Flashback Friday Moment of The Week: 11/12/2021

by Juan Thomas
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I finally got around to setting up the mesh network in my apartment last week while also bringing ExpressVPN back into the fold after parting ways in May 2013 at the end of my Air Force assignment in South Korea. Of course, after confirming that I had full Internet access everywhere in the apartment despite the concrete walls, I checked to see if the VPN allowed me access to all of my streaming options from back in the United States. While I was checking my Vudu account, one of the films I saw in the queue was Hav Plenty, Christopher Scott Cherot’s romantic comedy from 1998. I hadn’t seen it in several years so I took a peek. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the Hav Plenty film.

How I first came across this moment? I first came across the film when I saw it on Black Starz! on June 13, 2001. I actually caught it about halfway through but I ended up watching the entire film for the first time a couple of days later.

What it meant to me then? Quite honestly, I was initially attracted to the film based solely on the lead actress: Chenoa Maxwell. There was something about her look that lured me in. Once I got over the fascination of my former #2 celebrity crush, I actually thought the film was pretty good. It seemed realistic to me…the whole guy kicking it with a woman he’s crazy about despite the fact that she’s friendzone’d him angle was pretty accurate. I really liked how Cherot’s Lee Plenty was true to his principles despite everything Maxwell’s Havilland Savage threw at him. I actually saw a little bit of myself in Mr. Plenty…especially during The Lost Decade of Dating. For a number of years, I watched it on YouTube via a combination of about 20 different videos before I purchased the DVD from Amazon in 2009. It remained a regular play for me up until I left for the Seoul assignment in the Summer of 2012.

What it means to me now? I actually still have that DVD of the film. It’s in the storage downstairs and I’ll probably end up pulling it out when I go to collect all of the DVDs and Blu-rays for placement. Having experienced what Lee Plenty went through at the hands of Havilland Savage a time or two in the final years of “the lost decade”, certain parts of the film are kinda triggering to me now. There was an instance when someone I really, really liked tried to set me up with their cousin…kinda like when Havilland tried to set Lee up with Caroline (played by the lovely Tammi Katherine Jones). There was also a time where I met the mother of one of the women I was seriously involved with and she flat out said that her daughter and I would be together forever. She was wrong but it reminded me of the scene where Havilland’s grandmother tells her that she likes the cut of Lee’s jib and that they will marry. But looking at that film a couple of days back as a 37-year-old, I think Havilland Savage was just that: a savage. I’ve been watching romantic comedies a long time and I don’t think there are too many lead characters that were as narcissistic as she was…and she was relentless with it, even when Lee and Leigh (her sister played by Robinne Lee) called it out. She definitely embodied what it means to be simultaneously attracted and repulsed concerning a love interest. Anyway, it’s still a great film…one of my favorite small-budget Black romantic comedies alongside Love, Sex & Eating the Bones, The Other Brother, All About You, Love for Sale, and The Love Section.

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