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And the award for most forgettably titled film of 2013 goes to Things Never Said, the (indifference-) inspiring story of long-suffering streetwise poetess Kalindra (Shanola Hampton), a female exemplar of the elusive but far-from-endangered species Africanus cinematicus, or Hollywood black person, a versatile, unfairly pigeonholed, and defiantly ascendant figure who makes a sassy point of demolishing racist stereotypes by quoting Shakespeare, sipping wine, and eating salads, but who – make no mistake – still got it goin’ on.

Thrill as Kalindra, even after the pain of an unsatisfying marriage and a miscarriage, perseveres and self-actualizes, composing her verbal artworks and treating ethnomasochistically enthused poetry slam audiences to such profundities of expression as, “If you think my voice carries the hate of my ancestors, you’re wrong; it doesn’t carry hate, but the frustrations of the disappointed”; “The hate you thought you heard coming from us was nothing but the echoes of your own white mind”; and, even more gasp-inducingly poignant: “Who the fuck gives a fuck? Does someone give a fuck about me, my pain, my shit? I’m sicka bein’ a bitch for you, motherfucker.”

Shanola Hampton shines – no politically incorrect pun or other poetic device intended – in the moody role of Kalindra, particularly during roller coaster recitations of her poetry. The best scene in the film, however, belongs to an unknown actor, uncredited at IMDb, who brings a nasty naturalism to the minor role of Lem, a character written as an antagonist, but who manages with swaggeringly sleazy charm to swipe this reviewer’s affection. Lem is an old friend of Kalindra’s working schlub of a husband, Ronnie (Elimu Nelson), and represents the retrograde black ghetto culture Kalindra seeks to escape through art. Lem, who appears to view her poetry as some kind of ersatz style of rap, aims to humiliate the protagonist by worrying aloud that Kalindra wants to make Ronnie into a “new millennium ol’ sof’ ass nigga. What, you gonna buy him some skinny jeans next?”

Convincing moments of this variety are unfortunately few, more often yielding to Lifetime Network level feminist wallowing in degenerated and self-absorbed womanliness.

2.5 of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Things Never Said is:

8. Pro-miscegenation. Extras include an interracial couple in a café. There is, however, a palpable tension and racial resentment on Kalindra’s part when she catches lover Curtis (Omari Hardwick) out on a date with a yellow cutie.

7. Pro-wigger, multiculturalist, and pro-immigration. A white wannabe ‘hood bard self-loathingly apes ghetto inflections at one of the slams, which bring together people of different backgrounds, including a “New Yorican”. A women’s support group is peopled by sisters of various hues.

6. Anti-white. Curtis recommends the “dead white motherfuckers that aren’t very interesting but they teach us how to be better poets.” Kalindra holds whites collectively guilty as a race for Africans’ lack of achievement when she gripes, “My ancestors never had a voice. They were too busy listening to you,” she explains, righteously bitch-slapping the audience of liberal hipsters that has come to hear her.

5. Anti-Christian. “Maybe the Bible’s fuckin’ wrong,” Kalindra sasses her mother. Better to go in for new age spirituality and “listen to your soul”. One of her vulgar poems also contains the lines, “Not some negro spiritual shuffle; this is what I truly give a fuck about kind of dance, like I’m dancin’ on a cloud, a cloud of groove and pussy wet and slow jams . . . Can you hear it? Poo-poo-shh, poo-poo-poo-shh . . .”

4. Pro-slut. “Until I can find a decent motherfucker who will love me and also my kid, then [the less than ideal] Steve’s all I got,” Kalindra’s friend Daphne (Tamala Jones) explains. “You know I love that dick, girl, especially when it’s good,” she adds. Kalindra launches into an affair with fellow poet Curtis after he ignorantly compares her to non-black African queens Nefertiti and Cleopatra, “two women whose names are our history”, and finishes with the romantic flourish, “Tell me sumpin’: can I fuck wit you?”

3. Misandrist. Men are “children that never wean.” Simple, blue collar Ronnie stands in for the typical man when he goes ape and beats up Kalindra. More attractive, clearly, is the sensitive lover Curtis, a preposterous figure who could only have been contrived by the feminist imagination: a tough, muscular, and tattooed but reformed and emotionally brittle litterateur with a sensitive heart of pure black gold.

2. Anti-marriage/anti-family. Marriage is equated with slavery. Kalindra’s husband Ronnie, who has a history of beating her, also has the male chauvinist gumption to wish that she could cook! Who can blame her for wanting to have an affair? Her miscarriage, it would seem, was serendipitous, saving her from having this monster’s child. Who needs a “shithead husband” anyway? Kalindra’s mother was also a victim of spousal abuse.

1. Feminist. “Sometimes we focus too much on how we’ll be seen and judged.” Things Never Said instead celebrates the strong woman living only for herself. “Do I feel guilty about how I live my life? Fuck yeah. But not the guilt you think. You low piece a shit.”

Part VI of The Filthy Films of Adam Sandler in Ideological Content Analysis: A Cranko-Politico-Critical Retrospective of the ICA Institute for Advanced Sandler Studies (A.S.S.)

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Sandler gets to tackle a more serious role than usual, playing one of the relatively normal characters for a change in the blatant pro-immigration propaganda piece Spanglish, which, for the purposes of this review, shall go by its alternate title The Passion of the Wetback.  Sandler plays John Clasky, a gourmet chef and father whose wife Deborah (Tea Leoni) is such a spoiled, unbalanced, and self-absorbed shrew that she is apparently incapable of keeping her own home in order despite not having a job.  The only solution, of course, is for the Claskys to hire a hot illegal Mexican housekeeper, Flor (Paz Vega), to grace them with her wise Latina ways and teach them a moral truth or two like a wetback Mr. Belvedere.  Along for the ride to demonstrate the bright future made possible by America’s budding immigrant generations is Flor’s daughter Cristina (Shelbie Bruce), who is naturally prettier and more talented than Clasky’s pudgy daughter Bernice (Sarah Steele).

Sandler’s accessible humanity anchors what might otherwise have been an intolerable chick flick, with Tea Leoni creating a psycho mother to stand alongside Piper Laurie in Carrie and Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest, a creature so disgusting that one can hardly blame Mr. Clasky for being tempted by imported fruit.  Mrs. Clasky is the new American woman: hard, unfeminine, sexually neurotic, straining for beauty but making herself more unappealing in the process, and utterly overwhelmed by her uninteresting problems.  Her fatuous presumption, a product of privilege, finds humorous expression when she initially misunderstands her new housekeeper’s name to be “Floor – what I walk on, right?”  America, not Mexico, The Passion of the Wetback would inform viewers, is the hotbed of kidnapping, with Mrs. Clasky at one point taking off with Flor’s daughter without permission and leaving a note: “I decided to steal your daughter for a bit.”  Thankfully, Flor finds out and hits the roof, giving her boss a peppery piece of her wise Latina mind.  Mrs. Clasky is, however, gratified to hear from Cristina that she is “the most amazing white woman that I’ve ever met.”

Okay by lightweight chick flick standards, the film is still a sociological crime and a commercial for the Treason Lobby.  3 out of 5 stars.  Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Passion of the Wetback is:

8. Animal rights militant.  A PETA sticker adorns the daughter’s bedroom door.

7. Anti-drug.  Clasky’s mother-in-law (Cloris Leachman) is an alcoholic.  Flor discourages Clasky from turning to drink to escape his problems.

6. Obesity-tolerant.  Women yearn for “the comfort of fullness.”  Mrs. Clasky insensitively buys her daugher clothes that are too small for her, expecting that Bernice should lose weight so that the items will fit; but Flor slyly alters the garments to boost the girl’s self-esteem.

5. Egalitarian and hostile to private property.  “I didn’t know God had a toy store for the rich,” Cristina says, expressing her shock at “natural beauty which is privately owned.”

4. Pro-castration.  Mr. Clasky, an exemplar of the sensitive, tolerant man, “seemed to have the emotions of a Mexican woman.”

3. Pro-miscegenation.  Naturally.

2. Anti-marriage/family-ambivalent.  Mr. Clasky is a model father, but his family is severly dysfunctional.  Mrs. Clasky is bitchy and unfaithful.  Flor’s husband left her.  Clasky’s mother-in-law endorses the superiority of Third World motherhood, however, when she tells Flor, “I live my life for myself.  You live yours for your daughter.”

1. Razist/alien-delugist.  A spicy slice of Hollywood psyops, The Passion of the Wetback frames the illegal immigration crisis as the disarmingly personal story of a beautiful, long-suffering woman and her precocious daughter searching for a better life and hoping to earn a share of the American dream with hard work and a little help from their friends – less threatening for the viewer, certainly, than a horde of hairy, mustachioed day laborers or criminal freeloaders bent on leaching off the state and keeping American unemployment high.  Illegal immigration, as The Passion of the Wetback illustrates, just means more sexy women, so what could possibly go wrong?

If anything, criminal aliens are probably a divine provision.  “Great God in Heaven, save me,” Clasky implores before turning around and seeing Flor for the first time.  She and her fellow invaders are America’s collective Savior.  The Passion of the Wetback does what it can to convince the audience that illegals want to become real, acculturated Americans by learning English and studying.  “That show you’re watchin’s gonna be a hit,” Clasky jokes, seeing Flor watching an English language video course.  Preferential treatment for illegal college applicants receives a boost when Cristina, Bernice’s academic superior, applies to Princeton University.  Bernice, in one of The Passion of the Wetback‘s most shameless moments, hugs Cristina and even says she hopes that some of her will rub off.

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