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House Party

tn_housepartykidnplayIt goes without saying that this year of 2010 is the 20th anniversary of the release of the movie HOUSE PARTY starring the late ’80s/early ’90s pop rap duo Kid ‘n Play. The actual release was in March, of course, but we’re celebrating all year long. Please join me this week as we revisit all of Kid ‘n Play’s cinematic works and try to understand what the fuck we, as a nation, were trying to pull in the ’90s.

Okay, maybe I’m kidding and/or playing around here, but the truth is I remember HOUSE PARTY being actually kinda good, and I don’t think I ever saw the other ones, but I thought it might be interesting to watch all of them and see what the deal is.

mp_housepartyHOUSE PARTY is maybe not as good as I remember it, but it’s a likable low budget teen movie and I think actually pretty groundbreaking. After the success of SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT (or possibly PENITENTIARY, according to the comments on this interview), New Line Cinema saw the commercial potential of independent black films and hired young filmatist Reginald Hudlin to expand his college thesis film into a feature. The result was probly one of the first hip hop films that wasn’t all about showcasing the hip hop. It’s more of a traditional teen movie than any previous movies about rappers, breakdancers or graffiti artists – at the dawn of the hip hop takeover of pop culture rappers were not a novelty anymore, they were just kids (or fat guys that eat a bunch of cake). Kid and Play (sort of kid’nplaying themselves, except in an alternate universe where one is named Peter instead of both being named Christopher) are excited about rapping at the party, but most of their focus is on getting laid, having a good party, not getting beat up and not getting in trouble from dad.

(Incidentally, we know the characters’ preferences in hip hop movies. At the end Play is excited to watch KRUSH GROOVE and BEAT STREET on “the late show.” When dorky Bilal mentions BREAKIN’ Play correctly shakes his head in disgust.)

A good rap duo (say Run DMC or Salt n Pepa) don’t have to be opposites, they don’t have to have a Laurel and a Hardy dynamic. But this movie sort of treats Kid ‘n Play as a comedy team more than a rap group, so they have to be distinguished somehow. Kid is established as the naive, well-meaning good kid, Play as the arrogant player. Actually he kind of reminds me of Theo Huxtable if Theo was a prick. I think Kid is supposed to be a little awkward (harder time with girls, picked on by bullies) but once you get to know him he’s supposed to be awesome. Also everybody likes the dances he knows. It’s not clear how they feel about his hair.

About the matter of the hair. The one thing everybody knows about Kid ‘n Play is the hair. Kid had one of the tallest hi-top fades anybody ever saw. In the movie it’s mostly accepted as normal, except by the older generation: Pop mumbles something about “head look like a Q-tip” and a cop calls him “Eraserhead.” I’ve never been sure if he meant to compare Kid to a number 2 pencil or to Jack Nance in the David Lynch movie, because either one works. I guess that just proves how multi-layered the movie is.

But you’re gonna have to get beyond the hair. It merely works as a lightning rod, attracting attention (lightning) to itself and then sending it off into the movie or music video beneath it.

One possible sign that Hudlin took influence from Spike Lee more than he did the PENITENTIARY guy is the stylized, show-offy camerawork in the intro, a dream sequence where an EVIL DEAD type POV cam floats up to a house full of people dancing, and the camera vibrates every time the bass kicks. The music is so powerful that the roof explodes off into space. Hudlin is a P-Funk fan, even put George Clinton in the movie later on, so here he’s literally depicting the Parliament phrase “tear the roof off the sucka.”

mp_housepartybThe story really starts in a high school cafeteria where Kid (actually age 26 at the time), Play (28) and their bad-breathed DJ friend Bilal (Martin Lawrence in his second movie, the first one was DO THE RIGHT THING) talk about the party Play is gonna have that night while his parents are on vacation (see the song “Parents Just Don’t Understand” for other activities to consider for this type of situation). Then Kid gets beat up by the musclebound school bully Stab and his brothers Pee-Wee and Zilla (played by Paul Anthony [age 30], Bowlegged Lou [29] and B-Fine [31] of the group Full Force). Also a bunch of jello gets thrown on a portrait of former president Ronald Reagan, for some reason still hanging in the cafeteria.

