Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 079: Noah (2014) and Sabotage (2014) and Veronica Mars (2014) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) and The Broken Circle Breakdown (2013) and Debating Song of the South (1946)

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Episode 079

This episode is dedicated to our friend and supporter, Chad Downey. Thanks for everything, Chad.

Whoa… Buckle up, everybody! Episode 079 of Movie Podcast Weekly is an infamous show for the ages. Chances are great that at least one (if not all) of your four favorite hosts will anger or offend you in some way during the course of this show, so apologies ahead of time… But the good news is, we bring you several in-depth reviews, such as “Noah,” “Sabotage,” “Veronica Mars,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel” — and finally — “The Broken Circle Breakdown” (for Jeff Hammer), as well as two bonus reviews on “Stranger Than Fiction” and a fiery and controversial review of Disney’s “Song of the South” (1946).

We welcome two special guests for this episode: First, lady podcaster JESSICA GIFFORD of the Book Review Podcast, and filmmaker and MPW recurring guest favorite, WILLIAM ROWAN JR..

Movie Podcast Weekly typically features four hosts (and frequent guests), who give you their verdict on at least one new movie release that’s currently in theaters, mini reviews of what they’ve been watching lately and specialty recommendation segments. New episodes release every single Monday.

SHOW NOTES:
I. Intro

II. Mini Reviews:
Jessica Gifford: Stranger Than Fiction
Karl: Airport 1975 (Hear our Considering the Sequels Podcast episode on the entire Airport franchise.) Remains of the Day, The Great Waldo Pepper, Song of the South
Andy: Admission, The Purge
Jason: Frozen, Waterworld
— Welcome special guest William Rowan Jr.

III. Feature Review: NOAH (2014)
Jason: 7 ( Theater / Rental )
Josh: 5.5 ( Theater / Rental )
William Rowan Jr.: 7.5 ( Rental )

IV. Feature Review: THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (2014)
Josh: 9 ( Buy it! )
William Rowan Jr: 9.5 ( Theater / Buy it! )

V. Feature Review: SABOTAGE (2014)
Jason: 5 ( Low-priority Rental )

VI. Feature Review: VERONICA MARS (2014)
Jason: 6.5 ( Rental )
Karl: 8 ( Rental )

VII. Feature Review: THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN (2014)
Jason: 8 ( Must-See Rental )
Josh: 8 ( Must-See Rental )

VIII. Wrap-Up

NEXT WEEK:
We will be reviewing Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Blood Ties.

Links for this episode:

Check out Book Review Podcast

Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 013: The Hills Have Eyes (1977) and The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1984) and Discovering Grade Z Horror Movies

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Jason and Josh, especially for horror fans: Horror Movie Podcast

Josh covers streaming movies: Movie Stream Cast

We’d also like to thank The Dave Eaton Element and Dave Eaton himself for the use of his music for our theme song.

Special thanks goes out to singer-songwriter Frederick Ingram and the Blue Claw Philharmonic for the use of their music and the voice talents of Midnight Corey Graham from The Electric Chair Podcast, Willis Wheeler from the Terror Troop Podcast and Spike Real for their help with our recommendation segment intros.

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Thank you for listening, and join us again next Monday for Movie Podcast Weekly.

44 thoughts on “Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 079: Noah (2014) and Sabotage (2014) and Veronica Mars (2014) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) and The Broken Circle Breakdown (2013) and Debating Song of the South (1946)

  1. I feel like “Song Of The South” is perhaps the most oddly misunderstood and underseen films of all time. When you call the film racist, you’re basically dismissing the work of Joel Chandler Harris, the author who originally collected the Uncle Remus stories. We’re talking about one of the few purely American mythologies ever created, and these were stories that were passed down as verbal tradition within the African American community in the 1800s.

