Marshall

Chadwick Boseman just can’t find a solid prestige picture

Marshall PosterPoor Chadwick Boseman. First he played Jackie Robinson. Then he portrayed James Brown. Now he’s NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall. This is the third prominent figure of 20th Century African American history he’s gotten the chance to play. And yet in each case, the movie he’s stuck in is a bland, insipid and worst of all whitewashed prestige picture.

Apparently Thurgood Marshall’s crowning achievement worthy of a biopic isn’t a story of how he became a lawyer or the racism he faced in his career. Reginald Hudlin’s “Marshall” cluelessly focuses on the one story in which Marshall is forced to be silent and cede his courtroom victory were it not for the one white man who stood up to save the day. Continue reading “Marshall”

42

The Jackie Robinson biopic “42” deserves better than to be another “magical black man” movie with a cheesy script.

 

“42” isn’t yet again trying to prove to white people that racism is alive and well; it’s merely trying to depict the racial struggles of Jackie Robinson, an undisputed American hero. But it’s 2013, and we deserve better than another magical black man movie, and we definitely deserve a better, smarter film than Director and Screenwriter Brian Helgeland’s (“L.A. Confidential“) cheesy, Old Hollywood inspired script.

Robinson was one of baseball’s greatest legends. He won Rookie of the Year in his inaugural 1947 season, the pennant for the Dodgers and later in his career the World Series. But “42” paints Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) as a miracle man long before credit is due.

The movie starts with a newsreel history lesson and says that America was just waiting for someone like Robinson to come along. Then a grizzly GM played by Harrison Ford in a bad haircut looks his bumbling assistants in the eye and boldly claims he’s going to put the first black man in baseball! “Uh wahhh? You can’t! But I can!” Then he flips through a few manila folders and finds a resume with Jackie Robinson’s picture and says something close to, “Look at this guy! He’s going to be a star!”

“If it was a white baseball player, you’d say he has spirit” is what Ford actually says when his assistant claims he has a bad temper. But Robinson’s bad temper amounts to him being a little less tolerant of racism directed at him than others. His goal to be accepted is to focus on winning, not the hate, which makes for the first sports movie in which strictly focusing on being the best is the moral lesson. Continue reading “42”