Tag Archives: Coming to America

Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned from Eighties Movies (and Why We Don’t Learn Them from Movies Anymore) Book Review

Every decade has its iconic films. They speak to who we are in the moment, where we have been, and where we might go in the future.

Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned from Eighties Movies (and Why We Don’t Learn Them from Movies Anymore), by Hadley Freeman, was published in 2016. Freeman explores the tropes, narratives, and character arcs that dominated the era and its iconic movies. Speaking of such films as Pretty in Pink, Ghostbusters, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Coming to America, The Breakfast Club, etc, the reader is given the perspective as both a fan and a critic.

The thing I did not realize (or forgot) is that some of these movies are full of racism, sexism, and homophobia. It’s not surprising, given some of the cultural attitudes back in the day. I also did not recognize until I read the book that Hollywood was more progressive in the 80s (well to a certain point) than it claims to be now. There was more latitude (depending on the specific IP) given to women and minorities to grow beyond the stereotypes and expected storyline.

Writing with love, respect, and an equally critical eye, Freeman provides the reader with both a modern lens and how audiences responded to the films when they were initially released.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned from Eighties Movies (and Why We Don’t Learn Them from Movies Anymore) is available wherever books are sold.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, Movies

A Princess in Theory Book Review

We all get those emails that claim to come from an unknown foreign royal promising a fortune. Logic dictates that it is a scam and should be ignored. But what happens when the email is legit?

The 2018 romance novel, A Princess in Theory, is the first of three novels in the Reluctant Royals Series. Written by Alyssa Cole, the narrative starts off with this kind of email. When Naledi Smith starts receiving emails stating that she is betrothed to an African Prince, she writes it off as junk. As soon as she disregards it, it comes back to her, again and again. Raised in foster care, she learned early that the only person she can rely on is herself. Between grad school and her part-time job as a waitress, the last thing she has time for is a boyfriend.

Prince Thabiso will one day inherit the crown of the fictional African country of Thesolo. Now that he is a man, the next thing he must do is marry. The young lady who was chosen as his future Queen disappeared years ago. Using the information that he has, Thabiso finds her in New York City. Knowing that Naledi has no memory of him or their planned future, he pretends to be “Jamal”, wanting to experience life on his own terms and be loved for his person and not his title.

The attraction and chemistry are instant, but Thabiso knows that he will have to come clean eventually. Will Naledi accept the truth and his true self or will she walk away?

The best way to describe the narrative is Coming to America meets the Prince and Me with a pinch of Black Panther. I don’t normally read this genre But this one is totally worth the time. It is romantic, sexy, and oh so hot. As the female lead, Naledi is everything I would want in a protagonist. She is smart, driven, capable, but also willing to open to the idea of love when it comes around.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

A Princess in Theory is available wherever books are sold.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Fairy Tales, Feminism, New York City

Throwback Thursday-Coming to America (1988)

Once upon a time, Eddie Murphy was the king of the box office. His movies did well with audiences and critics. Sadly, those days seem to be long gone.

In 1988, Eddie Murphy entered the royalty/romance genre with Coming to America.

Prince Akeem (Murphy) is the heir to the throne of the fictional African kingdom of Zamunda.  He is 21 and of an age to marry. The only problem is that his wife has been chosen for him, but Akeem is not thrilled with the idea of this marriage. Breaking tradition, he travels to New York with his loyal aide Semmi (Arsenio Hall) to find a woman who would marry him for love, not because she has been chosen for him. Lisa McDowell (Shari Headley) works for her father at McDowell’s (not to be confused with McDonalds). She has a boyfriend, Darryl (Eriq La Salle), but is starting to spend her free time with Akeem, who has started working at McDowell’s. Akeem is trying to keep his real identity a secret, but that secret will not remain a secret for very long.

I like this movie. Breaking from the buddy cop movie genre that Murphy started in after he left Saturday Night Live, he plays Akeem with a combination of optimism and a sense of who he wants to be and who he wants to be with. The comedy in this movie comes from Hall and Murphy playing multiple characters, a feature that Murphy would later known for in movies like The Nutty Professor.  The royalty/romance genre is still, even in 2015, for the most part white, it’s nice to see African and African American characters portrayed on screen as they are in this movie.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, Throwback Thursday