Author Topic: PRECIOUS  (Read 22799 times)

Offline Mastrmynd

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PRECIOUS
« on: October 22, 2009, 07:44:49 pm »
My wife and I just came back from watching "Precious."
  This amazing movie is heavy...thought provoking, unflinchin' in its rawness, unnerving and disturbing and well written and directed.
  I'm glad that Mr. Perry and Ms. Winfrey put their names and money behind this film so it could be released nationwide.
  Go see it when it hits theaters nationwide Nov. 6th.
  That is all. Mastrmynd out.


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Offline JLI Jesse

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Re: PRECIOUS
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2009, 08:01:24 pm »
AP,

I'll just copy and paste what I said on facebook (with a few minor changes).

Really? I have to say I am surprised. I saw the preview for this movie and it made me want to jump off a building. In addition, Mo'Nique is usually enough to make me jerk the wheel.  I just find her very obnoxious and she is usually a very big turn off.  When I saw the trailer,  knew this movie was not for me. But you are the man, so I am happy you enjoyed it :)

However, and I feel like a real ass saying this, but watching the trailer, Gabourey Sidibe needs help. It is disturbing to look at her, knowing how her health must be. I hope she gets the help she needs after this movie.

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Re: PRECIOUS
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2009, 01:05:14 am »
I don't think I was supposed to laugh at the trailer. Mo'nique (whom I DESPISE) was so over-the-top that I couldn't take her seriously even if I wanted to.

Offline Mastrmynd

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Re: PRECIOUS
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2009, 06:11:37 pm »
i feel ya, jenn, but i have new respect for her after this role.
honest.


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Re: PRECIOUS
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2009, 10:56:55 pm »
Please! I'm surprised she didn't twirl her mustache as she tied Precious to a railroad track while old-timey piano music played in the background.

Offline Mastrmynd

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Re: PRECIOUS
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2009, 09:08:00 pm »
Please! I'm surprised she didn't twirl her mustache as she tied Precious to a railroad track while old-timey piano music played in the background.

lol.

speakin' of mustaches, Mariah Carey was rockin' a faint mustache when she decided to go sans makeup and flowing in the breeze weave. au natural... but it worked for her in a "this is a vintage 80s new york like i'm rockin'" sortaway.


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Offline Hypestyle

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Re: PRECIOUS
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2009, 05:40:08 pm »
However, and I feel like a real ass saying this, but watching the trailer, Gabourey Sidibe needs help. It is disturbing to look at her, knowing how her health must be. I hope she gets the help she needs after this movie.

I had similar thoughts after seeing Monster's Ball, and observing the boy who played Halle/Puffy's son.. extremely overweight, loudly badgered by his mom, finding comfort in food.. maybe it was my own oversensitivity, but I was thinking it was skirting the edge of exploitation in casting a kid who in real life clearly had a serious weight problem..

..with this film, I wonder if it deals with "i'm not fat i'm big-bone-ded" issues in African-American culture..
Be Kind to Someone Today.

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Agree or disagree?
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2009, 08:23:11 pm »
Wednesday, November 4,2009

Pride & Precious
You can thank media titans Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry for much of the hype surrounding Lee Daniels’ film Precious. ARMOND WHITE calls it the ‘Con Job of the Year.’
By Armond White . . . . . . .


SHAME ON TYLER PERRY and Oprah Winfrey for signing on as air-quote executive producers of Precious. After this post-hip-hop freak show wowed Sundance last January, it now slouches toward Oscar ratification thanks to its powerful friends.Winfrey and Perry had no hand in the actual production of Precious, yet the movie must have touched some sore spot in their demagogue psyches. They’ve piggybacked their reps as black success stories hoping to camouflage Precious’ con job—even though it’s more scandalous than their own upliftment trade. Perry and Winfrey naively treat Precious’ exhibition of ghetto tragedy and female disempowerment as if it were raw truth. It helps contrast and highlight their achievements as black American paradigms—self-respect be damned.

Let’s scrutinize their endorsement: Precious isn’t simply a strivers’ message movie; Perry and Winfrey recognize its propaganda value. The story of an overweight black teenage girl who is repeatedly raped and impregnated by her father, molested and beaten by her mother comes from a 1990s identity-politics novel by a poet named Sapphire. It piles on self pity and recrimination consistent with the air-quotes’ own oft-recounted backstories. Promoting this movie isn’t just a way for Perry and Winfrey to aggrandize themselves, it helps convert their private agendas into heavily hyped social preoccupation.

But Perry and Winfrey aren’t all that keep Precious from sinking into the ghetto of oblivion like such dull, bourgie, black-themed movies as The Great Debaters or The Pursuit of Happyness. That’s because the film’s writer-director Lee Daniels works the salacious side of the black strivers’ street. Daniels knows how to turn a racist trick. As producer of Monster’s Ball, Daniels symbolized Halle Berry’s ravishment as integration; Kevin Bacon titillated pedophilia in Daniels’ The Woodsman and Daniels’ directorial debut, Shadowboxing, hinted at interracial incest between stepmother and son Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding Jr.

Winfrey, Perry and Daniels make an unholy triumvirate.They come together at some intersection of race exploitation and opportunism. These two media titans—plus one shrewd pathology pimp—use Precious to rework Booker T. Washington’s early 20th-century manifesto Up From Slavery into extreme drama for the new millennium: Up From Incest, Child Abuse,Teenage Pregnancy, Poverty and AIDS. Regardless of its narrative details about class and gender, Precious is an orgy of prurience. All the terrible, depressing (not uplifting) things that happen to 16year-old Precious recall that memorable All About Eve line, “Everything but the bloodhounds nipping at her rear-end.”

It starts with the opening scene of Precious’ Cinderella fantasy. Tarted up in a boa and gown, walking a red carpet light years away from her tenement reality, Precious (Gabourey Sidibe) sighs, “I wish I had a light-skinned boyfriend with nice hair.” Her ideal smacks of selfhatred—the colorism issue that Daniels exacerbates without exploring. He casts light-skinned actors as kind (schoolteacher Paula Patton, social worker Mariah Carey, nurse Lenny Kravitz and an actual Down syndrome child as Precious’ first-born) and dark-skinned actors as terrors. Sidibe herself is presented as an animal-like stereotype—she’s so obese her face seems bloated into a permanent pout.This is not the breakthrough Todd Solondz achieved in Palindromes where plus-size black actress Sharon Wilkins artfully represented the immensity of an outcast’s misunderstood humanity. Instead, Sidibe’s fancy-dressed daydream looks laughable; poorly photographed, its primary effect is pathetic.

Daniels employs the same questionable pathos as the family banquet scene at the start of Denzel Washington’s also condescending Antwone Fisher. This cheap ploy of tortured daydreaming uses black American deprivation for sentimentality. It sells materialist fantasy as a universal motivation—no wonder Perry and Winfrey like it. Precious embodies an unenlightening canard.That fantasy opening—depicting the girl’s Obama-like ascension—tantalizes thoughts of advancement and triumph. It ought to be satirical to undercut the norms she aspires to just as Palindromes’ misfit teens subverted MTV’s ideas of youth.

Perry and Winfrey may think Precious is serious, but Daniels is hoisting his freak flag. He gets off on degradation. Flashbacks to Precious’ rape contain a curious montage of grease, sweat, bacon and Vaseline. Later, he intercuts a shot of pig’s feet cooking on a stove with Precious being humped while her mother watches from a corner. Another misjudged scene recreates De Sica’s B&W Two Women—a half-camp trashing of motherhood that compounds the problem of cultural alienation. So does the film’s Ebonics credit sequence and the scene of Precious rotating amidst a bombardment of success icons—Martina Arroyo, MLK, Shirley Chisholm—to which she either relates or is ignorant.This incoherence should not pass for sociology.

Not since The Birth of a Nation has a mainstream movie demeaned the idea of black American life as much as Precious. Full of brazenly racist clichés (Precious steals and eats an entire bucket of fried chicken), it is a sociological horror show. Offering racist hysteria masquerading as social sensitivity, it’s been acclaimed on the international festival circuit that usually disdains movies about black Americans as somehow inartistic and unworthy.

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The hype for Precious indicates a culture-wide willingness to accept particular ethnic stereotypes as a way of maintaining status quo film values. Excellent recent films with black themes—Next Day Air, Cadillac Records, Meet Dave, Norbit, Little Man, Akeelah and the Bee, First Sunday, The Ladykillers, Marci X, Palindromes, Mr. 3000, even back to the great Beloved (also produced by Oprah)—have been ignored by the mainstream media and serious film culture while this carnival of black degradation gets celebrated. It’s a strange combination of liberal guilt and condescension.

Birth of a Nation glorified the rise of the Ku Klux Klan as a panicky subculture’s solution to social change. Precious hyperbolizes the class misery of our nation’s left-behinds—not the post- Rapture reprobates of Christianity’s last-days theories, but the Obama-era unreachables—including Precious’ Benetton-esque assortment of remedial school classmates. One explanation is that Precious permits a cultural version of that 1960s political controversy “benign neglect”—its agreed-upon selection of the most pathetic racial images and social catastrophes helps to normalize the circumstances of poverty and abandon that will never change or be resolved.You can think: Precious is just how those people are (although Cops and the Jerry Springer and Maury Povich shows offer enough evidence that white folks live low, too).

Precious’ plot is so outrageous (although the New York Times Magazine touts it as “The Audacity of Precious,” a telling link to Obama’s memoir The Audacity of Hope) that its acclaim suggests an aftershock of all that Hurricane Katrina weeping and lamentation about America’s Others. This movie finally puts the deprivations of Katrina on the big screen—not as smug, political fingerpointing, nor the inconsequential way superliberals Brad Pitt and David Fincher shoehorned Katrina into Benjamin Button, but as sheer melodramatic terror. (Poor Precious endures the most brutal home life since Lillian Gish in the 1918 Broken Blossoms.)

Precious raises ghosts of ethnic fear and exoticism just like Birth of a Nation. Precious and her mother (Mo’Nique) share a Harlem hovel so stereotypical it could be a Klansman’s fantasy. It also suggests an outsider’s romantic view of the political wretchedness and despair associated with the blues. Critics willingly infer there’s black life essence in Precious’ anti-life tale. And the same high-dudgeon tsk-tsking of Hurricane Katrina commentators is also apparent in the movie’s praise. Pundits who bemoan the awful conditions that have not improved for America’s unfortunate are reminded that they are still on top.

This misreading of blues sensibility probably has something to do with the disconnect caused by hip-hop, where thuggishness and criminality romanticize black ghetto life. Director Daniels’ rotgut images of aggressive cruelty and low-life illiteracy aren’t far from gangster rap clichés.The spectacle warps how people perceive black American life— perhaps even replacing their instincts for compassion with fear and loathing.

Media hype helps pass this disdain down to the masses. Precious is meant to be enjoyed as a Lady Bountiful charity event. And look: Oprah,TV’s Lady Bountiful, joins the bandwagon. It continues her abusefetish and self-help nostrums (though the scene where Precious carries her baby past a “Spay and Neuter Your Pets” sign is sick).


Problem is, Perry,Winfrey and Daniels’ pityparty bait-and-switches our social priorities.

Personal pathology gets changed into a melodrama of celebrity-endorsed self-pity. The con artists behind Precious seize this Obama moment in which racial anxiety can be used to signify anything anybody can stretch it to mean. And Daniels needs this humorless condescension (Hollywood’s version of benign neglect) to obscure his lurid purposes.

Sadly, Mike Leigh’s emotionally exact and socially perceptive films (Secrets and Lies, All or Nothing, Happy Go Lucky) that answer contemporary miserablism with genuine social and spiritual insight have not penetrated Daniels,Winfrey, Perry’s consciousness—nor of the Oscarheads now championing Precious. They’ve also ignored Jonathan Demme’s moving treatment of the lingering personal and communal tragedy of slavery in Beloved. Both Leigh and Demme understand the spiritual challenges to despair and their richly detailed performances testify to that fact. Sidibe and Mo’Nique give two-note performances: dumb and innocent, crazy and evil. Monique’s do-rag doesn’t convey depths within herself, nor does Mariah Carey’s fright wig. Daniels’ cast lacks that uncanny mix of love and threat that makes Next Day Air so August Wilson- authentic.

Worse than Precious itself was the ordeal of watching it with an audience full of patronizing white folk at the New York Film Festival, then enduring its media hoodwink as a credible depiction of black American life. A scene such as the hippopotamus-like teenager climbing a K-2 incline of tenement stairs to present her newborn, incest-bred baby to her unhinged virago matriarch, might have been met howls of skeptical laughter at Harlem’s Magic Johnson theater. Black audiences would surely have seen the comedy in this ludicrous, overloaded situation, whereas too many white film habitués casually enjoy it for the sense of superiority—and relief—it allows them to feel. Some people like being conned.

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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agree or disagree pt.2...from Stanley Crouch
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2009, 12:17:20 pm »
There is a radical humanity to the new film “Precious” that is equaled by the radical humanity of Tyler Perry. As you should know by now, “Precious,” directed by Lee Daniels, is a film about an eggplant-dark literal whale of a teenager whom we discover is more than just a 300-pound barrel of blubber impregnated twice by her own father.

Like so many of the vulgar, obnoxious and hostile young inner-city kids, she is actually no more than a blowfish. The name comes from the marine creature that blows itself up into a terrible, distorted sight, hoping to frighten things that terrify it. Precious blows herself up into an apparently dangerous force in order to spook those who have successfully frightened her.

That she learns how to deal with the things that have traumatized her into self-pity and insipid fantasies, and being hypnotized into emotional paralysis, is what the film is about. It is successful because, for all its rawness, it does not exploit all of the terrible things in the movie for nothing other than profit. In short, it is not a hip-hop movie of brittle minstrelsy. It does not dehumanize by exploiting vice and violence for cartoon displays intended to open the way to the bank.

“Precious” avoids all of that because everything is human, be it good or bad. It is a criticism told in terms so infused with humanity that its deeply Negroid style becomes universal. Universality is achieved only by communicating things we know so well or believe so deeply because they are so human in their portrayal.

“Precious” could only happen in our time, but it is an old fairy tale of a girl prevailing through the cruelties of a mother close to being a witch and a world close to being hell. What makes it so important is that it underlines the importance of literacy.

Since Oprah Winfrey has consistently chosen to play the part of America’s godmother of good will, we are not surprised that the film broke her heart and that she chose to use her remarkable power to do for it whatever she could.

The surprise to those who do not understand Tyler Perry’s particular brilliance is the unexpected fact that he brought the film to Winfrey knowing that she would respond with deep feeling.

Perry knows what the real deal is. He gets to his audience with the honey of broad comedy without a doubt, but there is always something else there. The broad comedy is a setup for a vast belief in the power of spiritual devotion and morale whenever one is between a rock and a hard place. Or raised in the barrel of butcher knives that we know as extreme poverty or the chaos wrought by criminal knuckleheads.

Precious gets through because those who actually want to help her have the will necessary to change the way she thinks and the way she lives. They do this by showing her the only thing we can ever show children trapped in the barrel: actual feeling and actual concern for them.

That is why Perry went to Winfrey about the film. It is actually about one of the few things both of them know works: love so tough it reminds one of how anybody, family or not, stands up for a child in danger.

Jenn

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Re: PRECIOUS
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2009, 12:49:20 pm »
I'll support this film, if for no reason than to put my money where my mouth is. Even if I have to sit through the tragedy that is Mo'Nique. Even if it puts money in Tyler Perry's pocket.

But one thing is really bugging me. IIRC, the book describes Precious as being around 5'9" or 5'10" and over 200 pounds. Gabby Sibide, on the other hand, is over 300 pounds. Don't get me wrong - 300 pounds is technically over 200 pounds. But it seems to be that for Daniels (whom I've never liked) didn't think 200 pounds was tragic enough. Precious couldn't just be overweight, but obese, because it makes the story that much more heartbreaking. Even if they're trying to pass it off as pregnancy weight, it still rubs me the wrong way.

One of the problems I have the criticism, however, is the idea that this story shouldn't be told because it's too depressing or too tragic or too unreal, and that nobody's mother can be 'that bad'. Anybody who has worked with children - particularly low income children - know that Precious's story, while tragic and enraging, isn't all that uncommon. Why shouldn't it be told? What, does the idea of young girls being raped and impregnated f*ck up YOUR universe, Mr. White? Well, I'm so sorry to hear that! We may not want to admit it, but I dare suggest that nearly all of us have known a Precious at one point or another. If you've lived in an all-female environment - such as a women's dorm or barracks - you've met a few. It's my opinion that Daniels is giving us little more than emoporn, as he's been known to do. But is he wrong? Harlem sh*tholes, illiterate teenagers and psychotic mothers bother you? BAWWWWWWWW, cry moar.

Quote
A scene such as the hippopotamus-like teenager climbing a K-2 incline of tenement stairs to present her newborn, incest-bred baby to her unhinged virago matriarch, might have been met howls of skeptical laughter at Harlem’s Magic Johnson theater. Black audiences would surely have seen the comedy in this ludicrous, overloaded situation


Right, like they howled and applauded when Sanaa Lathan was slapped so hard that she flew OVER a bar in The Family That Preys? That's not exactly a ringing endorsement of black people.

And they way they describe Gabby is flat out insulting. "Barrel of blubber"? "Literal whale"? "Eggplant"? Mr. Crouch, have you looked at yourself at any time w/i the past 30 years?
« Last Edit: November 07, 2009, 01:10:29 pm by Jenn »

Offline jefferson L.O.B. sergeant

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Re: PRECIOUS
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2009, 03:41:07 pm »
White is comparing PRECIOUS to BIRTH OF A NATION!

Talk about melodrama, I have to see this film now after that sort of rhetoric.

