Archive for July 2016

The Great Wall: Is It Whitewashing?   3 comments

So we’re here again with another Hollywood movie set in another country that’s not the US with the main character played by a white actor. We’ve seen this happen time and time again over the years and the last few years have seen people on social media calling out Hollywood for whitewashing. But is it, though? For the people living in the US, from our perspective and without further knowledge from the inner workings of Hollywood, yes. From an outsider’s perspective, not so much.

Whitewashing is a big problem in Hollywood movies. It stems from the industry culture that a movie will not do well overseas or attract producers/investors if the the main character (or the cast in general) are no name actors. And what does Hollywood have? Lots of well known white actors. To sell a movie overseas, they would need to include an up and coming, rising, seasoned, or veteran performer. Depending on the intent or source material for the movie, casting based on profitability causes problems as far as authenticity is concerned.

If a studio were to shoot some random fantasy movie in China about ancient China, investors in the board room would probably say things like this:

Investors: “I like this movie concept. But you know what would be nice? If it had MATT DAMON!!!”

It doesn’t matter if these investors are American or Chinese. As far as the studio and the filmmakers are concerned, the investors have the money. Not only that, investors act on behalf of their target audience. For The Great Wall‘s case, it’s the Chinese market. China has a big movie industry with lots of big name actors. But Chinese moviegoers also love Hollywood movies. The whole world loves Hollywood. The movies. The actors. The culture. Hollywood is a global entity. We’ve seen foreign commercials starring Hollywood actors. These are not coincidences. They were hired because the target market for that country wants to see them. This goes for movies on a bigger scale.

So we’re at an impasse, one side (Americans) calling out the whitewashing and the other side (the rest of the world) who don’t really have a problem with having famous non-native white actors in movies set in their country, be it fantasy or based on true stories. They actually embrace it. At the end of the day, Hollywood is still an industry driven by money. So what can you do?

There are several things you can do…

  • Jackie Chan and Jet Li did not get famous out of nowhere. Hollywood took notice that Jackie Chan and Jet Li were very popular worldwide. Their movies were also popular at Blockbuster and local cinemas running foreign film showings. So Rush Hour and Lethal Weapon 4 were most of America’s introduction to Jackie Chan and Jet Li, respectively. Support foreign films. Watch foreign films. Buy foreign films. Which brings me to my next topic…
  • STOP DOWNLOADING/STREAMING MOVIES ILLEGALLY!!! If you want to see changes in Hollywood, including proper representation, put your money where your mouth is. Money talks and Hollywood listens.

Like everything else, there are exceptions. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was a masterpiece with famous Chinese performers and overall fantastic visual storytelling. You could say that movie is an example that you don’t need white actors to make foreign movies successful worldwide, but you have to keep in mind that the joint Taiwanese-Chinese-Hong Kong-American film was most of America’s first exposure to flying choreographed martial arts. That was the gimmick that sold American audience to the movie. The movie was considered average in China/Hong Kong since they already have lots of movies using that uses better flying choreographed martial arts and storytelling.

As for The Great Wall, all we know right now is that Matt Damon and other non-Chinese actors are in the film. It’s an epic fantasy movie with their enemies as “dragons” or something. We still don’t know what Matt Damon’s role is, but people are already jumping to conclusions as to what it really is. Over generalization cuts both ways and hurts your message.

I’m done.

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Posted July 31, 2016 by StupidSystemus in Rant

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My July 4th Weekend   Leave a comment

For July 4th weekend, my family and I went to Calgary in Alberta, Canada to visit my cousin and her family.

We drove to Banff and stayed there overnight to go to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. The next day, we rode the Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain and the Cosmic Ray Station and the Cascade Gardens. An hour or so drive later, we went back to Calgary and took them to Calgary Tower.

I’m done.

Posted July 18, 2016 by StupidSystemus in Video