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January 21, 2008

Comments

Mes Deux Cents

Hi TBA,

I think that many African American films of this genre are too simplistic and formulaic. These films often rely on simple story lines that don't belie the complexity of the individual characters.

Don't get me wrong, this is not exclusive to these types of so-called Black films, you can see the same sort of thing in other period pieces.

I think that what African American audiences crave are simple stories with complex character that reflect what we see in our real lives.

All the so-called Black films that we released last year and so far this year have been the basic formula Black film.

I think back to a film like She's Gotta Have It. It was a complex film about a complex subject. It didn't really have anything to do with being Black. It had to do with life.

That's what I want to see, films with people that look like me but show a complex reality.

I'm with you on not being excited about Debaters and Talk with me, neither film really made me think I have to see this.

I loved this post, thanks.

iris

first love your site and i have been a reader longer than i have been a poster.

second, i just "rented" talk to me from the library and your review makes me more curious to see it.

third, the inspirational movie. black people are either in a ghetto film, a dancing film or a inspirational film. what i want is slice of life. regular black people doing regular things. whether dramatic, funny or romantic.

Ash

I've seen the Great Debaters, it was a great movie to show for Black History month. I found myself getting mad when the n-word was said, it really hurt my heart! The issues discussed may have been for the masses in 2008.

theblackactor.com

@ Mes Deux

Thank you. I just found out "She's Gotta Have It" is now avaialbe on DVD, by the way. I definitely co-sign witchu.

@ Iris

Iris, thank you for the kind words. I'm glad you visit and comment with us over here. :) You and I feel the same way. I hope you enjoy the flic; lemme know.

@ Ash

The n word was said?? Really? No gettin' away from it, I guess.

invisiblewoman

I agree with Iris...most black films are either "ghetto" or "uplifting". I am starting to sound like a broken record saying over and over again "I just want to see a story with black people in it!".

I mean really, is that too much to ask? Jeesh.

iris

off topic, how do you feel about beyonce' crossing the picket lines to perform at the grammy's?

theblackactor.com

@ Iris

In terms of PR, it's probably unwise. Do I think she should be concerned about the writers' plight? I feel like that's her personal decision and probably wouldn't expect her to stand up for every cause.

Sergio

The Great Debaters is a perfect example of what I like to call a "castor oil" movie. Movies that are good for you but hard to take down. Granted, Debaters is an excellent film, but even the title alone I think scared off filmgoers. They thought this was going to be a talky, didatic, long slog to get through, that's "good for you" but not especially entertaining

theblackactor.com

@ Sergio

"a castor oil movie" I like that. LOL. :)

THE OBENSON REPORT

I wasn't planning on seeing it, but I did eventually do so, at the urging of a friend. It's not a great film, but it's your average formulaic studio picture, and it works for the most part. I expected it to be a well-made film, which it was, but I just wasn't interested in the content. Frankly, I'm getting bored with these historical dramas - Oprah’s favorite type of film to produce it seems. Just about every black film Oprah has had anything to do with – produced, financed, starred in, etc - have all been historical dramas: The Color Purple, The Great Debaters, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Beloved. I’m not necessarily criticizing Oprah. The bottomline for me is that we need more variety, something that we've all expressed at one time or another. And while I most certainly do recognize our need to be aware of where we came from, and how difficult a journey it’s been to get to where we are today, I also think that we need to acknowledge who we are today, in ALL our complexities, and not just the 2 or 3 classifications of that the studios feed us annually.

Qadree

I don't think everyone is being realistic. From my observations, most people go to the cineplex with one thing in mind, escapism. They don't want a film that will make them challenge their personal beliefs or question who they are, they want a film to put everything in neat little categories so that the world clear cut and you don't have to think. Who's good, who's bad, it's all laid out for you unlike real life.

This is just a reflection of the desires of the average person and if you don't believe me go out and make everyone you know, or people you've just met, question the foundation of their beliefs and challenge them on the choices they make and see how many people like you when your done.