    The film is about how a white child is drawn to the culture of the sharecroppers of a post-Civil War era South, and how his parents are scared by his completely open nature and his complete acceptance of Uncle Remus as a figure to respect and love. If you can point to a single scene in the film in which any African character is portrayed as lesser or stupid or weak, I’ll concede the point, but you can’t.

    If anything, “Song Of The South” was progressive in a way that people simply couldn’t get their heads around when it was released. It is a film that brings to life stories that would otherwise have been forgotten.

    If you think this film degrades any of the African characters, you have not seen it. Period.

    • I respect your work as a critic and blogger, Drew, and I’m interested in your perspective on the film (I’d be interested to read a thorough argument for that interpretation), but there are obviously plenty of people who have seen the film and have interpreted it as racist.

      Had I known the film was coming up on the show, I’d have prepared for the discussion by screening the film and reading-up (I’m very interested in Jason Sperb’s book “Disney’s Most Notorious Film”), but my podcast co-hosts Karl and Jason surprised us with this discussion altogether.

      You are clearly more familiar with this film and its pedigree than I am and I regret that my only experiences to draw from included seeing clips of the film in a media studies class in college ten years ago, cherishing a read-a-long book throughout my childhood, and seeing the film once in the theater as a kid, but that deficit shouldn’t preclude discussion of specific imagery and/or broader themes.

      For instance, I see the depiction of the tar baby as a blatantly racist. And while my memory of Song of the South isn’t strong enough to recall whether any characters in the film are portrayed as “lesser or stupid” (the way blackface minstrels are) I would argue that Remus embodies two of the other favorite American racial stereotypes: 1st, that of magical minority folk-wisdom and 2nd, the myth of the happy slave.

      An article I read from the Gurdian touches on the latter:

      “… the film trades in a dubious form of myth-making – implying that African-Americans stuck below the Mason-Dixon line were a cheerful bunch who liked nothing better than going fishing, spinning tall tales and looking after white folks’ kids.

      When he’s not waxing lyrical about tar babies, Uncle Remus explains why he likes ‘Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Days …. Dat’s the kinda day when you can’t open yo mouf without a song jumpin’ right out of it.’ Thus Song of the South reheats the old canard about how slaves can’t really be so miserable because, my, just listen to them sing in that cottonfield.

      Annoyingly, this cosy misconception had already been nailed by Frederick Douglass way back in the 19th-century. ‘I have often been utterly astonished, since I came to the north, to find persons who could speak of the singing, among slaves, as evidence of their contentment and happiness,’ Douglass wrote. ‘It is impossible to conceive of a greater mistake. Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy.'”

      It’s also the reason the NAACP opposes the re-release of the film, unhappy about “the impression it gives of an idyllic master/slave relationship.”

    • To our listeners, I’m not arguing that the film shouldn’t be available–not at all–and I’m not writing off the work of Joel Chandler Harris or Disney’s adaptation of his work. In fact, due to this podcast discussion, I’m very interested in revisiting the film myself (and I’d love to be proved wrong). I hope that people could hear that, more than anything I could remember from Song of the South, I was far more flabbergasted by Jason’s comparisons to 12 Years a Slave and The Color Purple and even more thrown by his refusal to admit that blackface minstrels are racist and offensive beyond the fact that African Americans could have been filling those roles (everyone check out Spike Lee’s bombastic Bamboozled to see a depiction of black actors filling those roles and the psychological impact that blackface still has). Also, please let there be no question that Jason is a good guy who publicly denounces racism and likely doesn’t feel a hateful bone in his body, but intentionality doesn’t have much to do with it and those comments were, and remain, shocking to me.

      • I’m not Jay, of course, but I think he might have brought up the comparisons to 12 Years a Slave and The Color Purple during heat of the conversation as the first thing that came to mind without yet making context comparisons?

        As far as context goes, I’d be interested to see what you thought of the tar baby and the points Drew brought up after you’ve seen the film, if you can stomach it. I honestly couldn’t blame you if you didn’t want to bother.

