Directed by Jeff Stilson.
Release Year: 2009
Review Date: 10/9/09
Free flick? Check. Chris Rock
not acting? Check. Ice-T talking about fake hair and
fake breasts? Check. A documentary about black hair,
money made on black hair, money made on Indian hair, and famous
black people talking about black hair, "Good Hair" delivers the
goods, and even though my wife Meg was one of the eight non-black people
in our packed theater in downtown DC this week, I think she loved
the movie as much as I did.
That's because "Good Hair"--produced and
hosted by Chris Rock and HBO Films--is an interesting documentary:
it's informative, funny, predictable and accessible.
Informative: for many black people,
especially for blacks that don't really follow the hair industry
(uh, me, but also, probably you too!), "Good Hair" shines the light
in a few places I would never have imagined going, like Atlanta for
an annual hair care product conference (apparently the largest of
its kind in the world) or the world of the "weave", which gets
hilarious coverage in this film. Also, the filmmakers are wise
to follow the trail of hair products, so we get coverage on how
blacks are making money on black people's love of their own hair but
also getting down to the nitty-gritty of where some actual human
hair comes from and the brokers that deal in product in major
Funny: Rock's interview style
sometimes takes over the factual information presented, but that
also makes for some big laughs, bigger than you would normally get
as you shake your head during a documentary. Now, some of this
is a mix of Rock reaction shots as people are talking about their
hair, but a lot of laughs come from the four contestants that
participate in a haircut contest that's part of the Atlanta
Predictable: In setting up the film as
a family-friendly comedy/documentary about hair, you get some
predictable but welcome additions--smack-talking at the local black
barbershop; the inevitable White Guy Crashing the Black Party guy;
old TV ads hyping black hair care products (the inevitable
references to the idea of "Soul Glo"); women talking about how much
money they will throw at their own hair. I think this was all
great because, even though you see it all coming, the laughs and the
head-scratching wow moments still appear and that made the
Accessible: Much like the current
state of "hip-hop" (or whatever you want to call the horseshit put
out by 95% of the artists working today), making this accessible to
non-blacks is a big key to whether the project makes any money.
So, featuring Rock as prominently as they have, plus including
interviews with a number of familiar black faces (even though many
of them, like Nia Long or Lauren London, are not all-out
superstars), makes the film a hoot for nearly anyone.
"Good Hair" had a great trailer, so it being
great won't totally shock you...but, it should make you happy you
just dropped $10 to see a movie about hair!! See this in a
crowded theater to enhance the overall experience!
Rating: Opening Weekend
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard