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Film and Television Actress Kerry Washington
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Born in New York City on January 31, 1977, actress Kerry Washington started performing during her school years. She earned a degree in performance studies from George Washington University. After making her film debut in 2000's Our Song, Washington starred in such films as Save the Last Dance and Bad Company. She earned wide acclaim for her work in Ray (2004) and The Last King of Scotland. In 2012, she began her run on the TV drama Scandal.

The daughter of a real estate broker and an education professor, actress Kerry Washington was born in New York City on January 31, 1977, and grew up in the South Bronx. She started out with ballet lessons as a young child, but her first career ambition involved a certain large mammal. "I wanted to work with Shamu at Sea World," Washington told Giant. "I thought that was the best job in the world, to care for and feed dancing whales."

Washington attended the Spence School in Manhattan, a prestigious private school. In addition to appearing in school productions, she was a member of a theater group that tackled social issues. Washington soon won a theater scholarship to George Washington University, where she earned a degree in performance studies.

While she made her film debut in Our Song in 2000, Washington had one of her first career breakthroughs the following year. She won over audiences with her role in Save the Last Dance (2001), starring Julia Stiles. Soon after the release of this popular teen drama, Washington moved on to comedy. She appeared in the humorous action film Bad Company (2004), starring Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins.

Washington's career really took flight in 2004; she took on several major movie roles that year, including Della Rae Robinson, the wife of blind singer and musician Ray Charles, in the biopic Ray. Washington received strong reviews for her performance, and her co-star, Jamie Foxx, won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Charles. That same year, she starred opposite Anthony Mackie in Spike Lee's dramatic comedy She Hate Me.

The versatile actress tried her hand at the comic book action genre with 2005's Fantastic Four, starring Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis. The following year, Washington once again showed off her skills as a dramatic actress in The Last King of Scotland. She won raves for her nuanced turn as the wife of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin—played by Forrest Whitaker—in the film. Around this time, Washington also had a recurring role on the hit television series Boston Legal.

In 2007, Washington reteamed with Chris Rock for I Think I Love My Wife. She played a vixen who gets involved with a married man (Rock) in the film. The part gave Washington the opportunity to branch out from the many devoted wife roles she had tackled in the past. She went on to explore interracial relationships with Lakeview Terrace (2008), in which she plays an African-American woman married to a white man (Patrick Wilson). The couple is harassed by an African-American cop (Samuel L. Jackson) in this thriller.

With For Colored Girls (2010), Washington worked with an impressive ensemble of actresses, including Whoopi Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad, Janet Jackson and Thandie Newton. The film, directed and written by Tyler Perry, was an adaptation of a play by Ntozake Shange. In 2012, Washington moved to the small screen to star on the dramatic political series Scandal. She plays a "fixer," a person who cleans up scandals and other messes for her clients, on the show.

That same year, Washington reunited with Ray co-star Jamie Foxx for Quentin Tarantino's western Django Unchained (2012). She plays Broomhilda von Shaft, a slave married to Foxx's character, Django. In the film, the pair is separated, and Django teams up with a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) to find her.

Source: Biography.com

 

Colors - Classic Movies and TV Tags: colors classic movies tv word life prpduction new qulaity entertainment featured blog

Colors is a 1988 American police procedural crime film starring Sean Penn and Robert Duvall, and directed by Dennis Hopper. The story takes place in South Central, North West and East Los Angeles, and centers on Bob Hodges (Duvall), an experienced Los Angeles Police Department CRASH Police Officer III, and his rookie partner, Danny McGavin (Penn), who try to stop the gang violence between the Bloods, the Crips, and Hispanic street gangs. Colors relaunched Hopper as a director 18 years after Easy Rider, and inspired discussion over its depiction of gang life and gang violence.

Two white cops, Bob "Uncle Bob" Hodges (Robert Duvall) a respected, 19-year LAPD veteran and rookie officer Danny "Pacman" McGavin (Sean Penn) have just been teamed together in the C.R.A.S.H. unit that patrols East L.A.

The older cop is appreciated on the local streets. He is diplomatic on the surface, preaching "rapport" to gang members to encourage them to offer help when it is truly needed and recognizes that every action cops take is scrutinized by the very people they are trying to help. Hodges explains his view on proceduring to his young partner with a joke about bulls and cows. Although the pair bond quickly, life lessons are seemingly lost on the aggressive, cavalier McGavin, whose stunted actions soon bring him quick notoriety with the local gang members and the people themselves.

