Soul Food (1997) Movie Script

And everything you've given me.
I always keep it inside.
You're the driving force in my life.
There isn't anything
or anyone that I could be.
And it just wouldn't feel right.
If I didn't have you by my side.
Ooh, you were there for me.
To love and care for me.
When skies were gray.
Whenever I was down.
You were always there.
To comfort me.
No one else can be.
What you have been to me.
You will always be.
You will always be the girl in my life.
For all times.
Mama, you know I love you.
You know I love you.
You know I love you.
you're the queen of my heart.
You are.
Your love is like tears from the stars.
Your love is like tears from the stars.
Mama, I just want you to know.
Mama, I just want you to know.
Lovin' you is like food to my soul.
Lovin' you is like food to my soul.
You are the food to my soul.
My grandma always said...
'Family pullin' together in
times of need makes you strong.'
This here's the story about
my family, about our family...
...about the things that pulled us together...
...and things that tried to pull us apart.
Let's see.
Where should I begin?
Give it up for the last
Joseph sister to get married--.
Bird and Lem.
Aunt Bird's wedding
is as good a place as any.
Everyone who was anyone was there.
Just the party people to the dance floor.
If you got more than $5.00,
let me see you shake it.
We got food. We got music.
We got a party happening here.
There you go, Big Mama.
That's my mom and dad dancing.
They got two and a half kids--
me, my sister Kelly...
...and whoever that is in the oven.
That's Aunt Teri and Uncle Miles--.
Iike Miles Davis.
They're both lawyers
and got big-time dough.
I'm talkin' dollar bills, y'all.
The bride is Big Mama's
youngest, Aunt Robin.
We call her Bird
'cause she used to be skinny.
The groom is my new uncle, Lem.
Folks are always doggin' him
'cause he's done time in jail.
Go on, baby.
Go pin it on her.
That's Big Mama there.
Big Mama Joe.
People always said she never
made one enemy in her life...
'cause if she did...
...she'd feed 'em her green beans,
sweet potato pie...
...and Southern fried chicken...
...and they'd be down with her after that.
That's my baby.
Reverend Williams--...
...ain't even kin, but he's always
got something to say or eat.
Mama Joe, how you doin'?
You lookin' so good.
Them daughters are looking good, too.
Especially that Lady Bird.
I was teasin' her. I said,
'Would you marry the Reverend?'.
She said, 'If I marry,
I need sex every night.'
I said,
'Put me down for Tuesday.'
Got to change it up.
Something new.
Something new from the underground.
You just take my man.
I'll see how you do.
And this is Simuel.
For Bird, he was one of
the skeletons in the closet...
Big Mama said we all had.
All right.
Look who's here.
What's he doing?
I don't know.
Get out of my way.
Heh heh.
Would you look at this fool?
Lem wasn't doing any better... the 'skeletons in the closet' category.
I'm going to get her.
Come on, Teri.
That was him with his ex,
bumpin' and grindin'.
Honey? -.
Who's Big Mama's favorite grandbaby?
I am.
What would my sweet pea do
for Big Mama?
Then go tell Aunt Bird
to get her butt in here...
...with her new husband now.
Being Big Mama's favorite wasn't easy...
...especially when it came
to keeping the peace.
But I always did what she asked...
...even if it meant
charging into a bathroom...
...full of fine,
half-dressed women.
Ahmad, what you want?
Yo, Bird.
- What?
Big Mama said get your black ass out here.
Big Mama ain't told nobody to get nowhere.
Stay out of grown folks' business.
Can't believe what I saw.
- Me either.
Who invited Simuel?
I didn't.
Doesn't matter. Why were
you letting him feel you up?
Now your man's dancing
with some Miss Hootchie Mama...
Iike there weren't no wedding
10 minutes ago.
Whose man?
- Your man, girl.
Hell, no.
Nobody's disrespecting me
on my wedding day.
That's what I mean.
Excuse me.
Did you see that dress Miss Thing had on?
Did you see her behind?
- All up her butt.
That's what she get--...
...draggin' somebody in
who ain't got nothin'...
...and puttin' him off on family.
Family? Puttin' him off on me.
I paid for this wedding.
Teri, why do you always say
how you pay for everything?
'Cause I do.
Who is that hootchie-cootchie mama...
...with her fat ass all over my husband?
I told you.
This is my wedding day.
I'm supposed to be happy.
Shoot. We happy.
It's supposed to be
the happiest day of your life.
Everybody's happy.
- We're happy.
But we'd be more happy
if we beat that ho' down.
Yeah. Come on.
Let's go get her ass.
She's workin' it on him.
Do it. Do it.
Excuse me. Excuse me.
Excuse me.
Excuse me.
Shake it. Shake it. Shake it.
Go on, Big Mama.
You see, right there--
that was just like Big Mama.
Always knowin' how to set things right.
I used to think we had
a special connection...
Iike we shared an inside joke
no one else was in on.
Then I found out she had the
same connection with all of us.
She was the rock of the Joseph family...
...the one that held us all together.
Reverend, that sure was
a good sermon today.
One reason we were so tight... 'cause we always had
Sunday dinners at Big Mama's.
That were a tradition
started down in Mississippi...
...when old folks met
at church to talk smack...
...and chow down
on some good old soul food.
Big Mama kept the tradition...
...when she and Granddaddy
moved to Chicago.
Holidays, of course,
were bigger.
More folks, more eats,
more souls...
...more soul food.
People would be rolling in from all over.
Like Uncle Remus, always hittin'
folks up 'cause he was broke.
Before Granddaddy died,
he owned a barber shop...
...corner store, and a Laundromat.
Not bad for a black man in those days.
Rumor has it Mama Joe's got
a big stash of loot hidden away.
Mama says that's a myth.
We used to always have eating contests...
...which the Reverend would always win.
He'd split after he busted slops
with my mom and aunties.
I can still see my dad...
Iookin' like he wanted to break
Reverend Williams' neck.
Last but not least,
there's Big Mama's brother...
...old Uncle Pete...
...who ain't left his room in 10 years now.
- Go.
Just sits up there,
watching TV.
It's kind of a 'lights on,
nobody's home' thing.
Let's go.
- Let's get out of here.
Those were the good days,
back before things took a turn.
Mama, Mama.
Uncle Pete's messing with us.
I'm tryin' to do my thing. Can I do my thing?
Hit me.
Take that.
