Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

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dda1996a
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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#76 Post by dda1996a » Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:38 am

On the other hand, a lot of people I know who are not film savvy are wild about this, so I guess this knew it's target audience and hit it right for them

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hearthesilence
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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#77 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:08 am

dda1996a wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:38 am
On the other hand, a lot of people I know who are not film savvy are wild about this, so I guess this knew it's target audience and hit it right for them
Two friends of mine who genuinely liked it told me (close to exact words) "yeah, I know it's a white savior story, but the performances justify the movie." That's all I heard from them though because we didn't discuss the movie further.

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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#78 Post by dda1996a » Fri Mar 29, 2019 12:31 pm

I didn't even bother trying to go there. A friend of mine did exclaim I was crazy for calling this film racist though

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knives
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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#79 Post by knives » Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:29 pm

As the Internet is wont to do the reaction to this now seems extremely outsized and over simplified now that I've seen the movie. This isn't the second coming of Miss Daisy, but rather an enjoyable buddy comedy elevated by one performance to occasional greatness. The main rhetorical device Farrelly uses I've only seen elsewhere in Hurry Sundown, a better movie for the curious, wherein the black characters even extras are painted as humans and given some complexity while the white characters are the lowest stereotypes that any film could muster without becoming a hate crime. Mortensen especially as the comic relief plays into stereotypes so much that the film becomes uncomfortable at moments. As a comedy I feel that this device ultimately succeeds though because of Ali.

The Dr. Shirley we get here is a very complex character who as played by Ali is a guarded, intelligent man who understands the importance of his position, but doesn't know how to use it especially as he is so separated from black culture. The script only makes this explicit once in a wonderfully over the top moment by Ali near the end, but the performance seems to hinge on that dialogue allowing the audience to come to that conclusion well performance the script declares it. For example there's a lovely moment of pure silence where Ali looks at a bunch of cotton pickers. It's clear because of the performance that he is trying to imbue them with humanity, but there's also a bit of class prejudice he's built up that makes it hard for him to see them as connected to himself in any way. In short what Ali does is that rare thing in a comedy by having the straight man be the more interesting character.

To tackle one last critique against the film, which I am liking more and more as I think on it, this isn't a story of curing racism. Mortensen is still plainly racist by the end of the film, but his internal calculus has changed to be less racist which I feel is an important distinction. Later in the film the movie offers moments where he is still an ignorant goober or actively reacting to racist feelings such as the cop punching scene. This is most blatant with his family at the end of the film. They are still racist, but because Mortensen respects Ali they try their best as well at least in the moment because a fight isn't worth it. That I think is the film's most salient point on race which is that racism is in part a power struggle. If like the southerners you have the power to declare a sundown town there is no reason to calculate kindness in your interactions with gay or black people. If you're working for such a person though you definitely need to add that to your calculations.

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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#80 Post by dda1996a » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:03 pm

I didn't think this was worst film of all time (and is still better than Daisy, Crash, and Bohemian Rhapsody) but in no world is this a good film. The awful script, the understanding of a five year old regarding racism. And I though both actors way overplayed their parts to cliche. And that shot of the cotton pickers was just, awful. I can see where your reading of the film is coming from, and I'd have liked Dr. Shirley's internal struggle to get a lot more focus. But the film positions Mortensen as the guy who can help Shirley understand the lower class, which is positioned as largely Shirley not knowing "regular" black culture, which I found just offensive. And that ending is just.... So no this isn't the worst film of last year, but a good one it ain't.

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knives
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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#81 Post by knives » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:38 pm

In my world it is a good one so...
Also the film goes out of its way to say that Mortensen doesn't understand black culture better. He certainly thinks so, but Ali is given a monologue to refute that.

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bearcuborg
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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#82 Post by bearcuborg » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:46 pm

Good posts knives, some of the few good ones in this thread.

dda1996a
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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#83 Post by dda1996a » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:50 pm

knives wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:38 pm
In my world it is a good one so...
Also the film goes out of its way to say that Mortensen doesn't understand black culture better. He certainly thinks so, but Ali is given a monologue to refute that.
I valued your criticism so I hope it didn't come out as if I was distasteful. I can't remember the line but many scenes show Mortensen teaching Ali how to enjoy black culture re: music and food. My main issue with the film was how cliched it was, way worse than how it portrayed and caricatured both.

