POC I'm Watching: Eddie Spears

So I finally got a chance to sit down to rent and watch Black Cloud.  It's one of those films that best watched on mute, and not simply because of all the glorious eye candy.  Black Cloud is an "inspirational" tale about  young Navajo boxer, but it's a white American production.

So right there, you know there's going to be problems.

My biggest problem is that POC got the worst portrayals in the film; they were either violently angry or stiff, wooden, two-dimensional talking heads.  It was frustrating as hell, because I know that if Native Americans had been put squarely in charge of everything, this film could've been phenomenal.

My biggest beef was the characterization of Black Cloud himself, portrayed by the jaw-dropping Eddie Spears.  Black Cloud is a young Navajo man who can't remember his mother, has an alcoholic father, is living in poverty on the Navajo reservation, and when applying for "res housing" he gets kicked to the end of the waiting list because he's a "mixed blood."  Turns out, one of his paternal ancestors was basically the equivalent of Dances-with-Wolves.

*retch*

Naturally, Black Cloud ain't too happy with his situation, and we see that he is furious.  He knows his history; he's furious over the murder and exploitation of his people, over the modern imperialism he deals with daily, and yet...Black Cloud's anger is presented to the audience as being irrational, self-destructive, and unnecessary.  When Black Cloud calls out his trainer, a Navajo man who fought for the US army, he's called ignorant.

And after beating the shit out of a white guy, dodging arrest from the guy's uncle (a cop) because police "ain't got no power on the res", Black Cloud is later pulled over off the reservation while driving drunk by the same cop. This cop lets him go after imparting some bullshit about "playing the hand we're dealt" and reminiscing about John Wayne films ("Things were simpler back then").  Seriously?  Last I recalled, Native American and Latino men get pulled out of their cars for a lot less in this country.

Black Cloud's archnemesis in the ring is a loudmouth, angry black man (surprise, surprise).  We're not even told why he's angry, because apparently in the white mind, there's no "reason" why a black man would be angry.

Speaking of black people in this film, I noticed something about the musical themes.  When Black Cloud is training for his fights, sublimating his anger towards white people, or all in all being a good little Indian, country music is playing.  When he gets mad about his white heritage, he self-destructs, starts drinking heavily, and rebels by going to hang with other "mixed bloods."  Apparently, they're all "losers" (to quote a pure-blooded character); the girls are hoes, the mixed blood crowd drinks too much, they're all profane, and surprise, surprise...they listen to hip hop.  The not-so-subtle message to Native Americans rings quite clear: follow us, but avoid them.

Don't even get me started on the depiction of women in this film.  The good ones are either dead (like Black Cloud's mom), dumb (like his girlfriend, who went partying with some white boy, got knocked up, and left to raise the kid alone), or just mainly out of sight, (like the wife of Black Cloud's trainer).  The bad ones are drunken hoes who are mixed-blooded and listen to hip hop.  Or they're white women, ranging from unwashed to bimbo.

Now, some of you may think I'm being really harsh, stating that Native Americans don't get films often and at least the protagonist is Native American.  It is not enough that these movies are done.  They have to be done correctly.  Look at what's come out since Black Cloud.  I couldn't even sit through 20 minutes of Pathfinder, which was friggin' Dances with Wolves all over again...but with Vikings this time.

White folks telling POC to stop being angry - and trying to be deep/clever/subtle about it -  is a huge freaking pet peeve of mine, in case you haven't noticed.  Black Cloud's anger is justified and in the beginning of the film, when he beats the tar out of that white guy, the white folks get on his case about how while the man could be an asshole sometimes, "he didn't deserve that."  Um...POC anger is justified, and will be meted out at our discretion, thank you very much.

After all, we have to play the hands we're dealt.

Here endeth the rant.






Nathaniel Arcand, boo...I'mma need the long hair back, please.
















Lawd have all kinds of mercy.

What can I even say about this one?



Comments

  1. Oh Boy! I adore the Spears brothers (meaning that I can't live without Michael or Eddie.)My love for Native American eye started with them.

