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May 23, 2008

Comments

the obenson report

I was expecting to see a deluge of comments already, but nothing yet :o)

And for that reason, I don't even know what to say, other than, have a good weekend!

Alright, I'm gone... but I'll return eventually.

theblackactor.com

@ Obenson

Ain't nobody read it. It wasn't until after it appeared on the blog this morning that I realized just how long it is. LOL. Also, Damn U Obenson; I never figured you for a "I don't even know what to say" kinda guy. :) LOL. In any case, I anxiously await your return. :)

Nikki

Okay, I'll start, I thought Halle did a good job and both Denzel and Halle DESERVED their Oscars. I mean Kathy Bates won for Misery, Daniel Day Lewis for There Will Be Blood, so why can't Denzel win for Training Day? I know this is not about Denzel, I just had to rant.

Anyway about the sex scene, I didn't really like it, but I didn't think it was a big deal ( I just don't like sex scenes in movies, cuz I think they are unnecessary MOST of the time, but that's a whole different story). What Halle Berry did in Monsters Ball is not nearly as graphic some other movies, like Bijou Philips in Havoc, she was in a GANGBANG with three Latinos. ( a really bad movie BTW). Kate Winslet has nude sex scenes in almost every movie she's in. There's another actress who actually gave AN ACTUAL BLOW JOB in a movie ( and no it was not a porno, this was an actual film at a film festival). Maggie Gyllenhaal in Secretary and SHerrybaby, Christina Ricci in Black Snake Moan and countless others. So like I said no big deal. Let's move on

The actual movie itself, it was kind of interesting, but a bit boring. So I would give it a C+. Halle Berry and the other actors did a fine job. Not much more I can say about it, I've only seen it once, so..

Nikki

Oh, btw I did see Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge and Halle definitely deserved it over her. I may be biased though, I do find NIcole extremely overrated.

The others, I didn't see, so as far as her deserving it over the other actresses. She was better than Nicole.IMO

theblackactor.com

@ Nikki

No problem. Please rant. :) You're right about sex scenes. I totally agree. Most of the time they're unnecessary and not well done, in my view. I totally agree. Yeah, I really didn't get all the hoopla over this scene. But everybody has their opinion about it, I guess. I was watching a bit of Black Snake Moon just last night, btw. I recommend The Others, Nikki. It was good. :) Thanks for sharing your opinion.

Nikki

Oh I have seen The Others, I liked it. I meant the other performances that were nominated that year. The only one I saw besides Halle's, was Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge.

With sex scenes, I understand them in films like Black Snake Moan, I mean she was a nymphomaniac and I don't think that we would get the same affect if they weren't in them. But like in Little Children with Kate Winslet, I honestly didn't think it was necessary or would've made a big difference in the film if they didn't show it.

Monster's Ball is a different ordeal though, initially I would've said that I didn't think it was necessary ( they could've just alluded to them having sex), but since all of the hoopla about it, it is hard to imagine the movie without it. I think the people who make the scene a big deal are people who really haven't seen a whole lot of Independent films. I mean graphic sex seens are common in Independent films.

Since I haven't commented on any of the other Halle Berry movies I guess I'll give my opinion on Halle as a whole. She's definitely not one of my favorite actresses so I'm not that interested in her ( which is why I haven't commented).IDK. But I do think she is a decent actress and has put out some good performances. Her movies as of late has been shitty ( I haven't seen Lost in the Fire yet) and it does seem that nowadays she's always paired up with White men (We can't really blame her for that though). Like you mentioned in your post she's always sexualized. Even though she's half White, Hollywood, including herself views her as a Black woman ( But really if we didn't know she was half White, could we really tell? I mean she doesn't look like Mariah Carey.lol). She still doesn't get the same amount of roles , decent roles or paid as well as her White Counterparts. And she is the most popular Black actress ( well her and Queen Latifah) which, doesn't bode well for her peers.Hopefully things will change and Taraji, Kerry Washington and Naomie Harris will all be very famous and win tons of awards.lol I doubt it.

