In just over a month, Spike Lee’s masterful Do the Right Thing will be 31 years old. Me and a group of friends skipped out of our summer work program to see the film. We were budding Black and Brown cineastes who marveled at Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It and begged our caretakers and school counselors to help us apply to HBCUs after viewing School Daze (and A Different World) — well, those of us who could activate our dream machinery enough to believe we could escape the projects and could make it in university. It was the summer before our senior year and we all knew that in a year’s time, things would be different. Some of us would be off to the military. Some of us would go to either a four-year college or a junior college. Some of us would go directly into the workforce. And there was me. I had no idea what was waiting for me after high school. All I knew was that as soon as I graduated (if I graduated) I was running as far away and as fast as I could from my abusive mother. I didn’t care where. I just needed to get the hell out of that house. All this was bouncing around in my head as the lights dimmed. Continue reading “They Are Still Killing Radio Raheem”
Although Hollywood has been making monster movies since the original 1933 King Kong, the monster with the most staying power and screen incarnations didn’t come out of California, but from Tokyo. Godzilla is back with another cinematic reboot produced by Hollywood featuring the usual array of mega-special effects, including a digitized monster instead of a man in a monster suit. Whether costumed or computer-generated, Godzilla is the most famous Japanese American in the world. He’s starred in 28 movies, stomping his way through cities on both sides of the Pacific.
Godzilla, or the Japanese pronunciation, Gojira (a combination of the words for “gorilla,” gorira and “whale,” kujira) made its first Japanese appearance 60 years ago, in 1954. The film was edited and had scenes starring Raymond Burr as an American journalist inserted for its 1956 release in the U.S. as Godzilla, King of the Monsters. I always thought this was to make the movie more palatable to American audiences, but now I realize there was a more political reason for the reworking of the first film.