Saturday, October 24, 2020

Bad Hair - Movie Review

The Movie: Bad Hair

The Director: Justin Simien

The Cast: Elle Lorraine, Vanessa Williams, Lena Waithe, Laverne Cox, Jay Pharoa, Kelly Rowland, Blair Underwood, James Van Der Beek, Usher Raymond 

The Story: In 1989 an ambitious young woman gets a weave in order to succeed in the image-obsessed world of music television. However, her flourishing career may come at a great cost when she realizes that her new hair may have a mind of its own.

The Review:
I really like the idea of this movie. Campy horror with social commentary is a tried and true formula that has worked for the genre many times over although I'm not sure if I've ever seen a movie quite as confused or confusing as this one is. There's never really a point where the movie settles into one type of story telling leaving it with a stitched together feeling that doesn't work at all. There are moments that are great and even some that are brilliantly told but you can't just have those moments when everything else is so messy.

One of the flaws with this film is its incessant need to constantly call back to the music, styles, and fashion of 1989 in every single scene. Some of it actually feels like In Living Color skits that are making fun of themselves, if that makes sense, because of how far and how all encompassing it goes into referencing every little thing. I think just living in that time period would have been enough for the movie instead of overtly stuffing so much of it into every frame of film. Some of it was fun although the messaging inside of what they were trying to do gets lost in the parody.

The primary social commentary of the film is how black people needed, and still need, to reject their own culture and heritage to have any type of success in their professional lives, even when their professional lives involve their own culture and heritage. This is a pretty strong message because it does still stand today and the themes are carried out through the entire movie. This is probably the most consistent aspect of the story which is good although it still does get a bit lost by the time the crazy horror stuff takes over at the end.

On one hand, I think this movie is worth a look because of what it is trying to say, you just have to stick with it as it also stumbles through trying to figure out what type movie it really wants to be. Oh, and there's a lot of fun cameos and appearances from big time stars of that era so that's kind of fun, too. Ultimately, the scary and hairy moments aren't enough to weave a good social commentary filled story together and a lot of Bad Hair should have been left on the cutting room floor.

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