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Episode 121 - The Matrix (w/ Cameron Esposito)


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Poll: Episode 121 - The Matrix (w/ Cameron Esposito) (51 member(s) have cast votes)

Should "The Matrix" enter The Canon?

  1. Yes (45 votes [88.24%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 88.24%

  2. No (6 votes [11.76%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 11.76%

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#1 Dalton Maltz

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 11:06 PM

Comedian Cameron Esposito joins Amy this week to discuss the 1999 sci-fi film “The Matrix.” They break down “The Matrix” as a product of queer theory as well as the implications of the famous “red pill, blue pill” scene. Then they consider the film’s relevance to technology and culture at the end of a millennia, how it utilizes a mashup of styles to entertain the viewer, and why the success of “The Matrix” changed the playing field for new directors.

#2 HoldenMartinson

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 01:41 AM

No.

I've tried re-watching The Matrix a couple times the last few years, and have gotten bored both times. I have a way easier time watching Wong Kar-wai and Terrence Malick movies than The Matrix. I agree that The Matrix is influential, but I don't like the influence it has had. I like this as an anti-materialist polemic, but gosh, I hate it when a movie has to shout its themes through a megaphone the way The Matrix does. The queer theory angle is interesting, but I don't think that's enough to propel it into canonocity. This COULD work as a social ally allegory, if Neo wasn't at the center of everything. If this were about being a small piece of something bigger, and the vitality in that, that'd be interesting.

I know Amy doesn't like Pan's Labyrinth, but I much prefer the arc in that--though, ironically, it's the fictional world that sets the protagonist in that film free. Ofelia doesn't go with the fascists, nor the rebellion. She does her own thing, which I think is way neater than trading one higher power for another. The Matrix pays lip service to free-thinking and agency, but is far stauncher than I think it's aware of.

#3 vanveen13

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 07:27 AM

I'm so glad we're cutting down on grading films for ideological correctness! The good thing is that because Ms. Esposito made it plane that anyone who does not belong to her category of the socially oppressed ought simply to defer to her point of view without offering their own, I will.

#4 nakedbrunch

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 09:36 AM

It's unfortunate that in the past few years this film has become a standard-bearer for a pretty reprehensible segment of the American public, but in a way, that interpretation actually represents a strength.

The Matrix engages with complex ideas of identity, power and hyperreality and packages it in an entertaining (if perhaps overly stylized) movie experience. Coming into this episode, I saw the film as more an allegory of the Buddhist path of enlightenment, in which humans recognize the true nature of their suffering and achieve, by the end of the movie, a type of Zen that recognizes the construction of existence and the power that arises from knowledge. Cameron's emphasis on the queer aspects of the film provide another (perhaps even stronger) interpretation of the film that builds many of the same ideas, and connects to the identities of the directors themselves. There are Christian, post-structural and Marxist interpretations floating out there as well.

The point is, the Matrix encourages its viewers to think and to engage with the reality it builds. The diversity of interpretations (brilliant, complicated, or pathetic) arises out of this engagement. Yes, the film shouts its themes at times, but one does not have to solely consider those specific ones alone. Unlike so many blockbusters, the Wachowskis trust their audience to more or less build or interpret meaning for themselves. The fact that some reactionaries see in it misogynistic/homophobic liberation from "P.C. culture" is a reflection of their own mode of thinking, not the film's. It's not a perfect film, but its influence and complexity can't really be ignored.

Yes.
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#5 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 09:49 AM

I also remember being wowed by this upon first watch, back in 1999. Really enjoyed it as a college student.

It's been many years since I'd actually sat down to watch this movie, and I wasn't sure if it would hold up. It's one of those movies that immediately became ubiquitous, but that also means that it's been nitpicked to death over the years, to the point where sometimes that's all you hear when someone talks about The Matrix. Its reputation was hurt by the subpar sequels. The MRA "red pill" thing makes you wonder if you should even associate yourself with this movie at all. The Wachowskis have continued being interesting, but nothing they've done since has lived up to this standard.

