“Bad Hair” Day

When Jordan Peele’s Get Out first came out in 2017, there was a collective “YASSSSSSSSS!” within the Black community that we needed more Black horror movies. Black horror could actually be its own subgenre because there are certain themes that can only be explored with a Black cast, as it just wouldn’t make sense to a white audience or with an all-white cast…

Like being body snatched by white cultural appropriaters.

Plus, I think we’re all tired of yelling at the screen, “That wouldn’t happen if the guy was Black!” while watching mainstream horror.

That being said, I don’t think Bad Hair was the movie we were asking for when we said that.

Now don’t get me wrong! Bad Hair is not a bad movie. It’s actually a pretty fun watch, with all its cheesy, campy, satire, eighty’s-themed, slasher, horror goodness. But for most of the movie, I found myself asking, “What the hell did I just watch?!”

Available now on Hulu

An ambitious young woman gets a weave to succeed in the image-obsessed world of music television. However, her flourishing career comes at a great cost when she realizes that her new hair may have a mind of its own.

The movie opens with my childhood trauma…excuse me, Anna (played by Elle Lorraine), our main character’s, childhood trauma, in which a perm application gone horribly wrong leaves here with a permanent scar on her scalp at the back of her head where no hair grows.

Pause…

If this has never happened to you, can you truly say you’ve had the Black American female experience? My “spot” is at the crown of my head, endearingly named my itchy spot because I scratch and pluck at it whenever I’m nervous. I haven’t had a perm in nearly 15 years. I’ve done the whole natural thing, I’ve even started locking my hair, but that spot is still there, with a couple skinny dreads growing around the outer edges.

Anyway, back to the movie. Fast-forward to 1989, and Anna is now an unapologetically “urban” (afro puff and all) Black working woman trying to navigate the world of television and getting the door shut in her face at every turn. Whether it’s her complexion, her hair, her dress, her sex—pick a feature! When a new executive—played by the woman who invented resting bitch face, Vanessa Williams—takes over at the station where Anna works and starts making changes, Anna believes she finally has a shot at making it big, but there’s one thing that’s got to go: that nappy ass fro!

Now, the irony of this movie is not lost on me. It is definitely a social commentary on the censoring of Black women’s hair—which we thought we killed with the natural hair movement, but we only made worse with the worshipping of loosely textured curly-haired girls and the further marginalization of the rest of us “ethnic” folk. This expectation that Black women must conform their hair to this white, patriarchal standard of beauty in order to be accepted or treated as equal still infuriates me to this day.

Trying to fit into this mold is truly a horror story for us. I mean the pain we go through! From the burning sensation from the perm to the literal sticking of needles into your scalp in order to sew the weave in.

(Tender-headed folks, watch at your own risk, because this scene is gruesome!)

And for what? To appeal to the white man’s comfort level? Um, no thank you.

That’s one of the main reasons why I decided to freeform loc my hair. I will not be controlled by my hair, and I will not be controlled by other peoples opinions about my hair either!

This is NOT me if you were wondering—I just like the crown 🙂

Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for Anna. Anna gets a new weave from the most sought after stylist (played by Laverne Cox), and suddenly she’s no longer invisible. People are noticing her; people are listening to her; people are actually interested in hearing her opinions. Even her ex wants to get back together.

Reminds me of that time during my stint in corporate America when I decided to straighten my hair and, suddenly, I was a brand new person…

It still amazes me that [white] people actually react this way to a Black woman’s hair.

Unfortunately, something’s off about Anna’s hair. And it’s not the installment, although in that hair salon scene, it sure did look like the stylist was sewing the weave directly into Anna’s scalp rather than the braid (maybe to satiate the weave’s bloodlust, because there was blood).

And here is where the film lost me, because it gets into this African/African American fable/folklore about the weave being possessed by the spirits of dead witches…

(I actually thought it was vampire weave, but in my defense, I don’t think I ever quite recovered from that scene in the bathroom where it extended down from her scalp and into her pants and…drank her period blood…)

Then the movie tried to use Blaire Underwood’s character (who played Anna’s dad, her uncle, a father figure? I’m not really sure—it didn’t go into detail about her family dynamics) to explain why that part of the movie wasn’t fully fleshed out with a line about how there are some aspects of these stories we will never know because “colonizers don’t write about the people they conquered,” and I’m like, What?! You don’t get off that easily! Explain to me these witches in the hair? What’s the deal with the “planatation” this hair is coming from? So it’s not really Indian hair? Is it moss, like the moss-haired girl in the story? Does the stylist know she’s possessing people with her magical weave? I’m confused!

