The Hate U Give

I have heard about The Hate U Give at least two years ago as a teacher in middle school. I had not read it yet, but I did want to read it. I just never got around to it. You know, movies and all.

I knew I had to wait until after I saw the movie. Maybe it would be like this year´s Wonder, in terms of book lovers all excited. Wonder was decent, and the book was decent. I assume there were a lot of fears about turning this allegedly very great book into a mediocre or shit movie. It has a big uphill battle, but at least its subject matter has been making good strides in cinema lately.

This year we already got Blindspotting and Sorry To Bother You, but neither of them are from the kid perspective. Of course, if there are already great movies on similar topics, it has a lot to live up to.

The Hate U Give has a lot of battles to climb, so on its own, it is its own representation of race relations. Another way to examine this is the IMDB rating, which at the time of writing is a 4.6, weeks before it comes out. Why? Oh, almost 200 votes for 1/10. Either this movie is very polarizing, or you know, racism.

Stare
Pretty sure we all know what she thinks.

A few years ago, the Carter family had to have ¨the talk.¨ So Lisa (Regina Hall) and Mav (Russell Hornsby) sat down their three kids, Seven (Lamar Johnson), Starr (Amandla Stenberg), and Sekani (TJ Wright). The oldest are just in their pre-teens, but it is time. No, this talk isn´t about sex. It is about what to do if they are in a situation where they are detained or pulled over by the cops.

This is a real talk that black families are starting to have to talk to, due to the violence and targeting that is going on in our country. It is not a great talk, but for families that care for each other, who know they cannot always be there to protect them, it is necessary.

It is the type of loving family that Starr grew up in, full of knowledge and strength. And now she goes to school outside of the hood she lives in. It is a white school, with white friends, white boyfriends (K.J. Apa) who won´t ever understand what she is going through at home. She has to balance these two lives. But it is when tragedy strikes her life and her friend Khalil (Algee Smith), she has her worlds start to crash together, giving her a whole new insight to this thing called life.

Also starring Common, Issa Rae, Sabrina Carpenter, Dominique Fishback, Megan Lawless, and Anthony Mackie as a bad guy drug dealer. Been awhile since he has turned south in his roles.

Hands Up
Hands up won´t protect her on its own, but that Carolina Blue shirt will help.

The Hate U Give is a powerhouse from start to finish. From ¨the talk¨ at the start of the film, to the different worlds, to the cop tragedy, to the protests, to the speeches, to the riots. It is full of emotion from unexpected places. My first cry was because the father was by his daughters side after a nightmare. She wasn´t screaming causing him to run in the door. No, she woke up panicked and he was already there. Just subtle clues to show that clearly he had fallen asleep in a chair by her side to protect her, to help her with the morning after, and just be a goddamn amazing father. And that is the type of stuff that gets me.

Sure, I did cry a few other times, not just a one and done deal. It is hard not to get wrapped up in the story. Hell, at over 2 hours it almost doesn´t feel long enough. I need more of the story, I need to be there to help comfort the characters, to rage against the machine or whatever it takes. I am definitely going to grab the book, and it is going to make me upset just like the movie.

And more importantly, it is going to get me more upset about real life. I am white, if my writing doesn´t make that obvious. I am a man, if you cannot tell with my boob tags. And this is the type of movie that can get people to see the other side of the fence if they come to it with any amount of openness.

Stenberg was fantastic in the lead role. She wasn´t great in The Darkest Minds, but no one was. She was good in Everything, Everything despite the fact that I didn´t like the movie. But she was outstanding in this film. She carries a lot of weight and emotion in her face. Hornsby as the dad is my goddamn hero. I hope I can one day grow into a worldly intelligent and caring man like him.

Just so much of this film is relevant, at this point, it is practically essential viewing. It deals with heavy topics that kids in their pre-teens can better handle unlike other films and will be seen in schools throughout the nation within the next year.

4 out of 4.

A Dog’s Purpose

Dog films are all the rage now. Just look at the last two reviews on my website. But in reality, despite this mini awkward dog theme, actual dog movies are NOT popular like they were in the 1990’s and 2000’s. They pop up every once in awhile and usually try to kill a dog by the end of it in order to get all pet owners to cry and feel nostalgic about past pets and current pets.

It is easy money. A Dog’s Purpose is based on a book that a lot of people liked and read, so it should have made money. Then it had a silly controversy a whole week before it came out, people decided not to see it, and here I am today, hoping it is terrible because it came out in January.

But really, I want to note that the idea behind the movie is brilliant. If dying pets makes people love the movie, buy it on DVD and give the movie money, then why not have the main dog more than once? Why not a whole handful of times?

There is tear jerking, and there is tear sucking out of you with an industrial vacuum.

Boyhood
I think an alternative title for this movie might have been Doghood.

The movie has dogs, people, and a lot of both. If you are the type of person who gets sad over the death of pets, you are goign to get really fucking sad in this movie.

Because our main dog (Josh Gad) who goes by many names, so I will just call him Dog, is going to die over and over again. This Dog is wondering what his purpose in life is. He likes to play and have fun he guesses, and there are humans that tell him to do things, but what is he here for?

So he hangs out with a kid who grows up into an adult. He hangs out with a lady in school. He is in an abusive home. He is a dog for a cop! He does so much more, but really, he just wants that stomach scratched.

Featuring a hot mess of people though, so here we go: Britt Robertson, Bryce Gheisar, Dennis Quaid, John Ortiz, Juliet Rylance, K.J. Apa, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Logan Miller, Luke Kirby, and Peggy Lipton.

Doggie
I wonder how many humans die in this movie? More than dogs?

A Dog’s Purpose is a waste of time. For dog lovers, cat lovers, and human lovers alike. Now, I have never made a movie before, but I have to imagine that making the audience care about a pet has got to be pretty easy. I imagine it is one of the easiest tasks ever to make someone cry in a theater by having the pet go bye bye, second only to a relative.

And yet, after watching A Dog’s Purpose, which had at least five dogs, I think, I found myself unable to make a connection with most of them. In fact, some of them, the deaths came sort of out of nowhere. And not in a “Oh no, tragedy, death!” shocking sort of way. Just a “Oh, this is the end of this plot line I guess, let’s move on” sort of way. They just did a poor job of making me care.

Maybe a big element to get someone to care about the pet is time with the pet, but a common narrator sound just isn’t good enough. I wasn’t feeling the stories, I wasn’t feeling the other humans, I just didn’t care.

And a dog movie, where the dog dies so many ties, that fails to make me cry? Just feels a bit shallow and rushed. No emotional connection, means not a good drama film.

0 out of 4.