Overall, I do like her she seems nice, just not one of my favorites.

theblackactor.com

@ Nikki

Oops. :) Sorry about that misunderstanding. Halle Berry's work and rise to fame and that whole mixed race thing, white male thing, sexualized thing, the roles "they" give her, the choices she makes and other things, -- all that makes her story... interesting. I'll get into these things more in my closing remarks about her.

Kimi

Black Actor - thanks for this blog. You actually made me think about this flick & the sex scene in an entirely different way. Such as, would this sex scene have been acceptable if it were a black man.

Sad as it is to say, if it were a black man I probably would've thought little of it & that's not right either.

Don't know why but til now I probably took that scene outta context. It wasn't about them being loving with each other or sharing a beautiful moment it was just sex, she needed it, asked for & got it lol. I got the impression from the beginning of the flick that Hank was never as big a racist as his father, right or wrong he just fell in line & followed dad's footsteps. I do think that throughout & by the end of the flick, Hank's racist attitude had changed.

Re: Denzel I kinda disagree. He's done so much good work prior to Training Day, I just felt that he should have won in the past. But I assume he won for Training Day for stepping outta his "nice guy" comfort zone.

Re: Halle, I was 1 who thought she won based on that sex scene, maybe cuz I didn't think the movie as a whole was all that. Altho her body of work isn't as extensive as Denzel's, she's had at least one other flick in my opinion (Losing Isaiah) that she could've been nominated for.

But I hear ya, everything doesn't have to revert back to race, and should not.

LaJane Galt

Wow! I AM pleasantly surprised. You even brought real life into it!! *hands TBA Kevlar*

I liked Halle in Monster's Ball, I can't say whether I thought it was Oscar-worthy, b/c I'm trying to determine what an Oscar's really worth (3-6 Mafia). :)

I definitely think certain folks can "turn into" others better (so that you don't think of the actor) and emote more...think of Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Daniel Day-Lewis (Blood = Gangs of NY).

I think Halle's cuteness enable her to play vulnerable convincingly. Fire, is definitely an improvement over Monster's Ball.

Isaiah

KIMI- But the question was should he have won THIS TIME we're NOT talking about the past? I thought he gave the BEST performance out of all the nominees. AND he HAS won in the past for Glory.

The only other performance I thought he should have won for was Malcolm X, but Al Pacino won instead of Denzel. Why? Because Pacino had been nominated about 6 or 7 times and NEVER won. Denzel had already won one so this was the perfect opportunity to award Al. The OScars are like politics.


I also didn't think the sex scene was that big of deal, I agree with Nikki, there has been a lot of other movies with more graphic sex scenes than that.

theblackactor.com

@ Kimi

I liked him in The Hurricane; and thought he could have won for that. I still don't know how Kevin Spacey won. Puzzling.

@ La Jane

"I liked Halle in Monster's Ball, I can't say whether I thought it was Oscar-worthy, b/c I'm trying to determine what an Oscar's really worth (3-6 Mafia). :) "

And that's a whole nother post - What do the Oscars really mean? Are the becoming like the Hollywood star - hell, anybody can get one of those nowadays. They mean nothing.

Yeah, some are better than others. And you mention two really good ones.

@ Isaiah

Definitely politics. Yup.

I gotta watch him in Malcom X again and have been wanting to for months, but haven't wanted to sit through 3 hours. :)

Qadree

I found this film offensive on many levels. The archetype of the racist white man with a heart of gold goes back to "Birth of a Nation". The Basic premise being that the only solution for a undesirable black men is murder (execution), while the racist white man is not racist through any fault of his own and if you give him a chance you'll see he's a really good guy. The black man is an animal with no heart and can't be redeemed so he must be killed, therefore the racists can't be blamed for their actions.

Execution as the ultimate tool of the racist white man against the awful black man is shown in all it's glory when the two little black boy are on Hanks property and instead of just talking to them he gets his gun presents them with the ultimate solution that awaits if they don't follow his orders. These are two small children that he could have easily dealt with without a gun, but he has to teach those black boys a lesson.

