2020 Soul Train Music Awards: Chris Brown is the top winner

November 29, 2020

2020 Soul Train Music Awards hosts Tisha Campbell and Tichina Arnold (Photo by Leon Bennett/STA 2020/Getty Images for BET)

The following is a press release from BET:

The 2020 Soul Train Music Awards celebrated the best in soul, R&B and hip hop by highlighting both living legends and breakout stars with unrivaled musical moments and show-stopping performances. The awards show, which aired this evening, November 29, 2020 at 8 PM EST on BET, BET Her, VH1 and MTV2 was hosted by the iconic best friend duo Tisha Campbell and Tichina Arnold, who also brought their chemistry to the stage as the show’s opening musical acts.

Chris Brown led the pack as the evening’s most awarded artist, dominating in four categories including Best R&B/Soul Male Artist and the shared honors of Song of the Year, Best Dance Performance and Best Collaboration with Young Thug for their hit “Go Crazy.” H.E.R. followed closely with two awards: Best R&B/Soul Female Artist and The Ashford & Simpson Songwriter’s Award for “I Can’t Breathe. [Editor’s note: Brown did not attend the ceremony.]

Honoring artists across 12 categories, the 2020 Soul Train Music Awards also recognized Summer Walker (Album of the Year), Megan thee Stallion (Rhythm & Beats Award), Brandy (Soul Train Certified), Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, Saint Jhn & Wizkid (Video of the Year), Snoh Aalegra (Best New Artist) and Kirk Franklin (Best Gospel/Inspirational Award) for their special contributions to the genre.

The hosts kicked things off with an electrifying song and dance tribute to the power of Black women. Brandy performed a medley of her recent hits “Say Something” and “Boderline.” Ella Mai  sang her latest single “Not Another Love Song.” Lucky Daye shut the stage down with Babyface for a performance of their new collaboration “Shoulda.” Charlie Wilson performed a duet with Smokey Robinson before honoring the memory of gospel legend Rance Allen with a rousing tribute. Additional performers included Jazmine Sullivan, Snoh Aalegra and CeeLo Green. After accepting the Lady of Soul Award, Monica brought down the house with a jam-packed performance of her chart-topping hits.

In addition to electrifying performances, this year’s highly anticipated Soul Cypher featured R&B stars PJ Morton, Chanté Moore, Shanice and Stokely. Ella Nicole and Moses Sumney took the BET Amplified Music Stage, a platform for emerging artists. Presenters included Andra Day, Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Deon Cole, Nicco Annan, Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri and Brandee Evans.

The following is the complete list of winners and nominees for the 2020 Soul Train Music Awards:

*=winner

Song of the Year
Beyoncé – “Black Parade”
Chloe X Halle – “Do It”
Chris Brown & Young Thug – “Go Crazy”*
H.E.R. featuring YG – “Slide”
Summer Walker & Usher – “Come Thru”
Usher featuring Ella Mai – “Don’t Waste My Time”

Album of the Year
Brandy – B7
Chloe X Halle – Ungodly Hour
Chris Brown & Young Thug – Slime & B
Jhené Aiko – Chilombo
Summer Walker – Over It*
The Weeknd – After Hours

Video of the Year
Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, Saint JHN & Wizkid – “Brown Skin Girl”*

Chloe X Halle – “Do It”
Chris Brown – “Go Crazy” Feat. Young Thug
H.E.R. featuring YG – “Slide”
Lizzo – “Good As Hell”
Skip Marley & H.E.R. – “Slow Down”

Best R&B/Soul Female Artist
Alicia Keys
Beyoncé
Brandy
H.E.R.*
Jhené Aiko
Summer Walker

Best R&B/Soul Male Artist
Anderson .Paak
Charlie Wilson
Chris Brown*
PJ Morton
The Weeknd
Usher

