The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Blood and Bone

"You don't have to be a six-footer

You don't have to have a great brain

You don't have to have any clothes on

You're a Catholic the moment Dad came!"

The only song that every cost me sex, dammit. From one of only two movies that ever did. One, was a date with a really cute Catholic girl who had been warming up just fine. And then I took her to "Monty Python's the Meaning of Life" on its opening day, before I knew anything about the content. I slept alone that night.

To my embarrassment, the other film was "Battlestar Galactica" when it was released in Sensurround. My date fell asleep, and never did really wake up properly. Sigh.


"I realize the dominating thoughts of my mind will eventually reproduce themselves in outward, physical action and gradually transform themselves into physical reality, therefore, I will concentrate my thougths for thirty minutes daily, upon the task of thinking of the person I intend to become, thereby creating in my mind a clear mental picture of that person"--Napoleon Hill

Just another "Think and Grow Rich" nugget. The thing that is so fascinating about this book is that there is barely a single page that couldn't be expanded into an entire library of self-help tomes. That's why this thing has been in constant print for almost a century. We all know instinctively that if you spent a half-hour a day marinating in guilt, blame, and shame, it would affect your relationships and career and probably health...and not for the better. Strange how few people can grasp how powerful it would be to spend thirty minutes a day concentrating on positive images of accomplishment.

The entire system "Psycho-Cybernetics" is pretty much based on this single paragraph, and some of the wealthiest and most successful people I know of swear by it.

By the way...I completely understand the drive to "Wealth," and believe that it is almost universal in healthy people. I've met lots of people who SAY they aren't interested in wealth, but if you listen to them, they worry about health care, living situations, bills, educational opportunities, struggling family and/or friends, inability to travel, unpleasant jobs. Guess what? Sufficient wealth handles ALL of this stuff. How much? Five million dollars invested at five percent interest is what, a quarter million a year? I fail to see how one NEEDS more than about fifty thousand a year (WANTING it is very different). But what I see most often is people who are programmed to live on the edge. Just enough health--they don't think about their bodies unless they get sick. They don't think about money until they have an emergency. They don't think about their relationships unless it starts falling apart. I want wealth. Plenty. I complete surplus of love, health, energy, resources. Enough to help the people I love, and live my life without constantly watching the bottom line. And while I've met people who don't think they feel this way, their complaints and fears say something very different.

You did not program yourself. Unless you have done incredible amounts of soul-searching meditation, you are probably running conflicting subconscious programs that can render you into a human version of a virus-ridden computer: the hardware is fine, the software sucks.

By the way, this can happen on either a personal or cultural level. And it is our duty as human beings to remove the illusion of lack from our lives, embrace plenty, and stop allowing fear to control our lives. Not that fear will no longer be present, but it will be balanced with love.


Watching "Blood and Bone", a DTV Michael Jai White film about underground fight clubs. Not badly written, even if a total clone of Charles Bronson's "Hard Times." He is probably the best American martial artist to ever appear on film, with the possible exception of Bruce Lee. And it hits me once again, that it is an obscene waste for this man not to have had a single major studio effort built around him. He is used to make yahoos like Steven Seagal and Van Damm look good. Or make Heath Ledger look threatening. I will say this straight out: a white actor with his looks, acting, and phenomenal martial abilities would be the greatest action star in the world. Period. He's been acting since 1989. TWENTY YEARS. Not one major film starring role. It strains the imagination.


Steve Perry said...

"Spawn" doesn't count?

Reluctant Lawyer said...

I second Steve's comment on "Spawn." They sought to capitalize on a successful comic, but it didn't work at the box office, despite significant other others (Sheen, Leguizano, etc). I'm of the opinion that if Spawn had been a huge hit, Michael Jai White would have become a household name.

Anonymous said...

Umm.... did either of you read the Spawn comic? If you had, you'd realize just how difficult (Impossible, in my opinion) it would be to translate into a meaningful, or even just entertaining, 2 hour movie. The story is episodic, and very necessarily so because you cannot find any point of positive connection for any of the primary characters inside of a 2 hour movie (at least, not a Hollywood movie). No character is sympathetic or relate able at first (or even second and third) glance, & no matter how good the effects and/or action is (& in the Spawn flick, both were pretty lackluster & DEFINITELY underused Jai White's skills and abilities), if you can't connect with the characters, you don't wanna watch them.

John Leguizamo was decent (not stellar, but decent) as the Clown.

Anonymous said...

I keep telling Steve that he needs to make the Aubrey Knight books into live action movies with Jai White as Aubrey Knight. Now THAT would be well worth watching! Either that or make the books into an animated series (a la the HBO Spawn series).

