Sunday, August 28, 2011

Parody

Do people remember "Wholly Moses?" Dudley Moore vehicle from the early-80s? It's not wonderful - fairly transparent attempt to do a "Life of Brian" for the Old Testament...


The premise is that Moore is a random Exodus-era shepherd who happens to be around the corner from where Moses is recieving instruction from the Burning Bush and goes off on an adventure assuming that the voice of God was talking to HIM. It's part of the weird subgenre of mildly-amusing "Bible Spoofs" that seem aimed at Sunday School kids just coming into their own irreverence (see also: "Year One.")

I was just thinking today that I'd love to see a variation on the "unimportant minor character who mistakes himself for the hero" gag applied to a spoof of movies like "The Help" - which has officially become a "sleeper hit" and thus an almost-certain Oscar/Globes/etc contender, whoopee - about a clueless white character who happens to be randomly around during certain key points of the early Civil Rights movement and assumes himself/herself (probably herself, given the subject under-scrutiny) to be some kind of "Hero of The Cause." To my mind, this sounds like a great vehicle for someone like Anna Faris in the lead - backed-up, of course, by a slew of black comics doing cameo character-riffs on famous figures (MLK, Malcom, Rosa Parks, etc.) Maybe get Morgan Freeman in to do a takeoff on "Miss Daisy." In the right hands, that could be hysterical.

What would it be called, though? "I'm Helping!" or "The Blonde Side" is all I can come up with off the top of my head.

31 comments:

Peter LaValle said...

I'd attend that

Arturo said...

No words can describe how much the world needs Richard Pryor right now

Sylocat said...

That... is brilliant, actually. It does seem like what we need right now.

I hope we could get permission to make it an R-rated spoof, that way we might actually get to touch on some of the more important topics.

Drunken Lemur said...

This only reminds me that we are stuck with Friedburg and Seltzer.

The Grey Man said...

If that's the case, what would it be called? Racist Movie?

Sylocat said...

@The Grey Man:

Well, that would certainly get people talking...

Dave from canada said...

That actually would be a good idea. Unfortunately for obvious reasons were it ever to be done, it would most likely be done in the worst way possible.

No white filmmaker alive is going to touch irreverent racial politics with a ten foot pole.

And while I'm sure I'm not alone in my vain hope that aaron mcgruder would do it, we'd almost certainly get some reject from BET to turn it into a modern day minstrel show.


Actually, bob have you seen the boondocks? They don't QUITE do what you are proposing, but they do lampoon the 'white yuppie champions a misunderstood black youth' a couple thousand times. Fittingly enough it is done with more humour and sensitivity than any of the schmaltzy feel good movies ever do.

It also has quite positively the most EPIC Tyler Perry takedowns in recent memory. One episode is essentially dedicated to boiling down every aspect of his career and character down to the essentials and mocking it ruthlessly.

Honestly the entire show sounds like it would be right up your alley. An anime written by a black dude with the name of a scott about contemporary racial politics intersperced with Star wars references and call back to old samurai and wuxia films. And in the later seasons you average about one martial arts fight per 2 episodes.

If you haven't seen it, you really ought to. It's the only politically minded cartoon that hasn't come off as preachy or missing the point.

MovieBob said...

@Dave from canada,

"The Boondocks" is whiplash-inducing for me: Sometimes it's one of the sharpest and most brutal comedies - with a smattering of real heartfelt emotional ressonance - and other times it's lame slapstick and dated-by-the-time-the-animation-is-finished pop-culture humor. "Return of The King" is easily one of the best half-hours of television ever... so long as you can ignore the weak Oprah joke it inexplicably ends on.

That said, I think the show is worthwhile if for no other reason than it's covering an area of comedy and satire that NO ONE else is covering from an angle that NO ONE else is providing. "The Trial of R. Kelley" is what "South Park" would be like if it had a theme beyond "everyone is stupid except Matt & Trey."

Sofie Liv Pedersen said...

Bob, I need to thank you!

I have been looking for an original funny subject to my next script.

(I have written several short movies which were filmed, a single filmed independent motion picture, and two motion picture lenght scripts which are for sale, but no one is thus far interested in buying.)

That idea is insanely genius and funny, and guess what! I am a white, blond, lady. If I write that, I can't be faulted for being sexiest! Hah! ... I gotta go to the library now and do some re-search.
My biggest problem is here that neither am I american, so I don't know that much about the black history. But it's such a good idea, I am going to write that down and keep it on me.

Chris said...

I never really got Dudley Moore's style of humor. There's a guy who I work with who will quote Arthur endlessly at the mention of anything close to Dudley Moore and it is all I can do to not stab a pencil into my ears. Maybe I just don't find drunk humor funny or maybe it's Dudley Moore's style.

Him and Woody Allen fall into the same comedic black hole for me.

Mister Linton said...

Bob, still with the bleeding heart white guilt huh?

Side note; my favorite of these style comedies is The Lion King 1&1/2.