To be honest, I would have totally accepted the spirit of the ancestors cursing the weave to turn her into Michael Jackson’s Thriller (maybe it’s the eyes?) as punishment for forgetting her natural roots. That would’ve made more sense than that whole witch posession thing, but I’m just a simple writer with writer’s block, so what do I know about believable movie scripts?

Overall, Bad Hair is a pretty good film, if you like cheesy, campy horror. The story could have been better, but who’s really looking for a “story” with these types of movies. Oh, and Kelly Rowland’s Janet Jackson-esque soundtrack… SICKENING!

Any one else develop an obsession with “bad” movies since quarantine? Nothing can be worse than this sh*tty year, right?

—T

365 Days Is the Movie Apparently No One Knew They Needed in 2020

365 Days”; Watch on Netflix

Okay, okay, so I know I’m late in joining the 365 Days party. I really had no plans to watch this movie at all, but then one lonely, quarantined Friday night, after watching a few YouTube reviews about the infamous “boat scene,” 😉 I thought, why not give it a try. 😉 😉 😉

So here’s the synopsis from Netflix:

A woman falls victim to a dominant mafia boss, who imprisons her and gives her one year to fall in love with him.

Basically, it’s Beauty and the Beast meets 50 Shades of Gray, but 10 times more disturbing, 100 times more sexually explicit, and 1000 times more nonsensical.

So let’s go ahead and skip the first 15 minutes of the movie, because, honestly, I had no idea what was going on. It was half in English, half in Italian and Polish with subtitles, and none of the acting in any of the three languages made any sense. But let’s be honest—are we really here for a good movie, or do we just want to watch this smoking hot Italian guy have sex and imagine that it’s with us?

Photo by Raffaele Cerracchio

That was a rhetorical question by the way.

Anyway, the movie “begins” with our female protagonist, Laura, in Italy celebrating her birthday with her very lackluster boyfriend and a couple of friends. She steps away for a minute to look for a bathroom and she (literally) runs into our male protagonist (antagonist?), Italian mafia boss (‘cuz, stereotypes), Massimo. And this is where we get the best (and most cringe-worthy) line of the movie.

Yo! Did anyone else snort laugh at this? He said it at least 3 times in the movie, and each time, it was just…*gag*

Anyway, he disappears just as quickly as he appeared, and Laura goes about her business as if THAT never happened.

Skipping ahead again, because NOTHING HAPPENS, Laura finds herself wandering alone, in a foreign city, in the middle of the night, with barely any clothes on—because…that’s smart—and then gets kidnapped. Shocker.

She awakes fortress (there’s your Beauty and the Beast reference), and after not really being all that concerned about where she is or how she got there, she explores the place and winds up in a room that has this giant portrait of her on the mantel (because that’s not creepy at all), and then we get another gem…

Okay, the first time, it’s cute; the second time, you’re just being a stalker, dude. *gag*

It’s at this scene where we get the whole premise of the movie. Mob boss Massimo tells her this unbelievable story about how when his father was killed right in front of him, the bullet also going through him, as he lay on the ground near death, he saw her face (kind of like an angel, I guess) and he swore if he survived, no matter what, he would search the globe come hell or high water to find her and make her his.

Romantic, right? Except for the fact that he drugged and kidnapped her!

And now we come to the biggest (well one of the biggest) issues I had with the movie. How, on earth, are you gonna make what is essentially Stockholm syndrome romantic??

The answer is you’re not. And it’s kind of funny, because you can tell that the makers of this movie really tried to give Massimo some redeeming qualities (other than, you know, his good looks), and then halfway through, they just gave up on it. Because, apparently, it’s so much sexier for him to be physical and forceful and rough, and just, literally, a BEAST.

A prime example is this random scene on an airplane where he makes the stewardess give him dome for no reason at all, and it kind of looks like she wants to but at the same time, she didn’t really have a choice. And the whole thing was just super aggressive! It was like watching hardcore porn without the hardcore porn—although I believe I did see a slip of skin, if you know what I mean 😉

So wait, was she actually…you know what, nevermind, I don’t want to know.

A couple other examples with Laura is when he tells her that he wants her to teach him to be gentle, to which I respond with 1) how is that even her job??? and 2) AT NO POINT IN THE MOVIE IS HE EVER GENTLE WITH HER!!!