I'm surprised that the sex scene is being treated so casually on this forum. We have to look at the context to full understand it's implication. Most people are familiar with the tragic mulatto archetype, and here we have an updated version that is quite perverse. She asked Hank to make her "feel good" after the death of her husband and son. She was unable to have a productive relationship with the two black males closet to her, this image of the black woman is normal in Hollywood, she can't even be a successful mother.

It's safe to assume that her pain stems from the end of two very tragic relationships and the cure for it all is sex with a racist white man?

Josephine Baker is the first that come to mind when I think about the role that Halle played. Ms. Baker played the part of the lustful savage in just about all of her films. Swinging from trees, wearing bananas, etc., and she was always civilized by a white man who was attracted to her. If you look at the sex scene in "Monsters Ball" it is not a gentle love scene. Halle's character comes at Hank with a level of aggression and wildness that borders on being animalistic, and they have sex doggie style which has it's own unflattering connotations on and off the screen. Halle plays a much more docile (civilized) character once she is involved with Hank.

If you add in the historical and cinematic context there is an implication, as with Josephine Baker, that giving herself to this racist white man has elevated her above her previous status. She will now be financially stable, which is suggested by Hank putting her name on the gas station, and if she has a child she will be able to be a responsible mother. Thank god for the racist white man and his heart of gold!

Even if we strip away any historical and racial context, would a woman who has just lost her son, and is losing everything else, feel good about herself just by having sex with someone she barely knows? The only reason I can think of for her actually feeling good is that she is vulnerable and emotionally unstable. From this film we are to believe that this is grounds for a healthy relationship.

There's really no point in talking about what happens in the real world, because unlike in the movies, damn near everything happens in the real world. Cinema has a history of distorting the images a black people and this film is no exception. Every time a white writer or director gets called a racist they respond with that nonsense about how there a lots of black prostitutes in the world, etc., so why can't they show it.

Isaiah

Um Qadree that's what YOU saw, not what I saw. YOu do realize that this role was initially for Angela Bassett, who isn't mixed.

Stuff like this does happen in the real world. SO why can't they show it? It only becomes a problem when they are only shown one side of the equation and even though I don't think that it is fully equal, not every Black person in a film is a prostitute or drug dealer nowadays.

As far as the undesirable Black man who is an animal YOU must have viewed him that way, because almost everyone I know viewed him in a different way.

It's okay though everyone sees something different when it comes to art, which is why there's no right and wrong.

Qadree

@Isiah
When dealing with mass distributed images you have to look at the big picture. You can delude yourself into thinking that what I say just applies to me, but I can assure you it does not.

What I'm talking about is context, and if you are oblivious to how context creates perception and how that perception can become reality, I can understand how you may think there is no deeper meaning in the films you see. However, you cannot take a formalist approach to a narrative film, this is not abstract art.

Whether the role was meant for Angela Bassett or not is irrelevant, the dynamics of the relationship remain the same, I did say that it was an updated archetype.

I thought I was pretty clear in addressing the film with and without historical context, and my description about the images of black men is just that, a description. It's a historical fact and it has nothing to do with my personal taste.

LaJane Galt

First, there are always gender and racial issues that need to be scrutinized. I just find a lot of these critiques focused on the sex scene to be disingenuous and all too personal.

If you look at the sex scene in "Monsters Ball" it is not a gentle love scene. Halle's character comes at Hank with a level of aggression and wildness that borders on being animalistic, and they have sex doggie style which has it's own unflattering connotations on and off the screen. Halle plays a much more docile (civilized) character once she is involved with Hank.

did you just dog doggie style? Come on now....aggression should be part of sex SOME time :)

If he had thrown on some Barry White (ok... Lynard Skynard) and laid her down on a bed of roses you'd be saying that "only white men can be shown as tender".

would a woman who has just lost her son, and is losing everything else, feel good about herself just by having sex with someone she barely knows?

