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June 23, 2013 3:34 PM   Subscribe

The Bling Ring, Sofia Coppola's fifth feature film, went into wide release this week. Adapted from Nancy Jo Sales's article "The Subject Wore Loboutins" (excerpt) and the reality TV series Pretty Wild, has attracted some controversy on its release.

Coppola has been accused of "whitewashing" the film by not including a character based on Diana Tamayo, the undocumented Mexican member of "the burglar bunch". Additionally, the casting of a multi-racial actress as the Rachel Lee character has come under some criticism.

This isn't the first time Coppola has been accused of racism. Her Oscar-winning sophomore outing Lost in Translation received some harsh reviews for its depiction of Japanese characters.
posted by pxe2000 (66 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
So she decided to cast the stupid, shallow, much-mocked (in the movie) burglars as white, and that's getting her accused of racism? Yes, I'm sure that if she'd cast one of these dummies as Hispanic, that wouldn't get anyone mad.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 4:01 PM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you read one link read the Vanity Fair peice - I'm really interested in seeing how the movie turns out, as the actual real life story is nuts.
posted by Artw at 4:01 PM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think the complaint is that she cast non-white characters as white, TFB, but that she completely eliminated the one Hispanic character. Ok, people are complaining that she cast an only partially Asian actress in the role of the Asian character too. But you see what I mean. That's a legitimate complaint.

But taking issue with Emma Watson being the face of the movie instead of the part-asian actress even though her role isn't as large? Yeah, welcome to star power. Who is going to sell more tickets? Emma Watson dancing sexy and licking her lips or an actress nobody has ever heard of before? SPOILER ALERT: it's Emma Watson dancing sexy.
posted by Justinian at 4:06 PM on June 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


I saw the movie last night. It is thoroughly superficial, but entertaining.

I'm not sure i buy the quarter-Asian outrage. What fraction makes you a "real" Asian? 2/3? 6/18ths? If you're 1/2 but good at fractions?
posted by cacofonie at 4:06 PM on June 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


It is thoroughly superficial, but entertaining

I find Sophia Coppola's shallowness to be utterly mesmerizing. The glossy surface has such depth. I'm not trying to flip or wry here, everything is exactly what it's seen to be and an obsession with appearance or seeming isn't masking some larger truth, it is the truth. If there was a stronger sense of Irony ( historical, tragic irony that is) it might almost be Wildeian...but I aren't seen this latest one yet so grain of salt.
posted by The Whelk at 4:14 PM on June 23, 2013 [17 favorites]


If you can pull two-thirds Asian I will be impressed.

Also 6/18 is 1/3. I am good at fractions.
posted by maryr at 4:14 PM on June 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


The Rachel Lee outage is total nonsense. The complaint is that the actress is not Asian *enough*? Seriously?

That said the movie is terrible, so carry on.
posted by eugenen at 4:15 PM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I read that as The Bling Ring Sofa, Coppola's....
made even less sense that way
posted by Confess, Fletch at 4:34 PM on June 23, 2013


So she decided to cast the stupid, shallow, much-mocked (in the movie) burglars as white, and that's getting her accused of racism? Yes, I'm sure that if she'd cast one of these dummies as Hispanic, that wouldn't get anyone mad.

Hollywood is notorious for pretty much only casting Hispanic women as maids. By casting a Hispanic woman to play the actual Hispanic woman in the gang, it is sending a message that Hispanic women can be something different than maids. Yes, that "something different" is stupid and shallow. But people, no matter their race, can be stupid and shallow. True diversity in Hollywood is when you see non-white characters cast in all roles--not just "ethnic" ones, not just stereotypical ones, not just token heroic ones, but as the henchman, as the love interest, as the action hero, as the sidekick, as the sadist, as the goofy friend, as the tormented playboy, as all of the "good" and "bad" parts because producers recognize that race has no bearing on whether or not people are appropriate parts because race has no bearing on whether somebody is capable of expressing the human condition.
posted by schroedinger at 4:49 PM on June 23, 2013 [16 favorites]


If you can pull two-thirds Asian I will be impressed.