        That conversation was heated. Josh, you brought to mind some things I didn’t understand about racism myself in that people can be in a privileged position even when they’re not aware of it. And how it can affect someone every day in ways I’ll never see or experience personally.

        I’m the kind of guy who, since I was a little kid, just wanted everyone to get along. Of course that’s not the way the world works. And I’m not talking about the conversation you had with Jay, I’m referring to bigger issues in the world. Like slavery, war, genocide, etc. It’s difficult for any heart to be at rest in a world like this one.

        Being a kid of the ’80’s I had television shows to tell me that we were equals (minorities, soon to be the majority and whites) and grew up without the thought in my mind that there was ever a problem. Then someone gets hurt. Then you find out that your own neighbors were driving people out of your town with burning crosses because of the color of their skin.

        I think your conversation is going to become an integral part of my processing the whole mess and forming my own paradigm so that I can have relationships that flourish. Thank you for speaking your mind, and that goes for Jay, Carl and Andy too.

        • Hi Levi,

          To answer this question:
          Levi wrote: “I’m not Jay, of course, but I think he might have brought up the comparisons to 12 Years a Slave and The Color Purple during heat of the conversation as the first thing that came to mind without yet making context comparisons?”

          Having just watched the film for myself, I got the sense that people were critical of “Song of the South” because of the imagery it shows from the time period being depicted, namely, the Reconstruction. And understandably, some of that imagery can be upsetting to people.

          Well, I brought up other films that also depict the American slavery era to try to say, in essence, “Why aren’t these films also considered to be racist — or even more racist — and should therefore be banned?”

          To me, the terrible depictions in “12 Years a Slave” are nearly unwatchable and are far more blatantly “racist” than “Song of the South.”

          But I’m not a person who believes in banning or burying films. I believe the cinema is a great teacher. And obviously, there’s educational value in films that illustrate significant historical periods. So, to me, “Song of the South” is just a “period piece,” of sorts, which depicts aspects of life in America at a certain time period.

          But if I were a “film banner” (or a person who wants to make a film “go extinct”), then I’d first rid the world of blatant and heinous slavery depictions (like “12 Years a Slave”) before I’d exterminate much, much milder films about the Reconstruction like “Song of the South.”

          In summary: It confuses me why a film that is extremely difficult to bear watching can be celebrated as “Best Picture” while a much milder children’s film can become leprous.

          That was the point I was trying to make so inarticulately…

          JP

          • It’s just a flawed argument, Jason. The distinction between the two is very clear. One is a racist text and the other is a text about racism. That’s not to say that either should be banned, and both can be used as a learning tool, but in very different ways. Because you clearly don’t value my opinion on Song of the South due to the time that has elapsed since I’ve seen it (and you may be right about that), and because you’ve taken the conversation to a much broader place, let me switch texts here to illustrate (even if I have to violate Godwin’s law to do so). Mein Kampf is a racist text. Schindler’s List is a text about racism. Schindler’s List may be more brutal to watch than video footage of HItler giving a speech, but that doesn’t make Schindler’s List more racist. There can be social value in being exposed to both, but it doesn’t change the fact that one is racist in it’s construction, while the other is not, and simply a depiction of racism.

          • We disagree on whether Song of the South is actually a racist text. I don’t think it is. You do. And I’d be interested in hearing if you still feel the same way after revisiting it again as an adult. But more than likely, we just disagree on that point (and that’s OK).
            Jason

          • I’m pretty sure that’s not the only point we disagree on as I’m much more passionate about the broader issues than this film in particular and I’m still not convinced you understand the point I’m making. However, the measure of racism in Song of the South should answer what seems your big question. You wrote:

            “It confuses me why a film that is extremely difficult to bear watching can be celebrated as ‘Best Picture’ while a much milder children’s film can become leprous.”

            The reason is that which I’ve laid out above, the children’s film is widely regarded as a racist text and the other is a text about racism.

