Towelhead (Alan Ball) 2008

I was thinking of making it a bomb review because it only made a half million dollars at the box office but could not for the life of my find how much it cost and the worldwide gross.  What a piece of sh*t.  I rented this movie because American Beauty is one of my favorite movies and Six Feet Under just might be in my top tv shows.  This movie took me like two weeks to finish because it just looks so damn unappealing.

The story is about 13 year old Jasira (Summer Bishi) who is starting to flaunt her sexuality in front of her mother’s new perv boyfriend.  Jasira’s mother gets pissed off and sends Jasira to her strict/traditional Lebanese father in Houston.  In Houston, Jasira meets an army reservist (played by Aaron Eckhart) who has eyes for Jasira.  Meanwhile Jasira has many embarrassing moments in school and is having regular sex with her new boyfriend.

This movie (and especially Ball) has pretensions that this has an epic statement on racism.  Well, calling people sandn*%^er is wrong.  Hm, I didn’t know that already.  Oh, people of color can also be racist.  Okay?  Anything else?  Nope?  Okay.

There is so much praise that the characters are so three dimensional but really they are as static as you can get.  Jasira’s father is traditional so you can bet he reacts to any form of Jasira’s independence as her being a whore and beats her as such.  The army reservist is your typical “America Fuck Yeah!” Texan who thinks all dark people are evil towelheads.  The students that occupy Jasira’s school are just cardboard cut outs who blather out whatever hate words are in the book.  Jasira I suppose is the only person with depth, however she is given a god awful actress to play her.  I understand the character of Jasira is meek and sheepish, but that does not mean you drone out all you lines like you drank a stein full of NyQuil before each shot.

There is even a special feature on the DVD where Alan Ball and a few stars of the movie talk about the racial issues they raise during the movie.  Basically, it is Ball giving himself a blow job for being so bold and daring for naming a movie Towelhead.

What really kills this movie is Ball trying to be funny but failing miserably.  American Beauty and Six Feet Under were wonderfully written dramatic comedies about dysfunctional families.  Ball has a great dark sense of humor.  But here, he is trying to write this coming of age story mixed with deep racial commentary and it comes off as didactic and boring.  This was the longest two hours of movie I have seen in a long time.  For me, one of the worst of 2008.

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