Trailer Trashing – Fall Edition

One of the biggest pieces of inspiration for an Oreo-to-be is film and TV. It’s so motivating to see what a diversity of experiences one can have…if one only had the foresight to not be you know…a brown.

With the summer over, it’s time for Hollywood to pull out a new season of films. Notable about this time of year is that this is where many strong Oscar contenders come from. Which means that these are the movies that filmmakers, young and old alike, will take their cues from. Here’s some of what’s coming up this fall and winter and how they stack up against the Oreo agenda.

Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star – Nick Swardson does porn (finally!!)

Things White People Get to Do: Be part of a loving family, be content with simple things, be blissfully unaware, be sweet, be naive, be oddly cool, progressive parents, live in a small town, live in a big city, parody Almost Famous, be hot, be regular looking, be super hot with a regular looking boyfriend, be the hero.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: be threatening, drive a car.

Contagion – This is why we don’t touch people.

Things White People Get to Do in This Movie: Play craps, have a family, be an expert, cry convincingly, deliver bad news, be unable to accept bad news, probably be the focal point of a conspiracy, populate towns.

Things Not-White People Get to Do in This Movie: Play craps, provide and clarify exposition.

Main Street – English actors fake Southern accents

Things White People Get to Do: Fake an American accent, come up with a plan, be taken advantage of by the boss, be savvy about the boss, believe a stranger, be troubled, look out for the troubled, work in an office.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: Believe a stranger.

Warrior – Fighting! 

Things White People Get to Do: have tattoos, cage fight, announce fights, reconnect with parents, gamble, join the military, lose a home, offer help, make up for lost time, walk around the house in matched undies and undershirt, throw tires around, be an adorable father, kiss the girl, be a war hero, cheer supportability, go head to head.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: walk through frame, lose a fight

I Don’t Know How She Does It – Whaaa?? A woman has a job and a life???!?!?

Things White People Get to Do: Have a career AND a family and be totes supes adorbs about it.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: n/a

Straw Dogs – Small Town Life is Murdery

Things White People Get to Do: Watch old movies, be in old movies, be way too aggressive, terrorize innocents, be a cheerleader, have sex, have a nice date, disrespect their partners, sexually harass women, fight back against bullies, go to church, rise to the challenge, wield a tire iron, use boiling water effectively.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: n/a

Drive – Ryan Gosling is hot. And dangerous. And hot.

Things White People Get to Do: be really good at driving, set up dirty deals, be mobsters, live in a big city, meet guys in elevators, be a stunt person, be a loving single mom, get their hands on more money than they were expecting, kiss the girl, bash someone’s head in, wear freaky masks, slit some throats, be the dad the dad couldn’t be.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: be a felon.

Abduction – It’s the Bourne movies, just with a werewolf teen

Things White People Get to Do: Experience an existential crisis, wrestle, host and attend pool parties, have an iPad, discover their past, illegally adopt children, fight like they do in the Bourne movies, be a rogue weapon, be the center of controversy, threaten teenagers, have sweet cars, ride trains,

Things Not-White People Get to Do: n/a

Dolphin Tale – Well, it’s a less porntastic title than Free Willy

Things White People Get to Do: Find tailless dolphin, believe in the tailless dolphin, provide a parallel storyline by having a badly wounded leg, hug awkwardly

Things Not-White People Get to Do: Be Morgan Effing Freeman, walk past a van

The Double- Richard Gere isn’t who he says he is.

Things White People Get to Do: Murder, be murdered, be powerful, be a smarty pants, throw down a challenge, become obsessed, have a family, be a threat, be level headed, be either a schizo madman or a brilliant strategist.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: swivel in a chair.

Killer Elite -Transporter 11?

Things White People Get to Do: get people “ready for this,” sport that awesome Clive Owen accent, punch, kick, make a chair fly with awesome glute action, get felt up in a pool.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: give advice.

Machine Gun Preacher – White People to the Rescue–Now With Heavy Artillery!!

Things White People Get to Do: have regret, stand in underwear, beg for help, get baptized, have a change of heart, save black people, make amends.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: be poor in Africa, be Freedom Fighters, be in a refugee camp, wield machine guns, try to kill the white guy, burn down a village.

Moneyball – He’s not in this movie, but have you seen how thin Jonah Hill is now??

Things White People Get to Do: run a baseball team, kick ass at their first job, change the game, have a family, sport some pretty obvious product placement, scare the intern.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: not be able to read the information on a vending machine, sit behind Brad Pitt, sit next to Jonah Hill.

50/50 – Cancer sucks.

Things White People Get to Do: be a best friend, cope as best they can, diagnose disease, provide therapy, be a supportive family, be a surprisingly cool old man, provide dubious support, go to bars.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: n/a – this is especially exciting because one of the people who was closest to me dealt with this and I, not knowing what to do, ended up acting as the partner giving dubious advice that was meant to be playfully endearing. Glad to know that I definitely wasn’t acting like an RBP. Apparently, I was acting like Seth Rogan.

