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'42': Its success tells us something surprising about what audiences want

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I’m always interested when a movie dramatically surpasses box office expectations — not for what it says about the film, but for what it says about the audience. In the case of 42, the Jackie Robinson biopic that smashed the opening-weekend record for a baseball movie and is now looking, this weekend, to continue that hot streak, the reasons for the film’s success might seem to be obvious. It is — at least in my book — a rock-solid sports movie, and it’s also a drama of race in America that allows us to experience the well-worn past with a new vividness and insight. It’s worth noting that a number of people don’t agree with that: They look at 42 and see a complacent liberal message movie with a flawless and therefore overly sanded off and uncomplicated hero. What were they expecting, Jackie Robinson Unchained? READ FULL STORY

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