Ooh. No, baby. That's too much.
Just put about four pinches in.
How you know how much to put in
without using a measuring cup?
And why we got to eat ham hocks anyway?
I guess you.
Ham hocks,
pig feet, chitlins...
We learn how to make things
taste good by trying things out.
Soul food cookin' is about
cooking from the heart.
That's right.
What's up, mama?
If she spent more time
with her shop instead of Lem...
...maybe she'd pay me back that loan.
You aren't hurtin' 'cause you
gave Bird money for that shop.
I loaned her money, Max.
As far as you're concerned,
I'm an ATM...
Automatically Teri's Money.
You two hush up.
You do this every Sunday.
Mama, she started it.
you finish those biscuits.
Teri, stop runnin' down your family.
Focus on your own man.
You're already on husband number two.
Shit, baby.
OK. Baby, wait.
So good. Shit.
That fried chicken smell good.
Can't wait to get some of that.
Don't ever put anything
like this on the stove.
You could burn the house down.
Yes, ma'am.
Remember when Bird almost did that?
Big Mama, your arm.
- Mama.
Give me some butter, baby.
You need ice.
You ain't been takin' your insulin?
I bet you ain't been to a doctor, either.
I don't need no doctor.
There's nothing salve,
...and my herbs won't cure.
Except your diabetes.
I didn't know
what diabetes was back then...
...but I was sure about to find out.
As we bow our heads on this special day...
...we ask a special prayer for this table...
...a special prayer for Mother Joe...
...who has provided for the rovin'
eye of the Reverend...
...beautiful breasts...
...and delicious legs under--
I mean, on the table.
Lord, all I'm askin' is,
bless this bread...
...bless this meal...
...and bless my stomach,
'cause I's gonna eat.
Take your time, son.
There you go.
Don't take too much.
Just what you need.
Remember, son--...
...this is for the needy,
not the greedy.
- Thank you.
I can't wait till Sunday finally comes.
Thank you.
I dreamt of fishes last night.
Somebody's been deep-sea fishin'.
Don't look over here.
Don't point over here.
Why? You never know.
What's she talking about,
It means either somebody's
coming or somebody's pregnant.
Or gonna get pregnant.
What you looking at me for?
She doesn't mean me 'cause
this is the last fish dream.
Don't sweep the dust straight out the door.
If you do, you sweep out the good fortune.
Whatever that means.
Didn't Daddy say that?
Daddy was the most
superstitious man I ever met.
I got one.
If you step on a crack,
you break your mama's back.
Did you try my fish cakes?
I made them this year,
and I'm very proud.
My plate's full.
My plate's full, too.
Y'all ain't right.
Y'all ain't right,
but that's all right.
My boo likes 'em.
That's all that matters.
You ain't got to worry about cooking...
'cause you can do hair.
Miss Teri can't cook nothing.
Right, Ma? That's why you
always had me cookin', huh?
I wasn't in the kitchen 'cause
Mama and Daddy had me study.
That's why I'm a successful lawyer.
Moms and Aunt Teri don't get along.
Never have, maybe never will.
Big Mama said she should have
named them Vinegar and Oil...
'cause they don't mix.
It started in the early
eighties, before I was born.
The rule was if one of
the Joseph girls had a date...
...a sister had to come along,
like a chaperone.
When Teri and my pops were going out...
Big Mama had Moms tag along,
in case Pops tried anything.
Hey, all right.
Check it out, y'all.
That's how you got to work it,
how you got to skate.
That's how you gotta do it.
You all right?
I can't say for sure Mom started it...
...but Dad couldn't resist...
...whatever it was she was throwing down.
Look at 'em.
See what I'm saying?
Look out, y'all.
I told you.
Mom stole Dad
from under Aunt Teri's nose...
...and the two haven't gotten along since.
Get out.
Get outta the car now.
Get outta the car right now.
Get off her, Teri. Come on, now.
Hey, Teri. Come on, now.
Just cut out all that hoo-shaw jawing.
Y'all do this every Sunday.
I've been cooking longer
than you've been alive.
Cornbread is my specialty.
Um, Lem...why'd you
get thrown in the joint?
Kenny, don't--.
I ain't gonna lie to y'all.
I made a stupid mistake.
Came here from New York
to help my cousin out and...
I guess I got caught.
- Kenny, dang.
It's all right.
I got caught sellin' somethin'.
He paid his debt to society.
It's no different
from Daddy and his gambling.
In life,
we all make bad choices.
My husband was gamblin',
and he was bad at it.
Fact, we almost lost this house.
But I worked...
on my hands and knees...
...cleanin' up after white folks,
takin' in laundry.
You do what you have to do
to stay strong... save the family...
...even if you stumble tryin'.
I'm gonna tell you something.
One finger pointing the blame
don't make no impact.
But you ball up all them fingers into a fist...
...and you can strike a mighty blow.
This family got to be that fist.
My Lord...
Come here, baby.
Cousin Faith-- Lord have mercy.
The niece Big Mama took in
after her sister died.
In case you missed the news,
Faith is trouble, big-time trouble.
What's she doing here?
Last we heard, she was
strippin' in a Californian club.
Then some guy supposedly
discovered her...
...and got her dancing in rap videos.
I ain't never seen her in none of them.
Teri, you can take her.
She ain't staying with me,
Kenny, and the kids.
Ahmad, kiss your cousin.
Here she comes.
My God, you've grown so much.
Rev, this is my sister's baby.
Mama Joe, Mama Joe.
This is a pleasure.
Ha ha ha ha ha.
Welcome home.
It's time.
The baby.
What's the doctor's number?
What's the name of the doctor?
I don't know.
I'll get this right now.
OK. All right. I got it.
Just get the door.
Yeah. OK.
Let's go. All right. Let's go.
The birth of my baby sister, Faith arriving--.
Who could have guessed things
wouldn't keep getting better?
This is where the problem is.
Mama, it's gonna be all right.
Put your sweater on.
I'm not getting my leg cut off.
Mama, you have to.
There's no blood circulating to that leg.
You're diabetic.
You haven't been watching what you eat.
Nobody's cutting off my leg...
...and that's that.
Last thing you need is a G-string.
I should give him some, right?
Give it to him.
Sock it to him.
Give it to him good.
What y'all talking about?
The nasty, darling.
Come on, we got clients.
Y'all better slow down.
I finished dumping the garbage.
Thank you.
Help me sweep up this hair...
