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Film Review: Jumping the Broom

1 Nov

The film Jumping the Broom begins with a cliché boy-meets-girl and proposal scenario. The film has a decent cast, which features a jittery wedding planner played by Modern Family’s Julie Bowen, who expresses the same perfectionist nervousness as she does in the sitcom. The main focus of the film is the wedding of an upper class mixed black family’s daughter Sabrina to a man from a lower class African American family after only six months of dating. The film hints at differences within the African American culture that can be picked up on right away with not so subtle clues, such as dress and conversation style. The film is also about the integration of different socioeconomic classes via marriage.

Typical mother and daughter-in-law tension is set into motion within the first 30 minutes of the film, and the mother of the groom does not hold back her opinions and her desire for control, as seen in her ostentatious rehearsal dinner prayer and her referral to the bride’s family as “bougie.” It is also stressed that she has undergone anger management courses.

The title comes from the groom’s family tradition of jumping over a broom, which stems from the historical unions of slaves. It is a tradition that they see as “a necessity to black culture.”

While the film has a thin plot, it moves at a decent sitcom pace and acts as another family problems movie. It contains nothing novel, yet it is not completely dull, like a crossbreed of Meet the Parents and Guess Who. Broom follows the traditional marriage romantic drama formula but overreaches a bit in some places. The film finds its initial support in expected stereotyping within the two worlds colliding and moves into intensified and heated family drama that builds throughout the wedding weekend. Then there is the classic self-doubt from the bride.  Sabrina says, exasperated, “If it wasn’t for your mother I wouldn’t be questioning if you are the man I want to marry.” However, issues get cured, per usual, the wedding goes on in Martha’s Vineyard with smiles galore, and dancing ensues.

The film is somewhat injected with religious beliefs, such as Sabrina promising to save herself for marriage after a few mistakes in her past. Broom also is fairly low on the raunchiness scale and is void of overdone explicit scenes. Overall, the film was a mediocre matrimony piece. While it was not grating, it leaves the audience satisfied when it is over, but primarily because it is over.


Film Review: Food, Inc.

27 Oct

The horror film that is Food, Inc. reveals the industry side to eating that may forever alter your opinion of dinner. From chicken packing houses to the under-the-table business arrangements to the soaring prices of produce versus the sinking prices of fast food, Food Inc. unveils the problems within American food industries that lifts the blame from major fast food chains and puts the responsibility on the people, the processing, and competitors.

Narrator and author Eric Schlosser is the dim voice behind hundreds of fluffy yellow baby chickens being shoved down shoots, chainsaws being taken to cows, and high fructose corn syrup products being spooned to young children. If you have ever wondered about the production of your food, then this film is an eye-opener with shades of An Inconvenient Truth and Supersize Me.

The film focuses on shifts in the production of major food industries such as Tyson and Purdue and how the giants have overtaken the American farmer. One example is the growth hormones used in chickens to allow their breasts to grow larger faster, in twice the time as in the 1950s.  The chickens get so top heavy that they collapse when they try to walk. While this film sheds a telling light on the treatment of animals, it is not solely about vegetarianism. The film also reveals genetically engineered soy products and the increased amount of corn in the average diet, including corn-fed cows that are naturally meant to sustain on grass. Such a shift in the feeding of livestock leads to environmental problems as well as outbreaks such as E. coli.

The film takes a dramatic and heartbreaking turn when the audience is introduced to a young woman who lost her two-year-old son to E. Coli poisoning after he consumed hamburger meals from Jack-in-the-Box on vacation. The film takes a dark twist into the world of the lower class who must make the choice between proper nutrition or enough food to feed their entire clan. They struggle at the market and conclude that a couple tomatoes cost the same as four Rodeo burgers from Burger King, food that has adverse effects on their general health and puts them at risk for diabetes and obesity. The film will definitely inspire organic choices and make a consumer think more about the cost of their food versus its value. One suggestion: watch this film in its entirety near a wastebasket, because some scenes are truly vomit-inducing.