Understanding the opposite sex has always been a difficult task. Honestly, understanding one's self and what's best for one's self is also difficult. Furthermore, understanding what to look for in the opposite sex and understanding how to spot the right mate has baffled men and women for centuries.
However, when comedian Steve Harvey came out with the self-help book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, he offered insight into the mind of the modern man and allowed women to better understand their mate and better understand the ideal man for their life.
Nevertheless, when I heard he was turning his best-selling book into the Think Like a Man movie, I was not too enthusiastic initially. How would Harvey turn a book that was not a novel or biography/autobiography into a story line that would keep moviegoers interested for two hours?
The women, frustrated with love, turn to Harvey's book to understand the opposite sex. Unbeknownst to the men, they come under attack by the advice of a "traitor" (Steve Harvey) and the women begin to see that their ideal men are not that ideal at all.
When the men find out where their women are getting their ammunition, they begin reading the book as well so they can pretend to be that ideal man for their woman.
My apprehension was erased after laughing for an entire two hours at "idiots" like Kevin Hart who plays Cedric, a hen-pecked man going through a bitter divorce. Hart, whose star is continuing to grow, makes the film stand out and is the undisputed star of the Think Like a Man movie.
Michael Ealy plays Dominic, the man with potential, but the man who has not reached his career or financial goals. He has all of the right moves to get the woman of his dreams, Lauren (Taraji P. Henson), but not enough capital to keep her captivated.
Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara), has the girl and a half-way decent job, but lacks the maturity that Kristen (Gabrielle Union) is looking for in a husband. They have been together, shacking up since college, but Jeremy is completely satisfied with the status quo.
Mya (Meagan Goode) is a good-girl who becomes dedicated to Harvey's 90-day abstinence plan after dating guys like Alex (Chris Brown) who cannot seem to remember her name.
Zeke (Romany Malco) is the ladies man of the group of guys but is thrown through the loop of love when he becomes a "casualty" of Mya's abstinence program.
Candace (Regina Hall) is a dedicated single mother who has not dated in a couple of years, causing family members to wonder about her. She meets the "perfect" guy, Michael, who has admired her since high school. There is only one problem. Michael is a mama's boy, more committed to his mother Loretta (Jenifer Lewis) than to her and her son.
Bennett (Gary Owens) is the only level-headed guy of the group, as he would rather cut his nights with the "fellas" short to return home to his wife.
While the Think Like a Man movie does not require one to think too much and has a typical ending, the comedic genius of Hart and the cameo appearances of some of Hollywood's best known stars makes this movie something you must see, whether it is as a date flick or not.
The Think Like a Man movie, however, will make men and women think about their relationships and whether or not they are looking for the right things when it comes to picking a relationship partner.
Harvey's film shows men they have a lot of growing up to do in order to please their women. And women discover that the superficial reasons they use to get involved, or avoid a relationship shows that they need to mature as well.
On a rainy Tuesday afternoon in Houston, critically acclaimed actress Tasha Smith and Miss USA 2008, Crystle Stewart met with Regal Magazine publisher Todd A. Smith. The discussion centered on the new "dramedy" "Tyler Perry's For Better Worse." Whether you love or hate Perry, according to Smith, you definitely should not put the man in a box, because "Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse," which premieres Friday, Nov. 25 with back-to-back episodes at 9:00 PM and 9:30 PM central time is not a show that can easily be placed in a box. It definitely has something for everyone.
Todd: Ms. Tasha Smith
Tasha: What's up?
Todd: Nothing much. Most of Tyler Perry's shows are sitcoms. How do you think his fans will respond to a more dramatic type of show from Tyler on television?
Tasha: They're gonna love it. They're absolutely going to love it. And not only are they going to love it, but they're going to be so proud of this show as Black people. They're going to be grateful that Tyler created it, shot it, and made it happen because we need to see ourselves on television. It's not a lot of diversity on TV as it is, so this show is not only great, it's funny, it's dramatic. It has a beautiful cast, but I'm telling you people are going to be proud of this show. If they think it's going to be like "Meet the Browns" or "House of Payne," no. It's different. It's unlike anything else on TV to be honest.
Todd: We talked about the lack of diversity and we definitely don't have a lot of diversity on TV. Most of Tyler Perry's fans look like us, but he has a lot of fans, because of the Christian background, that don't look like us. What do you think when you hear people criticize him, for not being as diverse as some of his fans should want him to be?
