Hidden Figures:
Hidden Figures had a wide-enough advertising penetration to find its way to me despite not having any TV to watch commercials on, but despite being something that i was aware of, i initially decided not to put on my queue.
it just didn't strike me as all that interesting. there wasn't even one comic book character in it.
knowing i wasn't interested in it, the PSE went ahead and watched Hidden Figures on her own on the Mexican movie-streaming website she uses, Cuevana.
later, she recommended that i should see it.
she didn't give it a glowing review, she didn't insist that i watch it like she did with Finding Dory [of all things] but when i mentioned that i was reconsidering putting Hidden Figures on my list she said i ought to.
mostly, though, it seemed almost racist of me to not put Hidden Figures on my list of movies to steal off the internet, so, not wanting to be perceived to be bigoted, i figured i ought to watch the thing.
i'm glad i did, i guess.

Hidden Figures is a movie about three Black ladies who work for NASA in the early 1960s.
not as janitors or cooks or mammies, but as mathematicians.
this is just before the computer age when complex mathematical equations had to be done by people by hand, so NASA was just rooms and rooms full of people doing math problems all day long.
but, because it's 1961, the rooms were segregated to prevent computational miscegenation.
the movie is about three different Black ladies getting out of the colored-maths room and getting to go do important work with White people.
one goes to the public library and steals a book on computer programming and learns to be the first person at NASA to figure out how to work the room-sized computer IBM eventually installs.
another wants to become an engineer but to do so, she has to take engineering extension courses at a local high school and has to fight a court battle to be allowed to do so because the school is segregated.
the third gets called up to do the calculations for rocket trajectory and eventually does all the maths that put John Glenn into orbit.
along the way the girls get a bunch of dirty looks from NASA nerds who want to keep space exploration White, but the Black ladies overcome all of their intolerance with dignity and sass.
a little too much sass, it reads like a stereotype at times.
the movie climaxes with the IBM computing machine fucking up some numbers and John Glenn calling for the Black lady rocket scientist to do the figures by hand, which she does, saving the mission.
the central conflict of the movie, however, is probably the bathroom situation.
outside of the colored maths room all the toilets are Whites Only and when these ladies have to pee or take a shit they have to run a mile or two back to the Colored part of the NASA facility.
eventually Kevin Costner comes around and smashes the segregated bathroom signs, letting the Black lady-mathematicians pee wherever they like. the end.

i liked Hidden Figures.
it's always important to be reminded of just how horrible America used to be not too long ago.
more then that, though, it is a good thing to show Black women doing things that are important.
they say the most disrespected group of people in America is Black women and it's nice to see a movie that tries to do something about that.
i am not the kind of person who has much truck for 'identity politics' but showing Black women as human beings with dignity rather then just being ugly stereotypes all the time is good thing.

what i liked most about Hidden Figures, though, is that it was a true story that i didn't know.
i'm a pretty smart dude, i know a lot of shit, but i did not know the integral role Black ladies played in winning the space race for America.
when the movie was over i was glad to have learned something new.
and then, like i do, i went over to the Hidden Figures Wikipedia and under the 'historical accuracy' section it said “not even close.”
it turns out that NASA was a completely integrated facility and that pretty much all of the racial tension in the movie was manufactured for dramatic effect.
they did have a Black lady-mathematician working on the Mercury missions and she did have to correct the rocket calculations at the request of John Glenn but none of all that bathroom drama ever happened.
which is complete bullshit. you can't purport to tell a true story and totally manufacture the central points of conflict.

for being a movie about Black women being people which is sorely underrepresented, but for then being so liberal with the truth that you undermine any historical or informative value the movie ought to have, Hidden Figures earns a 6.1/10.

Loving is the story of Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court case that rendered anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.
i don't know how Loving came to be on my queue, i don't have any idea how i came to be aware of it, but the subject matter interested me, for obvious reasons.

Loving focuses very little on the legal battle and instead tells the story of the Lovings, a White simpleton and his nice, Black wife and their ten year grievance with the Commonwealth of Virginia.
the White Simpleton gets a Nice Black Lady pregnant and they decide to drive up to D.C. to get married.
soon enough, though, back in Virginia, the law comes around and arrests the pair for being an interracial couple.
after spending a few nights in jail they go to court where a local lawyer arranges a deal where if they plead guilty, they can avoid jail time by agreeing to leave the Commonwealth and never return again.
the pair agrees because they have no choice and go to live up in D.C..
but, life in D.C. sucks, it's a city and the Lovings are country people, so, after five years they decide to return to Virginia, which is where all of their family resides.
along the way, the Nice Black Wife writes a letter to Attorney General Bobby Kennedy of all people trying to get some of those civil rights that are going around.
Bobby Kennedy passes the letter on to the ACLU, who contract with a pair of Jew Lawyers to represent the Lovings.
the Jews and the ACLU take the case all the way up to the Supreme Court and eventually get the Loving's conviction overturned and anti-miscegenation laws invalidated. the end.

Loving is an important story to tell.
the PSE had never heard of Loving v. Virginia and i'm glad she got to learn something.
unlike Hidden Figures, Loving was pretty much entirely accurate.
the problem with the movie was that it was a bit slow, a lot of long, quiet moments, which is fine, i guess, you can't treat a serious topic with respect when there are car chases and gun fights going off all the time, but in a world of pew pew pew cinema, the pacing of Loving was difficult to get used to.
all the same, it was a fine movie.

for being a fine movie, for being quality infotainment, which is my favorite kind of movie, Loving earns a 6.6/10.

//[ab irato ad astra]

September 2017

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