(Screenshot: Secret Society/YouTube trailer)
Editor’s note: The following article is an editorial, and the opinions expressed are those of the author. Read more opinions on the Grio.
To know me is to know that I spend a lot of time watching movies on various streaming services that most people don’t know about, show, or just don’t care to go check out (or care of what is happening in the hood). ). I go to Tubi – first – for many of my viewing pleasures, followed by Amazon Prime. Tubi is home to many films that I watch with generally questionable actors and/or scripts, but oddly a fairly high standard of production. So when the homie called me the other day asking if I had Tubi, I knew something bad was brewing. When I informed her that I had, of course, Tubi, she asked me if I had seen secret society.
I did not have. I told him I would. And then a funny thing happened; I started seeing comments on social media and reactions to secret society making me think it was a movie that just dropped. Except it wasn’t; it was a movie that came out in 2021. But when social media starts tweeting, it lets me know it’s time for me to go on and watch a movie.
secret society (and the sequel, Secret Society 2: Never Again) did not disappoint. So boom: secret society (the film) is the film adaptation of the book written by Miasha Coleman in 2006. She contracted with Simon & Schuster for more books and eventually financed the film, which stars Reyna Love as Celess and Erica Pinkett as Tina and features Prison Bae Jeremy Meeks and a small role for Vivica A. Fox. If I said it once, I’ll say it again; all film noir is enhanced by including Vivica A. Fox or Clifton Powell.
The film centers on two women – Celess and Tina (and possibly Si S – played by Adejah Parris – instead of Tina) – who are essentially con men, moving from town to town jostling various cash-strapped men, trips and cars. They hail from Philadelphia but have made Atlanta their home base. The movie turns heads when a secret about the women is revealed and leads to some really big issues for both of them. As they live the high life of mansions, fast cars, money, clothes and cash, the men attached to them are played and eventually, well, you can guess what might happen. But here’s the bend – and it’s true for both movies – there are some lessons here about being true to yourself and using that self-awareness and honesty to empower others and improve yourself. The messages aren’t the clearest and easiest to get across, especially given what’s happening in the film, but they’re there. I want to tell you what they are, but that would ruin the whole movie…and some of the flashback scenes.
There’s one thing I noticed in both movies that really interests me and I guess if I ever get the chance to ask Miasha about it I’ll do it: what was the budget of those movies? Since the movies are about women coming in and “performing G on men” to get the best things in life, the only way to present this is to actively show the women living that life. And while I’m sure you can fake watches and luxury accommodations and amenities and, I guess, pretend Florida is Mexico, you can’t fake luxury cars. There are several driving Bentleys in the film and an assortment of other luxury vehicles that people are Actually drive, instead of being decorative. I’m really curious about the movie budgets.
Not to mention the cameos. I mentioned Vivica A. Fox before, but Trina makes a cameo in the sequel, as does Felicia “Snoop” Pearson from Thread celebrity. In Secret Society 2Snoop essentially plays the same character from Thread, except she lives in Philadelphia, not Baltimore. Look, I want to tell you the plot so badly, but truth be told, you have to see the movies yourself to really appreciate them.
I should also mention that as someone who has watched a plethora of movies that are all straight to DVD in their runtime, I really appreciate the production value of the movies that are coming out that would constitute cinema noir. There was a time when these movies all seemed low-budget, but with the same advances in technology and lower costs of production factors that allowed anyone to be a rapper, the filmmakers really put a lot of care and effort into it. effort in movies.
secret society and the sequel are two films that for me represent this new avant-garde. The films are as well made as any film from the major studios. The difference will always be in the script and the acting, but honestly, if you put Tyler Perry’s name on any of these movies, you won’t blink twice. And that’s no knock on anyone involved; Tyler Perry is very successful, so that’s a compliment and Tyler Perry better watch out.
If you’re someone who needs a little cinema noir to find out who has both madness and a message, then secret society and the sequel are your jam. Also, I’ll be looking for more work in the mind of Miasha Coleman; she is fine with me.
Panama Jackson is a columnist at the Grio. He writes very dark things and drinks very dark liquors, and is rather classy for a lightweight guy. His greatest accomplishment to date coincides with his darkest accomplishment to date in that he received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after reading one of her articles (the most important), but he didn’t. Didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said “Unknown” (Blackest).
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