Kid gets in trouble from the fight so after school his mission is to prevent his Pop (standup comedian Robin Harris) from finding out so he’ll be allowed to go to the party. He’s able to dodge phone calls from the school, but not a letter. The weird thing is the mail already came, so apparently the school sends out messengers to hand-deliver letters from the principal through the parents’ mail slots at night. So he’s grounded and has to sneak out.

In the tradition of Homer’s The Odyssey, HOUSE PARTY is largely about the journey. Kid must pass obstacles including the harassment of white cops and the Stab brothers, and gunshots from a dude who he accidentally peeps on. Before he gets to the house party he crashes an outdoor fraternity reunion where a bored George Clinton is DJing for upper class middle aged folks, so Kid teaches him how to scratch and does a rap. It’s weird, usually in comedies the joke is that a seemingly uptight old white person learns how to rap or scratch, but not a freaky rainbow-haired titan of funk, soul and doo-wop.

The party itself is a great time capsule. They’re listening to LL and Public Enemy (“Can’t Do Nuttin For Ya Man”, not one of their best), girls are doing choreographed dances together, people are using some goofy slang. When the girl Kid likes (played by Tisha Campbell) says that her dad owns grocery stores Kid says, “I know y’all be snackin down. Crazy chips and dips.” And it seems like she’s charmed by that statement. What does it mean? I don’t know, shit changes over twenty years. I can’t translate that anymore.

Obviously Kid’s hair is an extreme example of ’90s fashion, but the whole movie is full of things that really did seem normal at the time but now are just eyesores. There are Zubaz pants, Vision Street Wear shirts and neon colored spandex (sometimes called “biker shorts” back then) worn with huge, puffy blouses and hairdos. But also supposed teens wearing suits and ties.

But unlike the previous year’s DO THE RIGHT THING, this movie mostly stays away from matters of racial tension that were so thick in the air at that moment in time between Howard Beach and Rodney King. DO THE RIGHT THING dealt with white cops killing innocent black people. Here two bumbling white cops are constantly harassing them, but it’s played as a joke more than a threat. Both the Stab Brothers and Pop have scenes where they repeatedly tell the cops to fuck off, and they get away with it. Racial profiling is treated more as a fact of life that can be joked about than an issue that has reached its boiling point. But that’s the tone of the movie, it wouldn’t be right to end in a race riot.

That’s because HOUSE PARTY isn’t about politics, it’s about getting girls. Kid actually goes after two different ones, playing the odds. He likes Tisha Campbell because of her “good hair, def body.” I woulda just thought “good hair” meant he liked how her hair looks, but I saw that documentary so now I know about weaves and all that. That was a really good movie. Maybe Chris Rock can make DEF BODY now.

There are musical numbers. Kid and Play (who are not yet a duo, they’re friends but seem to be rivals on the mic) have a freestyle battle at the party, but of course it’s a pre-written, pre-recorded lip synch. Later (in an homage to PENITENTIARY?) Kid ends up in jail and does a rap to convince all the fellas not to rape him. That’s probly the worst scene would be my guess.

There are references to AIDS, and there are references to rubbers, but I guess this was before accurate portrayals of safe sex. Kid is supposed to be a sensitive guy because he asks the girl if she has birth control, but he means a pill. He doesn’t seem to think about STDs outside of jail. Play doesn’t care about birth control because he knows he could just abandon the baby and child. When he says it it seems like you’re supposed to know that’s wrong, but not necessarily appalling.

I honestly didn’t expect this before starting this series, but after watching it again I do think HOUSE PARTY was a historically important movie in the black film movement of the ’80s and ’90s. For good or bad it may be the missing link between the political, critical-acclaim-seeking early films of Spike Lee and John Singleton and today’s more mainstream, less serious ones that are cast largely with rappers and standups.

