black people in movies

Envelopes, Red Carpets and Self-Loathing, Oh My!

Few things bring out the Oreo in me like Hollywood’s award season! Looking out over the crowds, you see who the image makers are, who the folks are who are getting their stories told and getting to tell stories on the regular.

And who are they? Here’s a hint: They’re not RBP. And that’s a big reason why I work so hard not to be one!

Just look at these pictures from Variety, Hollywood’s most influential daily trade.


But…just so we of colors didn’t feel left out, Variety did include this photo on page 1 today:

Yup, just when you thought we had seen the last of the RBP dude in a dress movies, they’re back!

Did you watch the Golden Globes? What did you think? What are your thoughts on the Awards Season? Let us know in the comments!

The Gods Must Be White

Don't eff with Thor. You don't want to see him angry!

As we’ve pointed out here, movie, if anything, are totally true to life. So it stands to reason that the Council of Conservative Citizens has their white sheet undies all in a bunch because Hollywood has done the unthinkable! Nope, it’s not that they’ve made the Yogi Bear movie or Little Fockers. It’s worse. They’ve made Heimdall black.

Everyone knows Heimdall, right? He’s the Norse god who can hear grass growing and leaves falling. The one who will sound the Gjallarhorn, alerting the æsir to the onset of Ragnarök where the world ends and is reborn. Oh, and he’s also called “the white god.” And he’s being played by blacktor Idris Elba.

Said the CoCC:

“It [is] well known that Marvel is a company that advocates for leftwing ideologies and causes,” the site reads. “Marvel frontman Stan ‘Lee’ Lieber boasts of being a major financier of leftwing political candidates. Marvel has viciously attacked the Tea Party movement, conservatives and European heritage.

 “Now they have taken it one further, casting a black man as a Norse deity in their new movie Thor. Marvel has now inserted social engineering into European mythology.”

On one hand, as an Oreo, I’m totes jealous that Idris Elba is cast to play “the white god”! What an Oreo coup! I’ve sung “Popular” from Wicked at karaoke for years and have yet to land a role for a blonde.

On the other hand, as an Oreo, I’m totes bothered. If directors like Kenneth Branagh continue to fly in the face of reality and give roles to of color actors that allow them to speak in lofty poetry instead of rap and live in the sky instead of the hood…what does that mean for the Oreo? If Hollywood just starts giving parts out willy nilly to talented actors without first vetting them based on race, how will the Oreo know what to avoid to not seem so, you know, black?

And the CoCC has some good points. (If you want a real fun afternoon, btw, check out their website!) Heimdall clearly wasn’t mean to be black. He’s a Norse god, hello! So it’s good that apart from Elba, all the other actors are ethnically correct. Like the Celtic New Zealander Chris Hemsworth who plays Thor, or the Welsh Anthony Hopkins who plays Odin,  the Irish Ray Stevenson who plays Volstagg.

Yup, all Norse– wait, what?

It’s a relief to note, btw, the other true-to-life elements of Thor remain in tact. Like how Thor’s hammer flies from nowhere to his hands whenever he clicks his fingers.  So it stands to reason why the CoCC was so upset…the movie was so close. So. Very. Close. 

Obviously,  the CoCC has a lot of boycotting to do! Here’s their email form if you’d like to get in touch with them to show your support. If you do…let me know what they say.

Teasing Through Teasers

Though I came by my Oreo-ness honestly (what choice did I have when my mom was an accountant, Dad was a chemical engineer and they listened to more NPR than Nat

Being brown's tough, but he makes the most of it.

King Cole), my decision to set aside ethnicity was solidified when I started watching movies and TV. On screen, the non-colors looked like they led such more intersting lives than of colors!

And movies today don’t let me down!  Even from the trailers, you can totes tell how much more exciting it is when you can shed your melanin!

How Do You Know – Reese Witherspoon can’t figure out what she wan–My GOD, Paul Rudd is handsome

  • Stuff Non-Colors Seem To Do In This Movie – wear cute dresses, have doormen, give people their space, compare themselves against the status quo, ride Segways, get indicted, find old flames, have complicated relationships, play baseball, wonder what love is all about, be really crass, add a twist of lemon to their cute cocktails, run from what they want, run toward what they want, stop traffic.
  • Stuff Of-Colors Seem To Do In This Movie – Represent on the baseball team….I’d say this guy was an Oreo b/c he’s the only of color on the team (and in the movie?)…but it is a baseball team. I’d be more impressed with his Oreoness if it was lacrosse or hockey.
  • 

Tron: Legacy – Man Finds Himself Through Video Games

  • Stuff Non-Colors Seem To Do In This Movie – Struggle with memories, refuse to wait around, ride motorcycles, own businessses, reveal information long held secret, develop cool tech, glow in the dark, have zero percent body fat, fly, strut.
  • Stuff Of-Colors Seem To Do In This Movie – hey is that guy– oh, no, he’s not. That was just dark lighting and a beard.

