The Jazz Singer (Blu-ray)

Posted in: Disc Reviews by J C on January 9th, 2013

(out of 5)


1 Comment

  1. E.P. Sato
    01/11/2013 @ 5:20 pm

    Thanks for the article on the Jazz Singer. I thought the comments were thought provoking in more ways than one. I know about most classic movies, but have actually sat down and seen very few of them.

    One of the themes you brought up, the racism of the 1920’s pop culture, I found particularly impactful. I’d always seen Jolson as a negative. It’s enlightening to think of Jolson, as many were back then, a product of his times. With that in mind, I can finally watch Jolson and be okay with seeing it, even if the thought of sitting through “Mami” makes my skin crawl.

    If you’ll allow me to digress just a bit, the review, and the new perspective on race in America in the 20’s got me thinking about modern pop culture, and of NBC’s show “1600 Penn” in particular.

    I take issue with several elements of the show. Aside from the erroneous comparisons to Modern Family and the show’s insulting lack of actual humor, my biggest issue with 1600 Penn is how it reflects what seems to be TV’s institutional racism.

    With President Obama on his second term, the show opted to cast a white guy as President (Bill Pullman, who looks an awful lot like Mitt Romney), gave him a platinum blonde trophy wife, a Seth Rogan-esque slacker manboy son, two walking caricature milquetoast kids and a token black character. Are these people serious? I keep thinking 1600 Penn is some sort of April fools joke we all haven’t been let in on yet.

    Much as Jim Crow, How the West Was Won and Gone with the Wind were seen as the north’s “apologies” for reconstruction, 1600 Penn feels like NBC’s way of saying “sorry” to red state America for Obama’s victory.

    How hard would it have been to create a similar show with a mostly black cast? NBC’s executives can’t seriously believe that a show about a black family wouldn’t appeal to a wide audience, when the same network brought us the Cosby show more than 20 years ago.

    NBC can’t think America would have trouble accepting a fictional Black President, can they? Even Fox (on the show 24) had a black President on a fictional show.

    In many ways it seems the networks keep wanting to take a step backwards. For every show that demonstrates an acceptance for America’s rapidly shifting demographics, there seem to be multiple shows that continue to seek out the America of Normal Rockwell’s paintings. We can forgive the pop culture of the 1920s as a product of its time, but what’s the excuse these pop culture creators have in this day and age?

    Anyway, great review. It’s not often that a blu-ray review gets my wheels to turn.

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