            I’d also add that level of difficulty in watching a film doesn’t, for me (and shouldn’t, in my opinion), reflect the film’s morality. 12 Years a Slave is a fine example of that.

        • Hey, Levi- I’m glad our crazy conversation could have a positive benefit for someone. Haha. I wouldn’t deny that the elements Drew brings up are in the movie, but if that is what it is about, it sure includes a lot of other superfluous crap. And, yeah, I’d be happy to give those ideas a fair shake on a re-watch of the film. I know, from my research now, that Walt Disney was very worried that the movie would be seen as racist and even specifically brought in a liberal screenwriter to tone down some of the original material’s more uncomfortable moments. But even so, the film still contains those other “favorite American racial stereotypes” (mentioned above) that cast Remus as the embodiment of magical minority folk-wisdom and the myth of the happy slave, both of which are damaging, subtly racist stereotypes.

          Anyway … enough about that movie.

          I felt much like you growing-up in the world of The Cosby Show. I honestly didn’t think racism still existed. It wasn’t until I reached my 20s that I fully realized the ways in which my life had been negatively impacted by my skin color. I think most Americans would be appalled by open bigotry against blacks or Jews (or at least I thought so before Obama was elected President), but, as someone who is “ambiguously brown,” I’ve definitely noticed that open racism against groups such as Mesoamericans and Middle Easterners is still quite acceptable. And while most overt racism (the burning crosses you’re talking about) is pretty much a thing of the past in the places I have lived in the U.S. there is still a very real, more subtle form of racism built into the fabric of our society. I recommended my co-hosts watch this little TV news expose, and I think you might get something out of it too if you are interested in this stuff. True Colors: Racial Discrimination in Everyday Life (part 1/2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyL5EcAwB9c and True Colors: Racial Discrimination in Everyday Life (part 2/2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOS3BBmUxvs

  2. I would be really interested to hear something about Nymphomaniac. I haven’t seen many of Lars Von Trier’s movies (Dogville and Melancholia) but in a weird way I am curious to see Nymphomaniac just for the cast and the director alone. I hear that it’s much less a porno than a pretty heavy drama. I am optimistic that Josh would see this movie for what it really is and give us an interesting review about it. I mean… if not Josh who else? 😀
    Great discussion in this episode boys. Everybody had really good points. I love me some conflict on these shows. HAHA. But seriously the three hours really flew by.
    I’m gonna check out Noah when it comes out on DVD. For some stupid reason in Germany (and some other countries) they converted it to be in 3D because they were afraid that people here wouldn’t be interested in it just for the topic alone. And they thought 3D was going to change that. Well… bad luck, I was going to see it but now I’m going to wait for the Blu-Ray.

  3. Stranger Than Fiction 7/10 Rental
    The Purge 4/10 avoid
    Admission 5/10 Low-priority rental
    Frozen 8/10 buy it for the collection
    Waterworld 5/10 rental

    Josh, please review Nymphomaniac. I am very interested. I was very put off by Dogville but was disturbed/fascinated by Anti-Christ. Lars is such a polarizing director, I’d be interested to hear your take on one of his movies.

    • Wow! Why so low on The Purge? I like that you posted your ratings for all of the films you’ve seen. I’d like to see more of this from you and other listeners.

      I’m a Von Trier fan and am fascinated/disturbed by almost all of his movies. Okay, I’m going to do it!

      • The Purge was just a big letdown for me. I know it was well received on this site, no disrespect. I just thought the characters were stupid, the situations were forced. I cringed and even laughed a couple times at the dialogue. The bad guys weren’t scary and the twist was… just bad. I never really bought in to the world in the movie. The concept was flimsy. Hawke was as good as always though, he did his best. And the movie was well shot. I just didn’t enjoy it.

        • No disrespect taken. We love to argue about movies! I see where you are coming from with most of your points, but I just enjoyed what I got out of it. Hope you didn’t watch it on our recommendation. And keep those ratings coming for films you’ve see, they are fun to see.

