Sunday, September 25, 2005

Roll Bounce

See, I'm not completely out of it. I finally published the last post because something in the mainstream media came along that made my point precisely. I just saw the movie Roll Bounce yesterday, and I was impressed. The movie is set in Chicago, and there were some interesting uses of local sites. The movie begins in a roller rink. The roller rink used as the site has been the location of a few Skate Nights by my daughter's school. Also, the outside of Navy Pier was used as the facade of the "North Side" roller rink. That the terms "South Side" and "North Side" are used regularly in the movie is also a nice Chicago touch. Bow Wow wears a Chicago T-Shirt in a number of scenes, and in one scene, I even saw an old White Sox T-Shirt on an extra. Very nice.

My favorite scene had to be a remake of the drive-by scene in Boyz N the Hood...with water balloons. Very funny, although I'm certain that the young audience in the theater with me didn't catch the reference.

Anyway, besides the Chicago-centric aspect of this movie, in his review, Roger Ebert makes my point from my previous post:

Film by film, the makers of "Roll Bounce" have been creating a new world in American movies. This is a world in which black people live in well-kept homes, have jobs, don't do drugs, don't have guns, aren't in gangs, don't call anybody "bitch" and do not use a famous 12-letter word.

It is sad that I need to write such a paragraph, but relevant: The dominant image of African-Americans in the movies is of the lawless, the violent and the drugged. This image does not represent the majority of black people, but it works as subtle propaganda in the minds of audiences of all races.

Now consider some titles. The producers of "Roll Bounce," Robert Teitel and George Tillman Jr., also made "Soul Food," "Men of Honor" (with Cuba Gooding as the first black Navy diver), "Barbershop" and its spin-offs, and "Beauty Shop." Some of the movies are better than others, but all of them have good hearts. They reflect a reality that is missing in the Friday night multiplex specials.

Thank you, Roger Ebert.

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