There is so much more to G.I. Joe than a cartoon designed to shill action figures for Hasbro. G.I. Joe was, and still is, one of the edgiest cartoons made for children, featuring a rich and immersive character culture, adult themes such as terrorism, and a “too smart for their own good” series of plot-lines. While G.I. Joe was made for children of my generation, it still holds up today next to only a few other cartoons that can be enjoyed as much (or more so) as an adult than as a child.
G.I. Joe certainly had its fair share of generic throwaway episodes, but when it was smart, it was brilliant. The storyline that left the greatest impact on me is also the one that is singlehandedly responsible for my love of history. Way back in 1986, G.I. Joe ran a 5-part mega event in which Cobra, the coolest terrorist group of all time, combed the tombs of the greatest leaders in history, stole their DNA, and then cloned a perfect emperor. For an impressionable youth like myself, this was everything.
Serpentor was amazing. A man made of better men who had a bitchin’ air chariot and wore snake armor. Serpentor gave zero fucks. He didn’t ask, he commanded. He threw snakes at people and would backhand his followers with the precision of a pimp and the ruthlessness of Chris Brown.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler Director: Lee Daniels
Screenwriter: Danny Strong, Lee Daniels
Cast: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard, David Oyelowo, Robin Williams, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, John Cusack The Weinstein Company
Rated PG-13 | 113 Minutes
Release Date: August 16, 2013
Directed by Lee Daniels (Precious), The Butler stars Academy Award-winner Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, a White House butler who serves eight U.S. presidents from 1952 to 1986. Over the course of 30 years, he witnesses “” and becomes involved in “” the political and social turmoil of the times.
Inspired by Wil Haygood‘s Washington Post article, Lee Daniels’ The Butler is based on the true story of White House butler Eugene Allen and his family, portrayed in the film by Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, and Elijah Kelley. The film also stars Robin Williams as Dwight D. Eisenhower, James Marsden as John F. Kennedy, Liev Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson, John Cusack as Richard Nixon, and Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan.
The Butler feels like a Greatest Hits of Best Picture winners like Driving Miss Daisy, Forrest Gump, and The King’s Speech that borrows bits and pieces from similar films like The Help and Lee Daniels’ own 2009 film, Precious. Sentimental, melodramatic, and just a tad heavy-handed, Lee Daniels’ The Butler is run-of-the-mill Oscar bait, a period piece biopic that takes the audience on a crash course through American history, focusing on an underdog who interacts with historical figures and lives through all the things we read about in Social Studies class.