margaret cho

DVD Releases: November 17, 2009

[reus name="Star Trek iFrame"]Out this week we have four DVDs to feature: Star Trek, Margaret Cho: Beautiful, Thirst, Vampire Party.  Do we Love It, Rent it, or Avoid Like Plague?

Owner

Renter

  • Thirst: A Korean horror movie about a priest who accidentally turns himself into a vampire in a failed experiment to cure a disease.  Thirst has received some interesting reviews and promises to be a good film for fans of horror.

Don't Care

  • Vampire Party: A Vampire spoof.  It looks like another bad Vampire movie, if only it had added a musical element to the horror comedy mix.  On the other hand it could be so bad it's good.

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Racism in The Last Airbender Casting and Margaret Cho

avatar: the last airbenderActivist/Comedian Margaret Cho posted a set of emails from her fans about the casting of M. Night Shyamalan's film version of Avatar: The Last Airbender. She frames the problem very well:

I am never surprised when Hollywood takes a story with Asian characters and casts white people instead of Asians. This is so typical and happens with such frequency! I always thought that in order to make our presence known in entertainment, we should be writing, bringing our dreams and realities to the cinema, but now even telling our own stories isn’t even enough.

Why is it better to have white actors play the roles of Asians? I don’t understand. Because it sells more tickets? I am not white and I have had no trouble selling tickets. Maybe the powers that be should ask me what to do. I would tell them. “The Last Airbender” is the last straw to a lot of people (Margaret Cho Blog):

We were initially excited about the movie, and the idea of a trilogy, but were given pause when we saw the cast.

Avatar: The Last Airbender casting characterss avatar: the last airbender casting actors

It is hard to understand what M. Night Shyamalan was thinking when he cast this movie.

I have said for a long time that Speculative Fiction is one of the most racist film genres.  It is not uncommon for white actors to be cast in the role of other ethnicity.  It is hard to get an SF movie cast if the main character is non-white (take Green Lantern for example).

My Experience

All of my books have non-white leads, and my latest book, Shine Like Thunder has a Gay Persian as the main character.

I have received a frightening amount of hate mail and personal confrontations about the ethnicity of the characters from white readers.

You would think SF readers would be more open minded.

Why would M. Night Shyamalan do this?

To me, that is the big question.

I think the casting was intentional.  They believe the film will attract a larger audience with a white cast of heros and a brown cast of villains than it would if they followed the example of the series.

This is all about money.  Hollywood consistently underestimates the intelligence of the American people, and almost always aims for the lowest common denominator.  This is less a sign of racism on the part of Hollywood as it is an sign of Hollywood's belief about how racist the American people are.

I would love to hear your opinions about this.

If you are interested in getting involved with the movement to effect the casting, check out:

Bam Bam & Celeste

If you have ever felt like an outcast, you will see yourself in this movie. Classic Cho, Bam Bam & Celeste takes up Margaret's perennials themes of friendship, individuality, and accepting yourself for who and what you are, and weaves them into a comic gem that will lift the spirits of the down trodden.

Bam Bam & Celeste follows two friends since high school, Bam Bam (Bruce Daniels) a flamboyantly gay hairdresser and Celeste (Margaret Cho) a down on herself fag hag, as they drive across America to appear on the make over show, Trading Faces.  One of the highlights of the film is Margaret in costume as her mother.

If you do not share Margaret Cho's or Bruce Daniels' sense of humor, you may miss the many jokes, puns, and digs at GLBT culture. This tale of a queen and his fag hag is an owner for me. I don't think I could have enjoyed it more.