Review: Race aka White people, please stop making these films.

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So, I was lucky enough to go see the new Jesse Owens movie before most people. This article will be full of “spoilers” unlike my usual review so…enter only ye who do not care. 2nd warning: I mean it’s called “Race” so if you’re the type of person who doesn’t like racial topics, or bluntly honest people…just leave now.

Let’s start from the beginning here because the failure of this movie is spectacular in its scope.

1st thing is, Ludacris came to the front of the theater to say a few generic things about Jesse Owens. This struck me as odd, but I figured, maybe he was a producer, or perhaps an actor in the film. Nah, he was just some random guy that happened to be in Atlanta that they paid to speak.
Then the actor who played Jesse came down, fumbled through some off the cuff remarks, thanked everyone for coming and left. The fact that he didn’t know any personal stories about Jesse to share didn’t bode well.
By the way I know they thought the title “Race” was clever. Oh it’s about race as in skin color and race as in he’s running oh that’s deep. No it isn’t, it’s lame, predictable, and lazy. Stop it.
Um…Ok so the film finally starts. The amount of immediate exposition is almost unfathomable. The Grandmother is speaking to Jesse, she gives a long speech about having to cut out a tumor from baby Jesse’s chest, him going to college, etc. etc. Basically she tells us who he his EXACTLY, which is necessary because they do aprox. zero character development outside of this. Oh, and she literally never speaks again. Ever.

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                                                                      Shhhh, never again.

So right off the bat I know the writers are no good. About 30 seconds in I also realize there is absolutely no way anybody black had anything to do with the creative aspects of this film. Sure enough when I finally left and checked out who wrote it, 2 sub-par white writers Joe Shrapnel and Anne Waterhouse. None of their work before this was particularly noteworthy.
My critiques of the writers history isn’t insinuating that they aren’t capable of doing amazing work, it’s just that their lack of providing hits shows the lack of care the studios had for this story. If they actually cared they would’ve given it to someone who has proven, at least once, that they can churn out a hit. Indeed the writers they chose failed in this endeavor to create a compelling story.
The director, also, is white which is going to be a running theme here so, you know…
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The overall story was bland, predictable, and suffered from far too many white saviors. I counted 7.

1. The coach played by Jason Sudeikis, who teaches a black man in 1935 how to deal with racism. He is also completely not racist at all and they are “totes besties” by the end of the film (Even though in real life he went on to be an Olympic coach because of Owens while Owens was banned from racing and had to work as a janitor at the school).

2. Olympic Committee member- He does a back door deal with the Nazis but gets all righteously angry when Hitler wouldn’t shake Jesse’s hand after winning. Jesse stands there silently while the OCM gives the Olympic director a tongue lashing and the physically moves Jesse out of the room. Because Jesse is incapable of doing anything for himself. Or showing any emotion. Or…you know, walking out himself.

3 and 4. The Jewish members of the team that they pretty much made the whole movie about. Jesse again is waiting for another white person to tell him what to do here. The only real discrimination shown against anyone in the entire movie was enacted against Jewish people. Which most definitely you must show by all means (I mean it’s the Nazis). However when you’ve ignored anti-black racism as just something you can close your eyes and get over? At a time when anti lynching legislation was still being debated by congress? Completely taking over a black man’s story to tell your own is a big problem here.

5. The German Luz- The story has been embellished in this film. Yet again, Jesse is shown to be unable to perform without the help of a white man. Who is categorically not racist. He tells Jesse that a black man is better off in America than a white man in Germany(because they wanted him to impregnate some girl), to which Jesse is quite simply befuddled as to whether that could be true or not.

6. The woman Nazi filmmaker who is hell bent on telling Jesse’s story.

7. The little white boy- This one needs a little explaining, here goes. At the end of the film Jesse is heading to a dinner in his honor with his wife and coach.
Upon arriving at the hotel’s front door they are told that the “coloreds” will have to go around back. After some righteous white anger from Sudeikis Jesse and his wife calmly acquiesce and head around to the back. A few black people immediately recognize him and speak, Jesse ignores them and goes inside.
Immediately a little white boy runs up to him smiling in dirty clothes (because we have to show that everybody had it bad back then, not just blacks) and asks “Can I have your autograph?” This finally gets a smile out of Owens and he signs the paper for the child. They zoom in for a close up on the child’s (overly) happy face. Then they go to a close up on Jesse’s smiling face….And just like that, overt racism doesn’t matter, going around the back for your own celebration doesn’t matter, not meeting the president as is customary for Olympic Gold winning athletes, doesn’t matter….It wasn’t seeing his fellow black brothers and sisters back there (whom he treated as a kind of peasant fanbase), it was white acceptance. Because remember folks, white acceptance, even from a child, validates black existence.

Honorable mention. All of the white teammates who were just “so excited” that the black athletes were able to stay in the same dorms as them.  They literally jumped up and down with glee.