Dream House -Wait, isn’t this the same schtick in the Richard Gere movie??

Things White People Get to Do: have a family, have sex, suspect something is wrong, be creepy townies, be bad neighbors, not know who they are, ride trains, relax in a bath, look like the kids from The Shining.

Things Not-White People Get to Do:  walk through a door.

What’s Your Number? – Okay, I kinda heart Anna Faris even if she did have plastic surgery.

Things White People Get to Do: date, stand in underwear, look for love, be a puppeteer, be delightfully awkward, make deep, personal insights,

Things Not-White People Get to Do:  provide advice, be a rocket scientist, be gay, attend a lovely wedding.

Wait?? A silly, floppy comedy is the movie that’s brave enough to risk putting of color ppl in real roles?

Dirty Girl – Southern Gals are Sassy!

Things White People Get to Do: be Southern, feather their hair, promote abstinence, push the envelope, be preggers, assign homework, have a good family, have a bad family, discover family secrets, drop a flour baby on its head, run away, dance with ribbons.

Things Not-White People Get to Do:  n/a

The Ides of March – This Just In: Politicians Lie

Things White People Get to Do: fly in private planes, be sure of themselves, recruit promising young people, make a difference, be a good candidate, be a bad candidate, make good deals, make bad deals, demand loyalty, wear suits, get in over their head.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: stand next to George Clooney.

Real Steel -Robots Fight in a Plot That Doesn’t Look Thin at All

Things White People Get to Do: recognize  how the fight has changed, make robots,  place bets, win some, lose some.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: announce a fight, attend fights.

The Big Year – Men Make a Bucket List Competitive

Things White People Get to Do: have a big house, have a great job, be angsty at family, go skiing, compete with each other, see the world, make up for lost time.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: set up a Jack Black joke, sit in front of Owen Wilson, set up another Jack Black joke.

Father of Invention – You Had Me at “White” Collar Crime

Things White People Get to Do: commit white collar crimes, be embarrassed about their family, expect the best, discover the worst, fall from grace, climb back up again, sing, make coffee, shine a light on other characters, be behind the times, play Rock Band.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: marry a super hot gal while her husband is in prison.

Fireflies in the Garden – I Haven’t Seen a Firefly Since College!

Things White People Get to Do: be abusive, be abused, accidentally kill someone, be EMTs, process the past, write a tell all, have loving catch phrases, do the best with what they have.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: n/a

Footloose – Are They Gonna Keep that Awkward Dancing By Himself Scene?

Things White People Get to Do: Live in a small town, live in a big town, have a family, be in positions of authority, have attitude, drive cars, make rules, challenge the rules, date, play chicken with school buses, tempt a train.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: be one of the guys, play sports, be in the crowd, deliver high fives.

Trespass -Nick Cage Has an Academy Award

Things White People Get to Do: have a family, have an amazing house, have a secret vault, stage an elaborate break in, be brutal, lie, cheat, steal, take big risks.

Things Not-White People Get to Do:  n/a

Margin Call – I totally chatted up Zack Quinto during Star Trek. We were basically besties.

Things White People Get to Do: work on Wall Street, get fired, keep working, go over the figures, place blame, dump stocks, go to strip clubs, empathize for the commoners, ride elevators, set into motion events that change America for a good long time.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: sit at a desk in the background.

The Three Musketeers – I’m not sure that tripod weapon existed back then. Or the spiky ball thing.

Things White People Get to Do: Sport dashing period costumes, fence beautifully, be clergy, be commoner, be captivating, create amazing dirigibles,

Things Not-White People Get to Do:  n/a

In Time -Hey! It’s the Guy From Big Bang Theory!

Things White People Get to Do: have a family, be stunning, be rich, be blue collar, make an important trade, owe someone their life–literally, ask people to look inside themselves, lead a revolution.

Things Not-White People Get to Do:  walk behind Cillian Murphy, walk through scene at a party, deliver a line of exposition, sit behind Cillian Murphy, be grateful for a gift.

The Rum Diary – Johnny Depp drinks a lot, is still adorable.

Things White People Get to Do: be a disaster, be a tough boss, be an adorable ex-pat, find creative solutions to problems, find the one white gal on the island, populate a yacht, make innuendo, hallucinate, print papers, be unafraid of death by car, shower.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: populate Puerto Rico, practice voodoo.

Tower Heist – I love you, Ben

Things White People Get to Do: Be the boss of the staff, be the staff, commit financial crimes, come up with a plan to get the bad guy, vocalize the need for a criminal, have asthma, disrespect the little guy.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: recognize racial disparity, be the staff, be locked up for non-savvy crimes, tutor people on how to rob, hit on the other black person in the movie.

