Tag Archive: barack obama


 

southside-you

I’m here for more biopics moving in the direction of ‘A Day in the Life’ over trying to capture a person’s whole story in 120 minutes.  ‘Southside With You’ is the better of the two features that came out about President Obama last year.

Already a big part of their mythology, the movie dramatizes the first date of Barack and Michelle, when they went to go see ‘Do the Right Thing’.  Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter both do great giving us the essence of these two people, years before they were even plotting to end up where life took them.

As I said up top, I love the day in the life approach, but the pitfall in going that route in biopics is stretching reality for the sake of dramatization.  First date, are you getting more information about this person you already have some level of interest in?  Definitely.  Are you getting their entire back stories on the first date?  Even in a movie, not very likely.  Michelle grills Barack about his dating past, he says he’s been in serious relationships with white women, but has grown weary of always feeling like the outsider.  That’s great character detail and feels very organic in a real and a movie first date.  Barack deep diving into his rocky relationship with his father?  Felt a little more forced.

As a whole though, solid date movie, and at less than 90 minutes, it moves quickly.  Streaming on Netflix, worth checking out if you didn’t catch it in the theatre.

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hell-or-high-water

KIMMEL: And here to present tonight’s final award, from ‘Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later’ Malik Aziz, and the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.

(Malik and Obama walk on to the stage.  There’s a fifteen minute standing ovation, shattering Chaplin’s record.)

OBAMA: Thank you.  West Texas outlaws.  An African-American homosexual in Miami.  A female linguist who discovers how to take to aliens.  The films nominated for Best Picture this year are as diverse as the American experience itself, and by recognizing these films, we acknowledge that no matter who you are, or where you come from, your voice is a valuable part of why, this country has always been great.

(polite applause).

MALIK: I couldn’t agree more.  Three of the nominees are driven by female protagonists (possibly four, depending on your point of view); as you noted, one is a window into the homosexual experience, and three of the films take place within different eras of the African-American experience. If we’ve learned nothing else over the past ten years, it’s this: when we acknowledge or even agree that the most qualified option might look different than us, than racism is over.  So is sexism.  So is xenophobia.  And so is homophobia. And anyone who complains that any of that stuff still exists is a sad loser who needs to get over it. Right, Mr. President?

(Malik and Obama both try to hold in their smirks as the audience laughs…)

OBAMA: Come on man…

MALIK: Here are the nominees for Best Picture:

Arrival

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

Who Should Win: In another decade, I’d easily say ‘Hell or High Water’ or ‘Moonlight’ (best picture that feels nothing like a studio picture).  ‘Hell’ is this year’s best ‘right of center’ pic, ‘Moonlight’ the best ‘left of center’.  You already know what’s in the ultimate center (everyone likes something about it): La La Land.

Who I’m Cheering For: I’m not the crying type, but the only one of the above films that had me suffering from allergies in the third act was Moonlight.  And I was truly impressed by most of the field this year.

Who Will Win: As I said before, its ‘passionate’ fan base may be smaller, but across the board nearly everyone ‘likes’ something about La La Land.  Will be surprised if it doesn’t win the big one.

palps-empire

Where do I begin?

Consoling my mother who thought she would vote a woman into the Oval Office in her lifetime?

Trying to find something to say other than ‘I’m sorry’ to my friends who have children and have to try to explain to them (especially the girls) what happened and why?

Pretending I have a comeback for the Muslim women who are in fear of wearing hijab in public, when I’ve been looking at the map myself and saying ‘I like road trips, but I am NOT taking any chances of a car breaking down in me in rural America right now.’

I’m like everyone else right now (or I guess, half of you).  I’m angry.  I’m shocked.  Frankly, I’m depressed.  I’ve already dipped back into a couple of my old vices, and frankly, if you feel mentally shot (and of course you’re not hurting anybody), a sanity check is as understandable right now as it’s ever been.

The gallows humor has provided a little relief.  But it’s been very fleeting today.  I don’t have any ‘everything is going to be alright’ quotes for you right now.  The shock and the embarrassment (for those of us who think about how we’re perceived by the rest of the world) is too strong.  Among many questions that come to mind today…

How Sexist Are We Exactly?  Phrased another way, would Bernie have beat Trump? (Possibly but him being Jewish might have had a similar effect). Would Joe Biden, who’s definitely in the same ballpark as the President-elect in terms of being charismatic and passionate, and in the same ballpark as Hilary as coming from the working class and having spent a lifetime in public service, would Joe have won?

Would Hilary have beaten any of the ‘traditional’ Republican candidates, or is the Clinton fatigue that strong?  Maybe the most depressing hypothetical that ties to the original question…what type of woman will one day become President of the United States?  Black people know better than most how ‘perfect’ Obama had to be to win and thrive as President.  And the vibe many of us feel today, to paraphrase the great Paul Mooney, is that, ‘It was OK for us to have a little fun, but we had too much fun’ with a black First Family.  And there had to be repercussions.

What’s done is done for now.  For the near future, I think I’m done writing scripts.  One of many things this year as a whole has made me consider is, my true passion as a writer (and the full scope of my vocabulary) comes out in nonfiction.  And with a Republican President, a Republican Congress and a Republican Supreme Court, I don’t think I’ll have a shortage of topics or events that stoke my fire. When I speak as I’m speaking now, you’re clearly getting the voice of a Muslim, an African-American, a liberal.  When I’m doing skits and plays and movies, that’s me too, but that’s me as a performer bringing another person’s voice to life. I take a lot of pride in helping others bring their vision to life as well, so it’s not that the two things automatically contradict each other.   But right now I feel, maybe the time has come to be even stricter in terms of ‘artist/citizen’.  We’ll see how it plays out.

Like I said, I have no platitudes to try to make you feel better right now.  A lot of us feel we took an historic L yesterday.  We’re down but not out.

Never out.

obamas

Today is normally reserved for ‘love/sex’ tunes I know, but this more than earned the spot to start the weekend.

Among many conversations about ‘how do actors of color get to the A-list if they can’t even get a chance to have a ‘breakthrough’ film?’ and the ever present ‘but it won’t sell overseas’, comes this trailer…

Can’t even put an estimate on the number of people who I imagine want to grab a studio exec by the neck and scream ‘THIS IS GOING TO TURN A PROFIT!!!’

Alas, have a great weekend everybody!

 

carole_king_120611_double

Caught this clip over the holiday break and (like the live audience) fell in love with it.

Aretha shows up and pays tribute to the writer of one of her iconic songs.

Prez cries hearing that soulful voice.

Wow.

Enjoy!