Kevin Hart Fires Shots on SNL

Kevin Hart returned to host SNL for his second time – his first hosting gig brought about one of the best commercial parodies ever, Z-Shirt. Just as before in 2013, Kevin Hart brought a grand amount of energy and character to everything he was doing, which made the strong material amazingly entertaining, and the lesser material at least a little more enjoyable at best. (Pretty much an echo of his recently heavy movie career.) Last night had him used well as himself, a talk show host, a talk show stage hand, rap artist, and even James Brown. So how did things pan out? On to a pretty excitable the scorecard!

COLD OPEN: MARTIN LUTHER KING  (Davidson, McKinnon, Thompson)
Hey, we get Kenan Thompson as MLK again! Last time he appeared after Obama’s second inauguration, and he talked about things he observed were happening in America. This time, he appeared as a spirit guide to Pete Davidson, who can’t finish his school report but this time it’s him telling Dr. King about what’s different. The individual jokes followed with Kenan’s MLK yelling ‘mountain!’ were all pretty great (If I’m MLK, I wouldn’t mind my boulevard being a nice neighborhood w/gardens). These usually end with a nicer, more convincing message, and something to say more than “well, this is where we are now, and that’s that.” I wish there was a little more here than “I’m just gonna copy-paste my report about all the progress you’ve made.” Doesn’t that undercut things a bit?
Blackometer: 6.5/10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZ_jp11WxC8

KEVIN HART MONOLOGUE (Hart)
Kevin Hart dives right into some standup on his story about a burglar-type raccoon in his new neighborhood. Honestly, I could listen to Kevin Hart tell a story about bread and be entertained. (My personal favorite is the bum bump story, which he told a lighter version of last time he hosted. But anyway.) Fact: black people just do not like going outside in the dark when there’s animals on the loose. “You don’t need thumbs to scare me!” and “this is YOUR journey” are examples of why Kevin Hart is good at what he does.
Blackometer: 9/10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jH_OI3Sfo0U

CALVIN KLEIN ADS (McKinnon, Strong)
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Kate McKinnon’s Justin Bieber is a national treasure. Also, I was really hoping for a third installment of these during the show (which appears here!!).
Blackometer: 8/10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXvo6ksBHnI

WHY’D YOU POST THAT? (Hart, Bayer, Bryant, Mooney)
First of all, this sketch has a point. People do post stupid things on Instagram. Unfortunately, it was subject to some technical issues that fought against how committed Kevin Hart was. However, I did like the ending sign-off line “please don’t post pictures of coffee.” (Confession: I post pictures of my starbucks semi-frequently. Sorry, SNL.) This serves as another great example of Kevin Hart trying hard to elevate even the best of material, but it wasn’t super great to begin with. You get the point pretty quick, and there are worse things on Instagram than what these people were doing that deserve this kind of discipline.
Blackometer: 3/10
http://www.hulu.com/watch/739053#i1,p0,d1

CORNER BOYS (Hart, Thompson, Pharaoh, Bayer)
It was funny seeing Kevin Hart walking all those dogs after everything he said about the raccoon in the monologue. The gentlemen had a great repartee during the whole thing about making pretty tamely white things sound pretty tough and ‘normal’. Best line: “you sound like someone put gluten in your muffin.” Anyway, this was great.
Blackometer: 8/10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAsBta25OGQ

GET ON UP (Hart, Thompson, Killam, Moynihan, Bennett, Mooney, Pharaoh, Zamata, Strong, Davidson)
I was pretty excited for this sketch when it started, showcasing Kevin Hart as James Brown, because, why not? It technically doesn’t get out of first gear, but it’s a fun ensemble piece, Kevin Hart is a blast as James Brown, and I now want to know why one of his singers got married on a Tuesday and changed her first name. Also, I want to attend a concert like this.
Blackometer: 7.5/10
http://www.hulu.com/watch/739054#i1,p0,d1


SOAP OPERA REUNION (Bryant, McKinnon, Killam, Zamata, Bayer, Strong, Hart)
My favorite part of this sketch is just how great Taran Killam does the “artsy celebrity walking.” I also found Vanessa Bayer’s cartoony walking music funnier than it deserved. This is a silly thing, but ultimately there’s not much to it other than ‘funny entrance music.’
Blackometer: 5/10
http://www.hulu.com/watch/739040#i1,p10,d1

