There is certain subject matter that is hard to transfer into film. Police brutality, police misconduct, and racism are a harsh reality that many people still deal with today. Detroit is a film that covers this subject matter during the events of the 1967 Detroit riot. More specifically, the Algiers Motel incident that took place during the night of July 25–26. Going into this film, I did not do any research about the film’s plot. I assumed that it was a purely fictional story set around the police brutality of Black people during the Detroit riots. The director, Kathryn Bigelow, does a great job at making you feel like you were in the situation with the characters. The film’s story was not one sided in showing that all cops are bad. It showed that cops are people just like us. Yes, we saw a lot of bad cops in this film, but we also saw some who just wanted to help, some who did not wanted to be involved, and some who were just confused. We also got to see how the riots made some of the Black characters feel. Some Black people were just angry at the system that they lived in, some wanted to make sure that other Black people survived and did not do anything stupid, and some were just caught in the middle while trying to live their lives. I felt just as scared as the characters while sitting and watching the events unfold on the screen. I believe this was because Kathryn Bigelow knew exactly which camera angles to use to make the space feel tight, bringing on a feeling of claustrophobia for me as a viewer. This was very similar to the direction she used in her previous films, The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. The story of Detroit started out a little slow, but picked up as the film progressed. I had to remind myself that this is a crime drama and not an action film as much of the “action” was driven by the situation and the dialogue. Each of the actors involved did a great job portraying their characters. This film is packed with great actors. There even a few cameos that I was not expecting. The standout of the film for me was Will Poulter. He disappeared into his role of the racist cop, Philip Krauss. He has come a long way from We’re the Millers and should continue to take more roles like this, as it can only benefit his career. John Boyega did great portraying Melvin Dismukes as well. For most of the film I felt his character was unnecessary and shoehorned into the plot for the sake of adding star power. However, as the film progressed, I found out exactly why he was necessary to the plot. This wasn’t the starring role for Boyega that the trailers led me to believe, but he was still good inclusion to the film. Additionally, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith, and Jacob Latimore had great performances as Robert Greene, Larry Reed, and Fred Temple. Detroit is a film that can be hard to watch at times, but you have to power through. There were times where I felt sick to my stomach seeing what was being done to the characters while being interrogated by the cops. It wasn’t just the police brutality that made me feel this way. It was also the officer’s lack of compassion and irresponsibility of the justice system during that time period. Not knowing what would happen to characters by the end of the story had me on the edge of my seat with anticipation. I give Detroit a Decent 8.7/10. This film is a must watch as it reminds us that the issues of police brutality and racism we faced in the past are still present today. It is great to remind ourselves of how far we have come as a country and how much more we can do to continue to improve. Only together can we move forward as a nation!
Most people my age have seen the film Forrest Gump. This Tom Hanks classic was dubbed “the ’60s for dummies” by my high school social studies teacher, and it really is all that and more. The film is historical fiction at its best. It takes the fictional character of Forrest and thrusts him into important historical events during the ’60s and ’70s. Its an overall great film and a must watch if you haven’t seen it. Actually, if you haven’t seen the film, then you should watch it before reading this article because it contains SPOILERS! Now, on to the theory that will blow your minds. Forrest Gump’s father was a Black man, making Forrest a biracial man, unknowingly passing as White. Bare with me as I have a plethora of evidence to back up my claim.
He Was Different
“Your boy is different Mrs. Gump.”
Mrs. Gump always insisted on telling Forrest that he was no different than the other boys and girls. Yet, almost everyone in the film claimed that he was. The film leads you to believe that it is because he has a low IQ, but this is clearly misdirection. The principle brings up his IQ in addition to him being “different”. Clearly, certain people in town knew or had suspicions of the boy’s biracial status. Mrs. Gump wanted Forrest to go to a normal school with normal children in the town. Meaning that she wanted him to go to a Whites only school, which was better than a school for Colored children. Being biracial, Forrest would not be allowed to attend school with White children due to segregation in the South.
An Absent Father
“Vacation’s when you go somewhere and you never come back.”
