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John Barr

"Video Girl" - Meagan Good Gets Her Video Vixen On... (Movie Review)


"Video Girl" got a lot of things right - acting, cinematography, and direction are all notable. I always say we need to see more movies about African Americans just living life and doing things everyday people do. This is one of those movies. It tells the story of Lori Walker, strongly played by Megan Good, who moves from her small town to Los Angeles to pursue music video modeling. You can tell that the people involved with making this movie knew the business, because they got the nuances right, like the atmosphere of a music video set. Lorie's submergence into the world of music videos also felt true to real life, as did the interaction between the key players. Good brought her considerable acting experience to bear in this movie, taking it up several notches.

There needs to be a separate mention for cinematographer John Barr, who was camera operator on Capote and Frost/Nixon. This guy knows what he's doing, and he gave the movie a professional, self assured look that is rarely seen in independent African American films. People may not notice small things like the lighting on the golf course music video scene, but as a photographer I certainly did. Bravo John.

Melyssa Ford has a nice part as a bad influence on Lorie. Esther Baxter also has a small part in the movie, as do Suelyn and Angel Lola Luv. All of the supporting cast is fairly good, and particularly La'Myia Good as Lorie's sister (La'Myia is Meagan's real life sis) and Haylie Duff (Hilary's older sister) as Lorie's "friend." (Haylie is uncredited in the movie for reasons unknown to me.)

The first half of the movie is enjoyable in a low key way. If you don't already like Meagn Good, you probaby will after this movie: she apparently has no bad camera angles. The problem comes with the third act of the film, as Lorie succumbs to the fast life in Los Angeles. This part of the movie feels overwrought and drawn out. Additionally, Lorie's sudden cocaine abuse problem feels cliche and dated. (It probably should have been an oxy or vicodin addiction.) But the main issue is that we aren't shown any of the real problems an aspiring video vixen might encounter (e.g., being a single parent, homelessness, rape) in a meaningful way. Success actually comes pretty easily for Lorie, except that "Shark," the music video director who takes her under his wing, becomes overly possessive. There's some back story about issues at home leading to Lorie's unraveling, but it also seems cut and paste.

Despite this, "Video Girl" is still a pretty likable movie. It's not everyday you see a quality black, indie like this, and I suspect that as word gets around, this will become a favorite in the community. Kudos to all involved.

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