Last night, TV actress and Los Angeles-based filmmaker Lia Johnson was at the bar--The Neighborhood Flix bar--which is exactly where she'll be tonight, tomorrow, and even the following night, as she watches her first feature film make its debut here in her hometown.
I'm Through With White Girls (The inevitable undoing of Jay Brooks) is the story of Jay Brooks, a devilishly handsome black man, with a thing for graphic novels, video games, and white women, but a huge commitment problem. Brooks ends relationship after relationship, scared he'll loose his "natural-born bachelorhood." Then he meets Catherine, played by Johnson herself, and he falls hard, if not very gracefully, in love. (Watch the trailer after the end of this post.)
In the two years since its initial release, I'm Through With White Girls has won countless awards at international festivals, including the Miami International Film Festival and Pan African Cannes Film Festival. Watching Brooks bumble out his affection for Catherine, with quirky impersonations and terrible dancing, illustrates the lighthearted, dumbstruck, widely appealing side of love.
But the film lacks a deep exploration of the larger issues it touches. What Johnson hopes to say about black-white romantic relationships isn't clear. Nor do we really see Brooks' emotions develop as he doubts and finally invests in his relationship. But I did laugh, as did the rest of the audience, and this spunky film is a strong beginning for Johnson if she can further craft her storytelling.
So, get that girl a drink. She deserves one.
Tue-Thu 2:15 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 9:15 p.m. (Q&A with Lia Johnson after evening shows) Neighborhood Flix, 2510 E. Colfax Ave., 303-777-3456
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