All of that is preface to the fact that when I watched this again yesterday, I was amazed to discover that I loved the movie more than ever. It's kind of a miracle, a pastiche of genre tropes (literally all the genres: sci-fi, martial arts, film noir, westerns, etc.) and philosophical/religious musing that still works brilliantly as a fist-pumping, pulse-pounding action adventure. I distinctly remember looking at the clock around the time Joey Pants was betraying everyone and seeing that I'd been watching the movie for an hour and a half. Really? That plot twist comes THAT FAR into this movie? It doesn't feel like it; the whole thing flies by.

Add in the obvious and immediate impact this had on every action and sci-fi movie in its wake and the way its language has permeated the culture, and this is an easy yes.

#6 LanceHunter

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 11:43 AM

This is a no-brainer, super-easy yes vote. It's a cultural touchstone, a finely-crafted film with excellent performances that reached for communicating bigger ideas to a mass audience. Hell, this movie helped push the adoption of DVD players because people wanted to see it in higher quality than what VHS could offer. (Like, I didn't know a single person with a DVD player in 2000 who didn't own The Matrix on DVD.)

It is definitely a product of the late-90s, but it isn't quite frozen in amber like some other super-late-90s movies *cough*AmericanBeauty*cough*.

If you're still on the fence, I have one other argument for why this should be in the Canon: The Matrix is the first, and perhaps only, great cyberpunk movie. After Hollywood spent much of the 90s trying and failing to capture the genre on film, The Matrix finally hit the nail on the head. Things like the heightened noir attitude (that Cameron Esposito mentioned), information and skills being instantly downloadable, the primary setting being basically inside the internet, these were all staples of the genre going way back to the first William Gibson short stories. If all the other reasons for canonization don't ring true, at least consider the fact that there is no other movie to include in the cannon as an example of one of the most important sci-fi movements of the late 20th century; a movement that played a significant role in shaping the technology that now shapes our daily lives.

#7 bleary

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 12:50 PM

My teenage self loved this movie so much that I would have really taken any excuse to vote yes, and Cameron's read on it is more than enough. As Amy says, it's a totally goofy film, but I still find it so enjoyable, and it was an absolute industry game-changer. This movie was also 100% responsible for the 3 months of my life that I was super into both late-90s techno and Rage Against The Machine (the techno interest died quickly, the Rage stayed at least to the end of the Bush administration). I really don't want to underplay how utterly obsessed I was with this movie as a teenager. Looking back, I can't believe the sequel(s) only came out 4 years later, because it felt like a decade in hyper-anxious teenage years. I dove deep into this the way some people dove into Lost, trying to piece together every possible allusion or piece of symbolism (though admittedly I completely missed the great queer-centric read that Cameron gives). I fondly recall the juvenile sense of glee I got from reading up on the historical and Biblical figure of King Nebuchadnezzar and trying to place what it could mean that Morpheus's ship was named after him. So yeah, much of my love for this movie is strongly tied to who I was at that particular time (in the same way that people who were teenagers in the mid-80s have trouble seeing that Ghostbusters is not actually a good movie).

I try to look at it now with a more discerning eye, and I would still want to put it in my top 10 best action movies ever, but again, I can't claim to rid myself of all biases. But I think the cultural impact of this movie is undeniable, so I certainly won't lose any sleep over voting yes on this one.