McGavin also has a short lived romance with a waitress named Louisa (María Conchita Alonso) who, like the offended Hodges, feels the weight of the Pacman persona. Amidst the strains of these relationships, the murder of a Bloods gang member leads to a series of escalations between two other street gangs. A relentless intertwining of seemingly random incidents culminates in a plot that finds the two partners in the middle of the Crips, Bloods and Hispanic Barrio war. The Hispanic gang led by a criminal named Frog, attempts to negotiate a peace similar to Hodges and steer clear of the melee. To protect his partner, Hodges unwittingly exposes Frog as his source on the Crips leader Rocket (Don Cheadle) with his scheme to kill McGavin. Each group attempts to right the wrongs against their respective crews as police work to prevent the hit and stand their authority over the fall out.

In the end, the unit moves in on the would-be last crew standing - the Hispanic gang. While arresting Frog, Hodges is mortally shot by a gunman trying to enact the hit on McGavin. With medics en route, McGavin comforts Hodges and breaks down with regret as the elder partner falls into delirium and dies.

Sometime later, a more conservative McGavin has a rookie partner, a black cop who grew up in the neighborhood where they patrol and sports an attitude similar to the "Pacman". McGavin tells him the joke about the bulls that Hodges taught him and he reciprocates the advice just the same as he did. The film ends with McGavin considering the cycle as the pair drive on and continue their patrol.

The movie was filmed entirely in Los Angeles in 1987. The original script by Richard Di Lello took place in Chicago and was more about drug dealing than gang members. Dennis Hopper ordered changes, so Michael Schiffer was hired and the setting was changed to Los Angeles and the focus of the story became more about the world of gang members.

Real gang members were hired as guardians as well as actors by producer Robert H. Solo. Two of them were shot during filming.

On April 2, 1987, Sean Penn was arrested for punching an extra on the set of this film who was taking photos of Penn without permission. Penn was sentenced to 33 days in jail for this assault. A soundtrack containing mainly hip-hop music was released on April 15, 1988, by Warner Bros. Records. It peaked at 31 on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold on July 12, 1988.

Source: Wikipedia

Tales from the Hood - Classic Television & Movies Tags: tales hood classic tv movies word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

Tales From the Hood is a 1995 horror anthology film directed by Rusty Cundieff, and executive produced by Spike Lee. The film presents four short African American-themed horror stories, presented within a frame story of three drug dealers buying some "found" drugs from an eccentric and story-prone funeral director.In South Central, Los Angeles, a trio gang of drug dealers, Stack (Joe Torry), Ball (De'aundre Bonds) and Bulldog (Samuel Monroe Jr.), arrive at Simms' Funeral Home to purchase some drugs from Mr. Simms (Clarence Williams III), the mortuary's eccentric owner. Mr. Simms claims that he found the drugs in an alley and has them safely stored in the mortuary. He asks the dealers to help him get the drugs and, as the four make their way through the building, relates stories about some of his recent "customers". The first casket contains the body of a man named Clarence.

Rogue Cop Revelation

During his first night on the job, young black police officer Clarence Smith (Anthony Griffith) is taken by his new partner, Newton (Michael Massee), to the scene of what initially appears to be a routine traffic stop of a well-dressed black man. When Clarence runs the car's license plates, he learns that the man is in fact Martin Moorehouse (Tom Wright), a city councilman and black rights activist who has recently been on a crusade against police corruption. Clarence watches in horror as Newton, along with fellow officers Billy (Duane Whitaker) and Strom (Wings Hauser), brutally beat Moorehouse with their nightsticks and vandalize his car. When Clarence insists that Moorehouse should be taken to a hospital, two of the officers appear to agree.

Clarence tells Newton that Billy and Strom should be reported for what they did, but Newton tells Clarence that officers are not to break "the code". Strom and Billy drive Moorehouse' car to the docks. Strom shoots the battered Moorehouse up with heroin, plants some in his car, then pushes it into the water with Moorehouse still inside. Moorehouse is posthumously labeled a hypocrite.

One year later, Clarence has left the police force and is now a guilt-consumed drunk. On a walk in his neighborhood, he sees a mural of Moorehouse. Clarence then has a vision of a crucified Moorehouse haunting him with the words "Bring them to me!" In response, Clarence convinces the three police officers involved in the death to meet him at Moorehouse's grave.

Once there, the officers begin to insult Moorehouse, with Strom urinating on Moorehouse's grave and then ordering Billy to do the same thing. As Newton and Strom prepare to kill Clarence, a zombie-like Moorehouse bursts from the grave to drag Billy beneath the ground by his genitals. Moorehouse's coffin bursts from the ground, opening to reveal Billy's mutilated corpse with Moorehouse clutching Billy's still-beating heart.