WEEKEND UPDATE (Jost, Che, McKinnon)
Kate McKinnon appeared as Colin’s neighbor to talk about dealing with bad neighbors. A few good lines here or there, but not largely as much fun as Michael Che’s neighbor Willie from last month (my own opinion.) A few great show-pausing jokes (especially from Jost, still piling on the Bill Cosby stuff), one quick segment, and they kept this one shorter after a long first half of the show. Not the most memorable Update this season, but pretty solid all the same. I’m sure if they had more time, we could have gotten something like Pete Davidson or Leslie Jones talking. Anyway, Colin Jost was great this week – his deliveries on jokes get me a little more each week.
Blackometer: 6.5/10
http://www.hulu.com/watch/739048#i2,p0,d2 (Part 1)
http://www.hulu.com/watch/739047#i2,p0,d2 (Part 2)

THE JOURNEY (Thompson, Hart, Killam, Strong, Zamata, Jones)
A sketch in the same vein as the 90s ‘Cobras & Panthers’ sketch with Robert Downey Jr., in which both opposing gangs go into song dance choreography, while one person questions why they are breaking into song. This one focuses more on the broadway-style drama of it all, which keeps things not as memorable, but definitely still fun. There wasn’t much to this one, but the best parts were Kevin Hart overreacting and, again, Taran Killam nailing “overly dramatic performance by someone having a ‘moment’.” (The singing is pretty good, though!)
Blackometer: 6/10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zXmgH_plz8

KEVIN’S SON (Hart, Jones, Pharaoh)
Even if this is just a chance to take a break and let Jay Pharaoh do his Kevin Hart impression, it was still a ton of fun to watch. Leslie Jones must have practiced keeping a straight face over the holidays, because a month ago she might have have lost it when the Hart & Pharaoh were standing next to each other.
Blackometer: 7/10
http://www.hulu.com/watch/739045#i1,p5,d1

LISTENING PARTY (Hart, Pharaoh, Jones, Moynihan, Davidson, Bennett, Killam, Strong, Thompson)
One of the best uses of Kevin Hart all night. His nonstop energy plus some pretty funny reactions to the secrets made for some good comedy. I completely lost it at the reveal of Pete Davidson eating gummy bears.
Blackometer: 9/10
http://www.hulu.com/watch/739049#i1,p5,d1

Best Sketch of the Night: Kevin Hart Monologue & Listening Party
Worst Sketch of the Night: Why’d You Post That?
Joke of the Night: “Harry is a Muslim but he eats pork. He pops gummy gears all day…gummy bears have gelatin, and gelatin comes from pigs. That’s pork! You didn’t know that, did you?!? Dumb b****!” – Hart
Observations: Kevin Hart came with some stellar, contagious energy that lasted all night, right up to the last minute! Some of the lesser material that would have sank completely in the hands of a different host was raised with just his high-energy spirit being involved. The strongest parts of the show may have been the second half, but it was a generally solid show all things considered.

BLACKOMETER AVERAGE: 6.86

Sia went for a rather artistic, emotional set with per music. It was highly interesting to watch…but she was mumbling through ‘Chandelier’ so much that it took away from the presentation as a whole. Not sure how someone can make a singing career without diction. But that’s just me.

Next time: Blake Shelton!
-BB2

Martin Freeman: 6.98
Bill Hader
: 6.91
Kevin Hart: 6.86
James Franco: 6.81
Woody Harrelson: 6.80
Jim Carrey
: 6.80
Cameron Diaz: 6.78
Sarah Silverman: 6.78
Chris Pratt: 6.54
Amy Adams: 6.18
Chris Rock: 5.75

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Think Like a Man Too: Good RomCom, or Kevin Hart’s Party?

Think-Like-a-Man-Too-Poster-647x472

Think Like A Man Too (2014)
I loved the first movie a couple years ago based on the self-help book for women by the one and only Steve Harvey. That movie took Harvey’s ideas for things to think about & try in relationships by having characters meet others and form couples, literally using Harvey’s book to learn what would help in their relationship attempts. This new sequel is about the couples reuniting for the wedding weekend of Michael and Candace in – where else? – Las Vegas! I went into this movie hearing mixed reviews. Many fans of the original said this installment (which is doing well in the box office) was hilarious! Meanwhile critics & others said it was a lackluster sequel cashing in on both the well-known ‘wedding party in Vegas mishaps’ movie…and of course, the phenomenon that is Kevin Hart, doing a lot of turning up & yelling. I totally understand both sides of this…so how was Think Like a Man Too? Let’s find out!

