I saw 50/50 recently, and the movie told a great story, based on real life events, about a man who discovers he has cancer. Heartfelt messages, entertaining tale.
That said, I didn't like the movie.
I couldn't get past the unnecessary implicit and explicit misogyny poured onto almost every female character in the movie, and onto women in general, whom Seth Rogen's character suggested should be fellating their boyfriends on demand. Later, the lack of colorful people rubbed me the wrong way, although I did appreciate the not one, but two Asian doctors. [Insert eye roll here.]
Like X-Men: First Class, 50/50 left me with the sad realization that my stories, like many other people's stories, will never be told. Often artists and activists make that statement like this: "Unless we tell our stories, they will never be told." But some stories just won't be told at all. I am writing as fast as I can, but I can't possibly write everything about me and produce everything about me. I'm only one person. Similarly, other writers and ideamakers who happen to be nonwhite, nonmale, nonstraight, or some combination of those signifiers cannot independently produce enough content to compete with "mainstream" (white, male, heteronormative and/or misogynistic) projects at the same level, or in many cases, at any level at all.
You might ask, "why can't you just enjoy a movie like 50/50 for what it is, instead of criticizing it for not representing you yourself personally?" My answer is, "Because I am tired of doing that." I had done that all my life. I have read thousands of books and stories, and have watched hundred of movies and television shows. The works have disproportionately featured white male American heterosexual protagonists and main characters and authors, especially from the books and movies and plays and television shows that I have been required to consume throughout my education.
"But," you might continue, "cancer is relatable to everyone. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is playing an everyman." Yes, cancer is relatable. I have been directly and indirectly affected by family and friends and teachers and other loved ones who have had cancer. Some have survived and some have not. But I am not a white man, and 50/50 truly tells the story of a white heterosexual man in America (and his exclusively white family and friends and girlfriends) who is comfortably employed, despite refusing to learn how to drive, and has a health care plan that takes care of all his medical expenses, even when he stops working. I mean, I do have a lot of white friends, but really? Black friends, apply here! Other colorful people are welcome, too.
For readers who may need a better visual, what if every story, book, television show, comic book, every medium of artistic and educational expression was dominated by authors and characters and celebrities like . . .
and Lisa Ling?
and Steve Byrne,
hot dance moves from Rain
and fake psychic sidekicking from Tim Kang.
and Sandra Oh.
For those of you who made it through the lovely pictures, I ask you to continue imagining.
Imagine if all of the "period"/historical dramas you were spoon fed were set in Asia (instead of Europe), specifically in China (instead of in England), but occasionally in India or Japan (instead of in Germany or France).
Imagine if Dean Cain could embrace his Dean George Tanaka roots by playing identifiably Asian characters, instead of white superhero, white convicted murderer, and his pivotal role on a very special episode of A Different World, in which Mr. Cain played Third Racist from the left.
Imagine if John Cho's story about his father's journey of freedom, walking from North Korea into South Korea, were in production as a major motion picture, not just a moving anecdote Mr. Cho conveyed to Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.
"But who would play his father?"
I hear John Cho's available.
That's all. Thanks for reading!