Blerd Film Club: Why Do Fools Fall in Love


Frankie Lymon was a musician known for being on the front lines of rock and roll music. Alongside his band The Teenagers, they turned doo-wop music into something just a little edgier. At the time, it was all the rage, now we'd laugh at it being edgy. While their biggest hit was "Why do fools fall in love" they did have some success with their song "I'm not a juvenile delinquent." After some success Frankie went solo but didn't resonate. He life hit a downward spiral and he died of a drug overdose at the age of 25.

In 1998 Tina Andrews, known for acting on Days of Our Lives, Roots, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, and many more, had her script turned into a film based on Frankie's life. While at times it seems like a comedy, it's a true story. The film brings in Larenz Tate, Hallie Berry, Vivia A. Fox and Lela Rochon.

The film starts with three women claiming to be Frankie's wife, and wanting to claim his estate in a court trial. We flashback to the 1950s where The Teenagers are an interracial group comprised of Black and Puerto Rican boys. The group's manager cons them a tryout gig by saying they were a Mexican band. They wow the record label and go on tour with Little Richard. On the tour we learn a little about Frankie's life. His father was an alcoholic and left the band two years prior to the group starting. He always gives money to "bums" because his father could be one of them. During this time he falls in love with Zola Taylor, a singer from The Platters.

The group became popular and appeared on several television shows. One featured Frankie dancing with a white girl, which got the show cancelled because that was looked down upon widely at the time. With the success of their first album the record label pushes for Frankie to go solo. The group doesn't like that. During this time he and Zola grow more serious living together and becoming common wealth married. When Zola goes on tour, Frankie gets high and brings people to her house. Neighbors call the police. On one occasion he brings Elizabeth Waters to the home. Despite that when Zola leaves on tour she leaves Frankie with money for the mortgage. Upon returning, he's gone, and so is the house. He had also drained his bank accounts.

Frankie moves to live with Elizabeth Waters. She's a thief and Frankie keeps her from being arrested. They fall in love. However, Frankie's career isn't going great. He gets hooked on drugs. Despite that, they get married. It doesn't mean much. Frankie becomes more addicted and on one occasion drug dealers break into their apartment and beat Frankie. On another occasion Frankie almost makes it back to the top, but overdoses after a performance. To pay for the hospital treatment Elizabeth prostitutes herself. When she returns home Frankie is there, drunk complaining the hospital didn't treat him right. He threatens to throw her dog out the window, it bites him and he drops it. That's the end of their relationship.

Frankie had been drafted into the army, but he went awol. That's when he met Emira Eagle, a school teacher. They live together and have a real wedding. They grow a little garden at their home and Frankie pursues a career comeback. She stays with him when the army collects him for going awol. Eventually he heads to New York looking to restart his career. However his old manager calls him a washed up druggie and has been. This causes Frankie to get addicted to drugs again, and he overdoses, finally dying.

In the present day, the women call a truce and agree to split the estate no matter who wins. While this going on it is revealed the manager never paid Frankie or The Teenagers. He made 4 Million off of them. The judge makes her ruling and Elizabeth is named surviving spouse and celebrates her win leaving out the other women. In reality, Frankie didn't have any money so she got nothing. Zola didn't get anything, and she didn't fight it because she was through with the whole saga. Emira went to a higher court but was awarded the estate. All it was worth was $15,000. The same amount she was offered to not purse the trial.


The actual trial and feud between the women is hilarious. The commentary and testimony from Little Richard are great. Despite that, there's a lot of sadness in this movie. Each of these women really did love Frankie. Zola had loved him since they were kids on tour and would always help him and take him back. Elizabeth was down to ride with any of Frankie's crazy schemes. He helped her raise her daughter, and she was willing to turn to prostitution if it meant his survival. Emira thought she had finally found her true love. She had no idea about Frankie's demons and addictions. Watching them recount their love and heartbreak from Frankie was gut wrenching sometimes.

The thing that hurts the most is Frankie never had a chance. Record labels and managers basically owned the acts life back then. When Frankie couldn't sell records, they kicked him to the curb at 18. He didn't have anywhere he could turn to. He couldn't go join another label. He didn't have money he could fall back on because he never got any.

Tina Andrews had a lot of experience with soap operas, and that influence can be seen. She also had experience on sitcoms and knows what works with comedy. I'd be lying if I tell you this is a big budget film with some crazy moments. In reality, it's a tragedy in four parts. It's a great movie, with some great acting.

Download a free copy of Darrell's book Phantasmagoricalread some of his other work at 12AMFiction.com and hear him on the Powerbomb Jutsu Podcast
Blerd Film Club: Why Do Fools Fall in Love Blerd Film Club: Why Do Fools Fall in Love Reviewed by Blerds Online on Monday, February 18, 2019 Rating: 5

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