I never realized that because it never occurred to me how much FRIDAY owes to HOUSE PARTY. I always thought FRIDAY was revolutionary for being the “hood movie” that was a light-hearted comedy about fucking around instead of a heavy-handed drama about staying out of gangs. But I forgot that HOUSE PARTY was there first. Both were released by New Line Cinema, starring rappers, taking place over the course of one day. Both have a really funny underrated comedian as the father of the main character, riffing and insulting the kid and being hilarious but also revealing little glimpses of caring and tenderness and shit. (In FRIDAY that comedian is John Witherspoon, who also had a part in HOUSE PARTY as the pissed off neighbor who keeps talking about “Public Enema.”) Both have a nice neighborhood girl that plays hard to get but falls for the main character’s sweetness over the course of the day. Both have an escalating confrontation with bullies (three Full Force members in HOUSE PARTY, one Deebo in FRIDAY). In fact, both have the non-rapper best friend played by a comedian who went on to become a big movie star (Martin Lawrence, Chris Tucker). Both had sequels of rapidly descending quality. Both have a shot from the POV of a guy who just got knocked the fuck out.
houseparty_knockedthefuckou
And they even have a similar mix of funny lines and juvenile humor (cartoon sound effects in HOUSE PARTY, John Witherspoon toilet humor in FRIDAY). It’s just funny that one stars some bubble gum goofballs known for a funny hair do and the thing where they jump over one of their own legs while dancing, the other stars (and was co-written and produced by) the creator of “Fuck Tha Police” and Amerikkka’s Most Wanted, whose lyrics actually attracted the attention of the FBI.

Of course FRIDAY also has alot of pot smoking. I think ultimately it sort of argues against pot, because it gets Craig into alot of trouble, but mostly it revels in it. HOUSE PARTY takes place in a world where there are not alot of visible drugs, and even the people drinking at the party are somewhat looked down on. Otherwise they’re pretty similar movies, though.

I think FRIDAY is a way better movie – funnier, better photography, better music, more effective with its emotional parts. But I’m not sure it could’ve existed without HOUSE PARTY. I bet Ice Cube and DJ Pooh looked at HOUSE PARTY as an example of how they could make their own independent comedy, and I’m sure it helped convince New Line Cinema there could be money in that.

Alot of the humor in HOUSE PARTY makes me groan, but there are some laughs too. Full Force play things the most broad, with Pee-Wee doing a squeaky cartoon voice where he keeps saying catch phrases like “I smell pussy” and “we’re gonna kick yer fuckin aaaa-ass.” But they made me laugh a couple times, like when they were afraid of a possum in an alley (thinking it’s a rat). But then Stab beats it down with a baseball bat. That guy is crazy, man. He actually tries to burn down the house that the party is in. So it’s funny when this maniac tries to ram through a door and his brother gets concerned, asking “Okay man? Your shoulder okay?”

I don’t remember ever saying anything like this about Martin Lawrence before, but his character is pretty funny in this. He’s not doing a bunch of mugging and desperately trying to be goofy, he’s just playing a character. He’s the not-as-cool third wheel of the trio who gets unfairly shit upon all the time and is too slow-witted to defend himself. He’s actually kind of like Steve Buscemi in THE BIG LEBOWSKI, they keep telling him to shut the fuck up. He also has a bedroom with an entire wall covered in carefully aligned pages from girly mags, and a big sign in the middle that says “SLIPPERY WHEN WET.” He has one line that’s one of the highlights, when he wants to top Kid and Play’s raps but all he can blurt out is “Oh yeah? Anything y’all could do, I also could do, but I also could do it better.”

But by far the best thing in the movie is Robin Harris as Pop. He probly gets more laughs as Sweet Dick Willie in DO THE RIGHT THING, but he’s got some good insults here, both for his own son and for every kid he runs into when he shows up at the party. And there are enough little moments to show that underneath that he really cares about his kid and just wants to protect him. Before he even knows about the fight he doesn’t want Kid to go to the party because he wants him to stay home and watch DOLEMITE with him. “You like DOLEMITE, don’t you? You grew up on it.”

