Sunday, February 21, 2016
Tinsel & Tine Spotlight on RACE
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The Philly Red Carpet Premiere for Race was held 2.18.16 at The Prince PFS Theater and was preceded by a Panel Discussion lead by: Comcast’s Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer, David L. Cohen; Moderated by NBC10's Vai Sikahema; Star of the movie, Stephan James, was in Philly but became ill and had to join via Skype; Jesse Owen's real-life granddaughter Gina Strachan; Philadelphia Urban Coalition CEO Sharmain Matlock-Turner; and two former Olympic Gold Medalists: Herb Douglas & Anthuan Maybank.
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"Race" is a biopic about four-time Olympic gold medalist “Jesse” Owens (Stephan James) at the 1936 Olympic Games held in Berlin, Germany during Hitler's regime, and never more has the similarities between Antisemitism and racial discrimination of African Americans been so fused together.
Director Stephen Hopkins and writers Joe Shrapnel & Anna Waterhouse give us some standard biopic type moments at the beginning of the movie, like - Owen's quiet spoken mother making him a suit jacket before sending him off to college. A stoic father finding it hard to express his feelings of pride at seeing his son get the chance at a formal education. The usual bunch of privileged, jack-ass, racist white boys Jesse and friend, Dave (Eli Goree) must endure in the locker rooms at Ohio State University. The bonding with a coach (Jason Sudekis) that first just sees Jesse as a way to keep his job after a string of losing seasons.
But when we get to the Olympic Games, this is where the movie really takes off and soars!
READ MORE Casey Cipriani Bustle.com
Stephan James, recently named a Rising Star at the 2015 Toronto International film Festival, should feel very proud, not only to have portrayed such an important figure in American history, but to have done it so convincingly, he plays Owens as a man who knows his self-worth, but questions his responsibilities to his race, country, coach and wife.
T&T Race Observation: Before the mid-1960's, it would seem most black people tended to be rather homogenized. Black and white seemed to dress alike, talk alike, enjoy the same entertainments, had mainly the same ideals and mannerisms. You would have thought race relations would have been easier back then, but I think it made it harder for the white race because of their need to feel superior. Then we went into a period of Black Power and Blaxploitation, and eventually Hip Hop making the overall view of the black race as ethnic and urban. I think the stark difference actually made the white race feel more at ease.
Now, tensions have risen again, because the black race is once again becoming mainstream, including a brilliant, dignified yet, cool black President; which once again put the white race on "we're losing our superiority" high-alert. Now, this is a generalization, of course. I'm usually not one for drawing color lines. My closest friends, some I've known since first grade, are all white, and my black and white friends mix together just fine. And if I could be anyone in the world, I'd choose to be Gwen Stefani, so I don't mean to sound reverse racist. However, when I see movies like Race, and "42" about Jackie Robinson, it strikes me that there's no "street" quality in these men, not that there's anything wrong with urban soul, but it's understandable to be put off by "Thug Life". The animosity these men endured was because they were the same as their counterparts, only better. Think about how crazy it is that years and years of oppression, discrimination and abuse, mainly comes down to mere jealousy...
#RaceMovie opened in Theaters Friday, February 19, 2016 and I recommend everyone of all races, creeds or political affiliation go see it, because it's a good movie!
T &T's LAMB Score: 4.5 Outta 5
Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog