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"GET ON THE BUS"
(1996) (Charles Dutton, Ossie Davis) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor None Heavy Minor Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None None Minor Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Minor Mild Moderate Minor


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A group of black men take a three day long bus trip to Washington, D.C. for the million man march.
PLOT:
Three days and 2,000 miles away from the million man march, a diverse group of black men board a bus that will take them from south central L.A. to Washington, D.C. Organized by George (CHARLES DUTTON), the men set out on a journey where they'll discover that a wide variety of "being black" exists and that its many "classes" don't always get along. Flip (ANDRE BRAUGHER), an aspiring actor, has problems with Gary (ROGER GUENVEUR SMITH), a light skinned cop, and with Randall (HARRY LENNIX) and his gay lover Kyle (ISAIAH WASHINGTON). Also on board is Jamal (GABRIEL CASSEUS), a former gangster and now covert to Islam; Xavier (HILL HARPER) a film student; Evan Thomas Sr. (THOMAS JEFFERSON BYRD) and his shackled teenage son, Junior (DE'AUNDRE BONDS); and Jeremiah (OSSIE DAVIS), an older man making the trip because he missed the civil rights marches decades earlier. After their first bus breaks down, they get a new, white driver, Rick (RICHARD BELZER), who becomes the focus of some heated racial discussions and they pick up car a salesman, Wendell (WENDELL PIERCE), who thinks it would be a good business idea to go to the march. As the group nears their destination, they realize that they are as much alike as they are different.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
While younger kids will probably skip this film, older teens may be drawn to it due to its dealing with the million man march.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
This is a rather large cast, and only a few characters may be seen by you for being bad role models:
  • ANDRE BRAUGHER plays the trouble maker on the bus who can't stand anyone who isn't "black like he is."
  • DE'AUNDRE BONDS plays a kid who's shackled to his father after having robbed a grocery store. He tries to justify his actions by saying that no one was hurt during the robbery.
  • GABRIEL CASSEUS plays a recent convert to Islam who formerly was a gang member who killed many people.
  • HARRY LENNIX and ISAIAH WASHINGTON play two gay characters on the bus and depending on your viewpoint they may be good or bad role models for your kids.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 6.5 out of 10
    Like director Spike Lee's best effort to date, "Do The Right Thing," this film explores racism by presenting it to the audience on a platter where we get to decide what's right or wrong. Placing various "classes" of black people on the bus who are all headed for the march, Lee creates a powder keg that's ready to blow. Their differences provide for a great deal of humor early on and later some introspection and a little violence. The performances are good all around, and while the ending gets a little melodramatic and preachy, the film is still an interesting look at being black in America. We give it a 6.5 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    While younger kids will probably skip this film, older teens may be drawn to it. Profanity is extreme and sex is limited to discussion, but does include a scene where Flip goes on about his varied fondness of the female genitals. Violence is limited to a fight between two characters based on philosophical differences. Disrespectful attitudes are heavy and are flung about as the couped up personalities clash with each other. As always, read through the scene listings before allowing your children to see this film that may prove to be a good topic of conversation between parents and older teens.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Evan drinks a beer in a restaurant as do some locals.
  • Southern state troopers pull over the bus and check it for drugs but don't find any.
  • Jeremiah mentions that after being laid off from his job, he took to drinking and then lost his wife, family and home.
  • BLOOD/ GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The word "nigger" is used quite often by black men (mainly by Wendell) toward other black men.
  • Some may view Evan's insistence on keeping Junior in shackles for the court ordered seventy-two hours as disrespectful, while others may not.
  • Junior repeatedly calls his father "Dog."
  • Flip doesn't like anyone who isn't like him. Thus he dislikes Gary for being a light skinned black man and dislikes Randall and Kyle for being gay. He gets after Rick for being white and Jewish. He also refers to women as "honeys" and as "freaks."
  • The group's new bus driver is white and some of them don't want to board the bus.
  • Kyle talks about serving in the Gulf war, and about being shot by his own men who believed they had "killed two birds with one stone. A nigger and a faggot."
  • Junior tries to justify his stealing (of money from a grocery store) as not being wrong since no one was hurt.
  • Flip talks about men always wanting to "get a little (sex) on the side (of a relationship)." He asks others if they've ever done that. Some say yes, others no.
  • Rick talks to George about leaving the bus, since he can't go to a march supported by a man (Farrakhan) he believes hates Jews. He tells him that he believes driving himself to the Farrakhan march would be like George driving to a Klan meeting.
  • One of the men is afraid to stand next to Randall in the bathroom because he's gay.
  • Southern state troopers pull over the bus and check it for drugs and don't find any. It's implied that they're doing this to harass the busload of black men.
  • The men talk about indiscretions from their past. Flip lied to his mother about trying out for the track team. Another man talks about kicking an overweight woman in the behind after she accidentally stepped on his foot in church. And Gary talks about stealing candy bars from a store when he was just a kid.
  • FRIGHTENING/TENSE SCENES
