Monday, September 21, 2015

Being There (1979)

I will take this movie over Forrest Gump any day of the week. We like Gump because it is easy to digest: a man of limited mental capabilities is able to succeed in America by not thinking, doing as he's told and being nice to people. That's a reassuring message. But it's also not the world we live in. If it were that simple, we would all be shrimping millionaires. It's the type of message that pacifies and keeps us from getting angry about the state of things. Being There isn't afraid to state the hard truths. Former maid Louise lays it right out on front street: 
"It's for sure a white man's world in America. Look here: I raised that boy since he was the size of a piss-ant. And I'll say right now, he never learned to read and write. No, sir. Had no brains at all. Was stuffed with rice pudding between th' ears. Shortchanged by the Lord, and dumb as a jackass. Look at him now! Yes, sir, all you've gotta be is white in America, to get whatever you want. Gobbledy-gook!"
This film is particularly relevant in an election year. If you haven't seen it in a while or have never seen it before, give it a watch before heading to the polls. Satire doesn't get much more biting.

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