Ralph Ellison said it best:

“I was never more hated than when I tried to be honest. Or when, even as just now I've tried to articulate exactly what I felt to be the truth. No one was satisfied—not even I. On the other hand, I've never been more loved and appreciated than when I tried to “justify” and affirm someone's mistaken beliefs; or when I've tried to give my friends the incorrect, absurd answers they wished to hear. In my presence they could talk and agree with themselves , the world was nailed down, and they loved it.”

theblackactor.com

@ Obenson

DITTO

theblackactor.com

@ Quadree

I don't think everyone is being realistic

Quadree, what did you mean by this? I'm unclear. I get the sense that I am included in the everyone. I didn't quite follow...

Quadree

I have not seen the Great Debaters but as a Denzel-fan, I am eagerly waiting for it to come onto British shores.

@Obenson, I agree that we do need variety but I also think many people still think that glossy studio films are the way forward. I love independent films, maybe we all just should give them shine too when discuss films.

@Quadree, I think you may be falling into a trap here because I know many people who want films that will challenge them. Look at Fahrenheit 9/11 and how internationally successful it was. It jumped on the back of conservatism and asked people to think. Some people like gloss, others like grit, it all depends what you personally like.

aulelia

Oops, my fault, I meant to write my name duh obviously!

theblackactor.com

LOL @ Aulelia

I was wonderin... LOL.

LaJane Galt

Even though I don't like the Tyler, coonery types of films, I don't necessarily want to see films that are ham-handedly trying to show a positive message.

I get the escapsim thing Qadree, but what constitutes that escapism vis a vis black folks is the issue. Fahrenheit 911, the Cider House Rules, Schindler's List weren't exactly escapist but they were successful.

Qadree

Schindlers list, Cider House Rules, Farenheight 9/11 are all escapist. They give you a controversial subject matter and allow you to identify with a neutral or innocent character so that you can observe someone else do wrong. We didn't experience Cider House Rules through the eye's of Delroy Lindo's character. We saw the story through the lens of the naive, innocent, white character, it was the white characters life that we were experiencing.

Most holocaust film are by their very nature escapist because they give America a chance to pat itself on the back for ridding the world of Hitler and the Nazi regime, we love to see ourselves as the good guys. How many serious films like Schindlers List have been done about the civil rights movement. This is one of the most influential periods in the history of our country and people like Martin Luther King Jr. are rarely depicted on the screen. When we do have movies dealing with this subject matter a white hero is usually pasted onto the story. There have been very few lynchings depicted in cinema, but of the ones you've seen, how many tell the story from the perspective of a family man that hacked of some black persons toe as a souvenir or lets us live the experience of any other active member of a lynch mob.

Michael Moore is present in all of his documentaries to give the audience someone to identify with, a place to hide if you will. This is a common journalistic tactic in which the writer will separate him or herself from the subject matter while allowing the audience to feel like they are being objective when they are actually siding with the author of the work. There are many films that get suppressed in America, and if Micheal Moore was truly challenging the structure as a whole, he would be suppressed also.

When I say that people aren't being realistic, I'm saying that your asking Hollywood to mass distribute films that never do well regardless of race. The most challenging films are usually screened at universities, museums, or independent theatres. Some films do require you to know a great deal more about the language of cinema than others and these are usually classified as art films. Most people want to be entertained and they measure how good a film is by how much it entertains them, it's no different than riding a roller coaster for many people.

I'm not an expert, but I do know more than the average person. It's not about gloss vs. grit. There are many elements in "The Great Debaters" that I believe are being overlooked. The story is about the debaters, but the film is about generational transition and what Denzel Washington, as a filmmaker, believes is necessary for change in my opinion.

The young character played by Denzel Whitaker embodies the ideal. His age, his rebellion against his father, his being present at the meeting where Denzel Washington is trying to unite black and white farmers along class lines instead of focusing on race, his experiences with his older teammates, it all comes to a head when it falls upon him to win the debate. The film is a clever metaphor and it would take too much time to break it all down here. The anti-capitalist ideas, the sexuality issues, it all there, and while the surface story is formulaic, I thought the subtext was very creative, but everyone seems to be ignoring the subtext in favor of critiques based on production values and melodrama (entertainment value).

I've only been addressing content, a film that is challenging based on it's form is another subject altogether. I won't go into that here, but people in general are resistant to change, and films with a challenging form usually encounter great resistance from the masses initially.