#8 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 01:20 PM

View Postbleary, on 25 September 2017 - 12:50 PM, said:

As Amy says, it's a totally goofy film, but I still find it so enjoyable


I would argue that the movie is enjoyable BECAUSE it is goofy. Or at least it is self-aware about its own goofiness. There are too many gags and visual jokes in here for me to believe it isn't. Just consider:

1. Keanu's little pause before saying: "I know Kung Fu."
2. The way everyone hops up from the dinner table upon hearing "Morpheus is fighting Neo!"
3. Not just the "ding" of the elevator after the lobby scene, but holding the shot long enough for a panel to crash and fall from one of the columns in the room.
4. The newspapers blowing past as Neo and Agent Smith face off (like there are tumbleweeds here).
5. The little moment where Neo misses his punch at Agent Smith, and then extends his fingers to hit him in the throat.
6. Really everything Hugo Weaving does. Man, I love a hammy Hugo Weaving performance.

I think the sequels get a bit too full of themselves, but this first movie wants you to be in on the fun, always.

#9 bleary

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 02:19 PM

View Postsycasey 2.0, on 25 September 2017 - 01:20 PM, said:


I would argue that the movie is enjoyable BECAUSE it is goofy. Or at least it is self-aware about its own goofiness. There are too many gags and visual jokes in here for me to believe it isn't. Just consider:

1. Keanu's little pause before saying: "I know Kung Fu."
2. The way everyone hops up from the dinner table upon hearing "Morpheus is fighting Neo!"
3. Not just the "ding" of the elevator after the lobby scene, but holding the shot long enough for a panel to crash and fall from one of the columns in the room.
4. The newspapers blowing past as Neo and Agent Smith face off (like there are tumbleweeds here).
5. The little moment where Neo misses his punch at Agent Smith, and then extends his fingers to hit him in the throat.
6. Really everything Hugo Weaving does. Man, I love a hammy Hugo Weaving performance.



Hmm, although I agree that #2 and #4 are definitely intended to be humorous, I'm inclined to believe that #1 and #5 were more intended to come off as "cool." Keanu's wooden dialogue delivery makes "I know Kung Fu" funnier than it is on the page. And Hugo Weaving does give a glorious, scenery-chewing performance, but again, I don't know if I'm sure that's what the Wachowskis intended.

I think the main things that in retrospect seem goofy to me are the things that seemed super deep at the time, like Morpheus's "Do you think that's air you're breathing now?", the Oracle's "What's really going to bake your noodle later on is: would you still have broken it if I hadn't said anything?", and of course the monologue by Spoon Boy. Those sorts of freshman-level philosophy major things worked for me as a teenager but definitely seem silly to me now.

Not to criticize, because certainly just because something is much sillier than was intended doesn't automatically make it bad (which I'm sure will come up in next week's discussion of The Tingler).

#10 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 02:29 PM

View Postbleary, on 25 September 2017 - 02:19 PM, said:

Hmm, although I agree that #2 and #4 are definitely intended to be humorous, I'm inclined to believe that #1 and #5 were more intended to come off as "cool." Keanu's wooden dialogue delivery makes "I know Kung Fu" funnier than it is on the page. And Hugo Weaving does give a glorious, scenery-chewing performance, but again, I don't know if I'm sure that's what the Wachowskis intended.


I think the way this is filmed shows clear intent. They are trying to make hay out of Keanu's wooden delivery. If they didn't like what Weaving was doing, they wouldn't have had it in there.

View Postbleary, on 25 September 2017 - 02:19 PM, said:

I think the main things that in retrospect seem goofy to me are the things that seemed super deep at the time, like Morpheus's "Do you think that's air you're breathing now?", the Oracle's "What's really going to bake your noodle later on is: would you still have broken it if I hadn't said anything?", and of course the monologue by Spoon Boy. Those sorts of freshman-level philosophy major things worked for me as a teenager but definitely seem silly to me now.


I'd say there is also some middle ground between "funny" and "deep," or perhaps that something can be both at the same time. The Oracle scene definitely seems to qualify.