Best Collaboration
Chris Brown featuring Young Thug – “Go Crazy”*

H.E.R. featuring YG – “Slide”
Ne-Yo featuring Jeremih – “U 2 Luv”
Skip Marley & H.E.R. – “Slow Down”
Summer Walker & Usher – “Come Thru”
Usher featuring Ella Mai – “Don’t Waste My Time”

Best New Artist
Giveon
Layton Greene
Lonr.
Saint JHN
Snoh Aalegra*
Victoria Monét

Rhythm & Bars
Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”
Dababy featuring Roddy Ricch – “Rockstar”
DJ Khaled featuring Drake – “Popstar”
Drake featuring Lil Durk – “Laugh Now Cry Later”
Megan Thee Stallion – “Savage”*
Roddy Ricch – “The Box”

Best Dance Performance
Beyoncé, Shatta Wale & Major Lazer – “Already”
Chloe X Halle – “Do It”
Chris Brown & Young Thug – “Go Crazy”*
Danileigh featuring Dababy – “Levi High”
Missy Elliott – “Why I Still Love You”
Teyana Taylor – “Bare Wit Me”

Best Gospel/Inspirational Award
Bebe Winans
Kirk Franklin*
Koryn Hawthorne
Marvin Sapp
PJ Morton
The Clark Sisters

Soul Train Certified Award
Brandy*

Fantasia
Kelly Rowland
Ledisi
Monica
PJ Morton

The Ashford and Simpson Songwriter’s Award
“Black Parade” – Written By: Akil King, Beyonce Knowles Carter, Brittany Coney, Denisia Andrews, Derek James Dixie, Kim “Kaydence” Krysiuk, Rickie Caso Tice, Shawn Carter, Stephen Bray (Beyoncé)

“Do It” – Written By: Chloe Bailey, Halle Bailey, Scott Storch, Victoria Monet, Vincent Van Den Ende, Anton Kuhl (Chloe X Halle)

“Go Crazy” – Written By: Cameron Devaun Murphy, Christopher Brown, Dounia Aznou, Jeffrey Lamar Williams, Johnny Kelvin, Kaniel Castaneda, Omari Akinlolu, Orville Hall, Patrizio Pigliapoco, Phillip Price, Said Aznou, Soraya Benjelloun, Tre Samuels, Turrell Sims, Wayne Samuels, Zakaria Kharbouch (Chris Brown & Young Thug)

“I Can’t Breathe” – Written By: H.E.R. (H.E.R.)*

“Playing Games” – Written By: Summer Walker, Bryson Tiller, London Holmes, Kendall Roark Bailey, Cameron Griffin, Aubrey Robinson, Beyoncé Knowles, Kelendria Rowland, Letoya Luckett, Latavia Roberson, Lashawn Daniels, Fred Jerkins III, Rodney Jerkins (Summer Walker featuring Bryson Tiller)

“Slide” – Written By: Charles Carter, Elijah Dias, H.E.R., Jermaine Dupri, Keenon Daequan Ray Jackson, Roger Parker, Ron Latour, Shawn Carter, Steven Arrington, Tiara Thomas, Waung Hankerson (H.E.R. featuring YG)

2020 Soul Train Music Awards: H.E.R. is the top nominee

November 11, 2020

H.E.R. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)

The following is a press release from BET:

Today BET announces the hosts and nominees for the “2020 Soul Train  Music Awards” across 12 different categories. The annual celebration recognizes the best in Soul, R&B and Hip Hop from both established industry legends and the next generation of promising artists. Taking place on Sunday, November 29, the “2020 Soul Train  Music Awards” presented by BET will simulcast on BET, BET Her, VH1 and MTV2 at 8 PM EST with a one-hour pre-show beginning at 7 PM EST, followed by the broadcast television debut of DJ Cassidy’s groundbreaking virtual series “Pass the Mic.”

Actor, singer and writer Tisha Campbell (“Martin,” “My Wife & Kids,” “Last Man Standing,” “Outmatched”) will once again join actor, singer, and writer Tichina Arnold (“Martin,” “Everybody Hates Chris,” “The Neighborhood,” “The Last Black Man in San Francisco”) as host and co-producers of this year’s awards. The iconic best friend duo, both on the 90’s hit show “Martin” and in real-life, will return to the “Soul Train Music Awards” stage for the third time, bringing their dynamic comedy and infectious personalities to this year’s ceremony.

H.E.R. leads the nominees for this year’s awards, receiving eight nominations including Best R&B/Soul Female Artist and double nods in each of the Ashford and Simpson Songwriters Award, Best Collaboration and Video of the Year categories. She is followed by Chris Brown, who received seven nominations including Album/Mixtape of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Dance Performance, Best Collaboration and Video of the Year for the hit single “Go Crazy” with Young Thug.

Beyoncé and Young Thug received six nominations, including Song of the Year and Video of the Year. Other top nominees include Chloe x Halle, Summer Walker and Usher with five nods each, followed by YG with four nominations. Brandy and PJ Morton round out the group with three nods apiece.

The “2020 Soul Train  Music Awards” presented by BET will feature an exciting lineup of unforgettable performances including special moments and appearances by some of the brightest stars in Black culture and entertainment. The annual event is committed to showcasing Soul Train’s impact on arts of music and dance from the 70’s to today.

Directly following the “2020 Soul Train  Music Awards,” DJ Cassidy will present the broadcast television premiere of his hit virtual series “Pass the Mic” on BET. The special will be a celebration of the most definitive, iconic and prolific R&B classics of the 1980’s. “DJ Cassidy’s Pass the Mic: BET Soul Train Edition” brings legendary, musical heroes to the comfort of audience’s living rooms around the world to dance hard, sing loud, and smile big.

Internationally, the”2020 Soul Train  Music Awards” presented by BET will simulcast on BET Africa on November 29, 2020, at 3:00AM CAT; BET France on December 1, 2020 at 9:50PM CET; and BET UK and BET South Korea on December 2, 2020 at 9:00PM GMT and 9:00PM KST, respectively.

Connie Orlando, EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET, along with Jesse Collins Entertainment (JCE) CEO Jesse Collins and JCE’s Jeannae Rouzan–Clay and Dionne Harmon will executive produce the “2020 Soul Train  Music Awards.”

The following is the complete list of nominations for the 2020 Soul Train Music Awards:

Song of the Year
Beyoncé – “Black Parade”
Chloe X Halle – “Do It”
Chris Brown & Young Thug – “Go Crazy”
H.E.R. featuring YG – “Slide”
Summer Walker & Usher – “Come Thru”
Usher featuring Ella Mai – “Don’t Waste My Time”

Album of the Year
Brandy – B7
Chloe X Halle – Ungodly Hour
Chris Brown & Young Thug – Slime & B
Jhené Aiko – Chilombo
Summer Walker – Over It
The Weeknd – After Hours

Video of the Year
Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, Saint JHN & Wizkid – “Brown Skin Girl”
Chloe X Halle – “Do It”
Chris Brown – “Go Crazy” Feat. Young Thug
H.E.R. featuring YG – “Slide”
Lizzo – “Good As Hell”
Skip Marley & H.E.R. – “Slow Down”

Best R&B/Soul Female Artist
Alicia Keys
Beyoncé
Brandy
H.E.R.
Jhené Aiko
Summer Walker

Best R&B/Soul Male Artist
Anderson .Paak
Charlie Wilson
Chris Brown
PJ Morton
The Weeknd
Usher

Best Collaboration
Chris Brown featuring Young Thug – “Go Crazy”
H.E.R. featuring YG – “Slide”
Ne-Yo featuring Jeremih – “U 2 Luv”
Skip Marley & H.E.R. – “Slow Down”
Summer Walker & Usher – “Come Thru”
Usher featuring Ella Mai – “Don’t Waste My Time”

Best New Artist
Giveon
Layton Greene
Lonr.
Saint JHN
Snoh Aalegra
Victoria Monét

Rhythm & Bars
Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”
Dababy featuring Roddy Ricch – “Rockstar”
DJ Khaled featuring Drake – “Popstar”
Drake featuring Lil Durk – “Laugh Now Cry Later”
Megan Thee Stallion – “Savage”
Roddy Ricch – “The Box”

Best Dance Performance
Beyoncé, Shatta Wale & Major Lazer – “Already”
Chloe X Halle – “Do It”
Chris Brown & Young Thug – “Go Crazy”
Danileigh featuring Dababy – “Levi High”
Missy Elliott – “Why I Still Love You”
Teyana Taylor – “Bare Wit Me”

Best Gospel/Inspirational Award
Bebe Winans
Kirk Franklin
Koryn Hawthorne
Marvin Sapp
PJ Morton
The Clark Sisters

Soul Train Certified Award
Brandy
Fantasia
Kelly Rowland
Ledisi
Monica
PJ Morton

The Ashford and Simpson Songwriter’s Award
“Black Parade” – Written By: Akil King, Beyonce Knowles Carter, Brittany Coney, Denisia Andrews, Derek James Dixie, Kim “Kaydence” Krysiuk, Rickie Caso Tice, Shawn Carter, Stephen Bray (Beyoncé)

“Do It” – Written By: Chloe Bailey, Halle Bailey, Scott Storch, Victoria Monet, Vincent Van Den Ende, Anton Kuhl (Chloe X Halle)

“Go Crazy” – Written By: Cameron Devaun Murphy, Christopher Brown, Dounia Aznou, Jeffrey Lamar Williams, Johnny Kelvin, Kaniel Castaneda, Omari Akinlolu, Orville Hall, Patrizio Pigliapoco, Phillip Price, Said Aznou, Soraya Benjelloun, Tre Samuels, Turrell Sims, Wayne Samuels, Zakaria Kharbouch (Chris Brown & Young Thug)

“I Can’t Breathe” – Written By: H.E.R. (H.E.R.)“Playing Games” – Written By: Summer Walker, Bryson Tiller, London Holmes, Kendall Roark Bailey, Cameron Griffin, Aubrey Robinson, Beyoncé Knowles, Kelendria Rowland, Letoya Luckett, Latavia Roberson, Lashawn Daniels, Fred Jerkins III, Rodney Jerkins (Summer Walker featuring Bryson Tiller)

“Slide” – Written By: Charles Carter, Elijah Dias, H.E.R., Jermaine Dupri, Keenon Daequan Ray Jackson, Roger Parker, Ron Latour, Shawn Carter, Steven Arrington, Tiara Thomas, Waung Hankerson (H.E.R. featuring YG)

Review: ‘The Main Event’ (2020), starring Seth Carr, Adam Pally, Tichina Arnold, Ken Marino, Aryan Simhadri, Glen Gordon and Momona Tamada

April 10, 2020

by Carla Hay

Nikola Bogojevic, Eric Bugenhagen, Mia Yim, Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, Seth Carr, Keith Lee, Babatunde Aiyegbusi and Erik Tuzinsky in “The Main Event” (Photo by Bettina Strauss/Netflix)

“The Main Event” (2020)

Directed by Jay Karas

Culture Representation: Taking place in a fictional American city called Fall Bridge, this children-oriented action movie has a racially diverse cast (African American, white and Asian) and is about a middle-class 11-year-old boy who makes his World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) dreams come true, thanks to a magical wrestling mask.

Culture Clash: The boy keeps it a secret from most people in his life that he has a mask with magical powers, and his sudden fame causes unexpected problems.

Culture Audience: “The Main Event” will appeal mostly to WWE fans and children under the age of 10.

Aryan Simhadri, Momona Tamada, Seth Carr and Glen Gordon in “The Main Event” (Photo by Bettina Strauss/Netflix)

WWE Studios (the film-production arm of World Wrestling Entertainment) isn’t known for making quality movies. One of the few exceptions is the 2019 biopic “Fighting With My Family,” starring Florence Pugh as wrestling star Paige. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that WWE Studios’ “The Main Event”—which should definitely not be confused with the 1979 Barbra Streisand/Ryan O’Neal boxing movie of the same name—is as cheesy and mindless as you might expect it to be. The main saving grace for the film is that it’s harmless, family-friendly entertainment, even though it’s ultimately very forgettable.

“The Main Event” screenplay was written by four people (Larry Postel, Zach Lewis and Jim Mahoney and Peter Hoareplot), but the plot is very simple: An 11-year-old boy named Leo Thompson (played by Seth Carr) is a passionate wrestling fan, especially of (not surprisingly) WWE wrestlers, and he finds a magical wrestling mask that gives him superpowers. Leo has posters of WWE Superstars all over his bedroom walls and watching WWE matches with his sassy grandmother Denise (played by Tichina Arnold) is among the highlights of his life.

Leo and his best schoolmate friends Riyaz (played by Aryan Sumhadri) and Caleb (played by Glen Gordon) spend a lot of time predicting and dissecting the outcome of WWE matches. All three of the boys are nerdy social outcasts who are sometimes bullied at their school. Riyaz is an aspiring filmmaker, while Caleb has a hidden talent that is revealed toward the end of the film. Leo dreams of becoming a WWE Superstar, but that goal seems very out of reach, given that he’s scrawny and not very athletic at all.

Leo is also experiencing problems at home. A few months ago, his mother left Leo and his father Steve (played by Adam Pally) for another man and moved to New York City. Steve is working two jobs to make ends meet (he’s a mechanic by day and a Lyft driver by night), so he barely has time to spend with Leo. When Leo tries to talk to Steve about why Leo’s mother left the family, Steve avoids the topic and asks Leo if he wants to help him work on some cars. Leo isn’t interested in cars because he’s obsessed with wrestling.

Leo’s single grandmother Denise (played by Tichina Arnold), who runs a thrift shop, has temporarily moved in to help raise Leo. “The Main Event” has Denise as a garishly dressed woman with multicolored hair who tries to act like she’s “hip” to modern youth culture, since Denise takes selfies and says she’s an Instagram influencer. Her desperation to look and act younger than her real age is meant to be humorous, but it’s kind of cringeworthy to watch. Denise also has a celebrity crush on Kofi Kingston, a WWE Superstar who has a cameo in the film.

One day, while Leo is chased by bullies at his school, he manages to hide from them by running into a real-estate open house. He goes into a room upstairs that happens to be filled with WWE memorabilia. (“The Main Event” is absolutely shameless in the over-abundance of WWE promotion.) In a secret compartment, Leo finds a very smelly, spiderweb-covered mask.

Suddenly, an old man, who appears to be the owner of the house, comes into the room and is surprised to find Leo there, but he doesn’t get upset since he can see that Leo is in awe of all the memorabilia. They have a brief conversation and the man lets Leo keep the mask.

When Leo gets home, he tries on the mask, some mystical mumbo jumbo happens, and he finds out that he’s developed magical superstrength where can lift hundreds of pounds and do things like crush furniture with his bare hands. He also has supernatural speed and gymnastic abilities. When he’s wearing the mask, Leo finds out that his voice has gotten deeper and he sounds like an adult. However, this movie makes his voice sound like a weird audio-manipulated version of a child’s voice.

By doing some research on the Internet, Leo finds out that mask used to be owned by an old-time wrestler who was rumored to have super powers that came from the mask. According to legend, the powers only work on those who are worthy of wearing the mask and have good intentions. Of course, Leo brings the mask with him to school. And it isn’t long before he uses his newfound superpowers to defend himself from the three kids who are his bullying tormentors: chief bully Trevor (played by Josh Zaharia) and his followers Mason (played by Dallas Young) and Luke (played by Bodhi Sabongui).