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knives
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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#84 Post by knives » Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:24 pm

There weee many scenes of him teaching Ali what he thinks of as black culture, but Ali notes that it is not his black culture. This is evident, for example when Ali talks about growing up in Florida. The bar scene likewise shows this with all of Ali's comments being shown as true while none of Mortensen's such as the food pop up. It is important that Ali plays Chopin and not Little Richard.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#85 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:38 pm

I finally managed to bring myself to watch this due to the obligatory rule many members here seem to share, and while I will admit it wasn't excruciating there were plenty of problematic elements to be found. I agree with knives' reading that Shirley is actually a complex character (the cotton-picking silence scene may be the film's best) and reject that white men writing and directing the scene causes it or any other scene to lose its power. Rather, what causes this to lost its power is the common boomer's comprehension of racism that acknowledges the complexity of the issue but still gently calls for assimilation under the umbrella of humanity. This is a film made by people who did not grow up learning about microaggressions and passive rug-sweeping by dominant groups in school, and they shouldn't be faulted for it, but that doesn't mean the film is free from problems. This is partly shown in the ways in which the relationship becomes two-sided. I don't agree that only Shirley gives to Tony, but what Tony gives is troubling. He encourages Shirley to try fried chicken because sure it's a stereotype but just because you want to move away from this stereotype doesn't mean it's not a delicious food to all humans, so why not let go of the baggage and join the party? So when Shirley orders fried chicken as his personal favorite food later, he's not necessarily embracing the stereotype, but embracing the idea of this assimilation to humanness. Tony also cultures him to 'his people's' music, and there's perhaps the most cringing scene in the movie where Shirley breaks into a different kind of piano playing effortlessly in a dive bar, looking happy for the first time in the film and moving his body in similar energetic rhythms to other black musicians from the era, despite no knowledge of such loose vibes or behavioral practice. This effortless move over to the behavioral idiosyncrasies of black men in the 60s is problematic in itself, because it suggests that this is either in his blood, or else so easily translatable, and not something to be cultivated as was clearly the case in marginalized populations who fought over time to create their own culture and live and breathe in that culture on a daily basis to achieve that self-actualization against the grain of dominant cultures.

Tony also shows Shirley (for seemingly the first time) that despite his racism and narrow perspective, he is (and by extension white people are capable of) accepting of all people, especially homosexuals, because he's worked in clubs and "knows it's a complicated world." How easy it is for friendship to transcend bias. I can appreciate the picture that no person should be reduced to a caricature and how we are complicated enough not to be consistent in our own behaviors and beliefs, which is -despite my wording- an optimistic truth about the mysteries of human psychology. I think knives has a point that we are not meant to believe that Tony or his family are absolved of racism and don't think the film argues for this either, but I also don't think it cares about this, and instead does argue that regardless of this inherent racism Tony is the perfect portrait of a white guy who opens his door to a black guy and then closes the book. The last thing he teaches Shirley is the power of letting go and initiating amends (this could also be read as quite troubling) with his brother, and nonverbally urges him to forfeit his hangups to escape the loneliness and assimilate at the end into his family. Where the film is right is that perhaps this is the best Tony can do, as it would be more of a "white savior" act to force Shirley to take steps to entering into "his own" culture or coming to terms with various aspects of his identity any further, but it also seems to minimize the significance of the complexities of racism in an effort to boil down these and other reservations as details that obstruct the harmony that is possible from the only thing that matters: being a good-natured human. Not that people shouldn't be, but the message appears to be one of evening the playing field to humanity and blurring out the clear acknowledgements made throughout the film. Can't we all just get along, for god's sake? I'm being harsh looking at this through the lens of tackling racism, because that is what this film invites by being made in the first place and by implementing the 'arguments' it does throughout its script, but I don't disagree completely with the optimistic emotional fusion of the end result (and knives made some strong arguments) even if I do disagree with its own logic of how to get there.

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Toland's Mitchell
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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#86 Post by Toland's Mitchell » Sat Jan 04, 2020 4:27 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:38 pm
I finally managed to bring myself to watch this due to the obligatory rule many members here seem to share...
What obligatory rule is that?

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swo17
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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#87 Post by swo17 » Sat Jan 04, 2020 4:32 pm

Watching every Best Picture nominee. Personally I only follow more meaningful rules like "watch every movie recommended by domino or zedz" (or when he was posting here, HerrSchreck)

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#88 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Jan 04, 2020 6:03 pm

*winner for me- I usually do all nominees but I’ve cheated a couple times and there’s no way I’m going to see Bohemian Rhapsody.
swo17 wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 4:32 pm
Personally I only follow more meaningful rules like "watch every movie recommended by domino or zedz"
That’s a better rule and one I too follow subconsciously (well, until now) though I’d extend it to yourself and several others here as well

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swo17
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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#89 Post by swo17 » Sat Jan 04, 2020 6:09 pm

So what if I tell you Bohemian Rhapsody is a good movie?

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#90 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Jan 04, 2020 6:27 pm

I’d probably explode

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aox
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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#91 Post by aox » Sat Jan 04, 2020 7:08 pm

swo17 wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 6:09 pm
So what if I tell you Bohemian Rhapsody is a good movie?
If nothing else, it's an editing masterpiece.

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knives
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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#92 Post by knives » Sat Jan 04, 2020 8:14 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 6:27 pm
I’d probably explode
I liked it. This also reminds me that Dom seems to not have posted last year's nominees and I'm curious about his take on several of them.

