Slumdog Millionaire Is A Stupid Movie

Let’s start with the good. The premise of using a game show to tell a story is excellent. In terms of device effectiveness it approaches “Rosebud” in Citizen Cane. It’s the execution, in the form of a horrible script, that makes it a stupid movie.

Minor Problems

-Plays into every single poverty stereotype known to man. This is no surprise since the original story was written by an Indian expat who lived in Western countries.

-The game show questions chronologically match Jamil’s life perfectly.

-Presence of M.I.A. Paris Hilton can sing better than her. The one reason I think she is popular is because of the catchy hook in “Paper Planes.”

-How do slumdogs learn English on the streets? It would have been more authentic if the whole movie was in Hindi, which I think is a nice language. I don’t really go for Indian girls though.

-Awkwardly placed subtitles. I shouldn’t have to search for them.

-Too many scenes where I had to suspend disbelief. A blind boy recognized someone he had a fleeting encounter many years earlier? A first name is enough to find a girl in a city of 14 million people? An older brother who would do anything to protect his younger brother suddenly has a change of heart for a piece of ass? A little boy changed into an elaborate costume, pained himself blue, gathered religious props, and then wandered aimlessly in middle of sectarian violence? Police who wouldn’t at least flinch that a man is burning right before them? A new millionaire who was watched by everyone in India sits sad and lonely in a train station? Brother pulls out three suitcases of bills from his back pocket? One boy vomits when he sees a kid get his eyes burned out, but another remains cheerful and happy when he’s dipped in human feces? Etc etc.

Major Problems

-Calling people slumdogs. This is a made-up term made up by white people. It is not what poor Indians call other poor Indians. I don’t know how they got away with this. I can’t even call a girl “spinster” in real life without getting dirty looks.

-The older brother. After building himself up as a serious hood and reaping all the money rewards that come with that lifestyle, he abruptly decides to off himself. So he finds redemption while his pathetic brother gets the girl and the money, and because he prayed once on screen we’re supposed to believe he really has a heart of gold. Come on, that role is usually played by a prostitute.

-Wholly unrealistic. The beautiful girl would never, ever go for the pathetic, obsessed chump with not a scrap of personality. The main character is just too unlikable. I never wanted him to win, and I never wanted him to get the girl. In real life she would have felt quite privileged to be married to an rich ogre who puts her up in a luxury mansion. Instead she goes after the guy who looks more like a loser kid she’s babysitting. There is not a single scene which explains her love for him.

I must state that I had a bit of a bias going in. Way too many white people were stroking this movie’s dick, warning me it may be overhyped. The last time this amount of white people loved a movie was Crash, a steaming pile of contrived, patronizing dogshit.

In the end Slumdog Millionaire is a great movie for people who don’t watch foreign movies but want to say they watched a foreign movie. If you want to see a good movie that gives a respectful portrait of the plight of India’s poor, rent Salaam Bombay.

If you’re a Bollywood director then I’m sorry, unless you Westernize your movies you will never see success in English-speaking countries.

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Big Snot
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Classic contrarian roosh. First batman, now slumdog. He is so rebellious! I can sort of understand his mentality, but roosh takes it to a level that is far too predictable.

Overally, your specific criticisms are valid but its still a great movie. I really enjoyed it and expect Roosh would have too if he wasnt such an angry little b*tch.

beijaflor
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Criticizing an Indian movie for being unrealistic is like criticizing Mystery for wearing funny hats.

todd h
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you’re right…

and why MIA?

she’s Sri Lankan anyway. not a very inspired choice.

Anonymous Frustrated Coward
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It’s supposed a fairy tale, hence the beginning frame, “It was written”.

For game purposes, when Dev suggests to the chick that they should leave, she’s like, “and live on what money?”.

She went from the small time hood to big boss….but for whatever reason she decides to go with the hero (she then gets re-kidnapped) – but it doesn’t seem like it’s for love, but because the alternative is worse.

It’s more realistic than anything. After she’s been deflowered by his brother and god knows what with the main gangster, she finally goes with the newly rich and famous guy. Who doubts that a woman in that situation will have a young stud on the side while Dev tries to invest the money to make it grow?

