Episode 52

full
Published on:

24th Jan 2024

Just Wright (2010)

In this episode of Hip Hop Movie Club, we discuss the 2010 rom-com Just Wright, starring Queen Latifah and Common. We explore five key takeaways from the film, including Queen Latifah's talent as a rapper-turned-actor.

Also check out:

Stuart Scott's cultural prominence

Credits:

Hip Hop Movie Club is produced by your HHMCs JB, BooGie, and DynoWright. Theme music by BooGie. Follow @hiphopmovieclub on Instagram!

And remember:

Don't hate...articulate!

Mentioned in this episode:

Brain Freeze Trivia

Shout to Brain Freeze Trivia in the Lehigh Valley! Follow them @brain_freeze_trivia on Instagram

Transcript
Speaker:

(Yo!) Welcome to Hip Hop Movie Club,

2

:

the show that harmonizes the rhythm of hip

hop with the magic of movies.

3

:

Today we're discussing Just Wright, a 2010

4

:

romcom starring Queen Latifah and Common.

5

:

We’re three old heads

who put their old heads together

6

:

to vibe on these films for you.

7

:

I'm DynoWright, podcaster,

filmmaker, long time

8

:

hip hop fan, and my favorite song

with Common guesting on it

9

:

is Respiration

from the first Black Star album.

10

:

I’m JB, eighties and nineties

nostalgia junkie, longtime hip hop fan

11

:

and I still marvel

at the use of the Geto Boys’

12

:

“Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta”

in the movie Office Space.

13

:

So good.

14

:

I'm BooGie, a deejay, longtime

hip hop fan,

15

:

and I have actually seen this movie

more times than I care to admit.

16

:

In this

episode, we'll answer the question.

17

:

Is Just Wright worth watching?

18

:

(DJ scratch sound)

And you'll be a smarter hip hop fan.

19

:

Five key takeaways at a time.

20

:

Just Wright is a 2010 rom com,

which depicts a love triangle of sorts

21

:

between a chief physical therapist,

Leslie, played by Queen Latifah,

22

:

an NBA star played by Common and Leslie's

friend and godsister Morgan.

23

:

(DJ scratch sound) We got five on it.

24

:

Here are five key takeaways.

25

:

Queen Latifah displays why she is on Mount

Rushmore of hip hop stars turned actors.

26

:

Number two,

Common shows that he's a solid actor.

27

:

Number three, the basketball scenes

are just mid like a mid-range jump shot.

28

:

Number four, the plot is quite

formulaic and predictable.

29

:

But hey, it's a rom-com.

30

:

And number five, there are a couple

of actresses whose skills and experience

31

:

are underutilized:

Pam Grier and Phylicia Rashad.

32

:

All right.

33

:

Let's talk

34

:

about those five key takeaways

as our basis here.

35

:

So the first one.

36

:

Queen Latifah,

I mean, what more is there to say?

37

:

She is on her Mount

Rushmore of hip hop stars turned actors.

38

:

DynoWright,

you want to kick us off and talk

39

:

about our Mount Rushmore

and why Queen Latifah is on it?

40

:

Sure.

41

:

We over the course of doing this podcast,

we've

42

:

discussed in live events

and on the show here

43

:

which of the four of the ones that

44

:

started out as rappers and transitioned

45

:

to acting - who were the ones that go

on the Mount Rushmore?

46

:

And so in our discussions,

Queen Latifah came up a lot

47

:

as someone who was successful

48

:

rapper

and then became a successful actress.

49

:

And she's been in

such a wide range of movies

50

:

that a lot of success.

51

:

So she rated for, at least for me,

52

:

at least in the top four.

53

:

Definitely.

54

:

BooGie, you're a huge Queen Latifah fan

and she's from your hometown.

55

:

What do you got to say about the Queen?

56

:

Yeah, I mean, I have I mean, I have an

unconditional love for the Queen,

57

:

but that bias has nothing to do with

why she's on our Mount Rushmore.

58

:

I mean, she's a complete force

to be reckoned with.

59

:

She delivers in this movie.

60

:

She gives you all of the emotions.

61

:

She comes across

as someone who's very likable.

62

:

You want to root for throughout the movie.

63

:

She's like a very genuine person.

64

:

Everything that she does in this.

