In a review of the built environment, one cannot escape the reality that people experience life differently when confronted with others. There is a …Review: They Were Her Property
Music is a huge part of my life, but I don’t ever talk much about musical film. We have the kind of household where me, or my Mom, and siblings would just start singing around the house. So really, I kind of lived in a musical already, where singing would just spontaneously occur! We grew up listening to the music our Mom liked, which was Blues, Country, and R&B. We all grew up listening to the Opera, and Classical music, that was in the Looney Toons cartoons. Later, I started getting more adventurous and branching out into different kinds of music, to Punk, Rock, and Club jams, and then even later, Metal, and Indie.
I have always been fearless, when it comes to expanding my musical tastes, and I have never allowed other people’s tastes to dictate what I would and would not like, or listen to. (Trust me, when I say that used to be a fucking thing!) It always baffled me, how people could go through their entire lives, and only ever listen to the one genre of music, that made them feel comfortable. Music is like food. It would be like eating macaroni and cheese your whole life. (I mean, I love mac and cheese, but even I would get tired of eating that, even in its many different versions, after about a week.)
Some songs speak to me on a foundational level, and I am always in search of those types of songs, and i thought everybody did this. You memorize all the words, and walk around singing it in your head, and sometimes, they make you feel so strongly, (sad or happy, makes no difference) that you just burst into tears, or chills, whenever you hear it! Now couple that with a moving image, and Wow!!
Here are ten of my absolutely favorite Musical films, and the one song in that movie that just works for me every single time. These are movies that just happened to show up in a particular stage of my mental and emotional development (yes, even as a adult) that had an out sized influence on me, whose songs resonated with me in some way, or changed my thinking on some issue I was going through, at the time. Or… just made me really, really happy!
I think this movie hit me at just the right time in my formative years, for every single one of the songs to resonate with me, and now for whatever reason, it’s largely forgotten, except by Streisand fans. I suppose, there will come a day when Streisand herself will be largely forgotten, and that will be a sad day, indeed.
This particular song spoke so directly to my teenage self because I lived in an environment not unlike Yentl’s, where I had a loving parent, who indulged my interests, only to be constantly told by the people outside our house, that I couldn’t do certain things (drawing), listen to certain types of music (Rock), watch certain kinds of movies (Horror), and yes, even read certain types of books (Science Fiction). Why? Because I was a Black girl, and Black girls didn’t do any of those things…
…and “where is it written” is, of course, the question I always asked myself! The first time I heard this song, I think I bawled my way through the rest of the movie. I watched the movie multiple times, went out and bought the album, memorized all the songs, and then I backtracked to watch all of Barbra’s movies from the past. Later, I heard a story about how someone in Hollywood told her she’d never be a star, because she was lacking in the looks department. So Barbra, considering that a challenge, started creating her own musical vehicles, and producing and starring in her own movies, to prove them wrong.
That’s my girl!
I have to admit, this is not my favorite musical, but it does have great appeal, and three of my favorite songs, Michael Jackson’s You Can’t Win, Diana Ross’ Ease On Down the Road, and Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News. I first saw this movie when I was a kid, and a couple of years before I saw Wizard of Oz. I remember this movie was a huge event in the Black community. It’s really funny how I didn’t realize that Black people lived in an entirely different entertainment eco-sphere than white people, until I got to college. None of the white people I met were remotely aware of any of the movies and music I grew up with, and it took me a minute to figure out why… didn’t they have radios and TVs? Yeah, they did, but white people only paid attention to things that involved white people. I met white people who were as limited in their idea of entertainment, as some of the Black people I met growing up, and I never understood that.
A few years ago there was a televised reboot of this movie, and white people were deeply puzzled, saying the reboot was a ripoff of The Wizard of Oz, and Black people had to take time out of our busy schedules, to explain to them on Twitter, that this reboot is based on the Black version of the Wizard of Oz, and that making Black versions of white movies was a perfectly normal occurrence, because mostly we were not allowed in white theaters to see those films. So a Black version got made, with all the stars we knew and loved, like Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, and Diana Ross (some of the hottest Black entertainers of the 70’s), with the type of music we enjoyed.
I’m kind of glad that people are becoming a little more adventurous though, and looking at different entertainments that are not geared towards them as the audience, and I’m especially glad that a lot of people get that some entertainments are not made with them in mind, but are still entertaining regardless. If you have not watched this movie, you should check it out, because it’s a lot of fun.
The Nightmare Before Xmas
Of all the Tim Burton movies he ever made, this one is my all-time favorite, and I was charmed right from the opening scene. Honestly, these are some of the cutest vampires I’ve ever seen. Y’all know I’m a huge fan of Halloween, which is the first time I saw this, of course. I watched this movie multiple times, and memorized this song, and several others in the film, (Sally’s Song, and Oogie Boogie Man) just for the sheer fun of it.
What’s really funny is that this movie features a classic case pf cultural appropriation. It’s a perfect definition. In fact, if anyone argues with you about exactly what cultural appropriation actually is, I would point them in the direction of this movie (and the cheerleading movie, Bring It On). Jack Skellington, who is the King of Halloweenland, accidentally ends up in Christmasland, and loves it so much, that he decides to do his own version of it. Unfortunately, these two holidays do not mix well, as one is a time for fear and gloom, and the other is supposed to be a time for hope and joy, so Jack has a fundamental misunderstanding of what Christmas is. He kidnaps Santa Claws, tries to take his place, and puts the future of Christmas in jeopardy, when Santa’s life is threatened by his rival, the Oogie Boogie Man. Yeah, Jack is kind of stupid, but I did like Oogie Boogie.