Race suffers from the usual issues films about black heroes written by white people face. Jesse himself has no real character, it’s all about creating a world in which, the racism in America (perpetuated by whites) is “ok” or otherwise dismissed because there are SO MANY “good” white people who just don’t “see color.” However this rainbow colored filter they put on the past immediately turns into Owens not being able to do anything for himself. He must rely exclusively on the teachings and actions of white people to either show him the right way or stand up for him because every single racist encounter isn’t about him it’s about showing good white people.
Yet, historically in this time period, we see people being beaten in the streets, hung up in trees, burned, shot, beaten, hoses turned on them…I wonder where those good white people were?
Here’s the thing. They didn’t exist. At least not in any number that makes any difference. The pervasive attitude throughout the country, was that of racism, that was the norm. If you can’t address that realistically in a movie TITLED RACE then I really just “can’t even.”
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When white people tell these stories they create characters they THINK they would’ve been, but, in reality they’d have been right there tying a banana around a man’s neck.
I’m writing like this because the truth is dirty, it’s gritty, it ain’t pretty at all. But in this film it’s portrayed as “oh they called me a name lemme ignore them.” Yay racism is over, thanks for showing us lowly Negroes how to handle systematic oppression, murder, redlining and other atrocities. ‘Preciate that.

The outright awfulness of this movie is unforgivable. The writing is terrible. The main character can’t do anything without someone’s help except run fast. He has no thoughts of his own and is as 2 dimensional as plywood, only reacting, never provoking. There was too much blunt exposition. The scene that was clearly supposed to get Jason Sudeikis an Oscar nod was so absurd people in the theater actually laughed out loud. The race issue, which they thought it would be clever to name the entire film after, is almost never addressed. They really glaze over the fact that the U.S president, Franklin Roosevelt, never invited Owens to the white house as is customary.

This film about a black historical figure was not made for black people. But more so to appease the “white gaze”. They should stop trying to tell our stories since clearly they can’t help but insert themselves into them, completely destroying them in the process.

This film about Jesse Owens deserves better. It gets no stars. Straight F’s across the board. Well, I guess the acting was decent, they did what they could with the terrible script they were given. Half a star. Don’t waste your money on this. It’s destined to be the terrible movie the clueless history teacher rolls in on the TV cart (the one with the Velcro straps) and nobody pays attention to it.
Do better.

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Thanks for reading guys!

Where are the black superheroes?

Wow, that’s all I can say at this point. Its 2013 and its really showing now, this is where it all comes to a head. See back in the heyday of the comic industry nobody wanted to make black superheroes. Now in this new age we are slapped in the face with it everyday. Oh go check out “The avengers!” go check out “The dark knight”! Go check out “Captain America”! Go check out “Green Lantern”. What do all these movies have in common? They are comic book adaptations of superheroes that are all caucasian. Now I’m not talking about the quality of these movies, I’m one of the world’s biggest batman fans, but the fact remains that African Americans do not have many superheroes and the ones that are made are made just because they need a black hero. Giving us original names such as “Black lightning”, “Black panther”, “Bronze tiger”, we get it they’re black…but unfortunately until recently not much else.

The crazy part is THERE ARE GREAT BLACK SUPERHEROES. Unfortunately most of them have only a small following because they have never been promoted. Icon and Static are two of my very favorite heroes, yet no movie of either of them yet. Icon can easily go head to head with superman and in fact did one time punching him through the Justice league watch tower. Static eventually becomes the most powerful hero in the DC universe. Both heroes are great role models. So why haven’t they been given the exposure they deserve? Why am I still hearing “black people can’t be superheroes”?

Now they want us to get excited about “Falcon” being in the new Captain america movie. Yippie…a sidekick who talks to birds, right that’s a real hero…So now that my little rant is over lets get into the facts. The facts are that Dwayne McDuffie is responsible for some of the best (and only original) Black superheroes. Milestone comics did more for African Americans in the comic book industry than any other group ever did. But if you notice after Mr. Mcduffie’s untimely death, all that he did has been slowly reversed, they no longer use John Stewart for the green lantern, many of the black superheroes that were featured prominently in The justice league are gone. Perhaps most disturbing, in the television show batman the brave and the bold which featured team ups with almost every single hero in the dc universe, he didn’t team up with any milestone characters even one time.

Marvel you’re next! Teasing the populace year after year with a black panther movie is a little much don’t you think? I thank you for the first two blade movies an awesome job but most people forget that those movies helped kick off the comics-movie wave. This lack of black superheroes has resulted in there being almost zero black action stars. it translates now to the movie industry.

Wiseguy Industries is working on this. Cain the Conqueror will be the first of many heroes for all races and its not about their race. They will be superheroes of all colors but their colors will not make them. Thank you for your time.

Kickstarter, losing it to hollywood?

In lieu of a picture tonight I decided to write about something I see going on that’s troubling.

