Friday, April 12, 2013
I recently posted an ad on Tinsel & Tine for a male blog contributor. I felt there were some testosterone driven films not being covered on account of me not being eager to write about them; and also thought perhaps any male readers might enjoy another perspective from time to time.
My association with Collaborate Philly came through for me, as a member, Chris “Flood the Drummer” Norris expressed his interest. Chris is a Philly journalist and musician with a web based company called Techbookonline.
I went to see 42 with Chris and really liked it (my two cents in comment section) but I asked Chris to write the review, kinda thinking it would be a baseball fan approach, instead he did an excellent job presenting the black history aspect of the movie, bringing in relevant side topics; which if you're a regular reader you know I enjoy. So here's his first blog contribution to T & T.
Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman star in“42”
Opens Nationwide THIS FRIDAY!!!
By Christopher “Flood the Drummer”® Norris
42, an biographical film written and directed by Brian Helgeland about the life of the nation’s first African-American Major League Baseball Player Jackie Robinson, stars Harrison Ford as Brooklyn Dodgers’ General Manager Branch Rickey and Chadwick Boseman as Robinson. Opening in theatres nationwide on Friday April 12, 42, distributed by Warner Bros Pictures, also stars former Law & Order SVU star Christopher Meloni as Leo Durocher, John C. McGinley as Red Barber, T. R. Knight as Harold Parrott, Lucas Black as Pee Wee Reese and Nicole Beharie as Rachel Isum.
Produced by Thomas Tull, this 128 minute feature film will open the eyes of those who are unfamiliar with the amazing story of American Hero Jackie Robinson, and give a new perspective to those who are.
Set in a time when American’s pastime didn’t resemble America’s diversity, 42 chooses to examine the unique relationship between Robison and Rickey, while exploring the isolation, fear and determination each man – both Methodist – dealt with when integrating the sport of Baseball.
“Jackie Robinson’s story is not only an African-American story but an American story,” explains Gregory Walker, Founder of The Brothers Network, a racial justice organization founded in Philadelphia that engages black men and the larger community in intellectual dialogue and discourse. From April 19th through the 20th, The Brothers’ Network , in partnership with Temple University, will produce the first-ever race and sports conference entitled “Passing the Ball.” Walker believes “Jackie Robinson, too, was conflicted about the choice(s) he made. But he had a commitment to do things no one else was doing at the time,” adding “when you set out to do the things no one else is doing, there’s typically no one there to support you.”
In 42 Jackie’s character didn’t require much support – or at least that’s what he told his wife (Nicole Beharie), stating, “I’m not here to make friends, I don’t even care if they respect me, I have enough respect for myself.” However, that sentiment soon proved to be immaturely uttered as Jackie Robinson’s “tough skin” seemed to crack open during a game with the Philadelphia Phillies, in which the team’s manager shouted racial slurs at Jackie, causing him to strike out and eventually running off the field in frustration.
Yelling, screaming and crying, Robinson breaks his bat on the wall near the player’s entrance. He falls to his knees and sobs. Rickey, who demanded to know if Jackie had “enough guts not to fight back” when provoked by other players or fans during their initial meeting, comforted the quick tempered sports hero and urged him to get back on the field and win the game. “You don’t know what I’m going through,” yells Robinson. “No I don’t, but you do,” replied Rickey.
“All of us get sick and tired of being sick and tired. We get sick of the marginalization and being pushed on the margins, and we want to come to the center, and some of us have to do it,” states Walker, who says “Robinson was self-selected, his presence was intentional and he created a ‘movement moment.’
The “pressures of integration are so significant,” continues Walker, whose organization recently won a prestigious Knight Arts Challenge grant to produce a yearlong, multi-disciplinary festival inspired by the life of Henry “Box” Brown, an enslaved African who shipped himself to Philadelphia by box in 1849 to gain his freedom. “We in the African-American community sometimes forget the isolation that one experiences when they do cross over. I celebrate him, I celebrate this film and I celebrate him as a hero.”
The Black athlete has “transitional and transformative” value, says Walker, explaining how the Black athletes historically become iconic figures due to their advocacy in segregation and integration. “The black athlete is much more than the ‘sports hero’, he’s a thinking person, a thought leader.” Walker, who graced the ‘Features’ section of the Philadelphia Daily News on January 28th under the headline ‘Smart Mover,’ has no doubt that Jackie Robinson was a genius. “When you wake up every day and you see the world one way, and you desire to change the world to fit your needs, that’s heroic, herculean and genius,” says Walker.
While 42 didn’t do anything to highlight Robinson’s academic pedigree, the film portrays “him, instead, as a person—an exemplary one, to be sure, but one who did exemplary things within the context of living the joys and pains of a normal human being,” writes Dave Steele, AOL Fanhouse Columinst.
In an interview Monday on the National Public Radio talk show “On Point,” Helgeland credited that approach to Robinson’s widow, Rachel, who was in on the script from the beginning. Throughout the movie, Rachel is Jackie’s main support system. After his initial meeting with Brach Rickey and being offered $600 a month to play for Brooklyn’s International League Farm Club, the Montreal Royals, Jackie hopped on a pay phone, and with excitement in his voice, asked his then girlfriend to become his wife.
Another support system for Robinson throughout the film was Wendell Smith (Andre Holland), a sports writer for the black weekly Pittsburgh Courier. Although Robinson initially rejected his support due to his “not being used to needing others for anything,” Smith became one of Robinson's biggest allies and an ever bigger fan. According to Cleveland Indians owners and team President Bill Veeck, “Wendell influenced Rickey to sign Robinson, for which he’s never completely gotten credit.”
The film decides to focus on the 1947 season and the handful of years leading up to it. According to AOL columnist Dave Steele, “Choosing to stick to the ’47 season rather than Robinson’s entire, just-as-impactful life, shouldn’t be held against the “42” filmmakers. Instead, it should be taken as an invitation for the audience to learn the rest of his story for themselves—or for another writer or director to bring that to the screen.”
GO SEE 42, This Film HITS A HOME RUN!
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
As seen on PhillyinFocus.com, CollaboratePhilly.com, FounderSync.com, and Comcast’s Xfinity OnDemand, Christopher “Flood the Drummer” Norris is a widely published journalist and professional online content producer. Currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer at Techbook Online Corporation, Norris oversee a strategic initiative of mobilizing local, regional, national and global communities by encouraging the production, safeguarding and dissemination of diversified contents in the media and global information networks.
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