The Little Shop Of Horrors
I’m going to admit, I was sort of low key rooting for the plant in this movie, because he got the best songs. This movie held such resonance for me, because of the voice of Audrey II, Levi Stubbs, who was a baritone in the singing group, The Four Tops, which was a very popular group in our house. All that, and Audrey II’s (Twoey) final song is just bad ass, Audrey is scary as Hell, and the song is also deeply funny because the imagery is hilarious, and the lyrics contain phrases my mother used to regularly say around the house (ie. tough titty, walking on thin ice).
I have no idea how or when I encountered this movie. It was probably on late at night, when I wasn’t supposed to be up, since so many of the movies that had influence over me, were shown at that time.
My Fair Lady
This is not my favorite musical of all time, but this song, along with Eliza Doolittle’s, Wouldn’t It Be Loverly, And Ascot Gavotte, are three of my favorite songs. There’s nothing wrong with the movie, it just doesn’t reach Yentl levels, as far as the characters and plot. But I have watched this movie multiple times, the singing is divine, the costumes are extraordinary, and I know all the songs, so it makes this list!
The first time I heard this song though, was when it was sung by Harry Conniff Jr. ,and I liked it right away. Yeah, the song sounds just a little stalkery today, but the idea that some guy is so smitten with your charm, that he just likes hanging around your street is deeply funny to me. C’mon, how many teenage boys you know did that kinda thing? On the other hand, this is really creepy from a grown ass man, so…stop that!
Beauty and the Beast
I grew up watching all these Disney movies, especially during the 2-D era, and Beauty and the Beast sits at the top of my list of faves. I am not a particularly romantic person, but I do indulge, from time to time, and I love this movie just for the fun of it. It didn’t especially resonate with me, or have some deep meaning, although as a bookworm myself, I did heavily identify with Belle. I imagine that if I was younger when I saw it, it would have had a major effect on my emotional development, but I was an adult, and while it did have an effect, it was largely an emotional one.
I just love this song because its fun!
Its Always Fair Weather
There are some movies that I’m just ho-hum about ,except for that one very awesome scene, that makes the entire movie worth watching. I first saw this particular scene in another movie, The Professional, which starred Natalie Portman and Jean Reno. The lead character is in a theater, watching this scene with a gleeful, child like expression, and I was curious about the movie this scene came from. It turns out it was one of the few Gene Kelly movies that I missed, It’s Always Fair Weather, about a group of guys who promise to meet back at a favorite bar, in a few years, after they all come back from military enlistment, only to find that their characters have changed so much, they don’t even like each other anymore.
This has since become one of my favorite Gene Kelly scenes, and this is one of my favorite songs. I can’t do anything on skates, so the sheer talent this took, makes this an incredible scene for me. And the song is about the joy of finding out how much you love yourself, just because someone else finds you worthy of being loved.
Toy Story 2
My criteria for this list was any movie that had some prominent songs or music in them. I think Toy Story qualifies, because not only is this a Pixar film, but these films are known for having the primary “I want…” song. That is a song where the lead character (usually female, but not always) sings about her most fervent desire, the one thing in the world she really wants. Here, Jessie the Cowgirl laments her old life, when she was loved by the little girl she was given to as a toy. She just wants that kind of love again, and is cynical enough to believe it will never happen.
I don’t know how anyone in the theater could have listened to this song, and not been brought to tears. Jessie’s’ song speaks to anyone who has ever had love, and then lost it in some manner. In Jessie’s case it was simply love outgrown.
The Blues Brothers
For me, this is one of the best scenes in the entire movie, not just becasue it stars The Queen of Soul, but because of all the tiny, funny details, once you look for them. From watching The Queen get down, to the girlfriend’s chorus, to the food stains on her clothes, to Jake and Elmo’s embarrassed expressions, at witnessing their friend’s public “domestics”, this scene is a pure delight, and Think is one of my favorite songs!
The rest of the movie isn’t too bad either, and well worth watching!
To be honest, this was never I movie I had any plans to watch. I remember the trailers for it, and have the distinct memory of saying to myself, naw, I’ll pass, only to watch it on TV a couple of years, later because my little sisters insisted. It was a very enjoyable experience. I really liked the music, although I simply could not get pass the idea of dancing nuns, which seemed sacrilegious, which is ironic, considering I’m not at all religious. I think Whoopi Goldberg turned in a great performance, (even if she has no voice to speak of), but my favorite character would be Sister Mary Patrick, played by Kathy Najimy, whose acting I’ve loved ever since.
I chose this scene because of Dame Maggie Smith’s long suffering, dagger shooting, facial expressions, because that’s what had me laughing the hardest. If looks could kill.
If you’re a person of color… Never If you’re marginalized in some way – queer, a person of color, not a cis dude – you can expect to be subject to …When Does Online Harassment From Fandom Stop?
The New Imax Trailer For Dune
This latest trailer looks really good and has intriguing music. There’s definitely an African Muslim inspiration going on there.
Leslie Grace is Batgirl
This is the lead of WB’s new film about Batgirl. Leslie Grace is Afro-Latina.
Michaela Coel Joins Black Panther 2 Cast
Although there is a lot of speculation as to what role she will play in the film, most people do not think she will be playing Storm. I wouldn’t entirely rule that out, and am adopting a wait and see attitude about this, especially since Marvel’s Phase 4 will be dealing with characters within the Marvel Multiverse!
Jordan Peele’s New Movie – Nope
I am a Jordan Peele stan, and always look forward to anything he creates.
