It is a dream of mine to go back in time and relive the 90s. Right now, I secretly want to find a friend that I grew up with and then find my cousin and get a brownstone in Brooklyn and have my other best friend come over all the time and have two great guys live upstairs, one who is a handyman (Living Single). Or maybe I’ll find out that I have this rich uncle who lives in California and I’ll go move out there to stay in their mansion with a British butler named Jeffrey (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air). Or just maybe I will get an invitation to “the super-def, throw-down jizzam of the year” better known as a House Party (1990) (House Party).
“Yo, ladies, ladies. I know y’all gonna be in attendance… at the super-def, throw- down jizzam of the year.” – Christoper Martin aka Play.
House Party, released in 1990, stars hip hop duo Kid n’ Play and tells the story of Young Kid who is invited to a house party at Play’s house while his parents are out of town. However, after a fight in the school cafeteria with three bullies played by rap group Full Force, Kid’s father, played by the late Robin Harris, grounds him and he is forced to sneak out to the party. Along the way, Kid runs into trouble with the bullies but forms a chemistry with two girls Sharane, played by A.J. Johnson, and Sidney, played by Tisha Campbell. But the highlight of it all is the party of the year.
One thing I love about House Party (1990) is that the film takes place in the time span of one day. For those of us who live in the 9 to 5 world of you wake up, get dressed, go to work, come home, eat, and then go to bed so you can wake up the next day and do it all over again. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll have that one day where you will do something different or something different will happen to you. Movies that take place in one day are examples of that thing that might happen to you in just one day and change your life forever. The ability to show that in film, to show the evolution of a character in a full story that takes place all in one day or even one house party, I appreciate. House Party (1990) is a film that is celebrating what it means to be young, black, and cool and what better way to show that then in a day where so much conflict and relationships are formed because the characters are young, black, and cool.
The film not only presents different music rhythms but it has a rhythm of its own. Its dialogue flows like one rap after the other. The comedic styles of Robin Harris are natural and seem like they just flow right off the tongue (which it probably does considering that much of Harris’s scenes were improved). Although the film does not tackle any serious conflicts, societal problems, or overarching themes that are imperative to the progress of the black community, that is what some like about the film. Not every black story has to involve tales of abuse, drugs, gun violence, etc. (like I think a lot of films involving the black community somehow involve such as in every Tyler Perry film) in order to be complex. I think also, in black films even when characters are trying to tell jokes, it never goes too far about having fun as the film does not want to portray that all black people do is party and do not take anything seriously like in every bump and grind, in da club, drop it like its hot music video. House Party (1990) is just a story about characters being young and trying to enjoy life and have fun with their friends. What makes it complex is its lack of drugs and extreme forms of violence thus a different part of black life. Its about the dialogue, the music, the rhythm, the dancing… the culture… period. Yes, there is conflict in those 9 to 5 work days but for this one day, it’s just about this experience.