Movie Review: "The New Edition Story"

Photo: rollingstone.com


This week BET unleashed not one, but three parts to the long-awaited "New Edition Story". After watching all three episodes in this mini series, I have to honestly say, this is one of the BEST television biopics I've seen in a long time. As we know, the Wendy Williams backed "Aaliyah" biopic was straight off the "Hot Mess Express", the 2015 released Whitney Houston biopic was cute, the 2013 biopic was dope, but this one takes the cake and the pie.

As y'all know, I'm a big fan of old school everything. I'm positive I was a Soul Train dancer in the 1980's and a hip-hop video vixen in the early 2000's. However, I didn't know much about the group New Edition so this movie was a chance for me to learn a lot. For example, the singer Johnny Gill? I didn't know he joined the group in the late 1980's. My parents have his 1990 solo album. I always saw it sitting around the crib, but never knew he was in a group. How about the trio group Bell Biv DeVoe who sang the hit song "Poison" in 1990 (That song still gets the clubs jumpin' 'til this day I must add)? Didn't know they were formed out of the New Edition group!


Photo: indiewire.com

The film showed the group's growth from the Roxbury, Boston formation in 1978 to the BET 25th Anniversary Special in 2005. Everything was so well put together and the details... Honey, the details were on point. Clothing, choreography, and poses of the album covers and performances were down packed. The production was amazing. I loved the way the transition from boyhood to teen years to manhood was shown. The remakes of the music videos ("Every Little Step" was everything). The background music was great and matched with the years ("Le Freak", "I Ain't No Joke", "Genius of Love"). Every actor may not have looked exactly like each member, but they sure did favor them well. Not to mention, the acting was great, especially from the younger actors. This is what happens when you get the permission of the group first and take your time to create an amazing production. Take notes, Wendy.


Although these were actors portraying the members, it was amazing to see the very strong influence from the 1960's original boy band "The Temptations". That's the trickle down effect of musical family trees. I love how the hip-hop genre was implemented in the group's music and throughout the film, especially when the boys were growing out of the "kiddie bop" phase and into adulthood. It's funny how back in the 1980's so many thought hip-hop was a fad that would only last for a decade, but look at it now. In Part 2 during the backstage scene at Soul Train, I peeped an actress who portrayed Cheryl Song who was a dancer on the show back in the 1980's. The details honey! In the second part during Bobby's "gettin' it poppin' in the car" scene, "Give It To Me Baby" by Rick James played in the background, and in Part 3, the sample played while Bobby Brown and New Edition performed "My Preogative".



Photo: bet.com

What seems to be the common theme in decade themed music biopics is not only Suge "Run 'Em Over" Knight's trifling ass always being in the mix starting drama and stirring the pot, but also that artists seemed to always get scammed out their money, especially if they were young and from impoverished, urban areas. Remember in the TLC biopic when Pebbles the Scammer and L.A. Reid swiped all of the girls' money? Or in "Straight Outta Compton" when Ice Cube ran up in Priority Records with a baseball bat like he was Ken Griffey Jr.?


I mean, Brooke Payne wanted the Mothers of New Edition to split a $1.87 check five ways. Maurice Starr attempted to bribe Ralph into ditching the group to go solo and later formed a Great Value version of New Edition called New Kids on the Block in 1984. The band's manager Gary Evans promised they would never have to deal with what Brooke put them through, but he was on the thieving tip too. Internally fame, ego, substance abuse, and competition had the group so blinded, that they forget what was most important; their friendship, brotherhood, and gettin' those checks.


I'm glad biopics show how often artist got cheated out their money to bring light to the tricks that some people in the music industry used to use and continue to use. The "New Edition Story" gets tens across the board. I think some people focus so much on big name artists like Whitney, Michael, Prince, Madonna, and Janet, that they often forget about the impact and influence artists and groups like New Edition had on the popular music culture. While there was a strong Jackson 5 influence on the group, the "new edition" of the 1970's group birthed boy bands like Boyz II Men (which was also shown in the film), 112, B2K, and Backstreet Boys. I enjoyed this series so much, it almost had me in my feelings! Great job to the cast, crew, and BET for this production.



What was your favorite part of the "New Edition Story"? 




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2 comments:

  1. I can't single out one moment to be my "favorite" I was at the edge of my seat and singing and dancing (not well might I add) for all three parts! They did so well and the ending watching the original members coach the actors was such a good touch! The younger actors as well as the older ones were phenomenal !

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    1. Girl yes! 10's straight across the board. This movie raised the bar for all biopics. And yes the younger actors were also amazing! I'm so glad they took their time on this movie. Such a great piece of work

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