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/Song of the South/ in (not) one word.

Nostalgia Chick asked the Facebook community to describe Song of the South in one word. I wrote a short rant.

In one word, formulaic. But I can’t stop myself there. Yes, the movie treads on what, for a number of people, are sensitive issues pertaining to former slave/former slave owner relations in the postwar South. Yes, perhaps a bigger offense, the black people are played stereotypically; their eyes get MIGHTY BIG when they talk. But even if you can look past the racism as a product of its time, the movie isn’t very good. The big problem is the relationship between the boy and his mother, which reduces to her misunderstanding things. “Uncle Remus, your stories about Br’er Rabbit give my son hope in this troubling time when his father and I are getting divorced. Therefor, I am going to misunderstand and forbid you to tell my son any more of your stories.” “Yes’m.” The boy was already having enough trouble dealing with the divorce. That was enough conflict to carry the movie. We didn’t need his mother to be an antagonist, especially not one as clichéd as this.

And then there’s the part where the little girl’s nasty brothers come to the mother and say, “You should punish your son because he tricked us into admitting to our mother that we did something wrong, and we got whupped for it.” “You’re right. The fact that your mother gave you brats a well-deserved whupping proves that my son was in the wrong and I should reprimand him.”

The Br’er Rabbit sequences are nice, but of course they’re just a small part of the whole movie. And “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” is an absolute classic. Really, the movie is first and foremost the answer to a trivia question: “What movie did ‘Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah’ come from?”

Gonna mention Ralph Bakshi’s Coonskin at all? (Featuring the live performances and voices of Scatman Crothers and Barry White; and characters named Brother Rabbit, Preacher Fox, and Brother Bear, and direct references to the “Don’t throw me in the briar patch” and “tar baby” scenes.)

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