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Am I Being Just Mr. Sensitive Again?

by Sergio
August 2, 2011 6:55 AM
19 Comments
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You should well aware know by now how we roll on S & A. Always questioning and stirring up stuff,especially when it comes to the never ending and vexing problem of black images in films and TV.

So a few days ago I finally caught up with the legal thriller The Lincoln Lawyer, with Matthew McConaughey, and as legal thrillers go, it was so-so. Nothing special to write home about. Remove the F-bombs and some sex scenes and it would be been a perfect, middle-of-the-road 20th Century Fox film starring Paul Newman back in 1962. It played that way.

But in case you didn't know, the main premise with McConaughey's character, Mick Haller, is that his office is the back seat of a chauffeured driven 1980's Lincoln from which he does all his shady legal wheeling and dealing all over L.A. The car is driven by Earl played by Laurence Mason. O.K. I get it. The laid back, sexy, good looking lawyer who's slicker than oil and his hip streetwise chauffeur cruising the streets, taking care of business and being too cool for words.

Except that throughout the entire film, Haller calls his driver "Earl" and Earl calls Haller "Boss". That's right, Boss as in "Yes Boss" and "No Boss". Really? In this day and age? Never once does Earl call him "Mick" or is there any sense that they're equals, or that Mick treats Earl with respect or if they're even friends for that matter. And forget about any back-story or personal life for Earl or how they even met in the first place.

But of course, to make sure we know that everything is cool between them, Earl is always playing hip-hop in the car to let us know that Haller is cool like 'dat.

Sorry, but all this constantly annoyed me throughout the film. I mean this is the 21st Century right? So why the throwback to the good old days when black people knew their place?

I also forgot to mention that later on in the film, Haller asks Earl to get him a gun because, of course, if there's one thing EVERY black guy knows is where to get a gun and dope. At least Haller didn't ask him to score some crack. I assume he'll be doing that in the sequel.

So a I being sensitive again? I can't help it. I was born that way

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19 Comments

  • CareyCarey | August 6, 2011 6:21 AMReply

    Opps... raw LIVE octopus. Yeah, how in the hell does that apply to this post? Y'll see what I mean in the following comment.

  • CareyCarey | August 6, 2011 6:16 AMReply

    "point taken lol i was trying not to spoil"

    Well, I have to say you did a great job - too. If someone had not/has not seen the movie, they wouldn't know what the hell we are talking about. But wait a minute, does that mean we've commited the ultimate no-no.... HIGHJACKED A POST!? Oh my, lions and tigers and bears!!!!

    Anyway, I forgot to tell you that I totally agree with your assesment of the actors and how they were used or "not". I kept thinking Leguizamo character was going to break lose any minute but...

    But Tamara, you'll have to tell me because I don't know... do people really get divorced and then have one night affairs... 2 months. 3 months 6 months apart... with each other, time and time again? :-)

    Okay, I'm done. But since we've already proven ourselves to be the Bonnie & Clyde post bandits, I have to tell you that I am presently watching "oldboy", and you know what, well, it's yet to kick up any real dust. I'm sitting here thinking "okay, move this puppy along... eating a raw octopus is not going to get it". Have you seen it?

  • Tamara | August 6, 2011 5:38 AMReply

    I"ve seen Oldboy and yes we are the Bonnie and Clyde of post-hijacking. And please wait. Oldboy might not kick up 'dust' but it will grime and motor oil and bits of hammer, tooth, skin, blood, flesh... LOL It'll get there, don't worry. Also, yeah the marriage/divorce/booty-call friendship with Matt/Marisa...like I think I said somewhere down below. Didn't really care about ANY of the characters all that much. Maybe they would've worked better had they not been a divorced couple, since it didn't really 'seem' they were. I mean not even the separate residences or weekend custody could really reinforce their divorce-ism. It was a non-factor...moot, as were so many other things that just should not have been. You can have those type tropes and scenarios but play them full throttle and not half-arsed. Okay movie. Not good. Not great. And yeah, "this is no longer a stick-up". Gives post back to S&A admins. LOL

  • Tamara | August 6, 2011 1:55 AMReply

    Yes, questions for sure. Was “it” or was it not the impetus for his behavior? I am hesitent to say “behavior change” *wink*.

    point taken lol i was trying not to spoil. still, i'm left wondering about him... was the mother's incident really 'real'? yeah, probably. and just in good time for him to use a base of reasoning for his uh actions... let me stop. lol the bikers. campy indeed. sons of anarchy!!! *shakes fist* or something. thanks for the discussion *wink*

  • CareyCarey | August 5, 2011 11:09 AMReply

    Tamara, I think we're in there. Like I said, "I kept looking in his face (Earls) to see why he was even in the shot and the movie? Now, let me touch on your folowing comment..