When the bullies come after Leo again in the school hallway, he secretly puts on the mask, turns off the lights in his superspeed, and the next thing you know, the three bullies are strung up on their lockers, like humiliated scarecrows. Because this defense attack happened so quickly and mostly in the dark, the students who witnessed it aren’t sure what happened. However, they do know that Leo stood up to the bullies, and they now see Leo differently and have newfound respect for him.

One of those students is popular kid Erica (played by Momona Tamada), who’s been Leo’s secret crush from afar. He tentatively asks her out on a study date. And to Leo’s surprise, Erica says yes, and she ends up hanging out with Leo, Riyaz and Caleb. Eventually, Riyaz, Caleb and Erica all find out about the mask’s superpowers, and so does Leo’s grandmother Denise.

One night, Leo overhears Denise and Steve talking about Steve’s financial problems. Steve owes the bank $20,000, and he’s in danger of losing the house. Later, while watching a WWE match on TV, Leo and his grandmother find out the WWE is coming to their city for a tournament to find a WWE NXT Superstar. The winner gets to join WWE NXT and earns a grand prize of $50,000.

Leo immediately wants to enter the tournament to win the money for his father. At first, Denise is reluctant, but Leo convinces her to enter the tournament if he promises not to get hurt. And when Leo goes to sign up for the tournament, he’s easily approved, without showing any identification. It’s one of the many things about the movie that put it in the “fantasy” category. Leo decides that his wrestling alter ego name will be Kid Chaos.

Needless to say, Kid Chaos slays the competition. His most formidable opponent is a 6’9″ hulk named Samson (played by real-life WWE star Babatunde Aiyebusi), who doesn’t speak but communicates with growls, snarls and grunts. Of course, the faceoff between Kid Chaos and Samson doesn’t come until near the end of the film. Meanwhile, Samson’s sleazy manager Frankie (played by Ken Marino) will do whatever it takes for Samson to win.

As Kid Chaos advances to the finals, he continues to use his superpowers outside of the wrestling ring, including stopping a robbery at a diner. Meanwhile, Leo and Erica get closer. He helps her overcome her shyness about dancing in public and encourages her to enter the school’s talent contest. He promises that he will dance with her at the contest, which wouldn’t you know, happens to be on the same day as one of his tournament matches. (You can probably guess what happens.)

“The Main Event” has a lot of over-the-top stunts that are kind of amusing to watch, but the stunts and visual effects definitely won’t be nominated for any awards. The acting is what you would expect (mostly mediocre or subpar), but one of the standouts is Gordon as Leo’s wisecracking pal Caleb. Despite some of the badly written lines that the actors have to deliver, Gordon makes his supporting character a bit of a scene-stealer.

There are also several of cameos from WWE stars that should satisfy WWE fans. They include the aforementioned Kingston, Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, Sheamus, Renee Young and Corey Graves, who play versions of themselves.

Most of the tournament opponents who face off against Kid Chaos are also from the WWE stable. They include Eric Bugenhagen as Big Billy Beavers; Mia Yim as Lights Out Leslie; and Otis Dozovic as Stinkface, who adds some gross-out elements to the story because he uses his sweat and farting abilities as weapons in the ring. Keith Lee plays Smooth Operator, a mild-mannered and friendly opponent who befriends Leo/Kid Chaos. The matches themselves have little suspense, since viewers already know that Kid Chaos has superpowers that he definitely uses in the ring.

“The Main Event” is the kind of movie that parents will put on for their young children to keep them entertained or distracted. Anyone older than the age of 10 might not enjoy the film as much, since the acting and the dialogue are very simple-minded and very much geared toward children. “The Main Event” has some heavy-handed preachy messages, but that’s nothing compared to the relentless plugging of WWE in the movie. After all, that’s what a WWE Studios movie is supposed to be: one big WWE commercial.

Netflix premiered “The Main Event” on April 10, 2020.