Strom and Newton flee in horror. A lengthy chase ensues, with the two cops fleeing by patrol car. As Newton is driving the vehicle, Moorehouse jumps on top of the vehicle and decapitates Strom. Terrified, Newton exits his vehicle. With Moorehouse still on top of the patrol car and carrying Strom's head, Newton shoots the gas tank, causing the patrol car to explode. Moorehouse then chases Newton into an alley, where he telekinetically throws used hypodermic needles into the cop's body, pinning him to a wall mural. After Newton is killed, his body melts into the mural, becoming a painting of himself crucified.

His vengeance nearly complete, Moorehouse accosts Clarence, asking him why he did not help him when he was being beaten. The story ends with Clarence in a mental hospital. Two orderlies outside his cell mention that he killed the officers and that he used to be an officer himself. Moorehouse is never mentioned.

Stack, Ball, and Bulldog think Mr. Simms is crazy after hearing the story. After they look at the second casket, Mr. Simms tells them about a boy named Walter.

Boys Do Get Bruised

Walter Johnson (Brandon Hammond) is a quiet and sensitive boy who shows up to school one day with bruises around his cheek and eye. Walter's caring teacher, Richard Garvy (Rusty Cundieff), notices the bruises and asks what happened; Walter claims that he was attacked by a monster. A few days later he again shows up with a bruised arm. While the other children play, Walter sits inside and draws a boy named Tyrone, one of the school bullies. Walter crumples the drawing up causing Tyrone to suffer spontaneous injuries.

Later that night Mr. Garvy visits Walter's home and asks Walter's mother, Sissy (Paula Jai Parker), about the monster. Sissy claims that Walter's injuries are the result of his own clumsiness; she then tells Walter not to reveal anything about the monster to anyone else.

As Mr. Garvy is leaving, Sissy's boyfriend, Carl (David Alan Grier) comes home: seen through Walter's imagination, the audience learns that Carl in fact is the “monster”. Thinking that Walter has told his teacher about him and called him a monster (a tattoo of the word "Monster" can be seen on Carl's arm), Carl terrorizes Walter and then whips Sissy with a belt when she intervenes.

Mr. Garvy turns around to check on Walter and sees Carl abusing Walter and Sissy: Mr. Garvy bursts into the house and begins to fight Carl. With Carl's attention elsewhere, Walter grabs a drawing he made of the monster and begins to fold and crumple it. Carl becomes mangled, helpless and unable to accept defeat. Sissy stomps on the wadded-up paper to end the threat. Finally Mr. Garvy gives the paper to Walter, who burns it, completely immolating Carl. Sissy and Walter look on as Carl burns alive and appear to be relieved to be free from his brutal abuse.

Later, Carl's burnt and twisted corpse is in the coffin in Simms' Funeral Home. Mr. Simms shows a doll, instead of a corpse, to Ball, Stack, and Bulldog, explaining that it isn't any ordinary doll.

KKK Comeuppance

Duke Metger (Corbin Bernsen) is an obnoxious and racist Southern senator, and a former member of the Ku Klux Klan. The senator is in his office filming a campaign commercial when he sees protesters outside the office: Jewish and African-American groups have teamed up to protest against Duke for being a racist, a former Klansman, and for setting up his office at an old slave plantation. One individual, Eli (Art Evans), tells the reporter that the plantation is haunted by dolls animated by the souls of previously tortured slaves. He warns everyone that it is not a myth.

Meanwhile, Duke and his African-American "image-maker" assistant Rhodie (Roger Guenveur Smith) notice a large painting of Miss Cobbs, a hoodoo witch, and her dolls. Duke says racial slurs to Rhodie, who attempts to ignore his rantings. Duke also refers to the dolls as "Negro dolls." One of the dolls is seen under the floorboard as Rhodie leaves.

While Duke and Rhodie are working on Duke's media skills, Rhodie falls down the stairs to his death (it is later learned that the doll seen under the floorboard earlier was the cause). At the funeral, Eli warns Duke to leave the house before he ends up like his deceased assistant or worse. In the limo after Rhodie's funeral, Duke notices the doll and orders his African-American driver to pull over so he can throw the doll out the window into the street.

Later, after noticing a blank spot on the painting, Duke comes in contact with the doll he threw out on the street and has a fight with it. When Duke throws a vase at the doll, it disappears and attacks Duke out of nowhere, trying to eat him. Duke is injured, but he manages to stop the doll by beating it with an American Flag. He also damages the painting, from which blood pours.

Duke takes the doll outside to his porch and ties it to a dart board. He then blasts the doll with his shotgun and goes back inside to rant at the painting. But in the midst of his rant, Duke realizes more doll images in the painting have faded to white. After Duke begins chasing several small footsteps throughout the house, he finds the previously blasted doll in the hallway, reattaching its head. The doll attacks again and chases Duke into his office. Duke manages to lock the doll outside and tries to figure out a way to help himself. He sees that the painting has all the doll images faded to white. Terrified, Duke turns around to see an army of dolls. He covers himself in the American flag as the dolls converge and devour him. Miss Cobbs then disappears from the painting and manifests herself in the room, holding the first doll in her arms. Satisfied, they both smile as they witness the carnage taking place before them.

