Loqueesha: The Movie, The Mortification
Back when I worked as a staff writer for A.V Club and The Dissolve I was professionally obligated to give a mad ass fuck about movie trailers. They were big entertainment news in themselves but they also helped forecast months, if not years of coverage to come.
I’ve always love trailers. When I was a kid, they were one of my favorite aspects of the moviegoing experience. I experienced exhilarating shivers of expectation and anticipation seeing tantalizing glimpses of movies that lurked alluringly on the horizon, forever promising more than they would ever deliver.
I’m much more ambivalent about trailer culture on the internet, because it seems less rooted in the child-like joy I experienced watching trailers and dreaming in the dark of cinematic wonders to come than in the tedious horse-race aspect of movie culture, which is seemingly and tediously all about box office prognosticators somberly guessing how Dark Phoenix will do in Asian markets and whether it will connect with millennials on social media.
Watching trailers before movies as a kid put some of the joy in the whole grand gestalt of movie-going/movie-loving. Using trailers as a starting place for the all-important game of guess the box office sucks the joy out of movies.
These days I’m not professionally obligated to care about trailers so I never watch them unless they look really good or impossibly bad. Impossibly bad sure sums up My World of Flops Case File Sonic the Hedgehog but that disastrously received sneak preview for the live-action adaptation of the popular Sega Genesis game looks like Pixar’s greatest masterpiece compared to another trailer that has been making the rounds on the internet in posts rightfully expressing astonishment that exists, and in 2019 no less.
This ungodly abomination is called Loqueesha. It’s the brainchild of comedian Jeremy Saville, who wrote, directed and stars as John, a working-class white bartender and, by extension paragon of working-class wisdom who can’t get a radio show on the air because he’s male and white so he pretends to be a sub-Madea caricature of a sassy black woman by the name of Loqueesha.
Judging by the trailer, everyone apparently goes nuts for this appallingly regressive stereotype, sight unseen, never imagining that behind this crude minstrel show lies not a genuine African-American woman but rather a white man who has discovered his truth-telling voice through grotesque, racist fiction.
Saville seems to have challenged himself to come up with a premise that was like the infamous C Thomas Howell vehicle Soul Man but somehow even more offensive. So he dreamed up a scenario where he could do audio blackface and be praised as a paragon of down-home wisdom by actual black people he hired to praise Loqueesha.
What makes Loqueesha appalling is, well, everything about it. But I’m particularly insulted by the sappy sentimentality, by the film’s apparent desire to warm hearts as well as tickle funny bones by illustrating that love and laughter know no color and if we can all just learn to chuckle together at our differences—and our similarities, then maybe we can get through this kooky adventure called life after all!
The Loqueesha Twitter account provides a sense of the kind of heart-warming bromides Loqueesha has to offer in the form of tweets like:
First you gotta open your heart before you can open your mind and then you can open your eyes and really see. #TruthIsStrongerThanLies
Slavery isn't something that went away after the Civil War. If your mind is in a prison then you ain't free. #BeFree
Prejudice isn't just racial. It's judging before you know what you're judging. #Truth
When people are outraged my behavior and want me to change, I ask them if they need everyone to be their puppet so they be happy. #GetReal
You’ll notice there are no jokes in those tweets, just as I suspect that there will be long stretches in Loqueesha with nothing that could generally be construed as a joke, just wisdoms of nuggets.
It’s amazing to me that Loqueesha hasn’t been deemed “way too fucking racist” to be made or released theatrically but it’s pretty astonishing how little progress we’ve made racially in many ways.
Want proof? Just watch that fucking trailer. Oy!
The hype cycle works different with movies like Loqueesha. With this one, we’re not wondering how it’ll fare at the box-office, but rather whether it could possibly be anywhere near as much of an insult to humanity as it looks.
Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of Loqueesha. I do, after all, have a column called This Looks Terrible!, and this doesn’t just look terrible: it looks impossibly, inconceivably, shudderingly awful.
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