Nine Perfect Strangers on Hulu
This looks intriguing. I don’t particularly care for Nicole Kidman, but she appears relatively harmless here, and the plot, and rest of the cast seem okay.
A good villain or anti-hero can make a fandom. Often flawed and fearless, they speak to our inner struggles and successes in a way that heroes alone …Stitch @ Teen Vogue: On Loki, Anti-Heroes, and Who Gets to Be a Lovable Villain
Disclaimer: Before I get into this blog, this is not about placing yourself or your loved ones in any danger. Please note, many of these incidents do not involve someone using a physical weapon but instead using tears and Whiteness as a weapon which can become deadly for the Black person involved in the incident. Last…Understanding The Stages of White Tears Part II- The White Bystander — WriteSomeShit
Here, the author at Write Some Sh*t outlines the several stages in a White Tears incident, and what actions you should take, should you encounter such an incident.
I just want to point out that the number one thing you should do if you encounter such an event is to AFFIRM THE REALITY OF THE BLACK PERSON. It shows them that not only is what they are experiencing real, but that other people see it, and know what’s happening. It is important not to come in on the side of the actor becasue that affirms their version of the event.
There are so many great Art films, and many things that separate an Art House film from typical corporate media. For example, Art films don’t always follow a three (four or five) act structure, or have a decided beginning, middle, climax, and/or epilogue. Sometimes there is no recognizable plot, and characters simply walk through a landscape interacting with each other, or experience events. Sometimes those events are presented with no explanation, or the film is a character or philosophical study.
Art movies can sometimes have a more documentary feel, often with experimental lighting (natural) and camera (hand held) techniques. They are a lot more likely to have narration, but sometimes they don’t, and the viewer is expected to determine for themselves the movie’s point. Many of them are from countries without a large, or formal, movie studio system, so filmmakers are free to make films without corporate interference, as long as they can procure funds.
Art House films are notable for not playing in large theaters for mainstream audiences, (although this is beginning to change), because the subject matter is sometimes controversial, or taboo, or the film is too long to play in mainstream theaters, which are more concerned with the volume of seating, rather than the quality of the movies.
I know this makes Art House films seem intimidating to some people. There’s the idea that you won’t understand what the filmmaker is trying to say, or that the film will be boring, or you may have to read subtitles. But that’s okay. Sometimes you’re not meant to understand what the movie means. Sometimes you’re just meant to simply feel the imagery, or identify with the characters.
Here are eleven Art House movies that are easily accessible to the casual film goer. I tried to pick movies that I found interesting, entertaining, and easily accessed in some streaming form.
Border by Ali Abassi
Border is a Swedish film from 2018, that is based on a short story from the book, Let the Old Dreams Die by John Lindqvist, who is famous for the vampire novel, Let the Right One In. Tina works as a Customs Inspector, where she meets another person who seems to be a lot like her, while she is investigating a child sex trafficking ring. She soon discovers some new and interesting things about both herself, and her new lover, as a result
At first glance the movie seems very strange. Why do some of the characters look like neanderthals, and why are they working such boring regular jobs? Trust me, these questions do get answered, and there is a plot, but ultimately the movie is about one young woman’s journey of self discovery. This is one of those films that is more like a character study, and you’re meant to identify with the lead character, as she has these experiences.
Border is currently available for streaming on Hulu.
Nomadland by Chloe Zhao
This is Chloe Zhao’s adaptation of the 2017 book of the same name by Jessica Bruder. It won 2020 Oscars for best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress, Frances McDormand. McDormand plays Fern, a woman who travels, nomad-like, in a van, after the loss of her husband and home. This is one of those movies that seemingly has no plot. Its more like a documentary, than the fictional film it actually is, but with real world elements. Its also somewhat melancholy, with few moments of hope or cheer, so be prepared for that.
We are given little backstory for Fern, and the other characters , as we follow her from pointless job to pointless job, or meets other elderly travelers like herself, and they all try to make the best of the lives they have left to them. This is a movie that’s meant to be felt more than understood in a plot sense. As you watch, pay close attention to the environment, settings, and times of day, as these are metaphors echoing the lives of the characters.
Nomadland is available to watch on Hulu.
The Fall by Tarsem Singh
This movie is from the director of The Cell, Tarsem Singh, stars Lee Pace, and is quite possibly one of the most beautiful fantasy films ever made. It’s nearest cousin, from a plot standpoint, is Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. Here, a young girl named Alexandra, who has broken her arm, meets a lonely injured stuntman, in a 1915 Los Angeles hospital, who tells her a fantasy story, based on her namesake, Alexander the Great, all while attempting to manipulate her into helping him commit suicide.
Okay, trust me, its not as awful as it sounds, and actually ends on a moment of hope. But it is definitely the kind of movie that would have had a difficult time finding a widespread audience, because the rather convoluted story within a story structure makes it hard to follow. It is, however, well worth the watch, just for the beauty of Lee Pace, and the costumes from Eiko Ishioka, the costumer of 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula!
The Fall is one of the few films on this list that isnt available for streaming anywhere, and is only available on DVD.
Samsara by Ron Fricke
If you like The Fall, and want to watch something else similar to it, but without all the pesky plot points and dialogue, then you should try these modern day silent films. The closest relations to movies like this are the 80’s and 90’s films, Powwaquatsi, and Koyyanisquatsi. This was released in 2012, from the director the similar film, Baraka, and takes place across 25 different countries. Samsara is the Buddhist belief in the cycle of death and rebirth to which all humanity is tied.
