Can you spot the Stock characters in the film?

Posted on June 6, 2011

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On the Amazon.com thread (now up to 1400 over 3,000 posts!) we’ve had a lively discussion on the stock characters and stereotypes in The  Help.
But there’s much about  the film of novel that’s similar to other movies and characters.

Jessica Lange and Powers Boothe

Jessica Lange won a best actress Oscar for her role as Carly Marshall in the 1994 movie Blue Sky. She portrayed a boozy, too tight clothes wearing but ultimately good wife with a heart of gold.  One part screw-up, one part bumbling but lovable woman, Jessica’s long suffering but loyal husband was played by Tommy Lee Jones.

Jessica Lange from Blue Sky

Now, take a look at Celia Foote, who’s played by Jessica Chastain. Almost the spitting image of Jessica Lange, and not just because of her hair, clothing and make-up. Celia is the blonde bombshell wife unable to hold her liquor, socially inept, a bit ditzy but she really has a good heart.

Jessica Chastain, meet Jessica Lange. Your twin

Oh Celia, is there more in that soda than Co-cola?

So it falls on Hilly to add some much needed serious bad-ass to this film. Or maybe not.
When I watched the trailer and saw how Bryce Dallas Howard was made up and also how broadly comedic her part had become, I couldn’t help but think of Michelle Pfeiffer in Hairspray.

Bryce Dallas Howard as Hilly "Boo-hiss" Holbrook

Michelle Pfeiffer as the villain mom from Hairspray

Michelle Pfeiffer in Hairspray

Hilly, what part of "Maybe we should just build you a bathroom outside" do you not understand? And who's that extra over doing it with the evil eye on the right?

Ahna O’Reilly reminded me of Ellie Kemper (The receptionist in The Office)

Ellie Kemper of The Office

Elizabeth Leefolt acts clueless, but she doesn't have a red devil shaped face

 

 

Time to check up on The Help:

Aibileen and Minny, those bold feminists try to watch white people on the downlow

Happiness is giving a black woman a hug. Have you hugged yours today?

Happiness is hugging a black woman when she least expects it. Have you hugged yours today?

 

 

Ah well, guess it could be worse. Could be like this:

Louise Beavers in nurturing mode

Louise Beavers in Bell Starr, once again in nurturing mode

 

 

I’m so glad we won’t be seeing that kind of thing in the mov-  . . . oh dear god no. NO!!!!!

Law, they done took away all Cicely Tyson's teeth fo dat movie!

Law they done took away Cicely Tyson's teeth pt2

                                                                         

 

 Whew, Thank goodness. It’s okay people, move along. Nothing to see here.  All the black people are without makeup in order to look like Stockett’s skewed vision of the perfect domestic.

Louise Beavers in Imitation of Life, touted as "the greatest screen role ever played by a colored actress"

Hattie McDaniel in Gone With The Wind, the film that set the standard on how black maids should look onscreen

 

 

Here’s what the actresses who play Constantine, Minny and Aibileen really look like:

The acting legend, Cicely Tyson

Octavia Spencer in real life

Viola Davis in real life

 

 

                                      
And now for the Star of our Show:

Wait for it . . . the Sandra Bullock "Blindside" stare is coming

Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side

Giving them the Sandra Bullock stare of "I carry a gun in my purse and in both my eyes."

 

 

Sandra Bullock's about to give someone hell

Sandra Bullock laser cats stare number two by Emma Stone. Oh it's about to be on.

Don't you people know not to stare directly into the camera when we do the "black people singing in church" scene? Haven't you seen enough of these by now to know how its done?

Alas,  yet another scene that has become almost as clichéd as black people singing in church, the squealing in delight  white girls at the sight of an old friend. And they all manage to shriek on cue.

The Group Squeal of surprise

Can we be real here? Women didn’t do this. This is a man’s idea of how females from the 60s behaved, cutesy and corny. And its been used so much in films and TV (especially comedies) that a collective groan should be heard in a theater whenever it occurs. Especially since it’s now a standard way of portraying ditzy women from past eras, as if to show a difference in behavior between whites and other minority groups. But it’s way past tiresome.

 

 

The Help . . . kinda like watching Hairspray, only worse because there’s no singing. And no dancing. And no race mixing. And no man in drag.  There’s just fake drama about how black people were treated. 

 

 

To be continued . . . sho nuff
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