He’s a single father, a widower, and he works hard. He falls asleep with his shoes on, and Kid takes his shoes off for him. It’s genuinely kinda sweet.

Well, okay, watching it again I don’t think this holds up as a classic, exactly. But it’s kinda good, in my opinion.

————-

REGINALD HUDLIN (director, writer, "Burglar #1") did not take part in the HOUSE PARTY sequels. He spent years trying to make a sci-fi movie inspired by the Parliament album Mothership Connection but never got it off the ground, settling for an HBO anthology movie named after the Funkadelic album Cosmic Slop. He also directed BOOMERANG, THE GREAT WHITE HYPE, THE LADIES MAN and SERVING SARA, followed by episodes of various TV shows (The Bernie Mac Show, The Office, Modern Family). From 2005-2008 he was the President of Entertainment for Black Entertainment Television. He's credited as an executive producer on THE BOONDOCKS, but only because the show was developed at BET before it went to The Cartoon Network. Hudlin claims to have taken Aaron McGruder under his wing and even lived with him for a couple years, but at some point there was a falling out, so  he and BET are viciously made fun of on the show, accused of exploiting derogatory stereotypes and making lowest common denominator entertainment. But Hudlin also is a successful comic book writer, writing the Black Panther for Marvel Comics for many years.   WARRINGTON HUDLIN (Producer, "Burglar #2") went on to play "Reporter #2" in POSSE.  ROBIN HARRIS ("Pop") died of a heart attack nine days after the release of HOUSE PARTY. Part 2 is dedicated to his memory. Hudlin also did an animated movie based on Harris's "Bebe's Kids" comedy routine.  FULL FORCE ("Stab," "Zilla" and "Pee-Wee") returned in HOUSE PARTY 2. They're still making records today, although I haven't heard any of them.  TISHA CAMPBELL ("Sidney") returned for HOUSE PARTY 2-3 and Hudlin's BOOMERANG. She's best known for co-starring with Martin Lawrence in his show Martin from 1992-1997.  MARTIN LAWRENCE ("Bilal") returned for HOUSE PARTY 2 and Hudlin's BOOMERANG. He stopped being funny shortly after HOUSE PARTY.  JOHN WITHERSPOON ("Mr. Strickland") returned for Hudlin's BOOMERANG and stole the show as Ice Cube's dad in the FRIDAY movies and as Granddad on The Boondocks.
REGINALD HUDLIN (director, writer, “Burglar #1”) did not take part in the HOUSE PARTY sequels. He spent years trying to make a sci-fi movie inspired by the Parliament album Mothership Connection but never got it off the ground, settling for an HBO anthology movie named after the Funkadelic album Cosmic Slop. He also directed BOOMERANG, THE GREAT WHITE HYPE, THE LADIES MAN and SERVING SARA, followed by episodes of various TV shows (The Bernie Mac Show, The Office, Modern Family). From 2005-2008 he was the President of Entertainment for Black Entertainment Television. He’s credited as an executive producer on The Boondocks, but only because the show was developed at BET before it went to The Cartoon Network. Hudlin claims to have taken Aaron McGruder under his wing and even lived with him for a couple years, but at some point there was a falling out, so he and BET are viciously made fun of on the show, accused of exploiting derogatory stereotypes and making lowest common denominator entertainment. Hudlin is also a successful comic book writer, writing the Black Panther for Marvel Comics for many years. WARRINGTON HUDLIN (Producer, “Burglar #2”) went on to play “Reporter #2” in POSSE. ROBIN HARRIS (“Pop”) died of a heart attack nine days after the release of HOUSE PARTY. Part 2 is dedicated to his memory. Hudlin also did an animated movie based on Harris’s “Bebe’s Kids” comedy routine. FULL FORCE (“Stab,” “Zilla” and “Pee-Wee”) returned in HOUSE PARTY 2. They’re still making records today, although I haven’t heard any of them. TISHA CAMPBELL (“Sidney”) returned for HOUSE PARTY 2-3 and Hudlin’s BOOMERANG. She’s best known for co-starring with Martin Lawrence in his show Martin from 1992-1997. MARTIN LAWRENCE (“Bilal”) returned for HOUSE PARTY 2 and Hudlin’s BOOMERANG. He retired from being funny shortly after HOUSE PARTY in order to pursue other interests. JOHN WITHERSPOON (“Mr. Strickland”) returned for Hudlin’s BOOMERANG and stole the show as Ice Cube’s dad in the FRIDAY movies and as Granddad on The Boondocks.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Monday, December 13th, 2010 at 2:10 am and is filed under Comedy/Laffs, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

