The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"School For Scoundrels"

Saw “School for Scoundrels” last night. Someone asked me to check it out and comment about Michael Clark Duncan’s role. The movie is about a school run by Billy Bob Thornton (who actually does some VERY nice, subtle acting in the role) to help wimps (especially the protagonist, "Napoleon Dynamite's" Jon Heder) become lions. Duncan plays his aide-de-camp, an enormous, threatening, hyper-male figure. It is implied that he has actually raped some of the students.

Now…considering that male rape is treated like a joke across the board, I can’t take that too personally. Every man (and all but one woman) in the entire film is a cartoon, so you have to roll with it. In other words, a funny movie, Duncan (or the other black characters) comes off no worse than anyone else, really. Overall, I’d give the movie a “B-“. By the way: the last line is a killer.

Now if you want to get me going about Duncan, look at “The Green Mile,” a perfect example of the hideous choices made when people aren’t aware of their unconscious racism. A “Magical Negro” movie at its most loathsome. But that’s another story.

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