Monday, June 23, 2014

Review: Think Like A Man Too


I had high hopes for this film, especially since I follow most of the cast members on Instagram and took heed to their heavy promotion during the filming process. Kevin Hart kept tooting his own horn, insisting that part 2 would be BIGGER and better. He lied, partially... because Think Like A Man Too failed to live up to the latter claim. The opening scene was awkward and flat. Mya (Meagan Good) and "Zeke the Freak" (Romany Malco) were introduced first, as if to trick viewers into thinking that they were actually the couple getting married. They're approached by a limo driver who immediately recognizes Zeke and disrespectfully reveals his past "indiscretions", ignoring Mya's presence while egging Zeke on. We are then reunited with every other couple as Cedric (Kevin Hart) narrates all that we've missed since the film's prequel debuted two years ago. 

Candace (Regina Hall) and Michael (Terrence J) are the objects of interest; the reason that the friends have assembled in Vegas. The Mama's Boy is marrying the single mom/cougar and Ms. Loretta (Jenifer Lewis) still doesn't think that Candace is good enough for her son. Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara) and Kristen (Gabrielle Union) are trying to have a baby. In part one, Gabby was portrayed as a control freak and Jeremy just wanted to get high and play video games. She hasn't changed. Neither has he. 

When the camera swings to my favorite couple, Dominic (Michael Ealy) and Lauren (Taraji P. Henson), they are all over each other in the backseat of a moving vehicle, passionate as ever... but again, the career woman is faced with the decision to choose her dream job or her dream man. Bennett (Gary Owen) adds some uncomfortable humor, along with his wife Tish (Wendi McLendon-Covey). They both are struggling to fit in throughout the entire film. Cedric still argues with Gail (Wendy Williams) and pisses her off to the max when he spends over $40,000 on the suite that he foolishly thought was only $4000/night. He frantically gambles away his last, trying to recover from his mistake. While he's embarrassing himself, fighting to be the best best man, the ladies' bachelorette festivities are bombarded by Ms. Loretta, who's skillfully whisked away by a tall, dark and handsome man, Uncle Eddie (Dennis Haysbert) - The Allstate guy. Typical. 

Eventually, everything falls apart and all the couples, plus Kevin and a few irrelevant extras (Lala and Michael's frat brothers), end up in jail. The suspected person bails them out and it's off to the wedding... but they don't get to the venue in time. Cue the emotional climax. The confrontations. The spilled secrets. The apologies. The happy, predictable ending. Basically leaving us to wonder, why didn't Michael just call up a priest and kiss his bride at a chapel?


Reasons to Love: 

Michael Ealy. Nuff said.

His on-screen chemistry with Taraji P. Henson. 

The "surprise" romantic proposal.

All relationship conflicts are solved.

Vegas scenery.


Reasons to Hate:

Drawn-out basketball analogies. Ex: "The ladies had just scored a slam dunk.", "We needed to switch up our defense."

Plot is nonexistent.

Totally dismissed the book storyline (although Steve Harvey was still credited with a lame Vegas-style appearance). 

Bell Biv Devoe "Poison" dance break was too reminiscent of Best Man Holiday. Carbon Copy.

Kevin Hart was clumsy funny. Not funny funny. 

Too many unnecessary cameos. Floyd Mayweather, Coco, Fonzworth Bentley, George Wallace, Luenell, and DRAKE. Really? 

Wendy Williams was totally aggravating. 

Obviously trying to avoid the Black film stereotype with not one, not two... three token white guys. 

Supporting cast members and their irrelevance. 

Terrence J can't act. 

Rating: 3/5. Average. Simple Script with a Popular Cast.


Did you rush to the theater on opening weekend? What did you think of Think Like A Man Too? Honestly.


Thank you for reading,

-LRW

#WriterGrind

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Friday, June 6, 2014

Wolfson High School Baccalaureate Speech 6-1-14

Baccalaureate Program

“Reflections”

I fell in love with writing at age 12 and married it at 18
I was always encouraged to live my dream
So I continue to expose what's deep beneath me
Started my own company at age 24
Now at age 27 I’m pushing for more
By 30 I'll be worthy of National Bestselling Author praise
At 50, I'll be reflecting on my "old school" days
If I make it to 60, I'll still be spiffy with my pen and pad with me
Writing out my life mysteries and reminiscing about how I made history

Yeah, I'll make a difference alright
Even when I experience discouraging days and nights
I'll hold on to the range of change that I plan to ignite
And if someone decides to award me for my improve the world fight
I'll gladly accept the honor and step in front of the mic
Tell my supporters thank you for following me on this flight
Spread my wings, soar to unbelievable heights
and continue to share my words of encouraging might