It happens all the time. Consider TBA's post. Man gets shot, kid has no father, women goes on. Life has to continue...and it is messy. Remember racist Hank (yes he's racist) WATCHED his son shoot himself in the gut. He had some vulnerability too. Racist Hank points gun at black boys. BUT, remember that Diddy's (he may have been Puffy then) character was executed. Who did he actually KILL to get there? Would the sex scene even raise an eyebrow if it had been Reverend Mase that she went with? Or should she have turned to Jesus and become a martyr to the memory of her executed husband who murdered another (thereby enabling himself to get locked up and executed) and left her and her child alone?


The only reason I can think of for her actually feeling good is that she is vulnerable and emotionally unstable.

Clearly!!

From this film we are to believe that this is grounds for a healthy relationship.

We are?? I think it's a sad commentary on all the characters that this racist (who put his nasty daddy in a home and told his son he hated for not being able to kill properly) is certainly no worse than her murdering husband who abandoned his family through his cruelty and lack of impulse control.

LaJane Galt

hmmm my html disappeared

theblackactor.com

Ima shut up.

Interesting and informative points. Thank you for taking the time to comment here with thought-provoking commentary.

Thanks, guys.

jazzyphile

I read today a quote from Halle herself. She is happy to have a baby because she will no longer be viewed as a "sex symbol" since she is now a MILF.

I guess you guys--I mean babes--will be happy now as Halle won't have to get naked.

You think her movies aren't selling now, wait untill all the t&a is gone. She may not even get a role.

Sergio

Hey, I'm a dude. I'm basic. Monster's ball has the best sex scene EVER in a R rated film. Almost as good as porn...but not quite

theblackactor.com

@ Jazzyphile

I kept reading something about Halle Berry believing she would get better roles now. But never once did I click on to the story to read it. So, now I know why -- it is because they won't see her as a sex symbol cuz of the baby.

She just sayin' that cuz they ain't gon see her as one anyway cuz she 40 plus, so when the roles start drying up, she'll have an excuse -- the baby.

LOL. I'm just kidding. Actually, Berry has several things in the pipeline.

@ Sergio

I'm sure many men share your view. LOL.

Orville

I agree with Quadree I can't believe people aren't looking at the historical implications of the sex scene. Angela Bassett said in a famous interview with Newsweek when Monster's Ball was released she said the character Leticia Musgrove was a "prostitute". Basically Leticia was depicted as a fallen woman, a black woman that couldn't find love with her husband so he had to be killed. Next, the racist white man must "civilize" Leticia by fucking her and making her "feel good." The line "make me feel good" was disgusting the way Berry screeched the line it conjures up all the awful emotions and imagery of the stereotype of black women. Black women are depicted as loose in this film I found the scene racist and sexist on many levels. Leticia is also depicted as a whore her husband dies so she immediately fucks the white guy. The white guy Hank doesn't love Leticia and if she wasn't pretty he wouldn't have anything to do with her. The movie promotes white male dominance and suggests the only way a black woman can have a better life is to be with a white man. I am not against IR movies but the movie Monster's Ball promotes the whole stereotype of black women. Basically Berry's image in Hollywood is to exploit her sexuality she is depicted as a slut and a whore. But that's Halle's Berry's choice if she wants to be viewed as a slut that's her business. I also don't believe her ex husband Eric Benet was "cool" with the sex scene. Berry had just got married I can't believe she would do something like that to her husband back then. I thought that was cold and cruel. You can say "oh it is just acting." Sorry, Monster's Ball is pornography you see Berry's pussy, her ass, her breasts. Basically Berry got the Oscar for playing a slut.

Orville

Forgot to mention you can also see Berry's pubic hair in Monster's Ball as well. Sorry porn is not acting and that sex scene is pornography. There are still rumors out there that the sex scene was real. I cannot imagine how Eric Benet felt when he saw his "new bride" screwing Billy Bob Thorton. You have to remember they just got married when Monster's Ball was released.

Concerned Black Filmmaker

If you were to ask me, "Oscar worthy" means the best performance or best achievement in whatever category that year. And just because you win the Oscar doesn't always mean it was an "Oscar worthy" achievement in film. Jennifer Hudson won but I could name three others in her category that was better, mainly speaking--Adrianna Barraza in "Babel".

