Imagine a world where the leader of the free world is a white supremacist’s wet dream but the hottest movie in that same country is rife with evil whiteys. It shouldn’t be that hard because it’s the world you are currently living in. The reason Get Out, the directorial debut of Jordan Peele, has captured the hearts of Americans is the way it offers a fresh take on the never ending struggles with human racism. Although it was written during the Obama administration when many people thought America was reaching a moment of great progressions, Get Out resonates much more in these past few months when the scope of discrimination in modern times has been brought to the forefront. It’s a lot to tackle in a single movie but with its perfect execution of satirical horror, Get Out gets it done.
I’ve written and talked about movies more in the past four months than the entirety of my previous life. In doing so, I’ve been made aware of how much “reality” factors into my enjoyment of the movies. Not in terms of the subject matter, because I go gonzo for stuff like Lord of the Rings and Games that involve Thrones on the TV side, but reality in the context of the world that’s been created for my entertainment. I get really hung up on whether the reactions of the characters fit into the construct I’ve set up for this world based on the mood and themes of the movie itself. This isn’t any revolutionary concept but it’s what drives a lot of my enjoyment in watching movies.
In a movie like Manchester by the Sea, there is a lot that hinges on the believability of the actors when it comes to loss and tragedy. Basically the entire movie is an exploration of how certain people, specifically men from the Boston area, deal with the loss of loved ones. In those terms, I can’t think of a movie that handles this theme better. The main focus is on Casey Affleck’s character Lee Chandler and his nephew Patty Chandler, played by Lucas Hedges. When Patty’s father and Lee’s brother passes away, Lee if left with custody over Patty and struggles with how to deal with the responsibility that’s been thrust upon him. From the very beginning of the movie, it’s made apparent that Lee doesn’t deal with his emotions in a healthy way and the rest of the time the audience is waiting to see if he will eventually get it.
They say write what you know. Who’s they? Doesn’t matter. While I don’t know what it’s like to grow up black and gay in America, I do know good movies when I see them (usually). Moonlight is a good movie about growing up black and gay and male in America. The main character, Chiron, grows up in Florida, where the director and myself were born, so I do know that fairly well. But since I’m a straight white guy who did not grow up in the projects of Florida I can’t say that I know the world on display in this film. Fortunately, the masterful writing and direction of Barry Jenkins presents this world in an intimate enough manner that any human with a functioning heart will appreciate.
I only recently moved to Texas. Growing up I made a joke of saying it was one the few states that I never wanted to live in. I based this largely on the conservative culture and my preconceived notions of the inhabitants’ backwards view of the world. Now I ended up moving to the least Texan of the Texas cities, Austin, 2 and a half years ago but there’s no escaping the shadow of the largest state in the union (fuck you, Alaska). On a near daily basis, I’m reminded of the rich history of the state. From the Cowboy boots, fashion’s least purposeful footwear, to the hats, fashion’s coolest hat, to the horses, to the guns, it’s all there. I’m in it and I’m honestly learning to love and embrace it.