    "“the past crime” that was impetus (seemingly) to ummm a change in his behavior… I mean, really and why?"

    Yes, questions for sure. Was "it" or was it not the impetus for his behavior? I am hesitent to say "behavior change" *wink*.

    But I'll tell you what got me. The biker dudes shots were campy and one could have been a scene from the A-Team (tv series). In the end, I think we're at the same place. Well, It held me, had me shaking my head in suspense, and some of the acting was pretty good. I'll give it 7 1/2 Toes Up... Ten Toes Down means I rolled over and went to sleep.

    But damn girl, if you keep writing these reviews like a professional film critic, I'm gonna be scared of you. :-)

  • Tamara | August 5, 2011 10:05 AMReply

    Was bothered more by the fact that the casual boss-worker relationship between Earl and Mick seemed forced insomuch as the script, action/non-action between the two inferred a deeper, long-lasting, would-be magical relationship. They had only a couple scenes together and it was 'meh'. Why was Earl even in those scenes when he really didn't DO anything (not counting that gun scene). It's just why even 'go there' with that particular friendship.

    Matt and Macy's characters' friendship had more chemistry.

    I felt the film was good but nowhere near-great. Not even "could be potentially great".

    Matt did a good job, though. Ryan was petulant and brooding. Marisa was...Marisa. Leguizamo "existed". Josh Lucas, easy paycheck.

    The characters were shells only partially filled. It felt as if the script/writer wanted the audience to make up the rest enough to 'care' about them.

    The "Lincoln" itself didn't get enough shine (to warrant the the film titled as it was).

    What I did like was the music, in some instances. Anytime you play Citizen Cope then I'm in there. The music and then the connections with the characters both good, bad, suspecting, non-suspecting. Don't want to spoil but I felt those connects should have been hinted at more bluntly and sooner than they were, at least to help embolden the overall build-up of suspense. Or whatever.

    And Ryan's character. I needed a little more. What's the connect with the alleged crimes attached to him and his past crime, rather "the past crime" that was impetus (seemingly) to ummm a change in his behavior... I mean, really and why?

    I said it was good. Let me change that to "Okay". It was "Okay".

  • CareyCarey | August 3, 2011 9:53 AMReply

    @ Tamara,

    Each day through my PC I watch her as she passes by. I say to myself, "You're such a lucky guy." To have a girl like her is truly a dream come true. Out of all of the fellas in the world she belongs to you. Ooh, her love is heavenly; when her arms enfold me, I hear a tender rhapsody...

    But in reality, she doesn't even know me. It was just my imagination running away with me.

    Damn Tamara, you thrill me. Where do you find, or how do you come up with your witticisms?! Come on now, who have you been hangin with.... the Deuce and a Quarter Defender? First, you’re much to young to know anything about a Deuce and a Quarter?! Second, the way you tied those cars into this discussion was simply magic. But do come back and tell me how you liked the movie. But let me tell you about this one part... opps, that’s right, you don’t want to know noooothing.

  • Tamara | August 3, 2011 8:51 AMReply

    @ CareyCarey, my parents owned a buick electra 225

    It's weighed down with albums and speakers. Dad was a dj, back in the day.

    Watching movie tonight, if evening goes as planned. :-)

  • misha | August 3, 2011 5:45 AMReply

    Nope...I agree with you, Sergio.

  • Tamara | August 3, 2011 5:01 AMReply

    all right Carey. i may rent tomorrow or the next night. next time i'm on my couch, feet propped, book in my lap gone stale, flick on the telly, press the VOD button and select this feature. SHoulda called it the Buick Barrister or the Cadillac Coupe de ville Counselor or the Deuce and a Quarter Defender. lol

  • AfroStyling | August 2, 2011 12:24 PMReply

    No you are not being sensitive. These things also bothered me about the movie. Especially the hip hop and gun part. I didn't pay to see the movie so whatevs.

  • CareyCarey | August 2, 2011 11:09 AMReply

    "hopefully not a spoiler…right? *eyes Carey*"

    Hi Tamara, I hear you, and I thought about that.

    Being that Sergio is a seasoned writer who knows how to shape his words, I was more than sure that he could describe a scene or scenario in a subtle way that only those who have actually seen the movie would know what he was talking about, without giving away the finer details of the movie. Well, he has already done that by mentioning a “gun” . Now you don’t know the implications behind the gun, because (without giving up very much) there are several guns in this movie and each play a vital role.

    re: Boss/Boss Man. I’ve seen the word/words used in an affectionate manner and as a term of respect. Think gangster flicks. But I understand Sergio’s concerns of how it was used in this movie. The setup is right in front of us. It’s a white man being chauffeured by a black man, who calls him boss. So, I have to agree with JMac who said other “nouns” coulda/shoulda been used to show signs of respect. But there’s another element to consider. That being the tone, eye contact and body language of the speaker (saying the word boss) and the recipient of the word. You know, take for instance the word “nigger”... “who” can say it, how they say it, when can they say it, and what do they mean when they say it?