#11 Johnny Pomatto

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 04:36 PM

I was primed and ready to fully embrace an action sci-fi epic like THE MATRIX when it came out while I was in high school. Yet I found myself being one of the only people I knew at the time not wowed by it. Part of the reason for that was that I was a big fan of DARK CITY at the time, which covers many of the same themes. I don't believe that the Wachowski's stole their ideas from Alex Proyas' film, but I do think it's an example one can point to and suggest that THE MATRIX isn't as groundbreaking or revolutionary a plot as many claim it to be. To me, it's another standard story about a rebellion against evil, aided by the help of a chosen one, who never particularly demonstrates why he is so special. For me, the computer-created special effects just didn't look all that unique or interesting, and most of them really don't hold up when viewed today.

In addition to the style and look of this film being imitated countless times in films far worse than this one, I also think that this was a moment when a major shift happened in action movies when they suddenly became incredibly joyless. All at once it was more important for films to look cool than to be fun. None of the characters in THE MATRIX seemed all that amazed or amused by the incredible, practically magical feats they're suddenly able to perform. Keanu's much imitated and mocked "Whoa," is the closest anyone ever comes to expressing much wonder in this strange new world, and the declaration of "I know kung fu," is presented in such a matter of fact way that I lament the days of training montages that lead to a satisfying discovery or accomplishment. For the record, I'm not picking on Keanu or his line readings, as I feel he's actually (often but not always) quite underrated as a performer. But I do prefer the kind of action hero that is less concerned with how cool he looks while being a hero, than he is excited and amazed by the fantastical situations he finds himself in. Amy's boy Tom Cruise in some of the Mission Impossible movies is a fine example of the latter.

This might not be entirely fair, but I'm also going to deduct a few points from THE MATRIX because of how inferior the sequels were and how the franchise ultimately left the audience feeling at the end of it.. I can appreciate the first film as a competent yet familiar action movie. But I believe the Wachowski's, ambitious as they might be, became too obsessed with fleshing out the mythology of this world into such an epic that it became a disastrous mess. I loved the Wachowski's debut film BOUND, and was so excited to see where their careers would go. Since then, however, I have never not found myself disappointed in their subsequent films. I continue to go see them though, just because I'm always curious to see how far they'll go, and while I often appreciate their ambition, I can't say that I've fully enjoyed any of their films since BOUND.

I really loved this episode and loved the points that Cameron Esposito brought up. I think it's fascinating to unearth some of the hidden queer and trans themes that may be hidden within this film. But I think that in the cultural landscape, when people remember and discuss this film, it's not the deep seeded metaphors that really make people love this film. It's the bullet time, the famous quotes, and the Alice in Wonderland allegories that they latch on to. I'm sure this is a slam dunk for The Canon, as it's an iconic milestone for so many people. I can respect that. I don't mind being in the minority of dissent. I would definitely have voted for BOUND were this a versus episode, but while I'm sure my vote will be made obsolete, I'm going to have to personally vote NO.

#12 Dale Cooper-Black

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 06:58 PM

I'm kind of reluctant to jump into the fray here--partly because I'm still embarrassed about a shit post I made over in the homework thread, and partly because the conversation around this movie is already so deeply and thoroughly mired in so much sophomoric, pseudo-intellectual nonsense (and has been since day one) that the idea of offering even a couple of minor counterarguments here or there seems exhausting. But god help me, I just can't help myself.

First, about that stupid comment I made in the homework thread: In my defense, it wasn't meant to be quite as dickish as it sounded. Anybody who read it probably (understandably) interpreted it as "I would be interested in Cameron Esposito's opinion of Bound, but she is not qualified to talk about The Matrix." What I actually meant was, "I would love to hear an episode of the Canon in which Cameron Esposito makes a case for Bound, but I'm not partcularly interested in hearing her make a case for The Matrix." It's a subtle yet crucial difference, because the fact is that I had no interest in hearing anybody make a case for The Matrix.

