There is this foreign feeling which emerges from watching what should be your life play out on screen: every once in a while, when watching a movie or an episode of television, I notice characters are not wearing masks, not socially distancing or going out to parties and restaurants, and think “that can’t be made today.” Otherwise realistic works of art are sapped of that reality when the crushing changes of the pandemic sink in — and it becomes all the more painful when that work of realistic art is meant to represent your youth.
This petition seeks to address the exclusion of Black people in key scenes behind the media which reinforces systematic racism among police and the nation as a whole. The United States has had a rash of police killings of Black people. Part of the reason police kill Black people is because they stereotype all Black people as thugs. This is how the media represents us. Not just news media, but within film and television as well.
Last Friday, I finally sucked it up and watched Joker with another friend. Joker, styled in bold, strained yellow as the film’s title card, is exactly the kind of film it has been marketed as so far. Replete with jagged violence, moody lighting and an inimitable Joaquin Phoenix performance, the movie thrives on concocting shock and rage to drag out a visceral reaction from its audience. “Holy Shit,” someone muttered next to me, in what I turned out to only be the movie’s fourth or fifth most disturbing moment. It was just that kind of film.
It’s been seven years since that tagline has been heard in cinemas. In 2004, Saw hit theaters and created a whole new subgenre of horror. It became an annual tradition. Every Halloween brought more death traps, more mystery and an ever growing web of mythos. For seven years, Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures harvested huge profits from these low-budget, box office hits.
As a fan of Salinger’s works, and someone who generally enjoys biopics about writers and creative people, Rebel in the Rye seemed to be right up my alley, but unfortunately fell flat in many places. I felt that Rebel in the Rye did not reveal or add much to what many fans already know about Salinger’s life.
In my spare time, I like to watch ABC’s standout program Fresh off the Boat, laugh, and forget about the perils of school for a moment. The show’s excellently casted: Constance Wu is the star, her motherly charm matched by Randall Park’s sheepish humor. Hudson Yang plays the awkward son growing in spades who’s rap obsessed but a poor student, and Forrest Wheeler and Ian Chen round out the family as the intelligent minions. They’re hilarious, relatable and straight up dorky. They’re also the exception.
I have already gone through the seven stages of grief for Indiana Jones. In the eight years since the lackluster reception and, if I may say, gratuitous backlash to Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I had accepted that my favorite cinematic character was dead and buried, interred until the inevitable reboot resurrection returned the whip-cracking archaeologist to the silver screen. Shia LaBeouf pre-not-being-famous-anymore had been set up as the likely standard bearer, or perhaps Chris Pratt would pick up the fedora, but someone had to replace Harrison Ford, who had long expressed a disdain for returning to popular roles. On Tuesday, Disney and Steven Spielberg announced that they were going ahead with the long-gestating fifth Indiana Jones movie, to be released in 2019. Of course, this was to be expected: When Disney bought out Lucasfilm in 2012, they acquired the entire Star Wars saga and the ability to print money, but also the rights to any future treks for the globetrotting acquirer of rare antiquities.
The abundance of non-sequiturs and throwaway scenes in Hail, Caesar! is not unusual as these are the trademark characteristics of the Coen brothers’ work. As A.O. Scott put it, a Coen brothers movie is “a brilliant magpie’s nest of surrealism, period detail and pop-culture scholarship.” While this is true, you must understand before going to Hail, Caesar! that you are basically paying to watch the Coens lovingly recreate all the different styles of Hollywood product from the 1950s — westerns, noirs, swimsuit musicals and melodramas. Their new film is merely a vehicle for them to outright mimic all the films they have paid homage to previously — the Busby Berkeley dance number from The Big Lebowski, the non-self conscious roving landscapes of True Grit, the musical numbers from O Brother, Where Art Thou?
After World War II, many things changed in American culture. There was a chain reaction, from soldiers returning home to their families, to the baby boomer generation being born. Thanks to the highway systems built in the 1950s under the Eisenhower administration, families were able to move to the suburbs in order to live more comfortably. This suburbanization became the hallmark of the post-World War II period. On weekends and workweek evenings, families with smaller children would stay home and gather around their television as the primary source of entertainment.