Vh1's TLC Biopic Was Worth the Watch, Worth the Tears
I liked Monday night's Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story. It wasn't a particularly great movie, but it had its moments. I love the group unconditionally, so I'm always happy to hear their music. And hey, I wasn't the only one who watched it. Most of us are familiar with the group's infamous story: their meteoric rise, their financial drama, and their personal struggles. My one grievance: the characters in the movie were a bit one-dimensional (despite the valiant efforts of the actors). According the movie, Tionne Watkins was "The One With Sickle Cell Anemia," Lisa Lopes "The One With Unhealthy Relationships And An Alcohol Problem," and Rozonda Thomas "The One Who Had a Tumultuous Romance With Dallas Austin."
These narrow depictions were somewhat unfair to the actual trio. Fortunately, we all know each woman was and is much, much more complex and dynamic than her cinematic doppelgänger. Regardless, I still enjoyed myself. Here are the best moments of Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story:
T-BOZ'S DANCE BATTLE
In the voiceover during the opening scene, T-Boz tells us, "I wanted to be in the boys' club. Why should they have all of the fun?" She then enters a dance battle against some unnamed guys and kills it. Drew Sidora had the early T-Boz hair, the confidence, and she worked it out.
THE LAFACE/PEBBITONE AUDITION
The first time we see the LaFace Records logo, it is when the original trio (sorry, Crystal) enter the label's office. That logo gave goosebumps. My goosebumps got goosebumps. All of the goosebumps melted away as soon as Tionne, Lisa, and Crystal began their audition for Pebbles and and L.A. Reid. We already knew that Tionne and Lisa would steal the show, but nothing prepared me for the musical styles of Crystal Jones. According to this movie, Crystal sings like I do when I first wake up in the morning (i.e., like a porcupine is stuck in my throat). Damn, VH1. That was way harsh. You didn't want us to question Pebbles replacing Crystal with Rozonda Thomas for a second, did you?
WHEN TLC BECOMES TLC
The moment when T-Boz and Left Eye meet their new bandmate, Chilli, it is the equivalent of your television set giving you a hug. The three young women immediately begin dancing it out to Dallas Austin's beats and breaking it down together. The chemistry between Keke Palmer, Drew Sidora, and Lil Mama sold this scene for me. It was the first time I cried.
LISA'S STYLE INSPIRATION
As Tracie Egan Morrissey from Jezebel observed, there was one detail that caught me off-guard. According to the movie, Left Eye started the "condoms as hair ties, eye patches, and baubles" look after Chilli's unplanned pregnancy and abortion. Okay?
The movie used old MTV footage, news reports, and TRL clips. Yep. Baby Carson Daly made a cameo. It's probably for the best they used the original TRL footage, but I would've thrown my couch out of the window if they decided to reshoot the clip with 2013 Carson Daly acting like early-'00s Carson Daly.
THE FOOD FIGHT
There's a food fight between TLC and Dallas Austin in the recording studio. It's set to the song "Groove Is In The Heart". This scene is why movies exist.
FEELINGS. SO MANY FEELINGS.
I cried when they played their first arena show. I cried when T-Boz's mom held in her in the hospital while undergoing treatment for sickle cell anemia. I cried when T-Boz found out she was pregnant. I cried when the camera zoomed in on that waterfall in Honduras because I knew what would happen next.
LIL MAMA AS LISA 'LEFT EYE' LOPES
Lil Mama's portrayal of Left Eye was freakishly accurate at times. At the end of the movie, they switched from "actors-being-TLC home footage" to "TLC-being-TLC home footage" and it blew my mind how much Lil Mama looked and sounded just like Lisa Lopes. The Last Days of Left Eye recreated footage made me go, "oh no no no no I can't do this" because it was so eerie. Lil Mama rose to the occasion. She did Miss Lopes good.
REVISTING THE MUSIC VIDEOS
Every time we were treated to the movie versions of TLC's classic music videos, I screamed with delight. You know the actors must've lost their minds when they all walked out of their trailers wearing the satin pajamas. It had to be so surreal. TLC's videos are iconic and Keke, Lil Mama, and Drew got to live out my number one life wish.
The movie closed with a montage of videos and photographs of the real TLC. My eyelids collected tears, but I refused to blink. Once I gave way, a flood streamed down my cheeks. I muttered, "TLC, MTB. TLC, MTB" as I fell into a deep, blissful slumber.