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Some Prejudices Are OK, But Not This One

Letter to the Editor, Chicago Reader, October 14, 2009

Dear Sir or Madam:
Thank you for letting us squeak out our little message regarding the utterly superfluous film Chicago Overcoat. Prejudice is hard to fight against period, but when it's been legitimized by a billion dollar film industry, that makes it even harder. We appreciate the small opportunity.

Speaking of smallness: The disdainful comments in the piece by actor Frank Vincent, John Bosher and Chris Charles speak for themselves. Vincent's obtuseness we understand: he's not an educated man. But when a college grad like John Bosher states that "you can't force us to stop making movies that people want to see," this just shows how deep the bias runs. People "want" such movies only because Bosher and company keep rubbing the audiences' noses in them. As a film student, Bosher must know that audiences also once "wanted to see" films in which white cowboys innocently slaughtered red-faced Native Americans. Did that make it right?

To his credit, Brian Caunter freely admits that he and his buddies "were huge fans of The Sopranos." I would wager that Caunter and his friends, being college educated, consider themselves very intelligent and sophisticated people--that they "don't believe everything they see in movies or on TV." Why, then, make a movie that apes The Sopranos?

I thought the whole idea of being an independent filmmaker was that you wanted to move away from Hollywood cliches and stereotypes. Chicago Overcoat breaks no molds. Showing us a "kinder, gentler mobster" is akin to asking Stepin Fetchit to wear a tuxedo while doing his racist shtick.

Italian-American men currently head the CIA and sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. An Italian-American woman is third in line to the presidency. Another Italian-American woman is in charge of protecting our nation's borders from murderous terrorists. And yet Beverly Ridge Productions gives us yet another tired film featuring another tired actor doing his tired mobster shtick. That's no overcoat, it's a shabby polyester jacket.

Bill Dal Cerro,
National President,
Italic Institute of America

 
 
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