Monday, June 14, 2010

Multiculturalism in Film...or lackthereof

I noticed while watching The Good Guy today how many movies I have, yet I can only count on my fingers how many have leading roles from a non-white. Typically our blockbuster movies have an all-white cast, sometimes with a supporting role for a "minority," who is often for comedic effect. Then on the opposite end, there are the all-black films, sometimes with a white supporting character for all of them to make fun of (case in point: the American version of Death at a Funeral).

Even Asians and Asian-Americans don't get respect in Hollywood. When Gene Luen Yang saw the casting for The Last Airbender, he immediately decided not to see it....why? The actors are white instead of Asian. This happens a lot in Eastern-cultured films, where a Chinese person (in looks and locale) will be played by an actor with no Asian descent. The Last Airbender is supposed to celebrate the ancient traditions and mythologies of ancient Japan, but rather it makes them whitewashed. Dragonball Evolution did the same. Even though I enjoyed the movie for some reason and find Josh Chatwin a talented, engaging actor, the movie took the main character and whitewashed him for some reason.

It's not just Asian; it's all minorities. Look at the treatment of Storm throughout the X-Men films: first one...African accent; second...poised and crisp but no accent; third...casual and no accent at all. What happened to Storm's African roots? They disappeared that quickly?

I thought films were supposed to be ahead of the game and revolutionary; instead we see them segregating and reinforcing stereotypes. At least we have great roles for women now: ranging from Sarah Connor to Little Women to The Hours.

What movies made in your country do you own that have a "minority" lead role? Is the minority character whitewashed?

Feminist Feature: Female Messiah!

So we went from the "decimation" of the mutant race because of Scarlet Witch warping reality, taking away the powers of most mutants in the world, many of which died due to their mutations physical features stayed the same and couldn't adapt to being homo sapien (known as M-Day). Then came the Messiah Complex: the "arms" race to get to the new, and only, mutant baby born since M-Day. The baddies obliterated an entire town, babies and all. The X-Men were too late to save the day, but they managed to rescue Hope, the newly-born mutant. There, Cable took her into the future, followed by Bishop. The entire run of the recent Cable series has Bishop following their tracks, trying to kill Hope. This is how she's raised: fleeing and fighting for her life.

Now, she's like a child again when she comes to the present but at the same time a badass young lady, who's been raised in an eternal war. This is why she and X-23 connect with each other: they've been raised in horrible situations and, once out of it, don't know how to act. And the pressure's on for Hope. The X-Men have lost many on their quest to protect Hope: Caliban, Nightcrawler, Ariel, and more that I can't think of, I'm sure. Wolverine summed it up perfectly: "She better be worth it." The mutant race have been split on the necessity of Hope: she's had many killed when the mutant race is nearly extinct, so why are the X-Men risking so much for most likely just another mutant...and others have exactly what she was named HOPE. So far she's gotten into a fight with Moonstar, which was great, and is about to team-up with Rogue in badassery.

Typically we don't see allusions to female messiahs. There have only been male messiahs in literature. It's about time someone stepped it up. If she is somehow the one to revive the mutant gene, then the X-Men's deaths are not for nothing. But if she somehow becomes just an uber-powerful mutant. Could she save them all or destroy them all? This is yet another difference between Hope and other literary messiahs. She's multi-faceted, not directly a savior and perfect person. She's a rollercoaster of emotions, understandably. I'm anxious to see how this turns out!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"I'm a Survivor" Farewell, Rue McClanahan

Adorable and sweet Estelle Getty passed, the second youngest actress of the Golden Girls. Then went the beloved theatrical Bea Arthur and, with her, the window drapes that she wore upon her signature shoulder pads. Then came more rue to my existence when the youngest of the gals had fallen victim to a massive stroke: Rue McClanahan made old sexy, oozing sexuality every second on screen. She was kind and honest in real life, a combination you don't find much in people. And she was strong, surviving many illnesses, including Breast Cancer. And it showed in her acting; she began taking motherly, strong roles that females could look up to. She was smart. She was beautiful. And she was talented.

Now we're left with the brutally hilarious and dirty Betty White. I've always loved her since I watched Golden Girls growing up in the late 80s and early 90s. And I'm 24. Somehow I remember watching it along with Empty Nest, and I would have only been 6 when its last new episode ran. That's how much of an impact it had on me. Even then I thought it was hilarious, being ignorant of what most jokes were alluding to. But I understood Rose's clean humor, derived from her own ignorance and ditziness. No one but Betty White could've pulled it off. I don't understand how she's become popular all of the sudden, just like Jane Lynch. They've ALWAYS been hilarious. They probably came out of the womb making people laugh. That would be a comedic pairing I'd love to see. I've come to conclude that Betty White is a deity of some sort. If she is not, she MUST discover immortality to keep entertaining. How is it that she's still the single funniest lady to currently exist? I just hope the world realizes the talent the world will surely lack once she is gone. But to me, they'll never be gone. That's the wonderful thing about the entertainment industry!