The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
Search DAARAC's Archive
Showing posts with label TV Movie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TV Movie. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

A Lesson Before Dying (1999, TV Movie)

"A Lesson Before Dying" (1999) is a powerful drama originally aired on HBO. It's directed by Joseph Sargent and written by Ann Peacock, who adapted the story from Ernest J. Gaines' 1993 novel under the same title. The film stars an outstanding cast featuring Don Cheadle, Cicely Tyson, Mekhi Phifer, Irma P. Hall, Brent Jennings, Lisa Arrindell, and Dana Ivey. Phifer plays Jefferson, a black man accused of murdering a white man, which ends with his conviction and sentencing to death. Cheadle plays a college-educated black who returns to his small southern town to teach but faces internal conflicts about his dreams, goals, and ambitions of where he is in life. With encouragement, Cheadle visits Jefferson to help turn him into a man after the courts and justice system deem him nothing more than an animal before sentencing him to death.

This compelling film has so much depth and honesty to it. All the actors performed at high levels and brought the characters to life. Ironically, the film has many lessons beyond what Cheadle tries to convey. As a school teacher, he also deals with young children facing hardships. This movie is a must for fans who appreciate distinguished acting, powerful storytelling, and messages that can translate to everyone. I highly recommend it for viewing.

Director: Joseph Sargent
Writers: Ernest J. Gaines, Ann Peacock

Starring Don Cheadle, Cicely Tyson, Mekhi Phifer, Irma P. Hall, Brent Jennings, Lisa Arrindell, Dana Ivey, Frank Hoyt Taylor, Stuart Culpepper, Patty Mack, Von Coulter, Elijah Kelley, Wynton Yates, Jameelah Nuriddin, Cierra Meche

Grant Wiggins (Don Cheadle) has become resigned to racial injustice in the South. Returning to his hometown with a college degree, he continues to teach in the same one-room school of his youth. Struggling to make a difference in an oppressive time and place, Grant is called upon by two local women, Tante Lou, and Miss Emma, to visit the town prison. There, Jefferson, a simple young man, has been convicted of a murder he did not commit and sentenced to die like an animal. Jefferson is full of rage and resentment, and the women are convinced that somehow he must be taught to die not like an animal but like a man. It falls upon the teacher to enrich a life he cannot save and, in so doing, somehow redeem his own by teaching one young man "A Lesson Before Dying."

Friday, November 10, 2023

The Runaway (2000, TV Movie)

"The Runaway" (2000) is a made-for-television drama aired on CBS and was the 207th presentation of the Hallmark Hall of Fame. It was directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman and written by Ron Raley, who based the story on Terry Klay's 1997 novel under the same title as the film. The film stars an excellent cast, which includes Dean Cain, Debbie Morgan, Kathryn Erbe, Maya Angelou, Pat Hingle, Cliff De Young, Roxanne Hart, Robinne Lee, Cody Newton, and Duane McLaughlin.

This movie is excellent storytelling about the relationship of two boys from the 1940s South. One is black, and the other is white. They have a strong friendship that exists beyond racial color lines. They discover a human bone, which reopens the case of three black men murdered. Dean Cain leads the investigation of a sheriff trying to seek justice for a black family while the townspeople want their way of life to remain status quo. 

This movie has some admirable acting and storytelling. It's an honest take on the complications of race relationships in American society and the tribulations black people faced to get fair shots within the justice system. The film has no foul language or derogatory words, so it is suitable for multiple age ranges. I highly recommend it for viewing. I was pleasantly surprised how good it turned out to be.

Director: Arthur Allan Seidelman
Writers: Terry Klay, Ron Raley

Starring Dean Cain, Pat Hingle, Debbi Morgan, Kathryn Erbe, Cliff De Young, Roxanne Hart, Cody Newton, Duane McLaughlin, Maya Angelou, Robinne Lee, Kamali Minter, Afemo Omilami, Michael Harding, Robin O'Dell, Brett Rice, Mike Pniewski

At the birth of a black and white baby, a mysterious and powerful Conjure Woman (Maya Angelou) prophesies, "You're going to make a difference and start the change." And indeed, they do. Luke Winter (Cody Newton) and Joshua "Sonny" Monroe (Duan McLaughlin) grow up as best friends in a rural Georgia town in the 1940s. On one of their youthful adventures, they uncover a humane bone. Their discovery leads the town's new sheriff, Frank Richards (Dean Cain), to reopen an investigation of the unsolved murders of three black men. As he doggedly pursues the case, he learns that most townspeople prefer the truth to stay hidden. With each new clue, disturbing facts surfaced, making the sheriff more determined to see justice prevail. As the case threatens to split the town apart, Sonny and Luke feel pressured to conform to the segregated ways of the past. Tensions rise, and Sonny discovers he has become the main suspect in yet one more murder.