Rapper-director Boots Riley has said he hadn’t seen Robert Downey Sr.’s 1969 satirical comedy PUTNEY SWOPE when he made the buzzy new SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, but the films share so much on both a surface level (white men providing the literal voices of black characters) and deeper thematic ones (concerns about capitalism, race, and what it might take to burn down an unjust system) that we had to put them in conversation with each other. In this half, we try to make sense of the fascinating mess that is PUTNEY SWOPE, considering how it works as both satire and comedy, and whether Downey’s choice to overdub his black title character’s voice with his own is an asset or a liability. Plus, feedback on our recent INCREDIBLES 2/GOLDFINGER episodes and some general thoughts on auteur theory and film categorization.
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