Monday, March 30, 2015
Get Hard 
CNS/USCCB () review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review
RogerEbert.com (M. Zoller Seitz) review
AVClub (H. Hassenger) review
Get Hard  (directed and screenplay cowritten by Etan Cohen along with Jay Martel and Ian Roberts) is not a particularly pretty comedy but IMHO it works and probably better than it should. The film is about race, gender, class, so basically about every "hotbutton" issue that divides us today:
On the one hand there is James (played by Will Ferrell) a born/raised super-privileged, rich, white, heterosexual, male dope / hedgefund broker who _really believes_ that he "made it on his own" by means of his "wits," "hard work," and ... well ... "an eight million dollar start-up loan from his dad." ;-)
On the other hand, there's Darnell (played by Kevin Hart) who runs an "executive car wash service" (basically a modern day _shoe-shining_ service ...) inside the parking garage of the Los Angeles high rise office building where James works ... for his future father-in-law Martin (played by Craig T. Nelson, James' fiancee Alissa played by Alison Brie)
Near the beginning of the film, James offers Darnell advice on the value of hard-work as he hands him a $1 tip on a $20 wash ... the unsolicited advice apparently "worth" in his mind the other $2 that could at least make the tip 15% ...
Well, James' world comes crashing down when, suddenly, he finds himself (the only one at his firm ...) arrested, convicted and then "made an example of ..." for "financial improprieties" at the firm where he's _just been made_ "partner." Hmmm ...
Facing 10 years of hard time in San Quentin rather than 1 year at a country club, James turns to the only black person he knows ... Darnell ... to "teach him how to survive in prison." Why Darnell? Well, he's black, right?
Darnell actually jumps on the deal ... because he needs $30,000 for a down payment on a house that would move him, his appalled wife Rita (played by Edwina Findley Dickerson) and cute-as-a-button 8-10 year old daughter Makayla (played by Ariana Neal) to a nice house in the suburbs where his daughter wouldn't have to pass through a metal detector when she went to school ... James is willing to pay (now...), so ...
Much, of course, then ensues ...
This film is based on a rather long list of rather appalling assumptions, two of which IMHO stand-out most clearly: (1) that "all black men, or perhaps even 'men of color' spend time in jail," and (2) jail means (homosexual) rape.
The story places responsibility for the first assumption on the "dimwitted rich white boy" James. So we ourselves don't have to take (much) responsibility for it.
The second assumption, IMHO, is more problematic: Why is it that we assume that "prison means homosexual rape?" ("Well isn't it 'obvious...'?"). Let me ask again, WHY?
I ask this, not because I'm an idiot ... WE ALL HAVE COME TO ASSUME THAT PRISON = RAPE. But then, if prison is supposed to be PUNISHMENT BEFITTING A CRIME, have we allowed homosexual rape to become THE DE FACTO PUNISHMENT FOR CRIME ... _ANY_ CRIME (worthy of jail ...)?
In the West, WE ALL FIND _CANING_ barbaric ... why NOT ... RAPE?
And, (okay, I'm offering a "Modest Proposal" here ...): Wouldn't we "save a heck of a lot of money" if we just sentenced violent criminals to ... RAPE? Or perhaps "multiple rapes"? Whatever ...
And if that, somehow "disturbs us" ... AREN'T WE DOING THE SAME THING NOW ? We're sentencing people to "20 years of rape" ... We don't call it that, but we assume that (unless one gets sentenced to a "country club...")
Why not clean-up the prisons with: Prison rape gets you solitary for a year, two years, five years, the rest of your term, or even if need be, the firing squad?
Basically, we've turned prison into NOT "TIME" but RAPE. And I'm asking, why? Again, why is CANING "barbaric" while PRISON RAPE is NOT?
Anyway ... enjoy the film ... and every other prison film, and every other prison joke from now on ... ;-)
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