Sergio

Qadree is right. Films like Schindler's List are escapist films. Holocaust films are different because the audience can say to themselves it was somebody else doing those awful things, not us. Which is why List (also because of Universal's smart PR campaign and slow release strategy) was a huge success at the box office as was Farhenheit 911. Cider Rules Rules was not as I recall.

I always remember Rosewood, that John SinglIton film. I saw at at a screening a week before the film came out and I thought to myself who in God's name is going to see this film? There's NO WAY you can get black people to sit through a 2 and a half hour move watching themselves being slaughtered, burned and lynched by white people. And there's NO WAY you can get white people to sit through a 2 and half hour movie where they're slaughtering, burning and lynching black people. And at the end, of course, all the black people are dead, the town has been burned to the ground and no one is punished. (I should add that I thought it was a horribly written movie) Needless to say, the film played for a week in the theaters before it was quickly pulled out. I mean we they out of their minds when they made this film???? Talk about a "castor oil" movie

the obenson report

@ Qadree

You're on the money! We live in a world that requires moments of pure escapism in order to counter what has come to be known as the oppressive daily grind experienced by most of us. Film, as it exists today, is probably the one form of escape that engages all our senses fully, while requiring the least amount of intellectual effort on our part, in order to consume it as it's meant to be consumed by those who create it. It's a very powerful, far-reaching medium that influences us in ways (both negatively and positively) that we are not even fully cognizant of. So, yes, the average person likely failed to grasp the subtext in a film like The Great Debaters. Theirs was probably a more immediate, visceral reaction to the film than an intellectual one, and I don't know if we can entirely blame them for that.

Side note: I always get a little nervous when we start talking in terms of intellectual hierarchies, because it's almost as if we're saying that we are somehow superior to the next guy because we are aware of certain things that the other guy is not - especially when it comes to something as universal and open to interpretation as art. Even if that were the case, I wonder if that might be more harmful than helpful. And so I’m learning that maybe I should at least acknowledge the innate reactions of others (regardless of what they may be), and accept them as real and valid, since they are based on their individual life experiences. I want to be careful not to make cinema seem like it’s this distant, esoteric “thing” that only a few of us can fully understand and appreciate.

BUT, criticism and discussions like these are definitely also necessary, so I’m not dismissing them. That’s how we evolve as people, I suppose. And I agree with the sentiment attached to just about everything you've said. As you're probably already aware, I've talked about things like this on my podcast from time to time, and it does get a little frustrating when it seems like you're not really reaching people, or that they aren't quite where you want them to be. I've always said that we, collectively, need to be more proactive viewers, as opposed to passive observers. But I've realized that it's taken so many years of socialization for us to get where we are today, and I think it will take just as long (whatever that is) or even longer of an opposing force, before we can expect to see any real change. What we’re talking about here is so much bigger than film. There’s a lot more at stake here than we may even realize. We're talking about a complete paradigm shift in the way we think about ourselves and the world around us, which makes it sound really daunting, and maybe even hopeless. But I'm glad that discussion seems to increasing on forums like this, yours, and many others.

I clapped at what you said about the absence of rich, complex films about black people during the civil rights era, in comparison to the number of films made about the Holocaust. It’s so clear who runs the Hollywood machine, and what their agenda is, given the plethora of Holocaust films that have been produced and distributed by the studios, and continue to be produced and distributed, with another 2 that I’m aware of scheduled for release this year. America’s long support of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories is indicative of a much larger force in motion here - but that’s another conversation for another blog. So, yes, as much as I long for dynamic contemporary stories told about black people, I can’t deny the lack of captivating work documenting the plight of previous generations and the extremely difficult road taken to get where we are today, especially when compared to our Jewish comrades. And I’m not talking solely about the civil rights era, because, even more defining of who we are today, was the transatlantic slave trade, which has rarely been touched on fully in cinema from the perspective of the oppressed, as you insinuated above.

Concerned Black Filmmaker

"I think that what African American audiences crave are simple stories with complex character that reflect what we see in our real lives." -- Mes Deux Cents

This would be true if we didn't go out in droves to see "Why Did I Get Married?" Where's the complex characters reflecting real life in that film? I didn't see "The Great Debaters" for the same reasons you mentioned, but I'm sure it'svastly superior to any of Tyler Perry's films and TP's film wasa box office success.