65

:

film is something that's

66

:

almost she's doing everything

for everyone else.

67

:

And in the course of doing that,

you're like, Well, what about you?

68

:

What about you?

69

:

Then when things finally start going

well for her, you’re happy

70

:

because of the way she portrayed

the Leslie character in this film.

71

:

It's,

you know, I can go on, but I don't know.

72

:

I don't want to bore the listeners.

73

:

To coin a phrase that DynoWright uses.

74

:

She eats up scenes

like she's just so real and natural

75

:

from the camera and she can do it all.

76

:

And she portrayed that in this movie

as well.

77

:

DynoWright, have anything else to add on

Queen Latifah?

78

:

I'll add that

79

:

she's talented rapping, of course.

80

:

It's funny.

81

:

I talk to people sometimes younger folks.

82

:

Nothing wrong with being younger,

83

:

but they don't realize

that she started out as a rapper.

84

:

Think, man,

there's a whole career you've missed.

85

:

Yes. Which is just as good as her acting

career and also a talented singer.

86

:

So there's three major talents

that she has.

87

:

I've said this before, too,

but she's also great.

88

:

And Last Holiday with L.L. Cool J

89

:

and Stranger

Than Fiction with Will Ferrell, she

90

:

plays a literary agent

in a supporting role

91

:

to Emma Thompson

and she's terrific in that, too.

92

:

I don't think I've ever seen a movie

that she wasn't good in.

93

:

Yeah,

94

:

I love Last Holiday.

95

:

It's a great movie.

96

:

I watched it a lot, too.

97

:

It's one of my wife's favorites.

98

:

But the other rapper turned

99

:

actor

that is featured in this film is Common.

100

:

So Common.

101

:

Number two, Take away Common proves

that he's a solid actor in his own right.

102

:

BooGie, what do you have to say

about Common's performance here?

103

:

And how does he show that he's solid?

104

:

Yeah, I mean, Common, he definitely shows

he's a solid actor in this movie.

105

:

I love seeing Common on screen.

106

:

There's something about the way he comes

across as a very genuine person,

107

:

and I've seen him play different roles

108

:

in his career.

109

:

But in this particular movie,

he comes across as a genuinely nice guy

110

:

and I feel almost too nice,

almost unbelievably nice,

111

:

and to be in a film with the veteran

Queen Latifah,

112

:

who's on

113

:

Mount Rushmore,

114

:

to be on a film with Queen Latifah

to who's on Mount Rushmore,

115

:

he holds his own and the chemistry is

116

:

definitely there and he's very believable.

117

:

And you want to almost see them together

because of the way the interactions are.

118

:

Even when it wasn't apparent that

119

:

they were a couple, he was just like,

you know, being friendly.

120

:

But you could definitely see that

121

:

he was he was put his all into

the portrayal of Scott McKnight.

122

:

And I think that he

was very good in this role.

123

:

I agree.

124

:

I found Common's character,

Scott McKnight, a super likable,

125

:

very charismatic.

126

:

Like you said, I thought he was too nice,

like an NBA star.

127

:

Could they really be that nice,

especially a two time league MVP?

128

:

Normally, they they have that edge.

129

:

But maybe Steph Curry, somebody like that.

130

:

But but no one else.

131

:

It was just so nice.

132

:

And he could see through

133

:

the shallowness of someone like Morgan.

134

:

DynoWright, anything to add on Common?

135

:

Just to say that this is his first lead

role in a feature film.

136

:

And by that point,

137

:

Queen

Latifah has been in a lot of other things.

138

:

So to hold his own against

139

:

someone who's more experienced,

like Queen Latifah, he did really well.

140

:

Yeah.

141

:

(DJ scratch sound) Takeaway number three.

142

:

The basketball scenes in this movie.

143

:

I think they're just mid

like a mid-range jump shot.

144

:

Just mid. Okay,

145

:

so there's NBA footage in here or,

you know, supposed to be

146

:

you know, it's

obviously a work of fiction.

147

:

But I'll kick this off here

where I was thinking that

148

:

man McKnight only had a couple of moves

149

:

it's got of like a fake left.

150

:

And roll what?

151

:

Roll to the right.

152

:

Hit a jumper or easy dunk.

153

:

And I also thought that the game winning

three

154

:

pointer buzzer beater

to to win the Eastern Conference

155

:

finals was a little anticlimactic

the way that it was filmed.

