I’m just a landscaper. I take hard earth, and make things bloom.
The internet is a miraculous thing. But I’m grateful that while theoretically youcould see me as I type this – what with the magic of webcams – I still hold some power, by refusing to hook it up. Because as I typed those twelve words above, Iswooned. Like a 1930s Southern debutante. And the reason I swooned is because the character who utters those words is Brian Kelly. Blind date Brian Kelly: Damn Near Perfect, Landscape Architect, And Packaged in the Guise of Simon Baker. Ladies and Gentlemen, homana.
I first learned about Something New when it came out in the US in early 2006. There, the emphasis was naturally on the interracial element of the film – it was after all, the titular ‘new thing’ the heroine, Kenya, played by a luminous Sanaa Lathan, was trying. I love Sanaa. I’ve loved her since The Wood. I would watch anything Sanaa is in [Honest – I watched AVP, for goodness’ sake). An imdb search led me to Simon Baker‘s page, where his highest profile role was as the gay lover who gets killed in L.A. Confidential. Still, I thought, could be a cute little movie.
A few months later, YorubaSis was travelling to America for work, so in addition to the usual request (Michael Eau de Parfum by Michael Kors), I asked her to pick me up a Region 1 DVD of the film. I physically reset the movie player on my Methuselah-aged VAIO laptop, just so I could watch it. And watch it I did…
Why do I love it? There’s a review by Stephanie Zacharek at salon.com whichpretty much sums it up. But that’s for a first time viewer. My love for this movie is textured, multi-layered with age. Having watched it – a conservatively estimated – 348 times, my love grows evermore. The soundtrack is amazing – Jill Scott, Van Hunt, Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Femi Kuti. There’s the dialogue; it should be the stinkiest of stiltons, but somehow the sincere delivery elevates it to the level of astonishing revelation. The mini-speech Kenya’s father gives ticks off every point on the trite-o-meter but manages to come off as heartfelt. Then there’s the sharp comedy – Alfré Woodard shines in these moments – which come as no surprise when you discover the script is by one of the writers of Everybody Hates Chris – Kriss Turner.
In much the same way that I loved Bruce Willis’ Moonlighting character, David Addison, because he was written so comprehensively, so perfectly, so obviously-created-by-a-woman, I love Something New’s Brian. Beyond his smooth, unaffected way, he has been written to never overstep the mark. He is the King of Conscision™. He knows precisely what to say and exactly when to stop talking. There are now situations where I seriously think to myself: “What would Brian Kelly say?” Then I curtail myself. Try it – it works.
I could carry on pontificating on is subject for another few hundred words, but it just wouldn’t be in the Kelly spirit. So I’ll stop.