PWP 160: Jonathan’s ‘Honey’ notes

This episode of “Podcast Without Pretense” will be available at


I could have watched this without distractions for longer but my wife interrupted me to ask me something so I stopped. I wasn’t enjoying the movie, but I had not yet felt compelled to call it quits.


Anyway, notes: Jessica Alba is Honey, a name we hear a million goddamn times in the first 13 minutes (and yet I’d forget it was her name and I just thought everyone was calling her a term of endearment). Honey has a best friend named Gina who seems to only exist to provide exposition and to keep saying how awesome Honey is. In other words, this character has no character to her. If you were to ascribe character to her, you’d assume she’s planning on mooching off Honey’s success once she becomes a huge, famous dancing sensation (this is backed up by the fact that she’s currently mooching off Honey in order to get into a club and get drinks for free).


Honey likes to dance in the club she works at but there’s a professional dancer named Katrina who has major attitude for no apparent reason other than movies need conflict. I guess Katrina feels all the attention should be on her and that any attention Honey gets is unmerited.


Honey is a Good Girl. Her Daddy loves her, her Mommy worries about her and wishes she’d pursue ballet, where she could really make a name for herself rather than teaching hip-hop at the local community center and audition for music videos (Honey’s dream is to dance in a music video). Never mind that the world of ballet is insanely competitive, probably more so than the music video world. We see Honey return some money to a guy who dropped it, thus illustrating her honest, pure nature.


Honey, on top of working as a bartender at a club and a hip-hop teacher, also works at a record store. Oh, forgot this part, at the club, a creepy dude is video taping dancers. Turns out he’s scouting for Michael Ellis, a music video director. Michael approaches Honey to dance in his videos, but of course goes about it in a way that makes him seem like he’s a creep trying to get some booty, as Honey puts it. This is quickly resolved so that we don’t have conflict go on for too long in this movie.


Most of this movie consists of dance sequences that, frankly, aren’t that impressive. The breakdancing kid who thinks he’s the shit is a particularly crappy dancer, at least in the beginning. Speaking of the breakdancing kids, they must be into shady shit. Oh yeah, they’re dealing. Shitty dancer kid sees lots of money.


Meanwhile, Honey gets a call from Michael and she’s hired to dance for a video in another day or so, so she shows up and then gets greased up for dancin’. The director wants Honey to dance as if she’s in a club, not doing the choreography, which immediately pisses off the choreographer. I get it. So this movie is all about Honey pissing off people who make their living dancing because her natural abilities overshadow them. This is Amadeus, only with hip hop music and a shit ton of pissed off Salieris.


This movie also seems to be a commercial for various hip hop artists.


Now Honey, Gina, and two nameless ladies are at a restaurant with flies in it. And they’re talking about spending Honey’s money. And then a basketball player guy from the community center comes into the restaurant. Then the music video with Honey comes on simultaneously throughout New York. And Honey uses shitty breakdancer’s move of brushing off his shoulder. He invented that move. No one ever did it before him. Never mind that the move Honey actually referenced in the scene they had earlier was a roll the dice move.


Now Honey is dancing in another music video. I will say this, Alba is in crazy good shape. I still think the dancing itself is pretty pedestrian and boring. But she looks good doing it.


Honey gets her first check and it’s for just under 10 grand. Man, I remember when I thought 10 grand was a lot of money. That would be now.


Hey! Monica Lewinsky reference! Topical!


Gina lays down some truth, telling Honey that Michael plans on trying to hook up with her. And then we go to a gay club that’s the most stereotypical gay club ever, complete with drag show and vogueing.


Ginuwine shows up and apparently the gay club has a VIP straight area. Michael wants Honey to choreograph future videos. BUT AT WHAT COST????


Oh hey, basketball guy is a barber. Shitty breakdancer’s little brother is in to get a haircut. And you know what? This scene is actually okay. Mostly because the little kid is adorable and funny. And then we get into the scene where basketball player is trying to ask out Honey on a date and it all kinda goes downhill. Oh, and basketball player is Chaz. I’m sure they said that earlier and I didn’t hear it.