By now, the dealers are getting impatient and want the drugs they came for, not wanting to listen to any more of Mr. Simms' strange stories. Ball notices a corpse in another room alerts the others to come and see it. When Simms asks them if they knew the man, Bulldog says it was just someone they had seen around their neighborhood. Mr. Simms explains the final moments of the man known as Crazy K.

Hard-Core Convert

Jerome "Crazy K" Johns (Lamont Bentley) is a violent gang member and homicidal psychopath who has killed many people mercilessly. He is driving down the streets of Los Angeles in his Mustang. Coming to a stoplight, he notices the car of an enemy he's been trying to kill for a long time and follows him. Crazy K parks in a neighborhood and has a brief argument with the enemy, then shoots him. In retaliation, three other men attack from a house nearby. The men shoot Crazy K, and just as they are about to kill him, the police arrive at the scene. Due to one of the shooters firing at the police officers, all three gunmen are shot and killed by the officers. Crazy K is badly injured but survives, only to get arrested and sent to prison.

As described by a prison guard Crazy K has received a life sentence for suspicion of murder three times along with other charges. Dr. Cushing (Rosalind Cash in her final film role before her death) arrives at the prison and transfers Crazy K to another facility, hidden deep underground. Crazy K meets an inmate (Rick Dean) who is a homicidal white supremacist and raves about killing black people and the end of days for blacks, which upsets Crazy K and causes him to punch him in the face. Then the man asks Crazy K the races of the victims he killed, silencing Crazy K because he, in fact, is guilty of killing African-Americans. The man grows fond of Crazy K and he tells him that there will be a few black people who will be spared as long as they think like him. After speaking to the man, Dr. Cushing reveals that she put him there to meet someone who is just like him.

Crazy K is put through a process of torture to have him learn the consequences of his actions. Dr. Cushing tries to make him a new man and help change his violent life of murder. His head (with K printed on the front) is shaved off and he is "clean" if he regrets all his violent actions on other people. Crazy K is put through a slideshow of images involving the KKK and victims of lynching along with gory footage of gang violence and warfare along with a montage showing all those he has killed. Dr. Cushing goes into fact that Crazy K killed many innocent African Americans without remorse or second thought.

Crazy K is put through the next stage, in which he is put in a sensory deprivation chamber. He is confronted by all the souls of his victims and must explain why he killed them. He keeps giving true or false answers until it eventually leads to a young and innocent little girl who had nothing to do with Crazy K; she was killed when a bullet from Crazy K's gun came through her wall and hit her in the chest. Crazy K doesn't accept responsibility. Dr. Cushing warns him that he won't get another chance for forgiveness. The souls haunt him more and more, but Crazy K grows increasingly uncaring of his actions. Having refused a chance for redemption for his sins, he is transported back to the moment when he was shot. Crazy K is brutally shot dead by the three gunmen, and the story ends with his corpse lying abandoned on the street.

Welcome To My Mortuary (ending)

When the last story ends, the three drug dealers are revealed to be Crazy K's killers. They become angry and demand to know how Simms knows of their murder as they threaten to kill him and demand their drugs. Simms leads them deep into the funeral home and tells them their "reward" is in three closed caskets, each of which has their corpses inside. The dealers are terrified to learn that they are dead; at the whim of Simms their guns burn red hot, forcing the dealers to drop them.

Simms explains that after killing Crazy K, some of Crazy K's "boys" killed them in retaliation. Bulldog then asks Simms why they are still alive if they are dead. Simms, growing more eccentric by the second, tells them that they are not in a funeral home, but in Hell. He transforms into Satan, and the walls of the funeral home shatter, revealing the fiery reality of where they had been all along. The drug dealers scream in horror at Simms' transformation into the Devil. Their fate is to burn in eternal damnation along with others, as Satan laughs.

Source: Wikipedia

 

Classic Movies & TV - The Five Heartbeats Tags: classic movies tv five heartbeats word life production featured blog

The Five Heartbeats is a 1991 musical drama film directed by Robert Townsend, who co-wrote the script with Keenan Ivory Wayans. Distributed by 20th Century Fox, the film's main cast includes Townsend, Michael Wright, Leon Robinson, Harry J. Lennix, Tico Wells, Harold Nicholas of the Nicholas Brothers, and Diahann Carroll. The plot of the film (which is loosely based on the lives of several artists: The Dells, The Temptations, Four Tops, Wilson Pickett, James Brown, Frankie Lymon, Sam Cooke and others)follows the three decade career of the R&B vocal group The Five Heartbeats. The film depicts the rise and fall of a Motown inspired soul act through the eyes of the film's main protagonist, Donald "Duck" Matthews (portrayed by Townsend), who serves as a narrator throughout the film. However, a majority of the cinema is presented in a consecutive time line as opposed to traditional flash backs.

