Reviewed by: Ken James
|Featuring:||Irma P. Hall, Darius McCrary, Tamera Mowry, Rashaan Nall, Kirk Franklin, Grant Goodeve|
|Distributor:||World Wide Pictures|
It’s about time someone produced a Christian drama with color! Having worked in the Christian film industry for years, I’ve personally received calls from numerous Christian workers looking for something they can show their African-American audience. Sadly, I could think of nothing that had a significant presence of any African-American actors… until now.
World Wide Pictures, a ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, released for national television in 2000 the comedy/drama/musical “Something to Sing About” starring some truly talented cast members.
Irma P. Hall (“Patch Adams”) stars as the lovable huggable Memaw who just happens to hear ex-con “TNT” Tommy (Darius McCrary of “Family Matters”, “Mississippi Burning”) singing in a corner grocery store aisle. She invites him over for dinner and builds a friendship with this lonely young man trying to make ends meet. After dinner as Memaw flips on a Billy Graham service on TV, Tommy becomes clearly uncomfortable as he contemplates the things he’s done in the past. But Tommy continues in his friendship with Memaw, and it’s not long before he accepts Christ at an evangelistic film outreach.
So now Tommy has a new faith, a new adopted-grandma, and a much-needed new job (thanks to Memaw and a friend from church who operates a community-wide recycling business). As Tommy gets plugged into the church choir, his new friends are amazed at his singing ability. Memaw’s granddaughter Lilly (Tamera Mowry, “Sister, Sister”) is also impressed right along with the church choir director (played by none other than Grammy Award winner Kirk Franklin himself).
A fan of “Family Matters”, I was familiar with McCrary but had no idea he could sing. I kept straining to see if it was really him singing during “Something to Sing About”. And sing he does. Darius said in an interview: “I was raised in a godly family and I was raised to sing. I mean, I didn’t think I would act. I never wanted to act.”
While collecting recyclable trash one day, Tommy runs into an altercation with a bitter old man sick of his singing. One thing leads to another and a fight breaks out because of Tommy’s voice. Some retired residents can’t live without it, while one can’t live with it. Law enforcement and the media show up, leading to a televised account of Tommy singing acapella. Naturally, it’s his big break and the church is packed next Sunday. (This part is a little quirky, as is the behavior of Tommy’s coworker throughout parts of the film.)
“Something to Sing About” isn’t all lightweight. An old buddy of Tommy, G. Smooth (Rashaan Nall), can’t seem to break free from the street scene. A small time drug dealer, G. Smooth runs into some serious problems with the sharp-dressed man that “owns” him. There is violence in the form of fighting, including some tense scenes (for younger audiences) where Tommy is forced into a situation where he tries to save the day but is instead shot.
Naturally a love interest slowly blooms between Lilly and Tommy. They seem like a mismatched pair at first… Tommy awkward and shy, unable to read, while Lilly is smart and charming, an independent woman who seems totally in control. Their relationship develops, but it is one of purity and true love instead of lust. Tamera says about “Something to Sing About”: “What I love about this script is that it tells you a story of true love, not of how the world sees love, but how God intended love to be. There is a difference between lust and love, and there are many people in this world being married in lust and not in true love. You know, I think the youth are so caught up with those kinds of relationships. ’s Well, he’s a powerful man so I’d love to be with him.” No, no, no, Honey, it doesn’t work that way. It won’t last that way. Is he, number one, trying to be godly? Is he a leader in church? Does he praise the Lord at home just as he does in church? You know, those are the things that count. Those are the things that I think the youth need to know when they are looking into relationships.” Sing it sister!
Highly recommended, “Something to Sing About” has enough story, action, and especially good music to keep you interested from start to end. While not possessing a big-budget feel, I found it real and likeable, a much needed film that expresses the truth that Christ accepts us where we’re at despite our mistakes. That he loves us no matter what and desires to see us come into a love relationship with him. And at the conclusion of this story, a special scene of forgiveness between Tommy and G. Smooth amply illustrates the kind of love Christ has for us.