These movies are basically extended music videos, and are the very definition of Art House film. There are no real characters, plots, or dialogue, just images, and music. This movie, (and others like it), are created to promote mindfulness and contemplation, as you derive meaning from the images. Also it’s simply a breathtakingly beautiful piece of work, absolutely stunning in its scope, and should be watched just for that alone.
Samsara is available for streaming on Tubi for free, and on Amazon Prime for rent.
Hero by Zhang Yimou
There is a reason why Zhang Yimou is on this list multiple times. Because he is, hands down, one of the greatest filmmakers to come out of China. Hero is his 13th film, starring Jet Li, Zhang Ziyi, Maggie Cheung, and Tony Leung, about a nameless man, commissioned by three assassins, to kill a warlord who is attempting to unite the different territories of China into one nation. This takes the form of several stories within stories, with each iteration of the story told by Nameless, as the warlord challenges each interpretation, each story is represented by the colors, red, green, white, and blue.
Most of Zhang’s films focus on domestic dramas, and this film does contain some elements of that, but this is largely known as a great martial arts showpiece for Jet Li. It is definitely a movie that you have to pay close attention to, as the plot is not necessarily about what you think it is, and because Nameless is an unreliable narrator, (called out for it multiple times by the warlord), many of the characters are not who they seem, either.
Hero is available on Amazon Prime.
Tree Of Life by Terence Malick
Tree of Life is a classic Art House movie. its long, with enigmatic narration, some experimental camerawork, and a plotless plot, that doesn’t work in acts. It’s a gorgeous looking movie, where the viewer has to piece together the meaning and themes for themselves. Its about life, death, birth, and the relationships between parents and children, and siblings, and how those relationships take place in a universe that is so much wider (and yet, smaller) than all of that.
This is one of those movies you either love or hate. Not because the movie is bad, but because of how you, personally, watch movies, what you bring to a movie, and how you feel about the director’s point of view. Viewers who like a certain type of film, and want it to be resolved in a certain way, will probably have some trouble with this, because it is not a film with a concrete plot. Nothing gets resolved. Nothing is quite finished. Its a film with a message, but the message depends on what you see, and how you interpret that.
Tree of Life is Available on Amazon Prime, and ITunes.
Raise the Red Lantern by Zhang Yimou
This movie is can be very frustrating. It’s another beautiful looking film ,and definitely has a point to make. It has a more coherent plot than the above Tree of Life, but it still ends on an somewhat unresolved note. The lead character is a young woman who was taken out of school by her stepmother, to be married off to a man she doesn’t know. Her life is deeply constrained, and many of the choices of her life have been made for her, and she goes along with some of them with malicious compliance, but in her new husband’s home, she finds some agency with which to make decisions. Well, she tries because…
Unfortunately, all of the decisions she makes are either bad, or thwarted by the husband’s other wives, who have agendas that are at odds with her own. She exists within several systems that are designed to make it impossible for her to make good or even ethical decisions, if she wants to experience any happiness. We want to root for her but as she is often as petty and meanspirited as everyone in the environment. There is also a system of favoritism in place, that seems carefully designed to keep the wives at odds with each other. The title refers to the red lanterns that are lit, in the homes of the wives, when the husband decides to spend the night with one of them.
Raise the Red Lantern is available on Youtube.
Paprika by Satoshi Kon
There are a surprising number of animated Art House movies, and this is one of my favorites. I have heard form some people that they find this movie very nightmarish, but I didn’t see it that way. I found it strange and delightful. Its an absolutely bonkers movie, that requires multiple viewings to fully understand the plot, but I didn’t mind, because I like visiting a world where people’s dreams get to run wild. The lead character is a dream therapist, whose dream identity is named Paprika. When the experimental dream device she uses for her job gets stolen, she has to try to find out who stole it, by following the dream logic that person has been imposing on the real world.
For me, this movie was a delight, but since so many people reported being disturbed by it, I guess your mileage may vary.
Paprika is available for rent on Youtube and Amazon Prime.
Valhalla Rising by Nicolas Wending Refn
Viking movies rarely get to go mainstream, and I really like Viking movies, so I feel like this subject is getting short shrift. Well, Vikings or not, this particular movie was never going to get play in mainstream theaters. Nicolas Wending Refn is known for his rather inexplicable films, which take multiple viewing in order to get their meaning. There’s almost no dialogue in this film, and the lead character, a nameless enslaved man who is forced to fight other prisoners, doesn’t speak at all. He falls into the company of a group of misplaced Vikings who are in America, but believe they have found some sort of Holy Land (they’re actually in America). His presence among them takes on an almost mystical importance, as they decide whether or not they are actually in the Holy Land, or perhaps dead, and in some kind of Hellish afterlife.
There are a number of very graphic fight scenes in this movie, along with some graphic death scenes, so take that into account, when suggesting this movie to your friends. It’s also a very quiet film, with long periods where there is no music, and the narration that exists, feels cryptic. Your takeaway from this movie depends on your mindset. You’ll get out of it what you bring to it. For me, this is as close as Refn could get to making a Viking Horror movie.
Valhalla Rising is available for rent on Youtube.
City of Lost Children by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
I would also like to recommend Jeunet’s earlier film Delicatessen as this is the second film of his I’d ever seen, and its a little bit difficult to put into words. A mad scientist’s creation is stealing the dreams of children ,because he can’t produce his own dreams. The creature makes the mistake of kidnapping the little brother of a circus strongman, named One, played by Ron Perlman, in one of his little known roles. One has several close calls and mini-adventures, while trying to find his little brother, and put a stop to the monster’s schemes.