Requires incest.
posted by Leon at 4:51 PM on June 23, 2013


I see myself being like an Angelina Jolie,” she said, “but even stronger, pushing even harder for the universe and for peace and for the health of our planet.” She was sounding almost like a real celebrity. “God didn’t give me these talents and looks to just sit around being a model or being famous.

What a delightful combination of vapidity and arrogance.
posted by elizardbits at 4:52 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I find Sophia Coppola's shallowness to be utterly mesmerizing.

See, i wanted to like Lost in Translation, but all i could get out of it was "I'm privileged enough to be spending all this time in an awesome foreign country, while my SO who brought me here is working, and i'm sooo bored." It was pretty and vapid to me.

Speaking of the Bling Ring, the people the movie is based on are just the worst. I've watched parts of that horrible Pretty Wild show (mostly because seeing clips on the Soup, and wondering if it was really that bad, it was), and then there was an episode of Dateline the other night that focused on them, and most of it was "We didn't really do it! Even though we plead guilty!" and that stupid mom in denial. They got slaps on the wrist, blamed it on the people they broke into (If they didn't want us to rob them why did they make it so easy?), and are now being given more fame for this. I love Emma Watson, but this looks terrible, not even getting into any of the racial issues.
posted by usagizero at 5:02 PM on June 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


"The Bling Ring": An Artful, Fun Examination of Why Hating America Is Often Completely Justified
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:04 PM on June 23, 2013


So she decided to cast the stupid, shallow, much-mocked (in the movie) burglars as white, and that's getting her accused of racism?

Try thinking about the role, not about the character.

No matter how likable/un-likable the character is, would you, if you were an actor, want to get a starring role in Sophia Coppola's movie but think it unlikely because she seems not to have characters of your ethnicity? [I have no idea if Coppola actually does that, but that's how I understand the charge.]
posted by benito.strauss at 5:04 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Slaves to the Lifestyle: The Bling Ring, Kanye West, and Celebrity Consumption
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:05 PM on June 23, 2013


True diversity in Hollywood is when you see non-white characters cast in all roles--not just "ethnic" ones, not just stereotypical ones, not just token heroic ones...

My neighbor was telling me about how he used to be pretty racist, then he saw some movie where a black actor was cast as a hacker, and it blew his mind-- it was like someone shoved a rainbow up his ass and now my neighbor is totally inclusive and shit.

But seriously, why is anyone keeping a movie-role race scorecard? Who cares what brand the opium is? Social problems aren't caused by movie studios, and they aren't fixed by movie studios. If you've enlisted in the culture wars, and you want entertainment to conform to your ideals but it doesn't, don't part with your money.

I say that to conservatives, so I should be consistent and say it to everyone.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:12 PM on June 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


It also sucks because "all white" is not what Southern California is all about. How can we get a real feeling for who these kids are if we only vaguely represent the world they live in?
posted by Brocktoon at 5:19 PM on June 23, 2013


Pretty Wild is now available streaming on Netflix.
posted by SarahElizaP at 5:22 PM on June 23, 2013


Hollywood is notorious for pretty much only casting Hispanic women as maids.

Salma Hayek, Sofia Vergara, Paz de la Huerta, Alexis Bledel, Jordana Brewster, Aubrey Plaza, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, Penelope Cruz...

Oh wait, Paz Vega actually played a maid in Spanglish, but I don't think that counts here.