When he’s giving her the rundown on how the next 365 days will go, he promises her that he won’t touch her without her permission (as he’s touching her without her permission), and then for the next 30 minutes or so of the movie, he’s touching her WITHOUT HER PERMISSION!

Like, how is it possible for someone to be so totally hot and so totally creepy at the same time? Don’t get you a man that can do both. It’s toxic. It’s not romantic. Seriously, at various points throughout this movie, I was both aroused and deeply disturbed by Massimo. A back and forth not uncommon for me because I had the same attraction/repulsion to the character Javier in TNT’s short-lived Good Behavior, another dark, criminal man who kidnaps a woman—who is not that great of a human being herself but still somehow falls in love with him.

His only redeeming quality: smoking hot good looks.

Okay, so maybe he does try to get her to stop doing drugs and stealing stuff, and he helps her get her son back…but he still MURDERS PEOPLE FOR A LIVING!

Sorry if I just spoiled the show for you there, but this series ended in 2017, so you really have no excuse at this point.

Anyway, one toxic male at a time. Let’s get back to Massimo.

Will you stop it already???

So for the next several scenes, they play this cat and mouse game where she acts like she wants him and he… tries not to rape her…

And no scene shows that quite like the one where she goes to his room in nothing but a robe (it’s never explained why she does this), and he chains her to the bed spread-eagle.

Nothing happens by the way. He just gets topped off again (by that same stewardess now in sexy lingerie??) while Laura watches, slightly turned on, slightly freaked out…? Who even knows—her facial expressions are the same throughout the movie.

Eventually, we get to the boat scene, the one everyone’s been waiting for. And after an argument that ends with her falling off the boat (is it bad that I laughed cackled at this? I don’t know why it was so funny to me), he dives in to save her, and, apparently, that was all the convincing she needed because next thing you know, she’s like “Take me, I’m yours.”

And boy, do they get it on! It had to be the longest soft porn sex scene I’ve ever seen—not that I make it a habit of watching soft porn, but, you know…

It was a whole montage of them having sex in various places on the boat, and to a fire soundtrack! (Seriously, the music in this movie was better than the actual movie.) By the time it was over, even I had to exhale. That was steamy!

On a side note, I was kind of disappointed that it was just soft porn, because, and hear me out, if you’re gonna give us all of that, you might as well give us the real thing. Plus, Massimo makes some really ugly sex faces, so I wish the camera would’ve panned…elsewhere.

Anyway, it was all downhill after the boat climax…

I’m kidding, actually no, I’m not.

Next was just another series of scenes that didn’t really add up to a logical plot. They go to a masquerade ball and meet the psycho ex-girlfriend (copying 50 Shades Darker much?).

Wait, what movie are we watching again?

He sends her back to Poland because her presence stirs some tension between the mafia families (a side story that really wasn’t fleshed out like it should’ve been—if they eliminated that part of Massimo’s background completely, the movie would be exactly the same).

After an unexplained amount of time, he shows up in her apartment back in Poland (after she’s had a makeover and has apparently gone blonde). They have more sex. She tells him she loves him.

HOW, SWAY? Because you’re getting d*cked down???

The next day, they’re engaged. He’s meeting the parents (whom we’ve never seen up until this point, and then they never show up again). She’s trying on wedding dresses. She’s PREGO!!!

And then, the most anticlimactic ending ever! I might as well tell you since I’ve spoiled the majority of the movie already (guess I should’ve posted a spoiler alert somewhere). Massimo’s henchman gets a call that there’s a hit out on Laura, Laura calls Massimo to tell her that she’s pregnant as she’s driving through a tunnel, the call goes dead, henchman shows up at the house and just shrugs, Massimo falls to his knees, Laura’s car never exits the tunnel, and um, that’s it!

WHAT THE F*CK DID I JUST WATCH?!?!?!

This was the movie we didn’t think we needed, but definitely the one we deserved in 2020. Because, what else are we gonna do in quarantine?

I’m not gonna lie, I’ll probably watch it again. Rapey vibes and all. Pray for me, y’all.

I also heard this movie is based on a trilogy of books…

What? You mean to tell me two more movies just like this one might be coming to Netflix in the near or distant future?

Welp, I’m game, might as well get my popcorn ready and finish the rest of these dumpster fire 365 days. After all, I did end up watching all three 50 Shades movies.

Any bad, not necessarily raunchy, movies you’d like me to review. Leave a comment below, and I’ll check it out!

— T