On another note, I have to brace myself for the avalanche of you/your mother looks like Precious jokes that are soon to fill the air.

Offline Vic Vega

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Re: PRECIOUS
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2009, 04:23:25 pm »
White is comparing PRECIOUS to BIRTH OF A NATION!

Talk about melodrama, I have to see this film now after that sort of rhetoric.

On another note, I have to brace myself for the avalanche of you/your mother looks like Precious jokes that are soon to fill the air.

White is a frustrated failed filmmaker turned embittered reviewer. If a film isn't making an uplifting moralistic point to him it is bad movie craft-This is a man who thinks Spielberg can do no wrong.His opinon is valueless.

Well if you saw everything he hates you'd be in for some pretty good movie-watching so maybe he is not utterly useless.

Haven't seen this movie yet but-some will shun it for its Perry connection and some will shun it for its Oprah connection. Even more will shun it for its subject matter-will Black folk be willing to pay to see depressing stuff like this? It is no coincidence that nearly everybody in Tyler Perry's flicks are Buppies.

The folks in Slumdog were poor as hell but grew up to be cute and there was a happy ending.Where is the escapism here?

I'll check it out-It be interesting to see how it does.

Offline BmoreAkuma

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Re: Agree or disagree?
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2009, 08:46:41 pm »

The hype for Precious indicates a culture-wide willingness to accept particular ethnic stereotypes as a way of maintaining status quo film values. Excellent recent films with black themesNext Day Air, Cadillac Records, Meet Dave, Norbit, Little Man, Akeelah and the Bee, First Sunday, The Ladykillers, Marci X, Palindromes, Mr. 3000, even back to the great Beloved (also produced by Oprah)—have been ignored by the mainstream media and serious film culture while this carnival of black degradation gets celebrated. It’s a strange combination of liberal guilt and condescension.

Hold up let me get this straight. This guy thinks these were great films where these films had the mixture of the very same huge black girl in the film,  the "evil big dark skin" vs "good slim light skin", stereotypes of the black churches & gangs and finally with the naivete white character. And these films still considered "excellent"?


One of the problems I have the criticism, however, is the idea that this story shouldn't be told because it's too depressing or too tragic or too unreal, and that nobody's mother can be 'that bad'. Anybody who has worked with children - particularly low income children - know that Precious's story, while tragic and enraging, isn't all that uncommon. Why shouldn't it be told? What, does the idea of young girls being raped and impregnated f*ck up YOUR universe, Mr. White? Well, I'm so sorry to hear that! We may not want to admit it, but I dare suggest that nearly all of us have known a Precious at one point or another. If you've lived in an all-female environment - such as a women's dorm or barracks - you've met a few. It's my opinion that Daniels is giving us little more than emoporn, as he's been known to do. But is he wrong? Harlem sh*tholes, illiterate teenagers and psychotic mothers bother you? BAWWWWWWWW, cry moar.
Exactly based on the short time I have worked in section 8 I have seen some of "tragic" circumstances where at times the only income is child support if the father is actually working.
With these choices, I felt that the American black man only needed to choose which one to get eaten by; the liberal fox or the conservative wolf because both of them will eat him.

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Re: Agree or disagree?
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2009, 09:47:52 am »

The hype for Precious indicates a culture-wide willingness to accept particular ethnic stereotypes as a way of maintaining status quo film values. Excellent recent films with black themesNext Day Air, Cadillac Records, Meet Dave, Norbit, Little Man, Akeelah and the Bee, First Sunday, The Ladykillers, Marci X, Palindromes, Mr. 3000, even back to the great Beloved (also produced by Oprah)—have been ignored by the mainstream media and serious film culture while this carnival of black degradation gets celebrated. It’s a strange combination of liberal guilt and condescension.

Hold up let me get this straight. This guy thinks these were great films where these films had the mixture of the very same huge black girl in the film,  the "evil big dark skin" vs "good slim light skin", stereotypes of the black churches & gangs and finally with the naivete white character. And these films still considered "excellent"?



That's where I stopped reading. Meet Dave? uuuh no. Norbit really? REEEAALLLYY? What was the black theme in The Ladykillers? Would that be the two black people with significant roles? The f*ck?

Offline bluezulu

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Re: PRECIOUS
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2009, 10:17:42 pm »
Later, he intercuts a shot of pig’s feet cooking on a stove with Precious being humped while her mother watches from a corner.



Da f$ck?

Anyway, yea the subject matter does not surprise me, but I'm not sure this is the type of thing I want to spend money to see to be "entertained".