DF
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I didn’t like Slumdog but its a perfect example of SWPL, just like Juno.

In the end Slumdog Millionaire is a great movie for people who don’t watch foreign movies but want to say they watched a foreign movie.

I could not have put it better myself.

finefantastic
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i could barely stay awake in this movie. deepa mehta could pull a better movie out of her ass on off day. but then again i was hoping gran torino would win or at least be nominated. i guess that makes me a huge racist.

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Benedict Smith
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the bollywood genre’s very trying on western movie fans….a 3 hour musical with 80’s style camera work and overacting….i’ve watched more of these than i can count (that’s what you endure when dating Indian girls), but MANY of them come off as cheesy…..

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Anonymous
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I don’t know if you’ve ever watched a Bollywood movie, but if you have, from start to finish, (especially more than one)then you would realize it’s a Western/modern version of the fantastical nature of those musicals. Fantasy and metaphors. It’s OK not to like that type of movie, but your analysis is culturally wrong.

aha
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In depressing times like these, people need a feel-good movie like Slumdog Millionaire. Its an uplifting movie. Who cares if its not realistic. Movies provide ESCAPISM for watchers.

Let me guess, you also found many faults in Life is Beautiful too? How could anyone believe a concentration camp is just a game to win a tank?

Barry Cotter
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Sounds like they butchered a very good book. Obvioiusly they left quite a lot out if you were wondering where the hell the protag got his English.

Seriously, read the book “Q&A” All of the stupid you have mentioned was missing from the book, which was one of the better things I’ve read this year. For a more nuanced damning http://isteve.blogspot.com/2009/01/how-slumdog-millioniare-could-have-been.html

Mike
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M.I.A. is not a “singer,” she’s a rapper. She’s not trying to sing. That’s like accusing Q-Tip or Jay-Z of not being able to “sing.”

Firepower
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If I want to see a classic Indian movie, I download “Bombay Blowjob Bitches” from YouPorn

Sam Midhurst
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Good post.

I saw this movie last night. There were some pretty cool scenes, but some of the events were such garbage….

Salman Rushdie had some great points in this article:

http://in.news.yahoo.com/43/20090224/914/ten-rushdie-slams-slumdog-millionaire.html

“…to how they mysteriously wind up at the Taj Mahal, 1,000 miles away from the previous scene.”

Also, guy gets the girl, but also gets sloppy seconds off his brother. Weak.

Firepower
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it is NOT called “sloppy seconds” in India.

It is called pre-lubrication

Anonymous
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Slumdog millionaire is not realistic and its missing a lot of “in-betweens” but the reason the movie got any notice was the execution of it. It was made in a “slick” way. Which is probably the only reason an indian love story was tolerated by westerners.

Also, I think it would be really hard to explain the intricate workings of an indian slum society in an hour and a half without making it sad/boring/documentary.

Its a decent attempt and I definitely liked it more than benjamin bullshit and the reader.

above all its a fictional movie.

Anonymous
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also the 1000 miles away part .. weren’t they traveling by train hustling travelers?

Its very much possible to sneak into a train in India and travel from Mumbai – Delhi

Amanda
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My 2 main problems with the film:

1. Danny Boyle’s films have no soul. He’s technically proficient, a decent storyteller and has one hell of an editor, but I’ve never cared about the characters in any of his films.

2. As a feminist (who reads and enjoys Roosh’s blog) the helplessness of the Latika character drove me batty. I can’t help it; I chafe at the idea of a woman having to be rescued from an abusive relationship by another (stalkerish) man. I understand that her immense cuteness as a child and super hotness as an adult means that she doesn’t need to develop a personality, but the lack of chemistry or any real connection between her and Jamil meant that the love story part of the movie failed as well.

Overall, I see this film as as proof that 3rd world poverty is the cause du jour of white liberal guilt.

However, I did enjoy the soundtrack very much, in spite of the Sri Lankan rapper.

KassyK
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As a film buff (a real buff–not just a pretentious critic), I saw the movie as a fairytale style story–not realistic in many ways–but enjoyable if you just sit back and watch.

Was it movie of the year? Hell no. Not even close.