Shitty breakdancing kid’s little brother is neglected. Ah, so shitty breakdancing kid has a real shitty family. Like, ridiculously shitty. So now we also see that Honey is a good person and good people are continuously shit upon, but will that get our Honey down? I bet it won’t, gosh darn it.


Honey’s at the shoot and is having a crisis as she realizes her video is missing something. She watches a game of street basketball. Looks like there’s inspiration at work here. Oh, now she’s watching kids do double dutch and is coming up with more moves. This is just like Bring it On, only Honey doesn’t steal from the black school across town — she steals from kids in the neighborhood.


Do all these songs have the word ‘honey” in them, or am I mishearing them?


Wow, Gina is a total bitch, waking up the lady who is earning all the money. And then Gina disses Honey. Wow. Everyone in this movie, with the exception of Honey and shitty breakdancing kid’s little brother, is a total asshole.


Now Honey is looking for shitty breakdancing kid because his mom’s boyfriend hit him. And we go from a perfectly nice day to pouring down rain, and from day to night. So. . . that’s weird. Guess they were looking for a long time.


Shitty breakdancing kid is upset that Honey is never around. She abandoned him, just like everyone else. Never mind that she tried to include him at the beginning of the movie and he only got interested in her when she showed up in a music video. Man, this movie is dumb.


She brings the two kids to her next video shoot, which features dancers in gear resembling S&M outfits. Perfect entry point for the kids.


She convinces Michael to pitch Ginuwine a video in which kids are all dressed up and dancing like Ginuwine. And she tells her dance students. And they are excited. And then shitty breakdancing kid’s older brother shows up and threatens Honey because shitty breakdancing kid is part of big brother’s drug selling crew. Chaz to the rescue.


Now Chaz and Honey are going out, I guess. Chaz explains how he turned around things and became a decent person.


Paused the movie. I’m 54 minutes, 57 seconds in. And I’m pausing this because there’s no real conflict in the film. If you had to name a conflict right now, it would be that shitty breakdancing kid and his little brother are in a bad situation, with big brother being the bad influence and a shitty home to boot. But that’s tangential to Honey. She’s a nice person but has no real stake in that story. So what’s the conflict? From the beginning, I thought Katrina would play a larger role in the story, but she hasn’t shown up since that first scene. I thought Michael would end up dialing up the sleaze (and I think he still will) but we have 39 minutes to go and he hasn’t done that yet. So right now, for Honey, this is a story of a girl who is getting everything she dreamed of in an incredibly compressed span of time. That is NOT good storytelling. If you want to tell a story, make sure you include some conflict, particularly for your main protagonist. And maybe give that person a flaw or two to make them relatable. Okay, unpausing.


Chaz and Honey make out in the barbershop at the end of the heartfelt conversation scene.


We get a lousy transition. Oh, and now we see Honey with a pug dog. I don’t think we’ve seen this dog before. So that’s. . . . weird. She sees a property for sale and writes down the address. She puts down half of a down payment. She envisions opening a dance school for the neighborhood.


Michael makes Honey cancel her plans to go to Atlantic City so that she can attend a meeting. I’m betting this is the sequence in which she realizes she’s leaving her neighborhood behind and that she doesn’t want that. Michael tells her it’ll be career suicide if she doesn’t go to the party because everyone will be there. So of course she gets dolled up and goes. And now we’re at a party with a lot of personalities that I don’t know.


Honey goes upstairs to make a call. Michael follows her up. Yeah, here comes sleazeball Michael. Fun times. Honey fights him off, Michael then gets upset, claiming she was leading him on. She leaves. Nothing really happens. And now we’re at the music video shoot. Honey is choreographing. Ginuwine is really into it. Honey’s heart ain’t in it though.


Michael shows up. As soon as it starts, he cuts and says the kid thing is horrible. Ah, and here comes Katrina. And Honey tries to get him to fire the kids himself, but of course he won’t do that because he’s king douche, and then she tells them it’s off and they’re like “Nothing good will ever happen to us” and she feels bad, so shitty breakdancing kid can go back to being a hood. So he does. Of course.


