As an Adult, I Have Some Questions About the Movie Soul Food…

Every now and then, my wife and I will watch some classic Black movies that brings us joy and nostalgia. We’ve watched The Wood, Love & Basketball, A Thin Line Between Love & Hate among so many others. I always find it interesting seeing a classic with her because we’ll talk about when we first watched something, our contexts, and more. When you’re married, I think it’s easy to forget that your partner lived a whole ass life before you, which I always think is pretty cool. Like, why the hell were YOU watching BET Uncut at 11 years old?

Anywho, we watched the movie, Soul Food, together. Never saw Soul Food? Here’s the quick and dirty: the film is about this Black middle class family loving their lives and how they would come together for Grandma’s Sunday soul food dinner. There’s some drama throughout the movie and a critical moment that sends the family into disarray. Oh, and the movie is told through the eyes of 11-year old, Ahmad. Mind you, I used to love this movie because I identified so much with the main character and his relationship with his grandma. Hell, I’ve shed a few tears at different viewings of the movie in my lifetime.

Now with all that said, here’s the shits. I hate looking at some movies as an adult because I analyze the shit outta things at this stage in my life. Here’s a few questions/observations that came up for me during my recent viewing of Soul Food, which will probably lead to me never really watching again (potential spoilers):

•What was the point of the movie? Really, what was the point? Was there a lesson that I was supposed to learn as the viewer?

• Why didn’t anyone chime in to stop Lem at the wedding? In the very beginning we see how Lem is all up on his ex (why was she there anyway) and everyone is just okay with it. Nobody thought to say, “aye bruh, you pushing it..”?

• So the soul food itself is an essential “character” in the movie and the director does everything he can to emphasize this point. Even going as far as panning over the food that the family eats. For the most part, it looked good until they stopped on the Mac and cheese. That did not look good at all. I was embarrassed for grandma.

• What happened to Cousin Faith in real life? Her actual name is Gina Ravera and it looks like she’s been active on the small screen (according to her Wikipedia). How does she feel being referred to as Cousin Faith? Matter fact, I wonder if there’s some type of group counseling for actors/actresses who play their roles so well, that they’re known by that one specific role?

• Who put the food away when the family had to go to the hospital? They didn’t just leave the food out, did they? Wasteful…

• There’s something weird about an ex who comes up to your job, buys you gifts, and tries to wine and dine you despite the fact that you’re married. In our current context, that’s considered stalking and harassment yet it was cool when Bird’s ex was actually doing this.

• Ahmad was 11 years old and how in the blue hell was he narrating his mom and dad’s first meeting? How he know the history between his mom and dad? Messy.

• I appreciated the behind the curtain look into life after a felony with Lem who was trying to get a job and move on in life.

• Why didn’t Lem and Bird have a discussion about money ahead of time?

• So Lem gets fired from his job and he goes to talk to Kenny, you know, “brotherhood”. I’m for it. What I’m not for? After Lem explains what’s happening, Kenny tried to help him and gives Lem some money. The problem? Bruh, it’s $3. How is that supposed to take care of ANYTHING?

• I never knew that Terri’s husband was an attorney. I felt like they didn’t make that super clear.

• Fast-forward to us in the hospital and the family finds out something went wrong with the surgery for gran gran. My question is why did everyone else but the main character go to her room? Why did they just left ol boy in the waiting room by himself?

• Ahmad (who is a child) is messy. I’m trying to find out why so many folks felt comfortable discussing their issues with this kid? He didn’t get the chance to be a child I see.

• This family has had Sunday dinner uninterrupted for 40 years. That’s dope when you think about it yet when you do the math, that means at minimum, they’ve done the same dinner 2,080 times. That’s a lot of unhealthy eating in a lifetime.

• Uncle Pete was hella disrespectful not to eat Bird’s cooking. He ain’t have to slide it back out like he did.

• Babyface brother looked old as hell.

• It was dope to see the gradual development of K Ci and JoJo. When they first started in the industry part of Jodeci, they were strictly r&b, but by the time they got to Soul Food, the focus was on the ballads.

• I never knew the name of Miles’ band was “Milestone”.

• Theres a scene where Terri’s husband sees Cousin Faith struggling outside and he pulls up. Chicago ain’t THAT small. Come on nih…

• Speaking of Faith, her dance performance actually wasn’t that good at all. It reminded me of Julia Styles in Save the Last Dance. Back then, you thought folks was killing it and then you get older, issa no.

• Why wasn’t Ahmad ever in class and why he always in everybody’s business?

• I never noticed how Lem and Bird stayed at her mama house while she was in the hospital.

• When Bird’s cousins went to jump Lem and Lem pulled out that steel on ol’ boy, Dude said “i should’ve brought my gun”. You can’t be unprepared as a thug. I’m disappointed.

• Again, why was Ahmad at every situation?

• Big momma was in the coma for 5 weeks??

• Did Uncle Pete go to the funeral?

The part that kills me about this movie is the fact that their matriarch just died due to complications of diabetes brought on by poor diet. Knowing this, they bring the Sunday dinner back and are right back to the bad eating habits that killed their gran gran. Are Black families that naive to do something like that? No, not at all. But nobody thought to say, “maybe we shouldn’t eat chitlings, hamhocks, and greasy foods because it just killed grandma?”

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