Posted by Wordsmith on 26 February, 2017 at 7:30 pm. 12 comments already!


Just shooting the breeze, here…..

It seems the Oscars are on tonight? That’s what my Facebook newsfeed seems to be indicating. As usual, like with the Grammys and Emmys, I’ll pass.

The last movie I went to see, happened to be two days ago: The Great Wall. No. It wasn’t about Trump. It is the movie featuring Howard Zinn’s old neighbor, Matt Damon. I went in with low expectations, and so the movie delivered. Highly illogical and a waste of time. Part of my curiosity though, was driven by liberal activists accusing the film of being another Great White Hope movie featuring a western savior:

In a lengthy tweet posted one day after the trailer debut, Fresh Off the Boat star Constance Wu criticized the project for “perpetuating the racist myth that only a white man can save the world” and wrote, “Our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon.”

In a statement provided exclusively to EW, Zhang addresses the controversy, explaining that Damon’s character serves an important plot point, and defends his film against charges of racism. Read his full statement below.

In many ways The Great Wall is the opposite of what is being suggested. For the first time, a film deeply rooted in Chinese culture, with one of the largest Chinese casts ever assembled, is being made at tent pole scale for a world audience. I believe that is a trend that should be embraced by our industry. Our film is not about the construction of the Great Wall. Matt Damon is not playing a role that was originally conceived for a Chinese actor. The arrival of his character in our story is an important plot point. There are five major heroes in our story and he is one of them — the other four are all Chinese. The collective struggle and sacrifice of these heroes are the emotional heart of our film. As the director of over 20 Chinese language films and the Beijing Olympics, I have not and will not cast a film in a way that was untrue to my artistic vision. I hope when everyone sees the film and is armed with the facts they will agree.

Certainly, Matt Damon is probably a big-name draw that is recognizable and bankable. Here’s how Damon responded to the criticism:

During the Q&A, Matt Damon was asked point blank about the white wash and white savior controversay. And whether or not he considered the idea of a white hero in a Chinese set movie offensive. The actor was quite passionate in his responce, and answered the question frankly. He says this.

“It was a fu**ing bummer. I had a few reactions. I was surprised, because it was based on a teaser. It wasn’t even a full trailer let alone a movie. To get those charges levied against you… What bummed me out is I read The Atlantic religiously and there was an article in The Atlantic. I was like, ‘Really, guys?’ To me whitewashing was when Chuck Connors played Geronimo. (laughs) There are far more nuanced versions of it and I do try to be sensitive to that, but Pedro Pascal called me and goes, ‘Yeah, we are guilty of whitewashing. We all know only the Chinese defended the wall against the monster attack. Look, it was nice to react a little sarcastically because we were wounded by it. We do take that seriously.”

Reading the rest of Damon’s response, I think he does fail to be sensitive to the criticism, given this is a period piece (albeit, a fantasy) taking place in China. His character is essentially the main hero. And isn’t Chinese. However, I also think the ones with a grievance over this fixate far too heavily over race issues.

Moving on….

I’m not much into horror flicks- at least not the slasher kind. I do love a good ghost story- like Sixth Sense.

I have some interest in seeing “Get Out”, after reading some online reviews and comments. Part of me was turned off by the premise and concept when it appears to be giving social commentary on race relations, white privilege, white guilt, etc. But then, maybe its handling of the race issue might not be so unpalatable, after reading this:

He’s black, she’s white and they’re in love, but he’s apprehensive, since he’ll be meeting her parents for the first time.

“Do they know I’m black?” he asks her. “No,” she says. “Should they?” A correct liberal response that’s borne out by a warm welcome on their arrival. But the atmosphere gradually cools as Rose’s parents and their friends take turns dropping racial innuendos, then chills to the point of freezing as Chris begins to notice that everything is off.

The racism in the film appears (and I could be wrong, since I’ve not yet seen it) to be a social commentary on the kind of racism that’s exemplified by liberal elites:

For a white viewer, this is the most terrifying aspect of Get Out: Regardless of her motivations, Rose is on the wrong side. If she’s the well-intentioned ally she seems to be, her assurances that everything will be all right convince Chris to ignore his carefully honed instincts about dangerous white people. But if Rose is as malicious as the rest of her family, then she’s the most dangerous one of all: a seemingly innocent woman whose appearance gives her access to almost anything she wants. In either case, Rose enables the movie’s cavalcade of horrors. She’s a villain, and in the case of white viewers, she’s also us.

“It’s not a version of racism we see depicted frequently,” says Williams. “That is the much more subversive version of the story, and thus I think is much scarier, because it’s harder to run from. It’s harder to talk yourself out of. ‘Oh, this would never happen in my town.’ Well, would it? Because we never say where this happens. ‘Oh, this wouldn’t happen with the people I grow up with.’ Wouldn’t it? Because I don’t think these people were who you expected them to be. They weren’t wearing white hoods. It takes all of your excuses away, so hopefully people are just forced to deal, and sit in the discomfort with it.”

Most people are not evil racists who hunt black people for sport. But many well-meaning white people, especially physically nonthreatening white women, are the best-case version of her. They’re the “good guy” who doesn’t see the danger in a perilous environment, and inadvertently becomes a road block to true progress. As Roxane Gay puts it, “the problem with allyship is that good intentions are not enough. Allyship offers a safe haven from harsh realities and the dirty work of creating change. It offers a comfortable distance that can be terribly unproductive.”


Peele has said that the villain of his movie, the true monster, is the white liberal elite that have perpetuated a culture of permissiveness when it comes to systemic racism. That’s what makes the figure of Rose so uncomfortably timely, and also so tragically timeless.

Finally, have any of you been watching the new series spin-off, 24: Legacy? I know it’s television and not motion picture; but this is still Hollywood.

I believe it’s 3 or 4 episodes into season. I’m hooked.

I ran across this review:

the second episode of 24: Legacy only peddled more stereotypes, advancing the fear-mongering story of a teenage Muslim woman being recruited and sent to mix with young Americans at a local high school. In Episode 4, which aired Monday, she reluctantly killed the dopey white guy crushing on her, as instructed—a symbol of her cell’s corrupting influence.


As with many television shows premiering around this time, the 24: Legacy pilot was likely produced under the assumption of a predictable Clinton victory, expecting to coast as an exciting escape from humdrum political continuity. But it landed very differently in Trump’s America, turning its suspicions onto the very people being unjustly targeted in the real world.
Sensing mounting controversy and unease, the producers of 24: Legacy insisted such apparent insensitivity was all part of a plan; they were intentionally being “jingoistic” by way of welcoming their audiences into a more nuanced, tolerant exploration of terror and culture.“I like to say the series begins as if it was written by Trump,” co-creator Manny Coto explained. “But it ends as if it were written by Hillary [Clinton]. It’s not going where you think it’s going.”

The series is anything but a right-wing, pro-Trump messenger. If anything, it’s got a rather liberal DNA attempting to walk it down the middle. Yes, there’s an acknowledgement of radical Islamism and Islamic terrorism as the enemy; but it also has a Huma Abedin-inspired politician’s aide who is not what it at first appears to be that she is. (Actually kind of predictable, when you understand the series has always been full of twists and turns). Although liberals have sometimes perceived even the original series as pushing Islamophobia, they couldn’t be more wrong. The show may have Islamic terrorists in it; but it also presents enemies and saboteurs who are American, Russian, and bad guys of every stripe and color. In one of the episodes in the new series, it even plays upon the black protagonist being subjected to a little unfair police treatment. That’s hardly a right-wing plot devise.

Anyway, are there any shows FA’ers are watching that they’d like to comment on? Seen any good movies?

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