(On the other hand, my comment was dismissive of the fact that an intelligent and articulate person would take time out of her schedule to bring some love to one of my favorite podcasts, so it's still pretty dickish. Also, it turns out that I did indeed have an interest in hearing somebody make a case for The Matrix, because I listened to and enjoyed this whole episode; suffice it to say I deeply regret the comment.) FWIW, I did check out the Bound episode of Wham Bam Pow, and I highly recommend it as a companion piece to this episode.

Anyway. The Matrix. Jesus Christ, let's get into it, I guess.

In a way, this movie is the polar opposite of Last Tango in Paris: while the movie itself is fairly brisk and enjoyable, the conversation around it is insufferably tedious. This includes not only the various interpretations of the movie, but also any arguments against it (blah blah blah Dark City, blah blah blah the Invisibles, blah blah blah disappointing sequels, blah blah blah).

Part of me wants to write a book tearing down the cult of The Matrix (or, more accurately, its various loosely-associated sects, sub-sects and jurisprudence schools), but another, stronger part of me says "screw it." If the kids want to dress Cartesian Philosophy 101 up in superhero clothes, who am I to spoil the fun? I wouldn't want to tell anybody that they are ascribing waaaay too much meaning to this movie any more than I'd want to tell them that their favorite band sucks (even if it does).

I can't help but bring up a counterargument to the queer-theory interpretation, though: How do you reconcile the fact that the "chosen one" is yet another cisgender white male? And how great would it have been if, after being unplugged from the matrix, the "real world" Neo was revealed to be not Keanu Reeves but a woman of color instead? The queer-theory interpretation is interesting, but I think Cameron is giving way too much credit to the filmmakers on this one.

The fact is, you can read any interpretation into this movie that you want--somewhere out there, there's a regional manager for Subway who sees this movie as an allegory for the big sandwich industry--but it doesn't change the fact that this is nothing more than a stylish action movie made by filmmakers who were shrewd enough to hint at some primordial ideas about myth and identity and let the audience fill in the blanks.

Anyway, that's all I got. (But seriously, can we finally put the bullet-time effect to bed, once and for all?)
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#13 DownInTheLicoriceMines

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 06:32 AM

I found the "You're a man, just stop being depressed" moment of the episode rather irresponsible. Especially considering that "In the western world, males die three to four times more often by means of suicide than do females. This difference is even more pronounced in those over the age of 65, with tenfold more males than females dying by suicide." It nearly invalidated the entire discussion for me.

If one was simply going to express a preference for positive, mentally healthy characters, that would be something different. #TeachableMoment

#14 nickmazzuca

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 10:29 AM

A strident yes!

First off, Cameron Esposito brought a wonderfully-informed queer reading to The Matrix that made this episode one of my favorites. This one is getting saved to the permanent archive on my iPod.

Why The Matrix? Amy (as well as other posters) voice the criticism that The Matrix is kickstarted plenty of bad Late 90’s/Early 2000’s tropes and repackaged the hero mythos into a pop mess… like Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back. Like those two films it may have been ripped off by every wannabe, but upon a rewatch it retains the same verve back in 1999. The editing remains as lean and effective as ever, and the Wachowski’s sure handle on tone is always apparent. They never go overboard. Those signature effects sequences you remember? They're used sparingly. Those playful moments (like the DING!) never intrusively wink at you, and every moment when the film starts to get overly portentous a character lets a little bit of the hot air out. This could have been a self-indulgent slog rather than one of the best sci/fi action movies of all time.

If you want to see goofy, watch Sense8. A pivotal chase seen involves a subcompact car and a bike. 4 Non-Blondes’ “What’s Up?” is used as an anthem of unity and togetherness. The Real Meaning of Christmas has “Hallelujah” as its backing track.

And it’s glorious.

One major reason why I think that this absolutely needs to be in the canon is the fact that The Matrix (as Esposito stated) is the most successful work from our most-successful trans filmmakers. Sure, The Matrix could be mistaken for another “Mediocre White Man Saves the World by Realizing How Awesome He Is” narrative, but the fact that two trans filmmakers heavily coded so much subversiveness into a summer action action movie, added as much diversity as they could, and managed execute it as briskly as they did? Bonkers. Almost unreal.