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Kevin James just turned down Kickstarter.  “We nearly Kickstarted the budget back in November,” he said. “But now I’m feeling like that’s not fair to real indie filmmakers who need the help. Unlike back when I made Clerks in ’91, I’ve got access to money now — so I should use that money and not suck any loot out of the crowd-funding marketplace that might otherwise go to some first-timer who can really use it.”

When it first started, Kickstarter was for the independent artists who would never have gotten funded by the big corporations. But ever since veronica mars threw a project on there and made way more than what they were asking for, the celebrities have been drooling.

It’s a very simple idea, and I loved it. You have an idea, you have no money, no name, no way to get it off the ground. All you have is passion, drive, and determination. Well guess what here’s a site full of people like you who will help and receive help and it can be one big community of artists doing great things! Of course until celebrities get involved. See they have something, several things, that independent artists just don’t have. But the main thing is a name.

Bear with me a moment while I explain exactly why this is going to destroy Kickstarter for the people it was meant for.

Crowd-Sourcing, that’s what its called. You are attempting to get a bunch of people you don’t know to donate to something you are throwing your all into. The first trick is to get people to FIND your listing. This is hard enough without people searching for famous celebrities listings. If you don’t get picked as a staff favorite you pretty much have no chance. Even IF they find it AND like your video and your project getting them to believe you will finish it is yet ANOTHER obstacle. With celebrity comes a name that people feel they can hold accountable.

People like to donate to things other’s have donated to because they figure if they like it maybe its good. However the floodgates have now been opened for people to say “who is this guy? That’s not Zach Braff nope not donating.”

What’s worse is this could scare people away from posting things because they know they don’t have that name recognition that others have. The co-founder of Kickstarter Yancey Strickler spoke on this earlier.

“The thing is, if Michael Bay came along and wanted to do a Kickstarter we’d probably tell him, please don’t,” Strickler said at the time. “I would never want to scare the girl who wants to do a $500 lithography project, ’cause that’s why we started this thing. We think we have a moral obligation to her.”

Very well put, however I feel that Kickstarter will become commercialized and over run by celebs who could easily fund their projects themselves or with a studio’s green light but will whine about having to have their character drink Coke instead of Pepsi, or don’t want to put in the energy to argue down a studio on small issues like that. Pretty much it will begin to be dominated by people who don’t need our money but as shown previously in human history, we will continue to give it to them.

I had a Kickstarter that failed for several reasons one being advertisement and placement. I’ll be listing it again utilizing a different marketing strategy, I still remain hopeful for this site. It has amazing potential. I’d just hate to have to re-list my project next to George Clooney and Denzel Washington’s projects.

Thanks for reading

Sincerely,

Wiseguy Industries

The Cowardice of Hollywood

Yep, that’s right I said it. I’ll say it again! Cowards! All of you! You have forsaken us, you turned from the path that we followed you so blindly down into a cul-de-sac of repetitiveness and mediocrity. Where are the original films? Why on earth would you remake Total Recall? Were you trying to ride off the “success” of Arnold’s similarly titled autobiography? No that can’t be it because you’ve also remade Judge Dredd and Spiderman. You just made Spiderman! There are fifty remakes coming out yes that is correct fifty. Come on Hollywood this isn’t what we need to see.

Ok I fully understand that this is a money-making industry, at the end of the day it is far easier to green light something that already has people who love it than to green light something that nobodies ever heard of. But this is not why we love you Hollywood. We love you because you gave us films like the godfather, strangers on a train, west side story, terminator, Singing in the rain, and do the right thing. Do you see the diversity of those films? This is what we came to expect from you but you tricked us. You got us in there, you saw the profitability of films like these and thrown away the full artistic qualities needed to produce such. Primarily you have discarded creativity for easy profits. But what you have forgotten is that the newer the creativity the more long-term profits. Star wars is a perfect example of this. While the idea of an epic is not new, the ideas behind it were some of the most creative ideas ever to grace the big screen. To this day there are new star wars fans being born every day and it is one of the most profitable movies ever made.

I remember when I used to read the list of new movies coming out in the theaters and actually have to read the review to know about what was going on. Now I just look at the list and its “i saw that when i was five, saw that when i was six, what that just came out last year they’re remaking it already?”

But you know what? It’s our fault, the audience, the movie-goers, we are to blame. We’ve allowed you to comfortably slip into mediocrity like a warm security blanket, hit that snooze button and miss class. When really its time for us to yank that cover off you and kick you out the door. We’ve gone to remake after remake but I can only hope that the flop of Total Recall will usher in an era of productivity in the creativity department.

Hollywood its time to stand up, get back on the right track, get back to being that creative, amazing, unpredictable force that you once were. Let some new people in the doors, at the end of the day I’ve seen more creative stuff on youtube than from Tinsel Town. Don’t get me wrong Hollywood, I still love you and hope to be counted among your illustrious members one day, but I hope by that time you have gotten back on the right path.

Sincerely yours,

A man named B

Wiseguy Industries

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