...then call your mama to see
when she's picking you up.
What's up, shorty?
Very nice.
I see Teri finally gave you
the money to open your shop.
Teri didn't give me anything.
It was an investment.
If you had come to me,
I would have given it to you.
At what cost?
How much you willing to sacrifice?
Girl, you are gettin' thick.
That'll do it.
They'll help you up front.
See you next week.
Let me tell you something, OK?
I am married now.
Whatever we had going on before
is over with.
And besides,
my husband's name... written all over my kitty cat.
A wedding gift.
I know you like the finer things in life...
...and I know your man can't afford
to buy you shit like that...
...him just gettin' outta jail.
When you need me.
Later, shorty.
My God.
Bring my shorty up right.
Hey, baby.
You're gonna love this.
What you done brought?
- An Apple Performa.
A computer?
It's for the baby.
For the baby?
It's got everything.
It's got a color monitor...
It's got everything.
You don't think she's too young
for a computer?
You just look beautiful.
You're silly.
Hold it one second.
One second.
See what your daddy got you?
See what your daddy got?
Yeah, girl.
What you doin', Kenny?
You are so silly.
What you doing?
Hey...come here, now.
Mmm, with your fine self.
My other baby, huh?
Smellin' all good...
You gonna get in trouble.
What you talkin' 'bout?
The doctor said we gotta wait six weeks.
It's been six weeks.
- No, it ain't.
You know that you're wrong.
Did you hear that?
It's the door.
- It wasn't no door.
Someone's at the door.
Go see.
See who's there.
Hey. What's up, man?
What's up, man?
I was just...l mean,
I don't even know why I'm here.
If you're busy,
I'll come back later.
No, no. Come on in, man.
Who's there, Kenny?
It's Lem.
After you, brother.
How you doin', Lem?
- Hey.
I need to talk to you for a minute.
It's kind of personal.
That's how we got this one.
You better quit.
So, uh, what's up, Lem?
I was, um...
I was fired from my job today.
I lied on my application.
They ask if you ever been convicted, and...
I checked no.
You and Miles, man...
...y'all got yourselves together on the job.
I was just hopin' if--if you knew anybody...
...or...of any job openings.
Man, I'll do anything.
Yo, man, we'll find you something, all right?
Cool, man. Thanks, man.
Now I just gotta find a way
to explain this to Bird.
She's high-maintenance.
She walks around the house
in Chanel sandals...
...and shit like that.
I don't want her to think I'm livin' off her.
No, you don't want to tell her, man.
Why not?
- 'Cause you ain't got a job.
You don't wanna tell a woman--
- A black woman.
...especially a black woman,
that you ain't got a j-o-b.
It's all right for them
to lie around, but let a man--...
A brother.
- Especially a brother.
You could be fixin' the kitchen seats...
Or waterin' plants.
Washin' the dishes.
Takin' the garbage out.
Let me give you a little somethin'.
No matter what you do around the house...
...they still will consider you..
A trifling nigger.
Don't tell her.
That was good.
Ha ha. Got you with your own trick, right?
- Hey.
Hey, Aunt Teri.
Hey, sweetie.
You staying with us?
Yeah. Kenny and Max need a little time.
Kelly's with Bird.
I got your favorite tonight.
I spent many hours slaving.
I'm looking forward to it.
Aunt Teri?
Is Big Mama gonna get her leg cut off?
You're worried, aren't you?
I don't know.
Looks like that case is kicking your butt.
Yeah. I don't know how long
the jury's gonna be out.
And the firm is really
pushing me to be partner.
That's what you want, right...
to make partner?
Any attorney worth their salt
wants to make partner.
I bet that's Cousin Faith.
I got it.
There's some money missing
from our savings.
Last week, there was--.
I took 5,000 out.
I used it as down payment for studio time.
The fellas and I are gonna record a CD.
I thought you playing
with this band was just a hobby.
Why would you say something like that?
Because you're an attorney.
You work for a great firm
with a great reputation.
We could make twice
the amount of money...
...if you spent more time on your job...
...and quit this music crap.
If I wanna take $5,000
of my money out of the bank...
I'll do it.
Only 31,132 are yours.
we're getting separate accounts.
just for the book's sake... time you take money out,
inform me, all right?
Faith, how you doing?
Just wanna say thanks again
for letting me crash here.
Your place is really fantastic.
Where do I put my stuff?
Hard as it was...
Big Mama was finally
convinced to have surgery.
You know your daddy always said
you was the strongest.
The family gonna need your strength now.
Where's that baby?
Sweet pea,
I'm gonna be just fine.
Just need you to be strong.
That's why I'm doing this-- for you.
We gonna be strong together, OK?
After they wheeled
Big Mama down the hall...
...we kind of sat around on our hands...
...saying nothing.
I'm gonna use the rest room, OK?
Stay with Daddy.
I'm sorry. There was a problem.
Ahmad, baby, I don't think
you should be in here.
Wait. Come on, baby.
Where's Kenny?
Ahmad. Come on. Ahmad.
The doctor said Big Mama
had a stroke during surgery...
...and fell into a coma.
We all knew things
would never be the same...
...and all any of us could feel was bad.
We'll call you.
There's a sign on your door
that says you'll train.
I got experience on the presses,
and I'm a quick learner.
I can do the work.
Like I said, we'll call you.
I'll check you later.
All right. See you, man.
What's up?
I'll take you home.
Why you all G'd up today, Lem?
If I tell you something... gotta promise me
you won't tell your mama...
...or your nosy-ass aunties.
I was fired from my job last week.
I been trying to find another one...
...except things ain't going so good.
Don't sweat it.
You'll find a gig soon.
You got a lot of confidence
for a little shorty.
I get it from Big Mama,
they say.
Big Mama, heh.
Throw these in the glove box for me.
You know I spent time in prison.
I wouldn't have been locked up...
...if I'd have been smart,
like you seem to be.
Big Mama's always saying
you gotta love yourself.
Maybe you should try that.
My man.
It's getting late.
I still have to shop for dinner tomorrow.
Max, surely, you don't expect
to have Sunday dinner tomorrow.
Why not?
Jesus, Max, Mama is in a coma.
No. I'm not gonna let her ruin
a 40-year family tradition.
- Yes, tradition.
Don't tell me about tradition.
I am the oldest,
most responsible one here.
I graduated from law school.
You dropped out when you were 19.
This is about your jealousy,
Will you guys stop?
