The Best Man (1999 film)
|The Best Man|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Malcolm D. Lee|
|Produced by||Spike Lee
|Written by||Malcolm D. Lee|
Melissa De Sousa
|Music by||Stanley Clarke|
|Editing by||Cara Silverman|
|Studio||40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Release dates||October 22, 1999 (US)|
|Running time||120 minutes|
The Best Man is an American 1999 romantic comedy-drama film, written and directed by Malcolm D. Lee. It was produced by 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, with Lee's cousin, Spike Lee, serving as producer. The film stars Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut and Sanaa Lathan, and is considered to be a male-centered answer to female-targeted films such as Waiting to Exhale.
A Christmas-themed sequel, The Best Man Holiday, was released on November 15, 2013 with a reunited cast.
|This article needs an improved plot summary. (November 2013)|
Harper Stewart (Diggs) is a young man living in Chicago who is about to hit the big time professionally. His debut novel, ominously titled Unfinished Business, has been selected by Oprah's Book Club. He has a beautiful and devoted girlfriend, Robin (Lathan), and his best friend Lance (Chestnut) is getting married on the weekend in New York. In an early scene with Harper and Robin lounging in a tub, it becomes clear that all is not well. Robin merely sighs contentedly and idly mentions that she could stay like this forever. For Harper, life is just beginning, and he feels that committing to a woman now that he is on the verge of success would be a death-knell for him. To complicate matters further, Harper's new book, which is autobiographical, has fallen into the wrong hands. Jordan (Long), an old woulda-coulda-shoulda flame of Harper's, has read an advance copy that seems to be working its way through Harper's inner circle, coincidentally the other members of the wedding party. It was never intended by Harper for the group of friends to read the book prior to the wedding weekend, but with Jordon being in the position that she is at work, she is able to get an advance copy. That copy is then passed around amongst the friends and eventually makes its way to Lance, which Harper tries to prevent from reading the book.In the novel are several unsavory fictionalized characterizations of Harper's real-life friends during their college years. These friends all take it in good stride when they talk to Harper face-to-face, but their hurt causes at least one of them to want to teach Harper a lesson. Jordan learns that Harper's book is unabashedly flattering in its portrayal of a character based on her, however, and she decides to test the waters with Harper at this vulnerable stage. On the eve of the wedding, at the bachelor party, Harper tries to prevent Lance from reading the book, at the disgust of Quentin (Howard), and during the debauchery of the bachelor party, Murch (Perrineau) meet and falls in love with Candy (Hall), one of the strippers dancing at the bachelor party. Despite her occupation, Candy is actually a kind-hearted woman who is just as intelligent as Murch. Once Lance reads the book, there is pressure on the group to make sure that the wedding between Lance and Mia (Calhoun) still takes place, even with the help of Robin. Through faith and prayer, the wedding goes on, but the friendship of Lance and Harper, and the relationship of Harper and Robin is in questions until Harper gives the speech of the Best Man during the wedding toast. It is after that at the reception, with the reassurance of Jordan, that Harper proposes to Robin. It is later revealed that after the wedding, Quentin and Shelby (De Sousa), who was Murch's girlfriend, may have slept with each other.
- Taye Diggs as Harper Stewart, the main protagonist and titular best man of Lance.
- Nia Long as Jordan Armstrong, a good friend of Harper's from college who has feelings for him.
- Morris Chestnut as Lance Sullivan, Harper's best friend, a star professional running back, and the groom
- Harold Perrineau as Julian Murch, another friend of Harper's and a groomsmen
- Terrence Howard as Quentin Spivey, another friend of Harper's and a groomsmen. He serves as both the comic relief and a minor antagonist as he continuously meddles in other people's business.
- Sanaa Lathan as Robin, Harper's girlfriend.
- Melissa De Sousa as Shelby, Murch's snobbish, high maintenance girlfriend
- Monica Calhoun as Mia Morgan, the bride, who had an affair with Harper.
- Regina Hall as Candace Sparks (aka Candy), a kind-hearted stripper with whom Murch falls in love upon meeting her
- Jim Moody as Uncle Skeeter, Lance's silly uncle
- Jarrod Bunch as Wayne
- Victoria Dillard as Anita
The film received mostly positive reviews from audiences and critics. The film review website Allmovie gave the film 3/5 stars, with reviewer Jason Clark stating that while the film has "occasional moments of ripe humor, but it fails to say anything new about troubled weddings or the experience of being an upwardly mobile African-American looking for love." At Metacritic, the film averaged a favorable 61% rating from critics. It currently holds a 72% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and was deemed "impressive" by the site. Also, the film has earned a B+ average from users at the Yahoo! Movies site. Made on a relatively small budget of nine million dollars, the film went on to make over $34,000,000, nearly four times as much as it cost to produce the picture, by the end of its theatrical run.