  4. This was a stressful but very civilized episode of the show. Man.

    Can I have my $2.00 back?

    Just kidding.

    • I am at work and I have this big smile on my face when listening to these guys slowly spiral down to the dead corner with this for as long as 50 min… just when thought they MOVED ON, .they return to the social studies forgetting this is is supposed to be a movie podcast and yet they spending more time on this side view movie than any feature film in their weekly podcasting history lol…

      I still have that smile on my face.

      and for the record, I am a Chinese and I love watermelon and fried chicken. :)

      • Haven’t you heard? We officially changed the name of this thing to SOCIAL STUDIES PODCAST WEEKLY. There … finally … I’ve been looking for an April Fools Day gag. Glad you are able to smile through our misery, Que. That’s what podcasting is all about!

        • yes i have to admit that it was a guilty pleasure when listening to that part, i did smile and for a few moment i burst-out laughing… it can be funny if you take the right viewing, well, listening angle.

          however i am not sure how a first-time listener would say about it though. 😉

  5. Thanks for the shout out – always fun to have you guys over. Speaking of that – there is another day and date release that I plan on watching this week if anyone is interested. It is a limited release that opened a few days ago. It called Mistaken for Strangers and is a rockumentary for The National (great band btw). Pitchfork says its the funniest music movie since Spinal Tap so that is enough for me since Spinal Tap is one of my absolute favorite movies.

    http://mistakenforstrangersmovie.com/#trailer

  6. to the animation lovers, who framed Roger rabbit is the greatest animated film ever. Not frozen, not toy story, not Up.

    And to Andy.and everyone, if we can resolve all the communication road blocks, then we will have no movies. We will have no drama. We will have no war. But we still don’t know how to communicate right, that is why your racial de-railing took 50min side track and didn’t get anywhere. :) I am just glad that snowman was made and I will have a little figurine of it on my table next to my keyboard.

    • Wait, didn’t get anywhere? Que, we’re back-tracking here. We didn’t convince each other of anything, but the discussion is the reason for the podcast. For me, the joy is in the journey.

      There are so many things I didn’t like about Frozen, but I didn’t feel like socially deconstructing another cartoon following the Social Studies discussion. The snowman was awesome, however. Josh Gad is hilarious and the animation, though I didn’t love the character design, was very comical as well. I know Roger Rabbit is a classic film that I was too young to really appreciate when it came out, but I haven’t revisited it. I need to do so.

      • well Josh, 20 some years later after i first watched ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ it is still and I think it will always be my no. 1 animation. and it is not just because jessica.

        i would strongly recommend you re-visit if you haven’t in the recent years, you will appreciate the script/plot that is not dumb-ed down much.

        and to andy, that is one animation for you not using the ‘bad communication’ plot mech.

        • I love Roger Rabbit, but I was 12 when I first watched it. I STILL love it because it seems to come from a love of animation!

          I couldn’t STAND Frozen because of the music. Seriously, by the time the fourth song broke out and my teeth started to grind, I was out. The ‘new’ musical of today where the music is integrated without seeming unrealistic is where it’s at for me.

          But for some reason, I adore Popeye (1980). Maybe that’s because I saw it at age 5. I love the music in that one.

          • I felt the same way about the music in Frozen. Mainly, I think I just hate that style of music because there are some modern films where I enjoy the jarring break-into-song–although, as I think of the examples, I think most of them have an ironic approach to the music and/or are part of a more artistic film than the classic musical. Lars Von Treir’s Dancer in the Dark with Bjork is my favorite of those: http://bit.ly/1mEN2BP I also like James Gondolfi in Romance and Cigarettes: http://bit.ly/1pYLEMc and the french musical 8 Femmes that features all 3 of my french actress celebrity crushes: http://bit.ly/1dQYlqL

    • HAHAHA. You should’ve seen my wife’s face when I made her watch the clip.

