movies matter | criticism by maryann johanson
Sat Aug 22 2015, 03:34pm | 9 comments
Obvious example of “I’m really sorry now that I see how much airtime the people I hurt are getting.”
Pretty much, I thought the film did a lot right, the acting and characterizations were uniformly strong, it was funny when it was supposed to be and sad when it was supposed to be. It hit most of the emotional beats it was going for. Not to mention the gorgeous cinematography (this film has some truly striking shots). That being said, the misogny on display coupled with the glaring omissions made it a tough film to fully embrace. I get it, it was an ugly time, but why highlight the industry’s treatment of women in some respects (ie party scenes where women are on full display) and completely ignore it in others?
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It’s always an ugly time when it comes to how women are treated.
I do think it’s noteworthy that Dr. Dre felt obligated to apologize publicly, and that the story was on the front page of the New York Times. A decade or two back, abuse of this sort didn’t receive even that level of attention. How sad that this is progress.
Very true, although what I was trying to get across is that anyone who was a fan of NWA in the 80’s-90’s probably shouldn’t have gone in expecting Beyond The Lights. I would have loved for them to have addressed the horrific treatment of women the rap industry was responsible for back then, but it really didn’t surprise me that they glossed it over.Disappointing as hell, but unsurprising. I do admire how they touched on the frustrations of young black men in a turbulent urban climate, I just wish they would have extended more of the same courtesy to the women involved. Granted none of the women with speaking roles were depicted negatively, they just didn’t have much to do. And some of the scenes involving the extras were truly disheartening.
Actually, two decades ago, people were still making a fuss over how O.J. Simpson used to beat the hell out of his ex-wife Nicole (a fuss that would have been more useful had it occurred when Ms. Simpson was still alive but still).
Two years before that, we saw the release of What’s Love’s Got to Do with It?, a Tina Turner biopic that has received its own share of criticism — especially from yours truly — but does deserve credit for publicizing the physical abuse Tina Turner received from her ex-husband Ike — and her eventual triumph over it — instead of concealing it like some biopics might have done.
I wasn’t taking a lot of interest in rap/hip-hop at the time (and still don’t), but as far as I recall any criticism of the exploitation and portrayal of women was met with a combination of “it’s part of our culture” and “there are female rappers too”.
It’s also part of Italian-American culture — but that didn’t stop Martin Scorsese from making movies condemning it.
It’s also part of Southern White culture but that didn’t prevent country songs like Martina McBride’s “Independence Day” and Big n Rich’s “Holy Water” from condemning it even though they were a product of that same culture.
It’s also part of Hispanic culture but I never got the impression from my Mexican-born father that it was an acceptable part of that culture as far as our branch of the family was concerned.
For that matter, a black co-worker once admitted to me that she never encouraged her sons to consider it acceptable either.
However, I will admit that Danielm80 is right when he hints that the times are a-changing in regard to the attitude you mentioned. However, I have known so many women who have been hit or beaten by various significant others that I kinda wish they were changing a lot faster.
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