Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Problem With Higher Standards

Sometimes I miss being ignorant of both my privilege and my oppression.

I went to see two movies this summer: Pacific Rim and Two Guns. I enjoyed both of them and went to see Pacific Rim two more times after I first watched it. And despite liking both movies, I couldn't help feeling disappointed. Maybe disappointed is too strong a word; perhaps 'dissatisfied' would be more accurate.

Both have lead characters who are POC (though none of them are a sole lead; they all share the spotlight with white dudes). Pacific Rim also has a female character as an action protagonist. She gets her own narrative arc that is about her development, rather than supporting the development of a male character.

Spoilers below.

Another friend wanted to see Two Guns after we'd already watched it once. And I just... I knew I wasn't going to enjoy it a second time. The first time through, the clever dialogue and the chemistry between Denzel and Marky Mark was enough to get me past the painfully hackneyed racial and gender tropes: a Mexican drug lord who is in cahoots with the CIA! domestics and thugs! and of course there's one female character who is of any significance and what happens? she gets fridged.


And I was just so bummed about it, because like... I want to be able to spend time with this friend, but I feel like no matter what I do, I'm excluded. Either I tag along and suffer through a movie that I'm not happy about and keep my mouth shut so everyone else can have fun, or I stay home by myself while everyone else has fun.

I'm tentatively hopeful about Saving Mr. Banks, though.

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