Monday, January 4, 2010




Directed by Reginald Hudlin

BEST QUOTE: " I'll put my foot so far up your ass, you'll be shitting sneaker for a weak"

What most people don't know about House Party is that it's a Sundance award winning film. Reginald Hudlin, the auteur  received  the FIlmmakers trophy and the cinematography award went to Peter Deming (obviously the cinematographer). It was even nominated for a grand jury prize.  It's hard for me to imagine a time or place where anyone ever took the film at face value or considered intentionally artistic in anyway. It seems so ironic and silly to me, a blatant textual poaching of early nineties fashion and music. But then I think of my girl Jamie Babbit. 

For those of you who don't know I LOVE Jamie Babbit. She has directed a couple of films, most notable The Quiet and But I'm a cheerleader, but she has acted as director on several television shows. My favorite of which being Popular, one of the greatest and most underrated shows ever. It aired for the first time in 1999, right after the great success of Dawson's Creek's first season in '98. It sizzled out after the second season, with probably the most intense season finale I've ever witnessed. The thing that made Popular so good in my book was the political influence within the story lines; Young girls questioning their sexuality, boys dealing with issues of emasculation, class and racial tensions, etc. 

The reason I even mention Ms. Babbit is because like her, Richard Hudlin is also predominately a television director. In fact, they both directed episodes of the SAME television show (The Bernie Mac show, small world....I KNOW GIRL!) I feel that character emotional development is less nuanced when television directors do film, maybe this is because in television the viewer has less time to identify with the characters and it's important that they become attached so they'll keep watching every week.

Without going into any explanation immediately the viewer knows that Kid is the awkward sympathetic character and that Play is the cool guy best friend. These identities are solidified by the opening sequence in which Kid is getting ready for school and he has to deal with his fucked up dad while Play is determining which honey he's going to hook up with that night at his party.  And unlike other characters in teen movies where they emotionally grow and reveal more of themselves as the story line progresses (for example, Bender in Breakfast club, that guy was a total dick but we ALL identified with his sensitive side  by the end of the film) Kid and Play never really emotionally progress, but they do go to college! It really lends itself to a sequel. (no big whoop, just House Party 2)

Jamie's film characters, while they are more complex then Kid and Play, still seem  to have this basic role that is exemplified early on in the film that sticks. The character of Dot in The Quiet is immediately exposed as emotionally disconnected and alone. I think that even with her alliances formed she never really finds that connection. Or the character of Nina is presented as self involved, delicate, abused and in need of affection or "saving" and even though her emotionally void mother is arrested and her abusive dad is murdered , she never finds any resolve for these's just who she is and that won't change. At the end of The Quiet as the girls are left alone playing piano in that big empty house after everything went down I was left with this incomplete feeling, it left me wanting more. I don't usually get this from a film unless it's set up for that unfinished ending. (for example, Back to the future) It's a sensation i experience every time I get into a good TV show. 

Long story short, I don't know if I would get that same experience after the end of house party but I'm assuming yes considering House party 2 and 3. I didn't finish the film because I started to doze off after smoking too much weed and eating the sweetest cheese fries in history. 

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