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15 Responses

  1. Aaron says:

    There was a lot of controversy surrounding Leto’s role in DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, but I think it started with him saying something to the effect that it was a hard role to prepare for because he had to wax his whole body “including his eye brows.”

    Great episode, guys.

  2. Carter says:

    One subject related to race y’all didn’t touch on (which is fine, this subject can take a whole career to pick apart) is when race is used as a shorthand in an offensive way.

    One of the most egregious examples I can think of is Back to the Future II (a movie I love) where “this town has totally gone to shit” is signaled by the fact that when Marty goes to his house, there is a black family there.

    The black family isn’t even presented in a very derogatory way. The dad tries to defend his family from what he presumes is a criminal. I don’t really have any issue with the way the characters themselves are presented, it’s Back to the Future, total naturalism isn’t the standard of acting used in those films.

    But the blackness of the family in the house is 100% used to say “this is no longer a place a good person would want to live.”

    Honestly, I think that kind of racism is more pernicious and harmful than other sins in old movies.

    • Battleship Pretension says:

      Wow, I don’t even remember that. That’s terrible.

      – David

    • Martin says:

      There are other things in the scene that say it’s a terrible place though, but yeah the whole trilogy has a very weird attitude to race so I’m not surprised you wouldn’t give it any benefit of the doubt (Goldie Wilson, sweeping the floor of the diner, only decides to run for Mayor when Marty suggests it; also that whole Marty inventing rock and roll thing).

  3. Travis says:

    Great episode again guys. On the subject of Lean, Guinness (among others) also played an Arab in Lawrence of Arabia, In a more uncomfortable turn played an Indian in A Passage to India. When it comes to racism in film, I’d also be remiss in not mentioning Buster Keating – who I of course love – as it runs throughout his 20s stuff, most problematically in Seven Chances where he or the girl have a butler played by a man in blackface who runs around town looking for Buster in a way that had to be offensive even at the time

  4. Travis says:

    I must also correct my comment last week regarding Hollywood Left and Right that I recommended you read before doing the politics in film podcast. After reading JR Jones’s Robert Ryan bio, I was reminded that Steven J. Ross had actually concluded that liberals tend to get behind grassroots causes as opposed to conservatives actually getting into politics, influencing politicians (at least among those he covered).

  5. Seanc says:

    Very interesting cast guys. It gave me a lot of food for thought. I would love to get your guy’s opinions on this topic regarding Seven Samurai. I seem to be the only person who thinks the portrayal of the poor farm folk in this film is troublesome. Every single one is portrayed as stupid and incapable. I think they are meant to be pitied but are given no agency at all. This compared to the strong saviors that are the Samurai. All except one Samurai, and to no one’s surprise he ends up coming from the same beginnings as the farmers. At times they are even portrayed in such a manic way that they seem to be swarming and running over each other like some type of insects.

    Am I grossly misinterpreting these characters? Are they simply one dimensional? Does Kurosawa get a pass because he is Kurosawa? Does it get a pass because like Tyler mentioned with Temple Of Doom, these are Japanese actors representing Japanese People? Does it go even farther than that and no one wants to call out a Japanese director who is making a movie about Japanese people?

    Any feedback would be appreciated. I have brought this up a couple of times on a movie forum I frequent and no one seems to want to touch it.

    • Battleship Pretension says:

      I’ll let you know how I feel as soon as I get around to finally watching that movie.

      – David

    • Nick S. says:

      Are you suggesting that noted Japanese person Akira Kurosawa was *racist* towards Japanese people? I’m not racist, but I’m one-hundred-percent sure that isn’t how racism works.

      Now, if you’re saying Kurosawa is being classist, that could be a possibility. After all, he grew up as upper-middle class, so there’s a non-zero chance that he could have looked down upon the poor. Although, I have no evidence of this one way or the other.

      It’s probably just a case of Kurosawa utilizing underdeveloped secondary characters and relying upon archetypes (stereotypes?) to convey the poverty and desperation of a mass of (mostly) anonymous villagers.

      • Travis says:

        It’s wholly possible to be racist against and/or internalize hatred for your own race, just as women can internalize misogynist views.

        However, I think he was talking about your second point of classism. I haven’t seen Seven Samurai in a long time, but I’m interested in watching it with that in mind now.

  6. Mary says:

    At what point does playing another ethnicity/religion/nationality cross the line into offensive? If it is done with respect and reverence, why should it matter? Mickey Rooney in “Breakfast at Tiffany” is clearly offensive, not because he is merely playing a Japanese man, but because he is an atrocious stereotype. People were offended by Angelina Jolie’s role in “A Mighty Heart” where she played a French woman of Afro-Chinese-Cuban-Dutch-Jewish heritage, but the performance and character were handled with such care, I find these offenses ludicrous. Cheryl Hines and John C. Riley both played openly Jewish people in “Life After Beth” when they are very much not, did that cross the line? Was anyone offended when the great Phil Hartman portrayed Frank Sinatra on “Saturday Night Live” despite not being Italian? And of course no one was furious when Pierce Brosnan, who is from Ireland, played a very British James Bond, or when the hundreds of actors from Canada play Americans every single day. What I’m trying to say is, if it’s handled delicately, who cares Gael Garcia Bernal isn’t an Iranian-American?

  7. Edmund says:

    In the camp with Rob Schnieder and John Turturro, you need to include Ben Kingsley who has managed to make a career recently as Hollywood’s go to Egyptian actor… despite being a half-Indian Englishman.

  8. Matt Warren says:

    Ben Wheatleyyyyyyyyyyy!

  9. Dr. R says:

    You’re (understandably) getting Pale Rider mixed up with High Plains Drifter. I think Clint is supposed to be a vengeful ghost in both. Just a rapier one in HPD.

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