I’m convinced that the reason why The Matrix works so well (compared to its sequels) is because The Wachowski’s knew that this was their one shot at making the Big Queer Cyberpunk Superhero movie they always wanted to make, and they stuffed as much in as possible before anyone found out. Seriously, if you expect it to be any more explicit, you have to remember that this got greenlit in the mid-to-late 90’s. Matthew Shepard was murdered for being gay in 1998. Hedwig didn’t become a movie until 2001. Brokeback didn’t come out until 2006. There's no way you were going to get someone to give you $63 million for an action sci fi movie without the word "Star" in it's title in the late 90's if you pitched it as "Gay Cyberpunk Kung Fu Superheroes Win The Internet."

Also, personally, it tracks. I grew up in the Midwest. I was one of those black-trench art goths who worshipped technology, and the notion that my reality was slightly off and that something was different and wrong with how the world saw me. I thought it was because I was an awkward nerd. And I was. And still am. But ever since I embraced my own gender reality all of the beats of the Matrix fall right into place. You spend a lot of time and energy struggling against prescribed definitions until you finally accept that you are the person you are, not the person someone else (or society) judged you to be. It takes a lot of mental work, and everyone falls the first time.

But eventually you do fly.

Amy mentioned how the Wachowskis’ contemporary trans filmmaker narrative doesn’t jive with the ‘nerdy DND-playing construction worker brothers who make movies’ narrative put forth during the initial publicity. Me? I’m pretty glad that two nerd brothers in Chicago grew up to become a pair of fabulous women who changed the course of a male-coded genre and went on to make big, gay action-packed love stories.

And, seriously, watch Sense8.

#15 tkilian

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 01:38 PM

Yes. It's an undeniably significant in film history. Like STAR WARS, you don't have to like it to recognize its influence.

THE MATRIX has a teenage or juvenile sensibility, and that makes it a huge pain in the ass... but that's also the reason it was so influential. Parts of it are really heavy-handed and embarrassing in retrospect, but when something speaks that powerfully to a lot of young people, there's usually something there (even if it is the fact that teenagers are absolutely primed to hear "the feelings of vague resentment towards authority that you feel are totally justified, nobody else gets it, and you are uniquely gifted and special," for better and for worse).

I also think there's something going on with Neo falling in love with someone who he initially mistakes for a man and who ends up being deliberately costumed to end up looking like a female version of himself... especially one who begins the film as a complete and comfortable person. In the Matrix they've got similar haircuts, the same sunglasses, and have a big fight scene where they move as synchronous mirrors of each other. On the ship they're both in these baggy, gender-neutral clothes. It's like he needs to fall in love this female self-image in order to become a self-actualized person.

#16 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 03:03 PM

I have to say . . . I don't think there is anything wrong with a movie like this having a teenage/juvenile sensibility. It seems like a lot of the annoyance towards The Matrix is in response to people who claim the movie is "deep" or "meaningful" when it really isn't. To me that depends on what level of depth you are expecting.

It's not a philosophical treatise. It's not a rigorous intellectual exercise, like you might find from Kubrick or Bergman or Tarkovsky. It's an action movie. It's an action movie with some interesting ideas, but fundamentally it's more concerned with delivering a fun ride than with inspiring deep thought, and any additional depth is a bonus. I think that's fine; we need escapist action as much as any other kind of movie, so long as it's done well. Star Wars sits on my DVD shelf alongside 2001: A Space Odyssey. Both are worthy of a spot in the Canon.