      The belly and the snake and the struggle. That was uncomfortable.

  7. Jason, I forgot to ask you this last week when you were talking about taking notes in a movie theatre. So if you don’t mind, I want to ask now. What exactly are you writing down during a movie? Is it just plot details so that you don’t forget who is who? Or is it more notes on the quality of the movie?
    Also I’m wondering how you are able to see anything in the theatre. I tried to write something down in a movie theatre once and it was way too dark to know what I was writing. In the end when the lights came back up the letters were all over the place.

    • I’ve wondered this same thing myself. But critics seem to have been doing this for years, even before cell phone lights.

      • They must have to do this before IMDB or alike was available, howelse can they memories the key character’s name and all that? Also the plotholes or opinions about certain scene can come at strong during the movie but later gets washed away as the stories progress. Need to take them as they appear or you ended up forgetting them.

        Maybe they don’t write all the way. Just take note on the key words that will bring them back to the topic. Need Jason to clarify on that.

  8. I loved your discussion about Song of the South and racism. I thought it was very interesting how you each approached it. I’m only familiar with the Zippity Do Da song, haven’t actually seen the movie. I’m originally from India, so I can’t comment on the African American experience, but I do have some limited times where my race has come into play. It sounds like Josh is have a little moral/existential crisis concerning definitions of racism. Josh, don’t leave us!
    Frozen – I was a little disappointed in this. I likee the message, but I did hate the fact that a miscommunication led to the whole plot…it was nice that the sisters saved each other.
    Not being a religious person, I think it’s fascinating to hear others talk about a movie that has a religious background. It’s strange to me that an atheist would direct this type of movie. I thought this was an interesting article: http://thinkprogress.org/culture/2014/04/02/3422173/conservative-christians-noah/ from a self-described liberal website.
    also, Strange Than Fiction is a great movie!
    Thanks again for an entertaining show!

    • Wow, that Noah article had some incredible insights. Thanks for sharing it. I love talking about this stuff.

      As for the moral crisis, I’m not going to leave over it, but I had a little moment and apparently it was preserved in the recording because a couple of people have mentioned it to me. There are just some topics, and racism is one of those for me, when you have to stand up for your morals, even if it is unpopular … or if you are ruining a podcast. Haha.

  9. Hey guys, great episode and again, thanks for having me on.

    Even though I wasn’t involved in this part of the podcast, I thought the racism discussion was really fascinating. And I know that the podcast isn’t necessarily about racism and other social issues, but I believe that cinema is currently one of the most popular and effective ways to show and tell stories of history and the human experience. If anyone ever reviews the film American History X, then it only makes sense that you’re going to end up in a discussion about racism, and so on and so forth. And isn’t that one of the main purposes of art? Right or wrong, contentious or not, the discussion of important social issues is more important than avoiding them, or even worse, ignoring them.

    Racism is very complicated and very much alive and thriving all around us. It’s easy to be dismissive about what we think we already know about, but a lot harder to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and have true sympathy about their experiences and feelings.

    Thanks Again, Pod On!
    William Rowan Jr.

    P.S.
    If you didn’t like the movie Noah, or what you’ve heard about the movie seems upsetting to you, then definitely don’t watch “Ricky Gervais Out of England 2: the Stand-Up Special. You will not like it… at all!

  10. In addition to the question of stereotyping, part of the issue with ‘Song of the South’ too is that most people don’t really understand the time period being depicted. While it was technically set after the Civil War, it presents a strangely romanticized view of a pre-CW South.

    But, more importantly, the Reconstruction era in which the film was set was still an incredibly ugly, violent time for African-Americans, where many whites deployed a culture of racial violence to maintain the old hierarchies. Why would Uncle Remus also be so happy and passive? Well, because if he didn’t, he might get lynched. That’s only one dark history behind all those “yes, sir,” smiling faces which defined so many of the old stereotypes. So, to have Uncle Remus running around, happy and singing, with cartoon characters, in this context, is positively grotesque.

