My wife and I finally saw Green Book last night. It made both of us laugh at loud often and almost brought tears to her eyes a few times. It’s based on a true story, about how a black piano prodigy(Mahershala Ali), schooled in Leningrad, hires a tough Italian-American bouncer(Viggo Mortensen) to be his driver and sort of valet on a concert tour before rich people who want to appear cultured from Pittsburgh to Macon, Georgia and Montgomery, Alabama, as well as other places.
The identity politics crowd hated it because the black guy is the wealthy, elitist, snobbish, and out-of-touch artist–he’d never eaten fried chicken before–who happens to be gay and the white guy is a casually racist blue-collar type who, endearingly played by Mortensen, figures out racism as enforced in the Jim Crow South is really just a bunch of bullshit.
Spoiler alert for next paragraph only.
The pianist, Doctor Shirley(who has like 4 PhDs), harps on Tony “Lip(because he’s a great bullshitter)” Vallelonga for his stereotypes and, in once scene that certainly pissed off the ID politics types, gets his comeuppance when Tony tells him that he, the Italian, is actually “more black” than his own snooty self because he’s the one who understands the majority of oppressed, working class black people far more than he does, and it’s true!
I empathize with that, because although I’m white, my experiences and living situations overlap those of most African Americans far more than anything Barack Obama lived through. I’ve had black people tell me I understand them far better than someone like Obama ever could, and they’re not just saying that to suck up to whitey here. Not in Cleveland, they’re not.
The movie’s incredibly well-directed by Peter Farrelly, is period-specific with no anachronisms that I saw, and shows how circumstances can bring two human beings from immensely different backgrounds together in a manner that exemplifies the best ways people can rise above their own biases. In fact, the two original people remained friends for life, and died just few months apart in 2013.
If you like very well-done, human, and class conscious movies, not to mention great acting, you’ll love this movie.
We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.--Franklin Delano Roosevelt
With Bernie Sanders, we have the receipts. --Nina Turner
Did you see If Beale Street Could Talk, yet? I haven’t seen Green Book, so I can’t compare them–I’ll check it out, now that you make the argument it’s not the watered-down main$tream trash I’ve read about it being, in the LA Times.
But I saw Beale Street and it was absolutely overwhelming with Baldwin’s stark and frank look at the black community and the stunning, life-shattering racism that is so prevalent in their common experience. It deeply moved me. I find it hard to believe that people would find Green Book worthy of Best Picture, but leave If Beale Street Could Talk out of consideration. But there ya go–that’s what the Oscars did–no accounting for taste.