Let's just take a vote.
Good idea. Let's take a vote.
All right, cool. Let's vote.
Hands in the air...
...for those who don't wanna have
Sunday dinner tomorrow.
Hands in the air for all those...
...who want chitlins,
black-eyed peas...
...greens, some fried chicken...
...macaroni and cheese,
and egg pie.
I won't let you disrespect
my mama like she's already dead.
Your mama?
- Mm-hmm.
You get on my fuckin' nerves with--.
Lower your voice.
So you graduated.
That don't make you better.
Keep it down.
Stop it.
I'm sorry.
All of you have to leave.
Mrs. Joseph needs quiet.
I'm outta here.
Come on, Kenny.
I'm sorry.
I'm outta here.
Let's go. We outta here.
Max, that wasn't necessary.
I'm tired of her.
She always says something.
Where's my coat?
Maybe we should think about this.
Grandma's illness was
taking its toll on the family.
Nobody knew where to throw
the blame, except at each other.
Aunt Teri and Moms especially.
Because of them, hardly no one
was speaking anymore.
Poor Aunt Bird.
She tried her best to pull off
Sunday's dinner by herself.
Because of Teri and Mom's fight,
no one showed up.
For the first time in 40 years,
our Sunday tradition was broken.
Let's just eat.
Here you go.
Uncle Pete?
I know you think I been avoiding you.
But every time I come to visit...
...people are doing stuff to you
or arguing around you.
I know you're wondering
how everyone is doing.
Not good.
We didn't have a Sunday dinner yesterday.
Aunt Bird said nobody showed up.
After church, Mom didn't
feel like cooking at home... Daddy brought
home some Mickey D's.
We were all on the toilet all night.
We need you, Big Mama.
I was thinking that, too.
Maybe when you get out of here...
I could help you turn the ground over.
As you called it,
put some fertilizer down.
Yeah, I'll help you.
Come dance with me.
- Come dance with me.
- Come on.
- Dance.
I don't wanna dance.
Mama is not doing well at all.
I know. Dance with me.
Get your mind off it.
Um, I also...
...can't go to see you perform tonight.
That's what you said last week
and the week before.
I'd really like you to come--.
I'm swamped with work.
Well, just so you know...
I'm thinking about pursuing
my music full time.
Miles...'s a mistake.
It's what I wanna do.
You find a job yet?
But I have an audition.
I'm not into the straight job thing.
'Straight job thing'?
I didn't plan on staying here.
I thought I was gonna be at Mama Joe's.
If you want me to leave,
I'll leave.
Why'd you come back here?
What are you gonna do this time?
Run up Mama's credit?
Or, um, make her co-sign on a car...
...and then you leave her with the note.
Or better yet, why don't you
get arrested again...
...and let Mama put up the house
to post your bail?
I've changed.
You've changed?
Don't you start any shit this time.
You hear me?
Girl, I care about you.
I'm there for you.
So why don't you care for me.
Like I care about you?
Girl, I care about you.
I'm there for you.
So why don't you care for me.
Like I care about you?
I spend, like,
all of my days, baby.
Tryin' to sus out just
how things got this way.
I thought that we were in love.
But I swear right now,
I don't know what you want.
I make sure that I give you quality time.
But lately I feel you're not home by design.
But still I'm gonna try.
To give you the love of my life.
In hopes that you.
That you will open up your eyes, baby.
Girl, I care about you.
I'm there for you.
So why don't you care for me.
Like I care about you?
Sometimes I'm not.
I'm not sure that.
I'm all you got.
That I'm all you got.
Sometimes I'm not sure
you love me or not, baby.
There's one thing that I'm certain of.
Girl, I care for you.
And the one thing that I want is that you.
Care for me, too.
Girl, I care about you.
I'm there for you.
So why don't you care for me.
Like I care about you?
I care for you, baby.
That was the bomb.
I'm serious, cousin.
You was jammin'.
Man, I didn't know you could play like that.
You're good.
but it's not just about me.
We're a group.
the way those guys sing...
...they make my stuff come alive.
But you're the mastermind.
You put this together.
This is your shit.
The group's called 'Milestone,' not 'Them.'
We were thinking about that name.
You really wanna pursue
your music full time, huh?
I heard you and Teri talking.
Your man's looking over here.
He's looking a little jealous.
Ha ha. Family comes first.
Besides, I gotta get my career together...
...before I can think about a man.
I got goals, OK?
- OK.
- OK.
OK. Promise not to laugh.
Jesus. See? Right there.
I promise. I promise.
OK. Fine.
I wanna dance.
No. I mean really dance.
You know, do Broadway musicals,
choreograph the Oscars.
I've spent the last few years...
...trying to figure out
what makes me happy.
I learned that the only thing
that keeps me sane is dancing.
I'm gonna put all my energy
into it, so help me, Jesus.
Praise the Lord.
And plus... just... just feels so damn good.
You know what I mean?
It's like that with you and your music, right?
You want another drink?
Sly, send another one over here, all right?
All right.
That's my jam.
Come and dance with me.
I'm on my break.
Come on.
What the hell.
It ain't about being stupid, honey.
She really thought her hair was something.
It was tova-- towed back and over. Hello.
You cooked all this food
and none of your people showed?
You know I wasn't having it.
You wanted to bash somebody.
We'll help you eat it.
Now I know why nobody showed up.
Miss Thing can't cook.
You can't cook, darling.
What is this?
What was that?
Why you gotta push me, honey?
Wait. Wait.
Stop. Stop. Stop.
What you hit me for?
- What?
What the hell y'all doing?
Get in the bathroom.
My God.
Did you see that thing?
What are you doing home in the afternoon?
I got fired from my job.
Fired? You can't work a 9-to-5?
You got in trouble again?
No. I got fired 'cause
I lied on my application...
...about being convicted.
You felt like you couldn't tell me that?
I wanted to...
...but Kenny thought it'd be best
if you didn't know.
You gonna listen to Kenny?
What about us?
- It's not about us.
It's about this bullshit system.
They lock you up and expect you
to better your life.
But when you're out,
there ain't nothing...
'cause the crackers that got everything...
...don't give a second chance.
That white man shit is old.
I'm sick of niggers
using that shit as an excuse.
I'm the one who's been on six interviews.
Six. They won't hire me.
What you know about being a black man?
You're right. I don't know shit
about being a black man.
I'm sorry.
