If you are some of you are my friends on Facebook and you decide to follow and read my status updates then you may have noticed that I recently went to see a movie called Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I am not going to review that film, but I do want to talk a little about ethnic movies. When people use the word ethnic, they usually think of black or latino or Asian, but to me ethnic means about a race or a group of people from the same background. Ethnic movies these days are really rare, I mean in this day and age we live in a world where every race and creed has a shot and so the people who make movies decide to show every color under the rainbow. Granted films from other countries to this, but we are in the US, and there are a boatload of different cultures. I supposed the film makers are right for trying to get everyone into their movies, but I find that stupid. I like movies about one group.
Another sad trend in the world of ethnic movies is they are not as hardcore or visceral as they used to be. People don't have the balls to make a movie about about a group of people and show them their underbelly. I will list some movies that show the underbelly of different cultures and how harsh they can be to one another.
The Color Purple
One of the best movies made about African Americans and their struggles. It is not only a movie about African Americans, but about women, friendship, and the will to survive. It is a rare type of movie that has an almost black cast and the main villain is black. It also deals with atonement and forgiveness. It is harsh, crude, sad, funny, and just an all around great movie. It is also a movie that shows us you can be really be fucked up and show fucked up things and still be PG13. Directed by Steven Speilberg. Nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won none.
Boyz N The Hood
One of the best black movies ever made. This one is a hard movie, with a hard R and directed by a truly great director. How John Singleton didn't win the Oscar for this. This a tragic story that deals in a sort of slice of life, of what people experience in the black ghetto. It is 20 years old now, but it feels so fresh with its great dialog and great editing. I still love the soundtrack. I also like how it acknowledges fathers in black households. People tend to forget about black fathers and this is one of the few movies that shows a positive light. Check it out. Directed by John Singleton. ***John Singleton married and divorced Akosia Busia who played Nettie in The Color Purple
One of the most fucked up movies I have ever seen. It is one of those movies where, you cannot believe how evil people can be. To me this is was the second to last ethnic movie made in the last 5 years or so. It is one of those movies where you think the ugly and mean parts are over but then they just sucker punch you with even more and its one of those movies where the villain is truly and I mean truly an evil person. It's a strange, slow, graphic and hard core movie that is not for the faint of heart. Directed by Lee Daniels and it won 2 Oscars. Best Supporting Actress Mo'Nique and Best Adapted Screenplay
My father and I have a lot of arguments about this movie. It is about Latino jail culture and gang life, but like what I always tell him is that no matter how noble Latinos act, it is still part of our culture. I mean I am a straight shooting hispanic male who has never ran the streets or anything in his life, but I have had my brush with Latino gang bangers. It is a harsh movie that has rapes, and violence and betrayal and so it can be hard to watch. Check it out. Not the best movie made but good nonetheless. Directed by Edward James Olmos
My Family(Mi Famalia)
This is the obligatory Latino film. I think it is a requirement by law for every Latino family to watch this. Gregory Nava made an honest Latino film, that is quiet, but harsh at the same time. To me it makes this list because it is one of the most realistic movies about how the dynamics of Latino family life are. I mean when I saw it, I saw my own family. It is not shot well in my opinion, but it does have a killer soundtrack with the great song Latino anthem "Angel Baby" sung by Angelique. Directed by Gregory Nava
One of the most current ethnic movies out there today. It is a story about Latinos in San Francisco and even though the story is a bit odd, and deals with sexuality and acceptance, it is also about Latino fathers and sons and when I saw that movie I saw a lot of the arguements I have had with my father. It is a brutal movie in the way that it shows Latino fathers as ignorant at times and downright stubborn, but it shows San Francisco so beautifully and in it's own way makes one proud to be a Hispanic. It does not glorify the need of a family like My Family does or the gang banger life, but what it does do is this. It shows what a cool culture Latinos have, especially in San Francisco. Just remember it is graphic and it deals with issues of homosexuality, alcoholism and dysfunctional families. Directed by Peter Bratt
The Joy Luck Club
Wow, this is an amazing movie about 4 Chinese women and their mothers and it is a deep, moving film. Like Latinos the Chinese have an endless rules about life and love, and Wayne Wang tried to show this on screen from the epic novel by Amy Tan. It is a brutal film in it shows how evil men can be and just how far women will go to survive. Its a movie that is shown in stories and it shows stories from the daughters point of view and from their mothers. I included this hard R rated movie because it doesn't pull any punches. It takes a lot of balls to show the underbelly of the Chinese cultures and it has one of the saddest scenes I have ever seen. Like My Family it has some cheesy moments but it is brutal and well written. I love this movie a lot and with an ex of mine we watched it all the time. This is the movie that made me hate Andrew McCartney Directed by Wayne Wang
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
I said I wouldn't review this movie, but this is probably the only other real Chinese ethnic movie I have seen. I have seen a lot of Chinese movies. I have seen a lot of the action ones and I have also seen a lot of the dramatic ones, but they were made in China, so they cannot be included. It's just a sweet movie about friendship of 2 women who mirrors the friendship of 2 of their ancestors. It was PG13 and I wish Wayne Wang had made it an R rated feature. I think it would have benefited that. After seeing Harry Potter go watch this movie at the Century 9, the West Field mall. Directed by Wayne Wang.
That is all for right now. I wanted to talk about The Town and Goodfellas, but that is for a another day!