Dear Academy, for your consideration. . . why you shouldn’t award The Help

Posted on September 22, 2011

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Since everyone is already predicting Oscars for The Help, I thought I’d have some fun listing the top reasons why the film should only win one Academy Award, and that’s for Viola Davis’ performance.

**Update**

If you’re linking here from another site, please know that I read the book. And I know full well about segregation. So if you’re going to talk smack on another site, please bring your questions here and I’ll be glad to answer them. The book was crap  and movie reviews are on this site, both pro and con. I’m willing to back up my statements with archived information from Southern newpapers and researched articles. In addition, I’ve listed the quotes from principles both behind and in front of the camera, with links.

 

Viola Davis saying the line that was never uttered in the book "You are a Godless woman"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what made the list:

1. “I just made this shit up!” quote by Kathryn Stockett while addressing the National Association of Black Journalists.

Since even Stockett thinks her creation is shit, who are we to argue?

More info on the quote here

 

 

 

 

2. “That’s worse than seeing a lynching, it just is.” Quote by the director and screenwriter of The Help, Tate Taylor

If Taylor doesn’t know what’s worse between watching a scene of an actress pretending to take a crap versus a lynching, then the Academy should just hand him a feather duster. He probably won’t know the difference between that and an Oscar statuette.

The Lynching of Laura Nelson

More info on the quote here

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3. “Civil rights is just the backdrop. I’m not qualified to make a film about civil rights.” – Tate Taylor

 

 

I guess I’d have to agree, especially if a director/screenwriter can’t figure out which is worse, watching an actress being asked to hurry up while pretending to take a crap, or someone being lynched.

And yet, Taylor had no problem saying this when asked why people should see The Help:

“If you want to see a historically accurate portrayal of life in the sixties, but go behind the door and see the humanity and the love behind these courageous . . .

Link: http://www.pegasusnews.com/news/2011/aug/08/interview-director-star-the-help-why-see-movie/

The movie, which is based on the book incorporates real civil rights events. In the film, Taylor even changes the reason why the maids join up with Skeeter, using Medgar Evers shooting as the catalyst (in the book they joined because Hilly had Yule May put in jail for stealing). Evers was a civil rights icon, so Taylor knew full well how the film would be viewed, just like the book was categorized at least in part, as incorporating the civil rights movement:

Publication Data sent to Library of Congress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 4. Disney, the company distributing the film already has been lauded enough for a myriad of stereotypical characters like Uncle Remus, Sunflower, the jive talking crows in Dumbo . . . which by the way, are now protected under the “classic”  and “beloved” designations so they’ll never go away. Please Academy voters, don’t validate anymore of them.

Aibileen's folksy sayings and demeanor resemble Uncle Remus from Disney's Song of The Song

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Sunflower, the stereotypical centaurette from Disney's Fantasia. Kindra is another stereotypical depiction of a black child

      

Dancing, wise cracking crows from Disney's classic animated feature Dumbo. There's one even named Jim Crow

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More info can be found here

 

 

 

 

 

5. Having Octavia Spencer practically tap dance for the role of Minny, then giving her stereotypical lines like this to say:

“Minny don’t burn no chicken” and “Frying chicken make you tend to feel better about life.”

Just add these to other cringe worthy one liners like  “What you talkin’ about Willis?” or “I don’t know nothing ’bout birthin’ no babies” or “You is kind, you is smart, you is impo-tent” and that should knock the film out of the running for a top screenwriting Oscar, but it’ll probably still end up winning :)

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

More info can be found here

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Abilene Cooper

Cooper’s allegation that Stockett used parts of her life to color the novel, which clashes with Stockett’s assertion that she hardly knows the woman just doesn’t add up.  Especially since Stockett’s been forthright in admitting using Demetrie McLorn and Octavia Spencer as her “inspirations” for black characters, so what would be the harm in admitting one more?

But maybe the difference is Octavia Spencer willingly gave her approval, and sadly, Demetrie McLorn passed away many years ago. Abilene Cooper seems to be the only one not going along with the program. But unless she can get assistance from her employers (Stockett’s brother and sister-in-law), the truth, and nothing but the truth may be long in coming.

The Help’s seeming more like non-fiction with a bit of fiction thrown in (or a reverse James Frey) so maybe Best Documentary instead of Best Film is the category the movie belongs in.