The shop is doing well right now.
I'll pay for our bills.
A lot of people come through there.
I'll see if anybody can
hook you up with a job.
Bird...l don't need your help.
I can find my own damn job.
Stop looking at my dick.
We had a deal.
We had a contract.
Pay in full. All right? Full.
Pay in full. Money up front.
Not right before I go in.
This is so wrong. Hey, Miles.
You all right?
I'm having the most important
audition in my life...
...and this fool is trying to screw me over.
It's about principles.
Business is business.
You know something?
I'm gonna fuck you up,
Dread Man.
Miles, you can help me.
They got a piano up in the audition room.
Faith, I don't--.
Play anything.
I'll dance to it.
Come on, cuz, please?
This is really important to me.
I'll owe you.
Ready when you are.
We have you down at 10:00
with Sterphan. Thanks. Bye.
I knew you'd call.
Simuel. Let me take your briefcase, baby.
Come on over here.
- Here we go.
I'm glad you made it.
There's something I wanna talk about.
Is that right?
- Yeah. Have a seat.
Why don't you let me hook up your fade?
- Yeah.
Edge you up,
clean you up a little bit.
You're looking good,
but I can make it better.
Dig that.
What's this all about...hmm?
What do you mean?
You acting like I'm Big Willie or something.
You treating me all good.
What's going on?
Actually, l, um...
I need a favor.
Can you do me a favor?
When I first saw Simuel,
I knew he was up to no good.
He wanted Bird bad...
...and there wasn't nothing he
wouldn't do or say to get her.
Something bad was about to happen.
It was as plain to see
as those phat suits he wore.
What do you think?
You got much game, Bird.
I learned from you.
Heh heh heh.
But what's in this for me?
Bird, where you at, baby?
I got some great news.
I found a gig.
Yeah, Kenny called me yesterday,
and told me about a job... the biggest in-house
printing company in town.
I went in cold...
...and they didn't even know
who the hell Kenny Simmons was.
I knew I had to kick some game.
- Right.
So I told the man
next to the goddamn man...
I was the best man for the job,
you know?
So, finally, he looks at me...
...stands there, says...'re hired.
Right there on the spot.
Like he knew that I knew
that he knew that I knew...
...that l...was...the man. Yeah.
You are the man.
You're my man.
With enough hours,
you know what that means?
Gonna get us our own place,
James Dawson,
phone call, line two.
James Dawson,
pick up line two.
You have a phone call.
Hey, Lem, I can't believe
you finished that Johnson job.
I didn't expect you to finish till tomorrow.
Good job.
Thanks a lot, man.
Can you run a 4 1/2 X 9 Carver?
I can work the Carver.
You sure?
- Sure.
Good man.
Lem Harris?
Simuel St. James...
Chief Executive of Sales and Marketing.
What's happening?
How you doing?
I've been hearing good things about you.
Especially the way you've been
handling those machines.
I'm no stranger to hard work.
That's good to know. Cigar?
Nah. I don't like cigars.
Sorry. You don't mind, do you?
Like I was saying,
it's always good to, you know...
...have enthusiastic, hard-working
employees like yourself.
Especially down there in printing.
I'm no stranger to hard work myself.
I'm like you.
I'm from the hood, too.
But I make $80,000 a year...
...because I was always
willing to sacrifice...
...whatever I had to to get what I wanted.
That's why brothers got to stick together--...
...pull one another up in a time of need.
The white man ain't gonna do it.
Sooner than you think, you'll
be helping another brother...
...just like I helped you.
What are you talking about?
I pulled some strings to get you hired.
What, you didn't know?
Kenny Simmons referred me.
No. I know your wife...
She told me about
your little felony situation...
...and asked me to hook you up
in the printin' department.
Man, me and old Cola,
we, uh, we go way back.
Who the fuck is Cola?
No. Ha ha.
That's just something I used
to call her back in the day.
Since she got that body shaped
like a Coca-Cola bottle, huh?
She used to just make
a brother want to scream.
- Hey, come on.
I'll beat your ass.
Don't fuck with me.
You can forget about your job,
I want to talk to you.
What is wrong with you?
Why are you fuckin' coming
in here tripping?
Think I'm not man enough
to find my own job?
I'm sorry.
You fucking that nigger?
- No.
What do you have to do for him?
Ain't no man gonna give you
a motherfucking thing free.
I didn't do nothing with him.
I just said I'd have dinner
with him. That's it. I'm sorry.
What the fuck is this, huh?
- It's nothing.
It ain't shit but a fuckin' bracelet.
This don't mean nothing.
Baby, I'm sorry.
Don't fucking touch me.
Don't fucking touch me.
Lem, I love you.
I just did this for us.
You stay the fuck away from me.
Lem. Lem.
Bird. Honey, it's OK.
Sweetie, you can talk to us.
Bird, your sister is
getting ready to call somebody.
I don't want no drama here.
Open up, Bird.
So Aunt Teri was calling in Cousin Blimp... whup Uncle Lem's ass...
'cause she thought Lem had beat up Bird.
Big misunderstanding.
You knew things were gonna get
worse before they got better.
That's how it was when my aunts
fixed each other's messes.
Hey, no guns.
You hear me?
Give me a shot.
Hello. Maxine, is Kenny there?
This is Rick down at the bar.
Your brother-in-law is down here...
...and he's getting wasted.
Didn't know whether to call Bird or not.
You need to send somebody to get him.
There you go.
There he is...
Cousin Blimp.
He's one of those cousins
you don't see much...
'cause he's always spends
so much time in jail.
Of all the people Aunt Teri
could have called... teach Lem a lesson...
I can't believe she called Blimp.
Give me some brews.
A couple for my boys, too.
Who's paying?
He's paying for it.
Yeah, right, motherfucker.
Don't shit me, motherfucker.
What is wrong with you, punk?
Hit that punk.
I'll blow your motherfucking brains out.
Should've brought my gat.
- Shut up.
Stop the car, Kenny.
Kenny, pull over.
Lem. Lem.
Ahmad, stay in the car.
That's my husband.
Wait. That's my husband.
No, no. Bird.
Wait, officer.
Please, somebody help.
Kicking Simuel's ass was one thing...
...but being an ex-felon with a gun...
Ianded Uncle Lem back where jail.
We're talking serious time.
Sure enough, the family
was starting to fall apart.
What happened?
Teri in?
She's at the hospital.
Any change?
