I will show my hand straight away with this movie – I love it. I have seen it many times before, for me, this is one of the best performances for both Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy (and both have had great careers). On top of that, brilliant work by Jamie Lee Curtis who’s not only stunning, but can keep up with both of these comedy giants (I’ve always thought she’s seriously underrated in this movie). So, how come it’s problematic? Well, let me ask you, when was the last time you’ve seen this movie fully?
Because I remembered, there are some uses of the “n-word”, which even though it can be argued is not appropriate (because it’s not), it unfortunately fits within the story and fits the character who says it. Actually, let me stop here for a bit before talking about the scene I’ve forgotten completely is in the movie. Only on this recent re-watch I have realised the racist element and difference between the Duke brothers (brilliantly played by Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche). Yes, both are in their core bad people, there is no argument here and the movie makes it pretty clear. But there is one major difference, how they see Eddie’s character, Billy Ray. Randolph (played by Ralph Bellamy) seems him as person, whereas Mortimer (played by Don Ameche) doesn’t, and it’s him who utters the couple of “n-words” in this movie. I have never realised it until now, that there is a tiny difference between them. But again, both are pretty horrible, messing around with people’s lives… that’s just not right.
The one scene I have genuinely forgotten about is towards the end, where as a part of rouse, Dan Aykroyd’s character is wearing a full on black face, as he’s supposed to be Rastafarian. And look… this is where we need to be adults and recognize that yes, it’s not terribly great thing to do, and to be fair, this doesn’t set him up with funny jokes either. But we can’t go around and start “cancelling” this movie because of this one scene. 80’s were different, wild times (I mean, how many mainstream Hollywood comedies of today you can name that have proper nudity?) where almost nothing was off the table. And now, we can disagree with it, we can learn from it and move past it. But does this mean we should start pretending this movie isn’t great? No, I’d hope not. In the same vein how certain people are now trying to go back and claim that Kevin Spacey was always a mediocre actor, I am sorry, but that’s just wrong. I don’t know whether he did what he was accused of or not, so I can’t judge him, but I do feel bad about watching a movie with him in it. BUT, will I start claiming “he was never that great…”? No, because that is why it hurt, when we learned of the accusations against him. If he truly was “just a mediocre” actor, we wouldn’t have cared as much, but because he was somebody who up until 2017, was one of the most respected actors of his generation, we cared. And the same goes for this movie. I really hope some “overly woke” people, who always like to pretend they would have definitely been opposed to this in the 80’s (sure you would) won’t create bunch of clickbaity articles about why liking this movie is wrong.
Humanity is not perfect and guess what? We will never be 100% perfect. I guarantee you, today, in 2020, we are doing something, that in 5/10 years, will be questioned, shamed. And that’s good thing, because that means we are constantly evolving, we are questioning what is right, what is wrong and that is good. The only problem here are people, who are always trying to be holier than thou, who would like to bundle up everything “not up to a certain, *moral* standards” and cancel it, burn it, not show it, because it’s bad, it offends them. But that’s just wrong, because we will never learn! There is a saying that goes “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” and it couldn’t be truer today. We should be able to watch something, that we know is wrong and have a conversation about it, and why it’s wrong, because that is how we all grow, that is how we can truly evolve. Not by trying to ignore the past, trying to pretend some things never happened, as that offends us.
Sorry, this turned into something slightly else than a review, but, I believe there is nothing much I can say about Trading Places that hasn’t been said already. This comedy is as close to being perfect as possible and if you can get over the fact it was shot in the 80’s, where people thought certain things were more acceptable, you will have a blast watching this. True classic.
That’s all for this one! Did you see it? What did you think about it? Let me know!
Until next time,