‘John Henry’ on The New Chitlin Circuit (Episode 9)

This week Syd & Lex reviewed the highly discussed action movie ‘John Henry’, written and directed by newcomer Will Forbes. The movie stars Terry Crews and Ludacris, who play two cousins slash nemeses.

The movie is loosely based on the African American folk tale by the same name, about a hard-working, hammer-swinging man named John Henry.

Like a 90s Ganagsta movie…but with a hammer

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Syd & Lex share their thoughts on their childhood memories of this folktale. Lex gives credit to Director Forbes for the quality direction, despite the weakness of the story.

Syd’s Who Came to Ack Nominee of the Week:

….Sydney

This is not a typo, Sydney nominated herself for the Who Came to Ack award this week. Tune in to hear this unprecedented event.

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Note from Lex: Syd and I are both quarantined in separate cities (DC and NY, respectively.) So we’re unable to record in the studio for a while. Bear with us while we perfect our remote recording.

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This week Syd & Lex reviewed the buzzworthy indie drama ‘Waves’ (2019) starring Kelvin Harrison Jr, Sterling K. Brown, and Renee Elise Goldsberry. The movie was directed by Trey Edward Shultz and distributed by A24.

Waves follows a south Florida family navigating the stresses of family life and the tragedy of loss.

Waves' review: An African American family is the fulcrum of this ...

Syd & Lex share their thoughts on the stresses of a high-achieving High Schooler, reflecting back on the pressures felt by many teenagers in Tyler’s (played by Harrison Jr.) position. Lex notes the careful cinematography in Waves, citing the recent movement toward beautiful film often at the expense of functional shots and driving plot with the camera.

Both hosts are big fans of Sterling K Brown in the TV show This Is Us. So they remark on how startling it is to see Brown in the role of a mean father, contrasting the loving Randall Pearson America watches each week on This Is Us.

Syd’s Who Came to Ack Nominee of the Week:

Waves (2019) - IMDb
Bro. Kelvin Harrison Jr.

Syd nominates Kelvin Harrison Jr. for the weekly Who Came to Ack award. Harrison character, Tyler, seems eerily similar to Harrison’s character in another indie film ‘Luce’. But by the climax of Waves it’s clear that the characters are on different ends of the spectrum. This is quite a nod to Harrison Jr.’s abilities as an actor.

Segment: On Second Watch

Syd & Lex reflect on the now 20 year-old action flick, ‘Romeo Must Die’ featuring the late Aaliyah. The hosts give credit to the impact and coolness of the film….but question the true quality. Is ‘Romeo Must Die’ still worth a watch?

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This week Syd & Lex reviewed Love Jacked, available on Netflix, and starring Amber West Stevens and Shamier Anderson. The movie follows a young artist who travels to South Africa for inspiration, but finds love and antics instead.

The movie includes some delightful appearances from some idols in Black film; Marla Gibbs, Keith David, and Mike Epps. The direction from Alfons Adetuyi and cinematography from Lance Gewer provided the perfect visual backdrop for this light-hearted romance.

Syd & Lex share their thoughts on Black rom-coms. Both hosts share a nostalgic appreciation for Hallmark romance films, so they appreciated the clean adaptation of that format in Love Jacked.

Lex enjoyed seeing Keith David in another endearing Father role. While he nailed the Disapproving Dad in this movie, Lex reflects fondly on his similar role in the classic ATL.

Syd’s Who Came to Ack Nominee of the Week:

Shamier Anderson in Love Jacked (2018)
Shamier Anderson as Malcolm/Fake Mtumbie

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Learn more about The New Chitlin Circuit

Note from Lex: Syd and I are both quarantined in separate cities (DC and NY, respectively.) So we’re unable to record in the studio for a while. Bear with us while we perfect our remote recording.

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This week Syd & Lex reviewed Selah and the Spades, starring Lovie Simone and Jharrel Jerome. We were excited to finally watch this movie. Selah and the Spades is the directorial debut of young Director, Tayarisha Poe.

“Like Mean Girls meets the Godfather”

Syd & Lex share their thoughts on this teen drama. And Syd expresses her long-running appreciation for organized crime, along with the parallels between New York’s five crimes families and the movie’s five factions. Lex has some thoughts on young directors’ love for trick shots and flashy cinematography.