 

 

Review: ‘Clover,’ starring Mark Webber, Jon Abrahams, Nicole Elizabeth Berger, Chazz Palminteri, Tichina Arnold, Erika Christensen and Julia Jones

April 3, 2020

by Carla Hay

Nicole Elizabeth Berger, Jon Abrahams and Mark Webber in “Clover” (Photo courtesy of Freestyle Digital Media)

“Clover”

Directed by Jon Abrahams

Culture Representation: Taking place in an unnamed big city in the U.S., the campy crime drama “Clover” has a predominantly white (with some African American and Native American representation) cast of characters involved in the criminal underworld.

Culture Clash: Two Irish American brothers who owe $50,000 to an Italian American crime boss go on the run when they get blamed for the death of the crime boss’ only son, and a teenage girl gets involved in their shenanigans.

Culture Audience: “Clover” will appeal mostly to people looking for a very lowbrow crime caper for escapist entertainment.

Chazz Palminteri in “Clover” (Photo courtesy of Freestyle Digital Media)

The title of the campy crime drama “Clover” is kind of misleading, because the title character—a teenage girl named Clover—isn’t the main character of the story, and she doesn’t show up until 23 minutes into this 101-minute movie. “Clover” is really about the bickering Irish American fraternal twin brothers who are at the center of the movie and whose actions propel almost everything that happens in the story.

Mickey (played by Jon Abrahams, who directed “Clover) and Jackie (played by Mark Webber) are the owners of a seedy bar, which they inherited from their late father. Their mother has also passed away. From the get go, viewers see that the brothers are complete opposites and they don’t get along with each other. Mickey is the responsible brother who has more common sense, while Jackie is the screw-up brother who makes a lot of dumb decisions.

One of these dumb decisions is Jackie losing $50,000 in a blackjack game, when the money was supposed to go to repaying a debt that the brothers owe to local crime boss Tony Davallo (played by Chazz Palminteri, in yet another gangster role). When Mickey finds out, he and Jackie into a knock-down, drag-out fight before heading to Tony’s lair (a bar located in the basement of a bowling alley) to tell him that they don’t have the money and hope that they don’t get assaulted or worse by Tony’s goons.

Tony is every bit the stereotypical crime boss that’s been portrayed in dozens of movies and TV shows. He’s angry that the brothers don’t have his money, but he makes them a deal: He’ll erase the debt if Mickey and Jackie accompany Tony’s only son Joey (played by Michael Godere) to collect a debt from another deadbeat, who owes $80,000 to Tony.

Of course, it’s not as simple as just collecting a debt. Mickey knows it, and senses that they’re about to get involved in a violent crime, even though Joey (a cocaine-snorting thug) not very convincingly denies it. Mickey tries to talk his way out of going, but he and Jackie don’t have much of a choice, so they go with Joey and break into the man’s home.

The guy who owes Tony the $80,000 debt is named Barry (played by Sky Paley), and he’s surprised by this late-night break-in. In short order, Barry is brought down to a basement, tied up, and beaten by Joey, who then shoots and kills Barry, as horrified Mickey and Jackie look on. A fight ensues because the brothers don’t want to be involved in a murder. Joey loses his grip on his gun, and the next thing you know, Joey is shot dead by a girl wearing a hoodie, who says she’s Barry’s 13-year-old daughter Clover.

Mickey and Jackie know that Tony will blame them for Joey’s death. Meanwhile, Clover (played by Nicole Elizabeth Berger) thinks that Mickey and Jackie killed Barry, even though they tell her that Joey really committed the murder. Clover doesn’t seem to know what’s the truth. So, in order for her not to go to the police, Mickey and Jackie force Clover to go on the run with them, which takes up nearly the rest of the movie. And where is Clover’s mother? She tells Jackie and Mickey that her mother is dead, but that might or might not be true.

“Clover” is the type of silly “mobsters are after us” movie that has a lot of gun shootouts where people corner each other with guns, but then stand around talking and insulting each other before anyone actually starts shooting. Mickey, Jackie and Clover’s panicky race to outrun and hide from Tony and his henchmen take them to different places during the course of the movie.