When my life is finally over I want others to be able to say
"Liltera R. Williams did all that she could
to make this space a better place"
If my papers should ever ruffle or my tools run out of ink,
my stories will refuse to sink
Remaining firmly and eternally linked
to those who took the time to read and understand my metaphoric kinks
I wear the title of writer proudly, it's more than just a name
I'm a dignified dame
Leaving a trace as a leader of grace
The creative chic who uses language to put a smile on someone's face

At 87, I'll still be writing my way to Heaven
and when I finally make it through those gates
I’ll reminisce on the year 1986
The 23rd day of the eleventh month
and carve my name on the golden fronts
as a symbol of the gift that I was given once
upon a time
and when the sun shines
to the left of the light you’ll find

iWrite…

I moved on from the past that I left my mess in
to make room for an unlimited amount of blessins
and asked God to let me use my words as weapons
So if mirrors are connections related to untainted inspections
my entire writing collection will birth a legacy of affection
and every strategically constructed lesson
that I’ve learned from my confessions
will allow me to be remembered forever
through my reflections

Liltera R. Williams, Keynote Speaker

How will YOU be remembered? 

I wrote that poem about two years ago, when I was on the brink of discovering my greatness. Although I may look like I can pass for a teenager, I'm a "seasoned" adult. Not old, but seasoned. I am also beyond blessed and honored to be here this afternoon.

When Mrs. Rhome told me that I had 30 minutes to inspire you all, my initial thought was, I don't need 30 minutes to repeat everything they've probably already heard a million times before. But then I realized, this is a once in a lifetime chance to be that one person you will actually listen to. So, I won’t take this moment for granted.

9th Grade WHS Teacher, Mrs. Rhome
When I graduated from Wolfson High School 9 years ago, I had an academic scholarship to attend Florida State University and an abundance of hope, but the fear of leaving my comfort zone became quite overwhelming. The opportunities were waiting. All I had to do was stay focused. It was easier said than done. There were many distractions along the way. Of course I wanted to have some fun, but consequences, whether good or bad, followed every decision I made.

As you prepare for life outside of your comfort zone, you will face some of the same challenges that I had to face. I won't be cliché by feeding you the “safe” stuff. I aim to deliver the truth and nothing but the truth. Forget about all the good things you've been told when inquiring about adulthood. It's not what you think... Mostly comprised of responsibility and accountability, it's unexpected, it's cold, and often brutally honest. Second chances are slim and you won't always be able to find the strength to get up and try again after failing at the things you’re eagerly seeking to obtain. Seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years will be your biggest enemy, but try not to measure your success based on the speed of ticking clocks. Definitely don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to others. Success is not a race... It’s steady progression. It’s unyielding persistence. It’s that burning passion that will continue to light up even when your surroundings are dark and the weight is heavy. Everything that you’ve ever dreamed of achieving in life is possible. Be obedient and be patient. 

In the summer of 2005, just three short weeks after I walked across the big stage and shook my principal's hand, it was time to move forward. Time to test my smarts. Time to put my talents to relevant use. It was time to grow up...

Loved ones had been counting on me to make it my whole life, and I had to make them proud. The spotlight was on, and sometimes, it was way too hot. Here's a tip, an important one: Don't be consumed by the pressure of what someone else wants for you. Approach your goals and dreams with confidence, no matter what anyone else says or thinks. And don't ever consider quitting! “Your gift will make room for you and bring you before great men.” Proverbs 18:16. Even when it seems like it’s all too much and you want to throw in the towel, use that towel to wipe the sweat off your face and just keep going.

I stand here before you today, a room filled with great young men and great young women, using my gift, with a goal to inspire you to do the same. Some of you may have an outrageous dream and someone may be telling you that it won’t ever come true. But who are they to tell you what can or can’t be done? Prove them wrong.

When I was writing poetry during my senior year of high school in Mrs. Fletcher's Creative Writing class, I never imagined that I'd be able see my poems in books, books that I would learn how to publish on my own someday... until people started to believe in me. I believe in each and every one of you, and I’m not just saying that to boost your ego or to make you feel special. I’m saying it because it’s true. Every graduate in here has a unique background, a story that is worth telling. Don’t let anyone silence you. Your voice is your weapon.

What adversities have you overcome? Who’s depending on you? Whose life will you change by making an effort to simply do right?

On that note, keep in mind that there's more to life than taking selfies and choosing the best filter to enhance your Facebook or Instagram photos. "Likes" and double taps will never tell the story of who you really are and who you’re destined to become.

So again, I ask: how will YOU be remembered?  

