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Movies Revisted: Why Do Fools Fall In Love

July 5, 2009


Sorry about the lack of posting. Sis-Star Issa Rae is moving from East Coast to West, and my laptop went kablooey. I know my excuse is not that great, but for some reason I detest blogging on a desktop. My delivery isn’t until tomorrow, but I didn’t want another day to go by without a post. See the sacrifices I make for art? lol

It was a bit of a sacrifice initially to watch the 1998 film “Why Do Fools Fall In Love?” as well, cause I didn’t remember it fondly. This is another film from the 90’s that I saw, but only remembered sketchy details. I think part of why I took a while to rewatch it is because of Lorenz Tate. Tho he seems like a pretty affable guy in real life, I usually have a big problem with the way he is cast. He just looks like a little kid, no matter what. It makes it hard to take him seriously. He is earnest about his acting, no doubt, but I feel that he was a major flaw in two films; “Dead Presidents” and “Love Jones”. Love Jones is a perennial community favorite, but I could never buy him as a sexy, romantic figure, and think it would have miles away been a better film with someone else in the lead. The same with Dead Presidents.

Not so with this film. For those of you that don’t know, Why Do Fools Fall In Love is the story of Frankie Lymon, a singer whose popularity reached it’s peak in the early 60’s. He was a kid when he hit, and died very young at the age of 25, a drug addict with his short height and baby face intact. For this reason Tate is made for for the role of Lymon. It seems like paperlight material, and it is to a certain degree, but it gets an added dimension that when Frankie died, he had 3 wives all claiming to still be married to him, all clamoring for a piece of his royalties. It was much more compelling to me this time around.

The standouts in this film are between the wives. It starts off gangbusters, with Vivica Fox in prison, who shortly gets sprung only to have a showdown with another wife, Halle Barry. And yes, Clifton Powell is in this movie too, as Berry’s attorney. I think the scenes between Vivica and Halle are just about the most interesting I’ve seen either one of them. Vivica is certainly at the top of her game (what happened?) as Lymon’s first wife, a serial shoplifter hardened by her criminal life and her hardships with Frankie. She is the 180 polar opposite of Berry, who plays glamorous singer Zola Taylor, a member of the legendary R&B group The Platters.

Add to this another complication–a third wife played by Lela Rochon. Rochon is not much of an actress, but even she is well suited for the role as a schoolteacher who doesn’t say much, but is nice to look at. Perfect.

The film fleshes out the backstories of each one of his three marriages, and how they all feel justified that each one of them is really the true wife. What we learn about Frankie is that he was basically a flash in the pan, on the very last vestiges of Doo Wop before music was taken over by The Beatles and psychedelic pop and rock. Somehow he could never quite let it go and move on, which left him a self-centered, selfish drug addict, that for the most part seemed to live by impulse and whim. Strong evidence of this is that he never made completely sure he was divorced from one wife before moving on to the next.


During the ending credits they show the real Frankie Lymon, who resembled something of a mutated Gary Coleman gremlin. Why would 3 women worth their salt be bothered with such a dude for 10 minutes? He absolutely destroyed each one of their lives individually, from which they never seemed to completely recover. Well, a conversation between the 3 of them at one point in the movie reveals why, and they all heartily mutually agree. Being p*ssy and d*ck whipped is the devil incarnate, folkses.

On a sidenote, this could very easily be “The Lil’ Wayne Story”, who is Frankie Lymon 2.0. Cast that chick Toya (one of Wayne’s baby mamas) who has that show with Tiny on BET as the Lela Rochon country good girl. “Singer” Nivea, who at this writing is pregnant with his baby in the Vivica Fox hoodrat role, and the beautiful Lauren London, who I am very sad to say is pregnant with Wayne’s baby at the same time as Nivea, completes the dysfunctional circle in Halle Berry’s beautiful Hollywood girl role.


And of course in the middle of it all, not losing any sleep and substance abusing it up all the while is gremlin-like Lil’ Wayne, who probably never thinks or reflects for a second on all the havoc he’s wreaked.  But I have heard that he can definitely put it down, ifyaknowwhatimean. *sigh* The more things change, the more they stay the same 😦 Here is the trailer:

18 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2009 11:36 am

    Yeah, I dug this one. But you are right. It’s hard to take Larenz Tate seriously as a leading man/romantic interest type. He just doesn’t come cross as so. But he did work as Frankie Lymon. I cannot believe how a woman could have fallen for Frankie. He must have had that mojo working something seriously!

