What’s new family? I’ve waited a bit to express my thoughts about The Best Man Holiday – the follow-up to 1999 hit film The Best Man. Now let me preface my statements with this: I am that person that watches the original film, which I consider a modern-day classic, at least once a year, and my anticipation level for this new film was at maximum. And the story that Malcolm D. Lee (Soul Men, Roll Bounce) wrote and directed for this sequel did not disappoint. Just as I expected, it felt as if I were catching up with several old friends. I had a chance to tell Lee that during his press tour this week in Philadelphia while asking him a few questions about the film, cast and a possible sequel.
MMT: How did you determine what the characters’ life paths would look like (in the sequel), and did the fact that so many people loved and related to them shape your decision?
Malcolm: To a degree, but it was more about growth and evolution. When you’re fresh out of college, in your 20’s and single, you’re thinking about different things than when you’re in the late 30’s/early 40’s with a marriage, children, career, roadblocks and “forks in the road.” The Best Man was my first movie, so I didn’t want to repeat myself but wanted it to be more sophisticated. I knew I wanted Lance to have another struggle with his faith, Harper to experience struggles where he had to confront his own mortality, and Candy’s past to rear its head again. But at the same time, I wanted everybody to progress and mature. The studio was nervous about the direction of this film because the tone was different. But I knew that people loved The Best Man not just because of the wedding setting, the bachelor party, etc. But it was about the characters and I felt like we could do the same thing with the circumstances in this movie.
MMT: The movie definitely takes the viewer through a range of emotions, and I felt like I was re-connecting with old friends. How was it for you re-connecting with the entire main cast and what were you most looking forward to working with them this time around?
Malcolm: The overall process of working with them. I knew that we had to have a collective conscience about the movie, be on the same page, and challenge but support one another at the same time. Just an opportunity to work with them again; they were a big part of my career. And I think that the movie helped their careers in a lot of ways, and this movie can do the same thing. Not only for them as individuals but for the industry as a whole, if the movie is successful. This will be a normal thing and not such an event. A movie like The Best Man Holiday will just be a part of the pantheon of Black movies or movies in general.
MMT: The ending does allude to possibly a third film. Will there be?
Malcolm: That all depends on how well this does. If the box office warrants a third one, I’m down with a third one. I have a strong idea for it. But I will say this, if there is going to be a sequel it will not take fourteen years. We don’t want it to be Best Man: The Nursing Home or Best Man: Cocoon!
When I asked if he knew the sequel would be a holiday themed film, Lee shared he did and that he toyed with the idea when he started drafting it back in 2005 while listening to Christmas music, and coping with a death in the family. He stated he really didn’t commit pen to paper however until he received the okay from the studio.
And when I asked him the MMT signature question regarding what musical artist/group project he would bring to the big screen, if possible, I think I may have actually stumped him, but not in a bad way! Lee presents as very astute in his responses and he thought a bit before sharing “perhaps Otis Redding,” adding that he loves the story of his discovery, or maybe Prince. He also offered Michael Jackson, but added that a project about him might be “too big.”
I must be honest; The Best Man Holiday is by far one of my favorites this year. I laughed, laughed louder, teared-up, and then just cried. A couple of side notes: the location where most of the movie takes place is simply breathtaking and the holiday decor is fabulous. And ladies, as if the entire lead male cast and their New Edition lip-sync isn’t enough to get you there, I read that Morris Chestnut lost 30 lbs. for this role and he looks A-MAZING. Don’t be mad fellas, I’m a woman so I’m partial but this is one film where the eye-candy has an equal playing field. And yes fellas, you will probably shed tears as well.
If you love the original like me, you will have a great time reuniting with the crew in this film. And if you’ve never seen the original, this is a character-driven movie with which many can identify. You will not feel too left out, but do catch up by watching or owning the original as soon as possible!
Okay that’s it for me family. Make sure you stop by and leave a thought or two in the comments section after you see the film. AND… giveaway alert! If you go see the movie this weekend, which is opening weekend, send me a screenshot/picture of your ticket stub to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to win a The Best Man Holiday poster signed by Malcolm D. Lee. Your stub can be from any 11/15-11/17/13 showing. Winners will receive notification on Monday, November 18.
Good luck family! Until next thought, Thomasena