  • Vanessa Martinez | August 2, 2011 10:47 AMReply

    How f'n aggravating. No, you're not being too sensitive.

  • JMac | August 2, 2011 10:16 AMReply

    If it's just to show respect, why not Mr. Carey or Mr. Mims or something along those lines? Lawyers - even corrupt ones - wouldn't abide by being called "Boss." It's too dated and well, too informal. They just looove hearing their own names with some kind of title (Mr/Ms/Dr/Attorney Warren Ballentine, lol). "Boss" is such a loaded word anyway. I'm pretty sure whoever wrote or suggested that the black driver should say it knew what he/she was intimating... like those op ed cartoonists who show Barack (and let's not forget Condie Rice),as apes and monkeys. They say it's not racist but then you have to wonder of all the animals in the world why did they chose those particular animals? If it's just a matter of using a quick term, "sir" would work or using the character's initials, anything would be better than "boss."

    Now I like Rochester as much as the next person but it's not 1940 and it doesn't sound like Matthew's character is the ultimate butt of any and all jokes.

    'Course I haven't seen this film so I can only go by the description in this post.

  • Tamara | August 2, 2011 10:03 AMReply

    Like you, I enjoyed the movie for what it was, but when did you figure it out who done it, and what did you think of the mother? <----hopefully not a spoiler...right? *eyes Carey*

  • kai | August 2, 2011 9:40 AMReply

    yeh, too sensitive... if someone is paying your bills you show them the utmost respect... its that simple

  • CareyCarey | August 2, 2011 9:37 AMReply

    Well Sergio, I don't know about being too sensitive, but I caught all of that as well.

    I too wondered about Earl. Like you said, there was no back story and I was even wondering if he was an "actor". I mean, I'm sure he is, but as he was driving the car I kept looking in his face to see why he was even in the shot and the movie? Was this a buddy - on the side- flick, or driving Mr Dandy Daisy?

    I laughed at your line... dope, guns and crack. And you left out the fact that every brotha knows where to find Miss Brown Sugar.

    Like you, I enjoyed the movie for what it was, but when did you figure it out who done it, and what did you think of the mother?

  • Tamara | August 2, 2011 9:35 AMReply

    I've refrained from viewing this film just because I don't want to see another run-of-the-mill lawyerly-law book-turned-film. Also, the trailer just looks like I'd feel time was wasted after viewing. I've missed out on a lot of mediocre movies because of this...

    But back to your question. I'll play the role of

    Devil's advocate: I was going to say welp, the novel takes place in the South... But it's based in Los Angeles so doesn't work.

    Devil's court-appointed representative: Matt's character is from the South... Er, according to the couple of synopsis I've read of both book and movie, that isn't the case. Don't know where dude's from. Instead of the character informing, the actor does. He 'seems' Southern because of Matt who even giving his best Newman, is Austin by way of Longview, Texas through and through.

    Devil's concubine: Maybe Earl is from the South and so Matt's character assigns those affectations accordingly... But there's no real 'from whereabouts known/unknown' concerning the character. He's black, he drives a Lincoln, not a Cadillac, so he's gotta be hood...maybe hood with roots in the South?

    Get thee behind me Devil: I noticed Lafayette refer to Sam as "boss" a couple times in "True Blood" (random example) but then he was being his smart-arsed self, so there was no real "techiness" (touchiness) with usage there...

    Another sidebar (see what I did there? courtroom jargon, ha!) In "Breaking Bad", lawyer-character Saul recently hired some "muscle" in the form of a big-black dude, (the actor who's name I forget) who will probably, depending, refer to Saul some day soon as "Boss", if he hasn't already. But in the whole of New Mexico, chock full of majority non-Blacks, Saul (the lone Jew) hires a bodyguard who's black... Why not a Latino fellow? Why not a Native American? Why not a non-meth-obsessed YT meat-head? LOL

    I swore this movie was a John Grisham novel in origin. It ain't. I swore it took place somewhere in the south; perhaps in Alabamee. It don't. I swore Matt's character was a good ole boy but from the South. He ain't. Not really. Not according to synopsis.

    You notice this trope and I notice, usually, the "sista-girl" trope. As soon as I see that (rather, hear it) I'm turned off.

    This feature got high marks Rotten Tomatoes (meh) and imdb (7/10).

    Funny, if it wasn't for the repeat trailer reel on VOD I would have forgotten about the film having ever debuted/appeared/been made in the first place.

  • urbanauteur | August 2, 2011 9:16 AMReply

    Haller if U hear me..Ha!

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