It's beautiful.
For your CD?
I don't know.
It's something I'm messing around with.
Hey... any news on your audition?
Get out of here.
I'm pretty happy about it.
I'm sure you are.
I was so scared.
I gave two weeks at my firm today.
I quit.
Man, when your CD drops,
you are going to blow up.
I don't know about all that.
Let's celebrate.
I'm moving out this weekend.
Teri and I living under
the same roof together... not working.
Teri's tough.
You letting her run you out,
You're damn right.
Besides that,
I need my own space.
Always on the go. I can't stay
in one place too long.
I got this new gig, so--.
So you gotta go.
I don't know.
It's always been like that.
But, you know, we're all cool.
There's no hostilities or anything like that.
It's just...
...when it's time to go...'s time to go.
Ha. That's bullshit.
Excuse me?
Sounds like bullshit.
I mean, that's, uh...
...a lonely life.
You should...
...stop pretending you
don't need anybody...
'cause you're just lying to yourself.
That's how I see it.
I'm going up to the studio.
You never know.
You have to just be yourself.
Uncle Miles, we're home.
He must be upstairs
in the studio on the roof.
The studio. Let's go.
I love it out here, Aunt Teri.
I know you love it out here.
Um, we gotta go.
But, Aunt Teri, I thought--...
Back to your house.
- Aunt Teri--.
No. Let's just go back, OK?
I don't know why we left
Aunt Teri's house so fast...
...or why Teri was so upset all of a sudden.
All I know is she didn't speak
the whole trip.
We headed back to my house.
Everybody was getting together...
...for my Mom and Dad's
11th-year anniversary party.
Happy anniversary.
One more kiss.
All right. Look out now.
Watch me now.
Where's my baby?
There sure seemed to be
a lot of tension in the air...
...especially between Teri and Miles.
At one point,
I think I saw Aunt Teri crying.
Not even my mama could say why.
Good God almighty.
At least my folks were getting along...
...which is always cool.
Honey, uh...
...why don't you get everybody
in the kitchen so we can talk?
Want to dance?
Teri, you OK?
Are you all right?
After all these years,
you and Max are still together.
I still envy that.
I always thought if you and I
had gotten married... life would be different.
But it wouldn't.
I'd find a way to screw it up.
Teri, you can't...
What y'all doing in here?
Just talking about this cake.
It was good.
Yeah, real good.
Since we're all together...
I feel it's a good time to talk
about Mama's hospital bills.
Y'all know her insurance
won't cover everything.
We're talking about it
since the five of us are here.
Maybe we can all pitch in,
take care of this tonight?
What about that money Mama has stashed?
That's just a myth.
I felt that Teri and Miles
could pay for everything.
Then we can pay you back
in installments or--.
Don't you start running
that game on me again.
Expect me to bail Lem out of jail, too?
Lem doesn't have anything to do with this.
We can pay for Mama's
bills by selling the big house.
We're not selling the house.
Mama and Daddy saved
their whole life for that house.
We can't even agree on anything
as small as Sunday dinners.
Nobody's paying for the taxes
or utilities except me.
We can finally put Uncle Pete
in a home like we discussed.
Uncle Pete in a home?
Mama would kill us.
You are tripping.
I'm selling the house.
You're not selling the house.
I'm the guardian of her estate,
so I make the decisions.
listen to what they're saying.
Your mama worked hard to keep
that house in the family.
For everyone-- you and your family--.
Fuck the family.
I let the family in my house.
You know what?
The family fucked my husband.
Yeah. Faith fucked my husband.
What are you gonna say?
- 'Teri' what?
Can we talk about this?
- Talk about what? Fuck you.
Teri. Whoa. Teri.
Let go. Let go.
My goodness.
Get out.
I'm so sorry.
Get out.
Get the fuck out.
I never meant to. God.
It's OK. It's OK, Teri.
It's gonna be OK.
Second floor nursing station, maintenance.
Second floor nursing station, maintenance.
ln the five weeks
Big Mama was in that coma...
...every grownup in the family
managed somehow to go crazy.
I know, 'cause I just about went crazy, too.
You were...
...weren't you?
Everybody was worried about you,
but not me.
I knew you'd come around.
I love you, Big Mama.
The family's...
...a mess, isn't it?
A lot of bad things happened
while you were gone.
If you let...
...bad things stop you... won't be here...
...for the good things.
I'm tired, baby.
My soul is tired.
I need you to do something for me.
Only you can do it.
I need you to--.
Big Mama, what's wrong?
Big Mama. Big Mama.
Son, you'll have to wait outside.
It's OK, son.
We'll take good care of her.
Excuse me.
Dr. Horowitz...
...please report to the nursing station.
Dr. Horowitz to the nursing station.
Should I feel.
Should the shadows come.
And why.
Should my heart.
Be lonely.
And long.
For heaven.
And home.
When Jesus is.
My potion.
A constant friend.
Is he.
His eye.
Is on.
The sparrow.
And I know.
He watches me.
His eyes...
Pulling together in times of need--.
That had always been Big Mama's job...
...but who was gonna do it
now that she was gone?
And I know.
He watches.
Mama ain't even lukewarm
in the ground yet...
...and that damn girl got her house for sale.
Uncle Pete?
What you doing out of your room?
We going to the creek today,
We can catch some trout for dinner.
Put it in the iron pot...
...sear it with lard or cooking oil, Joe.
I'm Maxine, Uncle Pete.
Joe's daughter.
She's gone.
She's dead.
Remember Daddy used to raise hogs?
He'd gut 'em...
...and he'd cure the cut-up meat
in brine, and...
...and put 'em in the smokehouse
for sausages.
Daddy's gone now.
So you got to take care of me now, Joe.
That's right.
I'm gonna take good care of you.
Come on, now, Uncle Pete.
You want some catfish?
I'm happy we're doing this.
Yeah, me, too.
Look. There she is.
We didn't order yet,
'cause we were waiting for you.
What's up?
Look, Teri, I know you're mad at the world...
...for what's happened
between you and Miles.
I understand.
But you're taking it out
on the family, and that's wrong.
We're gonna stop
the sale of Mama's house.
I went to Kenny's lawyer...
...and I drew up a motion
to cease and desist.
- I'm sorry, too.
Teri, don't leave.
Why doesn't that surprise me?
I gotta go to the bathroom.
You OK?
Lem's gonna be a daddy.
So you're the fish in Mama's dream.