I suppose it makes sense. This is a movie about a guy who goes inside of a video game. They’re already asking us to suspend our disbelief pretty heavily. Let’s not muddy it up by having of colors inside that video game. It’s make believe, not complete crazytown.

Casino Jack – Kevin Spacey is a bad mf-er
 

  • Stuff Non-Colors Seem To Do In This Movie – be fancy rich, play golf, count their money, bend the rules, report the news, be chauffered.
  • Stuff Of-Colors Seem To Do In This Movie – take a photograph, be disenfranchised, take another photograph.

Yogi Bear – Hmm, didn’t realize there was a market for this film.

  • Stuff Non-Colors Seem To Do In This Movie – go camping, work in national parks.
  • Stuff Of-Colors Seem To Do In This Movie – n/a

 Wow! Even a talking bear with an eating disorder and boundary issues has more fun than of colors. It’s clear which life I’d rather have. Here’s to resolving to be an even better Oreo next year!

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Teasing from Teasers

Happy he's not an RBP

Playing with a new title, because that’s exactly what teasers do…Fun little pokes in the ribs to remind you of fantasy and fun. Teasers definitely tease the Oreo by showing them exactly what they’re working toward and what — with enough wassail-laced hoilday caroling parties and overtimes at hockey games — might be theirs!

Let’s take a look at what’s opening this weekend and see what we learn about how much more fun it is to not be an RBP (click here for definition).

The Chronicles of Narnia  – Voyage of the Dawen Treader: The wardrobe kids are at it again

  • Stuff White People Seem Do In This Movie – join the military, reprimand their brothers, fell out of place in the real world, nearly drown in a painting, sail beautiful ships, look like Keanu Reeves, be evil, be good, dream of what could be. 
  • Stuff Black People Seem Do In This Movie – Do not appear. And I guess that makes sense. There probably weren’t a ton of people in that era of that part of England. You know, the era where paintings came to life and kids were besties with lions.
  • 

The Tourist – Europe is Sexy and Dangerous and Sexy!

  • Stuff White People Seem To Do In This Movie – have sexy affairs, wear sexy dresses, wear sexy suits, have sexy accents, drive sexy boats, flutter their sexy bedroom eyes, get caught up in sexy adventures of mistaken identity.
  • Stuff Black People Seem To Do In This Movie –

I guess it’s to be somewhat expected. I mean, people tend to make movies about themselves, starring themselves. The Tourist director, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck is German, so it makes sense that he’d make a movie about vaguely British people played by Americans with affected accents.

The Fighter – Marky Mark and Christian Bale – effing tough and effing hot.

  • Stuff White People Seem To Do In This Movie – joke around with their siblings, box, train hard, have daughters, have difficult families, have dreams, train boxers, work in bars, insult women, defend women, lose the fight, lose hope, make sports deals, turn their backs on their families, go to jail, reconcile with their families, triumph.
  • Stuff Black People Seem To Do In This Movie – pose an intimidating threat, beat the shit out of the hero, get beaten by the hero, work in jail.
  • 

The Tempest – Oh, Julie Taymor with your eccentricities

  • Stuff White People Seem To Do In This Movie – conjure storms and fire, sail ships, be spirits, fall in love, perform Christopher Marlowe’s Shakespeare’s comedy, take revenge, make potions, turn into birds, dress in drag, enjoy a little homoeroticism, dance like nobody’s watching.
  • Stuff Black People Seem To Do In This Movie – I’m not sure exactly, but he seems to be giving advice or having a mud bath go terribly wrong.

Hmmm, maybe I should add “actor” to the list of jobs that it’s cool for an Oreo to have.

Seeing anything this weekend? What’ll it be?

Also, not to be a bad Oreo, but the last time I read Shakespeare, it kind of made my head explode. I remember it being so easy in high school. What happened? (Though I make up for it a bit in this video.) When I go back and check out The Scarlet Letter, will I be equally as surprised at how not-easy it is to skim through?

The Minority Report – The Room

Amazing.

Welcome to The Minority Report – a super quick movie review…about movies that may or may not have come out recently…or that are good.

The Room.

The room is a 99- minute romantic drama set in San Fransisco (you’ll know this from thy myriad and unnecessary establishing shots), where, apart from one valet, there are no people of color. Not at parties, not in coffee shops and not along the hilly streets.