More info can be found here

 
 

 

 

7. Nuke em,  or whoever okayed the seriously bone headed and offensive product tie-ins. Trying to generate more profit, Dreamworks collaborated with HSN, who in turn put together a mighty slick but ultimately tasteless collection of special products  for sale. Not only was HSN gleefuly promoting cookware and clothing “inspired” by the film, but I agree with the quote of Australian reviewer Liz Jones:

“I went to an advance screening last week of The Help, the Oscar-tipped Hollywood film that has already taken $62 million at the American box office and which opens here next month.

It amused me no end that it was a “fashion press” screening, which has been followed up with “get the look” emails from various High Street firms, due to its setting in the Deep South of Mississippi in the early ’60s. Never mind that the film is about segregation and lynchings.

It’s like being asked to a screening of Schindler’s List, and then “getting the look” of all the lovely uniforms. Such is modern-day marketing.”

Link to the full review:

http://www.perthnow.com.au/crushing-women/story-fn6o0xxk-1226129928849

All those outspoken Hollywood liberals may want to check out their studio’s new marketing ploy. Without regard to the movie’s subject matter, more gaffes like The Help’s are sure to happen.

No "get the look" maid outfits were on sale by HSN. Thank God.

More info on HSN’s collaboration with Dreamworks can be found here

 

 

 

8. For the revisionist history alone, somebody needs to be smacked. Case in point, how the movie is being promoted overseas and on facebook. It’s scheduled to open October 28th in the UK and Ireland, October 26th (changed from the 28th),  but take a look at how its being done:

Good Ol Boy. You've got to be kidding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Good ole Boy?” Did the person who wrote this even realize what that term meant during the 60s? “Good ole boys” struck terror into the hearts of many a black person, especially after the civil rights bill was passed. Far too many (some, not all) had no problem hiding their “handsome” faces behind the white sheets of the KKK.  Even if many weren’t part of the Klan or the White Citizen’s Council, the Confederate Flag and civil war memorabilia were touted as declarations of pride in their southern roots and traditions.

Traditions which included treating African Americans like shit.

Let me point out that the term “Good Ole Boy” has lost much of that meaning today, mainly because segregation is over. However there are still sections of the U. S. where a few people seem intent on resurrecting what it used to signify. And I’m not talking about the stereotype of a red neck, which was very broad and focused on poking fun at their behavior  and appearance.

Just chalk this up as another insensitive blunder by the folks behind the movie.

This is the kind of irresponsible BS that continues to plague Stockett’s creation, from the book to the movie. Trying to rehabilitate the image of a 60s southern male who practiced segregation by calling him a  “handsome good ole boy” is in line with calling Amon Goeth from Schindler’s List  “A handsome, personable general of the Third Reich”

But the hits just keep on coming. In case you thought “Good ole boy” was just a flub, here’s how Johnny Foote is being portrayed. A “Dreamboat and a southern gentleman”

Southern Gentleman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again, revisionist bullshit of the highest order. Yes, the actors are quite attractiveBut don’t get it twisted. Far too many southern males behaved less like gentlemen during that time period and more like this:

The kick seen 'round the world. Alex Wilson is attacked by mob and the world finally sees what African Americans subjected to.

Photo by Charles Moore. Two African American women being attacked. Note the bat in the man's hand while another man pummels a woman with his fists.

 
 

And this (if you’re squeamish, don’t look). These are a few photos of lynchings, courtesy of some “good ole boys” and “southern gentlemen”:

1936 lynching of Lint Shaw in Royston, Georgia

 
 
 
 

The Lynching of Rubin Stacy in Florida

 
 
 
 
 

A Lynching in Omama, Nebraska in Sept of 1919, to show just how far reaching bigotry and hate spread in America

 
 
 
 

UK and Ireland movie Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If it wasn’t clear before, it should be clear now. This movie isn’t about The Help, but how moviegoers should “fall in love” with the dashing characters,  a bunch of pretty young people trying to emote while older maids crack jokes, dulling the horror of segregation. It makes an audience bond with a handsome face, and instead of realizing they’ve been duped, everybody leaves the theater happy, feeling a bit sorry for those “poor black people” but not really.

False Advertising about Hilly

 

 

And so Members of the Academy, I say disqualify The Help, for misrepresenting bigotry and promoting the ass backwards propaganda that segregation was all about well dressed white women acting bitchy.

More info can be found here

More information on lynchings in America can be found here

To be continued . . .

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