Sunday, January 27, 2008
Darnell Martin: Welcome Back
I love Darnell Martin's 1994 film, I Like It Like That. It tells the simple but engrossing, slice-of-life story of Lisette (Lauren Velez, now best known for her role on Oz), a young, black Puerto Rican woman struggling to make a go of marriage with her husband Chino (Jon Seda at his sexiest) and their three young kids in early '90s New York. A host of "issues" are woven through the tale -- the color caste among Latinos; the tensions that arise when a family member is unabashedly, flamingly gay; the drama when the neighborhood 'ho sets her eyes on Chino and he ain't got the sense to keep his pants zipped. Battles with the studio over everything -- the film's title, its final edit, the marketing -- pushed Martin to the edge and she reportedly bailed for Europe for a minute, then came back and directed a lot of episodic television before making a big splash when she directed Oprah's TV version of "Their Eyes Were Watching God." Now, word is that the "first African American woman to direct a film with major studio backing" (she hates that tag) is set to direct a new film on the history of Chess Records. And I'm so happy to have her directing another feature film that I'm not even sweating the fact that the non-acting Beyonce has been cast as Etta James. (Yeah...) Here's a video for "Come Baby Come," which was prominently featured in the film.