After a brief hiatus, Eddie Murphy is returning to the big screen in a decidedly non-comedic fashion as lead in the dramatic film, Mr. Church. As reported on the film's IMBD page, the drama chronicles "the story of a unique friendship that develops when a little girl (Britt Robertson) and her dying mother (Natascha McElhone) retain the services of a talented cook - Henry Joseph Church (Eddie Murphy)."
While Murphy is no stranger to box office success, his most recent films have failed to live up to expectations — a fact that he jokingly alluded to in a 2013 interview with Ellen DeGeneres. "I don't want to do anything else that sucks ever again," he said. Judging by the emotional trailer for his upcoming film, Murphy will likely prove himself a man of his word.
It wouldn't be the first time that the resilient superstar has successfully pivoted his career. The comedian-turned-actor has a reputation for recoups and bounce-backs that prove him the GOAT at the art of reinvention.
Shall we hit them with this resume, Mr. Murphy?
Eddie Murphy took the '80s by storm as a cast member on Saturday Night Live. His skits and original characters set precedents and catapulted him to superstardom.
Murphy's big screen debut in the 1982 film 48 hours with Nick Nolte set off an era of box-office-smashing buddy films, including Trading Places with Dan Aykroyd and the Beverly Hills Cop franchise that would catapult the comedian into superstardom, making him a household name.
Stand-up comedian Eddie
With feature stand-up films such as Delirious (1983) and Raw (1987), Murphy's edgy comedy stylings solidified him as a top-grossing, stadium-selling force to be reckoned with.
Epic cult classic Eddie
After slaying the early '80s, Murphy rounded out the decade with cult classics starring predominately black actors. Movies such as Coming to America (1988), Harlem Nights (1989) and Boomerang (1992) still go hard for the culture and continue to resonate with younger generations.
Family friendly Eddie
Millennials got to know a softer, friendlier Murphy in box office smashes, including Dr. Dolittle, Daddy Day Care, The Nutty Professor films, Shrek and Mulan.
Serious actor Eddie
In 2007, Eddie flipped the script and got an Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actor for his dramatic turn as soul singer James "Thunder" Early in Dreamgirls.
Don't sleep! Although his career has been sprinkled with a few lessor known projects here and there, Murphy has been known to come out of the bag with the unexpected glo' up.
Am I right, comeback Eddie?
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We all know that Ava DuVernay is the cinematic queen of our hearts. Her work behind the camera is representative of us in every way that counts. And in the social justice space, she is a strong celebrity voice we can count on.
Now we add another accomplishment to her long list of deserved accolades. Earlier this week, the list of tax credits given out by the California Film Commission was released.
And DuVernay's upcoming A Wrinkle in Time got $18.1 million in credits.
That's the largest incentive a film has received since the California senate passed an expansion back in 2014. More importantly, it's been confirmed that A Wrinkle in Time's budget is going to be $100 million or more. That's the biggest live action film budget any black woman director has had, ever. And it's the second biggest of any woman director, period.
Just for context: The budgets of the past three major motion pictures by black directors were Straight Outta Compton ($50 million), Dope ($7 million), and Creed ($40 million). Oh, and did I mention that Oprah is starring in it? This is huge, fam.
A Wrinkle in Time is a classic science fantasy novel written by Madeleine L'Engle. The story centers on a young girl whose scientist father goes missing after he works on a project called the tesseract. Ms. Winfrey's character is rumored to be Mrs. Which, a very wise and knowledgable woman that proves very helpful on the journey to come. Let's make sure we support Ava and this film, as it marks an important milestone in history for black women directors. And let's also continue to call for representation behind the lens, so this becomes the norm in Hollywood – not the exception.
A Wrinkle in Time is now on track to hit theaters on July 28, 2017.
Let me know what you think in the comments, because I read and reply to all of them. Hit the share button and tag a friend who needs to see this.
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As we look for ourselves playing positive roles in modern day film, we should look back at the instances when it worked well in the past. Plus, remember when soundtracks were as good as the movies?! Take a look at these throwbacks for your next movie night, and don't forget to shout out your favorite throwback in the comments.
I'll tell y'all what: I was absolutely not here for the NBC remake of The Wiz. Before you start telling me that it was a remake based on the Broadway play, how many of you actually saw the Broadway play? Alright, then. The network had to know that anything they released in reference to the name would be derivative for most of us from the movie. That being said, I think we all need a refresher of the fresher version. The original Wiz was star studded: Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Richard Pryor, and let us never forget the brilliance of Quincy Jones on the music. This was our land of make-believe, our space of magic, and it's only right that this filmed be viewed at least annually. I still have my VHS copy.
The Five Heartbeats
This is one of my favorite movies of all time. Seriously, I used to get on my family's nerves on movie night because I always wanted to watch this, and I knew all of the lines and songs. I was always rooting for Eddie Kane to get it together, for Choir Boy to make up with his parents, for Duck to finally get his deserved recognition for being a great songwriter and friend, and for Big Red to get the come-up he deserved for being a shady businessman. The movie showed the bright and dark side of our creativity and entrepreneurial spirit as a people and is one of my fondest memories from childhood.
Cooley High was more from my older sister's generation, but she told me I had to watch it... without warning me about the ending! This is still one of the best coming-of-age throwback films and we get to see Glynn Turman young! It's definitely a different world. (Ha, ha).
