Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Sanaa Lathan Valentine's Day Special

You probably already know that this is Valentine's Day. Like a lot of other bloggers, I'm going to discuss those Valentine's date night movies. I'm going to put a little spin on it. Well, I'm actually going to put two spins on it. First, February is also Black History Month here in the States. I haven't done anything in honor of that this year, so far. Why not start here. The second spin is that I'm just not going to throw up a bunch of random "black" movies. We're going to focus on the work of one particular star: the lovely and talented Sanaa Lathan. She's carved out a nice career for herself, but I always thought she should be a bigger star. Life's not over for her, so there's still hope it'll happen. In the meantime, here's my little token of appreciation...

Top Date Night Movies Featuring Sanaa Lathan

5. The Wood
Sanaa Plays: Alicia
Sanaa's Leading Man: Mike played by Omar Epps
The main plot deals with a guy so nervous on his wedding day that he disappears alone to go get drunk. His two buddies have to find him. During this time, we get lots of flashbacks to their formative years. A large chunk of these deal with Mike and his pursuit of Alicia. This one lands in this spot not because it's worse than any other movie on the list. It's just the one in which she has the least to do. She pretty much doesn't show up until near the end. That sad pic is all the evidence I could find that she's even in the movie. Still, it's a very entertaining movie conducive to cuddling.

4.  Something New
Sanaa Plays: Kenya
Sanaa's Leading Man: Brian played by Simon Baker
Kenya is successful single lady who doesn't really have time for romance. First through a blind date that she bails on, later on a chance meeting, she finds a guy who seems to be perfect for her in every way except for that one thing she can't seem to get over. He's white. We watch her struggle with her own prejudices, and him in turn. It's an underappreciated film that the late-great Roger Ebert says "is more complex about race than we could possibly expect."

3. Brown Sugar
Sanaa Plays: Sidney
Sanaa's Leading Man: Andre played by Taye Diggs
This time, the successful single lady is Sidney and she's been best friends with Andre, Dre for short, ever since they were little. She's just been named editor-in-chief of hip-hop magazine XXL. He's just gotten hired as an A&R for Millennium Records. The problem is Dre is also engaged to be married. So yeah, unearthed feelings. If you're a hip-hop fan like me, the added bonus is that there is plenty of waxing poetic about the art and commentary of the commercialization of it.

2. The Best Man/The Best Man Holiday
Sanaa Plays: Robin
Sanaa's Leading Man: Harper played by Taye Diggs
Harper is a once-successful writer in a committed relationship with Robin. In the original, Harper is away from Robin most of the film, though it's their relationship that's put through the ringer. One of several, actually. In the sequel everyone has to go through it all again. in a surprisingly good follow-up. Through both movies, much of her role consists of keeping her man from making an ass of himself, our heroine has much more to do the second time around. Both movies are really all about the ensemble rather than any one character and both are very effective.

1. Love & Basketball
Sanaa Plays: Monica
Sanaa's Leading Man: Quincy played by Omar Epps
Monica meets Quincy when she moves into his neighborhood when they were kids. As they grow up, boh become star basketball players, even attend the same university. Of course, things change when he becomes engaged to get married to someone else. This one goes more for drama than for comedy, though there are laughs, and features what I think is Lathan's best work thus far. It's not just an excellent date night movie, but one of the best basketball movies ever made.

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  1. She's so gorgeous! I've only seen her in Something New which I like a lot. I should check out more of her work. Btw Dell, have you seen BELLE yet? I absolutely adore that movie as well as Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

    1. Yes, I have seen Belle. Very good movie. GMR was very good. Tom Wilkinson was great. Got lost in the shuffle when I watched a bunch of movies in a short span. Have to check back through my notebook to see if I actually wrote a review. I know, who still uses those?

  2. I LOVE that you highlighted Lathan. I don't know if you remember, but I highlighted her in my Recastathon. I really wish she had a bigger career. She certainly deserves one...she such a remarkable talent (and her work in Love and Basketball should have earned her an Oscar nomination).

    1. Thanks and I do remember that. Man, an Oscar nod for Love & Basketball would've been phenomenal.