Project 313 – Post No. 158

I recently read a review of the movie “Peppermint” on a blog I follow (HERE).

Them who know me also know I’m a sucker for action movies, revenge movies, and the combination of the two often hits my sweet-spot (think John Wick and Hitman). Paige Addams’s review confirmed what I suspected; there’s a good chance I’d like this movie.  

But then, I read THIS article. The article claims Peppermint comes with “some racist overtones”. 

I’m as sensitive as the next older white dude about these things; if I’m unknowingly racist or supporting racist propaganda, I want to know about it.

If I knowingly were a racist, I wouldn’t care because, you know, racists don’t typically care. 

Since I’ve heard it said (to my face) that the world would be better off if older white dudes (like me) all died off, I keep track of any sign of unintentional racism I might display because at some point someone might decide it’s a good idea to speed the process along and I want to say “No! Wait! It’s not me! It’s the other white guys!” 

But, having read the article, I was a tad confused.

First, the writer says “Considering the culture and world we live in, it’s just really reckless to make a movie that dehumanizes and stereotypes Mexican/Latino characters in a film that frames them as these savage brown people destroying the lives of white people.”

You know, I’m a little dense sometimes but this was a movie where the bad guys are Mexican/Latinos and part of a drug cartel. As dense as I am, I know drug cartels from Mexico and South America are real and are chillingly brutal. The neighborhoods they operate in have other Mexican/Latinos who are just as much victims as any white person and arguably even more so. 

Perhaps I’m not as sensitive as some folks but when I see a movie about Mafiosi, I recognize they’re all Italians depicted as savage white people destroying the lives of pretty much any ethnic group they can, and not just other Italians. Also, at no point do I think it’s a reflection on Italians in general.

Perhaps I’m naive in that respect but not overly so; for instance, I don’t like the Godfather movies because they glorify criminals and criminal enterprises and do so by sidestepping the day-to-day brutality of what the Mafia does, but it has nothing to do with them being Italian and has everything to do with them being criminals.

Second, the writer specifically mourns two other facts . . . she only saw Mexican/Latinos being killed and she noticed those killings showed bullets spraying blood and brains all over the place whereas we “only hear” of the “white folks” being killed but we don’t see it. Also, white folk’s deaths were not as gruesome. 

Well, if one is specifically interested in seeing lots of white men getting killed and their brains and guts being splattered all over the place, John Wick and Hitman are fine examples. Heck, if you hate cops, Hitman is doubly great because lots of white cops get killed there. But since they’re Russian no one really cares . . . unless, you know, you’re Russian. 

But, let’s examine the writer’s claims in more detail . . . the part about graphic deaths depicted by generous slow-motion brain-splatterings is common in almost any modern movie involving guns; that, to me, doesn’t per se indicate a racial overtone. It’s just the state of current special effects. 

The other part, where we don’t get to see the corrupt white judge and a few other white people actually getting killed, can perhaps be interpreted by considering the fact movies are a visual medium; as this was an action movie, audiences expect action. Also, actions movies have a sweet-spot as far as running length.  

It doesn’t seem strange to me that the white judge’s death is only described because the killing a judge in cold blood might not make for a visually exciting action scene. In addition, it might lose the heroine some sympathy points as we would see her kill an unarmed and probably weak person as he begs for his life.

That would make her a cold-blooded executioner — which she is, but we don’t want to remind the audience of that — whereas the firefights with the cartel (usually physically prone to violence and well-armed) show her in the role of the underdog hero(ine) doling out justice. Plus, you know, the point of action movies is to show action scenes with lots of shooting and the hero overcoming overwhelming odds. 

Certainly, I would have wanted to see each and every person getting killed; I mean, you could do it with a montage. That is a legitimate criticism and a matter of personal preference . . . but, I don’t attribute those omissions as proof of racial overtones.

At an hour and forty minutes, Peppermint is pretty much standard for an action movie (John Wick and Hitman have the same runtime) so adding something requires something else be removed.

