Friday, August 23, 2013

The Movie THE BUTLER (did it)






THE BUTLER was directed by Lee Daniels; written by Danny Strong from a real life account of the Whitehouse butler Eugene Allen, which was played by Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines.  Oprah Winfrey played Gaines' wife.

Wait!  Forest Whitaker played Cecil Gaines which was Eugene Allen in real life?  I am sure that should make sense if you read it slowly.    It might be their sidestep  into making it more imaginary - to give them more artistic freedom.

I thought THE BUTLER was a very good movie.  I understand the director and screenplay writers may have used their literary licenses.  Which is not good, and even triple as bad since it is about history.

I think the movie was done well, as far as effects and unfolding the story and presenting what they presented in order.  The aging make-up was excellent.

The movie had a double vision effect.  Not only did Cecil the Butler observed  presidents ' reactions to the top  news but  also his own home front, his oldest son was a dedicated civil rights activist.  It sort of had a Forest Gump musical beat in it.

Maybe what I liked were items that were not in the movie but in my memory.  Since the Butler skated through history from the late 1940s to the 1980s we were reminded of historical news which brought back memories, like I remember where I was when  I got the news Kennedy was assassinated and other terrible news. 

When I received the news John F. Kennedy was killed I was awaken by people storming into the barracks.  I was still on leave.  I just returned that morning when from driving all night bringing my car back from Georgia.  When the news came in they shut down our squadron's operations for the day.

I watched the Selma March and the Lyndon B. Johnson's Voting rights and "We Shall Overcome" Speech from a hospital bed at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital where I was at for 30 plus days recuperating from a n operation.  I was next to a window.  Snow was on the ground.  I share the entire ward with a very old little bald headed black man who had lost his mind long ago.  He just made moaning sounds all the time.  They didn't know his name but were pretty sure he was in the service by a tattoo on his arm which  I don't know what it was, but it was a tattoo that military men got back in the 40s.  He was dying in a ditch when he was brought in.  Also just outside the ward in a private room was an officer all covered with bandages.  He was a pilot.  They drug him out of a burning plane.  

When Martin Luther King was assassinated we were at the Bottom of the Barrel college hangout  on something like 8th Street in Atlanta, waiting for a concert.  We bought our tickets long advance.  The manager came out and said folk singer  Odetta  has jsut cancelled her appearance due to the tragic news of Doctor Martin Luther King.  We left and drove back to Marietta, shocked and wondering what was next.
I drove through downtown Marietta.  At the corner of Lawrence Street and the Square began a black section.   There was a large group of young African-American males talking.  I was watching them and not watching my driving and ran a red-light.  A car going under a green-light was coming right at me.  I slammed on my brakes and reach out to halt Anna's inertial thrust forward.  Luckily we not have a traffic accident or a bash against the dash or windshield * accident.

That is my memories.  You will have to bring your own memories to the movie


*Before mandatory seat-belts. 

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