21 October 2009

Limit Up

Boy was I lucky, a couple of years ago when I ordered a copy of the Anna Nicole Smith movie To The Limit the seller accidentally sent me Limit Up. Easy mistake to make, but when informed of the mishap they still sent me To The Limit and let me keep Limit Up at no extra charge!

United States – 1989
Director – Richard Martini
MCEG Virgin Home Entertainment, 1990, VHS
Run time – 1 hour, 28 minutes

In the long history of European contact with the African continent and New World the darker races have always held a frightening mystique for the white man. Unable to trust or to resist them, the dark “other” is conveniently blamed for Whitey’s own moral weakness.
Begin with naïve white girl Casey (Nancy Allen of Robocop), a country lass of sorts unfamiliar with the ways of the city. The city in question is Chicago where the Mercantile Exchange and its mountains of grain cry out to be traded with excessive gesticulation. And our country girl yearns to gesticulate, but this match made in heaven is stopped short by the subtle name and arrogant patriarchy power of alpha-male trader Oak (Dean Stockwell of Quantum Leap & Blue Velvet)

Thus, pity is suitably conjured in the forces that be and Casey’s very own Magic Negro is summoned from the inner-city ether. But Nike is no ordinary Magic Negro, she is the first self referential Magic Negro, possessing the amazing ability to manifest herself as any of the myriad racial stereotypes that lie at the very root of her inception. Thus, the last of Casey’s innocence is shed at the behest of a fast talking mammy. But Nike offers more than just broken hope, she also offers the possibility of redemption. At the price of Casey’s soul.

Surprise! Nike is actually an evil Magic Negro in the employ of a Dixiecrat Satan who sometimes likes to upset the status quo, but only in slow, plodding barely discernable steps. Casey can enjoy a little success turning the man’s world upside down, but adding the adjective white in front of man’s world and you’re upsetting the quo a little too much. America just isn’t ready for that. So Casey’s dreams are semi-realized, not through hard work and perseverance, but by superstition and reliance on a time tested hierarchy of racial dominance. Upon reaching the top of the heap Casey decides that Nike’s usefulness is at its end and declines to fulfill her side of the bargain.

And that’s okay since based upon no particular ability or work of her own Casey is now successful, famous and solidly rooted in the dominant class. She can learn her lesson with a little good natured ribbing from her new maid, Nike (see back cover).
Yep, we were just kidding, Nike really is just a regular old Magic Negro. After a brief stint of housecleaning she returns to the slums to stand around the barrel fire with her boss God, (Ray Charles, no shit) and plot their next dastardly social retrenchment.

A couple of VHS boxes I borrowed from Living On Video

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