    Michael and Eddie
    http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR5qPPOZ3946poTp1U1ywyQGJuTRu5HXFXDUedsU7BqzU6NDX_3aA&t=1

    It's been awhile since I've seen Black Cloud. You might like the movie Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee which is based off the book.

    You should also look this sexy Native American model/actor Rick Mora.

    http://a2.l3-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/125/c23fde4dc488461b975d1351bc965a61/l.jpg

    http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l6rhc90saP1qbh91vo1_500.jpg

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  2. I'm just gonna look at the pretty pictures :)

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  3. Yuuuummm!

    Yum, indeed. There's more than enough to take to the bunk.

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  4. I'd heard of the film, but didn't know whether I wanted to watch it or not. Based on your review, I'm not missing much. I liked "Smoke Signals" quite a bit because it was written, directed, produced by Native Americans. Being able to tell your own story is key. He who controls the image, tells the story.

    Eddie Spears is truly stunning.

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  5. @ Lenoxave

    I liked "Smoke Signals" quite a bit because it was written, directed, produced by Native Americans.

    Thank you!!! I'm going to track that one down prontito!

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  6. I saw Black Cloud, and I barely lived through that piece of crap. Fine actors gone to waste. You hit the nail on it's head because this movie had me fuming. There is no excuse for that. You should have watched "The Slaughter Rule" or "Dreamkeeper" instead.

    Eddie is extremely sexy and so is his brother. His brother Michael has the voice of God. it sends shivers down your spine. I have been watching them for a while which is easy to do :)

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  7. @ KissofDanger

    Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the recommendations!

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  8. I hope you don't mind I did save some of those images; they're hot and good art references.

    Thanks for posting them :)

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    Replies
    1. That's what they're here for. *nods* To take to the bunk.

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    2. Believe me I'd love to take him into the bunk and cuddle him. He's sexy as hell! Now if only I could get my hands on some of his film work...Netflixs is cock blocking me in that way.

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  9. Hey, Ankhesen! Nice name, it sounds like an egyptian queen or something! Is it ethiopian? Black Cloud is a badass movie, thanks god Eddie makes it standable. That man is gorgeous. I see there are some good recommendations here. "Dreamkeeper" is just beautiful, the film native americans should have had years ago, and surprisingly is directed by a white man. The difference is that he hired Lakota advisors so the plot and the indian traditions were well respected. Black Cloud was horrible mainly (but not only) because: 1. Eddie is not a navajo and they didn't even bother on evolving his character 2. the director forgot alcohol is absolutely prohibited in navajo reservations.
    I see there's too "the slaughter rule" MAN, HE'S SO HOT THERE...i've seen the shower scene like 7 times in a day. yeah, i should go to a doctor or something. the bad thing is that he has a very little role on that movie, but enough for a fan. It's a very good movie anyways. Ryan Gosling is a fantastic actor.
    Well, my own recommendation will be: The edge of the reservation. he plays an almost thirdly role there, but...oh my god, 2003 was his best year. aaah~~~

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  10. Correction: "The Edge of America", from the indian director Chris Eyre (same from Smoke Signals). It's an interesting movie, having on account that it is a TV film. Surprisingly it doesn't play much with cliches.

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  11. Hey, just commenting YEARS later to say that you basically read my mind re: this movie. Good Lord.
    Why Nathaniel Arcand and Eddie Spears signed on to do this film I will never know.
    I enjoyed the Edge of America (Eddie is also in this film), but had one issue: the main character, a black man, is told by a Native woman: "Get over it! These are Indians you're dealing with!" as if they're competing in the racial Olympics or something. Um, I'm sorry. What?
    I recently discovered a Canadian show called Cashing In that features a black woman and two Native men in a love triangle. It's pretty corny so far and you have to purchase the DVDs to watch it.
    Also, I love the movie The Doe Boy (Nathanial Arcand is in that one as well): it's a story about a half breed hemophiliac. His wig is atrocious but I thought the story was very good.

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