The film was released to most North American audiences March 29, 1991 however it was not made available to audiences in other continents until 2002 when a DVD was released prior to another DVD release in 2006 for the film's 15th anniversary. The movie received mixed reviews from critics.

In the early 1990s, Donald "Duck" Matthews browses a Rolling Stone magazine, noticing an article questioning the recent exploits of The Five Heartbeats, The Temptations, and The Four Tops and why the groups disbanded.

In a flashback, Donald Matthews, Anthony "Choir Boy" Stone, J.T. Matthews and Terrence "Dresser" Williams are preparing to perform at a music contest. They are forced to prepare to sing both their vocals and those of other members since Eddie King Jr. and Bobby, the lead singers, are missing. Bobby and Eddie cheat while gambling. Bobby is shot in the leg, but Eddie arrives at the contest and performs with the Heartbeats.

The group loses to Flash and the Ebony Sparks but pleases the crowd and is noticed by music producer Jimmy Potter. Jimmy offers to manage the group; to prove he has their best interests at heart he promises them $100 from his own pocket if they do not win first prize the next month. After a more polished performance the group still loses. Jimmy pays the group, and they sign a contract with him. Jimmy brings in Ernest "Sarge" Johnson as the group's choreographer. After vigorous training Sarge and Jimmy feel the Heartbeats are ready to perform in a larger competition.

Bird, lead singer of Bird and The Midnight Falcons witnesses the Heartbeats rehearsing their routine and is concerned his group could lose; he asks his girlfriend to invite her friends and boo The Heartbeats while cheering The Midnight Falcons. The announcer, Bird's cousin, forces The Heartbeats to use a piano player they are unfamiliar with. He also claims that The Heartbeats believe themselves to be better than the other groups.

The Heartbeats perform "A Heart Is a House for Love". Duck grows frustrated with the house piano player's butchering of the music and takes over the piano. Eddie leads the group in a number that results in Bird's girlfriend fainting in Eddie's arms. Watching in the audience is Flash, leader of the Ebony Sparks. The Heartbeats win the contest with a standing ovation and the interest of Big Red, who owns Big Red Records. Big Red offers them a deal, but Jimmy and his wife Eleanor, aware of Big Red's corrupt operations, decline. The group searches for a record company they can trust, but the only ones that will sign them are Caucasian operated and insist that their songs be covered by a white group named The Five Horsemen, giving the Heartbeats only minor song writing credit, thus forcing them to sign with Big Red.

The group goes on the road. Choir Boy's father is concerned he will forget where he comes from, Dresser has a girl back home, Eddie's father is waiting for him to fail and J.T. and Duck have a family depending on them. The travel is marked by racism and poor living conditions. Dresser's girlfriend visits at the same time as the record rep from Big Red. Dresser finds out his girlfriend is pregnant and they are faced with their first album cover having white people on the cover. Despite their problems, the group becomes successful.

Throughout the mid to late 1960s The Five Heartbeats receive numerous awards, charting several hits, and being featured on magazine covers. Eddie abuses alcohol and cocaine, causing him to miss rehearsals and performances as well as losing his girlfriend. Eddie becomes paranoid and attempts to blackmail the other Heartbeats and Jimmy using his new deal with Big Red, along with buying Jimmy out of his contract. Jimmy threatens to go to authorities with information about bootlegged LPs, cooked books and payola that could have Big Red arrested, leading Red to have Jimmy killed. In the wake of the murder, the group learns that Eddie's deceit was behind the argument between Jimmy and Big Red. The group gets together to talk and includes Bird, whom Red beat up when he questioned his bookkeeping, to put Big Red away. Big Red is convicted of Jimmy's murder and the group moves to a new record label, but, despite Duck's pleas, Eddie leaves the group in disgrace.

The Heartbeats add former rival Flash as their lead singer, which angers J.T. due to their rivalry over women. Duck has gained the attention of Tanya Sawyer, whom he lusted after since meeting her in Jimmy's living room years ago. After their engagement, he suspects she is having an affair. After she leaves the house, he follows her to a hotel. The doorman asks for his autograph and marvels at the fact that he is the second Heartbeat the doorman has seen that night; his brother is already upstairs. Duck realizes Tanya is cheating on him with his brother. As Duck leaves, his fiancee and brother fight. Tanya has been trying to break things off, but he insists that she break things off with Duck. Tanya refuses, insisting she loves Duck. At an awards ceremony celebrating their success, Flash announces he is leaving the group. Duck reveals that he knows about Tanya and J.T., and that he, too, is no longer a Heartbeat.