Honey has been blacklisted from dancing in videos because Michael has been talking against her. Honey is sad, not for herself but because she can’t get the money for the dance studio. Back to the hoods. We see shitty breakdancing kid acting as the dealer. Undercover cop grabs him and his crew runs. And we hear sad music play.


Honey now meets with her parents and her mother has plans for her to actually go and experience stuff, but Honey, being the selfless pure good character of goodness, wants to stay in the neighborhood. Oh, and Gina hates her now because her photo was in the paper of being at a party.


“It was everything I ever wanted, but when I got it it felt like nothing. Less than nothing. And when I lost it it was worse.” Wow. Honey is fucked up.


And with that, Gina and Honey are all better again. Conflict resolved. Again. Jeez.


Honey gets a bright idea — raise the money! Put on a benefit performance for the kids.


Chaz has the hookup on an old church. Maybe we’ll see a hokey group of Christians eating steak and cake and remodeling it.


Benefit preparation montage! The venue is conveniently ready at the end of a song. Then Honey goes to meet shitty breakdancing kid in the correctional facility. He acts shitty to her. Because he’s shitty not just at dancing, but at being a person.


Now we’re at Missy Elliott’s shoot and Missy ain’t havin’ it. She doesn’t want Katrina. She wants Honey. Michael is in a tough spot. So he offers to give Honey the money for the dance studio. Honey is standing up for her principles though.


Shitty breakdancing kid shows up despite his shit talk. Then he talks smack. People ooh and ahh over dance moves that are . . . uh. . . not at all special.


Benefit time! Everyone is showing up! Honey checks on every senior citizen to make sure they can see the show. Gina brings along the banker that Honey has been meeting with. Hey, guess what? THe banker works with patrons of non profits, and has invited them to the benefit.


Honey’s dad brings mom over to see the benefit. Honey’s mom is like a really watered down John Lithgow in Footloose. Apparently, mom didn’t know about the benefit beforehand. Weird.


Honey gives an emotional, dumb speech before the benefit performance. And she does it sincerely and purely because she’s a freakin’ faultless character.


Then we get a combination of ballet and breakdancing. Big dance sequence follows. Some good dancers in this, though the group choreography still seems pretty mundane to me. But the individual performances are good.


Oh hey, shitty mom is in the audience, and she’s happy to see her boys dancing. Must be her turning point.


Shitty breakdancing kid is still shitty. And then we get TAP DANCING!


Also, I never noticed the sequence that they worked on earlier incorporated in the dance.


Anyway, it’s a big hit, so that means the mean developer can’t bulldoze down the ski lodge. Or whatever the fuck was supposed to happen.


Kinda impressive that Honey herself doesn’t participate in the dance at all. Sort of a bold move, I guess. Or you could argue that by having Honey not participate it’s right in line with the fact that she never had a whole lot of conflict going on.


I think Missy Elliott just showed up. She then gives her driver an earful for making her late. Then we get credits. And now some credits sequenced.


Now we see Missy introducing Honey to the group Blaque. And we see Honey choreograph, like, three moves and then it’s the music video. Kinda sad to see this, actually, as Blaque was from Atlanta, Georgia and by this time the group had been pretty much off the charts for a couple of years, and in 2012 Natina Reed, the rapper of the group, was struck by a car and killed. Obviously all of that has nothing to do with this movie but it did make me sad to see this at the end.


Either Eric or Iyaz is reading this and they think Jonathan is awesome and that Comcast is worse than a shitty breakdancing kid.