156

:

So if you're looking for wow,

I want to see a lot of NBA action,

157

:

you're not going to see the type of action

158

:

and the amount of action

you see in something like Above the Rim.

159

:

So to me,

that took away a little bit from the film.

160

:

Boogie, what's your take

161

:

on the basketball scenes?

162

:

yeah.

163

:

I mean, the basketball,

I totally agree with you.

164

:

With the best of the basketball season.

165

:

What I do like about the film, though,

is that they actually did have some

166

:

some key cameos from some actual players

and commentators

167

:

in people

who just generally are around the game.

168

:

So that made it'll be interesting.

169

:

I love seeing

170

:

Dwight Howard coming across Mr.

171

:

Goofy Man.

172

:

He’s just a funny guy.

173

:

I mean, I love

I love seeing at the scenes with him

174

:

because he's just so, just, just tall

and goofy acting but phenomenal player.

175

:

But I mean, I see the interaction

between this

176

:

like a friendly rivalry

between Scott and Dwayne Wade.

177

:

You see where Rashard Lewis,

178

:

you know,

Rajon Rondo was in there as well.

179

:

Then we see that Rod Thorn I'm like,

Wow, they brought the big guns!

180

:

You know?

181

:

And so we stuff like that.

182

:

It also

183

:

part of Scott's upbringing.

184

:

Well,

throughout his career, young and younger

185

:

as he was a younger player,

186

:

was he

he actually used to play at the Rucker

187

:

and during his to his rehabilitation,

there's a scene where

188

:

Leslie takes him

189

:

back to the Rucker,

just kind of get him back to his roots

190

:

and let him know that, hey, listen,

you're going through something, but

191

:

look at these kids.

These kids still love you.

192

:

They still appreciate you.

They still want to see you play.

193

:

So you have them looking up to you.

194

:

So, you know, let's push forward.

195

:

So those aspects of the movie

in connection with basketball,

196

:

I really enjoyed.

197

:

But I do agree that

198

:

that that the moves were

were they definitely weren't

199

:

becoming of an

200

:

NBA player

I mean he could actually play ball

201

:

but there’s a difference in playing ball

and playing at the NBA level

202

:

and you can definitely see the difference

in his movements

203

:

as he's, you know,

204

:

dribbling up the court and doing it,

you know, trying to crossover, etc..

205

:

And yeah, that

that the best shot they could have.

206

:

I wish they would have shot that

from a different angle, like maybe like,

207

:

you know, slow motion or somebody with a

hand in his face or something like that.

208

:

You got D-Wade playing D on you.

209

:

D-Wade is not going to leave

you open for a shot like that.

210

:

He’ll at least put his hands in your face.

211

:

You might get fouled or something

like that would be cool or something.

212

:

But yeah,

213

:

I definitely agree with you on those ones.

214

:

Good takes, BooGie.

215

:

DynoWright, what are your

takes on the basketball scenes?

216

:

I thought the scenes up until the game

217

:

seven sequence were okay,

218

:

the game seven sequences were not okay

219

:

It was very perfunctory

220

:

and just kind of shot

without any drama to them.

221

:

But again, this is a romantic film,

not a basketball film or even a drama.

222

:

So you sort of cut corners there

where you can and you sort of

223

:

get to the point like you won the game.

224

:

But other than that, I think

the basketball scenes were just all right.

225

:

I think I had more fun

seeing the cameos and,

226

:

you know,

227

:

other figures in the basketball world,

like commentators,

228

:

like I'm here for all the Mike Fratello

I can get.

229

:

The Czar!

230

:

Yeah, and Marv Albert. But

231

:

yeah,

232

:

like I said, I couldn't

get over the anticlimactic nature of that.

233

:

It was no like confetti,

no huge celebration.

234

:

It was almost like a game that happened

in midseason, a buzzer beater.

235

:

It wasn't

236

:

quite the pomp and circumstance

that I would have expected.

237

:

Yeah. To go to the finals game.

238

:

That's huge at home

yep And it really should have erupted.

239

:

Yeah especially the hero

that had rehabbed all this time

240

:

and he's like the Willis Reed moment

you know kind of

241

:

Yeah.

242

:

They should be carrying him off.