 

Several years later, Duck receives a letter from Choir Boy, who returned to his father's church. He asks Duck to come to a service. When he enters the church Choir Boy's father is speaking then the choir starts singing and Eddie and Baby Doll step up to sing lead. After the service Duck reunites with Eddie, Choir Boy and Baby Doll. Eddie is clean, sober and married to Baby Doll, and also manages a group. He asks Duck to write songs for them, to which he agrees. He urges Duck to contact J.T. Duck finds J.T. in a park with a wife (an old girlfriend with whom he shared a bathroom sex scene at the beginning of the movie) and two children, including a son affectionately named "Duck". The brothers reconcile.

In the early 1990s, Flash has transitioned from doo wop to pop, as the lead singer of Flash and The Five Horsemen. The Heartbeats are disappointed by the music and aspire to show their families how they performed at the peak of their career. At first Eddie declines to join the other Heartbeats but Eleanor Potter, coming to terms with her husband's death, forgives Eddie.

The Five Heartbeats reunite at the end in front of their families and friends, trying graciously to remember their old moves.

The Five Heartbeats

Robert Townsend as Donald "Duck" Matthews: Duck hails from a poor family. He is The Five Heartbeats' co-founder and brother of fellow Heartbeat's member J.T. Matthews, and originally was only the composer and musician for the group. He is a permanent vocalist after Bobby disappears. He serves as the movie's narrator, with the film beginning as he reminisces about the group's career.

Leon as J.T. Matthews: J.T. is the older brother of Duck.

Michael Wright as Eddie King, Jr. : (Because of a thick southern drawl, this is often heard as Eddie Kane) Eddie comes from an area that features predominantly poor individuals, his own father believing his attempts to start a career in the music industry will be unsuccessful. Similar to David Ruffin, Eddie is the lead vocalist of the band and falls into a life of drugs that eventually leads to his expulsion from the group as well as emotional trauma. Eddie is one of the founding members of The Heartbeats and serves as the crowd pleaser whose voice leads to success in many of their performances.

Tico Wells as Anthony "Choir Boy" Stone: Stone is given the nickname "Choir Boy" (much to his chagrin) for his past as a choir boy in his father's church. Similar to Eddie, Stone's father does not support his decision to become a music artist fearing rock and jazz are "the devil's music."

 Harry J. Lennix as Terrence "Dresser" Williams: The original choreographer of The Heartbeats, Dresser serves as the groups bass singer and one of the founding members. He is replaced by Ernest "Sarge" Johnson as the choreographer after Sarge out-dances Dresser.

 

Other characters

 

Hawthorne James as Big Red Davis: Corrupt owner of the first record label The Five Heartbeats are signed to.

Chuck Patterson as Jimmy Potter: The Heartbeats' manager, Jimmy is responsible for giving the group the opportunity to perform at more publicized events and receive training from Ernest "Sarge" Johnson.

 Diahann Carroll as Eleanor Potter: Jimmy Potter's wife, Eleanor along with her husband are the original supporters of The Five Heartbeats.

 John Canada Terrell as Michael "Flash" Turner: Lead singer of Flash and the Ebony Sparks, the Heartbeats' only competition. When Eddie goes into a downward spiral, Flash is brought in as the new lead singer.

 Roy Fegan as Bird: Bird is the lead singer of Bird and The Midnight Falcons. Early in the film the character attempts to defeat The Five Heartbeats in a vocal contest. After Big Red orchestrates the murder of Jimmy Potter, Bird joins members of the Heartbeats in testifying against Red and helps to convict him of the murder.

 Harold Nicholas of The Nicholas Brothers as Ernest "Sarge" Johnson: Johnson is The Five Heartbeat's choreographer. He choreographs the dance moves for the group. Sarge is last seen in the hospital on his birthday.

Troy Beyer as Baby Doll: Eddie's girlfriend, who leaves him after he abuses drugs and alcohol. She later marries Eddie and they are shown singing together in a choir.

Theresa Randle as Brenda: - Dresser's girlfriend, who later becomes his wife. She and Dresser have a daughter named Monica.

Lamont Johnson as Bobby Cassanova: Bobby and Eddie are the original co-lead singers of the group. Bobby is only seen in the movie's opening scenes when he and Eddie are caught cheating at a high stakes poker game. Bobby gets shot in the leg and is replaced by Eddie as the lead singer.

Carla Brothers as Tanya Sawyer: Tanya and Duck were set to be wed, but Duck's suspicion about Tanya and Choir boy had him follow her to a motel only to find out that his brother J.T. was the one seeing her. This led Duck to estrange himself from the Heartbeats and his Brother for years.