Finally, I don’t expect action/revenge movies to be big on nuanced representations of good and bad guys (or gals). In fact, I expect action with no nuance; I expect cardboard characters and that’s what action movies deliver.

I don’t discount the fact the writer of that article might have felt the movie to be overly racial but I also think she might be predisposed to see everything through a racial filter. Personally, I think racism is not the only possible explanation for the movie’s artistic decisions.

There was a similar movie some time back; in “The Brave One” JodieFoster played a victim who fights back and turns into a vigilante of sorts. I think that movie was also painted as having racial stereotypes. 

But, here’s the thing . . . perhaps in the real world, we are to think thugs and people who rape and kill at will are themselves just victims of a white racist society and thus deserving of sympathy . . . but only if they are persons of color. 

Those poor white criminals who routinely get killed left and right in many, many movies and are themselves stereotypes we easily recognize as “the bad guys”, well, they don’t matter precisely because they are white. That, to me, is the definition of racism.

And now, here’s the other thing . . . just me mentioning this will get me labeled as racist. I wonder what the Russians think of me . . . I mean, I own both John Wick and Hitman and really enjoy watching many, many Russians getting killed. 

. . . except for the Russian cops in Hitman who — as far as I can tell — were just doing their job and weren’t actually bad guys; they just happen to go up against the hero.

But, note what they did in that movie . . . all the Russian cops and soldiers who were slaughtered wore helmets that completely covered their faces.

Essentially, they were dehumanized and that is my one complaint about the movie. In John Wick, no masks for the bad guys; they were dehumanized by their actions.

 I don’t recall any movies that go out of their way to present vicious gangs as fully integrated and representing all the races in equal parts and I cannot think of any revenge/action movie where we’re supposed to feel sorry for the bad guys. It’s the opposite, actually . . . we want to see them killed, preferably in slow motion and despite the odds being in their favor. 

The only requirement is that they be bad guys, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, gender preference, or any other physical or emotional characteristic one might focus on.  

. . . I won’t even try discussing Sicario . . .

And now, the photo:

Project 313 158

These classic cars details continue to offer plenty of opportunities for artistic post-processing. 

I like when jokes require an extra processing step . . . 

It seems reasonable to worry about pink-eye. 

Basic shapes come in pretty handy in all sorts of everyday activities. Driving a car, for instance, benefits greatly from using lots of round things. 

But, it’s not like humans didn’t cope before the advent of basic shapes. For instance, I give you . . . Winning in Checkers Before Squares were Invented.

Winning in Checkers Before Squares were Invented

And . . . that’s it

Some of these posts will likely be longer as the mood hits me, but most will be thus; short, uninteresting, bland, and relentless.

You can read about Project 313 HERE.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
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32 Responses to Project 313 – Post No. 158

  1. etinkerbell says:

    I know you don’t like the Godfather,but there ia a very popular series here I think you would like: Gomorra ( about Neapolitan Camorra), have you heard about it? It has been distributed worldwide.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      I should qualify that statement. In 1972, I was 19 years old. The Godfather is a great movie masterfully done, and one of the reasons that it works is because it focuses on honor and (in its own way) justice. So, at 19, my brain not yet fully developed and also not really “up” on the whole crime scene, the movie struck a chord; In many ways, I’m all about honor and justice.

      It took but a few years (by the time the second one came out) for me to look closer and recognize the sleight of hand. The heroes weren’t heroes and we didn’t see the cost of “the business” as it were. And, the message about loyalty and family was, at best, misplaced . . . actually, it was perverse. Ironically, the ending of the first movie is what got me thinking. By then, I knew Melisa and knew we were going to get married . . . and noticed Michael was, after all, not a nice person. Not a hero at all, and certainly not a family man. The wife was, at best, just another trapping for his image.

      So, kudos to the movie for fooling me, but I have no great respect for the movie for the lie that it told. Even less so when one recognizes the same scenario (in different forms) plays out in both the political and corporate arena.