TLAM-1

SUMMARY
Michael and Candace (Terrence Jenkins & Regina Hall) are having their wedding in Vegas, and all their friends are gathering out there to give each of them the best bachelor & bachelorette parties of their lives the night before. Each couple is happy with their each other since we saw them last, but they are also dealing with their own issues while on this trip. The groom’s mother (Jenifer Lewis) still can’t loosen the reins from her son, going so far as to stay in the hotel suite next to them, create dos and don’ts lists for their parties, and impose herself into the bachelorette party. Lauren & Dominic (Taraji P. Henson & Michael Ealy) are extremely in love with each other and very loyal…but how loyal can they be when they are both offered the jobs of their dreams in cities across the country from each other? Mya (Meagan Good) keeps watching Zeke (Romany Malco) encounter flings from his past, and she isn’t sure she can trust him since he doesn’t talk about it much…but is he really willing to commit to Mya more than he did to the others? Then there’s Kristen (Gabrielle Union) who’s practically forcing Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara) to have a baby without realizing that he isn’t ready for fatherhood. And of course, there’s Cedric (Kevin Hart) who, due to a misunderstanding, thinks he’s the Best Man, and sets out on a mission to throw Michael the best bachelor party ever…however amid all the chaos of Vegas, he gets the big head and his reasons shift to doing it just to show off rather than taking Michael’s true wishes in mind. Somewhere between the drinking, casino gambling, hook-ups, British, pot strips, strips club fights and then some, everyone has to remember what matters most to them most – each other.

WHAT WORKS

  1. Characters/Actors – Each couple + what they face + and how they triumph = the true heart and success of this movie. These are the kind of people who should have gotten their own short-lived television series about how to survive a marriage/relationship, not the Marcus & Angela soap opera. (Okay, okay, I still like them…but that show suffered from a few points of bad writing. But I digress.) And I really think each of these actors did a fantastic job. I love Taraji, Gabrielle Union, Regina Hall’s innocence, Michael Ealy…just a great cast.
  2. Chemistry – The main cast has such a great bond together! You genuinely get the feel that with everything they go through, they really do display a good friendship and enjoy each other’s company (even when they can’t stand each other). They make you think of you & your own ride-or-die friends, and how you guys would handle a crazy trip in Vegas. Without watching behind the scenes specials of this movie, I get the vibe that this cast really enjoyed working with each other.
    TLAM-2
  3. Kevin Hart is Hilarious. That goes without saying – thankfully, the funny scenes aren’t all thrown in the trailer and that’s it. I laughed with this guy throughout the course of the movie, and enjoyed every second of it. My favorite scenes with him are his interactions with his British butler, Declan. But yes, Kevin Hart is clearly the life of this party and he makes it well-known. Was it great? Yes. Was it too much? Well…see the ‘What Doesn’t Work’ section.
    TLAM-3
  4. Gary Owen – Can somebody just give him an award for being great at what he does? Gary’s oblivious ‘token white guy’ character (Bennett) is just too good. Wendi McLendon-Covey plays his wife Tish in this film, and she’s pretty funny as well (mostly by the second half).

    "Ladies...shall we?"

    “Ladies…shall we?”

  5. Jenifer Lewis – This lady is stellar by nature. While you despise Michael’s mother being as terrible towards Candace as she is, you can’t deny how great she plays this character. Honestly, this was probably the first time I watched Jenifer Lewis in a movie and wasn’t thinking “oh yeah, that’s Jenifer Lewis.” Instead I just saw Loretta, a mother whom I am very sorry to those who may actually have this mother in real life.
  6. Cameos – I don’t want to ruin anything for those who haven’t seen it yet…but there are a couple of very “WHAT” surprising cameos that I wasn’t expecting. However it made me laugh, so…make of that what you will. (We even get a glimpse of Terrell Carter from some of the Tyler Perry plays last decade! Good to see he’s still out there…still shirtless.)
  7. Comedy – I admit, this movie made me laugh more often than I thought it would. I wish it was better balanced with the story in certain ways…but lawd, when I laughed at the guys in jail or the ladies mistaking gum for pot, I laughed very hard. The atmosphere of the movie was very fun, all in all.
  8. Michael/Candace/Mom’s Resolution – I don’t want to give this away either…but let’s just say that of all the resolutions for each couple, this is the most impactful, important, and just the best dramatic acting done in the whole movie…in my humble opinion.