243

:

Yeah.

244

:

Court Yeah, yeah.

245

:

They built up to that

and they didn't, they didn't pay it off.

246

:

Didn’t pay it off, right.

247

:

(DJ scratch sound) To be quite blunt,

248

:

the plot itself is quite formulaic

and predictable.

249

:

But hey, it's a romcom

and that's the nature of a rom com. So

250

:

that's

251

:

one thing to point out here

as our fourth takeaway.

252

:

BooGIe,

you want to speak on that aspect of it.

253

:

Yeah.

254

:

I mean some rom com, you know,

what can we say.

255

:

Right.

256

:

But you know that the two of them

257

:

are going to end up together

if you've seen the movie poster,

258

:

I mean, as was the case with most

rom coms, that journey has a few twists

259

:

and turns I won’t

really go get too much into all of them.

260

:

But I mean, even not being a rom

261

:

com junkie of sorts, I do enjoy

watching this movie every now and then.

262

:

They, like I said,

I do love the chemistry between

263

:

Queen Latifah and Common

when they were in the scenes together.

264

:

And she's like, you know,

they're two of my favorite emcees

265

:

and you just see them together acting.

This is pretty cool.

266

:

But yeah, you're not going to get

a cinematic masterpiece out of this one

267

:

DynoWright?

268

:

What are your thoughts?

269

:

Yeah, if you're hoping for something

innovative, just keep it moving.

270

:

Yeah, I mean,

271

:

not to give away the whole plot,

272

:

but you can see the way it's going.

273

:

You know,

you have the overzealous shallow friend

274

:

who is literally devoted her life to marry

NBA star and living that lifestyle.

275

:

And you have the other friend

who is your down home real one

276

:

who has bad luck in the dating scene.

277

:

And by the way, she's a physical therapist

and there’s an NBA star.

278

:

I could have predicted right away

that, you know, he's going to get hurt.

279

:

You know, he's going to rehab

rehab with her.

280

:

And, you know, there'll be some sparks.

281

:

You know how it's going to go.

282

:

So but again, it doesn't mean -

just throw away the movie.

283

:

But like, if you want on a cold winter

day, you know,

284

:

you want a cute story

with some real legends in the cast.

285

:

You know, Queen Latifah,

Common, Pam Grier, Phylicia Rashad.

286

:

I would say

287

:

it's like watching a sitcom episodes

innocuous, lighthearted,

288

:

generally lighthearted, fun,

but very little suspense.

289

:

Yeah,

290

:

cuddle up and get some popcorn

and then just get it, get a go,

291

:

you know, just watch something.

292

:

Yeah, exactly.

293

:

Yeah, yeah.

294

:

Final takeaway.

295

:

Fifth takeaway is

we feel that there were a couple actresses

296

:

cast in this film

whose skills and experience

297

:

were underutilized,

298

:

specifically Pam Grier and Phylicia Rashad

299

:

Boogie.

300

:

What do you what do you say to that?

301

:

Yeah,

I mean, you have Pam Grier, the legend,

302

:

legendary actress Pam Grier, who's

303

:

just she's all she's

almost a larger than life figure, just,

304

:

you know, just saying her name

305

:

and just seeing her presence on

screen is just like, wow.

306

:

And then you have Phylicia Rashad,

who was one time one of America's

307

:

favorite moms, played Clair Huxtable,

like raised like a nation of

308

:

millions under her tutelage and like,

309

:

you don't see much of them,

310

:

which is a little disappointing.

311

:

And I would have loved to see

a little more of Pam Grier,

312

:

this character playing

Leslie Wright’s mother, and like

313

:

there were some instances when, you know,

you see Phylicia Rashad,

314

:

you do see a little slight

bit of the Clair Huxtable over there.

315

:

But like that is much like, well,

with the with the Morgan character,

316

:

I would have liked to see her

kind of tighten Morgan up a little bit,

317

:

like she used to get on Elvin in the show,

318

:

but she didn't

319

:

get a chance to,

that would have been Pretty cool to see.

320

:

But but yeah, I think that we could have

probably utilized them

321

:

a little bit more

for their legendary you know, skill set.

322

:

Yeah.

323

:

I want to see Pam Grier a little bit

more like Jackie Brown.

324

:

When Quentin Tarantino

brought her back for Jackie Brown.

