Thursday, December 05, 2013

Auteur Watch - Neema Barnette

Damn.  Another long résumé.  Well, this is a chance for me to take a swipe at all the critics out there who do nothing but nitpick all day.  Nitpick, nitpick, nitpick!  I exclude myself, of course, for I have my own brand of picking of the nits.  But one critique that I heard was about 12 Years a Slave, that African Americans are boxed into a corner, forced to do movies like this, and by "this" I mean the big dramatic fare to help resolve the omnipresent white guilt.  Where's the ordinary stuff like The Preacher's Wife and what not?  Well, all you have to do is look at an impressive long résumé like ol' Neema's here.  Seek and ye shall find!  Sure, there's no Hav Plentys or Jason's Lyric or anything fun like that.  But there is lots of TV work; that's harder to find, maybe even on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
So the big question: which decade is Neema's favourite?  Was it the 80s when she had a more unique place in the biz?  Sure, there were stints on a bunch of TV shows, but there is 1985's Sky Captain, whatever that is.  Two more decades for the world of tomorrow to show up.  Or maybe it was the 90s when she started working with Bill Cosby, first the sitcom and then the Cosby Mysteries.  A little more stability, but the silver screen was still elusive... save for Spirit Lost, whatever that is.  That's what's so great about the IMDb: they tell you which are the movies and which is the TV stuff.  Very convenient.
Or maybe it's the 2000s that are her favorite!  The rise of George W. Bush coincided with the rise in Neema's more frequent silver screen entries... well, at least they're not sitcoms or TV movies!  Working less, making more.  That's the dream, ain't it?  A prison movie for the sistas!  Bring it On for the sistas!  Oh, Neema's an auteur now, there's no turning back.
But if talking to Albert Pyun's any indication, it's the current decade that's always a director's favorite.  But with titles like Heaven Ain't Hard to Find and T.D. Jakes adaptations, I guess Neema's trying to get right with the Lord before her big final check out.  Like George Carlin said, "I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me - they're cramming for their final exam."

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