Rules to watching Naija/Ghana movies


I’ve been watching ghana/nigerian movies for over 15yrs, yes oo, that long. I think most people can’t get the movies cause they watch them wrongly to begin with. I know you’re wondering how do you watch a movie wrongly, well, considering I can’t explain how it’s done wrongly, I’ll try and explain how to do it right. For most you must have only heard of Ghanaian movies recently so you’re wondering if the over 15yrs holds for those as well, yes it does. I’ll do a post on some of the Ghanaian veterans I remember since back then. I actually started with Ghana movies before I became hooked to Naija ones and lost supply for Ghanaian ones. On that note anyone remember STV the tv station that used to air these movies?

Anyway let me get to some of the rules:
1. (Try to) Understand the culture, if it’s a Ghanaian movie they behave very differently from Nigerian movies.

2. Don’t take them too seriously, they are just movies and they are meant to entertain you so just sit and be entertained. I know it’s hard to remain entertained when mid movie they show Ini Edo or Tonto Dike for close to 10mins either just dancing or driving in a car with music with no relevance to the rest of the movie but hey, just enjoy whichever song that’s playing and wait till they deem it fit to continue.

3. Nigerians are natural storytellers, the way they explain simple facts can take forever so don’t worry even when you get to part 5, know they’ll eventually get to the point (hopefully)….lol…

4. Don’t watch them in a rush, if you’re in a hurry watch a german movie it takes only 30mins.

5. Don’t keep up with the details. I’m a perfectionist but when it gets to a 9ja movie, I forget trying to correct the mistakes. It’s no wonder to watch a naija movie shot in the states and after visiting a club they pay in Nairas; or you are watch a scene and the said actress is wearing a wigs, then mid scene they have no wig on; or actors confuse names of characters; or the production stuff shouts orders when the actors are speaking (for the fellow addicts I bet you can tell which movies, I just talked about so I won’t name any names)…just go with the flow. Take the little mishaps as part of the entertainment. Though I have to commend them, there’s very little of those issues nowadays compared to back then.

6. Give credit where it’s due, “our” (yes, I just said our….I’m a huge shareholder in Enugu and Accra) movies have come a long way. They might not all be Hollywood quality yet, but hey they are way better than most low budget movies from the US anyway. And anyway who wants them to be like Hollywood? From my point of view when 2 things are alike one is always useless, this world doesn’t need a second Hollywood. Let Ghana and Naija be just that, there are a couple of new naija films that are shot hollywood style and I won’t lie, I can’t stand them. I agree they should improve quality of the movie and tighten the loose ends but all these people who keep shouting that they need to start behaving like Hollywood, should leave them alone. Look at Bollywood they tried that merger thing, it was cute for a couple of movies but didn’t work out in the long run cause, one Hollywood is enough and we need Nollywood(if I was to name it, I’d give it another name. I like the fact that Ghana is holding out before unleashing a name and not agreeing to be labelled as Ghallywood or whatever wood people can think of.) and the Ghanaian movie industry to tell our stories our way. As African people we’ve lacked a voice for too long. I like that Shirley Frimpong-Mansah is producing movies that are all African from the fabric, to the stories, the scenery, to the soundtracks and characters while adding a pinch of professionalism without looking like a chinese made hollywood look alike. Lets appreciate.

7. Choose a favourite theme, actor, actress, producer (production house) and just stick to those. Considering they produce over 200 movies a month I think they have something for everyone during each production. For example, I never watch those dead people walking movies, witchcraft is a theme I completely stay away from. Some characters like Biola Ige and Chika Ike, I only watch when they are featured in a movie with Ramsey Nouah (though he calls himself Noah nowadays); John Dumello ( or as I call him J.Mello); Tonto Dike; Patience Ozokwor; Genevieve Nnaji and Ini Edo. Actually that’s my list of favourite characters, if none of them is in a movie, I ain’t watching it.

(I know this has gotten me into watching some silly stuff only coz it had my favourite actors in it, but I guess just seeing my favourites made me feel like we were struggling through the movie…And I know all those Nollywood and Ghanaian movie producers have realized this thus starring J.Mello and Tonto in some catastrophic movies where they only appear for 2min then disappear yet they have their names and pics splashed all over the cover of the movie…Chaley, shame on you)

8. Take the lessons. It’s hard to imagine but most of these movies are in the traditional sense of always having a lesson and not just entertaining. The Blackberry babes wasn’t only talking about a stupid phone, it handled the aspect of technology being used for both positive and negative activities; the movie might have concentrated alot on the negatives but atleast it finally got to showing the positives (in part 4 of Return of the Blackberry Babes, so if you gave up on the movie on part 4 of BBB then you might want to go back and watch the remianing 4parts to get the’s entertainment)

9. Forget about the accents, and enjoy. The accents go in and out so if you insist on complaining about them, then I guess you’ll complain throughout the movie.