      Now, as for Gomorra, no, I’d not heard of it and I’d wager I wouldn’t like it for the same reasons I mention above. I read a bit about the series and I struggle to imagine who I could identify with or even mildly care about. Or, am I missing something? Are there any “good” main characters?

      By that I mean, is there anyone trying to undermine and dismantle the crime organization or is this yet another story where we are supposed to identify characters who are only after power and money? The lesser of two evils, as it were. As an aside, I also didn’t watch The Sopranos or Breaking Bad.

      Some of these shows purport to show the personal “cost” to the characters because of the lives they choose, but in doing so, they completely ignore the cost to regular people and society at large.

      After a season or so, there can’t even be a realistic opportunity for the characters to find redemption . . . they’re just sociopaths the audience is drawn into caring for.

      I know the real world sucks, but I don’t have to include any part of it in my entertainment choices, and while all this may sound harsh (it’s “only” entertainment), unless each and every character dies a horrible death, these shows will never hit my sweet spot.

      Liked by 1 person

      • etinkerbell says:

        No, you woudn’t like it, by the way, what about “House of Cards” ? 😜(I’m joking)

        Like

        • disperser says:

          We tried watching it because of all the accolades it got but . . . It wasn’t much different to a gangster movie only the crooks were politicians.

          Again, I didn’t see characters I could root for. I think we watched three episodes before calling it quits.

          In all fairness, there are no current shows we watch. We’re looking forward to “The Rookie” with Nathan Fillion but somewhat cautiously.

          Like

  2. Next people will be saying that ‘The Magnificent Seven’ is racist because they killed so many Mexican Bad Guys. I read somewhere once (it might be true, it might not) that the highest total bad people (Nazis) killed in one film by a single person was Clint Eastwood in ‘Where Eagles Dare”.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Given the propensity at the time, I imagine most of the bad guys who died were actually white guys playing Mexican . . . I can’t remember if there was a disclaimer at the end; something like “No actual Mexicans were harmed in the making of this film”. I guess Peppermint should have included a similar disclaimer.

      I remember enjoying Where Eagles Dare but more for the twists than realism. The movie did a good job of capturing the flow of McLean’s book (he also wrote the screenplay). I read a lot of McLean’s books precisely for the formula he used.

      Like

  3. colonialist says:

    I would have been irresistibly tempted to review that movie — good, bad or indifferent — as ‘It sucks!
    As for the race I detest the most, it is the mealie-mouthed utterly moronic anti-racists whose utterances inevitably convert anyone with any intelligence into being a racist.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Not sure why you’d rate a good movie “it Sucks!” Mind you, I don’t know if it’s a good movie or even what constitutes a good movie these days . . . I rate them more on whether I enjoy watching a movie and I often differ from the masses when it comes to rating movies.

      I’ve postulated elsewhere that if a group of people can be convinced another group of people are racist toward them and the first group becomes antagonistic and openly hostile toward the second group, well, then, the only option for the second group — racist or not — is to consider themselves adversaries to the first group.

      A convoluted way of saying what you said . . . and, yes, that’s what I see happening due to the current propensity of devaluing words like racist by tossing them about as blankets over large groups of people as opposed to specific charges against actual racists.

      Like

      • colonialist says:

        I take it that the expression in question isn’t in currency in your part of the world to indicate something bad?
        Yes, some of the leaders in SA have diverted attention away from their own shortcomings by accusing other race groups (some refugees) of being crooks and drug lords etc, and have caused widespread and violent xenophobia.

        Like

        • disperser says:

          It is but you said you’d use it regardless of the movie being good or bad. Generally, I don’t say something sucks when I like it.

          And yes, it’s human nature to blame others as opposed to taking responsibility.

          Like

        • colonialist says:

          I’d use it simply for the big name value, not for the value of the movie. The movie apparently sucks; too bad. The experience of being in that company was still there.

          Like

        • disperser says:

          Sorry, I don’t follow. “It sucks” is a valid personal opinion but I don’t know what using it for the “big name value” and not for “the value of the movie” means.

          I get the feeling we’re talking about two different things.

          Also, how have you determined the movie apparently sucks?

          The last sentence I don’t understand at all in this context.

          Like

      • colonialist says:

        Sorry, that last comment was indeed totally out of context relating to another comment stream relating to a movie which sucked.
        My original comment was a dreadfully feeble bit of wit relating to what one very often does to a peppermint. Feeble, because one sucks IT, not the other way around. (Well, when it gets late my wordplays can’t always have their normal scintillating brilliance,)

        Like

  4. Important topic, thoughts, and opinions, Emilio!

    I have family members that are African Americans, Mexicans, Asians, Caucasians, and mixed race. So, I have an interesting and very personal perspective when it comes to racism.

    I like revenge movies. But I haven’t seen Peppermint. When it comes to movies, I can put a lot aside as it is just a movie. Maybe I shouldn’t do that, but I do.

    PHOTO: Cool colors and movement!
    CARTOON: HA! (Having taught Kindergarten for years, I still fear pink eye!)
    DOODLE: I’m not great at Checkers…maybe I would have done better before they invented squares!
    HUGS!!! :-)

    PS…I have a question for you…why in some WP blog posts are their words in blue and underlined and if you click on them they go to an advertisement? Is there anyway to stop that from happening?

    Like

    • disperser says:

      I hope none of my links go to advertisements as that would mean they’ve been changed.

      As for a general response, it’s supposed to be helpful but it can obviously be used to market stuff.

      For instance, Wikipedia highlights many words and when they do, clicking on them would take you to another Wikipedia article related to that word.

      BUT . . . some sites (typically commercial sites and not individual blogs) link have contracts with various companies and create keyword links that lead to ads trying to sell you something under the assumption that if you’re interested in the word enough to click on it (for instance, edible undergarments) you might want to buy some.

      I don’t see that in any of the blogs I follow but will see it in articles by publications. If you hover over a link, most browsers will show you the address so you can decide if you want to click on it. On Chrome, this shows up on the lower left of the window.

      One other thing — and this is just my opinion — if you are on a blog or site that is doing that, understand their primary interest is not to inform you but to get you to click those links. Hence, again, my opinion only, everything they write is suspect and likely untrustworthy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • disperser says:

      Also, as for stopping the behavior . . . well, don’t click on those highlighted words unless you trust the source.

      Also, also, thanks for your comment and I’d be interested in hearing your perspective on racism.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. disperser says:

    Carolyn, I’m replying here because the comment will be wider. Also, you’ll have an e-mail record of it.

    To all others, this is a long comment specific to a question; nothing to see here.

    So, I did some quick searches and I don’t see your issue specifically mentioned. To get help, go to your dashboard. If you don’t know how, here’s a reference:

    Obviously, you enter your blog name as opposed to mine. On the top right of the panel there’s the word “help” with a down arrow. Click on that and you get this:

    Click on “General” and you get this big-ass menu . . . go to the bottom and click on “Help & Support”

    When you click that, you get the following menu. Note, you can get to the same menu by going to this web address:
    https://en.support.wordpress.com/
    However, I wanted to show you the other help that’s available.

    At the bottom, you can click on the “Get Help” and you get this next menu:

    Note the boxes I like to check. Obviously, the blog that should be listed is your blog, not mine. Write your question in the box and this is likely to happen:

    They give you a few suggestion for links that might help (they usually don’t) and also the option to “Chat”

    Click on chat and a chat (via text, not speaking) should open up on the right side . . . unless it’s after hours and they then will allow you to e-mail your question.

    I hope this helps. E-mail me if you have other questions.

    Like

  6. AnnMarie says:

    Your photos is, once again, excellent in color and design . . . however . . . an angry baboon comes to mind . . .

    Like

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