325

:

I was like, Yes, Pam Grier's

back in the spotlight and she's amazing.

326

:

Like, you know,

she you know, all those great movies

327

:

back in the seventies and

328

:

it was kind of

like a more of a nondescript role.

329

:

She was the mother.

330

:

She was there and supportive

but underutilized.

331

:

What do you think, DynoWright?

332

:

I agree.

333

:

I really think

334

:

they've basically just had Clair Huxtable

play this role

335

:

because, you know, she

336

:

she kept Leslie honest

337

:

like like she would any of the Huxtable

kids.

338

:

And, you know, there's there's more

you could have done with that

339

:

and is there more you could have done

with the star of a Pam Grier’s stature?

340

:

I mean, that role was really underused,

I thought.

341

:

I think we did see we got to we saw

342

:

Phylicia Rashad as as

343

:

Scott McKnight's mother some.

344

:

But really,

you could have done more with her.

345

:

But yeah,

346

:

yeah.

347

:

You'd hope for more.

348

:

Yeah, I agree.

349

:

I did like the role of

350

:

Mrs..

351

:

I'm sorry, Mr. Wright.

352

:

Lloyd Wright, played by James Pickens Jr.

353

:

He was very likable

as the father, as Queen Latifah's father.

354

:

Yes. Yeah.

355

:

Yeah.

356

:

He was like a foundation piece for her.

357

:

Someone very supportive. Pam

Grier was too.

358

:

But I think she really leaned,

Leslie really leaned on her dad

359

:

for the moral strength.

360

:

You could have had more from Pam

Grier, could have asked more of her.

361

:

She was clearly a daddy's girl.

362

:

Yeah.

363

:

You see him

constantly in the house that she really

364

:

she just

purchased a home and he's over there

365

:

constantly doing little work projects

around the house,

366

:

like unprompted.

367

:

He's just there all the time

doing something on the house. Yeah.

368

:

And even when

369

:

Leslie first meets Scott

and he's invited to the party

370

:

in Scott's house, you know,

he said, Here, take.

371

:

Take the keys to my car, give you the keys

to the deuce and a quarter.

372

:

When, you know, things don't look

373

:

like they're going to go too

well between Leslie and Scott,

374

:

he was very vocal in saying,

hey, you know,

375

:

if he doesn't want you,

you know, it's his mistake.

376

:

You know, you're you're a good person.

377

:

Just kind of constantly uplifted her.

378

:

Definitely a great, great father

figure, the portrayal on film.

379

:

Yeah.

380

:

But going back to the sports

cameos, I'd be remiss

381

:

if I didn't mention the late

great Stuart Scott, the former ESPN

382

:

icon,

383

:

great interview that he had with Scott

384

:

McKnight and

385

:

the moment where Scott realizes

386

:

how impactful Leslie was in his comeback

387

:

and he actually leaves the set

after the emotional interview.

388

:

I need to go somewhere, you know,

he has to go meet up with her.

389

:

And I think because he had the contract,

his contract was coming up

390

:

and he was deciding whether to go to

Philly or stay in in the Nets job.

391

:

And it came out around the same time

that she had the offer from multiple teams

392

:

to be the physical therapist

or the trainer.

393

:

So the athletic trainer. So yeah,

394

:

it was great to see Stuart Scott. He

395

:

he really lived and breathed hip hop

396

:

and infused sports

and hip hop so well that

397

:

he made it

so enjoyable to watch SportsCenter.

398

:

Yeah, we miss him.

399

:

Yeah, he he was the one that got me

hooked on SportsCenter

400

:

and I would watch it every day

401

:

just to see what he was going to say next.

402

:

I'm like,

All right, we're just going to say

403

:

now, what is he gonna say

now, what’s he gonna say now?

404

:

Yeah, it was just such an amazing

405

:

commentator in

I mean, I think it's so it's so good

406

:

that the scene where Scott

finally came to realization that he wanted

407

:

wanted to be with Leslie

was when he was, with Stu Scott.

408

:

And it was just very emotional.

409

:

Every time I see that scene you know,

I choke up a little bit because

410

:

of my affinity for Stu Scott

and how much, you know,

411

:

I enjoyed watching him and just to see him

in that few minute portrayal.

412

:

Yeah, that was a highlight.

