by Patch O'Furr
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RING RING. Did you ever get a scam caller who needs money immediately? One time I answered one of those and played along with a “dumb voice” (it was method acting) while I pretended to walk to Wal-Mart to send them a wire transfer. My friend played store noises in the background, and announced “Sir, you can’t be here without pants!” The caller persisted until I pretended to get lost and fall in a duck pond and couldn’t stop laughing at the quacking noises. Of course the dumb prank only tied up time (and maybe reduced scams), but now let me tell you about movies that are very worth the time. They’re wake-up calls that deliver truths about society while being artful and entertaining too.
I just saw the movie "Sorry To Bother You".— Deo (@DeoTasDevil) July 29, 2018
I can't remember the last time a film had me this gutted. I'm wrecked.
"Sorry To Bother You" is powerful and you should see it. Don't look it up, no spoilers, just go experience it.
Hey @BootsRiley! Just wanted to give you a thank you for making probably one of the most overlooked films that needed to be seen. It does 'bother' me that it wasn't nominated for any Oscars, but you did a very good job impressing me nonetheless.
Hope your next film is great. 🙂
— Scarfy🧣 (@ScarfyConly) January 22, 2019
VIDEO Q&A with director Boots Riley below. SPOILER WARNING – watch the movie before reading!
Sorry To Bother You (2018) is the debut movie by Boots Riley, a satire set in a worker strike among telemarketers. The story device that gets it going is code switching with different voices. The main character is a black guy (Cassius Green) who uses an absurdly ethereal “white voice” – when the actor Lakeith Stanfield opens his mouth, the voice of David Cross comes out. The trick makes him super successful at telemarketing. It gets him out of poverty that sucks down everyone around him, but sets him up to pay a horrible cost.
At first you think it’s a story about underpaid workers fighting for respect. Then it aims higher at capitalist dehumanization. Then it goes over the top with a hallucinatory sci-fi reveal that transforms the characters. The screenwriting is eccentrically formula-defying. Hollywood likes to play safe with big budgets and crank out polished turds, but this movie takes chances with a modest budget for a gloriously gutsy indie production with a message.
It looks like an odd choice to cover on a furry site, so why’s it here? The answer is in the reveal we’ll get to.
I saw Sorry To Bother You with Fruitvale Station (2013) at a small library screening for this program– RESISTANCE, RESILIENCE, & ANTICIPATION: a fresh look at the Black Arts Movement in Oakland. It was more than an ordinary show, it was a special community happening, so let’s look at how the movies connect. (It’s also the second Dogpatch Press story from the same neighborhood after the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland.)