PWP 160: Iyaz’s ‘Honey’ notes

This episode of “Podcast Without Pretense” will be available at

  • Universal pictures
  • We start with some hip-hop music. Flying around NYC (Manhattan)
  • We’re at a club
    • Jessica Alba is a bartender
    • Like many movies, characters can hear each other in a club without anyone yelling
    • JA is dancing behind the bar
    • i’m already bored. 2:25 in
    • JA goes to the dance floor after her shift ended at 11.
    • Rival! Katrina. Does this happen in clubs? Do you bring a dance crew with you? Acc’g to some dance movies, yes.
    • JA dances with two girls. People are not looking at Katrina and this makes K mad.
    • Katrina is at least 40. JA does a dance move on the club floor. I’m surprised the floor isn’t covered in spilled drinks
    • Katrina bumps in JA as she walks. Katrina makes mention she is paid to dance. JA’s friend gets mad and pulls K’s hair
      • you can’t be wilding out in there. (is this how people talk?)
    • outside the club, break dancing and beat boxing. JA and Gina walk up to them. two kids are also there b/c in this world Benny is up at 11 behind a club in manhattan.
    • JA shows the kids behind the club mad crazy props, yo.
    • “Your flavor’s hot.” says JA. JA teaches hip hop at the “centa” b/c she has an accent.
    • the kids are told to scurry by security
  • Next day – at E 154 street.
    • 8:04, i check the time again. Seriously. WTF. WHy does this movie suck so hard already?
    • time for dance class. everyone is already in step. *notification popped up: 8:51
    • she’s a caring teacher.
    • OH NO. those break dancing kids are here! they are all going to dance together.
      • breaking down the dance is just calling out numbers and showing the moves.
      • the BDK says he’s schooling JA (who i don’t think has an official name yet — I think a guy called her “Honey.”)
    • Still at the center
      • the center boss says JA should do ballet to make money
      • Honey must be her actual name b/c they capitalize the H in the captions.
      • her mom is the center boss.
  • Dance auditions, i guess
    • “Honey Daniels” is her actual name. The open auditions are over, Honey gets bounced.
  • OVer to the music shop. B/c that was a thing. She works at Crazy Louie’s.
    • a video of honey dancing at the club is playin on all kinds of tvs at michael ellis productions . SCAN LINE CITY.
  • To the club — Ellis asks Honey to dance for him
    • Honey rejects the guy b/c she thinks Ellis is a scammer
    • now Ellis gives the card to explain who he is AFTER Honey’s friend Gina explained he’s probably the real deal.
  • Back to Crazie Louie’s
    • Honey calls Ellis. She leaves a message.
  • Back to the center. they dancing hard. Mekai Pfiefer hits on Alba? Legit wants to know moves. I don’t know. I don’t care.
    • JA is now mopping up.
  • NOw on W156th. THe little kid walked accross town? Maybe I saw the wrong street number earlier.
    • little kid is told to leave by his older brother (?) A bunch of kids head to a convertable to procure drugs i assume
  • Meanwhile at the Hall of Honey…
    • Ellis called back
  • Over to Silvercup studios
    • it’s a whirlwind for Honey. she’s sent ot make up. they’ve straightened out her hair and oiled her up. it’s a good luck. She watches for a little and picks up the moves
    • Ellis doesn’t like the dance moves — they look too choreographed he says. Ellis wants Honey to work with the girls. The choreographer doesn’t like her.
    • Ellis is going to try something. Choreographer doesn’t like it. Ellis wants Honey to dance like she’s at a club. She grabs a guy and dances with him. Eliis says to follow Honey’s lead.
    • 24:12 — bored. 2nd screen time. 
    • I hate Alba’s accent. (it also seems inconsistent)
  • Notes will diminish now
    • alba received a check for $9.4k. That’s a good amount
    • she’s headed to a charity thing with Ellis.
    • my only solace is that in 20 minutes, i’m working out. yaaay. 
    • To Papi Chulo’s where Ellis and Alba were not on a date, but they are, right?
      • Genuine (sp) recognizes Honey from her first video. Honey is the choreographer for Genuine — Ellis did not talk to Alba about this b/c she is so plainly shocked.
  • Okay — so does Alba only have accent when she is outside?
  • to the barbershop — mikai phfiefer (no idea how to spell that) is a barber
