Don’t Like: Driving Miss Daisy

Hey look! Another white guy talking about racism. How interesting! I enjoy your theories and would like to subscribe to your newsletter. Okay, sorry but there’s some legitimacy to my lack of authority here.

This movie sucks. It really sets the standard for substandard films about racism. We basically have a film about some old bitch who hates black people including her new driver (of course she insists she’s not racist). And in the course of her mean old life she alienates everyone and realizes the only friend she has is the “help” who stood by her cause she paid them… I mean “had a connection”. If you’re wondering where you’ve seen this recently it was done with young LA housewife Sandra Bullock in Crash (a movie I’ll tear apart later). Sure there’s a few obvious “lessons” in there, but most of the running time is devoted toward the old lady saying mean things and Morgan Freeman being the definition of an Uncle Tom and the audience laughing. And they think it’s okay to laugh because the movie is done with a twee sense of lightness… From an audience perspective, that’s okay I guess. Movies are incredible at manipulating emotions and thus it’s slightly easier to forgive audiences.

But the filmmakers? Not so much. I just read an old review which loved the movie because it wasn’t an over-wraught movie of the week and used humor to underpin its messages. First off, that isn’t accurate. It is definitely over-wraught in it’s feel-good messages. The ones that teach you that “racism is bad” and black people should tolerate old racist white people because they don’t really mean it. May I remind you this was 1989. To Kill A Mockingbird had a much more complex commentary 40 years earlier.

So basically, yeah I hate this movie. The play originally won a pulitzer prize. The film won best picture… Again this was 1989, the same year the incredible “Do The Right Thing” was in theaters… sigh.
Then again, maybe it wasn’t meant for my generation. We were grew up with such a well-schooled attitude toward racism that movie’s message was already hammered into our brains at a very tender age. Maybe we’ve moved on and it’s not my place to say anything on this… but it was a movie about white people’s racism written by white people and made white people. It is critically lauded and yet doesn’t raise any interesting points and is completely counter-productive. So maybe I do. I dunno.

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