Reluctant Lawyer said...

Fair point about the Spawn movie. I thought it was entertaining, however. Was it great? No, but it is always difficult to translate any kind of series into a single movie.

Steve Perry said...

Wasn't the question, whether the translation from comic to movie was any good. It was how come White never had a starring role? and unless my concept of this is completely off, Spawn should count.

That the movie tanked isn't the point. Waterworld drowned, too, but Kevin Costner was still the star.

As far as White goes, it could be plain ole racism that he's not a hot action star. Or it could be any of a dozen other reasons -- he might have passed on roles he should have taken. Might be more oriented to family or somesuch so that he didn't want to travel.

Might be he doesn't like to work with certain folks, or some don't like him.

Does he have the chops as a mover and actor? Looks like he does to me, but in LaLaLand, things aren't always as cut-and-dried as they appear. Anybody who has ever done any work there can tell you some strange stories.

Vince Moore said...

Actually, Steve, Michael Jai White is about to star in Black Dynamite, a film he co-wrote. Naturally it is a parody of blaxploitation movies. So I guess the trade-off to starring in his own movie at long last is to make fun of a time period in Hollywood where black audiences practically saved the film industry by attending tons of flicks featuring black folk. Fair trade?

Steven Barnes said...

"Spawn" doesn't count, no. His face only appeared for ten minutes--the rest of the time he was unrecognizable. His black wife immediately jumped into the white guy's bed (they changed the race of her new husband from the cartoon). Sorry--maybe it SHOULD count, but I just can't go there.

Steven Barnes said...

I hear good things about "Black Dynamite"--and I'm glad he's taking control of his career.

Steven Barnes said...

Wait--that's not fair. "Spawn" does count as a starring role. It certainly doesn't count as a star vehicle, an attempt to build someone into a brand name. For that, we would see his face, and he would have shown off his physical skills far more. But my dissatisfaction with that doesn't change the fact that it was a Hollywood film, and he starred.

Anonymous said...

"Might be he doesn't like to work with certain folks, or some don't like him. "

Possibly. If White's case wee isolated, I'd give this greater credence. But then there's Wesley Snipe's..and Avery Brooke's..and Richard Roundtree...and Adolf Caesar..and countless more Black actors whose spectacular talent has been inversely proportional to their underachieving film careers. To deny this blatantly obvious pattern is to invoke the name of a river from the ancestral continent.


Steve Perry said...

At the risk of fanning an old ember, any actor who gets paid in the millions doesn't get to piss and moan about how hard his life is. Yeah, yeah, they didn't let him get laid in Blade.

Snipes might not have gotten the acclaim he or others think he is due, but he has starred or co-starred in a shitload of movies -- look at his imdb list.

Poor Wesley? Maybe not.

Anonymous said...

" any actor who gets paid in the millions doesn't get to piss and moan about how hard his life is."

Obviously Snipe's isn't bemoaning life's hardships and indeed revels in fabulous riches few humans of any hue ever savor. This entirely misses the point. By way of analogy: countless Blacks, Latinos and women have suffered workplace discrimination in fields far humbler than movie stardom. By your logic, one could right say: So what?! Most such victims are established, reasonably prosperous professionals who enjoy financial solvency, cars, homes and other niceties that rank as riches to the majority of the planet. Those with such cushy lives don't get to moan simply because the top tier's denied them.

Snipe's Porsche's or the Chevy's of the Black Nashville NES employees who charged the power service with racial harassment are irrelevant to the real issue: Women and People of Color are systematically denied opportunities to fulfill their full potential in deference to the insecurities of white men.


Pagan Topologist said...

Speaking of Wesley Snipes, is he still in prison? He is one of my favorite actors; I wish he was getting more work nowadays.

Pagan Topologist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Perry said...

Anon --

If anybody missed the point, it wasn't me. You don't get to hold Snipes up as an example of how Hollywood never rewards black actors -- he's not the example you want to use.

Sure, there are plenty of others. But if a guy is dragging in several millions dollars to dance in front of a camera, it's not quite the same as digging ditches, now is it?

Unknown said...

I was going to say "Spawn" but someone beat me to it.
I agree with your assessment on White, I remembered when he was in Toxic Avenger (remember those things?) so he goes waaaaayy back.

It's sad that it takes someone like Tyler Perry to give him roles (he was in "Why did I get Married?" which is the only Perry movie i dig)

bsmith said...

My favorite Michael Jai White role is as gangster Pointy Williams in Thick As Thieves. He steals the show in that one.

It's not a starring role but it proved he had a bit of acting range and could be funny and menacing at the same time.