    • “we peoples” (bc Honey isn’t the kid’s mom). DO PEOPLE TALK LIKE THIS? DID THEY?
    • the barber asks Honey out. Little kid is pimping Honey out, I think.
    • so much slang in this movie. Chaz is MP’s name. good, b/c i can spell that.
  • I know they are showing locations so we know we’ve moved from one place to another, but it happens so frequently that it seems like a commercial break.
  • To the little kid’s home.
    • his mom is mean, it’s loud at home.
  • W156th deli, drugs again. Honey watches.
  • Choreography time — seems slow AF
    • honey steals some moves from double dutch. she comes up with new moves for the shoot. now basketball inspired.
  • Alba is woken up by Gina
    • when Alba is woken up, she has no accent.
    • Alba offers a Dolce dress, but Gina is annoyed b/c it is a left over from a shoot
    • Gina is giving Alba shit for not wanting to go out for Gina’s birthday dress.
  • Little kid meets Alba outside of her place. TIme to find benny – benny got busted up by mom’s guy
    • The search is on
    • Benny is found eating at a resturant. Alba has no accent when she says “If you don’t want to kick it..”
  • Another shoot with Tweet (?)
    • this is the music video portion
    • Benny is bummed — says the world sucks and then we die (mostly)
  • 47:59 in. Time to workout. Now seeing 46:04 remain and I don’t know if i’ll bother to finish this
  • back to the movie 40 minutes later
  • JA pitches a video concept to Ellis
    • “their flavor is hot” ELLIS IS TURNED ON BY THIS. Okay, no.
    • open calls for Ginuwine’s video.
    • Honey sees the drug dealer — she looks at him and leads him to a straight and narrow path. angels sing and we move on.
      • Nah, the dealer threatens Honey. B.B is the thug. Chaz comes to save Honey
      • they offer each other job opportunities. that was nice of them.
    • Chaz warns that BB is dangerous. This love story between Chaz and BB is great. I mean Chaz and Honey. Honey, goes up the stairs and trips. She’s paralyzed and she can never dance again.
  • The center is closed due to overall shittiness. Pipe burst. You can’t teach dance anywhere else.
  • JA talks to Chaz. Her accent is back. Mildly southern. They are on a date. To the barbershop!
    • Chaz tells the story of how he found Christ. I mean the barbershop.  A dead guy gave it to him.
    • Chaz makes a move. The barber chair is turned on by this.
  • Honey comes upon commercial property for sale. The phone number is obviously a fake. And it’s got a 718 area code. Queens?
    • Honey is going to open her own barbershop. I’m calling it.
    • $170k. She shows up to the bank and tries to buy it. Do banks work like this? Give half now and “give me 30 days to come up with the rest?” does she know this banker? are they friends? I need an adult to explain this to me.
  • Dance auditions – Honey’s kids are dancing for Ellis.
  • Back to Honey’s place
    • Honey has to go to a “wack meeting” instead of going to Atlantic City.
    • WHAT’S WITH THE THREADS? she says to Ellis.
    • Honey is concerned that she cancelled on Gina’s birthday party to go to a party (she thought it was a meeting)
    • 34 minutes left.
    • Honey has no idea that Ellis is into her. She is dense. Now he’s making his move. She says stop and slaps him. *to be fair, his move was grope-y
      • “bitch, how you gon’ play me like this?”
      • Ellis thinks Honey owes him something. he’s so mad he hits the pool balls on the pool table.
      • Honey is very nice by saying “you’re drunk” and walks away. she says “i’m gonna pretend none of this ever happened.”
  • Dance time. ANother fucking video
    • Ellis drives in. Kids dance for a second, Ellis calls for a cut. He says it’s not working. He says he wants it to be more sexy. He whistles to the car.
      • “I want you to just listen and move.” — Ellis to Katrina (same as he said to Honey)
      • did Honey not get phone numbers from other artists? she can get a job elsewhere, right?
      • Honey has to fire the kids. Benny blames Honey and is a debbie downer. Fuck you, benny.
      • Katrina gyrates. 
  • To the subway… i don’t think i’ve ever seen a subway car like the one in this movie padded seats. Benny is asked to steal a kid’s shoes.
    • the lights go out on the subway, Benny is running with shoes up the stairs.
  • dance audition — JA has forgotten how to dance. she looks bored. her name is crossed out from the legal pad. Honey is killed.