Look, if Hollywood has a bias, it's attractiveness first, and talent second (which is why Sofia Coppola is a director, not an actor). It's not race. Not for women, at least. The real whitewashing happens to the dudes, not the women.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:23 PM on June 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


I hadn't really thought about it before, CPB, but you may be right. If you're an actor in Hollywood you can be old or plain looking but you better not be asian or hispanic. If you're an actress you can be asian or hispanic but you better not be old or plain looking...
posted by Justinian at 5:31 PM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


But Sofia Coppola was a terrible actor...
posted by Brocktoon at 5:39 PM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you skipped over the Pretty Wild youtube link in the post, I encourage you to reconsider because it is AMAZING.
posted by sonmi at 5:49 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I liked the movie quite a bit. This is the first of Sofia Coppela's movies that I thought she actually had a real critique of her subject. Like her other movies, The Bling Ring was a character piece at heart, but this is the first time I felt like the subtext was "Can you believe this shit?" It was waaaay better and more self-aware than the ugly cluster fuck that is Marine Antoinette. Also fascinating was the fact that none of the characters except the guy seemed to be able to conceive of the fact that they might get caught and punished, even though they were pefectly aware that they were committing crimes. This was reinforced by the way the movie reveals in the very first frames that the characters would be caught and put on trial.

I think I liked Spring Breakers better, but The Bling Ring is my second-favorite of Sofia's movies after Lost In Translation.
posted by vibrotronica at 5:52 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like how the guys real problem in the "not asian enough" complaint is that the actress didn’t look asian enough for him.

I mean, we all know what they look right, right? And that wasn’t it. How am I supposed to watch a movie with actors of ambiguous ethnicity? Who’s the lazy one, the bad driver, the terrorist? It’s too confusing.
posted by bongo_x at 5:54 PM on June 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


the ugly cluster fuck that is Marine Antoinette.

Is this a porn thing?
posted by bongo_x at 5:55 PM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Salma Hayek, Sofia Vergara, Paz de la Huerta, Alexis Bledel, Jordana Brewster, Aubrey Plaza, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, Penelope Cruz...

Oh wait, Paz Vega actually played a maid in Spanglish, but I don't think that counts here.


Jennifer Lopez played a maid too. In Maid in Manhatan. There were comments made at the time about how the hispanic woman winds up playing a maid even when she's the star.
posted by baf at 6:05 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The discussion on race in casting is interesting (and more the point of this FPP, sure), but I thought this quote from the Vanity Fair article was amazing:
“Were teenagers too enthralled by stars?” asked The New York Times. “They did it for the money. This was their job,” said Officer Goodkin, who took over the case from detectives when Prugo’s lawyer approached him with his client’s confession. But Goodkin said he was also struck by the “stalkerish” aspect of the crimes. “It may be a stretch, but is wanting to wear somebody’s clothes that different from wanting to wrap yourself up in their skin, like that guy in The Silence of the Lambs?”
Well officer, now that you mention it...yes. Yes those are different things.
posted by ethand at 6:15 PM on June 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


Well, what kind of lotion does Justin Bieber use?
posted by Brocktoon at 6:17 PM on June 23, 2013


the ugly cluster fuck that is Marine Antoinette.

This is now the movie I most want to see of all possible movies.

Listen up maggots. Now that you have joined my beloved Corps, your ass belongs to me. Is that clear, private Antoinette?
SIR, YES SIR!
Bullshit. I didn't hear you. Where do you come from, private Antoinette?
SIR, HOFBURG PALACE, VIENNA SIR!
Well la-de-fuckin'-da, private Antoinette. Are you some kind of goddamn princess, private Antoinette?
SIR, NOW THAT YOU BRING IT UP I AM TECHNICALLY AN ARCHDUTCHESS OF AUSTRIA SIR!
Don't smart off to me, private Princess, or so help me God I will personally detach your head from your shoulders. This is Perris Island, not fucking Versailles, and I will nor put up with your royal horseshit. Now drop and give me 20 and I may let you eat MREs.
SIR, YES SIR!
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 6:25 PM on June 23, 2013 [35 favorites]


I'm not sure i buy the quarter-Asian outrage. What fraction makes you a "real" Asian? 2/3? 6/18ths? If you're 1/2 but good at fractions?
posted by cacofonie at 4:06 PM on June 23 [4 favorites +] [!]