36 Responses to “House Party”

  1. Ah yes, now we are talking. Screw Public Enemy. THIS is my kind of Hip Hop.
    Nah, just kidding. Although I do have a big fat soft spot for late 80’s/early 90’s pop influenced Hip Hop. I never felt the urge to watch movies about/with it anyway.

  2. These films that star thirty year olds as high school kids never convinced me as a kid. Now they just look farcical.

  3. Good movie, but I never saw the sequles. I do remember a film about the two of them switching places in high school where one is a badass who has to be a genius and vice versa.

  4. What happened to these two assholes anyway? Has the one with the shite haircut still got it? What an asshole.

  5. I saw Kid hosting some TV talent show a few years back. Think he was bald. Also good to know he was 28 when this came out, because looked like he had aged tragically.

  6. You should probably include CLASS ACT in the HOUSE PARTY reviews. It’s the movie Dirk mentions where the nerd and the badass swap identities for some reason.

  7. I had this soundtrack on tape back in the day. Most of it is garbage, but I still like the battle rap.

    Sometimes I feel bad for the pop rap acts of the early nineties who all got swept away by the great Gangstapocalypse that took place mid-decade. I guess we can all be grateful that Kid N Play never broke up and tried to reinvent themselves as hardcore solo acts. I’m the world wasn’t forced to endure Kid’s NO KIDDING and Play’s STOP PLAYIN’ in which they both pose on the covers in black hoodies, Timbs, and matching Onyx-style scowls.

  8. The ’90s were a pretty dead time for teen comedies (CLUELESS is the only one that gets brought up often), but HOUSE PARTY is the best of them. None of its sequels, nor Kid ‘N Play’s later CLASS ACT, are worth much. It’s strange how SUPERBAD essentially remade HOUSE PARTY, just making the leads’ pursuit of sex more overt and setting it in a fake all-white So-Cal.

  9. I’ve not seen this, just the sequel, and all I remember about that is Whoopi Goldberg cameoing in a dream sequence and them repeatedly starting to do a flashback to a scene with Pop in the first film, but only show like 2 seconds of it before cutting back to the present.
    George Clinton probably needed to learn to scratch because he lost The Funk:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZwRQDNIPog

  10. BTW, Kid ‘n’ Play totally fits into a topic that was talked about here a few days ago. Because guess what Kid ‘n’ Play had?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyI3iEKw4-I

  11. Yeah Superbad was another high school movie with a thirty year old playing a kid. I don’t know what that fat guys name is, but he looks like he is about thirty five. Never mind giving Stallone a hard time for playing an aging action star, what about all these old farts playing high school kids?

  12. My brother and I watched this movie on VHS more times then I can count growing up. Also, like the ROBOCOP this was another film that was not made for children that received the Saturday morning cartoon treatment. I remember my brother and I were eager to watch the cartoon since we were such fans of the movie but we were ultimately disappointed since and I am sure it will come as no surprise to anyone reading this in the cartoon version of HOUSE PARTY Pee-Wee does not say “I smell pussy” once. As a side note I actually got the opportunity to see this movie screened at the Alamo Draft House a few years ago, and it was under the most random and equally awesome circumstances. Kevin Smith was in town doing a lecture/chat at UT (if I remember correctly) and the Alamo approached him about hosting a screening of any film they owned a print of in their collection, and of all the films he could have chose Smith jumped at the chance to host a screening of HOUSE PARTY. Smith Introduced the film, and professed his love for it before doing a short QA before starting the screening. It made for an entertaining evening and a great onetime special screening, only eclipsed by Bob and David Present ON DEADLY GROUND at the Olympia film festival.