This movie looks very strange. Although the plot seems perfectly accessible to most viewers, it is shot in an unconventional way, with a faded color palette, and featuring, the very French Jeaunet’s, penchant for unconventional makeup and odd facial features. The movie itself is very dream-like with octopus orphans, a man who uses trained fleas, a brain in a vat, and a diver with amnesia who lives under the lake. its aceptable for children to watch it, although they may not understand the intricacies of the plot. They will perhaps be delighted by the imagery, though.
City of Lost Children is available for rent on Youtube.
*Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. by Leslie Harris – This is one of the few films directed by an African American woman.
Rize by Davis LaChappelle
*One False Move by Carl Franklin
Angelheart by Alan Parker
Malcolm X, Do the Right Thing, and Oldboy by Spike Lee
*Parasite and Snow Piercer by Bong Joon Ho
Hollywood Shuffle by Robert Townsend
*The Triplets of Bellville and The Illusionist by Sylvain Chomet
*Marie Antoinette by Sophia Coppola
Aguirre The Wrath of God by Werner Herzog
*The Duellists by Ridley Scott
In yet another episode of White Women Are Always Allowed To Be The Victim, I was scrolling on Twitter and discovered an incident between Abigail …Understanding The Stages Of White Tears
The Legend Of Bruce Lee! He was one of the most mesmerizing, iconic action stars of all time – and his road to stardom was not easy at all! “Be Water…The Brilliance Of Bruce Lee! The Documentary “Be Water!” His Daughter Lashes Out At Quentin Tarantino!
This is a followup to my post about Quentin Tarantino’s mistreatment of Bruce Lee in his last film. I generally like Tarantino’s work, but Bruce was here first, and anyone who knows Bruce’s backstory would be honestly offended at what a huge misstep Tarantino made, in his depiction of him.
This is the challenge!
May 13th 2019,
There are two general camps of thought in Black culture about solidarity with white people.
Those who believe that it can be productive
Those who believe that it can never be productive
The Second group’s position is often supported by the response of white people to the FirstAre there Black people who look at the history of whiteness in America and find nothing to feel for white people but righteous indignation and scorn?
Are there those who seek the humanity trapped under whiteness?
But let me explain. Mostly we just don’t trust y’allThe whole point of whiteness was to tie assorted Europeans together in a shared identity.
The unifying thread was a principle of anti-Blackness
As with any fraternity,cult or gang, the benefits come with a demand for undying loyalty.To ask a white person to show solidarity with Black people is to literally ask that they turn against whiteness — the source from which their power, privilege, normalization, and very identity flows.To show solidarity with Black people is to literally turn against whiteness.
There is no way to show solidarity with Black people while still performing whiteness.
They are mutually exclusive.We get that this is hard.
We get that you might really really want to do it.
We get that you may have put in all sorts of effort.
It’s just that we don’t trust that when it comes down to the line, you won’t choose whiteness.Put it this way.
If there’s a national disaster and everyone has to evacuate, let’s say. We EXPECT that white people would find some way to prioritize the escape of white peopleWe expect that white friends and allies will suddenly be all
“Well it’s pragmatic, you see. We WOULD like to get everybody, but we have to take care of ourselves first, if you were in our position (which you’re not) we’re sure you’d do the same. Ok. Real sorry. Bye!”This seems cynical until you realize that this has happened over and over again.
It happens every time a Black child is killed by police and white people don’t riot.
It happens every time a white politician tells Black people to wait for their turnIt happens each time a white person unfriends a Black person for mentioning their racism.
It happens each time a white person threatens to withdraw their “allyship”
It happens each time a white person demands the stage when Black people are speakingEvery Black person who has close relationships with white people shares the experience of at some point having to think or say “Oh come ON. Not you TOO!”
White people are Lucy asking Black people to try and kick the football just one more time.
This time. Y’all promiseSo by and large, as nice as y’all are. As well meaning as y’all may be. As honest and forthright as y’all may be in everyday life.
We don’t TRUST y’all.If you’re a white person and a Black person loves you, cares for you, supports you, believes in you….
Remember that this is DESPITE the fact that fundamentally, we can’t trust you.
Don’t take it personally. Just prove us wrong. And don’t expect credit if you do.Time and time again white people remind us that while your causes should be ours, our causes are not yours.
Solidarity with Black people is optional for white people because if you withdraw your solidarity, nothing changes for you.In fact, the legacy of whiteness on society makes it such that withdrawing support from Black people is a benefit.
It allows retreat into your comfort zone. It allows you to enjoy your privilege without concern. It eases relationships with other white people.Everything about whiteness makes throwing Blackness under the bus the easiest and most immediately beneficial option.
SociallyWhiteness as a construct pits rational self-interest against human decency.
It leverages loss avoidance to keep people tethered.
It constantly reminds white people the cost of turning against whiteness
To trust you, Black people would have to have faith in you rejecting it allWhite people have no discernible track record of doing this in any organized or significant fashion.
It has never been prioritized. And why would it? What system explicitly prioritizes its own destruction?You will sell us out for your jobs
for your partners
for your kids
for an election
for a stock price
for maintenance of self-image
for preferential treatment
for default status
Hell. You’ll sell us out for retweets.
Why trust you?Now you understand why Black people raise an eyebrow at your peace-seeking calls for kumbaya.
(50 points to any white person who knows what kumbaya means besides a corny, naive call for peace?)
If you don’t know. Think about that for a second.Now, knowing all this.