But, that reeaaallly doesn’t matter, because holygoodness, seeing The Room was one of the GREATEST CINEMATIC EXPERIENCES OF ALL TIME!!!

I will do my best to explain what I witnessed on Saturday night.

This movie is not a good movie. It may be the worst film ever made that also got some sort of distribution. The casting is bizarre, the acting is terrible and the “script” makes no sense. But the film has a HUGE cult following, thanks in no small part to creepy looking writer/director/star Tommy Wiseau. The man has made a career off one terrible movie and not in the acceptable Kate Hudson sort of way.

People begin queuing up for this event a full two hours before it starts. They bring spoons, footballs and a  memorized list of chants. It’s interactive in the way that a Rocky Horror Picture Show screening is–though sans transvestites and catchy musical numbers but with the unsexiest kissing of all time and two sex scenes that will make your sexuality, whatever it is, just disappear. Every few seconds, there’s something else to yell at the screen, throw into the air or pantomime at your seat neighbor.

Tommy even makes a weird appearance before the “film” starts. Speaking in his “European” accent of indeterminable origin, Tommy avoids answering questions while vaguely sexually threatening pretty girls who dare to sit in the front couple of rows.  If it’s your birthday, he’ll scare the beejesus out of you by “singing” what he claims is Happy Birthday to you.

I have never laughed so hard or so long at anything in my life ever. The screenings happen once a month and the next one is on my birthday weekend. So Los Angelinos, come join me and get ready to laugh your faces right off.

How does this tie in to TOE? Well, as I stood in line, unaware that all this goodness was about to happen, I did notice that there were no black people…which is odd, because don’t RBP love shouting at movie screens?

If you have seen The Room, please let us know about it! If you like to talk to movie screens, let us know about that, too.

Any ideas for other movies that would be great if interactive?

And please. Please enjoy this clip from The Room below.

Yay! Women Win! So Do Of Colors…in the most wonderful of ways!

No, Sandy. Thank YOU! 🙂

I, along with millions of others, waited with bated breath as envelopes were opened and my work as an Oreo was thankfuly confirmed!

(First, I must pause to say, let’s hear it for the interpretive dance number…am I right!!!)

So many good things in this year’s 82nd Annual Academy Awards Ceremony. Director Kathryn Bigelow was awarded as the first female to win Oscar for Best Director for her work on The Hurt Locker. And in precious news to all those who are trying to escape their ethnicity, Sandra Bullock won for Best Actress for her work in the Oreo-tastic film, The Blind Side.

Bonus points for screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher and actress Mo’Nique for their work on Precious. Extra bonus points goes to ‘Nique for leading us into the final Barbara Walters interview with some weird talk about how she and her husband are allowed to have sex with other people and an up close and personal look at how she doesn’t shave her legs. Why limit the conversation to tasteful, reasonable topics? We have an image to uphold and thus work against, here!

Bonus, bonus, bonus points for her ending the segment, not with the poised Mo’Nique we saw at the Academy Awards, but for sassing it up, just to remind us that we really only want the Academy to be just so progressive. Otherwise, of colors look just like regular people and all of our work is in vain. 

It’s great for women that the seal has been broken by Bigelow and that the nation can see that a woman is capable of directing a powerful, tense and gripping film with complex characters and a moving story.

Thank goodness then, that we are keeping of colors in the box that we as Oreos and Oreo adjacents need them to be in. 

By awarding a screenwriter for writing about the worst of of colorness and an actress for playing the worst of colorness while also awarding another actress for taking care of of colors when (per the other film featuring black people that was nominated for an Academy Award) no one else can, the Academy has reminded all of us of just how great it will be to shun our skin and ascend into true Oreodom. 

Nevermind that TBS leaves out a few key points of the story as  writer Prairie Miller puts it:

“… The Blind Side excels at expressing the profound maternal affection and protective instincts Tuohy develops for this lost young soul, other troubling matters that come to light are skimmed over, and never quite resolved with dramatic assurance. In particular, the formal charges that were eventually leveled against Tuohy and Oher’s high school football coach Hugh Freeze, by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. And essentially, that the boy was being financially exploited by this family seeking legal guardianship over him. Along with Freeze, who eventually got a paid position at the college, where both pressured for his matriculation as a student participant in football.

Eventually Freeze was found in ethical violation, though the movie avoids a deeper exploration of rampant exploitation of ghetto youth in sports. A far better film this year that tackles those issues head on, is the Anna Boden/Ryan Fleck candid Dominican baseball drama indie, Sugar.”

Peccadilloes like legal quandaries are a small price to pay for keeping the social order in check. 

Bonus points to me for DVRing this shindig so that I can watch both those fantastic pas de deux and see Sandy bring it home for me again and again and again.