Some more thoughts on Neo/Keanu:

It's interesting to me that people are automatically coding him as the "white male" hero, when one of the things I liked about him (as a half-Asian kid myself) is that he was clearly part Asian. He has a Chinese/Hawaiian grandparent and has stated that he grew up around a lot of Chinese culture. He has a Hawaiian name, straight black hair and brown almond-shaped eyes, so there's no mistaking it from his looks. Yet clearly he's been widely accepted as a kind of generic white leading man in a lot of roles. It's interesting how actors and other celebrities of mixed Asian heritage often have the Asian part just kind of "forgotten" as the general public codes their identity by their other racial heritage (see: everyone knows Tiger Woods is a black guy, but rarely is his Asian side mentioned).

Anyway, this isn't me accusing anyone of racism or anything like that. Just some more thoughts on how Keanu Reeves fits into the diversity of the film's cast.

#17 jcjackson4

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 03:07 PM

I'm a yes on this.


This is a movie that IS very dated, and most of the technologically centric tone feels unimportant and/or uncool... but not only is this a well done, groundbreaking piece of filmmaking, it's really got something for everyone. I remember several Christian people using Neo as a metaphor for Jesus, and then later in life, learning a lot of this movie comes from eastern thought. Listening to Cameron's perspective made me realize there is a particular importance for the LGBTQ community that runs through the storyline and characters.

That all to say, this really took a lot of styles and philosophy and combined it into an experience that meant a lot to a lot of people- while being a thrill ride and a love story.

#18 HoldenMartinson

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 05:54 PM

View PostDownInTheLicoriceMines, on 26 September 2017 - 06:32 AM, said:

I found the "You're a man, just stop being depressed" moment of the episode rather irresponsible. Especially considering that "In the western world, males die three to four times more often by means of suicide than do females. This difference is even more pronounced in those over the age of 65, with tenfold more males than females dying by suicide." It nearly invalidated the entire discussion for me.

If one was simply going to express a preference for positive, mentally healthy characters, that would be something different. #TeachableMoment

I mean, this is mostly in reference to Bruce Wayne/Batman. And the idea is that he's just really mopey, despite the fact that he has enough money and influence to change Gotham without having to dress in a costume and beat up bad guys. I don't think Esposito is trying to diminish the seriousness of depression. On some level, it's just not compelling to watch the most privileged type of person sulk in his own self-importance for three movies. This is from someone who really adores Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy.

#19 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 06:21 PM

View PostHoldenMartinson, on 26 September 2017 - 05:54 PM, said:

I mean, this is mostly in reference to Bruce Wayne/Batman. And the idea is that he's just really mopey, despite the fact that he has enough money and influence to change Gotham without having to dress in a costume and beat up bad guys. I don't think Esposito is trying to diminish the seriousness of depression. On some level, it's just not compelling to watch the most privileged type of person sulk in his own self-importance for three movies. This is from someone who really adores Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy.




DARKNESS. NO PARENTS.

#20 nickmazzuca

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 06:54 PM

View PostHoldenMartinson, on 26 September 2017 - 05:54 PM, said:

I mean, this is mostly in reference to Bruce Wayne/Batman. And the idea is that he's just really mopey, despite the fact that he has enough money and influence to change Gotham without having to dress in a costume and beat up bad guys. I don't think Esposito is trying to diminish the seriousness of depression. On some level, it's just not compelling to watch the most privileged type of person sulk in his own self-importance for three movies. This is from someone who really adores Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy.

Part of the problem is that most versions of Batman view the persona as a functional response to Bruce Wayne's mental illness and lean on one-note characterizations of a depression that is best remedied by becoming Batman.

The tragedy of Bruce Wayne is the fact that as the richest man on earth if he truly wanted to get better he could get some excellent therapy and take as much time as he needs to being a functional person. Instead he papers over it with jets and gadgets and beating up criminals to feel like he's making the world a better place - all while his loved ones enable him to do so.

But then you'd be pulling the fig leaf off the indulgent aspects of the mythos, and rarely do people want to see their fantasies stripped away and laid bare. Logan managed it, but then again, Logan was a one-off affair.