Broadband and the Cultural Divide: Connecting up with the New Film “Sympathy for Delicious”

by Ava L. Parker on May 3, 2011

The Internet is more than just a window into the big, wide world. It is a window into worlds that you can’t often see from here. If you are a minority American, someone not of the majority culture, you know what I mean.

If you are someone who is different — different ethnic background, different tastes in music, books or movies — then it is natural to want to link up with others who share your background or interests. This is one of the benefits of broadband Internet access. With a high-speed connection, no one is truly isolated. On the Web, you can find people, ideas, and cultures that fit.

This is one reason why the One Economy campaign advocates for bringing broadband access to every household and why One Economy encourages families to get connected. The advantages are plenty — economic, educational and, of course, cultural.

Hollywood’s Divide

Movies are one area where the cultural divide is stark. For the most part, the old Hollywood cranks out movies designed for one thing — to put teenagers in the theater seats. So much of Hollywood’s production is along the lines of “Fast Five” — hey, guys, it’s in IMAX! — or “Something Borrowed.”

That’s great entertainment for boys (fast cars and gunfire) or girls (complicated twenty-something love lives), but maybe not for all of us.

But there is a new Hollywood out there, trying for something different.

One of the new Hollywood players is Maya Entertainment, a Hispanic-owned company guided by Moctesuma Esparza (“Selena,” “Gettysburg,” “The Milano Beanfield War”) and Jeff Valdez (Sí TV, The company wants to fill up theaters — that hasn’t changed —but it is developing new material aimed at an audience with mixed backgrounds and mixed tastes.

“Maya Entertainment,” said Moctesuma Esparza, the company’s founder, co-chairman, and CEO, “broadly is interested in movies that reflect the demographic reality in the United States, the new mainstream, which is a multicultural mainstream.”

A Game-Changing Movie

The other day, a colleague sent me a link to a trailer for one of Maya Entertainment’s movies. It is unusual — nothing blows up, and it is not a romantic comedy. Instead, it is a story that is truthful, engaging, and thought provoking, with a bit of the supernatural and a lot of searching for personal redemption.

The movie is “Sympathy for Delicious.” Actor Mark Ruffalo — of “13 Going on 30” and “The Kids Are All Right,” which earned him an Oscar nomination — produced and directed “Sympathy for Delicious,” his first time behind the camera. He also has a role in the film as Father Joe, a priest who encounters a down-and-out man, “Delicious D,” played by Christopher Thornton. ”D,” once an up-and-coming DJ in L.A., was in an accident and left paralyzed and in despair, living out of his car and holding no hope.

Through Father Joe, who isn’t quite the kindly and caring priest, “D” discovers he has a strange power — he can heal. He can heal anyone who has the faith, anyone but himself. This discovery leads “D” to unexpected fame, notoriety, and whole new piles of trouble and pain.

Other roles in “Sympathy for Delicious” are played by Orlando Bloom, Laura Linney, and Juliette Lewis. It is an interesting cast. The movie is already on the screen in Los Angeles (Laemmle Sunset 5) and New York (Village East Cinema) and opens Thursday in Washington (West End Cinema).

The movie was a long time coming for Ruffalo, who spent years trying to sell the idea. “Everyone kept telling me: ‘Who wants to see a story about an unknown actor in a wheelchair?’” he told the Web site IndieWIRE.

“Sympathy for Delicious” is a gem; the trailer makes this clear, and I’m definitely making plans to see it. Maybe you will, too. You can watch it here — “Sympathy for Delicious” — but only if you have a broadband connection.

  • Ava L. Parker of Jacksonville, Florida, is the president of Linking Solutions Inc., a business-development and community-outreach firm, and a partner in the law firm of Lawrence & Parker, PA., and the voice of The AvaView, a blog on digital action and consumer protection.

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  • John_Q_Public

    Thanks for the info about this interesting new production company. Great to see minority content producers flourishing in an age when barriers to entry into the content/entertainment industry are much lower than they once were.

  • S.W.

    “Sympathy for Delicious” looks like a great film! And I’ve heard very little about Maya Entertainment, but I’ve been looking for a better reason to go to the movies – or even rent them – so I will make sure to keep my eye for their new stuff. Thanks for the heads up and, as always, extremely useful information.

  • GroupWBench

    I like the trailer — have seen Mark Ruffalo before. Be interesting to see how he does as a director.

    Maya Entertainment sounds like they’ve got a good handle on the changes in taste and the market.

  • FedUpAndFighting

    No kidding — I am tired of looking at what’s on at the local theaters and deciding to stay home and watch TV instead.

    Thanks for the tip — I’ll watch the trailer and see if I watch the movie, too, if it comes to town.

  • SDandSU

    I remember him from “13 Going on 30,” one of the never-ending stream of rom-coms.

    Wasn’t he one of the loverboys on “Sex and The City,” too?

    This is a new direction for Ruffalo.

  • It is possible

    Thanks for the tips.

    This is yet another example of how broadband plays an important role in our everyday life.

  • Wampet

    This was an awesome article. It’s always good to be educated on technology and the divide that continues to exist; get an insight into what can happen in any industry if we don’t faint.

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