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Political Films: Articles


Roy Rogers & 'Under Western Stars': Remembering Singing Cowboy's 'Socialist' Western

Roy Rogers, Singing Cowboy of 1940s and 1950s Hollywood. Known for his affable characterizations and, both on and off screen, “traditional values” stance, the King of the Cowboys – step aside, John Wayne & Gene Autry – toplined the “subversive” 1938 musical Western Under Western Stars. Sound bites: Remembering Roy Rogers & 'subversive' singing cowboy movie 'Under Western Stars' It is a typically hot day in Palm Springs on May 5, 2001, as I sit outside the Palm Springs Museum at the invitation of Roy Rogers' oldest daughter, Cheryl, while a star in his remembrance is placed on the sidewalk in front of the building. I am seated next to Ruth Terry, a lady with whom I am totally unfamiliar, […]


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Roy Rogers & 'Under Western Stars': Remembering Singing Cowboy's 'Socialist' Western



'Barry' Obama & Me: Finding Common Ground with the Future U.S. President

Barry Obama (Devon Terrell) reads Ralph Ellison's 1952 sociopolitical novel Invisible Man – not to be confused with H.G. Wells' 1897 sci-fi novel The Invisible Man. 'Barry' & me: Finding common ground between this reviewer and U.S. President Barack Obama While thinking about Barry, Vikram Gandhi's 1981-set film about a young Barack Obama as he arrived in New York City to attend Columbia University, I found myself thinking about me in 1981, as I arrived in New York City to attend Columbia University. To be frank, I've been thinking about President Obama in juxtaposition to myself for years, ever since his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Like many Black folks that evening, I looked up the tall, […]


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'Barry' Obama & Me: Finding Common Ground with the Future U.S. President



'The Aviator' Movie Review: Leonardo DiCaprio & Cate Blanchett Miscast in Heavy-Handed Biopic

The Aviator movie with Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes: Bizarre billionaire bloated biopic. 'The Aviator' movie review: Leonardo DiCaprio is excellent – but not as Howard Hughes Imagine Citizen Kane directed by the Steven Spielberg of The Color Purple, Schindler's List, Amistad, and Saving Private Ryan. The final result would look something like a Barry Levinson film – for instance, the superficial and phony Bugsy. Or, an even more appropriate example, the superficial, phony, and bloated The Aviator. Except, of course, that Levinson is not the man responsible for the 2004 mega-production starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the eccentric (i.e., mentally unbalanced), billionaire ladies' man Howard Hughes. Strangely enough, that man is Martin Scorsese, the director of hard-hitting films such as […]


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'The Aviator' Movie Review: Leonardo DiCaprio & Cate Blanchett Miscast in Heavy-Handed Biopic