The Middle Geeks Episode 31: ‘Dune’ Review

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune adaptation, based on a book that was explicitly and heavily influenced by Middle East and North African (MENA) and Islamic cultures, is out, and we are joined by our friends and fellow MENA critics Hanna Flint and Roxana Hadadi to review it.

Continue reading “The Middle Geeks Episode 31: ‘Dune’ Review”

The Middle Geeks 12: The Perils and Implications of Excluding MENA People from ‘Dune’

The internet was abuzz a few weeks ago when the first photos for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune 2020 adaptation came out, but where were all the MENA people who should have been cast in a work clearly informed by the Middle East and its people, down to blatantly using Arabic and Persian words? In our exasperation at this blatant exclusion, we have our friend and lifelong Dune fan Rocky on again to discuss why this is troubling and its overall implications for MENA representation in Hollywood. Why did Warner Brothers and Villeneuve not cast any MENA actors or We’re very tired. We also discuss the return of Legends of Tomorrow and what we thought of Tala Ashe’s mesmerizing performance, give our recommendations for our collective time in quarantine, and much more!

Continue reading “The Middle Geeks 12: The Perils and Implications of Excluding MENA People from ‘Dune’”

The Middle Geeks Episode 10: Character Spotlight on Zari of ‘Legends of Tomorrow’

This month on The Middle Geeks, we’re joined by our friend and fellow DCTV fan Andy Behbakht to discuss why we love the character Zari Tomaz/Tarazi on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow so much. This character brings such wonderful representation, for which we’re very grateful. What does Tala Ashe bring to the role in her excellent performance of the character? What do we make of Zari’s story over the seasons and how she is written? How does Zari, through her cultural background, story, and personality, represent us as Middle Eastern people? We also discuss the news that we may be getting an Aladdin (2019) sequel, whether we feel excited about it, give our recommendations, and much more!

Continue reading “The Middle Geeks Episode 10: Character Spotlight on Zari of ‘Legends of Tomorrow’”

The Middle Geeks Episode 8: The State of MENA Representation in Hollywood and Star Wars

It’s the most wonderful time of the year on The Middle Geeks! Star Wars time! But is it really though, with the latest release of The Rise of Skywalker? Swara and Mae discuss, getting into what they liked about the film, as well as the issues they had with it and the Sequel Trilogy as a whole. Note that this is a SPOILER discussion. But before that, we get into the month of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) representation highs and lows, from the high of having an Arab-American hero introduced to Marvel Comics to the low of Aladdin star Mena Massoud not getting a single audition due to Hollywood racism, even after his film made a billion dollars. We still have a long way to go!

Continue reading “The Middle Geeks Episode 8: The State of MENA Representation in Hollywood and Star Wars”

Welcome to The Middle Geeks!

Welcome to The Middle Geeks! In our very first episode, Mae and Swara introduce the podcast and discuss our feelings on Middle East and North African (MENA) representation in popular media. We also review the live action remakes of Aladdin, discussing what we think it did well, how it could have done better, and how the unfortunate Orientalism of the film conveys how Disney and the rest of Hollywood need to do better on Middle Eastern inclusion.

We are a proud member of the Hard NOC podcast family.

Continue reading “Welcome to The Middle Geeks!”

Hard NOC Life: A Whole New Podcast

With Disney’s live action remake of Aladdin about to hit theaters worldwide, Keith is joined by Swara Salih and Mae Abdulbaki to discuss the film’s issues with representation and announce The Middle Geeks their new podcast on the Hard NOC Media network!

Continue reading “Hard NOC Life: A Whole New Podcast”

The Live Action ‘Aladdin’ Doubles Down on Orientalist and Colorist Trends

Aladdin is one of my favorite films of all time. It gave me, as a brown Middle Eastern kid, heroic representation that’s always stayed with me. I’ve already written at length for about my overall very complicated feelings on the live action remake. While the new trailer is solid, it’s also given more insight into the problematic trends this live action movie seems to perpetuate. Overall, I have little to no confidence that this film will improve upon the problematic aspects of the original (besides the welcome addition of having people of color play the main roles), and in fact will double down on more troubling aspects.

Continue reading “The Live Action ‘Aladdin’ Doubles Down on Orientalist and Colorist Trends”