Next time there's an Asian-American racebending kerfuffle like this, I want to see what happens if the director casts a Turk/Siberian Yupik /Javanese (etc.) instead as a response

(btw, note the actress in questin cast in the Bling movie role is quarter-Korean (the real life person is Korean-American); so not just any old quarter-Asian )
posted by Bwithh at 6:27 PM on June 23, 2013


the ugly cluster fuck that is Marine Antoinette.

Is this a porn thing?


I wish!
posted by vibrotronica at 7:19 PM on June 23, 2013


Look, if Hollywood has a bias, it's attractiveness first, and talent second (which is why Sofia Coppola is a director, not an actor). It's not race. Not for women, at least. The real whitewashing happens to the dudes, not the women.

No, the idea that race is somehow separate from societal standards of attractiveness is completely and utterly wrong. One of the most basic features of racism is the social phenomenon of valorizing the dominant race's physical features and setting them as standards of beauty, either at the exclusion of or in contrast to the features of the minority. In mainstream American media, and Western media in general, European features are prized above those of other races. (a quick example.)

I haven't seen the movie, and I don't mean this as a slight, but I'm going to take a guess and say that her role is not one that required the most rare and elite acting skills. However, this film, like all of Copolla's films, is very closely designed to achieve a deliberate aesthetic. Also, and perhaps most importantly, Hollywood, as a driving force in a white-dominated media landscape, is known for whitewashing major roles. So I would posit that the film did not just happen to pick Katie Chang from a pool of mono- and multi-racial Asian girls. Instead, I would posit that Katie Chang was cast as Rachael Lee not just because she is beautiful and talented, like countless others, but because she's beautiful and talented and her appearance upholds white standards of beauty while still being at least partially Asian.

(I mean, could you imagine a major Hollywood film casting someone who is half Black and half Asian to portray an Asian girl? Of course not. The only reason why this happens with actors who are part white is because "white" is considered to be neutral, the standard. Whiteness is invisible--but any other race has to justify its existence.)

In short, by using an actor that is 3/4 white to portray Rachel Lee--a girl who is unambiguously Asian--The Bling Ring is reifying white, Western standards of beauty. There are many, many attractive and gifted young female Asian actors who are clearly Asian. But the film cast Katie Chang.

And if it's true that women aren't whitewashed as often as men (something I personally doubt), that's probably because women aren't cast as the leading role nearly as often as men are. Hollywood can be ok about diversifying the supporting actors, but it's the lead that is inevitably white.
posted by myelin sheath at 7:27 PM on June 23, 2013 [17 favorites]


Read that last linked article in the post, talk about lost in translation.
posted by dbiedny at 8:09 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean, could you imagine a major Hollywood film casting someone who is half Black and half Asian to portray an Asian girl?

Welllll, but a lot of that is because many or most of those actresses would be viewed as "black" rather than as "asian" in the USA, in the same way that Barack Obama is seen as black even though he is half black and half white. You could never really cast Barack Obama as a white guy in the USA.

For example, Kima in Metafilter Favorite The Wire is played by Sonja Sohn who is half-Asian and half-Black. But she always plays African-American characters, not Asian characters. When an American audience sees Sonja Sohn up on screen they just wouldn't read her character as Asian.

Not that I disagree with you that Katie Chang's appearance was likely a big factor in her casting. Just that race is complicated by history and how audiences would perceive the actors and actresses.

In conclusion, America is a land of contrasts.
posted by Justinian at 8:10 PM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


SIR, YES SIR!

/Age of Consent by New Order plays over training montage.
posted by Artw at 8:15 PM on June 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


A very interesting, open and thoughtful interview with Alexis Neier:

Alexis Neier's Pretty Wild Road To Recovery. (Vice.com)
posted by Auden at 8:17 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Bling Ring kids aren't from LA proper, they're from Calabasas. Which according to the 2010 Census is 83.9% white.

Just sayin'.
posted by MiaWallace at 8:17 PM on June 23, 2013


My neighbor was telling me about how he used to be pretty racist, then he saw some movie where a black actor was cast as a hacker

WAS IT THEO FROM DIE HARD
posted by Coatlicue at 8:23 PM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


But don't you see the ridiculousness of arguing over whether some LOOKS Asian or enough?

