Although I have been watching movies, I haven’t felt moved to review them since David Bowie died.  It’s been really rough over here.  The good news is that I’m close to completing my essay about Bowie as well as launching a project related to him.  The bad news is that it’s not done yet.  In the mean time, here are very brief reflections on The Revenant and Spotlight.

The Revenant is about an Oscarless actor who goes out into the woods and gets assaulted by a bear and spits through his teeth in hopes of finally being given the trophy.  I mean really, that’s pretty much it.  I didn’t enjoy this film for shit.  Although it was beautifully shot and treated Native Americans with respect and (I presume) accuracy, this was still very much a white folks story.  Typical man-versus-nature, man-versus-exotic enemy, man-versus-man fare.  This story has been told so many times in so many better ways.  Leo acted okay, but I tell you what:  He didn’t deserve that Golden Globe.

There was one black person in the very beginning who didn’t make it.

Spotlight is about how the Boston Globe finally stopped being scared of the Catholic Church and decided to investigate their inaction on hundreds of child molestation allegations.  The film, with a lot of white actors I did not recognize except for Michael Keaton because he was Batman, was decent, but I could have waited for it to come on regular television with commercials.  It was okay, but not engaging.  The topic is devastating, but also old.  The Big Short was meaningful because we are still feeling the impact personally and broadly.  Spotlight didn’t resonate as much because I frankly don’t know that many Catholics, much less any who were directly impacted by the scandals.

I must add that Spotlight’s score was horrible.  Way too much piano.  Almost ruined a few moments for me.

The black people I saw when I was not asleep (sorry) were a male police officer, and possibly a secretary who may have also been Latina.

All in all, I think both of these films were way over-hyped.  I can’t wait to actually see some films with more black folks in them.


Rashid Darden is a novelist.  His website is