Maxie, I miss him so much.
I knew, Bird...
...but you can't call your ex... help your husband
find a job behind his back.
A man has to be a man.
If he feels you take that away
from him, he has nothing.
Like with Mama.
Remember when Daddy lost
all that money gambling?
- Yes.
She didn't trip.
She did what she had to do
and left him with his dignity.
You see what I'm saying?
Men need that.
I guess you're right.
I'm gonna be an auntie.
I wish I could be like you.
- Please.
So does Teri. That's why
she acts the way she does.
Girl, you got your own shop...
...and Teri's got a great job at the firm.
Shoot, all I got is a husband
and some kids...
...but they badasses.
Mama always said you were
the strongest one in the family.
I want to say thank you
for always supporting me.
You're my sister, girl.
I love you, Maxie.
I love you, too.
Come here, girl.
It's gonna be all right.
- Yeah.
Just fine.
We gotta get some bottles,
some Pampers.
You ready for that?
- I guess.
Get ready.
It's Teri Joseph for Jonathan Oliver, please.
Teri must have felt really bad...
...about what she did to Lem...
'cause she called in a favor
from some downtown big shot.
Um, I have a favor.
And that last steal.
The way you pulled up and scored.
Sweet move, baby.
But, Mama,
why you always gotta be so loud?
I don't care what they say.
You my baby,
and I'm proud of you.
Can you hook up a victory dinner?
Sure, baby, anything you want.
Think I could grub on some lima beans...
...neck bones,
greens with some hot sauce... cakes,
and some fried chicken.
All of that?
All of that.
All right.
Besides, I haven't cooked like that since...
So when you want to have
this victory dinner?
Sunday... Big Mama's.
You up to something.
I carried you for nine months,
went through...
...Twenty three hours,
45 minutes, 10 seconds of labor.
Wiped your little butt...
...while your lil' ding-a-ling
pee-peed in my face.
So Mama knows
when you're up to something.
You're trying to get everybody
together for Sunday dinner.
Big Mama wants me to.
It's what she was trying
to tell me before she died.
You liked that last shot?
that last shot was the bomb.
Flow, you know.
Keep doing like that,
and when you get older...'re gonna get a fat contract, right?
Buy a house. Get me a Lexus.
- A Lexus.
And a fur,
you know what I'm saying?
Guys, that's sounding good,
but I'm still missing a note.
Let's do it again.
Let's try it again.
Here we go.
One, two, three, four.
I care about you.
I'm there for you.
So why don't you care.
For me.
Like I care about you?
Good, good, better.
Let's take a break, all right?
Leave the little man to his business.
I'm glad you could make it,
I'm glad, too.
It's been tough...
...with school and working
at the shop afterwards.
And figuring out what to do
with that loot Big Mama left me.
What loot?
Dead presidents?
- Cash?
When did she leave it to you?
- Day she died.
I was the only one at the hospital.
Big mama told me where
she stashed a lot of money.
How much money you talkin' about?
Lots. I mean beaucoup.
- Beaucoup.
Maybe you could help me
decide what to do with it.
This isn't the money from the will?
Aunt Teri, you're the smartest in the family.
You know that's right.
If I was your son,
would you invest in my future?
Do the right thing for family?
- Absolutely.
If you help me,
I can give you a third.
Like a fee.
A fee?
- Yeah.
Then you could pay Big Mama's
bills and not sell the house.
I can give you a percentage
if you help me invest it.
You can use the money
to promote your CD.
Have you told anybody else about this?
No, but I'd give you some of it.
You could pay Aunt Teri's loan.
Why don't you tell me...
- ...where the money is?
Let's get it.
- When's a good time?
Sunday at 3:00... Big Mama's.
What y'all doing here?
Just cooking a little Sunday dinner.
All right.
Let the ladies handle this.
After all the hard work
is done, you're gonna come in.
You can work hard with
that remote and watch football.
I can do that?
- Yeah.
You sure?
- Mm-hmm.
You don't need anything?
- No.
Thank you.
You want me to start these dumplings?
Yeah, but watch that measuring.
You know how you are.
I'm gonna kick your butt.
Why didn't you tell me?
This would be the test... see if 40 years of tradition
and Mama's soul food...
...could pull our family back together again.
Aunt Teri, what's up?
There's a car outside.
Is your mom here?
Somebody cooking?
Go in the kitchen and see.
Smells in the kitchen
bringing back the good old days.
Mmm, dumplings,
deep-fried catfish...
...macaroni and cheese,
and sweet cornbread.
The kind Big Mama made look
like pound cake for the kids.
I wanted the good old feelings back, too.
And so did Big Mama.
Miles, what's up, man?
How you doing?
What's going on here, Ahmad?
We having Sunday dinner.
We got some string beans,
...chicken and dumplings,
some cornbread.
I shouldn't be here.
What's happening?
When'd you get out of jail?
What's going on?
I wanna talk to you.
How you doing, Miles?
Have a seat.
We're going to serve dinner.
What's going on in there?
We're having Sunday dinner.
Sunday dinner?
I fucked up, huh?
How's Bird doing?
She's in there.
Why don't you go ask her?
Looks like a family thing in there.
I don't want to butt in.
Why not?
You're family.
Hey, Ahmad, um...
I know I let you down,
and I'm sorry.
But I want you to know,
I ain't beat on your auntie.
I pushed her,
and that was bad enough...
...but I didn't hit her.
I would never, ever hit a woman.
Do you believe me?
Ahmad, your mama said go wash
and get ready for dinner.
I'll leave you two alone.
Boo, you're home?
I missed you so much.
I missed you.
I missed you so much.
Are you OK?
I'm fine, baby.
I messed up, baby.
I'm sorry.
I love you.
- I love you, too.
I have something to tell you.
Ahmad? Ahmad?
I can't even believe she's here.
Come on.
Hey, Faith, what's up?
Ahmad, what's going on?
How come everybody's here?
We just having Sunday dinner.
Sunday dinner?
Yeah. We got some
chicken and dumplings...
...some string beans,
catfish, some cor--.
Not cool, Ahmad.
I'm out of here.
Wait. Please, stay.
Dear Lord...
...thank you for allowing us
another day on Earth--...
...another day to glorify your name...
...and sanctify ourselves with your mercy.
I'm grateful that the people
I love most in the world...
...are here to celebrate life
and the lessons as it unfolds.
