Well into week three of California’s lockdown with a high likelihood of two more months of it, I, along with much of the world, have been streaming a tonne of content. Day after day it’s been show after movie after documentary. I’ve been trying to cut myself some slack for not writing as much as I think I should but today I thought I’d ease back into it by finally opening my laptop to review The Good, The Bad and The Fugly [just not in that order and all of these titles are available on Netflix – if you do not have an account, you better ask somebody for their password like I did].
Circus Of Books
This documentary is set for release on 22 April. It’s about a couple who own a popular porn shop in West Hollywood so right away you know it panders to the white gays. Not even 10 minutes in, you have a white gay man trying to diminish Stonewall’s importance by stating how a protest against police at the Black Cat Tavern in Silverlake came first. And? There were demonstrations that happened before Black Cat too but none of them sparked the level of organisation and cultural impact of Stonewall. It’s disgusting how white gay men will try to erase QTPoC at every turn. Unsurprising but still gross.
JAM! South African crime drama and Netflix’s first African original series. It showcases great talent and real social commentary on African politics. It touches upon war, weapons trade, colonialism, apartheid, division within Africa [East vs West] and corruption and all without centering whiteness. It also serves up solid action and humour! I love her Grandma who is funny as hell. When Queen Sono takes a shot at her driving and her Grandma tells her to piss off. 😂 I can relate to THAT. Only six episodes so you can smash this one out in a night.
A Korean political period drama with zombies! These flesh eaters are no joke and they stay symbolic of the class struggles throughout the Korean Empire. Whether they’re the hungry working class or pawns in a war, they provide another level of complexity to the royal family’s power plays. They also got some bomb ass costumes [lemme get one of those purple robes with the high hat and prayer bead combo].
I remember having a conversation with my brother Miki as teens where we were like “are actors in foreign films killing it or do they just appear to be because we can’t understand what they’re saying?” Well the answer is yes, they can act their asses off. I think being a non-Hollywood production really helps cuz they’re not caught up in all the fluff and the focus can be the art. Season two just came out recently and they’re 6 episodes each so another series you can smash out!
This is some profound shit! A Spanish sci-fi thriller set in a vertical prison that sends this magnificent feast down the chain everyday, leaving whoever’s at the bottom with the floors above’s scraps. The prisoners never know which level they’re gonna wake up on or who they’re gonna share a cell with either so you see how their situation is a crap shoot that dictates how well they eat and where they sit in this societal structure. And the only way to elevate is to spring board off [and in many cases kill] everyone below you. Sounds familiar! If you’re a lil squeamish, be prepared to turn your head cuz there’s some cannibalism and overall nastiness. Between this and “Tiger King” [which we’ll get to] I really don’t miss eating meat!
Self Made: Inspired By The Life Of Madam CJ Walker
I find it hard to get into biopics when you know stuff has been dramatised to the detriment of a real life human being [making Lisa Lopes look loony in “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story] or to prop up a white saviour and their behaviours that didn’t exist [a la “Green Book”]. In this series, they really play up the rivalry between Madam CJ Walker and Annie Monroe with colourism being a driving factor. The Annie Monroe inspired character’s played by a light skinned woman who does everything in her power to undermine for dark skinned counterpart. Colourism is a real issue but that wasn’t actually part of their relationship as both women were dark skinned. Pitting two Black women against one another for conflict was so unnecessary and we’ve seen that over and over. Came across as very forced and I couldn’t make it past a couple of episodes.
Don’t Fuck With Cats / Tiger King
Feel like everybody’s seen these so I’m just lumping these two documentaries together in the crazy white psychos obsessed with felines category. There’s more to it than that but what they have in common is they represent how white people can get away with murder and even if they get caught they’re treated with such delicacy. Both documentaries also remind of me how white people can be very vocal about protecting and fighting for animals but blink an eyelid when it comes to the killing of Black and brown bodies. You’ll lose a few brain cells watching these but they are definitely entertaining/captivating [and disturbing as hell].
A Cinderella Story
Promise I didn’t plan on watching this shit, my nephew Austin had the whole damn movie on his Instagram story. Definitive no.