  • Honey and Chaz at the park.
    • Chaz builds up Honey. Honey is bummed that she doesn’t have that money.
  • Back to the streets
    • a kid is wearing the shoes Benny boosted.
    • Benny is selling drugs to some guy. BUSTED! it’s the man! music intensifies and Benny is arrested. 
      • Somewhere Katrina is gyrating. 
  • at the bank — Honey explains she needs more time. the banker says, it’s off the market for 2 weeks
  • She goes to her parents house
    • her mom essentially says that even if they had money, they wouldn’t give it to her
    • mom says “you’re 22 years old, you don’t know what you want.”
      • mom is right.
  • Honey heads home and sees a piece of paper taped to her door “Hope you had a good MEETING” on the back is a picture of honey in the newspaper being kissed by Ellis. Honey heads to Gina’s to talk.
    • Honey apologizes to Gina. Gina breaks a bottle and attacks Honey. Honey rips out Gina’s throat with her bare teeth.
    • Gina thinks that she would go with Honey as she moved up. But then she realized, that’s not happening
    • hug. all is good
  • Chaz and Honey walking. She’s trying to figure out how to make the money. she realizes this is a dance movie, so she should have a fundraiser. Chaz has an idea for a venue. An empty church is Honey’s option. Glad that Chaz just so happened to have this problem solved in under 3 minutes.
    • Somewhere Katrina is gyrating.
  • To the church
    • explaisn to the kids what’s going on. they clean up the place – MONTAGE TIME! putting up flyers. Honey hugs everybody and gets to put flyers everywhere else. People dance. Honey gets a check from the Bronx business something
    • Dad Daniels is helping.
    • the banker is given a flyer.
  • to the jail!
    • benny walks in to see Honey. Honey was arrested for killing Gina earlier.
    • Benny is an idiot. but he’s a kid, kids are dumb.
  • Ellis & Missy Elliot
    • Missy is upset about Katrina. Katrina is NOT gyrating right now.
    • Missy wants Honey
    • And Katrina gyrates for Missy. It didn’t work for her. 
    • Elliot says for K to call MC hammer b/c K stole his stuff. Missy wants Honey, dammit.
  • Ellis finds Alba walking. How? New York is very small.
    • Ellis begs Honey to work for him again.
    • she turns Ellis down at first. Ellis says he’ll pay. she says she doesn’t want his money.
    • Ellis says, if you work for me, i’ll buy your dance studio for you.
      • FUCK. “when i met you, you were 10 feet tall, when i look at you, you’re this [fingers together closely] big”
      • she turns him down again
    • Benny broke out of jail? he’s at the church.
    • dance practice again
  • Does anyone know how this dance benefit works? If they dance poorly, do they get less money? Is it watch the thing and then pay?
    • Mom daniels continues to be zzzz-worthy. Dad daniels refues to tell her where they are going
      • plot twist, they have a bull dozer to destroy Honey’s potential place
    • Okay — so it’s time for the benefit. Honey tell the audience “dancing good. kids good. gimme money please.” she eyefucks her mom for second.
    • Chaz and Honey’s relationship has moved forward.
    • Music starts and my dog is confused out of her sleep.
    • dance time
      • the song says shit like “i believe i can” “my dreams are real” “i believe i’ll dance” i believe i’ll gro real soon.
      • “your goals are just a thing in your soul.”
      • subtlety is not Honey’s thing
      • they are still dancing. this song continues. NEW SONG!
      • Honey might want to go into party planning b/c this benefit is organized relatively well. lighting, sound machines, chair rentals. costumes with airbrushed names. Matching costumes.
      • Benny’s mean mom is enjoying the show.
      • show’s over. i hope.
    • audience claps. crackhead mom is cured. honey hugs chaz. preformers chant for honey. she comes on stage. well, she shows up
    • the banker is talked to by a person… honey catches Banker’s eye — banker gives her a thumbs up like this is all solved? It’s tweet
    • Missy Elliot shows up to the benefit late.
  • epilogue. FUCK
    • honey daniels dance something or other.
    • missy elliot shows up.
    • honey teaches a new dance for blaque
      • they have a music video again and honey daniels is credited as choreographer (like all choreographers are).
      • the last song says “i’m good without you.” i feel the same way about the movie.