And let one of those lessons
be acceptance and love... we can be a family again...
...and love each other like we used to.
In Christ Jesus' name, amen.
It's so good to be back.
I missed this place.
I've got my favorite food.
I have a surprise for everyone later...
...but for now,
why don't we just eat?
Amen to that.
Everybody, um,
I got my job back.
That's good, Lem.
That's great.
They asked a brother back...
...because they know I'm a good,
strong, skilled worker.
That's right.
How'd you get out of jail?
I don't even know.
Somebody talked to somebody,
and the charges got dropped.
Here I am.
Glad to have you home, brother.
That's right. My boo is home.
Actually, I called a friend at
the D.A.'s office for a favor.
I felt bad.
You should feel bad.
Because of you,
I spent weeks in jail.
You should be thankful.
Now you can take care
of your pregnant wife.
mind your own damn business.
Didn't nobody ask you for your help.
Worry about your husband
and why he's sleeping with her.
No, sit.
Let her go if she wants to.
Teri, I'm sorry,
but she's always running away.
You're family,
and we're gonna deal with this.
Baby, get me some more peas.
And take your sister.
Always worrying about
somebody else's business.
You need to take care
of your own husband.
So was that it, Miles?
I didn't take care of you?
We haven't been happy for a long time now.
We used to have so much fun.
I don't know what happened.
It seems that everything I love...
I lose.
Well, um, ahem.
Good luck with Mother Joe's money.
M-Mother Joe's money?
What are you talking about?
Supposedly, Mama has
some large amount of money...
...stashed someplace in the house
she was saving for Ahmad and...
...that's why we're all here tonight.
Ahmad? Get in here.
Right now.
Where's this money
Mother Joe supposedly left you?
There isn't any money.
I made it up.
You made it up?
Ahmad, what have I told you about lying?
You know better.
It's not my fault.
It's all y'all's fault.
Y'all messed up the family.
Can't you see that?
Big Mama wanted me to get you
together for a Sunday dinner.
I didn't know how to do that,
because all y'all do is fight.
So I lied about the money so you'd come... we could be a family again.
Y'all know that's what Big Mama wanted.
Baby...come here.
It's OK.
Y'all smell that?
Smell what?
It's coming from the kitchen.
You mess with the stove?
I'll go look.
Shit. Come on.
Let me get some water.
Get back. Get back.
My God.
Get back. Get back.
Look out. Look out.
Whoa. Whoa. Look out.
It's coming from the back of the stove.
It ain't working.
My God.
The house.
The house.
It's getting out of hand.
We need an extinguisher.
My God.
My goodness.
What happened?
I don't know.
I forgot.
I left the towel on the stove.
Uncle Pete, are you all right?
Got a little on your face.
He didn't mean nothing.
This is, uh, my surprise,
Uncle Pete.
Uncle Pete?
I'm--I'm sorry, man.
Look at this.
- What?
Look at all this money.
Big Mama really had
hidden a pile of money.
It was in the last place we'd look--.
Uncle Pete's TV.
Now I understand
what soul food was all about.
During slavery, black folks
didn't have a lot to celebrate.
Cooking was how we expressed
love for each other.
That's what those Sunday dinners meant.
More than just eating.
It was a time for sharing
our joys and sorrows.
Something old folks say
is missing in today's families.
Things got better for my family after that.
Even though Miles
and Aunt Teri broke up...
...that doesn't stop
Miles from coming over...
...and filling his belly
with Mama's soul food.
Lem and Bird are doing good.
They got their own place...
...and they're expecting
their baby any day now.
My mama and Aunt Teri are
cool again, at least for now.
And Faith is finally a part of the family, too.
As you can see,
we didn't sell the big house.
No way, no how.
Even though we miss Big Mama's
cooking, laughter, and love...
...none of us feel like life cheated her.
She accomplished what
she set out to do--... build a strong family
with a rich tradition...
...and to leave love in her footprints.
Thanks, Big Mama.
You taught me everything.
Everything you've given me.
I'll always keep it inside.
And you're the driving force in my life.
There isn't anything
or anyone that I could be.
And it just wouldn't feel right.
If I didn't have you by my side.
You were there for me.
To love and care for me.
When skies were gray.
Whenever I was down.
You were always there.
To comfort me.
And no one else can be
what you have been to me.
You will always be.
You will always be.
The girl in my life.
For all times.
You know.
I love you.
You know I love you.
You know I love you.
Mama, you're the queen of my heart.
You are.
Your love is like tears from the stars.
Your love is like tears from the stars.
Mama, I just want you to know.
Mama, I just want you to know.
Lovin' you is like food to my soul.
Lovin' you is like food to my soul.
You are the food.
To my soul.
Yes, you are.
Don't you stop it.
Don't you stop what you're doin'.
You don't really want to stop.
No, you don't.
Don't you stop it.
Don't you stop what you're doin'.
Yeah, yeah.
You don't really want to stop.
Check it out, yeah, come on.
Whether you like it hard over live guitars.
Anything dropped.
If it's hot, it's ours.
If it's not, it's yours.
We on the job.
Everybody eatin'.
Everybody involved.
You can't stop that like you can't stop rap.
Bad boy, stop.
What's the chance of that?
We don't stop.
So checks, advances, and stacks.
And we don't have to answer to jack.
No wonder we had this rap shit locked.
For eight straight summers.
Pull up at the party.
Eight straight hummers.
Six be the sixth, seventh,
and eighth wonders.
Pop corks,
we be the toast of New York.
And out West,
we want y'all to understand.
All we wanna do is make you dance.
We know the song ain't done wrong.
When the party is hot.
Y'all don't really want us to stop, do you?
Don't you stop it.
Don't you stop what you're doin'.
You don't really want to stop.
Don't you stop it.
Don't you stop what you're doin'.
You don't really want to stop.
You can pump this in your jeep.
On an off-road.
Pump this through your Bose.
On the way to the toll.
Bang this in you're B.N.O.
When you at home.
On the six-four sittin' on chrome.
Yo, we don't stall, we ball.
While you playin' the wall.
We in the middle of the dance floor.
Gettin' off.
We got a bunch of hot chicks.
Gettin' live with us.
At the end of the night.
They gonna slide with us.
Don't you stop it.
Don't you stop what you're doin'.
You don't really want to stop.
No, baby, uh-uh.
Don't you stop it.
Don't you stop what you're doin'.
You don't really want to stop.