Tasha: I don't agree with it. Yes, there's a huge urban following, but guess what? A lot of White people come up to me, and say "You were in Why Did I Get Married." Tyler Perry has fans across the board because the stories connect to the urban community, but they are universal. Even this television show, "Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse," it's not just a Black show about Black circumstances. Relationships are universal. Guess what? White people have baby mama drama too. Not just Black people. White people, Asian people, Spanish people have relationship issues. It's not just a Black folk's thing. It's a universal thing. That's what's so wonderful about Tyler. When they think they got his number, he comes back with something on another level.
Todd: Ms. Crystle Stewart.
Todd: Houston native.
Crystle: Yes, H-Town!
Todd: What can viewers expect from (your character) Leslie?
Crystle: Leslie is the one who looks at the optimistic side. She looks at the glass half full instead of half-empty. (She's) the peacemaker of the group. She's very passionate about her relationship. She has a wonderful boyfriend and a great best friend, Angela. And she's very real with them; she's very honest and true. Anytime they need advice they come to her and she gives them the right answer. Even though they might not always wanna hear it, I stay true to them.
Todd: How has your story of perseverance through beauty pageants influenced other people? And how did you make the turn into acting?
Crystle: I'll answer the first one. It took me five times to win Miss Texas and I live by the three P's, being persistent, persevering and patience, with whatever goal that you have. I call it waiting to win. I think it helps people with whatever goal or dream that you have keep going. You might have some let-downs and fall backs, but God has the perfect timing. When it's your time, you will win. And your second question, I won a scholarship to the New York Film Academy and I said let me give this a try. I was never really interested in acting, didn't think I could do it, but I said let me give this a try. So, I did it. The teacher said I did pretty good (and) I thought I did pretty good, so I said let's give it a run. So, right before I graduated, I met Mr. Perry, auditioned for the show, (and) he offered me the role and then I didn't even graduate.
Todd: Angela is a popular character let me say that. My mother won't call you Tasha Smith, she calls you Angela. Angela has a specific personality. How will the character change or grow in "Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse?"
Tasha: I feel like you're going to see many dimensions of Angela. Because in the movie, you have a certain amount of time to show them, so you usually only see one aspect of their relationship in the movie. As far as the television show is concerned, you're going to see her as a mother. You're going to see her as a businesswoman. You're going to see her in her relationship, as far as her friendships are concerned. How she runs her household as woman. When she makes mistakes, how she tries to recover from the mistakes she may have made. You're not going to just see Angela mad and upset, but you may see the reasons why she's upset. I'm sure we're going to explore some of her history, as far as her fears, her insecurities, rejection issues, abandonment issues. All those things that make her so reactive and I feel that the audience is going to grow with her and see her journey of growth as a woman, as a wife, as a mother and as a businesswoman.
Todd: What would you say to those critics that think Angela is just a stereotypical Black woman?
Tasha: As a woman, people can honestly say, if they're honest and look into their relationships and look at the reason why people connect with Angela. It's because she's transparent. Everybody else might hide their flaws and constantly put on their public persona...when they're dealing with relationships. You have people in marriages right now that are dealing with some major issues at home with their wife, but it's just not as transparent to their public. But you're almost like a fly on Angela's wall with her personal friends and her husband. It's not that she just wants to be a loud, Black woman. Yes, she's reactive sometimes because she's passionate. And when you're passionate and you're in love deeply and when you have trust issues, you may end up being reactive. And guess what? Marcus is not no punk. If they really took a good look at their relationship, without judging it, they will see Marcus is a real man. He is patient. He loves Angela like Christ loves the church. You know when they say love suffers long. Love is patient. It's kind. To me, Marcus' character shows all those aspects of a true man with his wife. He was willing to make a commitment to her and he's willing to love her through her issues and her flaws. And he's the bigger person. He doesn't have to fly off the handle because she's trippin'. But, he's patient in his belief that she's going to get the picture and that's the kind of growth you're going to see with Angela and Marcus. I just feel like people see it the wrong way.
Todd: Crystle, what are your future goals in film and television? In addition to "Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse," where do you see your career going?
Crystle: I'm just looking at "Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse" right now. In the future, I would say I have some different goals. I want to be in a film like Ms. Tasha, be on the movie screen. Right now, honestly, I'm really focused on the success of "Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse" and that's what my focus is right now. Five years from now, hopefully I'll have a family; hopefully I'll win an Oscar and all these things that actresses want to have. Hopefully, you'll still see me on the television screen with Ms. Tasha Smith doing "Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse."
Todd: How has your public speaking background with the pageants and motivational speaking after winning Miss USA, how has that affected your acting?
Crystle: It helped a lot. I learned how to communicate with different types of audiences and you speak to them in different ways. I know Black people normally they go to church, and they want to hear God and they want to hear Scriptures. I know different groups they want a little more humor or something like that. I know how to talk to different types of audiences. With acting, I know how to be more appealing to the audience and speak through the camera and really be more personable. I think I learned that not even in acting school, but through the pageants.
