Episode 147: A Majority of One (1961)

Welcome, welcome to a brand spanking new series (no, no, this isn’t a series about BDSM; the only one getting spanked around here is Bumpy and that’s with a two by four) which we’re calling “Hooray for White People! Yay! They’re The Best! Who Needs Anyone Else?” Man, that’d generate some interesting comments, wouldn’t it? In all seriousness (or as much seriousness as we get to around here), our new series is called “Whitewashing” and we’re dealing with one of the more uncomfortable topics we’ve tackled: the long, embarrassing, and continuing-to-this-day bad habit that Hollywood has of having white people play people of color, often through the use of truly cringe-worth makeup, bad speech imitations, and more.  There’s another particularly insidious variant of whitewashing as well, where stories with characters of rich and varied racial backgrounds are rewritten so that the characters become white.  We’ll be dealing with this and other types in the weeks to come, starting with a particularly uncomfortable one for me personally, as I loved this movie growing up: 1961’s “A Majority of One.” Starring Rosalind Russell as a Brooklyn-based Russian Jewish immigrant (because, sure) and Alec Guinness as . . . a Japanese businessman.  Yup. Not kidding.  Clench your teeth, hold your nose and dive right in with us, won’t you?

Poll question: do you have a favorite location for films to take place? Some country, some city? What place would you like to see featured in films more often?

George Floyd Memorial Fund:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd

ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/

Black Lives Matter: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019

Southern Poverty Law Center: https://donate.splcenter.org/

Episode 146: Pollock (2000)

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the episodes of “Semi-Real People” and this last grain is “Pollock.”  Note that this movie is NOT about the tasty fish, as many of us, I mean, many of you might think but rather about the turbulent later life of one of the most famous, if not the most famous, American painters, Jackson Pollock (note: not only are no fish involved but this was NOT the original name of the Jackson Five.  I’m sure some of me, I mean, some of you were very confused by this. Happy to clear that up).  Jackson Pollock, the man who redefined surrealism and gave rise to the comment heard in many an art gallery: “Huh. My kid could just drip paint on a canvas like that.” Spoiler alert: no, they really couldn’t.  Tortured by mental illness, alcoholism, and his desperate need for acceptance of his work, Jackson Pollock may not make for the cheeriest of subjects but he’s certainly not boring.  Give a listen and learn the answer to the ancient question: how many surrealists does it take to change a lightbulb? Answer: two. One to hold the giraffe and the other to fill the bathtub with brightly colored machine parts.  Thank you! I’ll be here all week! Try the roast pony!

Poll question: Is there a movie that you think loses impact by being seen on the small screen? Is there a movie you’re really glad you saw in the theater or you wish you had seen there?

George Floyd Memorial Fund:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd

ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/

Black Lives Matter: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019

Southern Poverty Law Center: https://donate.splcenter.org/