    And lastly, the juxtaposition of Lil’ Weezy and Golem is right on point! I can’t believe I did not recognize the likeness before now.

    • Rocky Horror permalink*
      July 7, 2009 9:31 am

      I originally posted that pic on Black Cinema At Large–he is a true gremlin/Golem to me. I’m sorry it has to be more than mojo…I think it’s voodoo, hypnotism and magic!

  2. July 6, 2009 6:33 pm

    The movie was light in the budget i thought but I thought it was great and Vivaca didnt turn me off at all!

    • Rocky Horror permalink*
      July 7, 2009 9:34 am

      There was a time in the 90’s where Black films were made from 8 to 15 million, and they turned out well. I can see garbage like Transformers that cost 400 mil, and not like it half as much as one of those 90’s films.

  3. July 7, 2009 9:42 am

    good and nice blog for you friend,thanks!!!

  4. July 7, 2009 9:45 am

    “And yes, Clifton Powell is in this movie too, as Berry’s attorney.” – OMG, this NEVER fails to make me laugh. Someone should make a site, or YouTube video compilation of Clifton’s roles in films. Hilarious.

    Ugh, at Frankie Lymon. He looks GROSS. Therefore he MUST have put it down in other ways.

    I loooooooove the comparison you just drew with Weezy though! You need to copyright that idea. And I can’t BELIEVE Halle, Vivica AND Lela were in this? I saw this movie, but didn’t like it the first time I watched it. I’ll have to revisit this again as well.

    • Rocky Horror permalink*
      July 8, 2009 12:25 pm

      Girl, I laugh errtime I see Clifton in a movie now–he is my new running joke. I’m sure he’ll be in 4 out of every 5 movies we review here, lol.

      I would LOVE to write “The Lil’ Wayne Story” that dude is just a walking movie for reals.

  5. July 7, 2009 4:14 pm

    For some reason, this film is always one of those black movies I like enough to watch whenever it’s on and I have time, but not one I love enough to own. It is hard to take Tate as a leading romantic figure, but he still fits the role of Frankie well. I agree that the women really make the film though. I loved Vivica and Halle fighting and all of the flashbacks during the court trial.

    • Rocky Horror permalink*
      July 8, 2009 12:27 pm

      The Halle/Vivica scenes were my favorite, especially the scene where they share cigarettes in the cafeteria at court. The looks on Vivica’s face were genius!

  6. Lenox Ave permalink
    July 8, 2009 11:04 pm

    I saw the film and remember not being all that impressed. I think Larenz is talented. He has a very youthful face, so it’s a challenge in serious dramatic roles. However, I think he’s good and I want to see more of him.

    • Rocky Horror permalink*
      July 10, 2009 4:12 pm

      So glad you’re blogging again! Yeah, I felt the same way the first time too, and it’s still not the greatest film, but better than any Black film I’ve seen lately.

  7. July 15, 2009 3:44 am

    You know…when they finally revealed Frankie at the end of the movie, I was like, “Seriously?” I couldn’t believe that these women were tripping off of him.

    You are spot on with the Weezy comparison…

    • Rocky Horror permalink*
      July 19, 2009 5:06 pm

      I know right? They sure couldn’t have showed him at the beginning–it would have made everything that followed completely unbelievable.

  8. Geneva Girl permalink
    January 2, 2010 12:21 pm

    I know I’m MONTHS behind on this one, but I just found this blog. I got engaged watching this movie! We were watching the video – yes, the video, while my beloved was calculating his finances. When he decided he could afford the ring I wanted, with calculator in hand, he proposed. The title was apropos!

  9. Patty Brown permalink
    January 6, 2010 3:55 pm

    Finally someone else can see the resemblance between Frankie Lymon and Gary Coleman! Isn’t that some kind of disease that keeps you looking like you are 12? Emmanuel Lewis has it too. By the way, what happened to him?

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