In my latest book, LIVE YOUR DREAM: How to Set and Accomplish Deadline-Driven Goals, I offer a brief 5-step guide to help young adults and current leaders stay on the right track to pursuing their purpose. I’d like to share the opening excerpt:

In 5th grade, I was eliminated from the spelling bee because I misspelled ‘entrepreneur’... and then I became one. While reminiscing about that unforgettable occurrence, I realized that I always had a strong desire to succeed; I just didn’t realize it until after I failed at something.

The year was 1998. I was front and center, toes almost gripping the edge of the stage. “Entrepreneur,” the announcer said. It was a foreign word, and the pronunciation was misleading. Still, I braved my first and only attempt anyway. “Incorrect...” I remember the overwhelming emotion of disappointment, the pause in time and, finally, my dismissal from the competition. As a result, I vowed to never misspell another word ever again. Entering middle school, as a curious adolescent with lots of potential, I wanted to establish myself as a scholar. About a year later, at age 12, writing became my new obsession. Again, I was overwhelmed by a powerful emotion: loss. Summertime was approaching and my paternal grandfather suddenly passed away in June of 1999. So, I buried the pain and searched for healing in between the pages of my notebooks.

Ironically yet fatefully, today, I can claim to be a successful Entrepreneur (pronounced ahn-truh-pruh-nur): one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise (Merriam Webster). Despite not winning the spelling bee, during my grade school years, I won many other awards that validated my intelligence, including but not limited to: back-to-back A/B Honor Roll certificates, Super Seven recognition at DuPont Middle School and a Bright Futures Scholarship to attend Florida State University. I graduated from college a semester early and began aggressively pursuing a career in my related field of Creative Writing less than 5 years later. I am now the CEO of iWrite4orU: a writing, proofreading, editing and publishing company, Bestselling Author, Motivational Poet, Independent Publisher, Editor, Freelance Writer and the list goes on with various other associated titles.

LIVE YOUR DREAM: How to Set and Accomplish Deadline-Driven Goals is my fourth book; a non-fiction inspirational guide that follows two poetry collections (Amateur Thoughts: A Personal Collection of iWrite Poetry & LRW Quotes and Words from the Write Side of My Heart) and my debut novel (Dearly Beloved S.I.S.T.A.S). On February 17, 2014, after much prayer and planning, I quit my job as an SEO Copywriter and decided to focus on all that I am aiming to achieve, full-time. This book is the product of that decision. My dream no longer deserved to be a sideline hustle, so I became proactive in my quest to make it a reality.

Welcome to your reality. There are 5 main steps that you will need to apply now that you will no longer be waking up before the break of dawn, rushing to beat the tardy bell at your soon to be alma mater.

Step One: Believe in Yourself

Belief in oneself is evident when there is no hesitation in the midst of chance and opportunity. When you believe in yourself, you will rarely pause or second-guess your abilities. Your instincts will guide you, and they won’t steer you wrong.

Step Two: Create a Plan 

Your goals should be a top priority, even when they are comfortably addressed last. The longer you wait, the harder it will be for you to execute your intent to succeed. You control the outcome based on your effort. Creating a plan is the first step to achieving the desires of your heart.

Step Three: Stop Procrastinating

Don’t make excuses... Be the exception!

Step Four: Eliminate the Fear

Fear usually creeps up when you are vulnerable and unsure. Be certain about your goals! You’re destined to become an undisputed champion of great deeds.

Step Five: Trust God 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Everything else that falls in-between those simple, yet significant directions you will learn on your own. Trust me when I tell you that experience is the best teacher. Your parents and guardians won’t always be there to hold your hand and walk closely with you along your journey. Independence is what most of you have been begging for and soon, you will have it. Are you really ready? Only you can answer that.

When I received the news that Literary Legend Maya Angelou passed away, I started thinking more about the word legacy. Wondering if it's possible to have the same kind of impact once my assignment on earth is over. “You will face many defeats in your life, but never let yourself be defeated” is one of her most famous quotes. I hope she doesn’t mind me recycling that piece of advice and offering it to you. Think about who’s watching your every move? Who are you setting an example for?

In closing, to the entire class of 2014, Mrs. Rhome and the Senior Network, thank you for allowing me to represent the class of 2005, the best class alive, today. This is an accomplishment that will be etched in my memory forever, hands down the best moment of my career. “If you're living without giving, your talents are null and void.” For the last time, how will you be remembered? 

30 minutes may not seem like enough time to do a lot, but it's just enough time to decide if you're ready to LIVE YOUR DREAM... The world is yours. Go get it!

iWrite4orU Owner, Poet, Author, Editor & Publisher Liltera R. Williams

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

#WriterGrind