Fridays should be a happy time. New movies usually open on Fridays, at least officially anyway. New episodes of some excellent streaming series and features debut on Fridays, depending on the streaming service. New episodes of a YouTube show top off many of my late-night Fridays.
However, bad news tends to crop up on Fridays in the recent and the not-to-distant past.
Friday, August 28, 2020, Chadwick Boseman was taken from us.
Think about this. The entire time Chad Boseman worked for Marvel, he fought colon cancer. My father had cancer. I remember the moments before he died how much pain he was in. From Captain America: Civil War to Avengers: Endgame and the Disney+ series What If, Boseman fought cancer. What is fandom’s reaction to all this? Re-cast the character. I get it. Down through the years, there have been multiple Batmans, Supermans, Spider-mans, and Blades. Guess what. There will be multiple Black Panthers as well. What Kevin Feige, Ryan Coogler, Nate Moore, and the rest of Marvel are trying to tell you is that Chadwick Boseman embodied T’Challa. Another character who inhabits the Black Panther suit can accomplish whatever feats the Black Panther accomplished in the comics.
Friday, December 31, 2021, Betty White was taken from us. For weeks leading up to the end of the year, nearly everyone was planning to celebrate Betty White’s 100 birthday with the premiere of a documentary on her 100th birthday, January 17, 2022. White was sexy and sassy, and she brought life and laughter to millions, perhaps billions, of us around the planet. Yet, her death 18 days before her planned birthday celebration teaches us that life is precious and promised to no one. It is a lesson that is taught to us repeatedly.
Friday, January 7, 2022, Sidney Poitier was taken from us. Well, that’s not actually accurate. Like Jonathan Larson before him, Mr. Poitier was taken on a Thursday, but we didn’t learn about it until Friday. I spent my youth watching Sidney Poitier in movies. A lot of them you may have watched:
- Lilies of the Field
- To Sir With Love
- In The Heat of the Night
- Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
A lot you may NOT have watched.
- For Love of Ivy
- Buck and the Preacher
- Uptown Saturday Night
- Let’s Do It Again
- A Piece of the Action
I spent last Friday watching four different films, two of which are big favorites of mine: the aforementioned Sneakers and the 1965 Columbia Pictures nuclear drama, a tense B&W thriller with Richard Widmark titled The Bedford Incident. Widmark and Poitier did a few other films together, including the first of the other two I watched that Friday, a film titled No Way Out. Widmark played a man who was shot during a robbery with his brother. Poitier, in his breakout role in 1950, three years before I was born, played a doctor in the prison ward. Poitier’s character diagnosed the brother with a brain tumor. However, the brother died during a spinal tap conducted by Dr. Sidney, attempting to confirm his diagnosis. The rest of the film was about the tension between the Widmark character who threatened to kill the Poitier character.
The second of the two films I had never watched was the 1958 film, The Defiant Ones. Poitier and Tony Curtis played two convicts who escaped from a chain gang after a truck accident in the rural South. The hook is that the two, one black and one white, are bound together by the 20-foot chain attached to each one’s wrist.
What’s unique about these latter films is that I seriously doubt either would be produced today. Both films contain liberal use of what is euphemistically called the “N”-word. I almost typed out the word, but who needs the aggrevation. Such is life in the third decade of the 21st Century.
So, before I go any further, I assure you that I am just fine. I am more pensive than melancholy. It’s what I’m thinking about as I decide whether or not to risk going into a movie theatre on Friday to watch Scream. I’ve already risked getting COVID going to see Spider-Man No Way Home in a packed movie theatre with a couple sitting maskless right next to me. I dodged that one; do I want to risk my health for another film, or will it join The King’s Man and The 355 on the list of movies I wait to see on some future streaming service?
My apologies to the reader if this is a downer. Just my thoughts as 2022, year 3 of the plague, rolls on. Like a friend said last Friday, I’m getting antsy, and I want to get out and about. I’d love to hang out with her again and get to meet that a few other people, in person. I’ve lived the metaverse for over 27 years. Trust me; real life is better.
Ciao for now!