The film also went on to receive numerous awards and accolades. Terrence Howard's performance in particular earned much praise from many film critics, and in hindsight The Best Man is now considered to be his breakout film. Later, he made the jump to other films and to the TV series Law and Order: Los Angeles. Jason Clark in his Allmovie review even stated that although Taye Diggs does well in his first true starring role, Howard "commands the screen with such abandon that one secretly wishes the film could have been all about his oddly captivating character". All eight of the principal cast members received nominations for the film at the 2000 NAACP Image Awards, however only Howard and Nia Long won. The film itself also won Outstanding Motion Picture.
|The Best Man (soundtrack)|
|Soundtrack album by Various artists|
|Released||October 12, 1999|
|Genre||Hip hop, R&B|
|Producer||Bonnie Greenberg (exec.), Lisa Brown (exec.)|
The film's soundtrack, released October 12, 1999, peaked at number 2 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts, and number 16 on The Billboard 200 in 1999.
|1||"What You Want"*||The Roots, Jaguar||4:16|
|2||"Let's Not Play the Game"*||Maxwell||4:32|
|3||"After All Is Said and Done"||Beyoncé, Marc Nelson||4:15|
|4||"Poetry Girl"||Eric Benét||5:29|
|5||"Liar, Liar"||Latocha Scott||4:41|
|6||"Best Man"||Faith Evans||3:26|
|7||"Beautiful Girl"||Kenny Lattimore||4:04|
|8||"Hit It Up"||Sporty Thievz||3:39|
|9||"Turn Your Lights Down Low"*||Bob Marley, Lauryn Hill||4:02|
|11||"As My Girl"||Maxwell||3:11|
|12||"Wherever You Go"||Sygnature||5:31|
|13||"When the Shades Go Down"||Allure||4:56|
|14||"The Best Man I Can Be"*||Case, Ginuwine, RL, and Tyrese||6:29|
(*): Indicates songs were released as singles
- The song playing during the scene where Harper and Jordan almost make love in college is "As" by Stevie Wonder, from his classic 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life. It does not appear on the soundtrack album, but appears on the soundtrack for the sequel The Best Man Holiday covered by Anthony Hamilton and Marsha Ambrosius.
- Also important to the plot of the film is the 1986 song "Candy" by Cameo (from the group's Word Up! album). Likewise, "Candy" does not appear on the soundtrack album for the film.
- Although The Roots' "What You Want" plays over the opening credits, the lyrics are edited slightly. This is necessary because the version which appears on the soundtrack album contains a major plot spoiler.
Awards and nominations
- Best Actor (Theatrical)—Taye Diggs (nominated)
- Best Actress (Theatrical)—Nia Long (winner)
- Best Director (Theatrical)—Malcolm D. Lee (winner)
- Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted (Theatrical)—Malcolm D. Lee (winner)
- Best Supporting Actor (Theatrical)—Terrence Howard (nominated)
- Most Promising Actor—Terrence Howard (nominated)
- Best Supporting Male—Terrence Howard (nominated)
- Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture—Morris Chestnut (nominated)
- Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture—Taye Diggs (nominated)
- Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture—Monica Calhoun (nominated)
- Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture—Nia Long (winner)
- Outstanding Motion Picture (winner)
- Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture—Harold Perrineau (nominated)
- Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture—Terrence Howard (winner)
- Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture—Melissa De Sousa (nominated)
- Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture—Sanaa Lathan (nominated)
- "The Best Man (1999)". Box Office Mojo. 2002-08-28. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
- Spike Lee (1999-10-22). "Allmovie Review". Allmovie.com. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
- "The Best Man Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. 1999-10-22. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
- "The Best Man". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
- "The Best Man | Trailer and Cast - Yahoo! Movies". Movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
- Ruhlmann, William (1999-10-12). "The Best Man - Original Soundtrack : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
- The Best Man at allmovie
- The Best Man at the Internet Movie Database
- The Best Man at Box Office Mojo
- The Best Man at Metacritic
- The Best Man at Rotten Tomatoes