We never find out what actually happened for Forrest’s father. In the beginning, Mrs. Gump lets us know that Forrest’s dad is never coming back. She repeatedly states that “he’s on vacation” to everyone who asks. This leads me to believe that Forrest’s father was either a Black man who passed through town, stayed at the house, slept with Mrs. Gump and then left; or even sadder, he was lynched for being in a relationship with a White woman; or both. During this time in the South, it wasn’t uncommon for black people to be lynched, especially for fornicating with White people. While Mrs. Gump may have come from a racist family, we are led to believe she was different. Examples of this include: her healthy relationship with her maid Louise, her thinking of how silly the Ku Klux Klan was, and her acceptance of other peoples and cultures.
His Natural Dancing Ability
Young Forrest dancing for Elvis
Now, I’m getting into stereotyping, but these are still valid points. We saw that Forrest had the natural ability to dance. Black people are known for having rhythm. Even with leg braces on, Forrest could move his hips to Elvis’ tune on the guitar. If he didn’t get into sports, then he would have had a nice future ahead of him in showbusiness.
His Natural Athletic Ability
Run Forrest, Run!
You all knew this one was coming. This was a given because Forrest was a college football star! As the starting running back for the Alabama Crimson Tide football team, he was untouchable. His speed was unrivaled and allowed for him to become a First Team All-American! Playing sports was a good way for black people to get into college in the ’60s, and this fact helps solidify my theory. Without his natural athletic ability, he probably wouldn’t have been accepted into the University of Alabama. #RollTide
“Like a duck in water”
Let’s not forget that he was also a ping pong champion! While serving in the U.S. Army, Forrest became a member of the All-American ping pong team. Once again showing off his natural athletic prowess against those who some would say perfected the sport. We are led to believe that he was unbeatable during his time playing this sport as well.
Embracing His Roots
Church every Sunday, praying for shrimp
Forrest had no problem associating with Black people at any point in the film. His best friend, Benjamin Buford “Bubba” Blue, was Black. He had no problem helping a young Vivian Malone with her books when she was allowed to attend the University of Alabama. He had no problem keeping his promise to Bubba’s family about their shrimping boat company. Also, we see him regularly attending a Black church during his days as a shrimping boat Captain in Louisiana. Lastly, not once do we here him use a racial slur against any person of color, despite hearing the vernacular many times from his peers and elders.
He Doesn’t Age
Forrest reading Curious George to little Forrest
They say “Black don’t crack” and clearly Forrest didn’t get a single wrinkle during the 38 year span of his life depicted in the film. He looks the same at 38 as he did when he was a teenager. I know, I know, it’s a film. I realize Robert Zemeckis wanted Tom Hanks to play him throughout his entire life, but they could have aged him up with makeup if they wanted. They knew that most Black people do not show signs of aging until their mid-50s, if not later.
Please watch this film again, and tell me if you think I’m crazy! It makes sense, if you really think about it.
I know you’re probably thinking this is going to be an article about the #MCU, but it’s not. As a Black man growing up I didn’t have many superheroes that I related to. My first introduction to a Black superhero was Blade in when I was eight years old. He was the first superhero that I ever saw on the big screen yet he was different from your normal hero. He wasn’t well-known to the public, he didn’t wear a cape, and he murdered anyone who got in his way! I thought he was pretty awesome, but not many of my friends knew who he was. Blade remains my favorite hero to this day, but Blade wasn’t the reason I fell in love with superhero movies. The blame for that lies with a little known DCOM called Up, Up and Away.
A Family Of Superheroes
The 2000 Disney Channel Original Movie is a comedy/adventure about a boy from a family of superheroes who, despite not having any superpowers of his own, is called on to save the world. What was great about this film to me was that all of the main heroes were Black. Not only were they Black, but they were your typical nuclear family. Somewhat like if the Huxtables were secretly superheroes. I could connect with the main character Scott Marshall/Warrior Eagle as I also had an older brother who was better at things than I and a younger sister who was annoying. He just wanted to impress his parents, which is something every kid wants to do, no matter how old they get. Seeing this film normalized the idea for me that Black people could be great superheroes and that superheroes aren’t always out saving the world. Sometimes they just want to spend time with their family.
Looking back, without seeing Up, Up and Away I would have never fallen in love with superheroes in general, let alone any movies made about them. After seeing this film is when I especially started reading comics and trying to write a few of my own. My love of putting my ideas on paper and writing stories was sparked at that moment. It has since evolved to my love of writing movie reviews and stories about the movie business. If you have not had the chance to see this film I recommend that you look it up online and try to find a copy. Its well worth a watch.