As to the film this thread is about. I actually agree with your criticisms of its perspective, but if I'm willing to like movies with actually poisonous points of view (e.g. Paul Morrisey's Dracula) then one who I just disagree with the approach of I'm willing to give full merits to. I also don't think it is a specifically Boomer issue as pluralism by way of meritocracy is the founding American philosophy. After all America calls itself the melting pot (something I consider a genocidal perspective).

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#93 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Jan 04, 2020 8:37 pm

knives wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 8:14 pm
I also don't think it is a specifically Boomer issue as pluralism by way of meritocracy is the founding American philosophy. After all America calls itself the melting pot (something I consider a genocidal perspective).
I don’t think it’s a specifically boomer issue either but my point was that it rests in that mindset typical of some of the boomers who are attempting to think progressively, and are to a degree, but are limited by the lack of education that’s been more recently exponentially rolled out regarding how we understand and address racism especially from dominant groups. I don’t feel judgmental towards the filmmakers and think it’s well-intentioned (and would be lying if I said I wasn’t entertained at times) but it’s an interesting film to analyze under its layers of intent, and will likely be even moreso as a kind of historical document in winning BP at the time it did when looking back on its context in a few years. You bring up an important point that it’s bred and magnetized by that founding philosophy though, and how that and other covered perspectives have made a more public resurgence lately will undoubtably play into that analysis by way of context.

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knives
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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#94 Post by knives » Sat Jan 04, 2020 9:19 pm

I wouldn't phrase is as a lack of education. At most it's a case of a difference of perspectives. I also don't know if people who are literate in microaggressions are necessarily any better. They just have a different vocabulary from the past. The current left talking points frankly seem to be born out of an equal ignorance that Farrelly's perspective shows. While the granddaddies to these talking points often are mature and great (The New Jim Crow is as fabulous as everyone says) the way it's entered into the mainstream is watered down and manipulated to the advantage of urban white comfort and middle class needs (see the recent posts in the Gilliam thread). One example of this that strikes me as particularly egregious is how code switching has been taken as something unique to minorities when it's something, as the original literature talks about, everyone does.

To really get down the rabbit hole for a second I find this to be my biggest frustration with how the primary has been covered recently. Everyone is complaining about how the field used to be the most diverse ever and now it's a bunch of white guys. This ignores the intersectionality that supposedly 'educated' people care and know about now. Catholics are a minority that historically have been persecuted in America. We've had as many Catholic presidents as black and yet Biden is treated as if he were no different from George Washington.

Sorry for the rant, but that's something that's been bugging me. Back to your post though I agree that the film has many layers to it that from an anthropological perspective make its success fascinating.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#95 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:46 pm

knives wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 9:19 pm
I wouldn't phrase is as a lack of education. At most it's a case of a difference of perspectives. I also don't know if people who are literate in microaggressions are necessarily any better. They just have a different vocabulary from the past. The current left talking points frankly seem to be born out of an equal ignorance that Farrelly's perspective shows. While the granddaddies to these talking points often are mature and great (The New Jim Crow is as fabulous as everyone says) the way it's entered into the mainstream is watered down and manipulated to the advantage of urban white comfort and middle class needs (see the recent posts in the Gilliam thread). One example of this that strikes me as particularly egregious is how code switching has been taken as something unique to minorities when it's something, as the original literature talks about, everyone does.
I agree with everything here- my point about education was using the term loosely to how people in liberal communities, often white, are exposed to this zeitgeist of information which is often comparable to the dominant mentality of Hollywood culture I think. But as a social worker in such a bubble, who was educated (in a literal sense as well as the loose sociological one I meant) in such bubbles, I share your perspective on the ignorance (and in many ways narcissism) of the hard left, and I’ve long argued that this inability to take perspective mirrors their very arguments against the conservatives. Having said all that, I’ll maintain my stance that this film is problematic but not in a damning way where I’m wagging my finger or shaking my head, rather one that’s worth dissecting and calling a spade to open up peripheries of all sides to new perspectives, which I also think is a primary principle and even goal of many race relations networks and certainly what I learned about and was encouraged to do in my “diversity” classes. And yeah, the New Jim Crow is excellent.

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Toland's Mitchell
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Re: Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

#96 Post by Toland's Mitchell » Sun Jan 05, 2020 6:34 am

Toland's Mitchell wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 4:27 pm
What obligatory rule is that?
swo17 wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 4:32 pm
Watching every Best Picture nominee.
Eek. I definitely disagree with that rule. The Academy shouldn't dictate what we watch. I watch movies I'm interested in, and skip those I'm not regardless of award nominations. I haven't seen Bohemian Rhapsody and you couldn't pay me to watch it (well, maybe for a thousand bucks).
swo17 wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 4:32 pm
Personally I only follow more meaningful rules like "watch every movie recommended by domino or zedz" (or when he was posting here, HerrSchreck)
Agreed. Personal recommendations are where it's at.

As for Green Book, I saw it shortly after it came out and I mostly enjoyed it. However, I never viewed it as anything more than a feel-good holiday comedy with a well-meaning but shallow message on race. But then all the awards crap came in and ruined it.

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