It’s not like 2020 was going well but August has been a big blow to the year. Last week, drag queen Chi Chi DeVayne died at the age of 34 and yesterday we woke up to the news that Chadwick Boseman had died after a long battle with cancer. Boseman was only 43. It’s no age. I don’t normally like to buy into that Social Media displays of mourning for famous people but this got to me. I was crying when scrolling through Twitter. The actor may be best remembered for bringing the superhero Black Panther to the screen and giving some much needed representation in the MCU. However, he was so much more than that. Boseman was a fantastic actor and always followed his beliefs. He did great things for the Black community and he will be sorely missed by so many. I’ve decided to dedicate this week to him and will be reviewing two of his films.
Each week I have to decide which movies that I watch and some weeks are harder than others. I tend to pick something to review on Tuesday first and then try and base the TBT film around that. I like it if they have a common theme but am willing to mix things up for a special occasion (like last week’s unexpected Scott Pilgrim repeat). This week, however, I mixed things up even more. I was looking through Netflix for inspiration and was all set to watch The Peanut Butter Falcon. Then I saw the new Netflix original dance film. I knew that it would be terrible but, in it’s unoriginal concept, I saw the perfect opportunity to watch a film that I suddenly had a massive desire to watch. If I sat through this silly teen romp, then I would be able to watch Save the Last Dance. I hadn’t thought about that film for a long time but, apparently, I’ve been longing to watch it. So, I went for it. Of course, now I also have a desire to watch Bring It On, which means the question of my TBT is still up in the air. So, that’ll be a nice surprise for you. Unlike the narrative of Work It.
When we were teenagers, my friends and I were the biggest Eurovision fans. We got together every year to watch it. We made scorecards and were really clear about what we were looking for in a winner. It was one of the major popular culture events that we really looked forward to. I bloody loved it. Then, a few years ago, Eurovision started taking itself a bit too seriously. Countries suddenly wanted to have good quality songs and think about choreography and staging. It really ruined the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of weirdos on there and some of the staging is fucking insane. Yet, something is missing from it. Eurovision was always mocked for being campy and silly but that was why we loved it. Now it’s had the X-Factor treatment and people seem to be using it as a platform for a singing career. So, I have to wonder why Will Ferrell is setting his sights on it now. It feels as though this film should have come out at least 10/15 years ago. I didn’t want to watch it but I felt I owed it to my past self.
I know that I spend a lot of time moaning about Netflix Original films but, I have to admit, they do get it right now and then. The platform also manages to great some great filmmakers on board. Their 2019 releases on the streaming service saw Noah Baumbach and Martin Scorsese gain multiple Oscar nominations. Before he won awards and hearts, Bong Joon-Ho released the fantastic Okja. So, there have certainly been some high points and it looked as though it might have another. Spike Lee’s latest film Da 5 Bloods was released in mid-June. This was the first time we’ve seen Lee since his Oscar-nominated BlacKkKlansman and it couldn’t have come out at a better time. One of the major themes is how race fits into America. There is the same passion and anger that can be seen throughout the Black Lives Matter protests that have been happening all over the globe. What better film to watch when I’m trying to Amplify Melanated Voices?
Last week, I posted a short video to Instagram that featured a few ideas for films, documentaries, and television shows that people could watch to champion black voices. When it comes to the films that I review on this blog, I don’t tend to put too much thought into what I’m watching. It’s either whatever I fancy watching or whatever I can access at the time. I’ve never really looked at the diversity in my film choices in the same way that I do with my book choices. I make an effort to read a wider range of authors and stories every year, so why don’t I do the same with films? Why do I not do more to listen and pay attention to black voices and stories? Why do I not think more about who is directing and writing the films that I watch? All I care about is the story. It’s the very thing I get angry about whenever anyone speaks out against Oscars So White criticism. It’s something I need to work on and there’s no better time than now. Starting with one of the documentaries that I suggested on my Instagram post.