ll stop right there. However, I believe that director, filmmaker and playwright David E. Talbert is talented and has an even brighter future ahead of him.  I laughed throughout the movie, but often times felt bad about doing so.

Is “First Sunday” worth the money? I would say if you are going out to the movies, go see “The Great Debaters.” Then go see “First Sunday” if those types of films tickle your fancy.

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January 8, 2008 - Posted by | Black Film, Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

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