    (and thus the comparison to ’12 Years’ is just bizarre–for all its flaws, ’12 Years’ is a *true* story about the horrors of slavery; ‘Song of the South’ is a nostalgic fantasy which wants to pretend slavery never happened).

    Plus, the spectre of slavery *is* in the film in so far as the Brer Rabbit tales were originally oral slave narratives about smart slaves trying to outwit their physically stronger white masters. In this regard, its important to distinguish between the original Harris stories and the very different Disney adaptation of them. ‘Song of the South’ is not a preservation of folklore, its a commercialized exploitation of them–not unlike Disney’s complicated relationship to classic fairy tales.

    And on that note, there’s really not a lot of evidence that Walt really cared that much about the racism. A lot of that was just typical Hollywood media “spin” any time there’s a hint of controversy. He did make a few token gestures to the African-American community, and did bring in Maurice Rapf, because, as Walt said, Rapf “was against Uncle Tomism” (because apparently Walt and most everyone else at the studio wasn’t!).

    But any way the important point is there’s not a lot of evidence that much was changed. Walt wanted some of the civil rights leaders to sign off on his project, but they wouldn’t because Walt didn’t really think there was much wrong with it and so he didn’t really want to change much. Meanwhile, while Rapf was mostly just frustrated by the experience. But all this has been documented before. Thomas Cripps’ and Neal Gabler’s respective books on the subjects are very illuminating here.

    If anything, there’s evidence that Walt really felt that all the “racism” concerns were were really just a way for communists to cause more trouble in “his” studio, since he’d become increasingly paranoid about that ever since the animator’s strike in 1941. It was labor, not race, that Walt was really obsessed with then. (though, in his defense, there was a lot of overlap between the labor movement and the civil rights movement in the first half of the 20th Century, and sometimes with Communist connections, mainly pre-WWII).

    And don’t buy this revisionist myth that people like Drew have been increasingly pushing lately–namely, that ‘Song of the South’ was so far ahead of its time in 1946 in terms of positive race relations that, if anything, people couldn’t understand it at the time. There was a very aggressive and visible push between Hollywood studios and the federal government during WWII, *before* ‘Song of the South,’ to get rid of the old coon and tom stereotypes in movies because they were afraid it would demoralize African-American support during the war, and we needed everyone on board if we were going to win that. Another thing people don’t seem to understand today is that the modern Civil Rights movement began during WWII, long before Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, jr. ‘Song of the South’ appeared in the wake of the Civil Rights movement, not before it.

    The “Double V” campaign (Victory over Fascism abroad and Racism at home) is a *very* important context for understanding why ‘Song of the South’ was offensive, even in the time it was made. After the war, Disney’s film was specifically targeted by activists precisely because it was a nostalgic throwback to the old plantation musical movies of the 1930s. Very regressive, even then.

    Anyway, all of this is to say that you are right, Josh, and don’t lose hope. The problem is not that “people haven’t seen the film.” Millions have over the years. The problem is that people haven’t thought much, or don’t want to think, about everything else that was (and still is) going on around it. So, keep up the good fight.

  11. I’m impressed that Josh could follow The Broken Circle Breakdown without subtitling. I’m Dutch and they are using so heavy accents in the movie that for me subtitles were really helpful. Some words are just not recognisable. Especially Didier/Monroe’s accent is very hard.

  12. I’m usually a huge fan of Wes Anderson’s films, but I have to say I was pretty disappointed with Grand Budapest Hotel. It was incredible visually, but I felt like the heart in the story was lacking. Though if I try to think of it as a short story I feel better toward it.

    I give it a 7.

  13. The whole Song of the South debate is so eerily similar to the controversy surrounding Zwarte Piet in the Netherlands that I just came across today. Would love to know what you guys think about it….

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