This is coming from someone who watches everything…and by everything…I mean every big, little, foreign, indie, subversive, underground film out there. If its been made and I have heard something about it or it looks intriguing-even if I can only find it in the p$rn looking video stores–I watch it.

That being said:

Gran Torino should have won and it was not even nominated this year.

That is just ridiculous.

KassyK’s last blog post: La Fleur = Sawyer = James Ford.

a_c
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It’s a well-executed fairytale, set in India. It’s a fine example of its genre, but this sort of genre is not the kind of movie that usually wins awards. That’s what really grates some people (including Roosh) complaining about it being overhyped; an airy and saccharine movie would usually never be this talked up among the SWPL set, except it happens to be set in an exotic location and focuses on the poor, for a double shot of SWPL approval.

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i’ve heard gran torino is good.

i hardly go to the theater anymore. with hulu.com i can now watch hours upon hours of crap for free and from the comfort of my home.

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KassyK
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Roissy–There is a site I use that streams every movie currently in theaters (all new releases as well) for free–It has a billion movies. Its ridiculous.

I’ll email it over.

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Carl Sagan
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Slumdog did suck balls.

Gran Torino was okay. The acting was really really bad but Clint Eastwood is the consummate alpha male so that made up for it.

Carl Sagan
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Btw, The Wrestler should have won for best picture and best actor.

Now there is a movie where the characters behave how we would realistically expect them to.

finefantastic
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“Gran Torino should have won and it was not even nominated this year.”

Thank YOU Kassy.

Seriously. The academy is a legion of morons.

And “Clubbed” was ignored completely, watch it.

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“In the end Slumdog Millionaire is a great movie for people who don’t watch foreign movies but want to say they watched a foreign movie.”

But it IS a foreign movie, it’s British razz

I have a lot of Indian friends who went absolutely crazy about this film, but I haven’t watched it myself, so I don’t know. I have been fearing I will end up disappointed, so I was trying to ignore every single thing you were pointing out here (by the way, MIA is a goddess!), until you compared people’s reactions to those generated by the movie Crash, which I hated. Number one reason because they totally stole the structure idea from the movie Amores Perros which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film a couple years before Crash came out, and also because it exaggerated waaay too much the racial tension that exists in LA (I was living there at the time).

Also, I’ve heard people comparing Slumdog Millionaire to City of God, I think that’s a pretty stupid relationship to establish, especially considering how most people say Slumdog is such an uplifting, feel-good film. I still want to watch it though, mainly out of general curiosity.

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aha
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Latika would never go for the obsessed stalker with no interesting traits” – Jamal and Latika have a connection/bond from their childhood experiences, and they relate to each other in that sense. The movie does lack some clarity on how their feelings transform beyond a friendship. We clearly see that she’s not fond of her abusive husband.

The prosperous thug older brother would never kill himself.” – Salim didn’t kill himself, he was shot. Plenty of other movies exploit the “from good to evil to redemption” subplot. He had a change of heart, made the ultimate sacrifice to kill the boss so as to protect his brother.

Wholly unrealistic. The beautiful girl would never, ever go for the pathetic, obsessed chump with not a scrap of personality” – see above, their childhood experiences bond them together. Plus, Latika has been manipulated/psychologically abused most of her life, so she probably has little feelings left for anything. Any positive feelings that are left in her probably are attached most closely to Jamal, but this is getting into psychoanalysis.

The main character is just too unlikable” – not sure why you say that. There’s a certain sadness mixed with enduring hope and determination that I believe lead most movie watchers to root for him.

I must state that I had a bit of a bias going in” ahh…that explains it Roosh wink

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OMG THANK YOU. As an Indian person it’s cool to see people getting interested in a style of film I grew up watching. Slumdog is basically Bollywood adapted for westerners. The sugary love story and the liberties the film takes with “realistic” storylines are all trademarks of Bollywood style. As is the intense one-sided love that Dev has for Latika.

That aside…this happened when Bend it Like Beckham and Monsoon Wedding came out. People are going to watch this and suddenly feel like they have some deep understanding of Indian culture. IMO, I think a lot of the hype about the movie comes from the fact that it makes people feel like they are deep. But whatever, bad movies win Oscars all the time (Titanic anyone?)

Also, people who compare this to City of God are being overly simplistic. Just because they are both about people living in slums does not mean they are alike. Slumdog is a fairy tale love story, COG is a gritty film about a very real problem in Rio, and many of the “actors” lived in those favelas. I agree with Roosh, go see Salaam Bombay…

Oh and Rita-Amores Perros is amazing…

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I think your right and wrong.

I think your wrong about M.I.A. Maybe you should listen to more than just Paper Planes before saying stuff.

However, that can be forgiven because you gave a shout out to Salaam Bombay. Which i have been telling people to watch for years.

Bobby Rio
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Freida Pinto is gorgeous… i could watch slumdog 5 times just see her… she’s the first indian woman i’ve ever beeen attracted to.. but i cant keep my eyes off her.

id be just as an obssesed chump as the kid in the film

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Well-articulated criticism. I’d be curious to hear your take on “Vicki Cristina Barcelona”, one of my favorites from last year (it has some realism issues as well, but I found them easier to forgive), and also your critique of the Javier Bardem character’s game in the movie.

Big Snot
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32 – “she’s the first indian woman i’ve ever beeen attracted to.. ”

Bobby rio is an ingnorant a-hole.

Charles
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Amen Roosh! Great insight on this movie… I saw this movie and couldn’t believe they use M.I.A sooooo much.I think they even threw a remix into the score at one point. M.I.A does not appeal to me, and I don’t see what the fuss is about with her. As far as the story goes, the story could have been trimmed down at least 45 min shorter. It was way toooooo long, and I lost interest during the train scamming scenes. The TV host was so annoying to me. The Wrestler seriously kicked this movies ass and it was simple and to the point. Darren Darren Aronofsky nailed it, and so did Mickey Rourke, despite what many people think about him. The only part I liked about Slumdog Millionaire was when it was over. I Love Danny Boyle as a director, don’t get me wrong. Go rent the movie Sunshine and you will see his brilliance.
Benny Lava, nuff said
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZA1NoOOoaNw

KassyK
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Charles–That youtube video is freaking wonderful. Thank you…one of the funniest things I have seen in a LONG time.

KassyK’s last blog post: La Fleur = Sawyer = James Ford.

LovelySexyBeauty
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But most Bollywood directors are not aiming to get a Western audience. They stick to what’s successful in their core market.

A mainstream Bollywood director would NEVER show a movie about poverty like this. Some of the more edgy ones try to incorporate/copy elements of movies like Slumdog (e.g. Delhi-6 and it’s sweeper-woman side character), but those movies don’t do well if the core audience doesn’t enjoy them.

Danny Boyle is British and only used elements of Bollywood-ism. The movie was for an international, primarily developed country audience – like Mr. Boyle.

If anything, most Bollywood directors aim their fare at expat. Indians and people of the South Asian diaspora, along with the aspiring jetsetters/upper class of India. Most most popular Bollywood films take place fully or partly in the UK, USA or Australia, or depict the wealthy Indian lifestyle of hot cars, rock bands, club-hopping, gorgeous people, etc.

As for the criticism of suspending disbelief: I think that’s a very American (Anglo-Saxon) critique. Have you heard of Spanish and Portuguese telenovelas, and Korean soap operas? They all involve fantasy and are the most popular and mainstream media forms in their countries.

It seems like the people most far-removed from fears of becoming poor, of military violence, of a corrupt justice system, etc. are the ones most obsessed with seeing “realism” in movies and other media.

By the way, my biggest suspension of belief with movie? Slum kids would not grow up to be that good-looking. I’m sorry, but the semi-starvation low-nutrition diet and being in the dirty streets all day (and exposed to all sorts of bugs), being in the sun and heat, etc. does not make for a pretty face or body.

By the way Roosh – even your favorite Brazil is going India crazy too. One of the most popular telenovelas on Globo is Caminho das Indias. Jai/yay for India! smile

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Trannied Toddler
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“I don’t really go for Indian girls though.”

Cynically placed false disqualifier in hopes of getting a reaction from Indian girls. Why don’t you get the GPS coordinates of the one who Roissy deflowered? Just make sure you do her at “Amanda’s.”

