The Black Guy Who Tips

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SMR 266: Queen And Slim (Solo Review)

Rod does a solo review of Lena Waithe’s “Queen And Slim.” I also talk trailers and your comments. Be on the lookout for part 2 with Bassey Ikpi coming next month!



    12/12/2019 at 6:26 PM

    I shouldn’t like this movie. The ending is a miss, the terrible sex/protest justaposition scene is bad & other parts are pretty heavy-handed. That being said, Queen & Slim exceeds with Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith & Bokeem Woodbine, solid direction by Melina Matsoukas, sublime cinematography & it’s decently paced. I do agree with you that, for a movie like this, they would’ve been better off robbing banks. Which doesn’t just give the talent more to play off of, but more for Melina & writer Lena Waithe to do behind the scenes. Sure, the movie has stakea already, but it could’ve had even more. Character development is lacking here, as well. Daniel, Jodie & even Bokeem, for the most part is well developed, but other characters played by Chloe Sovegny, Flea & Indya Moore are just….there, I felt. I still feel the same way I felt about it, two weeks ago, but the complaints about this film is fair & valid. I like it, but it could’ve been great.

  2. I watched this train wreck of a movie, I was more “traumatized” by this than Harriett – It should have been called “What happens when you do things out of loneliness”. I third the seeing of Knives Out it was a great palette cleanser after watching Queen & Slim…did we know why we called them Queen and Slim? I don’t remember if anyone ever saying their name.

  3. Hi Guys,

    Lena really got my ass. I thought Queen and Slim were going to get away at the end. Then we would have been set up for a sequel about their lives as sexy international fugitives. Or the alternative would be let them live and have Michael B. Jordan play a lawyer trying to get their conviction overturned in the feel good summer movie of 2020.

    I learned my lesson though. I will never be optimistic about the ending of a movie like this again because those deaths hurt like a motherfucker.



  4. This was the worst first and last date ever. I cannot believe they lasted 6 days on the run from the police. On the other hand I can absolutely believe that although they were heroes to black people they came across and yet the seemingly down ass nigga in a trailer for the reward for their bounty.

    There were so many great throughlines and yet so many points where I was like yo wth. How did they leave their car with absolutely no money at all. I loved the intimacy between Jodie and Daniel, Jodie and Indiya, Bokeem and everybody. Just awesome.

  5. Liked the movie, 3/5 is probably spot on in my opinion. It kind of felt like it was two different movies: this message of how our heroes are just regular people trying to live their lives while regular people pick up their stories (especially online); the second story being about trauma bonding or the forcing of a romantic story where it shouldn’t be. That said, definitely a story to tell here. Maybe if they hadn’t sold it as a Bonnie and Clyde story which messed up my expectations.

    PS: love the Solo reviews just as much as the two people reviews -keep up the great work.

  6. Yeah, this is def a movie that doesn’t hold up well to scrutiny. I’m still trying to figure out why Queen, as a defense attorney made the choices she made. She wasn’t just a rando dealing with a cop. As a defense attorney she should’ve been much better at deescalating that. Further, I can’t think of any defense attorney that would be like, we need to run. And if they were like that, they’d be a Better Call Saul ass mofo with mad underworld connects. Jodie Turner Smith did the best she could with it, but whew they gave her precious little to work with. That said, none of my issues with the film had to do with performances or the aesthetic. They almost all go back to story. I don’t understand it being billed as a “love story” or a “meditation on blackness”. It was too shallow to be any of that. I def wonder how much of a rewrite Lena did. Bc initially I thought The Chi was all her. Then when ish got iffy, that story changed. I wonder if the reception were different, if it would change here as well.

    Oh, and ditto on checking Knives Out. Daniel Craig was doing some grade-A Kentucky Fried Cooning in that shit. It’s so much fun. It was a great palette cleanser after seeing this.

  7. ClassicRandBLover

    11/30/2019 at 8:12 PM

    Dear Rod,

    I loved your solo review of Queen and Slim. It captured everything I was feeling that made me say it wasn’t a bad movie, but I did not like the movie and I know I will never rewatch or recommend this film. Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner Smith, Bokeem Woodbine and Indya Moore were great, but they could not save the mess that was this movie.

    I wanted to understand the driving forces behind this film, so I listened to Lena Waithe and Melina Matsoukas’s interview on The Read. Sadly, the interview made me shake my head. Hearing Lena say that Slim was MLK and Queen was Malcolm and they flipped roles by the film’s end and that she didn’t want sympathetic officers (you mean like the seemingly decent black cop who gets killed by the kid or the black cop who facilitates Queen and Slim’s escape) being cut to in the film? The continued insistence that the film is a love story, when I agree that what we saw was trauma bonding (not a couple in love) is baffling.

    Can’t wait to hear the review with Bassey.

    P.S. I don’t know if you plan to see Knives Out, but you might enjoy it. It is a must rider mystery that incorporates humor in its story.

  8. “Trauma bonding,” not a love story. That’s exactly it! Thank you for that clarity.

    And, yes, I wanted to like the creative choices because I know creating is hard work, but you’re so right about splicing the sex scene with the non-sensical protest/shooting.

  9. Hey Rod! According to Lena Waithe’s interviews, James Frey pitched the original premise to her at a party but said he couldn’t write it himself. She doesn’t mention it but he got kicked out of Oprah’s book club after it was uncovered that his Million Little Pieces book (haha is this why Bassey renames that show? I don’t watch it), had some exaggerations/lies and he is also a white guy pitching this type of story. I remember Oprah was so hard on him when the truth came out. He pitched the black couple on an ok first date get pulled over on their way home, it escalates and they kill the cop in self defense and go on the run. His credit is for bringing her the idea but she says she changed the title and story to take it in a different direction but credits Frey for giving her the idea. I hope this doesn’t come off as too “well, actually”.

    I couldn’t speak right after the movie ended. I had special previews because I attended a screening with included the blackest swag bag ever (complete with black owned beauty products for skin, body, hair, an edge brush and a little bottle of Hennessy ). I didn’t get what I was expecting, but it was so much better. So beautiful and complex and intimate without even getting their names. Slim’s call to his dad undid me but I couldn’t cry until the next day because I was so on edge throughout the movie. They weren’t criminals so they did so many amateurish things. So may feels, that I just need to see it again even though it will hurt

    • Totally agree about the very awkward choices in the story, but I was hypnotized by seeing this trauma bonding with black characters while the internet made up a whole story about them. Like the movie, my comments are too long but I clearly need to call a friend to chat more

  10. brooklynshoebabe

    11/29/2019 at 8:45 PM

    Thanks for working during this holiday weekend. Like the solo reviews. Are you going to see Knives Out? It was a funny mystery, the ensemble cast worked well together and Daniel Craig was coining it up really good.

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