Get on the Bus
This was a highly-underrated Spike Lee movie, in my opinion. It follows a group of men taking a bus to the Million Man March and gets into each of their individual stories. What I like about this film is that it shows black manhood in its complexity — from sexuality to fatherhood to politics to being an elder. There are so many life lessons in this movie that I recommend it as a film to watch with your family on your next throwback movie night.
Keenan Ivory Wayans was '90s royalty insofar as television and film. This was his little brother Damon's moment to step into the spotlight. Mo' Money is one of those cult classics that never gets old, has a great soundtrack, and reminds us all of a time when we didn't absolutely abhor Stacey Dash. My, how the times have changed. Anywho, Damon came through with a great film that was comedic but also addressed the plight of black men who have been in the system and the difficulty of reintegrating into society and being given a second chance.
This is my favorite Spike Lee movie, period. Yes, more than Do The Right Thing. Yes, more than Mo' Betta Blues. Yes, even more than Malcolm X (though, that's a very close second). The way that the black family is illustrated in this movie is one of the most in-depth, complex and thoughtful depictions I've seen in film. The dad left (but he came back), the mom was mad at the dad (but she eventually forgave him), the kids acted up (but they stood up for one another). Crooklyn even addressed the idea of extended family and community through the trip the only daughter takes down south, Isaiah Washington's role as a Vietnam vet and the family's upstairs tenant. This is the throwback of all throwbacks.
I've felt like Strictly Business was always in Boomerang's shadow (even though Boomerang came out a year later). Halle was in both films, but in which one was she the better actress? Joseph C. Phillips turns out to be hilarious in his role as the main male character, and this is Tommy Davidson at his finest. I also love that Davidson's character puts Phillips' character on to a bank owned by black men, and that there's basically a lesson here that white is not automatically right. Our people are doing it big, too... so make sure you're down.
Larenz tate with an afro/braids, Papa Pope before Scandal, and a very young Jada Pinkett-Smith make for a fantastic throwback movie. The short lived, yet powerful group Jade is even in the movie doing throwback Marvin Gaye tunes! Again, this is one of those films that shows our complexity as a people, dealing with the main character Drew's perceived mental health issues with the black therapist they meet on vacation. We can all relate to how socially awkward he was, and how he just wanted to be himself and fit in. This is a great throwback film for a summer night with friends.
Wesley Snipes put on for the '90s. I mean... everywhere you turned, he was in a movie! From action flicks such as Passenger 57 to romantic flicks such as Mo' Betta Blues to sports movies such as White Men Can't Jump, Snipes was getting his screen time and his checks up. Sugar Hill deals with the legacy of drug addiction and dealing in our communities honestly and its ending isn't all sugarcoated. The consequences for being a part of that lifestyle are shown very frankly.
Above the Rim
Above The Rim is my favorite Tupac movie. Yes, more than 'Juice.' We kind of don't know why his character is always wildin' in Juice, so I like Above The Rim because we get more backstory. This is some of Leon's best acting, in my opinion, and Marlon Wayans is starting to come into his own as an actor as well. The soundtrack is also complete and utter fire!
Sunset Park was totally in Above The Rim's shadow. This movie is dope because it doesn't feel like a "white savior" moment with Rhea Pearlman's character. The players actually call her out on her behavior and lack of investment in their lives as students or athletes, and on her assumptions about who they are as people. Everyone eventually works together to turn around what starts out as a disastrous relationship between the coach, the players, and each other as a team.
A Low Down Dirty Shame
Another movie I annoyed my family with, A Low Down Dirty Shame was my jam as a kid. Jada Pinkett was my homegirl that I was rooting for, Salli Richardson was that one I didn't like and wanted to go on somewhere, and Charles Dutton was that wannabe slick dude that I knew my homeboy Keenan would eventually beat in the end. Oh, and we can never forget Jada's friend and roommate, the "last time you got me super, girl!" hilarious character played by Corwin Hawkins. My favorite scene was when Keenan's character finally transforms from looking super bummy into a sleek Shaft-like boo and rides off in his sports car. I love how movies from this time combined action, romance, comedy and drama seamlessly.
I feel like Boomerang was one of Eddie Murphy's last movies before he went off the hinges and start making films I hated, such as Holy Man and Norbit. I never looked at him like a leading man in a romantic film, but Eddie was like, "bump that, all the ladies love cool Eddie." Playing the consummate player in this film, all women were given hope that they could turn a promiscuous fella into a committed partner... psych! We can't forget John Witherspoon's "coordinate" scene and the fact that this movie gave Toni Braxton her big start on what was another fire soundtrack. Bring back great soundtracks!
House Party 2
Of this trilogy, House Party 2 is my favorite one, and not just because of The Pajama Jam (although that's a big reason). House Party 2 deals with an issue that has now become an epidemic: Financial access to college. Even with student employment, there's no way Kid can afford his tuition, but he does want to go to college. Kid's homie Play comes through with the plan to throw a massive party, charge a cover, and get Kid's bills paid. This was the throwback version of crowdfunding.
The 6th Man
I like The 6th Man because it deals with the loss of a loved one and self-esteem. Antoine Tyler (played by Kadeem Hardison) is the older brother and star of the college basketball team, while Kenny Tyler (played by Marlon Wayans) is also talented, but has always been in his brother's shadow. This changes when tragedy suddenly strikes and thrusts Kenny into the spotlight. How do we deal with death, especially when it's unexpected? Kenny goes through it in this film. This is also one of the last times we'll see Marlon Wayans play even a semblance of a serious character in film. I kind of miss him as a more serious actor.
What are some of your favorite throwback films? Let us know in the comments below!
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