Her name is Katie Chang, for chrissake, its not like its Gweneth Paltrow in yellowface or whatever.
posted by cacofonie at 9:13 PM on June 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


But seriously, why is anyone keeping a movie-role race scorecard?

Because of the long history of racism in reality and film. As a black I definitly take notice of non stereotypical roles for any minority or women.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:17 PM on June 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


I had to watch that trailer several times before I noticed there was an asian person in it. Seriously, she could pass for white. Looking at her IMDB the only other credit she has is a film in which she plays a character named Ellen Reeves. Is this problematic? Yeah, kinda.
posted by cazoo at 9:41 PM on June 23, 2013


Marine Antoinette

Let them eat Kelp!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:59 PM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


The real whitewashing happens to the dudes, not the women.

Just look at what they did to Johnny Depp in the Lone Ranger!
posted by srboisvert at 10:01 PM on June 23, 2013


Marie Antoinette is a misunderstood masterpiece. I like to think of it as a Malick homage. Ebert interpreted it as a feminist statement, writing "This is Sofia Coppola's third film centering on the loneliness of being female and surrounded by a world that knows how to use you but not how to value and understand you."
posted by mr_roboto at 10:04 PM on June 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


ugh, thank you myelin sheath for eloquently explaining why the blockheaded and depressing in-thread cavalcade of denial that anything systemic could possibly exist in the world is so off the mark.
posted by threeants at 10:07 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Her name is Katie Chang, for chrissake, its not like its Gweneth Paltrow in yellowface or whatever.

So as long as someone in your paternal lineage (grandfather in her case) is of Asian decent, it's all good?
posted by thecjm at 10:38 PM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Did you guys just get off the boat?! It's called the one drop rule.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:19 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Welllll, but a lot of that is because many or most of those actresses would be viewed as "black" rather than as "asian" in the USA, in the same way that Barack Obama is seen as black even though he is half black and half white. You could never really cast Barack Obama as a white guy in the USA.

But that's the point. White is the neutral. If you cast a half-Black, half-Asian actress, people would say she looked Black, she can't play an Asian character. But if you cast a three-quarters white, quarter-Asian actress, here is the response (from this thread!):

But don't you see the ridiculousness of arguing over whether some LOOKS Asian or enough? Her name is Katie Chang, for chrissake, its not like its Gweneth Paltrow in yellowface or whatever.

If she's mostly white but has some Asian, then she's "Asian enough". You couldn't say the same for someone who was Blasian, and certainly wouldn't be able to make that argument for someone who was quarter-Asian, three-quarters Black.



-----

My neighbor was telling me about how he used to be pretty racist, then he saw some movie where a black actor was cast as a hacker

WAS IT THEO FROM DIE HARD

This is a bit of a derail, but has anyone else noticed in the 80s there were a lot more blockbuster-type movies that directly addressed racial issues or whose characters offered challenges to racial stereotypes? Theo from Die Hard, Dillon from Predator, the mere existence of Trading Places and Coming to America . . . Meanwhile, Will Smith is the only Black actor I can think of who regularly gets normal roles that aren't somehow based on his race.
posted by schroedinger at 11:39 PM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


schroedinger, I totally agree with you---it would be a better film if they'd cast a Hispanic actor, and a more inclusive Hollywood with more actors of color in non-stereotypical roles. Hollywood's need to cast white leads has killed so, so many based-on-real-life movies. But if Coppola had made a movie about a gang of thieves in California, and one had been cast Hispanic, progressive media outlets would be scanning the movie frame by frame to find anything that indicated bias against Hispanics. Which would suck for everyone.