"I found myself getting mad when the n-word was said, it really hurt my heart!" -- ASH

If something like that stood out enough to trouble you so, then Washington and Winfrey didn't have themselves a great film to begin with. If the film was that good, you would be annoyed about the N-word, but accept it as a slice of life in a real, compelling world with complex characters created by the writers.


"The n word was said?? Really? No gettin' away from it, I guess." -- TheBlackActor

My point exactly. It's in the lexicon, derived from a Spanish word that was around longer than Slavery. It's everywhere, and it's a part of our reality. Until we accept our own realities and create films based on it, nobody, not even our own, will care in the end of the day.

Audience members may come in different ages, sex, race, culture, religion, whatever. One thing we all have in common is a desire to see the truth on the big screen, whether its the truth about the world we're living in or a world the writer creates.


"They thought this was going to be a talky, didatic, long slog to get through..." -- Sergio

And it wasn't?


"On the other hand, I've never been more loved and appreciated than when I tried to “justify” and affirm someone's mistaken beliefs; or when I've tried to give my friends the incorrect, absurd answers they wished to hear." -- Ralph Ellison

And this is the problem with the world today. Only here, on Earth, it's better to be dishonest than honest. Humans can really suck sometimes.


"LOL @ Aulelia

I was wonderin... LOL." -- TheBlackActor

I was wondering too...lol.


"Which is why List (also because of Universal's smart PR campaign and slow release strategy) was a huge success at the box" -- Sergio

I have to agreeably disagree. When "Schindler's List" came out in December of 1993, I never heard of it until it was reviewed by Siskel & Ebert (I watched them religiously since a child). I was still in my teens and I thought, "What's with this artsy film they're trying to tell me that Spielberg made?" I used to keep my nose in the newspapers, especially the film section, and watched plenty of TV and never heard any mention of the film here in NYC. A few months later, the film is winning Oscars left and right.

The reason for List's success was the Jewish community all over the world. Internationally, it made about $321,000,000. It was also an adaptation of a very successful novel by Thomas Keneally. The Jewish community went out in droves to see this film, the same way the Christians went out to see "Passion of the Christ." The Jewish community were anxious to see List, made by a master director, the same director who made "Amistad" and hardly any black people went to see it (I saw it opening weekend and there were more whites than blacks).

Now, "Amistad" isn't as great as List but it was very effective as a film depicting a moment in history. Yet still, the NAACP Image Award for outstanding motion picture went to... "Soul Food"? You see where I'm going with this?

And Hollywood keeps making Holocaust films, hoping to bank like they did with List. Can they hope for the same thing judging from the films about the Civil Rights movement or Slavery? Can anyone name one that made enough money to convince execs that such films are bankable? It's all about the bottom line.

Sergio

@ Concered Black Filmmaker

First of all, true many Jews saw List, but it wasn't just Jewish people alone that made that film a hit. It had to have attracted a broad range of people (even black people as well - hey, we both saw it) for it to be so successful. Also noticed something you said, that it was a hit around the world. That means that List was a "crossover" movie that everyone around the world wanted to see. Despite claims by several black filmmakers the honest truth is that there aren't really very many black films that can crossover overseas. You think a Tyler Perry film could play in Sweden? I don't think it could even play in Africa or South America. Most black films are limited to the U.S. market. Now understand that I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with that. Most foreign films don't come to the U.S. because they wouldn't be understood here and there's no market for them. But it's unfair to judge a black film with a movie like say List or even more recently Cloverfield which was conceived to be a world wide hit with massive crossover appeal.

(And I kept thinking to myself while I was watching Cloverfield, why couldn't a black filmmaker have made this film. What's limiting our imgination?)

But to get to your other point about movies about the Civil Rights era, I'm reminded of an article Roger Ebert wrote just after the the box office bust of Beloved. He agrued that it was possible to make a film about slavery that could be successful at the box office if you just do one important thing...GIVE IT A HAPPY ENDING!!!!!!

