HULK QUICK THOUGHTS: JOHN SINGLETON DIRECTED ABDUCTION? AND WHAT IS THIS SAYING?

HULK JUST FOUND OUT THAT JOHN SINGLETON DIRECTED ABDUCTION LIKE 5 SECONDS AGO.

THIS IS CONFUSING. WHY?

BECAUSE JOHN SINGLETON DIRECTED A WHOLE BUNCH CULTURALLY IMPORTANT FILMS OF THE 90’S, FILMS ON THE SUBJECT MODERN AFRICAN-AMERICANS AND THEIR PLACE IN AMERICAN CULTURE: THE INCREDIBLE BOYZ IN THE HOOD IS THE STANDOUT, BUT EVEN POETIC JUSTICE, HIGHER LEARNING, AND THE PERIOD PIECE ROSEWOOD ARE DRIPPING WITH TOPICALITY. AFTER THAT HE SHIFTED AWAY FROM BEING DIRECTLY TOPICAL TOWARD “BIGGER” MORE GENRE-INCLINED FILMS LIKE SHAFT, BABY BOY, AND THE (WONDERFULLY HOMOEROTIC) 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS. WHILE THEY MIGHT NOT BE AS “IMPORTANT” FILMS AIMING FOR HIGHER-BROW IDEAS, THERE IS STILL A CLEAR PRESENCE OF THE “AFRICAN-AMERICAN VOICE” OR “REPRESENTATION” IN THESE FILMS. HECK, EVEN IN FOUR BROTHERS IT STILL COMES ACROSS.

AND THEN THERE IS ABDUCTION…. ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER.

TO BE VERY,VERY FAIR, HULK HASN’T SEEN IT. BUT BASED ON TRAILERS AND THE FILM’S CLEAR CULTURAL IDENTITY (TEEN ACTION VEHICLE STARING LEAD FROM POPULAR TWEEN GIRL MOVIE SERIES) IT IS CLEAR THAT THE FILM IS ABOUT AS LILY-WHITE AND NOT-CULTURALLY-SIGNIFICANT AS IT GETS (NOTE: HULK CHOSE THE WORDS “LILY-WHITE” KNOWING THE STRONG IMPLICATION OF THE LANGUAGE).

BUT HERE’S HULK’S QUESTION: DOES THIS EVEN MATTER?

HULK HAS HAD A COLUMN IDEA LONG-GESTATING ON THIS VERY SUBJECT, SO HULK GUESS A QUICK EVALUATION THAT POSITS A QUESTION INSTEAD OF AN ANSWER IS WAY BETTER FOR WHAT WE WANT TO DO HERE.

SO WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH JOHN SINGLETON DIRECTING ABDUCTION?

IS HEĀ  SELLING OUT? IS IT THAT IT JUST LOOKS LIKE A TERRIBLE MOVIE? SHOULD HE HAVE TO MAKE THE FILMS WE WANT HIM TO MAKE? IS HE “LETTING DOWN” AFRICAN-AMERICAN CULTURE?

IT’S NOT LIKE RACIAL PROBLEMS HAVE JUST GONE AWAY IN OUR SOCIETY AND WE SHOULD IGNORE THE SUBJECT. IF ANYTHING, THIS “POST-RACIAL” GLOSS OF THE WHOLE SUBJECT IS VERY PROBLEMATIC IN ITS OWN WAY. IT IS THIS REASON (AMONG MANY) THAT HULK STILL ADORES SPIKE LEE BECAUSE ALL HIS FILMS ARE STILL HEAVILY IMBUED WITH THE LANGUAGE AND AESTHETICS OF RACE. EVEN A GREAT HEIST MOVIE LIKE INSIDE MAN HAS ALL THESE WONDERFUL, COMPLEX THINGS TO SAY ABOUT THE CULTURAL MELTING POT OF NEW YORK AND IT DOES IT IN AN ENTERTAINING AND FUNNY WAY.

BUT WHY SHOULD HULK REQUIRE THIS SAME THING OF SINGLETON? AND BY EXTENSION ALL AFRICAN AMERICAN FILMMAKERS?

AWHILE AGO, HULK HAD A GREAT CONVERSATION WITH AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN FRIEND/FILM-MAJOR (AND YES HULK AWARE THAT CALLING SOMEONE THEIR “AFRICAN-AMERICAN FRIEND” IS PATRONIZING, BUT IT’S DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE SUBJECT) ON THE VERY TOPIC OF WHAT HE CALLED “THE CULTURAL DUTY AND RESPONSIBILITY OF A BLACK FILMMAKER” AND SPECIFICALLY IF HE FELT THAT RESPONSIBILITY.

HE DIDN’T AT ALL.

FRIEND: “Hulk. I love Spike Lee. But I don’t think that’s what Spike Lee was arguing that everyone should be making these films about the cultural state of Black America. That’s what he was interested in and that’s what he’s amazing at. But for what he might want for me? Or more importantly, what I want for me? I want to make WOLVERINE (this was way before even X2). I love genre stuff. I want to make, and be allowed to make films that I love that have nothing to do with the fact that I’m black. And if they do have to do have that affectation? It will just be a natural thing because of my life and perspective. It won’t be overt.”

MEANING JOHN SINGLETON SHOULD HAVE EVERY FUCKING RIGHT IN THE WORLD TO MAKE ABDUCTION AND EVERYTHING IT MAY COUNTER-INTUITIVELY REPRESENT. IT’S AS SIMPLE AS “HE SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT BECAUSE HE IS A GOOD DIRECTOR.”

THERE IS A WAY THAT THIS IS ALL OBVIOUS, BUT IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE JUST HOW OFTEN THIS OBVIOUSNESS DOES NOT COME TO FRUITION. PARTIALLY BECAUSE THE IMPLIED SOLUTION IS THAT THERE SHOULD BE LARGE GROUPS OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN FILMMAKERS MAKING BIG BUDGET HOLLYWOOD FARE, AND JUST AS MANY MAKING PROVOCATIVE FILMS ABOUT RACE… AND RIGHT NOW THERE IS NEITHER. THUS WE LOOK TO PEOPLE LIKE SINGLETON AND LEE TO SOMEHOW SATISFY BOTH RESPONSIBILITIES AT ONCE.

THE “SHOULD BE” CUTS TO THE HEART OF A YOUNG AFRICAN-AMERICAN FILMMAKER BOTH WAYS: AS ODDLY DANGEROUS AS GLOSSING OVER RACIAL TOPICALITY IN THE NAME OF “POST-RACIAL” SOCIETY IS, YOU RUN THE EQUALLY DANGEROUS POSSIBILITY OF CONFINING THEM TO FEEL DUTY BOUND TO “TALK” RACE.

IT’S A PARADOX. WHAT DO YOU ALL THINK?

PERHAPS HULK’S BIGGEST/ONLY POINT IS THAT IF YOU LEAVE IT TO WHITE PEOPLE TO MAKE FILMS ABOUT RACE THEN WE GET PAUL HAGGIS’S CRASH.

YOUR MOVE SOCIETY!