Matt said...
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Matt said...

@Mister Linton

You know, the idea of White Guilt might actually be taken seriously by people of worth and dignity if it was used more selectively than in every situation where a white person mentions the fact that black people exist without calling them a nigger and suggesting that they be hanged.

biomechanical923 said...

@Matt:
Cool Straw Man, bro. We can all see what you're doing, and we all know you're full of bullshit for doing it.

jojjo said...

biomechanical923/
And we can all see what you and Linton are doing too :)

biomechanical923 said...

@jojjo
Really? What exactly am I doing? I pointed out that it's bullshit to implicate somebody as a racist for not feeling guilty over something that he shouldn't feel guilty about.

Mister Linton said...

@jojjo

What am I doing? C'mon, accuse me of being racist. It gives me and my family a big laugh.

jojjo said...

And I am just pointing out how out of nowhere the "white guilt" comment was in the first place.

jojjo said...

Linton/
Well it's good to laugh, so okay: "I think you're a racist" ;)

Mister Linton said...

@jojjo
Did you read last weeks intermission? This is simply him continuing to whine about "The Help".

Matt said...

@biomechanical923

There's a difference between a strawman argument and a use of hyperbole.

jojjo said...

Linton/
Yes I did, and yes it is. My point still stands.

biomechanical923 said...

@Matt
I'm well aware of the difference between a strawman and a hyperbole, thanks.

Hyperbole: Linton says something that's a little bit racist, and you paint him as being a huge racist.

Strawman: Linton says something that's not racist, and you call him a racist anyway.

You used a strawman, sir.

biomechanical923 said...

"Liberal Guilt" also known as "White Guilt" is the fauxgressive idea that all people on earth have a right to mutual respect and understanding. It says that regardless of race, you are entitled to feel dignified about who you are, except for "white people" because they're the devil. Pointing out this hypocrisy is automatically met with indignant accusations of "racism!" in an attempt to silence dissent through fearmongering, as Matt and jojjo have most graciously demonstrated.

Even most liberals recognize this as eliminationist propaganda.

Matt said...

@biochemical

That's a fair analysis, except for the fact that I did not call him a racist, at all even. I merely employed a hyperbole demonstrating to illustrate the fact that people throw around those terms far too often for the concept to be taken seriously.

I'm well aware of what white guilt is. The problem I have is that, as per your definition, it's not at all applicable to Bob's post. There's simply nothing about the idea of a parody of a white person thinking they are doing some good during the civil rights movement when they actually aren't doesn't even connect with what you said. In fact, the main character, the butt of all the jokes, would most naturally be a person who suffers from White Guilt. Though, of course, that couldn't possibly be the case because Bob's a white guy with liberal leanings talking about black people, and so naturally he's got a heavy case of White Guilt, right?

biomechanical923 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
biomechanical923 said...

Not necessarily from this post, no. But having followed Bob for quite some time, there seems to be a pretty heavy dose of Liberal shame in the past year that wasn't there before.

You won't make black friends just by saying "sorry that I'm white"
You won't get a girlfriend by saying "sorry for being a heterosexual male"
You wont make poor friend for saying "sorry that I'm rich"

I'm not sure why liberals feel like cultural redemption has to start at the point of feeling like garbage for everything you are.

Matt said...

So then, judging by "Not necessarily from this post, no", you would agree that "Bob, still with the bleeding heart white guilt huh?" is an example of an errant overuse of the term "White Guilt"?

biomechanical923 said...

@Matt.
This is from Bob's review of "The Help".

"[The Help] aims to contextualize historical events that were primarily about the suffering and indignation of black people in a manner that white people can absorb without experiencing any vague sense of historical guilt."

Which seems to heavily imply that white people should somehow feel guilt for something that they had no control over, and most likely didn't even happen in their lifetime.

The fact that Bob didn't say something exactly like that in this post doesn't make it less true.

I wouldn't call it "errant" but I would say that it borders on Confirmation Bias.

Matt said...

But... this isn't the comments section in his review of "The Help". If it were, I would have accepted and even agreed with the criticism that Bob suffers from White Guilt, as your interpretation of the quoted sentence very much matches my own.

The issue, as I've said, is that accusing Bob of suffering from White Guilt based on this blog post is a blatant overuse of the term. When you use a term, especially one as emotionally charged as "White Guilt", in situations where it doesn't apply, you (the plural) render it next to meaningless and its users will inevitably be the subject of ridicule. Then, in cases when it actually does apply, you are left with no one taking you seriously, diluting the strength of your cause. The accusation would have applied to his review of The Help, it doesn't here. Plain and simple. That's all my point ever was.

jojjo said...

Bio/
I would actually dispute that interpretation. It doesn't imply that people should feel guilty, it just assumes that they do; and since Hollywood want a wide audience they choose to make the main character white in order to soften the message. Not a call for white guilt but merely an observation about white guilt, and how the movie industry handles it.