Syd’s Who Came to Ack Nominee of the Week:

Lovie Simone on 'Selah and the Spades' and 'The Craft' reboot
Ms. Lovie Simone

New Segments!

This week, we’re trying a new format. Our (spoiler-free) review of Selah and the Spades will in the first half of the episode. And, each week, we’ll have rotating segments. This week, our segment was “On Second Watch” where Syd defends the classic ‘Love and Basketball.’

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The New Chitlin Circuit is a podcast hosted by two best friends, and Black movie-enthusiasts, Syd and Lex. We review Black indie, low-budget, and direct-to-tv movies. Learn more about The New Chitlin Circuit.

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This week Syd & Lex reviewed rom-com, ‘Always a Bridesmaid’, written by Yvette Nicole Brown and directed by Trey Haley. Brown is known for her acting roles in television shows like Community and Drake & Josh. But she shows her chops as a film writer in the charming romance flick.

Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride?

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Episode 4 of The New Chitlin Circuit, reviewing Always a Bridesmaid

Syd & Lex share their thoughts on modern romance and the anxiety to wed experienced by just about every 29-year-old, successful Romance protagonist. Lex is tired of hetero romances, but also cannot seem to stop watching them.

Syd’s Who Came to Ack Nominee of the Week:

Exclusive: Actress Yvette Nicole Brown Talks About Her ...
Jordan Calloway, as Mark Randall.

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Note from Lex: Syd and I are both quarantined in separate cities (DC and NY, respectively.) So we’re unable to record in the studio for a while. Bear with us while we perfect our remote recording.

Join the Discussion

This week Syd & Lex reviewed the newly released ‘Uncorked’, written, directed, and produced by Prentice Penny. Penny is known for his work on the HBO show ‘Insecure’, but ‘Uncorked’ is his film debut. And what a debut it is!

Which type of White Wine are you?

Syd & Lex share their thoughts on this classic tale of a young man balancing his the pursuit of his dreams with the responsibility to his family. Niecy Nash, Courtney B. Vance, and Mamoudou Athie come together to make ‘Uncorked’ a heart-warming showcase of Black families.

Syd’s Who Came to Ack Nominee of the Week:

Courtney B. Vance Interview: On 'Uncorked,' Wine, And BBQ
Bro. Courtney B. Vance

Learn more about The New Chitlin Circuit

Tune In Here!

Also find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Podchaser, or Google Podcasts!

Note from Lex: Syd and I are both quarantined in separate cities (DC and NY, respectively.) So we’re unable to record in the studio for a while. Bear with us while we perfect our remote recording.

Join the Discussion

The New Chitlin Circuit, a podcast reviewing black indie, low-budget, and direct-to-tv black movies, is hosted by Syd and Lex.

What do chitlins have to do with movies?

The ‘Chitlin Circuit’ is a term used to describe a ring of performance venues where black entertainers could perform. Throughout American history this term has mainly referred to theatre and musical venues. But now independent black performers can showcase their work on streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Urban Movie Channel. This is what we call the new Chitlin Circuit. We started The New Chitlin Circuit as a place for independent Black films to receive the spotlight and appreciation they deserve.

What type of movies will we review?

While attending Howard University, Syd and I were roommates. And our favorite way to wind down on a Friday night was a tall glass of cheap Moscato (ahh, college) and the blackest movie we could find.

While many film buffs scoff at the Sister Codes and Boy Byes on the movie world, Syd and I love these feel-good flicks. But after finishing a movie like Plug Love, when I search the web to find the critical reception or the online conversation about the movie…there’s nothing. So The New Chitlin Circuit is our answer to that.

Black independent film comes in many genres and our goal is to highlight all kinds of black indies. So we’ll review the gangster movies, the rom-coms with Marques Houston, the arthouse dramas with Sundance buzz, and everything in between.

The Hosts

Syd

Syd is a native of Lithonia, GA and Howard Alum. She’s a proud member of the Beyhive, a Cheetah Girls enthusiast, and your local Black culture expert. While Syd is a professional Marketer, she moonlights as a free-trial scammer. Meet Syd!

Lex

Lex grew up in Metro Atlanta, but is (overly) proud of their country, Alabama roots. If Lex is chatting at a party, chances are they’re talking about public transit, a Tyler Perry movie, or some gay sh*t. Meet Lex!

Tune in every Monday to hear our review of the very best of Black independent movies!

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