  13. I think you can trace the “hood comedy” sub-genre back even farther, all the way undeservedly forgotten mid-70s movies like “Five On The Black Hand Side”, “Amazing Grace”, and the Sidney Poitier / Bill Cosby films, the best of which was probably “Uptown Saturday Night”. One of them, I can’t remember which, has a character named “Biggie Smalls”, which suggests that SOMEBODY in 80s / 90s hip-hop and black entertainment world remembered them.

    On a seperate note, I am sincerely fascinated by late 80s / early 90s cinema. It was sort of the very last moment of traditional, pre-digitized filmmaking techniques that weren’t too different from the way people had been making movies since the 20s, really. And they as a whole seem a lot more sincere, less calculated, then what passes for today’s studio and even indie movies.

    I really think a lot of modern movies’ style stems directly from two films that changed things a helluva lot more then anybody really realized at the time, those being TERMINATOR 2 and JFK. T2 introduced CGI effects (well, THE ABYSS did, really, but nobody saw it) and JFK gave us constantly moving camera, wild cutting, and multiple visual styles within the same movie.

  14. nabroleon dynamite

    December 13th, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Full Force are mega-large behind the scenes of the music biz. They have wrote and produced for brittney spears and justin timberlake and a gang of other pop acts that I don’t listen too, but good for them anyway.

    House Party was a dope little comedy. Part 2 fell off a bit, but had it’s charms. The rest were shit in the peanut butter jar. Avoid at all costs.

    Robin Harris wasn’t much of an actor, but he was a genuinely funny ass motherfucker!! R.I.P.

  15. Full Force are like Sith Lords in the music business. Darth Bow Legged Lou and his Sith apprentice Lord B Fine.

    May the dark side of the full force be with you.

  16. You know Ashbrook, I got a big thing for bad boys.

    I have a hard time getting past the marge simpson hairdo.

    And I may have just been a kid in the 90’s but I guess I was raised in an underground bunker or something because I don’t remember anyone I know wearing anything remotely similar to the clothes in the movie.

    Sorry Vern, I’m not going to be checking out this movie.

  17. I'm OK, You're OK

    December 13th, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    If I’m not mistaken, the dream sequence that opens the film is actually an homage to the opening scene of David Lynch’s Eraserhead… although, it has been at least a decade since I have seen either.

  18. Poor Kriss Kross. Had they come out two years earlier they would have gotten a cartoon, dolls, and maybe a movie. Instead all they had to settle for that crappy Sega CD game; and for making Jermaine Dupri rich.

  19. I too suggest a viewing and review of Class Act to fully appreciate the cinematic legacy of KnP.

  20. I’d Like To Defend Breakin’ [Breakdance Where I Come From].I Enjoyed That Film & Still Do Unironically.I Know It Is A Cash In & Completely Un Keep It Real But It Is A Nice Musical,I Can’t Take It Personally.In My Opinion, The Soundtrack Is Excellent & The Acting Is Sincere.I Hope It’s On TV This Christmas :>

  21. Epic review of a film I have no interest in rewatching.

    Mark Palermo – the nineties had DAZED AND CONFUSED, THE STONED AGE, WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE, FRIDAY, OUTSIDE PROVIDENCE, AMERICAN PIE, ELECTION, CAN’T HARDLY WAIT… etc… while it was no eighties for the genre, I don’t believe the nineties was quite a teen comedy dead zone in which CLUELESS is the only film that deserves mention.