The first place they run to is a bar owned by a tough-as-nails family friend named Pat (played by Tichina Arnold), where they barely escape when Tony’s thugs catch up to them there. Somehow, Mickey (who’s supposed to be the smart brother) is shocked that the thugs would think of tracking them down at the bar, even though it’s owned by a known family friend of the brothers. Yes, it’s not a good idea to try and hide at the most obvious places.

Another hideout that the brothers try is the apartment of Jackie’s ex-girlfriend Angie (played by Jessica Szohr). She’s reluctant to help them at first, but she takes pity on Clover. Angie also still has feelings for dimwitted Jackie (of course she does), so that’s why Angie ends up driving with all of them in her car to go where they need to go. They also stop along the way at the home of their childhood friend Stevie (played by Johnny Messner), a cop whose father co-founded the bar with the father of Mickey and Jackie.

For people who are trying to lay low and hide, they sure are hopping all over town. Mickey, Jackie, Clover and Angie then end up in an abandoned train station (where the pace of the movie starts to drag for a while), which is the scene of another unrealistic shootout. And then there’s another stop, this time at an abandoned warehouse occupied by Mickey and Jackie’s loopy cousin Terry (played by Jake Weber), who has escaped from a psychiatric institution. The scenes with Terry have the best comedy in the movie, which isn’t saying much because “Clover” isn’t exactly a treasure trove of clever and funny dialogue.

Also in the mix are female assassins Gertie (played by Erika Christensen) and Virginia (played by Julia Jones), a lesbian couple who argue over things like whether or not coal fire or wood fire is better for making pizza or burning bones. Gertie and Virginia are hired by Tony to find Mickey and Jackie. They are ruthless, cold and calculating—making them possibly more dangerous than Tony’s bumbling thugs.

And there’s another character, who’s seen only in the beginning and end of the film: a mysterious wealthy guy named Mister Wiley (played by Ron Perlman, who clearly had fun hamming it up with this over-the-top character) whose connection to the story is made clear at the very end. The only thing that viewers really see of Mister Wiley in the beginning is that he’s a mean-spirited control freak who yells at a house employee for entering a meeting room he’s in when the door was closed. He also says things like, “The pecking order must not be disrupted or else we will have chaos.”

To its credit, “Clover” doesn’t take itself too seriously, but the screenplay by Michael Testone is still so awful (including the story’s big plot twists) that viewers might find themselves laughing at scenes that weren’t really intended to be funny. “Clover” takes place in the present day, but it also tries to have a 1970s vibe. The soundtrack tunes from little-known artists such as Charles Bradley and El Michels Affair try to evoke the same aura as gritty crime movies that Al Pacino or Pam Grier would’ve starred in the mid-1970s. However, the ’70s-styled retro music choices would work better for a movie that’s more authentic than “Clover” is, because “Clover” is about as realistic as a “Ren & Stimpy” cartoon.

With “Clover,” Abrahams shows that he can capably direct himself in a movie—he’s the best actor out of the characters who are on the run from crime boss Tony—and the action scenes are adequate, but they’re often ruined by the terrible and corny dialogue. The well-known veteran actors in the cast don’t really add much substance, because they’re playing character types they’ve played many times before—”angry crime boss” for Palminteri; “menacing villain” for Perlman; and “tough-talking woman” for Arnold.

As bad as “Clover” is, it isn’t the worst movie someone can see all year—and that’s mostly because the film’s main actors are at least compatible with their roles. The movie’s appeal certainly isn’t in its poorly written, clunky screenplay that tries to throw in a few curveballs to make it look a lot smarter than it really is. “Clover” is the kind of movie that people can watch if they’re extremely bored and want to see a movie where intelligence is not required.

Freestyle Digital Media released “Clover” on digital and VOD on April 3, 2020.