10. Accept the grammatical errors. We know you are an English Professor but this isn’t one of your lectures nor is this a video submitted by one of your students. Around here, it’s ok for a character to say ” I have the laugh last” or “your father, she is coming” or “my parents are late” (and no it has nothing to do with time, it means they are dead” :this is where they say dyvorce, im-pregnant…there’s no wahala around here when people commit HUGE agbagauns, and have a diction stranger than fiction, it’s normal, it’s naija. English isn’t our first language, even you honourable Prof, I know several people have pointed out your accent to you so lets allow our brothers and sisters to be themselves.

11. Every actor and actress has a look, a phrase and a character. If you haven’t watched many movies, you’ll understand when you watch more of them. Tonto is the veins popping with her hands held tight on her sides; Genevieve Nnaji its her flexing jaw with one hand held at her side and the other pointing; Uche Jombo is the “Rock” (from wrestling) look ; . Muna Obiekwe is the uninterested/lazy look. As for phrases: Mercy Johnson’s is “you have the temerity….”: Patience Ozokwor is “don’t mind them…”. Well the good actors and actress are able to move out of their usual characters but many don’t and they continue to act the same forever eg Genevieve is mostly the snobby boss, Tonto is the spoilt brat usually having issues with Oge Okoye or simply the obstacle between her family and peace, Patience is the gold digging mother in law, Ngozi Ezeonu is the rich snobby mother in law, Jimmy Iyke is the rich well dressed fool usually the cult leader if he’s at the Uni. , Ramsey is always the lover boy and all girls are usually after the arrogant Muna. I bet you now get the drift.

12. Don’t judge a movie according to one scene. The movie runs for 4hrs its pretty unfair to judge it according to one scene 5mins long. Since the introduction of sex scenes in african movies, some producers have decided they will have a sex scene even when not required by the story line with others going as far as even having characters just for those scenes. Well, I guess that’s part of the entertainment for some people so if it’s not your piece of cake just fast forward, none of the discussions if at all will affect your understanding of the rest of the movie. I heard Muna was wearing a leopard print tonga in Men in Love…lol…never saw it, I actually fast forwarded that part when Tonto came to the office it was too scary and I didn’t want to have nightmares, his chest hair is already a BIG problem.

13. Please don’t compare the movies to Hollywood, these are completely different industries with different target markets and completely different soceities battling very different issues. When an American script writter writes about a serial murderer it’s cause that’s what is killing their soceity now let the 9ja writer tell us about the cults in the Universities and blackberries making people leave their husbands. In America, Stella getting her groove back is something worth producing a movie over but in naija, you better tell us about Stella getting a husband, kids and a nagging mother-in-law or you’ll be stoned for “spoiling” people’s wives with ideas. Then imagine a naija movie on a 16year old finding true love, hehehe, that just calls for a ban from the censors board

14. The title of the movie has little or nothing to do with the movie, it’s just a form of identification. That’s the reason it’s perfectly sane around here to have part 1 and 2 with different titles as the part 3 and 4 of the same movie. A movie like “Tea or Coffee” doesn’t necessarily have to be about a tea/coffee, and titles like “Honey Coochi Coochi Love”, or “Beauty but Guilty” are allowed, they just make sure you don’t end up picking the same movie twice from the library.

(I think Africans are allergic to titles…lol…have you listened to Congolese music? A song is named after a single phrase that’s mentioned once at the end of the song. Or have you read a couple of my posts? Just started watching Tanzanian movies and all their titles are in english yet all movies are in Kiswahili???? Hehehe, I think in this case, you shouldn’t blame us but instead where we come from, maybe it’s the sun)

16. Understand the role of different actors and actresses; some cannot act to save their own lives thus are in the movie for other reasons other than acting. There are the eye candy, their looks distract you from the nothingness of their acting but still keep you watching; then there are the crowd pullers, those can appear for 10mins in a 4hr movie but ensure a movie is watched and finally there are the “life is unfair” group they aren’t cute neither do they act well nor do they have a following but will appear in numerous movies with major roles (let’s assume they act well when cameras are off and only get nervous when they see the cameras). There’s one producer who’s notorious for always featuring his girlfriends in all the movies he produces while dating her, problem is he dates girls who can’t act…You know yourself, change your ways ooo.

I really wanted to add a 17th rule but can’t think of any right now. But no worries when I get more I’ll add. Try to follow those 16 see if you’ll be able to watch a full movie.

Share with friends: