…before I head to a doctor to have is surgically removed from my memory:
I'm not angry because Green Book did something crazy outrageous. I'm not mad because Green Book was a bad movie--I'll cop to it being a mediocre movie (at least) in terms of how it was made.
I'm mad because in 2019 the top award in filmmaking went to a movie that, without remorse, coopted a fundamentally black story and made it about white people.
I'm not going to talk about the history of Green Books, you can go read about that elsewhere. But when my mother heard the title "Green Book" she got excited to see it and got excited for me to see it. Because green books were a significant part of black history and it, seemingly, was going to be nice to have a movie that addressed that made and produced on a massive scale.
This movie wasn't that. This movie, honestly, had no right calling itself Green Book because it didn't care about what green books meant. So, of course black people are going to be mad at your movie when you act like your movie is going to be about the struggle and challenges of traveling while black but then produce a movie that is instead about what it means to be a white guy who has to learn to be decent to a black man. Seriously? In 2019? (Or 2018 when it came out.)
You have the inspiring story of Dr. Shirley at your fingertips and you make it about the racist? I honestly don't understand how that isn't infuriating to people.
Not only that, but then you add the fact that they had to pause production for a sit down with the black actors because every black person involved was so blindsided, stunned and confused that the writers/director were taking this particular angle on this story that the reasoning had to be carefully explained? And that a producer for the movie was writing emails to journalists and caps lock yelling at them about their opinions challenging the movie? And the fact that none of the white people thought to thank Dr. Shirley during the Oscars until a reporter asked them about it? AND the fact that Vallelonga can't keep his lies straight about whether he talked to Dr. Shirley's family about the movie or he didn't know they existed (he /literally/ said he didn't know Dr. Shirley's family existed)?
This movie oozes white privilege.
And, you know, shame on me for assuming the Academy was better than this. Shame on me for thinking they'd choose any of the other six possible nominees (Bohemian Rhapsody doesn't count as a nominee--it, along with Green Book, never should have been nominated).
I don't know where I'm going with this. I guess I'm just tired of seeing people today really put thoughts out into the world like "well it wasn't that bad," "worse movies had been made" and "at least they tried."
Sure, it wasn't that bad and worse movies have been made. But this movie was made in bad faith. This movie took the story of a black man's legacy, dumbed it down and bleached it to be about a white man barely, sort of learning to be less racist.
(Ps. Screw Green Book's creators for trying to say this movie is "about friendship." You can't have a movie set in the south in the 60s with a white guy and a black guy and not seriously deal with the racial implications. These people were neither interested in or capable of tackling the racial tension inherent in the story, so they focused on a white dude befriending a black man in as simple terms as possible. Even if you don't agree with how awful everything else is, that's just lazy filmmaking.)