New week, new movie!
It is pretty evident how dearly I love and cherish movies. But, I gotta confess. I am very limited in my taste of movies. I am always nervous to expand my taste in genres or actors, I like what I like. This blog has been pushing me to step outside of my movie comfort zone and I hope it has been doing the same for you! For this week’s movie, I asked for recommendations from my brothers. I needed to step away from my beloved romcoms for a moment and get a new perspective. My brother recommended a movie that I would have never selected on my own. And that is my favorite part about writing this blog. I stumble upon great films that I would have never been introduced to and I get to share it with you guys!
So, this week’s movie is 2013 biographical drama titled Fruitvale Station. This may sound familiar to some of you guys, you may be familiar with the incident that occurred there in 2009. For me, I had no idea what this movie was about. But, my brother assured me that it was based on true events and that it is a must see. And he was certainly right.
Fruitvale Station stars Michael B. Jordan as the main character, Oscar Grant. The film depicts the daily life of 22-year old Oscar and his family and friends. Life proves to be extremely difficult for Grant. It begins with Grant arguing with his girlfriend, who he shares a daughter with, over his infidelity. Money is tight for the Grant family, but Oscar devotes all of his earnings to his family. However, those earnings fall short when he gets fired from his job at a local grocery store. Still, Grant is in high spirits. Jordan’s character proves to be one hell of a family man. We see him calling his mom on her birthday and spoiling her with a seafood dinner, despite what little income he has. Also, when his sister calls asking to borrow some rent money, Oscar agrees without any hesitation.
I grew fond of Jordan’s character right away. He may have his flaws and it was indeed his fault for getting fired, but he is trying. He ensures that those around him are happy and goes out of his way to help others. A minor part in the movie was when a customer was confused as to what type of fish to buy. Oscar overheard her debate and offered his assistance. Because he knew he couldn’t be of much help, Oscar instead calls his grandmother on the phone and hands the phone over to the customer. This was such quick moment in the movie but it really stuck out to me. Oscar did not have to talk to the young woman, nor did he have to go the extra mile to even call his grandmother. This just showed to me that he really was a selfless person, even he had messed up in the past. After Oscar fails to get his job back, he decides to sell marijuana to a friend for some extra money. As he waits for his friend to arrive, Oscar thinks back to his horrible days in prison. We see a flashback of Oscar and his mom having a meeting inside the prison. His mom shows him the toughest of love and demands that he gets his life back on track. This memory brought back awful feelings for Oscar. It showed him that he could not lead a life of drug dealing again. So, he decides to throw all the marijuana into the ocean.
After Oscar fails to get his job back, he decides to sell marijuana to a friend for some extra money. As he waits for his friend to arrive, Oscar thinks back to his horrible days in prison. We see a flashback of Oscar and his mom having a meeting inside the prison. His mom shows him the toughest of love and demands that he gets his life back on track. This memory brought back awful feelings for Oscar. It showed him that he could not lead a life of drug dealing again. So, he decides to throw all the marijuana into the ocean. Once again, we see how desperately Oscar wants to change and how deeply he cherishes his family.
Jordan’s character is the underdog, and we all love a good comeback story.
The relationship between Oscar and his daughter is admirable. She is what keeps him from making the mistakes that he add made in the past all over again. We see a childish side of Oscar when he is with his daughter. He is absolutely loving and adoring towards her. And it is easy to tell that his daughter admires her dad just the same.
Oscar and his family gather at his mother’s house to celebrate her birthday. It is evident that Oscar feels his happiest when surrounded by family. I think we can all relate to that. Her birthday also happens to fall on New Years Eve. Oscar promises his mom that he won’t drive tonight and will instead take the train into the city for celebrations. When Oscar and his girlfriend drop their daughter off at Oscar’s sister’s house, Tatianna (Oscar’s daughter) is reluctant to let them go. She pleads for Oscar to stay the night with her instead of going out. Oscar promises Tatianna that he will take her to Chuckie Cheese the next day and promises that they will have the best day ever. So, as any other child would, Tatianna agrees to stay the night without her parents.
On the train into the city, the couple and their friends face several delays. Knowing that they were going to miss the big countdown, the crew decides to have their own party on the packed train. They bring out speakers and the friends, and even the rest of the train, ring in the New Year celebrating on the train. This moment, to me, was just so blissful. It was such a simple plot line but it evoked such joyous feelings. It showed that no matter where you are in life, all that matters is who you are with. They celebrated their New Years on a train stuck underground and had the times of their lives. It was so nice to watch.
After Oscar and his friends spend their time in the city, a few of the women need to use the bathroom. Of course, all businesses are closed but they find one shop who is just about to close. Oscar pleads with him to let the two ladies use the bathroom and even offers to pay him his very last $10.The shopkeeper agrees and Oscar is extremely grateful. As the women are inside he comes across a pregnant couple also looking for a bathroom. This next instance once again proved how great of a man Oscar Grant is. He goes inside and pleads with the shopkeeper to let the pregnant woman use the bathroom, a woman who is a total stranger to him. He is just a personable character and you just want the best for him because he does everything for everyone else.
On their way home, Oscar comes across the woman from the grocery store in the earlier scenes. She calls out his name, which attracts the attention of one of Oscar’s former inmate. The two get into a minor fight, with several men having back up. They are eventually pulled off of each other but the police are quickly called. Oscar and his friends split up when they see the police coming. However, they are all caught and ordered to sit on the platform. There was an extreme amount of reluctance coming from Oscar’s friends. They were being harshly spoken to and thrown around by the cops. Oscar, though he wasn’t getting treated any better, kept trying to calm everyone down.
Many bystanders and even Oscar himself took out their phones to record the police brutality. Oscar receives a phone call from his girlfriend while being interrogated by the police and assures her that he is fine and things are under control. The police brutality escalates as backup arrives and it leads to Oscar being shot in the back. The only thing Oscar can think about after being shot is that he has a little girl at home, and he kept reminding the police of just that. You can only imagine how furious his friends became after witnessing this.
Even the cops were confused by one of their own’s actions. The shooter himself looked stunned after shooting Oscar. As the ambulance arrives, one of the officers holds Oscar’s hand and just keeps telling him to keep his eyes open.
And if he keeps his eyes open or not is something you will have to find out for yourself. You guys should know by now that I do not spoil any endings for you!
This was not a typical movie choice for me, which may be why I enjoyed it so much. It was only 85 minutes long but was packed with so much content. The movie ended with live footage from actual scene at Fruitvale Station and pictures of the real Oscar Grant. I went the whole movie and forgot that it was based on true events and true people. Remembering this just added to the richness of this film. It is a much more serious and mature film than the previous movies I have reviewed, but it is just as worthy.
I have only seen Michael B. Jordan play a role in comedies, so seeing him in such an intense drama was actually refreshing. He did Oscar Grant justice and told his story effortlessly.
If you’re in the mood for a movie with a meaning, go search for Fruitvale Station. You will be absorbed by Jordan’s character instantly. As always, this is a must watch!!!! It is intense, but it deserves an applause.