Todd: I want to go back to Marcus and Angela. How similar is Angela and Marcus' marriage to your marriage?
Tasha: First of all, my husband wouldn't be going for it. And with Marcus, he is not no punk, I mean Michael Jai. But there are no similarities at all because we don't have that kind of relationship. That's just not where our marriages are. Not that our marriages are perfect all the time, we're human beings. But, we're not necessarily going through the stuff that Marcus and Angela are going through. They've been married 13 years. They've had different circumstances and situations that they've encountered. But we can pull from other aspects of relationships. And what's interesting, and I don't know if you know this, Michael Jai and I dated. We dated almost 10 years ago and when Tyler brought us together to play the roles in Why Did I Get Married? he had no idea that we had dated. But I think that's where the chemistry comes from with him and I.
Todd: How has your past religiously, going from not having a relationship with the Lord to having a relationship with the Lord affected how you present characters and how you relate to everyday people?
Tasha: It's given me a deeper sense of compassion. And I feel personally as actors, we have to be compassionate towards every character that we choose to take on because it's telling a human story, dealing with humanity in real life. It's not for us to judge. I would never judge Angela. I have to understand why she's the way she is...Healing comes in when you're moved with compassion. Even when Jesus went out and healed, he was moved by compassion.
Todd: Where are you with the Donna Summer biopic?
Tasha: Donna ain't feeling me. That's my dream but I don't know if that's going to happen.
Todd: I'm going to have to call Donna.
Tasha: Yeah, call Donna.
Todd: When all is said Ms. Stewart how do you want to be remembered?
Crystle: Just all the different journeys that God took me through in life. I don't want to forget about the pageants. I think it got me where I am today. So, I want to be remembered as Miss USA 2008. I want to be remembered as, hopefully, a wonderful actress. I also want to be remembered as a God-fearing woman with good morals and values. And hopefully, a good role model to young women.
Todd: What's up with Why Did I Get Married 3?
Tasha: I don't know. Do you know?
Crystle: We should do one with new friends!
Tasha: All I have to say is you never know what Mr. Perry has up his sleeve.
In the year 2011, I'm almost ashamed to admit that I have not seen a 3D movie since I was a kid growing up in the 1980s. However, when the opportunity came to review James Cameron's new Sanctum movie, I jumped at the opportunity to see the film.
Additionally, unlike many movie buffs I am not a big fan of action/adventure movies, but the new Sanctum movie is more than an adventure flick that appeals to most guys, it delves into the complex relationships between fathers and their sons, which are not, explored enough in modern films.
The Sanctum movie centers on group of explorers, led by Frank (Richard Roxburgh), who are literally going where no man has gone before. Carl (Ioan Gruffudd) is also a good cave diver, but is more interested in making the cover of National Geographic and marrying his tag-along girlfriend Victoria (Alice Parkinson) than benefitting mankind.
The idea of discovering unknown parts of the world trumps the danger that they face on a daily basis. However, like many sons, Josh (Rhys Wakefield) is forced into following in the footsteps of his highly-respected father, Frank, when he can think of a million other things he wants to do with his time.
Furthermore, Josh's nonchalant attitude towards exploring and cave diving is blamed for a serious mishap that endangers one diver in particular. That danger pales in comparison to the eminent danger that comes when a storm threatens to flood the cave and become the permanent burial ground for the remaining explorers.
After an argument with his father, Josh makes the statement that nobody cares about these caves but Frank and his explorer buddies. But what audiences will care about is the bonding that occurs when Frank and Josh are trapped in the cave and are forced to communicate with each other or face certain death.
In one scene, Frank is forced to let an associate die when that person's breathing tube tears or risk death also. After the flood traps the explorers in the cave, Frank also makes the difficult decision to drown another associate after he literally breaks every bone in his body.
It becomes apparent that Frank has been hardened by his dangerous job, but initially to Josh he is a killer who has put other people's lives in danger just for his own career advancement and fame.
However, when Josh is assisting George (Dan Wyllie) out of the cave he learns of his father's true heroic nature, discovering that all would be dead without Frank's expertise.
The Sanctum movie fails because many will not care or understand the art of exploration, but it succeeds in depicting the sometimes fragile relationship between fathers and sons.
Audiences that watch the Sanctum movie will cheer for Josh, root against Carl and eventually better understand Frank.
Furthermore, audiences will also better understand the father-son dynamic by the end of this picture. Like many fathers, Frank is very hard on his son, but he would gladly give his life if it benefits the life of his child.