Beloved was a three hour long, depressing, grim film, Who wants to sit through that? (That's goes for Rosewood as I stated in my earlier post well) Schindler's List has a happy ending. The Jews are saved from the concentration camp. In fact, watch the film again, Spielberg stretches out their final escape in the film for the longest time because it's the optimistic scene in the film,

I'm also just reminded that I have just seen the trailer for Edward Zwick's (Glory, Blood Diamond) new movie Defiance with Daniel Craig (which doesn't come out until later in the fall of 2008) It's about Jews escaping Poland during World War II but Craig and his team are a group of Jewish mercenaries who fight back and kill Nazi soldiers right and left. So when are going to see a film about black people fighting back against and killing their slave masters instead of just suffering under their whip? The only film like that I think of is Halie Gerima, Sankofa which came out in 1993. Don't wait for Hollywood to make that movie. We have to make it it ourselves like Gerima did

Sergio

P.S. I forgot to add that when you stated that you could find any notice of Schindler's List in the papers. That is what I was referring to which I mentioned Universal's smart marketing strategy for the film. List was released VERY SLOWLY by the studio. Because they knew a three hour long, black and white movie about the Holocaust was going to be a tough sell, the studio released the film practially one or two theaters at a time and letting the rave reviews and word of mouth do its wrok. The film opened in one or two theaters in December of 1993 and the studio was STILL releasing it for the first time in theaters by April 1994 even AFTER it won the Oscar. It was an extremely slow rollout for a film. Totally the opposite of the usual 1500-3000 theater rollout most films get today

iris

@concerned not just holocaust films, look at munich.

@qadree, what about the 30 second rule, you made a good point about the complexity of great debaters, but could any of us see that in the thirty second spot. think cloverfield, they didn't need the 30 seconds to tell you or 30 days of night.

theblackactor.com

Thank you, guys, for sharing your perspectives. :)

Concerned Black Filmmaker

"It had to have attracted a broad range of people (even black people as well - hey, we both saw it) for it to be so successful." -- Sergio

You name ten black people you know personally, that you can vouch for, that went to see Schindler's List in the theaters when it came out. You can even include yourself. And don't embellish or fabricate for the sake of being right, be honest.

My point? Truthfully, I can't name one. I don't know anyone that saw List. Most people were like me. They never heard of the film, and even if they did, they wouldn't see it. My mentality back then: "I won't see any film unless it was made by black people starring black people." Limiting myself, I used to actually think that most white films were a waste of my time. No. I was the stupid one. Young and dumb, and everyone I knew was on it like that. I can't name five black, Hispanic people that saw List in the theaters when it was out. Trust me, it was the worldwide Jewish community. You can realistically say that our absent dollar would have lessen the overall gross of the film drastically?

And what's so "crossover" about Schindler's List? If anything, it's hardly crossover in my opinion. Cloverfield, as you mentioned is crossover, Jaws is crossover. Most romantic comedies are crossover. Schindler's List was about an era in time that most will never know, about a group of people ostracized and punished for their beliefs in a twisted plot that was intended to eliminate them from the face of the Earth. There wasn't any sneaky way around it. It was in their faces. People who weren't Jewish, that connected to the story, connected with the human aspect of it all. If Keneally, Steven Zaillian and Spielberg had grazed over the humanity of the film, List would've been just another Holocaust film. Hell, they were brilliant enough to make you see what little humanity there was in Amon Geoth (Ralph Fiennes). It was a well crafted masterpiece.


"(And I kept thinking to myself while I was watching Cloverfield, why couldn't a black filmmaker have made this film. What's limiting our imgination?)" -- Sergio

And that's the truth. Our minds are more on the plight of the underdog, which is usually limited to blacks and gays. That's it. We don't really go beyond that. But don't worry. A change is soon to come.


"So when are going to see a film about black people fighting back against and killing their slave masters instead of just suffering under their whip?" -- Sergio

Let's first make a successful Slavery/Civil Rights film, creating an audience for the subject matter. Then we can worry about showing us slaughtering our American white slave masters, like a Nat Turner story. I feel that in some cases, there's an order to things.

And Ebert is right. A happy ending is key. If only someone can be brilliant enough to make The Slave Narratives into a narrative feature. There's a happy ending there and the narratives alone can make for great, compelling storytelling about oppression, murder, heritage, survival and love.

