Blacktrospective 2007: The Best and Worst in Film
Tasha Smith (as Angela), Janet Jackson (as Patricia) and Sharon Leal (as Dianne) in Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married?” Photo Credit: Alfeo Dixon By Kam Williams With two excellent offerings in Why Did I Get Married? and Daddy’s Little Girls, 2007 truly belonged to Tyler Perry. Not only did he make the two best black ensemble pictures released by a big studio, but his films also boasted some of the year’s most memorable performances in both the male (Perry and Idris Elba) and female (Tasha Smith, Gabrielle Union and Jill Scott) acting categories. I’m sure many readers might want an explanation for the relatively-poor showings of Denzel’s box-office hits American Gangster and The Great Debaters. Well, the former was not much more than a big budget variation on the gangsploitation genre in this critic’s estimation. Meanwhile, the latter did feature several inspired performances, but was simply too riddled with comical anachronisms and historical inaccuracies to take seriously. I hope you take the time to check out some of the lesser-known independent film and documentaries, as you will be well rewarded for investing a couple of hours in labors of love like Banished, What Black Men Think and Diary of a Tired Black Man. Ten Best Black Films (Studio) 1. Why Did I Get Married? 2. Daddy’s Little Girls 3. Rush Hour 3 4. Honeydripper 5. This Christmas 6. Talk to Me 7. The Great Debaters 8. I Am Legend 9. Feel the Noise 10. The Perfect Holiday Best Independent Black Films 1. Diary of a Tired Black Man 2. Killer of Sheep 3. Honeydripper 4. My Brother 5. Premium Best Black Documentaries 1. What Black Men Think 2. Banished 3. Desert Bayou 4. The Hip Hop Project 5. Bastards of the Party 6. Ghosts of Cite Soleil 7. Carmen & Geoffrey 8. Bushwick Homecomings 9. Darfur Diaries 10. God Grew Tired of Us Best Actors 1. Idris Elba (Daddy’s Little Girls, This Christmas, American Gangster, 28 Weeks Later & The Reaping) 2. Denzel Washington (The Great Debaters & American Gangster) 3. Kene Holliday (Great World of Sound) 4. Danny Glover (Honeydripper) 5. Forest Whitaker (The Great Debaters) 6. Morgan Freeman (The Bucket List & Gone Baby Gone) 7. Will Smith (I Am Legend) 8. Chris Tucker (Rush Hour 3) 9. Tyler Perry (Why Did I Get Married?) 10. Delroy Lindo (This Christmas) Best Actresses 1. Tasha Smith (Daddy’s Little Girls & Why Did I Get Married?) 2. Gabrielle Union (Daddy’s Little Girls & The Perfect Holiday) 3. Loretta Devine (This Christmas & Dirty Laundry) 4. Jurnee Smollett (The Great Debaters) 5. Vanessa Williams (My Brother & And Then Came Love) 6. Lisa Gay Hamilton (Honeydripper) 7. Jill Scott (Why Did I Get Married?) 8. Aisha Tyler (Balls of Fury & The Brave One) 9. Sharon Leal (This Christmas) 10. Brooklyn Sudano (Rain) Best Directors (Studio) 1. Tyler Perry (Why Did I Get Married? & Daddy’s Little Girls) 2. Gregory Wilson (The Girl Next Door) 3. Preston A. Whitmore, II (This Christmas) 4. Kasi Lemmons (Talk to Me) 5. Denzel Washington (The Great Debaters) Best Directors (Independent or Documentary) 1. Tim Alexander (Diary of a Tired Black Man) -Tie 1. Janks Morton (What Black Men Think) -Tie 3. Marco Williams (Banished) 4. Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep) 5. Pete Chatmon (Premium) Worst Movies 1. Who’s Your Caddy? 2. Daddy Day Camp 3. Code Name: The Cleaner 4. Norbit 5. Bring It On 4 6. I Think I Love My Wife 7. Constellation 8. Homie Spumoni 9. The Salon 10. Confessions of a Call Girl Worst Actors 1. Cuba Gooding, Jr. (Daddy Day Camp) 2. Faizon Love (Who’s Your Caddy?) 3. Big Boi (Who’s Your Caddy?) 4. Cedric the Entertainer (Code Name: The Cleaner) 5. Donald Faison (Homie Spumoni) Worst Actresses 1. Tamala Jones (Confessions of a Call Girl & Who’s Your Caddy?) 2. Niecy Nash (Code Name: the Cleaner & Reno 911: Miami) 3. Rae Dawn Chong (Constellation) 4. Whoopi Goldberg (Homie Spumoni) 5. Halle Berry (Perfect Stranger) Worst Directors 1. Tim Story (Fantastic Four II) 2. Lawrence Page (Confessions of a Call Girl) 3. Chris Rock (I Think I Love My Wife) 4. Garret Williams (Spark) 5. Mark Brown (The Salon) Note: Thanks to fellow film critic Wilson Morales of BlackFilm.com for his very valuable assistance in researching this article, although the picks and pans strictly reflect the opinion of Kam Williams.