  • Xavier finds Jeremiah slumped over and unconscious and Gary tries to revive him. They get him to a hospital where they learn that he has heart disease and later they're informed that he died.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • George jokingly tells Rick that he should be scared because they've all got guns and knives on board.
  • Kyle talks about serving in the Gulf war, and about being shot by his own men who believed they had "killed two birds with one stone. A nigger and a faggot."
  • Jamal turns out to have been a member of a gang where he killed ("smoked") his first victim when he was thirteen and then killed many others with his handgun.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Junior repeatedly calls his father "Dog."
  • Phrases: "Piss," "Hot damn," "Pompous Bastard," "Homo," "Faggots," "Screwed (non sexual)," "Bastards," "Balls," "Shut up," and "Bitch."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • There is an older song that contains the phrase "Hit me" that has nothing to do with physical hitting, but is expression kids might imitate and sing.
  • In one song there's the phrase, "...making love with me."
  • PROFANITY
  • 10 "f" words (1 with the prefix "mother"), 14 "s" words, 6 slang terms for female genitals (the "p" word), 1 slang term for male genitals (the "d" word), 28 "ass" words, 25 damns, 11 hells, 1 crap, 1 SOB, and 5 uses of "God damn" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • There appeared to be a brief and extreme close up of a woman's breast in the opening credits.
  • Gary's girlfriend, not happy that he's going to the march and leaving her behind, asks him, "You expect me to get moist between the legs over this?"
  • Randall and Kyle are two gay men on board the bus. Randall talks about when they first met he "rocked Kyle's world," and gave him a bath and scrubbed every inch of his body and rubbed oil on his feet. Flip sarcastically responds to all of this by asking Xavier, "Who do you bend down and grab your ankles to?"
  • The first bus driver talks about his 16-year-old daughter being pregnant and that she and her 16-year-old boyfriend plan on moving in together to which he says, "Right now I want to kill that boy."
  • Flip gets after Gary again and says that in the old plantation days Gary (having a black father and white mother) would be receiving preferential treatment and would be "slapping skins" (having sex) with the white women.
  • Flip says he's "tagged (had sex with) all kinds of freaks (women)."
  • Randall says that Flips repeated boasts of his manhood probably hide an underlying problem or insecurity. Flip then responds that he "...likes p*ssy. I like the way it feels. I like the way it smells. And on occasion, I like the way it tastes."
  • Flip talks about men always wanting "to get a little (sex) on the side (of a relationship)." He asks others if they've ever done that. Some say yes, others say no.
  • Wendell tells Xavier, "Keep Jimmy ( his penis) in his pants. Keep him locked up tight" referring to not having kids and staying in college and making something of himself.
  • Wendell tells a joke: "What do you get when you cross a million lesbians with the million man march. Two million mother f*ckers you don't do d*ck."
  • In one song there's the phrase, "...making love with me."
  • Ossie tells Xavier to "make love to the drum" when teaching him how to play old African drum.
  • Junior says that his mother had to teach him to do things his father would have had he been around, including how to use a condom so that he wouldn't have an unwanted baby.
  • SMOKING
  • People smoke in a restaurant.
  • Wendell smokes a cigar.
  • People are seen smoking in actual footage from the million man march.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Gary (the cop) says his father was killed by a gang member.
  • Junior makes a run for it and everyone searches for him. Evan finally finds him and they talk about "running away," just like Evan did when Junior was born. Junior says that his mother had to teach him to do things his father should have normally done, including how to use a condom so that he wouldn't have an unwanted baby. Evan says he's there for him now and they make up.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • What it means to be black in America and how blacks can be dark or light skinned, straight or gay, Republican or Democrat, etc... (this is the message the movie promotes).
  • Evan and Junior are shackled together due to a court order for them to remain that way for seventy-two hours. Junior (and others) don't like it, but Evan is strict about enforcing the penalty for Junior's robbery of a grocery store.
  • The two gay men on the bus are having a lovers spat and some kids may not understand what's going on.
  • One guy on the bus says that the whole march could be a set up by a white government official to kill one million black men.
  • The Nation of Islam and Minister Farrakhan and the talk that Farrakhan says that the white man is the devil (said in the movie).
  • Ossie tells Xavier to "make love to the drum" when teaching him how to play old African drum.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Gary (the cop) says his father was killed by gang member.
  • The first bus driver talks about his 16-year-old daughter being pregnant and that she and her 16-year-old boyfriend plan on moving in together to which he says, "Right now I want to kill that boy."
  • Kyle talks about serving in the Gulf war, and about being shot by his own men who believed they had "killed two birds with one stone. A nigger and a faggot."
  • The men finally toss Wendell from the bus after they've had enough of him.
  • Jamal turns out to have been a member of a gang where he killed ("smoked") his first victim when he was thirteen and then killed many others with his handgun and he describes his first killing in mild detail.
  • Flip punches Randall in the gut on the bus. They're separated, but the bus pulls over and everyone spills out to watch the two fight. Randall lands the first punch, but soon Flip gets the upper hand and even kicks Randall in the gut when he's doubled over on the ground. Randall, however, makes a come back and with some punches and kicks gets the best of Flip.



  • Reviewed October 9, 1996

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