A cop is a cop. He may be a very
nice man. I don’t have time to figure that out. All I know is that
he has a uniform and a gun.
James Baldwin, James
Baldwin and Nikki Giovanni, Soul!: A Conversation ,
It’s 1983 in Beaufort, South
Carolina, and the film, The
is released. It played to mainly a white audience of my generation of
late 1960s and early 1970s college students, activists, supposedly
conscious citizens opposed to the Vietnam War and racial injustice.
It was a nostalgic look back on the past, what
to be. For some Americans. It’s a nostalgic look back today, too,
for some Americans. Things aren’t the way they used to be, for
sure. But, then, it all depends on the demographics. Which boxes do
you check off on inquiring applications. Old categories from the era
of slavery in the US still matter. No need to look back to the past.
In that sense, for all of America’s technological advancement, very
little has been transformed it’s mindset when it comes to race and
the continue violence of injustice and police brutality.
the film, used-to-be “protesters,” graduates from the University
of Michigan’s campus at Ann Arbor come together again to attend the
funeral of an old college friend who committed suicide in the home of
Harold and Sarah Cooper. The Coopers, played by Kevin Kline and Glenn
Close, have a winter
The one the film’s viewers are privy to see isn’t it!
obvious by the largess of the house that the Coopers have done well
for themselves, at least according to the standards of the bourgeois
playbook in the 1980s. Harold is a business man who can retire early
and Sarah is a medical doctor. There’s a Tom Selleck-type Magnum,
P.I. television star, Sam Weber, played by Tom Berenger and real
estate lawyer, Meg Jones, played by Mary Kay Place, who used to work
in the “slums” when she thought she would be working on behalf of
Huey and Bobby. JoBeth Williams plays Karen Bowens, a mother and
housewife to a man who makes enough to provide her children, as she
always wished. Chloe, played by Meg Tilly, shared a little cabin off
from the house with the dead boyfriend, and Jeff Goldblum, Michael
Gold, a journalist with People magazine, is looking for investors to
help him open a nightclub like “Elaine’s” only better.
Hurt’s character, a damaged Vietnam vet, Nick Carlton, on the other
hand, is another matter. He dropped out from a career as a
psychologist with a radio talk show.
most of the gang is inside preparing to watch the Wolverines on
television in the Cooper’s den, they hear a commotion outside, and,
of course, it’s Nick coming back to the house, escorting by a
police car. After an exchange of words, and a sad bit where the
officer, willing “to forget the whole thing,” challenges Sam, a
“hunk” of a man, to jump into Nick’s open Porsche 911
convertible, just like J. T. Lancer, Sam’s television character.
doesn’t go very well.
finally all is well, and Harold thanks the police. The policeman
drives off and the friends return to the house.
is just ahead of Nick.
when did you get so friendly with the police?”
repeats his question, and Harold turns to face him. He’s angry.
cop has twice kept this house from being ripped off. Happens to be a
hell of a guy.”
live here! I live here! I’m dug in!
doesn’t need someone like Nick, with his adversary relationship
with the police. And life in general.
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Dr. Lenore Daniels Social Media Pages:
Activist, writer, American Modern Literature, Cultural Theory, PhD.
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