Logan: The End of Ol’ White Men

The “Whitelash” theory of Trump’s super-embarrassing slide into the presidency (well, we never claimed the U.S. wasn’t anti-intellectual, did we?) has the still-ascendant, but demographically shrinking and culturally stagnating white/cis-het/male contingent (helped substantially by their female counterparts) striking back at the diversity of Obama’s America by electing a crypto-white-supremacist in response to his racist and xenophobic dog whistles. Although not the only compelling narrative of the last year and a half, Trump’s Whitelash has enough truth to it to make it into at least a Ronald-Takaki-authored history book, if not a textbook from Texas.

Meanwhile, pop culture may be lashing in the opposite direction — and, in fact, contributing to the panic. Whereas the last Academy Awards shows of Obama’s presidency featured a field of winners that rivaled a wedding-dress-clad polar bear fainting on an iceberg for whiteness, it is President Trump’s first Oscars that saw the Academy — now led by a black woman — crowning its first African-American-made Best Picture. The last season of tv was the most diverse in history, and we don’t need numbers or stats to know this. And even the debate around diversity failures points to how far we’ve come, and how aware of the changing nature of American culture the mainstream has become.

So it’s not much of a stretch to see Logan, clearly the end of a franchise, as the gentle, mournful and mourning, Hollywood-sanctioned version of conservative white panic.

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What’s Hiding Behind the Feel-Good Curtain of Hidden Figures: One Black Feminist’s Take

In a scene in Hidden Figures that is all too familiar for Black women viewers, or really anyone from a historically marginalized group, Taraji P. Henson’s character Katherine Johnson rushes to enter the NASA control room where she has just handed off crucial calculations for astronaut John Glenn’s safe return from orbit, and has the door summarily slammed in her face. The camera lingers on Henson’s profile, as she grapples yet again with the devastating knowledge that although she may be a useful “computer” for spitting out numbers that may make missions successful and even save lives, she is still not seen as fully human in the eyes of her peers and superiors. Indeed, in Henson’s capable hands, viewers ourselves experience the physical and emotional pain of being barred from entering the halls of power for absurd reasons beyond one’s control — in this case, race and gender.

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Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children: Another Tim Burton Borefest

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is the YA/action adventure film directed by the master of macabre, Tim Burton. This is the live-action adaptation of the book by author Ransom Riggs. Rumor has it that the books have potential and are engaging. That’s too bad because the movie isn’t any of those things. This painfully slow adaptation isn’t a return to form for Burton. It’s the same old hokey filmmaking, but time actress Eva Green is the victim! He really wants to show the audience that he still has that Beetlejuice, Mars Attacks charm. He wants you to know that his version of what is weird is acceptable. In a time where weirdness, geekiness, is the new norm, his message, and Miss Peregrine seem 10-years too late.

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The Inconvenient Truth In Advertising

So recently Rose McGowan made headlines expressing outrage over the X-Men: Apocalypse billboard ad that showcases Ivan Ooze, I mean Apocalypse, choking Mystique, claiming that it promotes violence against women.

Fox has since issued an apology for the billboard. Which I think was the right call for the studio. Another right call would also be for Fox to apologize for the fustercluck that is X-Men: Apocalypse itself but I digress.

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Review: X-Men Apocalypse

X-Men Apocalypse.

I swore I wouldn’t write a review for the film. Primarily because any review I penned would pale in comparison to the excellent piece penned by my buddy and fellow N.O.C. colleague, Valerie Complex.

Seriously if you haven’t read it, go do so now. Val snatched so many wigs and edges, you would’ve thought Director Bryan Singer and Fox were members of the Charles Xavier Cosplay Appreciation Society.

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X-Men Apocalypse: Fox Wins But People of Color Lose

Don’t expect this movie to rely heavily on the source material. Director Bryan Singer presents a film that’s a hodge-podge of various stories made up by people who know nothing about the X-Men. Aside from Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and Apocalypse (Oscar Issac, doing well with whatever the hell he is given) being mildly entertaining, they can’t save the film from imploding. Everyone else is either used as filler or bores you to death with their on-screen presence. Choppy action scenes are put in place to mask the uninteresting, underdeveloped characters, cheesy dialogue, Playstation 2-quality special effects, and makeup that looks like it was bought from the bargain bin at Chapel Hill Beauty Supply. The worst part is the newcomers don’t get their chance to shine like the trailer would have you believe. Particularly the characters of color.

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NOC Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

If Agents Mulder and Scully from The X-Files formed a New Wave synth band, what would they sing about? Kituria from Project Fandom and I unite forces on this all-important issue, and the predictions were nothing short of #nerdgirlmagic.

WE WANT TO BELIEVE.

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Character Study: Zoe Washburne

With October being #BlackSpeculativeFictionMonth, it seemed only appropriate to put the spotlight on an amazing black character. Zoe Washburne, the big damn heroine of Firefly/Serenity, portrayed by Perfection herself, Gina Torres, seemed like an excellent selection.

When Firefly first premiered, I knew the series was going to be something special. Joss Whedon was at the helm, very talented and good-looking cast, wicked cool concept. Of course it wasn’t until I saw the first episode that I realized how special this little series about cowboys in space truly was. A major part of that success was a little cowgirl known as Zoe Washburne.

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Overplaying the Whitewashing Card with The Martian

Back in June, our NOC mastermind Keith Chow wrote a probing article about how a Korean American character was being whitewashed in the film adaptation of the Andy Weir novel The Martian.

Now that the film has been released for over a week — with considerable box office success, trade publications like Deadline and Variety, among others have released articles about how the Asian American media watchdog group, MANAA, has followed Keith’s lead and declared the film to be guilty of whitewashing:

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