“That’s all I have left. Just let me hide” – Joann Garrett, Walk on By
By all accounts, 12 Years A Slave is a masterful film expertly acted and directed. It’s powerful and moving and meaningful. It’s everything an Important Film should be.
I probably won’t see it. At least not in the theater.
I didn’t go see Fruitvale Station this summer, either.
You see, I’m all filled up on Black misery. I’ve had my fill on dramatic portrayals of true life misery in general but Black misery? My heart won’t take it.
I hope these films do well. I want them to do well. Hell, I even considered buying tix for Fruitvale Station one weekend and just not going. In fact, I need these films to do well, to be critically acclaimed, for people to be aware of them so that I get more of the stuff I actually find entertaining.
In the theater, Newlyweeds has been one of my most memorable and enjoyable entertainment experiences this year. I love few film series more than the Fast & Furious franchise. The multicultural cast of Pain & Gain made that strange film mostly work.
On TV, this season I am mostly watching shows that reflect the diverse world I know in the ways I know it. On Sleepy Hollow, folks of color in good government jobs talk to each other all the time as they try to figure out their newly supernatural world. Subtract the supernatural and you can say the same about Elementary. On Boardwalk Empire, there’s the very white world of 1920s Prohibition America and then there’s the very black world of the Harlem Renaissance and growing discomfort with the status quo. And y’all already know about Scandal.
These things show me characters that look like me and my friends and the communities I have lived in my entire life. They then put those people I recognize in situations I find compelling and interesting and entertaining. There may be turmoil and pain and heartache but it’s of a fictional nature.
I tend to bucket films like 12 Years A Slave and Fruitvale Station with Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker. They are war movies and I’ve never been compelled to watch war flicks. I’m not sticking my head in the sand. I know the tales being told. I’ve read them. Over and over again. Just as “multiculti” has been the default status of my personal world, I am all too aware of the world that made it and it’s history.
I just don’t want to see it re-enacted in high definition on a giant screen in dolby surround sound. At least not this weekend. Not this year. Maybe not next.
My soul would rather sing than scream.
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