Sergio

@ CBE

Wait a minute, I have to go back to one thing you mentioned. You said that you use to have the attitude that you wouldn't see a film unless it was a black film made by a black filmmaker. If that was the case then you didn't see many films back then. Now of course you say that you're grown up and changed and realized how silly it was to have that opinion but I have to ask you how can one call themselves a filmmaker if you don't see ALL types of movies? I remember talking with John Singleton about the time Four Brothers came out in 2005 and he told me how he constantly studies the work of filmmakers such as John Ford, Howard Hawks and Raoul Walsh. I'll bet Spike Lee would say the same thing too. I remember Brett Ratner saying n an interview that he watches a movie everday even when hes making a film. (Though it doesn't seem to help him as a filmmaker...) You have to keep watching all films from all periods from the silent era to stuff that came out last week. Anybody who wants to become a filmmaker. whether they're black, white hispanic or whatever, needs to study and appreciate the great films and filmmakers of the past.

And this is my final post. I've got things to do...

Concerned Black Filmmaker

"And this is my final post. I've got things to do..." -- SERGIO

Easy for you to say. You weren't wrongfully judged and not given an opportunity to respond.

Your last comment makes no sense. Think about what you're saying. Better yet, think about what I'm saying then think about what you're saying.

I said I was like that back when "Schindler's List" released. That was in December of 1993 when I was a teenager and I didn't decide I was going to be a filmmaker at the time. I was writing stories since 10 years old and my only attempt at getting one out to the public, when I was just 13, was ruined due to a mistake my mother made.

Spike Lee's films wasn't enough to inspire me to dare the Hollywood dreamas well. It was John Singleton who inspired me to continue writing my stories, with the hopes of seeing my books made into films, not knowing that it was filmmaking I really needed to do. Meanwhile I was preparing to major in architecture, focusing on the security blanket career instead of my true passion.

So, at the time, it wasn't necessary for me to watch every and all films. But for someone who didn't, I watched plenty of movies, mainly the crossover ones.

It was the little indie gems made by white filmmakers about white people I didn't care for. I missed out on "Sex, Lies and Videotapes," but I would see "Silence of the Lambs." "Schindler's List" was the only film, that likened to an indie gem, I would see back then if I knew about it because Spielberg directed it, another reason for its success. But even that wasn't enough to make me leave my neighborhood in Brooklyn to travel to the other side of town to see a movie (both of my local theaters were shot up and closed down). I wasn't an aspiring filmmaker yet. So, again, I was only motivated to see black films by black filmmakers.

Then in 1995, I met John Singleton in Brooklyn at Spike's Joint, and this meeting was the spark I needed to consider filmmaking. I told him I was considering a career like his and asked how should I go about it. He said "Watch as many movies as you can, read as many books on the subject you can get your hands on, and write, write, write." Those were his words, to me, up close and personal.

So, naturally, when I decided to become a filmmaker in early 1998, I had some catching up to do. I read every book, but my biggest education came from watching almost every film under the sun. I've been studying filmmakers like Ford, Hitchcock, Lean, Wyler, Polanski, Wilder, Kubrick, Kazan, Welles and so many others for years now. When I started I would see two films a day, and sure enough, I caught up in less than a year. In the end, I realized the many great films I missed out on, yet you can never miss a movie with VHS and DVD technology. I also learned what great film storytelling starts with (thanks Robert McKee). Singleton was right.

It was McKee who said watch every film, especially the bad ones to learn what "not to do" as a writer.

These days, it's the other way around in comparison to my childish views back then. It's the black films I have trouble stomaching nowadays. I try to see them in theaters to support but I am always disappointed. Rarely do I see a film, a black film, that inspires me as a film storyteller myself. The last one had to be... "Antoine Fisher" I think. Before Fisher it was probably "Eve's Bayou." And now I look back and see that only few of the black films made in the late 80's/90's were really any good.

So, having said all of that, how can you assume that I haven't watched many films by now? Surely, over the past 10 years, I consumed as many films as possible to be at the level of filmmaking I'm at now. Wouldn't that be logical to you? I decide to be a filmmaker so naturally I must study, which includes watching movies. Why would you ask me, "How can one call themselves a filmmaker if you don't see ALL types of movies?" You can't be asking me this because I have seen ALL Types of films, from the silent Chaplin's/Buster Keatons' to the French films. In the book, "1001 Films You Must See Before You Die," I saw most of the films mentioned. I'm about to watch "Marty" tonight. I'm constantly watching films, and I especially watch the most inspiring films to me (including Schindler's List) when I'm directing. So, I can call myself a filmmaker, if you don't mind.

