Vaingloriously Not in the Same Vein
Lightspeedsound’s masterlist of things you should watch on netflix instant because they are queer/POC friendly

To be updated on the regular

1.  Smoke Signals: pg-13, year: 1998

  • summary: On a Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, reservation, nothing ever changes — until the estranged father of Victor Joseph (Adam Beach) bites the dust in Arizona, and Victor must go collect the cremated remains. The problem is, Victor can’t afford the fare. But annoying nerd Thomas Builds-the-Fire (Evan Adams) will float Victor a loan … if Thomas can tag along. This tender tale of self-discovery is based on acclaimed author Sherman Alexie’s short stories.  
  • why you should watch it: It’s fucking brilliant, that’s why, and it was filmed with real natives by real natives and basically it’s amazing and exactly the type of movie POCs are always asking for  but never get

2.  Lust, Caution: nc-17 (2007)

  • summary: A young actress gets caught up in a complex plot involving love, assassination and seduction in Ang Lee’s drama set in World War II-era Shanghai and based on the writings of author Eileen Chang.
  • why you should watch it: Ang Lee directed it, it’s a bdsm-type story, it’s a chinese cinematic gemstone of loveliness, it’s fucked up and twisted but afterwards you will sit back and think “wow, that is such a good movie.” It’s like a traumatizingly good piece of steak. 

3.  Impromptu: pg-13 (1991)

  • summary: In this critically acclaimed drama set amid the romance of 19th-century Europe, feminist author George Sand falls for Polish composer Frédéric Chopin, but a number of obstacles stand in their way — including rivals, former lovers and duels.
  • why you should watch it: Hugh Grant is Chopin. Bernadette Peters is Liszt’s spurned duchess lover. Emma Thompson makes an entrance as a flightly duchess. Judy Davis is George Sand. It’s this amazingly complex period piece about gender roles and it’s such an extreme dismissal of heteronormativity—a bit white/euro-centric, sure, but brilliant nonetheless. It’s worth it, just for the super erotically charged kiss scene in which George Sand and Chopin completely flip heteronormativity and traditional gender norms on their heads. Oh, and Emma Thompson is amazing.

4. Eureka: TV-14, 2006—ongoing 

  • summary: When he takes the job of sheriff of the little town of Eureka, Ore., ex-U.S. marshal Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) discovers that the community’s quiet citizens are actually brilliant scientists working for a dangerous top-secret research facility. As he works to fix the damage caused by experimental technology gone disastrously awry, Carter keeps a watchful eye on his rebellious daughter. Jordan Hinson co-stars in this offbeat sci-fi series.
  • why you should watch it: one of the best things about scify shows is that they tend to cast racially blind—which is something I love. Best thing: Henry, one of the biggest eggheads on the show, is a black man. The head of security is also a mixed race woman. The deputy is latina. It’s referenced..but it’s not really made a big deal of, with tokenism (ex: they travel back in time, and the white guy is all like “oh hey, how did you hide?” and Henry is like, “Dude, its’ the 1950s. Eureka was progressive, but still, nobody is going to question a Black man in a mechanics suit as anything more but part of the scenery.”) It’s also really clever sci-fi. 

5. Henry Cho: What’s that Clickin’ Noise?: NR, 2006

  • summary: Take a Korean-American comic who was raised in Tennessee and you’re bound to get some hilarious stories. Recalling his most vivid childhood memories in this stand-up special, Henry Cho riffs on playing sports, surviving pregnancy and having children.
  • why you should watch it: Henry Cho is a byproduct of the Asian Diaspora and manages to make fun of racism and the south and NOT make fun of women in a disrespectful way. His observational comedy is spot-on and hilarious and he treats women in a “I don’t understand, but I know I fucked up” sort of way which is, quite frankly, refreshing from a POC male comedian (far too often, they make jokes about rape and women but cry out about racism, which is obv. problematic. Henry Cho does not.) He’s amazing, I wish there was more of his stuff online. 

6. White Chicks: pg-13 (2004)

  • summary: have you really never heard of White Chicks? REALLY? REALLY??????
  • why you should watch it: because it’s fucking hilarious and it’s dave chappelle-esque humor that really makes you think “god damn it, white people are hilarious.” I was so excited when I found out it was on instant.

7. Half Baked: R, (1998)

  • summary: Three ganja-smoking dimwits hatch a plot to raise bail money for their jailed friend by selling dope on the street. But they’d better spring their incarcerated buddy fast — before he ends up as the “boy toy” of a criminal named Nasty Nate.
  • why you should watch it: Dave Chappelle is a genius, that’s why. The plot sounds absolutely ridiculous, and it is—but like most things Chappelle does, the important thing is HOW shit is portrayed, not WHAT is portrayed. The fact that Chappelle’s character makes a point to piss off the snooty white lab doctors who call him “janitor” as if it’s his name is only the beginning. 

8. While you’re at it, the Chappelle Show is also on netflix instant. I’m not even going to explain why you should watch the Chappelle Show. Fuck you, just go watch it. 

9.  First Position: NR, (2011)

  • summary: Follow dancers training for the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the world’s most prestigious ballet competitions. The stakes are high: their performances will determine the success or failure of their dreams. (documentary)
  • why you should watch it: Michaela Deprince is a goddess among mortals. She was featured in this documentary. Here is a link to her wikipedia page because I can’t even list why she is amazing.  Also, basically all the kids that are featured are really cool and interesting in a marginalized way except for princess homegirl from Baltimore and even then it’s like “fine ok we had to have a comparison to show how excellent these other kids are.” 

10. Mao’s Last Dancer: PG (2010)

  • summary: A delegation from Madame Mao’s Beijing Dance Academy selects 11-year-old peasant villager Li Cunxin to study ballet in far-off Beijing, where he trains for seven grueling years to become one of China’s greatest dancers. His efforts win him the opportunity to dance in America, opening his eyes to a new love and the possibility of a dramatic defection from China in this remarkable true story based on Cunxin’s autobiography.
  • why you should watch it: OK, it’s a movie about communist china and america in a way that doesn’t necessarily do the white savior thing because it’s BASED ON AN AMAZING AUTOBIOGRAPHY. It’s all about how governments can be tricky no matter what and yes BALLET OH MY GOD BALLET and seriously if you are sino you will probs weep, I’m not even kidding. Also, the guy they got to dance is, yes, actually chinese and yes, is an amazing dancer for the london ballet. And they got a very goodlooking actual chinese male ballet dancer to play “middle Li” as well. This is what they look like: 
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    (Farewell My Concubine is also really good and on Netflix. It has kind of a Chinese opera meets Cultural Revolution...
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