POC I'm Watching: Kerry Washington
Okay...so I finally sat down and watched Lakeview Terrace (2008). Mind you, this is part of my little feature, and this movie wasn't mushy, sappy, soulful, or a tacky comedy. In other words, it fit the standards I set forth on paper, and thus I couldn't avoid it anymore.
First of all - fail. And the actors were not the fail. There's this annoying trend in HollyWTF to acquire perfectly good actors, and then not know what to do with them. Samuel L. Jackson is legendary - duh. Patrick Wilson...I recognized him at once from Hard Candy (2005), where he gained my respect as an open-minded, adventurous actor opposite a brilliant Ellen Page. And Kerry Washington - again, duh - is a goddess. I'm willing to watch her in anything. She is exquisite, glorious, magnificent - you name it.
I also appreciated the appearances of the very sexy Jay Hernandez, the breath-taking Lynn Chen, and the deliberately casted Justin Chambers, who's in a real-life BW/WM marriage himself. I also appreciated the attempt to include as many random POC in this film as possible (with speaking roles, no less). So before we go any further, let me make myself clear: this hot mess was not the actors' fault, nor the casting agent's fault. They did their jobs.
Now, because the POC I was watching in particular was Kerry Washington, I'm mostly going to focus on her disappointing characterization. To do so, I must point out the HollyWTF sexist tendency to portray annoying marriages, and by annoying, I mean the wife. How many times do we have to see the spoiled, pampered housewife whose husband sole purpose in the universe is to go to hell and back to make her happy? And how many times are we implicitly asked to sympathize with her because she wants kids and he doesn't?
Why are we asked to stomach her after she conveniently misses a few days of birth control after her husband expressly stated he wasn't ready to have kids? And before people leap to her defense, remember that America has an embarrassingly high divorce rate, and shit like this is a major contributing factor.
Which reminds me: Washington's character doesn't really "do" anything except stay home and whine about what she wants but doesn't have. When frustrated, she verbally attacks her husband. Though they're married, and thus assumed to both have vowed to honor, cherish, and obey each other...she doesn't really take his side in things and automatically assumes in favor of complete strangers. And she's highly avoidant about her father's detest for her husband, but can't wait to voice her disbelief that her in-laws love her.
I know some of you may find it odd for me to sympathize with Wilson's character, but I'm sick of HollyWTF's irritating war on women. I especially don't like this increasing trend of giving us black female characters who are already-unrealistic white women...dipped in chocolate. I've met my fair share of married women, even counseled a few and I've never seen women like these. Married women tend to run shit. They often end up in charge of running and defending their families. Had the married women I know moved to Lakeview Terrace, and a neighbor like Abel (Jackson) tried to start some shit....whooooooo Lawd. The first time he said the wrong thing, they would've waited until hubby went off to work before going to over to Abel's with a .38, talking some shit like, "Look, bruh...I don't know what your beef is, but cops ain't the only ones who know how to get rid of a body. I live on the edge of a ravine, feel me? I will sunbathe while the vultures pick at your dead flesh, understand?"
I'm getting tired of this. When I was watching The Inheritance, the wife in the white couple got on my LAST nerve. After a roll in the hay with her hubby, she whined like a 2-year-old until her hubby got up to get her a glass of water. "Waaaaaaaaater..... waaaaaaater" - I shit you not. It was one of the most annoying sounds I ever heard. I actually heard myself asking aloud, "Why don't you get your ass up and go get your own damn glass of water?" Washington's character in Lakeview Terrace reminds me of that woman. Her white husband is being harassed by a black cop and she's busy talking some bullshit about wanting kids - WTF? Can we solve one problem before we breed a bunch of new ones?
It's like we're making progress...but not making progress. I don't like what's happening to black women in HollyWTF. First of all, the weave epidemic has to go. I'm tired of seeing all these black women passing off Asian hair as theirs. YES, I am aware some black women have naturally straight hair, but come on now. Most of us are curly...and proud.
Secondly...we get it already: light-skinned black women are beautiful. Whoopde-friggin'-doo. Our darker-skinned sisters are equally beautiful, and it would be nice to see more of them. A lot more. Thirdly, portraying an increasing number of interracial relationships in media is good, but at least try to get it right. Maybe get some writers actually in interracial relationships to script these films because that's the big problem here. We meet mixed couples all the time now in real life and yet for some reason they bear only a physical resemblance to the ones in HollyWTF.
Fourthly...Mychael Danna can go ahead and miss me with that ridiculous, empty, I-composed-this-last-night-on-my-iPhone-while-I-was-high excuse for a score. For those of you not knowing, Danna is responsible for the soundtrack to Mira Nair's Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love. The soundtrack was more popular than the film; I think the CD even outsold the DVD. So there was absolutely No Excuse Whatsoever for that unimaginative, monotone bullshit right there.
And with that, here endeth the rant.