WHAT DOESN’T QUITE WORK

  1. Kevin Hart Narrating – As I’ve shared before, I like Kevin Hart. He’s genuinely a hilarious, talented comedian, and he’s usually the highlight of most films he’s in. While I still find him hilarious in this movie, his narrating every other scene here threw me off every time. A touching moment would happen with one of the couples, and then while you’re feeling all warm & fuzzy from that, all of a sudden Kevin Hart’s loud, piercing, voice jumps in to comment, as turnt & excitable as he is in character while running around gambling. It was funny at first…but when it’s all said & done, it’s just out of place. It’s kind of like…
    https://screen.yahoo.com/kevin-hart-snl-skits/recording-session-000000664.html
  2. Premise – It is something you’ve seen before – which means it only gets a pass if the film brings something new to the table. It…sort of does. What this film brings new plot-wise is the characters themselves and how they get to their shenanigans. But really, the best things about their situations really have nothing to do with what happens – this is just the plot device to bring each couple’s issue focused on, and what strengthens the film. Each couple dealing with their issue and learning to love each other was the strength of the first film, and that is still true here. Sadly, it is a little downplayed to give the shenanigans more room (which are still usually funny!…just not as well balanced).
    Think-Like-A-Man-Too-8
  3. Michael’s Frat Brothers – They’re just weird and pointless. They add nothing to what’s going on other than a few side-eye moments. Really could have done without their Abercrombie & Fitch-looking selves.
  4. Focus on Cedric – Okay, let me say this as delicately as possible, because I’m still not sure I even agree with myself. Kevin Hart being in this movie works just fine. Again, I think he’s hilarious and I’m a big fan. HOWEVER. I can’t help but think that in terms of balance, he might have gotten a little too much attention. Not in a terrible way or anything…it just felt like the focus shifted to the comedic relief with him just because it’s Kevin Hart and he’s funny, vs. here’s a handful of funny lines, but now back to the plot. Granted I still laugh when he’s around, but there were a couple points when I was like “hmmm…I wonder if Zeke will get Mya to stop being mad at him. I wonder how this whole wedding thing will work out. I wonder if Michael’s mama will get some AllState booty. Anyway, it’s like the writers set him up to not only make Cedric appear to be begging for attention…but for Kevin Hart to be begging for the audience’s attention. He was clearly their selling point. Bad thing? No, he’s still fun…but it is a lot, I’ll admit.
    TLAM-5

CONCLUSION
I had a great time with this movie! I laughed, I enjoyed the characters and their journeys, and the movie did go at a decent pace to keep me interested in their efforts at all times. However, it does suffer from general imbalance at times. It’s not a movie that needed to be made…but as a summer ‘let’s have some fun but keep the heart from the original movie intact’ kind of flick, it does all right. I’d still say go give it a watch just for some good laughs – but if you’re looking to laugh while learning helpful/relevant things about relationships, check out the original to get even stronger substance.

BLACKOMETER: 7/10
Let me know what you think!
-BB2

Movies Kevin Hart Should Have Been In

kevin hart
So let’s face it: Kevin Hart is having an exceptional year. He’s transitioned from standup comedian to America’s favorite funny man to beloved comedian to that guy who’s in EVERY movie coming out in 2014. Like, every movie. (No, seriously. He stunt-doubled in Maleficent as the crow the first time we meet him. Go watch it again.) Whether or not the films he was in were successful (Think Like a Man) or not (Soul Plane), the rising stardom and success of Kevin Hart is undeniably fantastic. His latest standup Let Me Explain created the second hardest laughter I’ve experienced within the last year. And his presence in recent movies like Ride Along and such, he escalated the movie’s humor gigantically with his joke, strong writing, and a personality larger than his…well, height.
Ride_Along_poster
You get the point. Kevin Hart is awesome. And EVERYWHERE.

SO everywhere, in fact…that I wonder how other crappy movies would have been saved if they would have gave Kevin Hart a call! Think about it. If your favorite flimsy film had harrowed some Hart humor, it’s suckiness shant have survived. Therefore, in lieu of the release of Think Like a Man Too, I’d like to take a look at lackluster movies and explore how K-Hart would have made them better!

