Let me preface this by saying, that in November of 2019, I was hired at the last minute to appear in the newly released Stillwater, but due to a transportation issue, I couldn’t make it to the set.
That being said, I haven’t seen the movie yet and I like both Matt Damon as well as director Tom McCarthy, who made the brilliant Spotlight and the underrated The Visitor. I even felt The Cobbler had a nice touch to it and a different change of pace for Adam Sandler.
However, I feel that making Damon’s character a roughneck who wears flannel shirts and worn-out ballcaps with a little extra fat on him continues to perpetuate a stereotype. I haven’t seen Hillbilly Elegy but it seems to uphold some ideology that anyone below the Mason-Dixon Line or who lives in rural America is some who has never drove anything but an Chevy or Ford pick-up truck (and gets into arguments with others over which is better.)
If anything else the Georgia Film and TV industry has helped changed the look of Georgia residents. It’s a slow process but Tyler Perry’s Madea is no more so maybe it’ll help now that Georgia has two Democratic Senators and went blue for Biden in 2020.
I can tell you right now, there’s more people in Georgia and Oklahoma, where I lived since 2002, and in between who have never driven a truck, hate country-western music and only wore flannel during the grunge music period of the 1990s.
We don’t have “PeePaws” and “MawMaws.” We call them “Grandpa John” and “Grandma Ruth.” Our mothers and grandmothers are not good cooks. We don’t like buttermilk, fried okra or cornbread. We don’t all eat meat and fried foods.
We don’t all call people from the northern part of America “Yankees.” We don’t care about “state rights” about the Civil War. We know it was all about slavery. We support taking down Confederate statues and monuments. It was hatred, not heritage and we will never put a Confederate flag anywhere put in the incinerator. We also don’t get all worked up over the American flag either.
We drink good wine and imported beer. Some of us don’t even choose to drink alcoholic beverages and that’s okay. We don’t care for NASCAR. We don’t chain smoke cigarettes. And when we go to sporting events, it’s more of a social event rather than getting worked up over that we’d resort to violence over the outcome.
We don’t live in the past. We’d rather spend our Friday nights resting up or hanging out with friends than sitting in some stands cheering a high school team on.
We work at banks, where we dress up and don’t rely on handshake deals but actual paperwork and collateral for loans. We teach advance courses in math and science and go to schools where we talk about current and past works of literature (aside from The Bible and North Dallas Forty.) Yes, we want Critical Race Theory taught in schools.
We work in offices where we wear Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, Gucci and Versace. And we wear those business casual clothes outside of work. We even color our hair or go to salons to get current hairstyles, and that refers to heterosexual cisgendered men too.
And no, we’re not all bigots and racists. We’re perfectly fine seeing gay couples with kids at the stores. We support LGBTQ rights and their community. We want cannabis legalized.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
Unfortunately, the people who still support Trump and this high on Mountain Dew sugar rush seems to always represent a certain region of America whenever it comes to entertainment.
At the 1994 Super Bowl half-time, a bunch of country-western musicians played when Atlanta hosted the event. Of course, it’s been remembered as one of the worst half-time shows. And Up With People performed more than once. Why? Because Georgia has a better music scene than “Tear in my Beer” whining.
If it was Nashville, I could understand. R&B and Hip/Hop became popular in the south as other parts of America. Between the East Side/West Side rivalry, there was no South Side. Ludacris and Outkast are just two of the major musicians who started out in the Atlanta area.
And Athens, Ga., was as much of a starting point for the alternative/grunge music scene as Seattle was with R.E.M. and Widespread Panic changing up the music sounds of the 1980s.
In Tulsa, with the oil boom of the 20th Century a distant memory, civic leaders are trying to build the area as an entertainment and recreational city, with The Gathering Place, Cain’s Ballroom, the BOK Center, Tulsa Expo, Guthrie Green, The Center of the Universe, etc. and countless other place.
There’s a video on YouTube of a bunch of young adults doing the “Time Warp” song and dance from The Rocky Horror Picture Show in the Bricktown district of Oklahoma City.
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg7gO5PpPUk
Damon and McCarthy are from Boston and New Jersey, themselves, so I’m sure they’ve endured stereotypes and questions from people when they tell people where they’re from. Bill Burr gave an interview on how the same things are shown as establishing shots whenever a Boston sporting team is shown on TV and he’s right. It’s always lobster and dock workers and chowder.
I’m just wondering if you’ve polled all the people who live or have lived in New England what the results would be if any of them have even ate chowder.
It just seems these stereotypes keep getting reshown in movies and TV shows. I rode a horse once. But I helped my uncle herd cattle too. But I don’t like wearing cowboy boots and never owned or worn a Stetson hat.
Part of the problem I think is the people from these regions often think they need to uphold these stereotypes. After the 2013 tornadoes destroyed sections of the central part of Oklahoma, a reporter asked a woman about being thankful to God she is alive. And she responded that she’s an atheist much to his embarrassment. But she handled it correctly without mocking him.
Yet, for some reason, people want to uphold the notion that they’re extreme Bible-thumpers and love their guns more than their own kids and spouses. And that’s why Hollywood still only views it this way.
I was glad to see in the HBO series Watchmen how the alternative reality was Tulsa as a liberal-leaning community where the cops had to seek approval to use firearms. It should be the norm.
Many cowboys of the Old West were black men as well as Latinx. Many black towns were established in the Oklahoma territory. The Tulsa Race Massacre was a blackeye for America. Filmmakers need to do a movie about it that isn’t a white savior movie.
More audiences are wanting realism. They don’t want Simple Jacks. People with developmental and/or physical disabilities should play people with developmental and/or physical disabilities. Men and women who don’t have “perfect” bodies are being wanted to play characters who don’t have “perfect” bodies.
Why can’t they be some truth to make believe?