Tressa Thomas as "Duck's Little Sister:" Clara Matthews, Duck's little sister, was also his muse, often helping him compose and arrange songs for the group as they did household chores. She was instrumental in arranging the vocals for "We Haven't Finished Yet".

Other bands

 

Bird and The Midnight Falcons portrayed by actors Roy Fegan, Gregory Alexander, Roger Rose, Jimmy Woodard: The group The Five Heartbeats compete against in their second onscreen performance. The Midnight Falcons attempt to cheat by ordering their girlfriends to deliberately cheer against The Heartbeats.

 Flash and the Ebony Sparks portrayed by John Canada Terrell, Ron Jackson, Recoe Walker and Wayne "Crescendo" Ward: The Ebony Sparks defeat The Five Heartbeats in singing competitions—many of which are rigged—prior to their mainstream popularity. Flash later becomes the lead singer for the Five Heartbeats.

Production

After writing (along with Keenan Ivory Wayans), producing, directing, and starring in his first film Hollywood Shuffle, Robert Townsend had attained near-cult status among independent filmmakers due to his dedication to that film—a project which caused him to max out all his credit cards and spend nearly $100,000 of his own money raised through savings and various acting jobs in order to produce the film. When writing Townsend's first feature-length film The Five Heartbeats, Townsend and Wayans kept comedy an important aspect of the film, but also explored complex characters in a more dramatic way.  After extensive research with R&B singing group The Dells, who were renowned for their four-decade career, Townsend used his film to depict a similar story, following the lives of three friends who aspire to musical stardom. Given the setting of the film, he was able to tie in other elements, such as race relations, as well. Due to the production's budgetary constraints, Townsend used little-known actors of the time, with the exceptions of Leon Robinson, Diahann Carroll and Harold Nicholas of The Nicholas Brothers.

Promotion

To promote the film prior to its release, Townsend, along with the other actors who portrayed the fictional musical quartet The Five Heartbeats (Leon Robinson, Michael Wright, Harry J. Lennix, and Tico Wells) performed in a concert with real-life Soul/R&B vocal group The Dells, one of many groups that inspired the film. The Dells sang and recorded the vocals as the actors lip synced.

Soundtrack

The Five Heartbeats

(Music from the Motion Picture)

Soundtrack album by Various Artists

Released             April 2, 1991

Genre   Pop, Soul

Label     Capitol

A soundtrack for the film was released by Virgin Records, featuring original music by various artists. Both "Nights Like This" and "A Heart Is a House for Love" became top 20 hits on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Singles chart. Many of the tracks are credited to fictional characters in the film as opposed to the actual vocalists.

   A Heart Is a House for Love - The Dells

    We Haven't Finished Yet - Patti LaBelle, Tressa Thomas, Billy Valentine

    Nights Like This - After 7

    Bring Back the Days - U.S. Male

    Baby Stop Running Around - Bird & The Midnight Falcons

    In the Middle - Dee Harvey

    Nothing But Love - The Dells with Billy Valentine

    Are You Ready for Me - Dee Harvey

    Stay in My Corner - The Dells

I Feel Like Going On - Andre Crouch (Eddie, Baby Doll and the L.A. Mass Choir)

Reception

The film grossed approximately $8,500,000 after being released in 862 theaters throughout North America. However, despite the film's moderate success, it was not well received by a majority of critics. On Rotten Tomatoes The Five Heartbeats accumulated an average of 38%, although only 16 reviews were counted (6 of which were positive, the remaining 10 negative).

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times commented that:

“at feature length, Townsend shows a real talent, and, not surprisingly, an ability to avoid most cliches, to go for the human truth in his characters...by the end we really care about these guys...There is one obligatory scene showing racial prejudice against the group, and it seems a little tacked on, as if the only purpose of the Southern trip was to justify the scene.     ”

Due to the nature of the film, music montages were often used to progress the plot; critics considered this a major flaw.

The numerous musical performances in the film were highly acclaimed. All Music complimented the Dells' lead singer Marvin Junior (who provided the singing voice for fictional character Eddie King, Jr.) stating that he was "one of the most underrated voices in pop music."Tressa Thomas' performance of "We Haven't Finished Yet," in particular, was given favorable attention by critics. The film received an ASCAP award for Most Performed Songs in a Motion Picture for the song "Nights Like This."

DVD releases

A DVD was released for the film in 2002, a special edition was also released in 2006 for the film's 15th Anniversary which includes additional content.