Charles
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No Problem KassyK!
That video always brightens up my day…

Chuck
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KassyK:

“Gran Torino should have won and it was not even nominated this year.”

Gran Torino was a pretty good movie, but it’s hard to overlook Clint Eastwood’s atrocious acting. He’s basically just playing Dirty Harry w/o the badge. I couldn’t look past the fact that it was just another movie of Eastwood showing that he’s a badass. That took away from it all.

“The Reader” and/or “Revolutionary Road” were the best movies of the year. Everyone here interested in the male/female dynamic should watch Rev Road and read the author, Richard Yates’ work. I’m currently reading “Easter Parade.” Great book.

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Bobby Rio
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Big snot…

why am i an ignorant asshole? I stated a fact. She is in fact one of the few indian women i’ve been attracted to.

Thats my personal taste…

I’m also not attracted to tall leggy blondes, fat girls… does that make me ignorant too, or just entitled to state my opinion?

Anonymous
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What a surprise! Roosh the Contrarian doesn’t like a movie that is enjoyed by the masses! Ohh Roosh you are so mysterious and cool.

I get the feeling that if everyone stopped getting married, Roosh would write on his website how married life is the way to go.

This guy moans and complains about anything where the subject is something the majority agrees with.

Big Snot
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Riobob – You may have a particular preference in distinguishing between hot girls, but thats not what you said. You said she was “the first indian girl you’ve ever been attracted to”. Not that you would marry, not that you put in your top 5. You said attracted to. Thats pretty amazing.

But if you truly have never seen an indian girl who looks similar to Frida Pinto or even an attractive leggy blonde it is really sad. You should do an internet search.

If you live in a cave without the internet or a TV, i apologize. If not, i suspect you were offensively exaggerating.

Anonymous
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Dam lot of defense for indian woman here. None for American white that is funny.

MF
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Your post bashing a movie that was liked by lots of people contributes nothing to society. Thanks for trying.

Ned
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gotta agree with roosh here. people were telling how great this movie was, but I was waiting for it to end for the last 30 minutes. Girl gets with guy at the end when there was no sexual chemistry at all? C’mon. For awhile in the middle it seemed like it might’ve been the next City of God, but it wasn’t. See City of God instead. Doesn’t bullshit at all, and that will blow you away.

Anonymous
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roosh,

i just gave a cursory look over your comments. I think you’ve got poor taste. you fail to realize that the film is a feel good film, meant to cast light on the notorious slums of Mumbai and other areas of India. Those slums weren’t even the worst. Also, the unrealistic nature of the film is deliberate. Having each question match his life perfectly is not realistic, nor is him guessing the right answer at the end because “it was written”.

so, maybe SM is not worth watching more than once or twice. But it’s not a surprise why it is successful and it is not a bad film.

Anonymous
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bad post. u would have of been better off talking about politics.

Lovechild
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Honestly I like City Of God more. To me the interweaving of the kid’s past memories to his answer was a good device and oscar worthy…hehe!

After i’ve watched the movie i realized…this…movie..SUCKS! It’s just another feel good chick flick for the INNOCENT MASSES! What a letdown.

Dude! you could’ve post other interesting stuff! All you’ve been doing is bitch and whine about…this movie? Your becoming a letdown dude!

KassyK
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Chuck–
Hey there…I did a whole post on my top films of the year…and actually The Reader was one of my favorite films of the year…And I put Rev Road in my Top Ten. It was superbly acted and a really interesting look life in the 50s…the constraints…the dynamic…all of it. Depressing but in such a realistic way.

I didn’t think Eastwood was Dirty Harry ish at all in Gran Torino…I thought it was way more of a coming of age tale. An old man who cant get along with his real family ends up bonding and joining the family of people he normally would be racist against.

It was more about growing as a person…and the ending…that was giving up something for someone in the purest way.

I loved the movie. It just hit me in a real way…Felt raw.

But there were so many movies that should have been nominated that no one has even talked about.

Sad really. You know?

I would love to hear more about Easter Parade. I’m a huge Philip Roth fan and I feel I would probably enjoy Parade as well.

By the way…have you seen Elegy?

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vb
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i thought it was an okay movie. You are on point with your criticism.