Glory

Django Unchained Sam Jackson

After I saw Django Unchained for the first time, I jokingly tweeted that it was going to be funny when a bunch of white people get nominated for Academy Awards for this movie about slavery. Then the Academy Award nominations came out, and it became less of a joke and more an eerily accurate prediction. I’m not telling you that to give you the impression that my twitter feed is magical or that following me will make your life immeasurably better (even though it is, and it will), just to remind you that the Oscars aren’t really about the best or most important movies, performances, or artistic accomplishments, which is why when you look at a history of the winners you’ll see a curious absence of classics like Die Hard or Star Wars, and an overabundance of moviesthatsuck. Because instead of telling us what movies were the best, the Oscars tell us what movies made the Academy feel the most warm and safe.  Nowhere is this more apparent than when looking at how the Academy treats movies about slavery. They don’t want a smart, artistic analysis that properly explores the darker aspects of the fact that the United States contributed to a centuries-long genocide. They want movies that gloss over the pain and suffering. At best, they want movies that cut right to the part where white people get forgiven. Which is why we see the following trend in this brief list of every movie to deal directly with slavery […]

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Culture Warrior

Editor’s Note: With Landon still celebrating Marcel Pagnol’s birthday, Cole was left to write this week’s entry. Please don’t riot. Every so often, The History Channel will play The Planet of the Apes, and it freaks me out. In recent years, the station has lost the meaning of its name completely, but a few years ago, I genuinely worried that someone would stumble upon the movie in progress, see the logo at the bottom, and be convinced that there was a time in Earth’s history that we were ruled by simians. There’s no proof, but considering that people have tried to rob banks with permanent marker all over their faces as a “disguise,” it seems possible that at least one person would be confused by a non-fiction station about our past playing a fictional movie where Moses pounded his fist into the sand in horror. Maybe there’s no real danger of that, but it still displays a certain power that movies have. They, like all stories, are how we share with each other. From person to person, from culture to culture, movies provide a certain shared sentience. A great story, told well, can transport and give insight into What It’s Like, especially in a world where photography and audio recording are relatively new technologies. The hitch is that there are still limitations to the art. The camera always lies, so even as we grasp toward understanding, it’s easy to be misled when it comes to experiences we have no personal […]

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Back in May, the illustrious Matt Patches put together a list so honest, so compelling, so original, that I had absolutely no choice but to copy it almost totally wholesale to craft my own version. Patches’s list was comprised of eight films his previous girlfriends had forced him to watch that made him who he is today (the list was, of course, titled “8 Movies My Past Girlfriends Forced Me to Watch That Made Me Who I Am Today” because we here at FSR are nothing if we are not succinct). The list, while interesting on a purely cinematic basis, also said something surprisingly deep about the nature of relationships themselves – mainly when it comes to the all-important element of compromise. Patches, a gentleman and a scholar, found some compelling honesty in his consistently sweet tales of cinematic (and romantic) discovery. My list starts off with a film that made me realize my first boyfriend was possibly also interested in other men. That’s just the sort of list this is. Here are seven movies that seven different suitors all “forced” me to watch at different points in my (admittedly still young) cinematic life. More than any individual lesson each film taught me, together the list forms one giant reminder of what I love best about going to the movies – endless possibility. Take a peek at my list after the break, and then feel free to pipe in with any films that someone made you watch that ultimately changed your […]

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We’re spending all week celebrating war movies. Today we learn what happens when a group of men who have been marginalized by their country fight for it.

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