Pleasantville

I guess I’m a dork. I’ve had a couple of comments on the music, “I Confess” by the English Beat. It may not sound so “cool” to some, but that’s okay. This is actually one of my favorite songs. And I love Rankin’ Roger’s voice. If God told me I could have any voice I want, I would take this one singing right now. It’s unique and has a wide range.

I’m also kinda dorky cuz’ I’m supposed to be doing tons of work, but I end up watching Pleasantville. Yesterday, I have to do some exercise to relieve stress. So I’m running on the treadmill–I don’t run outside because of my allergies–and I’m flipping through the channels as I run when I come across Pleasantville, and end up watching it to the end instead of doing my work. I really like this movie. I know its corny, but I like movies that try–as awkward as it may be–to address the inequalities of society. In the case of this movie, it’s about race (ok, Paiky, you don’t have to read any further).

Gawd it’s so corny, but I like the way the story is set up: Pleasantville is a pleasant location in a 50s sitcom, into which David/Bud (Toby Maguire) and his sister (Reese Whitherspoon) are transformed. Everyone talks about the false sense of happiness represented by the 50s characters: Everything is the same, nothing changes, everyone is always happy because there is only one way to interpret the way they lead their lives, a good way as opposed to a bad way. Everything is black or white. In the movie, David/Bud keeps saying that there is no one way to do anything, nothing is routine, everyone and everything changes. But the film is really a call for diversity. The original characters of the town are a metaphor for segregation: everyone is black and white, and everything is defined by these values, good or bad, right or wrong. The people who embrace change and diversity turn into “colored people”. Get it? Get it? Its the “colored people” who listen to the blues, and rock and roll. It’s the colored people who indulge in sex. It’s the colored people who are artists. It’s the colored people who draw graffiti on the wall. The court scene is the most telling. If you saw the movie To Kill a Mockingbird (Gregory Peck)–a movie about a southern lawyer defending a “negro” accused of rape and murder–you will have noticed the exact parallel. In the courthouse of both movies, the “coloreds” are in the balcony while the whites are on the first floor.

There should be more movies like Pleasantville. It is well made, and it is amazing that it didn’t even get an academy nomination.

I also saw Field of Dreams the day before on Saturday. I love this movie too, partly because they made the author who is “kidnapped” by Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) an African American, Terrence Mann (James Earl Jone). In the original novel, Shoeless Joe, the author is J.D. Salinger.

Why do I like such dorky movies?

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