 

Diff'rent Strokes-Classic TV Tags: different strokes classic tv word life production featured blog television new quality

Diff'rent Strokes is an American television sitcom that aired on NBC from November 3, 1978, to May 4, 1985, and on ABC from September 27, 1985, to March 7, 1986. The series stars Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges as Arnold and Willis Jackson, two African American boys from Harlem who are taken in by a rich white Park Avenue businessman named Phillip Drummond (Conrad Bain) and his daughter Kimberly (Dana Plato), for whom their deceased mother previously worked.During the first season and first half of the second season, Charlotte Rae also starred as the Drummonds' housekeeper, Mrs. Garrett (who ultimately spun-off into her own successful show, The Facts of Life).

The series made stars out of child actors Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, and Dana Plato, and became known for the "very special episodes" in which serious issues such as racism, illegal drug use, and child sexual abuse were dramatically explored. The lives of these stars were later plagued by legal troubles and drug addiction, as the stardom and success they achieved while on the show eluded them after the series was cancelled, with both Plato and Coleman having early deaths.

In pre-production, the original proposed title was 45 Minutes From Harlem. The series was originally devised as a joint vehicle for Maude co-star Conrad Bain (after Maude had abruptly finished production following an unsuccessful revamp earlier in 1978), and diminutive child actor Gary Coleman, who had caught producers' attentions after appearing in a number of commercials.

The sitcom starred Coleman as Arnold Jackson and Todd Bridges as his older brother, Willis. They played two children from a poor section of Harlem whose deceased mother previously worked for rich widower Philip Drummond (Bain), who eventually adopted them. They lived in a penthouse with Drummond, his daughter Kimberly (Dana Plato), and their maid.

There were three maids during the show's run: Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae), Adelaide Brubaker (Nedra Volz), and Pearl Gallagher (Mary Jo Catlett). They lived in the Penthouse Suite at 697 Park Avenue in New York City. As Arnold, Coleman popularized the catchphrase "What'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" The ending often varied, depending on whom he was addressing.

Seasons 1–4

In Season 1, Charlotte Rae appeared in every episode as Edna Garrett, but she departed the show partway through the second season to star in her own spin-off, The Facts of Life. Following Rae's departure, Nedra Volz took over as the housekeeper, Adelaide Brubaker. Although she was not part of the official main cast and not added to the opening credits, Volz appeared as a frequent semi-regular character.

Seasons 5–6

In Season 5, Mary Jo Catlett portrayed Pearl Gallagher, the last of the three maids, and joined the cast as a series regular. Pearl appeared in almost every episode until the final season. Midway through Season 6, Dana Plato became pregnant and approached the producers of the show to include her pregnancy. Initially they agreed to add it, but they later recanted, with Plato's publicized brushes with substance abuse contributing to this decision, resulting in her dismissal from the series.

Plato's character, Kimberly, was written out of the story lines with the explanation that she moved to Paris to study abroad for a couple of years. Plato did not appear as a series regular in the final two seasons of the series, but she made several guest appearances.

At the same time, ratings were beginning to sag, so new characters were added to open up future storylines. Dixie Carter and Danny Cooksey portrayed recently divorced television aerobics instructor Margaret "Maggie" McKinney, and her son, Sam McKinney. Carter was introduced partway into the sixth season; after she left for California, Drummond (with family in tow) took off after her, during a two-part trip in February 1984, a storyline which also introduced Sam.

Phillip proposed to Maggie, and they married. Several past characters attended the wedding ceremony including Dudley, Aunt Sophia, Adelaide, and Mrs. Garrett.

Season 7

In the seventh season, Carter and Cooksey were added to the opening credits (with Carter getting special "and" billing, last in the order), and many new areas and ideas were explored in the storylines, as viewers now got to see Philip as happily married. Also, since there was a new fresh-faced kid in the house with Sam, Arnold now had his own little sidekick and was happy to be a "big brother" for a change, and with Willis being dropped into the background slightly, this new brotherly duo took center stage for many storylines. Additionally, stories focusing on Arnold's school life (featured occasionally in many previous seasons) were delved into much more. The ratings did not improve to NBC's hopes. Carter departed at the end of the seventh season.

Season 8

In the spring of 1985, NBC canceled the series because of poor ratings. ABC picked up the series for an eighth season, and aired it Friday nights. In this season, which turned out to be the last, Mary Ann Mobley replaced Dixie Carter as Maggie McKinney Drummond. Mobley, who had previously played an unrelated, one-off love interest of Drummond's during the first season, had originally been a contender for the part but was not chosen due to the obvious age disparity between her and Conrad Bain. However, producers later had second thoughts about Carter's casting, and with ratings falling, decided to bring Mobley on board.

ABC canceled the series after 19 episodes, and aired its final episode on March 7, 1986. The show returned to ABC's schedule in June for two months of summer reruns, which ended on August 30, 1986. The final season ranked 76th out of 106 shows, and averaged an 11.5 household rating.

Source: Wikipedia

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