413

:

We should maybe put in the show notes

like a YouTube clip, if we can find of

414

:

some of Stuart Scott's hip hop references,

because I always look (that exists).

415

:

Yeah.

416

:

There's got to be one

with a bunch of them in it.

417

:

I’m sure that exists.

418

:

Because

419

:

that's my Venn

diagram is sports and the hip hop.

420

:

And he, he was at the center of that

and I see some of the guys

421

:

carry that on a little bit

like Scott Van Pelt and a few other guys.

422

:

Scott Van Pelt

did a great tribute to Phife Dawg

423

:

when he passed away

and I really enjoyed that.

424

:

And again, sports and hip hop

425

:

have a unique relationship

426

:

and Stuart Scott epitomized that.

427

:

He was like

428

:

he was like the prototype like he was like

he was he

429

:

busted the gate open,

and everybody was like wow.

430

:

We could actually do that?

431

:

Yeah.

432

:

yeah.

433

:

He just kicked the door open.

434

:

Yeah,

435

:

definitely. Yeah.

436

:

All right.

437

:

So we have our five key takeaways

that we hit you guys with at this point.

438

:

Why don't we go around and rate the movie

and answer the question

439

:

from the beginning of the episode:

is Just Wright worth watching?

440

:

Boogie, would you say for this movie?

441

:

I guess bring that funky flick back,

442

:

bring that funky flick back

or leave it in the vault?

443

:

Is this movie worth watching?

444

:

Yeah, I mean, I've I've.

445

:

I've watched it more times

than I can count, so I'm going to just

446

:

keep bringing that funky flick back

because it's it's formulated,

447

:

but I definitely enjoy watching it.

448

:

All right.

449

:

DynoWright, put you on the spot.

450

:

Bring that funky flick back

or leave it in the vault?

451

:

Was this movie worth watching?

452

:

I was going back and forth on this.

453

:

I will bring this funky flick back.

454

:

It's a cute movie.

455

:

It's got some stargazing for the

basketball fan in the late:

456

:

20 tens, and

457

:

it's got The Czar, Mike Fratello in it.

458

:

It's good enough for me, so

459

:

it's definitely worth watching.

460

:

Just for Queen Latifah

and Common, terrific performances.

461

:

Queen Latifah is never not good in a movie

she's in.

462

:

I will also say

bring this funky flick back.

463

:

It would not be in the top

464

:

echelon of hip hop themed movies,

but to your point, to both your points,

465

:

you know, legends in this Common,

Queen Latifah,

466

:

Pam Grier, Phylicia Rashad

467

:

and Stuart Scott and the cameos, Dwight

Howard, Dwayne Wade, etc., etc..

468

:

So yeah, stargazing, it’s

469

:

historical folks in this film

470

:

that you should check out.

471

:

Bring it! C’mon!

472

:

Bring it!

473

:

C’mon!

474

:

Hip Hop Movie Club is produced by your

HH emcees JB, BooGie and DynoWright.

475

:

Theme music by Boogie.

476

:

We got a bunch of live events

in the first half of:

477

:

you can learn more at our website:

HipHopMovieClub.com.

478

:

Come hang with us!

479

:

And whether you're listening

to the podcast or watching us on YouTube,

480

:

we appreciate you.

481

:

Thanks for tuning in.

482

:

Remember, don't hate.

483

:

Initiate.

484

:

Initiate.

485

:

Take that step, make that move.

486

:

The first step is the hardest.

Show artwork for Hip Hop Movie Club

About the Podcast

Hip Hop Movie Club
Harmonizing the rhythm of hip hop with the magic of movies
This show harmonizes the rhythm of hip hop with the magic of movies!

HHMC is brought to you by a trio of longtime hip hop fans: JB, an 80s and 90s nostalgia junkie, Boogie, a veteran DJ and graffiti artist, and DynoWright, podcaster and filmmaker.

Upcoming Hip Hop Movie Club events:
Feb 15 - Samples N' Friends, Rider University
https://www.rider.edu/about/events/black-history-month

Feb 28 - Juice screening and talkback, SteelStacks, Bethlehem PA
https://www.steelstacks.org/event/15642/juice/

More events to be announced! Subscribe to our newsletter and get updated on events: https://hiphopmovieclub.substack.com/