  1. Love Don’t Cost a Thing
    Of the films I’ve reviewed this year, this one is my LEAST favorite. The worst quote is the athlete bully yelling at Nick Cannon’s friends during the game to leave their seats (apparently “for cool kids only”). He says “LOSERS TO THE LEFT!” and it is at this moment, when no one stops him, that there are NO adults in the movie making these loser children be accountable for their actions. Insert Kevin Hart as the basketball coach, who would have gone up to the bully to put him in check.
    HART: Hey! Boy, get back on the court! What you think this is?!
    BULLY (to ‘geek’): Get off our seats! LOSERS TO THE LEFT!
    HART: (to bully) No – Losers back on the court! What are you doing, boy!? Get back to the game! I got money on this, young playa!
    stop it
  2. Fat Albert
    I’d say he could have been the replacement Omarion. You know, instead of having Omarion “trying to be the antagonist”, we could have just had Kevin Hart as another schoolmate or something, a buddy or Kyla Pratt who told some jokes along the way. Even if it was a few throwaway fat jokes, him doing it would’ve made us all forget about Russell’s stupid junkyard backplot easier.
    "Nobody makes a fool out of Reggie...except for Reggie!"
  3. Fighting Temptations
    How great would it have been if K-Hart was in the choir, sang TERRIBLY, but they had to keep him because it turned out he was Lilly’s (Beyonce) cousin and she would only stay if Darrin (Cuba Gooding Jr.) kept him? SO many great moments would have come from this. Because as we all know, in every choir, there’s always that ONE guy.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjCfvwg8TsE
  4. Batman & Robin
    We all know this movie sucks. Maybe Kevin Hart could have been Mr. Freeze’s sidekick who put him in check for all those bad ice puns.
  5. Shark Tale
    Kevin Hart as the annoying shrimp. Self-Explanatory? Yes. Stupid? Yes. Hilarious still? Heck yes.

    "Say hello to my little friend, MITCHES!"

    “Say hello to my little friend, MITCHES!”

  6. Training Day
    Just because of the explanation of his SNL audition doing how he thought this movie should have gone. I mean, come on!
  7. Space Jam
    How great would it have been if instead of Bill Murray showing up at the end, Kevin Hart comes in, tries to steal scoring the winning basket, has this huge slow-mo where he’s in the air, and he misses? Then he’s just standing there blankly like “uh…wait wait wait, lemme get another shot, I was just getting warmed up!”
  8. Bebe’s Kids
    Hart would’ve have put up with that mess. He’s a better father than that.
    kevin hart kids
  9. Grown Ups 2
    When not even Chris Rock can save your movie (bad writing withstanding), your movie has a problem. Perhaps trading David Spade for Kevin Hart and letting him & Rock spar off would have brought in more laughs and definitely a wider audience.
  10. THE WIZ
    Yes, I’m still pulling for the fact that Kevin Hart needs to play the Lion. Do I even need to explain?

What other films do you think need a heaping helping of Hart? Drop some comments and let me know! Here’s to more Hart-enduced laughter this year and for more to come.

-BB2

P.S. This is my FAVORITE Kevin Hart standup joke: (from Let Me Explain)

The NEW Wiz Cast

In reaction to my The Wiz review, I’ve often thought about what a modern-day cast would be like. Well, my friends, I have the answer.

*Cue epic music with narration by a deep baritone voice*

Coming this Summer from Tyler Perry Studios:

The new remake that you’ve all been waiting for…

Follow these characters on the quest for liberation, identity, and their gifts…

(and forgiveness, because you know, every Tyler story is about forgiving someone to finally get rid of your emotional baggage)…

In this classic remake of Motown’s blockbuster hit from your youth, join award-winning entertainers and long-time performers in Tyler Perry stage & film productions:

Willow Smith as Dorothy

willow smith

Drake as the Scarecrow

drake

Keith Robinson as the Tin Man

keith robinson

Kevin Hart as the Lion

kevin hart

Jamie Foxx as the Wiz

jamie foxx

Phylicia Rashad as Auntie Em

phylicia rashad

Queen Latifah as Addapearl

queen latifah

Jennifer Hudson as Glinda the Good Witch

jennifer hudson

Ice T as the Leader of the flying monkeys

Ice T

and featuring Tyler Perry’s Madea as Evilene

madea

and the return of Bebe’s Kids as the Poison Poppies

bebe's kids

TYLER PERRY STUDIOS PRESENTS:

WIZ

Coming to a $5 Walmart bin near you.

Okay, you can’t tell me this wouldn’t be hilarious. I mean, picture the jokes you’d get from Kevin Hart as not only a cowardly lion, but also being the shortest in the group + how he’d react when danger struck. And hey, with Jamie Foxx as the Wiz, we can actually get a performance based on the original material because he can sing and act! And sorry, I couldn’t resist the idea of TP making the movie and putting himself in it as Madea. It’d be perhaps inevitable but likely hilarious. And I’d love to see her spar against Kevin Hart for a minute. Lololol.

What do you think? Who else would be better in a remake of this? Let me know what you think!

-BB2