A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas – Umm, this movie has two minority leads. There’s no way it can be interesting/marketable/worth the time. Sheesh!

Jack and Jill – Men in Drag are always hilarious

Things White People Get to Do: have a family, be rude, come over for dinner, hurt a horse, adopt a kid, have a cat, get hit on by Al Pacino, re-live youth, break the laws of physics on a jet ski.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: work in an office.

Melancholia – The End of The World Set to Soothing Music

Things White People Get to Do: get married, have access to a giant sundial, toast, be grumpy, ride horses, be unsatisfied, balletically prepare for the end of days.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: n/a

The Twilight Saga – Breaking Dawn – Hmm. I thought we were done with these

Things White People Get to Do: show off their trapezius, send a letter, get a letter, morph, get married (aren’t they like 14??), go to Brazil, kiss a lot, expect us to believe that a belly that tiny could hold a baby.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: be in a wheelchair

A Dangerous Method – Keira Knightley does a bunch of accents. And her doctor.

Things White People Get to Do: answer questions, ask questions, ride in carriages, dress beautifully, be crazy, try new procedures, hide from sex get laid, have a gorgeous boat, face temptation.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: n/a

Hugo – The Spirit of Christmas Embodies a Cyborg

Things White People Get to Do: be a sweet dad, be a loved son, have a dog, run from authority, be all mysterious, make friends with a robot, enjoy miracles.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: n/a

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – No one mentions that cheese kanji she has on her ankle. She thinks it says “love.” It doesn’t. Ahh, college.

Things White People Get to Do: investigate, have dinners, live in cold climates, be part of the crowd, grow ill, come to the end of their ropes, keep searching.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: n/a

War Horse -You’ll Cry.

Things White People Get to Do: fall in love with nature, defend their homes, run through town, practice excellent riding posture, draw very well, grow up, tell their story.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: n/a

Whew! I was worried that I was going to see examples of myself in various and interesting situations. But luckily, I’ve been reminded that being of color is just not that interesting. Why else would of color folks be kept out of the canon of one of the most powerful industries going?

I’d say this was no big deal and that I and others might accept my blackness anyway. But the repetition of images (or the omission of images) is pretty much what the entire advertising industry is based on. So I guess a message is definitely getting across.

And thank God for it! I have spent way too much money relaxing my hair for it to be otherwise!

For moar looks at more movies, click here!

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

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5 comments

  1. This is my first time here; Nathaniel Rogers at the Film Experience Blog linked to this. So, so spot-on every single time. What surprises me on a lot of film blogs is how much no one wants to admit that racism really does exist in the movies, or that one or two interesting characters of color every once in a while (a couple per decade?) makes up for the whiteness 99% of the time. (I’m white btw. Not that it matters.)

    Is it a bad thing that the film I suddenly want to see most is Harold and Kumar, and that usually isn’t my thing? Loved the mockery of 3-D, and the reference to the Christmas Story.

  2. I remember when I first watched the Patriot with M. Gibson, the slaves running around, smiling.

    I sincerely think that Hollywood takes into account oreos like yourself. “Sideways” and “Adventureland” come to mind. There is only one black person in each of those movies: they’re not ghetto, and they don’t make anyone around them uncomfortable. They’re just there signaling a semblance of diversity.

    Then there are the blacks in movies like “Love Actually”, “Alfie” (2004), and “The Kids Are All Right”. These blacks are used to allow the white protagonist to do cruel things without losing the sympathy of the audience.

    In “Love Actually”, the director wants the audience to identify with Keira Knightley and the guy moping around because he never professed his love to her, and he does this by making her marry a black man. If she had just married a kind, handsome white man, then the audience would sympathize with him but with the black man, the audience does the math in their heads: just leave the black man; you shouldn’t have married him in the first place!

    I’m sure the movie “Alfie” would have lost its audience from the beginning if Nia Long and Omar Epps were handsome white people trying to work things out.

    In “The Kids Are All Right”, the director doesn’t want the audience to hate Mark Ruffalo but it does add a little bit of tension if when we meet him he’s in a relationship, so they give him Yaya Dacosta, a black woman that he could easily walk away from when he falls in love with Julian Moore, and nobody cares.

    The subtext in the dialogue is also pretty harsh towards blacks in movies. A black mother speaking of her son says: “He started with nothing, you know…” (“Collateral”, 2004).

    This post is about movies but television is pretty bad too. Harrold Perrineau’s character on “Lost”, Michael Dawson, hands down, one of the most embarrassing and humiliating black characters to watch on television.

    The writer of the Sopranos…actually, HBO is racist, period.

    Okay, I’ve said enough.

  3. One more thing: the use of white characters to tell black stories. “American Gangster” is a case in point. Even Denzel is not enough to keep a movie about a drug dealer from turning into a ghetto, hood movie, so they had to throw in Russel Crowe.

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