Look at your pleas for acceptance through our eyes.
Look at your demands to have your opinions heard
Look at your admonishments for not joining your white cause, candidate, crusade.Ask yourself what presumption of good faith white people have earned.
How much of your comfort, safety, quality of life, standard of living are you willing to sacrifice in the name of solidarity with Black people?
Don’t answer. Think about it.
I hope I never forget this till the day I die
Am I willing to let solidarity with people actually cost me something?
Would I fight for a cause that doesn’t benefit me, or may even result in me losing privilege?
Do I even know what that privilege actually looks like, in my every day life?
That’s the one thing that’ll save us — turn on the water tap, and she flees the room and hides. So I know this isn’t our evil beast. Probably a close relative, though.If our cat weren’t terrified of water… — Pharyngula
I just want to share this parody of two of my favorite things in the whole world: the movie Jaws, and giant man- eating kitties!
In a survey conducted by The Asian American Man Study that asked “Who is the Asian American man you most admire and why,” the person with the second most votes was Bruce Lee. The most votes went to “I don’t …Number One Son: Tarantino’s Bruce Lee Disrespect is Not New in Hollywood — The Nerds of Color
Film director Richard Donner, best known for Superman and the Lethal Weapon series, has died, and this makes me sad. As I noted on Twitter, he once …Richard Donner, RIP
Let’s talk about a secondary component of horror movies, that are set in desert and rural landscapes, and that is the type of horror set in “Liminal Spaces”, such as cars, highways, rest stops, and hotels and motels. Not necessarily the road trip movie, which is often about affirming relationships and nostalgia, but traveling from point A to point B, through the more remote areas of America, and how not only is the traveler a liminal being, because of their status as not being in any particular space or time, it invokes a certain kind of horror. The road, the vehicles, the people, and the places along the way, are both somewhere and nowhere, and a lonely road at dusk is the ultimate liminal space, in which the truly uncanny can occur.
First, let’s define Liminal Space. You can find numerous websites and Reddit pages discussing what these places/nonplaces are, and their emotional affects on people. Essentially, a Liminal Space is a threshold, bridge, or portal. It is any place that is between, from, or on the way to, somewhere else. Liminal spaces are not places where someone actually lives, because they are transitional spaces, places that, when they are empty of people, evoke feelings of unease, isolation, sadness, or loneliness, like empty school buildings during a Spring Break, hotel lobbies at night, hotel hallways, a house you’ve just moved out of, empty malls, deserted gas stations, or highway rest stops. They are not final destinations in themselves, so highways, and even the vehicles that navigate them, are also good examples.
Much of the horror genre is predicated on people being terrorized in fixed locations, or abodes, like a small town, a building, a home, a residential school. These are places that are often full of people, or where they actually live. Liminal films are often defined as being places where people are not. The horror happens in impermanent, nonresident, deserted locations, and semi public spaces.
The horror of liminal spaces have existed in rural areas for centuries, most especially in folktales and literature, (fairy rings and bridges), and the road trip movie helped popularize this idea even further. Liminal spaces are places where the veil between worlds is thin, where things and people can pass through to our world, human beings can inadvertently pass out of this one, and paranormal events can occur. In liminal spaces, the uncanny happens with frequency, cars can come to life, humans can become monsters, ghosts can interact with the living, and people can unknowingly summon things into this world. Take, for example, hitchhiking. There was a time in American history when hitchhiking was a commonplace activity. Not everyone had access to cars, and the American system of highwaydom was non-existent before the 1940s, especially in rural areas. All kinds of people (kids, teenagers, and members of the military) would often hitch rides with strangers, and this was considered no big issue. But like most things during the sixties, it (and people) began to be viewed with suspicion, and once again, we can blame the popular awareness of serial killers, and other psychopathic murderers, for that. Not because the person picking up a hitcher might be one, that came later, but the person being picked up, might not be as innocent as they seemed.
The murderous hitchhiker is a surprisingly popular theme in horror. In 1953, Ida Lupino directed The Hitchhiker, a movie about two men who pick up a serial murderer, who is running from the police, while on their way to a fishing trip in Mexico. The movie was inspired by the spree murders of Billy Cook, who killed six people on a 22 day rampage across Missouri, in 1951. As a result, murderous hitchhikers are a staple of the road trip horror movie, from The Hitcher in 1986, to its remake in 2007, in which a young man picks up a hitchhiker, who is a violent psychotic, Road Games in 1981, and Switchback in 1997, which starred Dennis Quaid and Danny Glover, as detectives hunting a child killer across Texas. The films, Kalifornia, and Natural Born Killers, were both based on the Carol Fugate and Charles Starkweather killing spree, of 1958.
Sometimes this trope gets turned on its head by psychopathic drivers chasing their victims across America’s highways, instead. This idea was made popular by the 1971 film, Duel, directed by an, as yet unknown, Stephen Spielberg, and starring Dennis Weaver, as David Mann, an anxious businessman who gets chased by a mysterious truck driver, after Mann overtakes him on the highway. Hollywood would go back to this well, a few more times, featuring morally ambiguous, middle-class citizens being terrorized on America’s roads by outraged drivers, or murderous passengers, in movies like Road Rage in 1999, 1986’s Maximum Overdrive, which was adapted from a short story by Stephen King, the 2020 movie Unhinged, and the Joy Ride franchise, which began in 2001, in which a group of teenagers get chased by a mysterious and angry truck driver, after they play a prank on him.