This is part of how progressive media outlets become part of the problem in the whitewashing of Hollywood. When casting a role, producers know that casting an actor of color will bring them a level of scrutiny that they won't have to put up with if they cast white. Now if *everyone* started opening up their casting at once, that would change, but then you're in first-mover land and Hollywood producers *hate* going first.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 12:13 AM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


But... one of the actual thieves was Hispanic. Surely they couldn't be accused of bias against Hispanics for including a Hispanic character when one of the real-life counterparts was a Hispanic person here illegally?
posted by Justinian at 1:05 AM on June 24, 2013


Meanwhile, Will Smith is the only Black actor I can think of who regularly gets normal roles that aren't somehow based on his race.

Denzel Washington
Don Cheadle
Morgan Freeman
Halle Berry
Cuba Gooding Jr
Jada Pinckett Smith
Whoopi Goldberg
Avery Brooks
Terence Howard

And that's just first thing upon waking up, off the top of my head.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:27 AM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ronald Reagan noted that in political speeches, it was a bad idea to have more than three ideas. It just confuses people.

Hollywood doesn't generally get even that high. So having an illegal Mexican hanging with a bunch of Anglo 90210ers is maybe one Wait-What? concept too many.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:31 AM on June 24, 2013


Marie Antoinette is a misunderstood masterpiece. I like to think of it as a Malick homage. Ebert interpreted it as a feminist statement, writing "This is Sofia Coppola's third film centering on the loneliness of being female and surrounded by a world that knows how to use you but not how to value and understand you."

I agree, I find MA to be a throughly fascinating look at what it's like to be famous and important and cosseted when you've done nothing to warrant this besides being born ( or having all your sisters die or get smallpox scars and thus you become the Queen by default.)
posted by The Whelk at 6:10 AM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Denzel Washington
Don Cheadle
Morgan Freeman
Halle Berry
Cuba Gooding Jr
Jada Pinckett Smith
Whoopi Goldberg
Avery Brooks
Terence Howard


OK yeah I stand corrected

Though--my quibble is most of those actors and actresses regularly get roles that explicitly have points where parts are written such that their Blackness is exploited for either intimidation or laughs. Also, I don't think Morgan Freeman, Hollywood's go-to Magical Negro, gets to be on the list of actors who are offered non-stereotypical roles on a regular basis.

Also also, I think it is telling that Halle Berry's Academy Award, the first Academy Award for a Black actress, was given for playing a single mother whose husband is on death row.

I guess I'm envisioning the essentially race-neutral roles that Will Smith plays, like in "I Am Legend" or more recently that M. Night Shamalayadingdong movie about Scientology. Those kinds of roles frequently go to white actors.
posted by schroedinger at 7:02 AM on June 24, 2013


Though--my quibble is most of those actors and actresses regularly get roles that explicitly have points where parts are written such that their Blackness is exploited for either intimidation or laughs.

That's pretty vague comment, what with the most and regularly. You'd have to do more specific look at their roles to definitely say. But my general sense of all the actors I mentioned is that they're respected talents with a wide range across different types of roles.

Also, I don't think Morgan Freeman, Hollywood's go-to Magical Negro, gets to be on the list of actors who are offered non-stereotypical roles on a regular basis.

Here is Freeman's filmography and at first glance, I'd say most of recent roles are far from Magical Negro. As an actor, he has enough presence that's he's simply Magical.

His last few films has him playing a myth buster in Now You See Me, a resistance leader of the future in Oblivion, the business manager and President of major fortune 500 company in The Dark Knight movies, a famous novelist in The Magic of Belle Isle, a skilled assassin in RED and doctor in that damn dolphin movie I want to forget. These roles are pretty far from the trope you site.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:39 AM on June 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I find Sophia Coppola's shallowness to be utterly mesmerizing. The glossy surface has such depth. I'm not trying to flip or wry here, everything is exactly what it's seen to be and an obsession with appearance or seeming isn't masking some larger truth, it is the truth. If there was a stronger sense of Irony ( historical, tragic irony that is) it might almost be Wildeian...but I aren't seen this latest one yet so grain of salt.
posted by The Whelk at 7:14 PM on June 23 [13 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Soo true and well said. I too am riveted by her movies, waiting for some truths or insights that never come. I can't figure out if she's remote and disconnected and doing it on purpose, or it's a symptom or generational gap, or she's just deeply shallow.

