Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Moving Forward?

I've also been watching movies of late, and I'm noticing some progressive trends. I don't know if they're actually there, or if it's just my mindset.

Most recently, I watched The Stoning of Soraya M on Netflix and then added the book it's based on to my Goodreads list.

Just so you know? They're not kidding. No spoilers here - she dies.

The movie got mixed reviews - it was like people were so caught up in the subject matter that they couldn't see anything else so that was what they based the review on. I mean, even Ebert said, toward the end of his review, "She did nothing that was not innocent and kind." And I don't think that's entirely true - the character is presented as human, not sainted. Maybe replace 'kind' with 'ordinary.'

Me, I particularly enjoyed watching the different characters' reactions to the situation as it unfolded. Her sons, in particular, reminded me a lot of the sons of a friend of mine - the older is more athletic, dominant, aggressive; the younger is a bit softer, both physically and in attitude, but wants approval as much as the older son does.

The first summer movie we saw was Knight and Day, which despite a sorry title was thoroughly enjoyable. A fairly-ordinary woman encounters an ordinary-seeming man who really isn't. Hijinks ensue.

At one point... I dunno, maybe 2/3 in? ordinary-girl June said something that set my teeth on edge, something like:

...I feel so powerful when I'm around him, but somehow I know he'll always protect me.

Seriously? Seriously, June? Are you that much of a nitwit? Not only are you The Chick, and incapable of accomplishing anything on your own, but must depend upon The Dude, you're apparently also a loose cannon, fearless in your dependence.


But fortunately that's just a stepping-stone in what ends up being a nice full character arc for June, who goes from completely powerless to at least FEELING powerful to, by the end of the story, actually having power and being able to accomplish important things. That stomach-turning moment ended up making the fulfillment of June's arc that much more meaningful.

And a couple of days ago we went to see the new Karate Kid, which was entertaining, if some of the dialogue was stilted at best. Afterward, the Hunk commented to me that "there was a token white guy!" I had wondered about that - mostly about the reason for that choice. Was it simply that they wanted an expat friend, and odds were it'd be someone white? (I noticed that most of the expat extras were also white.) Was it a deliberate attempt at diversity? Or was the movie making a statement about tokenism?

And in a more general sense, that made me wonder how this movie was affected by whitewashing - our culture's tendency to use a norm of straight white male (in this case, focusing on the 'white' aspect of that). (I am also very glad I reiterated that I didn't want to see Avatar and saw Karate Kid instead. I'd forgotten.)

I was actually looking for a post (I thought it was on Justine's blog) where the author talks about getting used to being excluded. Then when you see someone like you in major media, it comes as a surprise - like, "hey, a white girl!" (Note: there were no white girls in this movie.) I didn't actually feel that with this movie. I'm not sure if that's because race IS an issue to some degree, even if mine wasn't the one in question, or because as a member of the dominant culture (in that respect, anyway), I've become secure enough that I don't notice when I've been excluded. Or tokenized.

I loved that it showed both Dre and his mom having people ask to touch their hair.

I might have more to say about this - I'm not sure. But we're getting ready to pack up and go, so I need to, well, pack up and go!

I'm sorry. I feel like this is ... unfinished. Possibly less-than-coherent. But I'm afraid it's going to have to be good enough for now.

Image thanks to


Joan said...

I want to take the daughters to see Karate Kid. I enjoyed the original and the previews for the remake look good.

Enjoy where ever you're packing up to go to...

Clix said...

Actually, it was a trip home from being away :) I'll be interested to see what you think of KK!

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