Hitchhikers and psychotic drivers are not the only beings traveling America’s highways. Liminal spaces can be very emotional. The anxious, frustrating feeling that one might become lost, is lost, or simply not able to return home, is in keeping with the idea of liminal spaces as places where the veil between worlds is thin. A person can end up slipping out of this world, and all manner of beings can slip into this one, from “somewhere else”, and some of the beings encountered on the roads may not be what they appear.
There’s the classic urban legend of The Vanishing Hitchhiker, a tale which goes back centuries, is a global phenomenon, and existed long before the invention of film, where a driver finds a lonely young woman on the road, who just wants to go home, but vanishes from the vehicle before reaching her destination. The driver investigates, only to find that their passenger died many years ago, but as a resident of the “other side” is, of course, unable to return home. One way the narrative gets overturned is by having the driver, usually a man, be a phantom, who picks up a real world hitchhiker, usually as a way to impart some lesson to the individual. These types of stories often contain an element of pathos.
There are other, more horrifying, beings traveling America’s roads, like the vampire family lead by Lance Henriksen, in the movie, Near Dark. A young cowboy picks up, a pretty girl at a bar, and finds that she, and her family, are not only not human, but expect him to become a murderous predator like themselves, and in The Forsaken, another family of vampires prey on any travelers they come across in the Arizona desert.
In the “in-between” spaces, cars break down, people get lost, or run out of gas, the weather is bad, or the traveler must contend with paranormal events. In the 2007 movie, Wind Chill, two travelers have to deal with multiple issues, their imminent romantic breakup, a raging snowstorm, the possibility of freezing to death, accidents, ghosts, phantom gas stations, and even a phantom cop. In the 2008 movie Splinter, two couples are menaced by an alien parasite, at a deserted gas station. What starts as a typical menacing hitchhiker film, turns into a carjacking, which then becomes a fight for survival, against a strange bodysnatching alien. Sometimes there are bodysnatching demons, like the movie Jeepers Creepers, where two teenagers, on their way home for Spring Break, are menaced by a bat winged, serial killer.
But it is the rest stop that is the most menacing liminal space, especially at night. Rest stops are perfect liminal spaces, because they are places where people stop, but no one dwells. In the 2006 movie Rest Stop, a young woman encounters a number of strange people, and events, that occurred years before she stopped there, with her boyfriend, for a bathroom break. In the 2008 sequel, the family of the couple from the first film go in search of them, encounter the same phantoms, and must fight for their survival. If the highways are the hallways between the rooms in the hotel, then rest stops are the hotel lobbies of the road. They are even less permanent than the cars in which people travel.
Highways and roads are not just gateways to adventure, but sometimes portals to Hell, and a person can end up in places they never planned to go, as in the appropriately named 1991 movie, Highway to Hell, where a young man’s fiance gets taken to Hell, and echoing the tale of Eurydice and Orpheus, he sets out to retrieve her. When not being taken to Hell, people can encounter beings coming from the other direction, as Lou Diamond Philips does, in the 2001 road movie, Route 666. The classic demonic car story would be the Ghost Rider, where a young man makes a bargain with the devil, which results in him being cursed to ride America’s highways, as a burning spirit of vengeance..
Demons, ghosts, and other otherworldly creatures travel the same roads, and use them as doorways, so a person should probably watch out for them, along with haunted, and/or phantom vehicles, which are themselves liminal spaces, traveling along such a space. Vehicles are places one inhabits for brief periods of time, just long enough to go to another space, and were never meant to be permanent habitats, so they are perfect places for the uncanny and the supernatural. The 1974 Killdozer features a haunted construction vehicle that goes on a killing spree, as does the demonically possessed vehicle in the 1977 movie, The Car, and again, from the mind of Stephen King, there is Christine, (1983), in which a young man is possessed by a haunted, self driving car, that was simply “born bad”.
It is one thing to encounter terrifying intruders in the safe space of one’s own home, but what about encountering such things in less certain spaces? Hotels and motels are liminal spaces in which travelers encounter the murderous and paranormal. Because travelers are transient beings, who have no fixed state as being her or there, it is easy for them to not just be “disappeared”, in such places, but have run ins with transients from the “other side”.
A perfect illustration of this concept is the movie, The Shining. The movie is about a isolated, haunted hotel, called the Overlook, where the walls between worlds are thin. Residing temporarily in the hotel for the winter, is a little boy with psychic powers, (Danny), his abusive father, (Jack), and his put upon mother, (Wendy). Released in 1980, and directed by Stanley Kubrick, the family has to survive their isolated circumstances, while the hotel attempts to drive all of them insane. The Overlook’s status as a non-residential space, allows a thinness between the walls of this world, and the afterlife. As a result, the hotel has taken on a life of its own, and manifests ghostly sounds, long dead entities, and even past events, at will. Jacks’ and Danny’s psychic abilities only exacerbate the issue.
In Hostel, the monsters are all humans who torture and kill American travelers. Released in 2005, and directed by Eli Roth, it chronicles the misfortunes of a group of Americans who have been targeted by a shadowy club of people who pay for the privilege of killing other people, and it is easier to make travelers disappear than it is to kill people who reside in a fixed residence. After all, travelers are naturally itinerant, being neither here nor there, and have no fixed abode. In that sense, they are liminal people, as is Marion Crane in the 1960 Psycho, where she has the misfortune of encountering a liminal space, inhabited by a serial killer, who is himself stuck between sanity and insanity.