At any rate, it's a stylish disconnect. I saw Bling Ring this weekend with my twenty-something daughters and we all kind of loved it while watching it, but were pretty meh, two hours and three glasses of wine later.
posted by thinkpiece at 7:49 AM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm envisioning the essentially race-neutral roles that Will Smith plays, like in "I Am Legend" or more recently that M. Night Shamalayadingdong movie about Scientology. Those kinds of roles frequently go to white actors.

Not to call you out, but making fun of an Indian name in a comment ostensibly decrying racism seems like a less than stellar idea. Even if his movies have started sucking.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:40 AM on June 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


yea seriously people need to cut that the heck out.
posted by sweetkid at 10:57 AM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the colorlines article: "A National Hispanic Media Coalition study found that non-Latinos who have positive opinions about Latinos have less favorable opinions when exposed to negative entertainment or news narratives."

What are they complaining about, again?
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 10:59 AM on June 24, 2013


They should have called it the "Bring Ring."
posted by ChuckRamone at 12:29 PM on June 24, 2013


I hated Marie Antoinette deeply and furiously, until the very end when I realized that the entire point of the movie was to make the audience completely empathize with the mob rising up to destroy the aristocracy. Marie and her cohort of vile, empty leeches absolutely needed to be put to the block and shortened by a head apiece, and this movie was a propaganda piece to make the filmgoers understand just WHY it was so vitally necessary.

That's the only explanation I will accept for the film. The thought that that *wasn't* the complete and total plan of the filmmakers involved is completely and utterly incomprehensible.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:34 PM on June 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, I don't think Morgan Freeman, Hollywood's go-to Magical Negro, gets to be on the list of actors who are offered non-stereotypical roles on a regular basis.

Ouch. That link clanked when I read it. Even before mouseover I knew it would point to Wikipedia. You do realise that this insistive reductiveness enforces its own kind of badness? And let's not forget that his number one role of all time was written for a redheaded Irish guy.
posted by forgetful snow at 2:33 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if casting Rachel Lee matters. Emma Watson is there to legitimize the movie, because nobody knows the other actors. They want ppl to go see Hermione.

Speaking for myself, I loathe seeing other South Asians cast in criminal roles. There's a new show on ABC family featuring a South Asian actor who plays a sociopath. I'm pretty sure they made him South Asian because someone was jealous of Indians sweeping all the spelling bees, geography bees, and science fairs while remaining utterly adorable as well as cool and good natured in real life.

Yeah, so I prefer positive portrayals of my ppl since we live in a country where there are people who get all their info about non-whites from movies and think we eat monkey brains (damn you, Indiana Jones). Maybe other minority groups feel differently, and no doubt minority actors would prefer a new acting gig.
posted by discopolo at 5:57 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not a wide enough release for me, but I'll be looking forward to the DVD. I loved Marie Antoinette and am currently re-watching thanks to being validated upthread by Roger Ebert and others. I treat shallow materialism in Sofia Coppola films the same as Catholicism in her predecessors'—there's no reference subtle enough to not be interpreted as a direct comment. The biggest difference is that recognizing and riffing on Christ in art criticism has one hell of a head start.
posted by Lorin at 7:17 PM on June 24, 2013


But seriously, why is anyone keeping a movie-role race scorecard? Who cares what brand the opium is? Social problems aren't caused by movie studios, and they aren't fixed by movie studios. If you've enlisted in the culture wars, and you want entertainment to conform to your ideals but it doesn't, don't part with your money.

What are they complaining about, again?

Congrats to the two co-winners of the Not Getting It award!
posted by kmz at 4:35 AM on June 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Saw it at the weekend - I actually kind of enjoyed it, it certainly isn't as torturous to watch as Antoinette.
posted by Artw at 3:43 PM on July 8, 2013


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