Tag Archive: jeffrey wright


600!

 

browns-movie-premiere-jennifer-lewis

The interwebs is telling me this is post 600 for this site.  Founding a nice daily mix of music, film and whatever is on my mind has made that milestone come up fast. I feel like I’ve just started writing here (and in many ways that is a true statement).  Since this doubles as a ‘beginning of the week’ post, I’ll cover a lot of ground today.

The Kenyan situation is tragic of course, and has the attention of a lot of us right now.  One of my role models I follow on the tweet is Jeffrey Wright, and he posed the question, ‘Where is Islam’s Ghandi/King?’  There are a lot of different ways to answer that question, I can’t resist to take this on from one angle…

My first instinct is to say ‘Where is today’s Ghandi and King?’  That feels a little defensive though, so let me expand on that.  One thing I think we’ve all accepted in the times we live in, is the pluralism of the world we live in.  No one man or woman can claim to be ‘the’ voice for any community anymore, and I think any reasonable person who considers themselves a ‘leader’ would not claim to be ‘the’ voice anyway.  Leading in the manner we’re talking about in this context means you’re in service of a larger ideal.

The other side of that question, which I think is the core of what Wright is asking, is that within the community, I do see and hear a non-stop dialogue about how our community looks and presents itself to the outside world.  There are no silver linings to what happened in NYC more than a decade ago now, but I do recognize that, Muslim Americans especially, have picked up on the great lesson of ‘You have to define your own image, or someone else will do it for you and you are all but guaranteed not to like it.’

Wow, already at 300 plus words.  OK, let’s stop there.  As always, if this is your first visit or your 600th, thanks for coming by and walking around in my head for a little while.

This clip has gone around within the Hollywood circles but I thought I’d reshare it here.  Truth spoken by Jennifer Lewis while promoting her new film:

The Ides of March

George Clooney’s latest, ‘The Ides of March’, is about a young idealistic campaign manager who finds his ideals challenged and must make the choice of whether to stick to his guns or ‘play the game’.  It’s a good film and I’ve gone on record of being someone who drinks the Clooney Kool-Aid. But having said all that, this is my third favorite film of his as a director (behind Good Night and Good Luck and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind). The real irony of that statement is I still consider this one of the better films I’ve seen this calendar year.  Maybe it’s because at this point the studio system only gives us five adult dramas a year, but The Ides of March was film geek crack if that’s the case.

I was in a hotel room last week when I caught Clooney having a sitdown interview with Charlie Rose.  He claims at this point in his Hollywood career, he’s just a character actor.  That’s a tragic statement that probably has a lot of truth in it from a business point of view; regardless for the film he’s made here it makes complete sense.  The cast is headlined by Ryan Gosling, who’s surrounded by Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, and Clooney himself. That…is not chopped liver for character actors.  At all.  So why didn’t I like this movie more?

Hard to say.  I don’t have a strong like or dislike for Gosling; right down to the name I always think of him as a more serious version of Ryan Reynolds (which is not meant as a jab at either one of them).  But maybe not having a strong connection to him hurt him in this role.  He pulled off the character arc just fine; but if my instinct is telling me that a young Matt Damon or Affleck (or others) would have killed that role, maybe that’s not for the best.  Or maybe I’m just being nitpicky cause I really loved Clooney’s other directorial efforts to this point.

More posts later in the week.