Another set of liminal people are the houseless. Being without a fixed home, means they have no set place to be or go to, which marks their very lives as being in between. Ironically, there are almost no horror films featuring homeless people, as either victims, or protagonists, perhaps because being a “liminal” person is horrifying enough. And this brings us back to the travelers who actually inhabit liminal spaces, the hitchhikers, and phantom entities haunting America’s out of the way spaces. The ones who are trapped everywhere and nowhere, often through no fault of their own, and who can never go home, either because they are meant to be on the other side of the veil, or don’t actually have a home to return to.
Liminal spaces are a repository for the nightmares, and horrors of both the real, and supernatural, worlds. And one must be careful when traveling between the here and the there, lest you risk becoming a permanent inhabitant of the world’s in between spaces.
There’s a reason why some songs get forgotten, at least by everyone but me, I guess. Hopefully, this little playlist brings back memories for some of you, and introduces you young’uns to some brand new old that your parents might have liked. Normally, someone makes a list like this, and then jokes about how the songs should have been forgotten, in the first place, but these are all songs I genuinely enjoyed, and bring back bittersweet memories of having heard them, for the first time, when I was a teenager.
I remember the videos of this era were some of the cheapest and cheesiest looking things ever made. Perhaps because this was really the first time musicians started really doing this kind of thing. Before the music video era most of them were live action performances. Some musicians got the hang of making these really fast ,but others had this idea that the videos were supposed to be deep. Chris De Burgh was one of the latter. That said, the video is kind pretentious, but I really liked hte song. I have the distinct memory of wandering around the house singing this at the top of my lungs, while my mom tried her best to ignore her overstimulated daughter.
I don’t think people understood how crazy people were over this song, only for it to be largely forgotten today. I just watched a video of a couple of millennials listening to this song for the first time, and for some reason their reaction brought tears to my eyes. I think I was just really happy to see another generation of people appreciate this song, because I loved this song, and its happy/sad message of perseverance. I remember listening to it almost nonstop on my little stereo, because it was a message that meant so much to me at the time.
I don’t think people realize the effect that this woman’s voice had on the landscape back in the 80s. Annie belted out these songs as easily as breathing. I mean there were Black women singing their hearts out at the time, like Whitney Houston, and Aretha Franklin,but Annie Lennox had a voice that was absolutely unlike anything heard before in Pop music, and she was the only white woman doing so. Some singers had power without the range, and others had vocal range, but without the sheer power and control. (I remember practicing these vocals for my school choir, but I was just a child, so while I had some amount of power, I just didn’t have this range, and mostly still don’t, even though everything else improved.) I loved this song because it was a great showcase for Annie’s range and control of her voice.
I was going to put Men at Work’s much bigger hits here, Down Under, and Who Can it be Now, but I prefer this one. Its funny, because this song is all over my playlist, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen this video. Men at Work was one of my favorite groups at the time. I remember buying the first album, Cargo, and singing the songs from the next one, only to watch their star begin to fade, even as their music was still as good as it ever was. I also have the distinct memory of having a bit of a crush on the lead singer, Colin Hay, but when one is 13-14, one can have a crush on damn near anyone…
I was a huge fan of Pat Benatar, because she was one of the few women who were making a successful career in Rock music. Quite frankly, a lot of her songs didnt make any sense to me but I liked her voice, and the beats.
It was so hard to choose a song from this guys massive discography! John Mellencamp was pretty much the sound of Folk Rock, next to Bruce Springsteen. Like him, Mellencamp specialized in that same kind of Americana Rock, that spoke directly to working class white men, about shattered dreams, and lives going nowhere. It didn’t resonate with me, but I understood his message, and got why he was so passionate about it. This was the 80’s, back when working class white men were just discovering what Black people had known all along about how the world actually worked. They seemed very angry and bewildered by the betrayal, and John’s music captured a lot of that feeling.
This song was the complete shit for like a whole year after it was released. It was all anyone talked about and several people had the mistaken inmpression that it was a romantic song.
It is not.
It’s a song about stalking an ex-lover, (Sting said as much), which people needed constant reminding of, especially when many women insisted on having this song at their weddings. I don’t blame them. On the surface, it does sound romantic, until you listen more closely to the lyrics.
I remember really liking the beat.
I really like this song. I have no idea where its from, although I know its from some movie back in the 80’s. I also remember not liking anything Steve Winwood did after that ,and being disappointed about that. This song was his high point, I guess.
It is extremely rare for most performers to have a career that lasts more than ten years. Music and audiences change, and a lot of musicians (even the ones you most love) can’t keep up with those changes. I’ve observed that the ones that last the longest are the ones who are constantly changing, and adopting new sounds and movements, like Madonna, and Prince, for example, they worked hard to stay relevant. What’s really funny is that every now and again, there’s a singer whose style doesn’t change one bit, and they go out of style for a few years, but then their career gets revived, because their musical style is suddenly back in vogue.
Okay, I liked the beat on this song. It was a pretty popular beat at the time. A lot of people were using it, or something like it, and I liked their songs too. The video isn’t nearly as visual as the song, which is a real shame. So you’ve got a generic hip hop beat, along with a generic video, and a mediocre vocal style, which leaves the compelling force to the lyrics, and I think Suzanne delivers. Its just a day in the life story, told in a song, which was a fascinating thing people were doing at the time.
I remember reading that this song was created in response to David Bowie’s Space Oddity, which is another of my favorites. There’s a block of songs that seemingly all tie in together and are having some sort of dialogue. There’s Space Oddity, then Starman, then this one, followed by David Bowie’s Little Wonder to round out the whole thing, you can add The Prodigy’s dance hit from the 90’s, Out of Space!