This year alone, I saw most of the films nominated for Oscars. I saw them all actually, way before the Oscar hype (a dismal year in movies I might add). That's just part of my continued education as a filmmaker. As a member of Film independent, I also get to see little indie gems you may never hear about until awards season.

So, please, don't tell me what other filmmakers said about watching films. I either saw the same interview or heard it from them in person, face to face. You're preaching to the choir and your condescension only undermines the disputation.

theblackactor.com

@ Sergio

Other things to do!!!??

Other things beside comment and share valuable insight with the readers here?

Just kidding. LOL

Sergio

@CBE

WOW! You're touchy aren't you? My comments were directed at you but to others out there reading this blog who have to same aspirations of becoming a filmmaker. I was using you as an example for others who had the same mindset that you once had.

Now this is definitely my FINAL post on this subject

Orville

I think Hollywood has a myopic view about the black film audience. The studios think about profit only and if a movie is a hit they recycle and repeat. I think that's the reason we see the same people over and over and over again. Maybe some black people are just tired of Denzel Washington I know I am. I know this won't sound politically correct but what about the next generation of black actors after Will Smith and Denzel? Isn't anybody concerned about that? What about the next generation of black actresses after Berry and Latifah and Bassett? I am very worried. Hollywood develops white stars but not black young stars. Heath Ledger died yesterday and I think this guy was an amazing talent. However, Ledger was clearly developed by the Hollywood star machine. Where are the critically acclaimed young black actors?

Concerned Black Filmmaker

@ Orville

Everything you said was on the money. I can't disagree with a single thing you pointed out or stated.

Yeah, there's prejudice in Hollywood, prejudice against anything that doesn't profit them.

theblackactor.com

@ Orville

I repeat what Concerned Black Filmmaker said...

EVERYTHING YOU SAID WAS ON THE MONEY!

I got a half formed post or two on this subject. I wanna talk about this very thing on the site.

Kimi

First I co-sign w/Orville completely!

Unfortunately, Oprah’s flicks are basically all the same. There’s no surprise you pretty much know you’re gonna get a period piece out of her & if you aren’t interested in that then no need to bother.

I really enjoyed the Great Debaters. Mom was here at Xmas – she wanted to see & support it. But to be honest, if not for her urging I probably would have skipped it. Oprah nor Denzel were enough to get me to check it out on my own.

But we did notice one interesting thing. We saw Dreamgirls on Christmas (opening) Day 2006. The theater was PACKED, we had to search for a good seat & couldn’t hear some of the dialogue at times cuz peeps were still laughing, talking or whatever.

When we say Great Debaters on Christmas (opening) Day 2007, the theater “might” have been halfway filled.

No real point to that lol. Just an interesting observation.

theblackactor.com

@ Kimi

That is an interesting observation; a very interesting observation, I think.

jeremiah jahi

Sorry I am late with my comments. I had the opportunity to see The Great Debaters. Actually, I was dragged to see it by my wife who is a school teacher and had this feeling that it was her duty to see it. I did not want to see it because of two reasons: 1. Oprah Winfrey. I think her projects are very phony and very much so pro-integration (as we know it today). 2. I did not want to see it because Denzel is the same way. The older he gets the more I see how conservative and pro-integrated he is in what he does. In other words the projects they do are about Black people trying to get White people to embrace them as equals as if White people are the standard.

The movie was just what I expected. White people see I an just like you bs. While the movie looked good and was directed pretty well it was clear that this movie was an elitist movie. It was nothing that the everyday Black person in the inner city would go see. Once again we fail to deal with the hear and now.

We need films and more importantly filmmakers with visions. At the moment we have no visionary filmmakers. We have mainly entertainers.

theblackactor.com

@ Jeremiah Jahi

Jeremiah, it's never too late to leave a comment. Thank you for your thoughtful perspective on this.

Also, good point here.

"... the projects they do are about Black people trying to get White people to embrace them as equals as if White people are the standard."

Interesting. Thanks!

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