  22. There was an upswing in teen comedies starting around ’99 and lasting a few years, although few from this cycle were very good. I hadn’t noticed the characters in Friday were teenagers. I love Dazed and Confused, but don’t rank it as a genre film. The teen comedy was absent through most of that decade.

  23. Sorry to go a little bit off topic here, but Mark Palermo, are you the same Mark Palermo who wrote the script for DETENTION, the new film from our friend Joseph Kahn? I’m just curious.

  24. You’re the first online person to recognize my name from Detention, CJ Holden! I thank you. We started that script back in ’07. It’s been a crazy year seeing it come together.

    I love this site. Nowhere else on the Internet recognizes the cultural value of House Party.

  25. dude, Palmero…SO looking forward to Detention. Even kinda intrigued by Dane Cook, whom I hate as a comedian, but can see potential in as an actor in darker material.

  26. I have pretty good memories of this movie. I was the movies target audience at the time . I was in my last year of High School and was heavily into the styles and music seen ,and heard, in this film. This and School Daze are 2 movies from that time that myself and most of the people I knew loved. Neither is exactly a classic, but both had elements that spoke to us at the time. One thing about the movie that always stuck out for me was that most of the teen comedies I had seen at that time were about white middle or upper class teens. This was the first one I saw that felt like it was geared more towards the people I knew. This is definitely a good time capsule from that eriod even if you feel the movie is not a classic. it’s a classic to me personally just because of the memories it brings.

  27. CC- I share your fondness for late 80s/early 90s films. There seems to be a higher level of craft to mainstream movies in that era, even some of the lackluster ones, that’s worn better than the post-MTV sensibility of a lot of mid-80s movies, and is preferable to the choppy, bombastic style that became commonplace around the time of THE ROCK, BATMAN FOREVER and ID4. Now I’m sure someone could easily burst my bubble now by listing a bunch of crappy popular movies from that era, as could be done with any era, but for me personally there’s a certain feel and aesthetic with movies of that era I really enjoy.

  28. **In the tradition of Homer’s The Odyssey, HOUSE PARTY is largely about the journey. **

    Now that’s my kind of criticism. Nicely done.

  29. Pacman–Exactly, you put your finger right on it. About 1986 to 1993 was post-MTV and pre-Micheal Bay, and for a while studio films seemed to return to a kind of formalism that’s stood the test of time. And it was also before CGI, Avid editing, digital color correction, ect, all the modern tools available, made people either lazy as hell or spastic and hyperactive.

    There isn’t a lot of general recognition of those years as a great time for cinema, but even the most average stuff, the programmers nobody paid much attention when they were in theaters, and even the flat out bad films, are more aesthetically pleasing and better made then much of the modern studio output.

  30. If I remember correctly, Tisha Campbell did have a def body. Mos def.

  31. By the way, director Reginald Hudlin’s movie THE GREAT WHITE HYPE is one of the funniest comedies of the 1990s:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8UgLWn9LHY

  32. You know what part I love in House Party? When everybody is dancing and Martin shouts “SWWWIIITTTTCCCHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” and everybody switches partners, like that is a thing that happens at parties all the time.

    My buddy rented a 16MM print of House Party from the New York Public Library and showed it at his house a few years ago, all New Yorkers should take advantage of this opportunity.

  33. Also, Vern, I love these forays outside of the genres of badass, horror or quality. Please keep reviewing garbagey movies, you really shine at that.

  34. you aint got no sugar?

    GAWWWWWWWWWWWWD DAYUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUM!!!!

  35. ohhhhhhhh my God, I just realized that quote is from Friday, not House Party

    man, do I feel like a gigantic moron

  36. hey CC I share the same fascination 100%, I think part of mine stems from the fact that I was alive for most of that time (born in 89), but not aware

    movies looked way better back then, I mean why is it that the movie Lambada looks way better than most modern movies with their digital look (for those that don’t know what I’m talking about http://www.avclub.com/articles/forbidden-case-file-165-lambada,42435/ )

    and Back to The Future 2 and 3 are ten times better than anything Michael Bay has crapped out

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