Like for instance, this year, I saw almost all the films nominated before the nominations and I preferred Marion Cotillard over Julie Christie for Best Actress. For the Globes, the two actresses were separated: one in the Actress in a Musical or Comedy category and the other in the Actress in a Drama category. So, of course, they both won. Besides the Globes, Christie was winning everything except the BAFTA, which Cotillard was able to collect. So, come Oscar night, I was concerned, with my fingers crossed for Cotillard and wouldn't you know... Cotillard was an Oscar worthy performance because she was better than everyone else in my opinion.

So, was Halle Berry's performance in "Monster's Ball" Oscar worthy (better than the rest)? Well, I was able to see most of her competition before the Oscars in 2002. I saw "In the Bedroom" prior to "Monster's Ball." Meanwhile, Sissy Spacek was the front runner, winning everything from the Critics Choice Award to the Golden Globe, which they were both in the Drama category. After seeing MB, I was disturbed, not because of all the hoopla people were making over it and the Berry-Thorton-sex-gate, but because Spacek was the front runner and I tought Halle Berry was much better. Then Halle Berry won the SAG Award over Spacek and I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

So, my answer is "yes", Halle Berry's performance was Oscar worthy. She was better than everyone else, including Sissy Spacek.


theblackactor.com

@ Orville

LOL. Tell it, Orville. We don't see her "pussy," Orville. LMAO. That was never shown. Was it? Was her pubic hair visible??!!! No. Was it? I never saw that. I'll look again sometime.

@ Concerned

Good points, Concerned. I think everyone has different ideas about what constitutes a "legitimate" Oscar win. One day I will watch the competition. So, I can't really say anything, cuz I only saw Spacek.

LaJane Galt

Orville~~

Eric Benet..I guess this movie was why he cheated on her repeatedly. I guess the pubes were there b/c Leticia couldn't afford a Brazilian?

I think you make some excellent points vis-a-vis black women in film. However, black MEN only became concerned about black WOMEN'S portrayals once their #1 wet dream got pounded by (the euphemisms!) fug Billy Bob. Certainly we can think of dozens of movies that denigrate black females that don't involve white men kneeling behind them.


CBF~as soon as I saw La Vie en Rose I knew she'd get the Oscar.

LaJane Galt

Orville~~

Eric Benet..I guess this movie was why he cheated on her repeatedly. I guess the pubes were there b/c Leticia couldn't afford a Brazilian?

I think you make some excellent points vis-a-vis black women in film. However, black MEN only became concerned about black WOMEN'S portrayals once their #1 wet dream got pounded by (the euphemisms!) fug Billy Bob. Certainly we can think of dozens of movies that denigrate black females that don't involve white men kneeling behind them.


CBF~as soon as I saw La Vie en Rose I knew she'd get the Oscar.

theblackactor.com

@ LaJane

However, black MEN only became concerned about black WOMEN'S portrayals once their #1 wet dream got pounded by (the euphemisms!) fug Billy Bob.

GIRL, YOU AIN'T NEVA LIED!!

Sorry men, but I totally think this is true. LOL.

Don't you?

Kimbrough

HATED IT! I don't understand what all the hype was about. I guess the acting merited recognition but the move? Hmmm.

theblackactor.com

@ Kimbrough

I'm thinking you hated it. LMAO. :)

קוסמטיקאית

Hi !! Though it 's a moving masterpiece,the Cast and Crew are fairly reputed,Halle Berry got Oscar Best Actress award, as U mentioned The sex scenes are a little bit embarrassing .

Forex brokers

Hi! Your blog is interesting.I think you make some excellent points vis-a-vis black women in the movie.really I enjoyed to be reading it.... Your blog sounds Awesome. Keep posting such an interesting articles.

theblackactor.com

@ Forex Brokers. Thank you for your kind words. I'll be back... one day. :)

sexy panty

The truth is I hated Monster Ball. I think the script was weak and the storyline was weaker. the only thing good in it is Halle

theblackactor.com

Yeah, I agree Sexy Panty. It was aiight.

Red Wing Shoes

Don't know what is wrong what is rite but i know that every one has there own point of view and same goes to this one

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