Episode 7 | Soul

Listen Here – Soul

Julia: Hey friends. Welcome to Pop Culture Makes Me Jealous. I’m your host, Julia. And on today’s show, Christina, Kay is back and we’re talking Soul.

Julia: Soul released December 25th, 2020 on Disney Plus. The movie stars, Jamie Fox and Tina Fey, as well as a whole host of incredible actors with voices undeniably recognizable. In a review on Roger Ebert .com one critic writes “Soul will prove to be of historical interest because despite the transformation issue and when isn’t getting wrapped up in a goofy afterlife shenanigans. It’s the most unapologetically Black Pixar project yet released. Its portrayal of Jazz is not only accurate in terms of its soundtrack of classic cuts and depiction of performance, but also its wider cultural context.”

Julia: Robert Daniels from polygon.com writes ,”Soul is Pixar’s first film with a Black protagonist, but the story never accepts the narrative complexities of Blackness. It’s a film where the black character is either a blue blob or a cat for much of the action, but is rarely in his own Black body. It’s a film where where supposedly raceless character takes over a Black body causing the Black character to minimize his own dreams for a symbiotic good. Soul opens as a story about finding individual purpose in life, but when the nebulous character 22 enters the fray, the animated jazz Odyssey becomes a wholey different tale.”

Julia: Okay. Before we dive into discussion, we’ve had to welcome Christina, because she’s here. We’re glad.

Christina: Hey, I missed you. 

Julia: It feels like it’s been forever and not just you on the podcast, but just like in general.

Christina: It has been, I’ve moved since I’ve last seen you like, um.

Julia: That’s right. 

Christina: Yeah, it’s been a hot minute. 

Julia: Life’s hard. And then you die. 

Christina: Can I just say really quick? I don’t want to be creepy, but I was watching you read and you’re so pretty when you read, like you get into like a little trans and your face gets like really calm and like focused and like, I couldn’t stop staring at you. It was nice. 

Julia: Thank you. Should I add that in my dating profile is that I am really pretty when I read. 

Christina: We’ll get like a picture of you reading and that way we can really get that essence out there. One of my favorite pictures of you is the one of you on your couch reading. 

Julia: Oh, yup. That’s a good photo. I turned that into a watercolor painting.

Christina: Yeah. I love that one.

Julia: I should do a whole series of like reading paintings, like different 

Christina: A whole series of you reading books in different places, staged on your Instagram because it’s a cool thing. 

Julia: I fucking love reading so much. 

Christina: Sorry. I didn’t mean, I didn’t mean to just immediately digress us. 

Julia: It’s fine. 

Christina: It’s my, that’s my job on this podcast.

Julia: Listen, you paid me a compliment, so I’m like, okay, I’ll allow it. 

Christina: She’s like, we’ll ride this train. It’s fine. Let’s go. 

Julia: Tell me I’m pretty again. Just kidding. Don’t do that. 

Christina: Tell me more. What else did you like about me? Tell me about my eyelashes. Were they nice? 

Julia: Okay, here we go. Okay. Let’s do a real quick summary to refresh our memories of what Soul is about and who better to quote than the source itself Pixar from Disney. “Soul introduces Joe Gardner, a middle school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to the great before ;a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth, determined to return to his life Joe teams up with precocious soul 22, who has never understood the appeal of the human experience. As Joe desperately tries to show 22 what’s great about living, he may just discover the answer to some of life’s most important questions.” 

Julia: I do also want to add, there’s going to be spoilers one and two, so won the Academy Award in 2021 for Best Achievement and Written Music for Motion Picture and Best Animated Feature Film. In an article on shadow and act.com Aramide A. Tinubu writes, “Like previous films from the famed animated studio, Soul is nuanced and layered, but it’s not perfect. Yet despite the serious themes, the richness of the narrative and the stunning jazz score, make it more than worthwhile. More than anything it’s a film that reminds us to chase our dreams as Joe does, but to live life to its fullest potential in the midst of doing so. Soul is a reminder that life is about more than just existing.” And since we have this conversation on the regular, let’s start there. 

Christina: Sorry. There, ah, okay. Yes. A hundred percent. I watched this movie right in the thick of the season of grief. We lost my father-in-law in February. And we ended up watching this movie, um, probably a couple of weeks after fully, all the way through. And for me, I just focused so much on because we lost him to mental health issues. I focused on the story line that was, existing isn’t about achieving any one thing. It’s not about making sure you do X, Y, Z to get here. It’s not about doing this. It’s about those little moments, like seeing that leaf fall, and it looked like a little butterfly on the way down. It’s tasting that pizza and it tastes so good. And it’s hearing, you know, like your mom laughs and like it filling your heart with joy.

Christina: Like those really are. And it’s like, we talk about it all the time. Like appreciate the little moments, but it’s like when you really sit there and especially in the thick of grief, when you realize like, We put so much burden on ourselves to achieve so much as humans when really I think life is all about just collecting experiences, appreciating them for what they are and realizing that the human collection has to come with pain and happiness and it has to come two-fold so just as much as you think that, and I kind of trick myself in this all the time.

Christina: If you, whenever you’re sad, like you think you deserve it, you think this, or whatever, try to trick yourself and go, “If I think that I was put here to deserve all this pain and sorrow. Who am I as a human to say that I wasn’t also put here to experience happiness and joy”

Julia: Right? 

Christina: And then on the other hand, when you’ve had all this happiness and joy, and then you suddenly get pain and sorrow, think about that. Like I was here to collect all these experiences. I’ve had so many joyful, wonderful, happy ones. Who am I to say I don’t deserve a painful one every now and then I think when you start to think about life more is like a big wave or rollercoaster, and like really, truly think about that metaphor. You think about the ups and the downs, and the fact that when you go down that fast, it brings you up inside and then you hit that bottom.

Christina: And then when you go back up, it starts to bring you down inside. Think about that in your body. When you’re going up on that rollercoaster, you don’t feel like it’s anything exciting. You don’t feel like it’s anything good, but it’s all the good stuff that’s coming and you don’t see it until you’re going down the other side.

Julia: Yeah. It’s kind of crazy too, because it challenges that concept that we have to do things all on this linear path, right? It was, you have to do well in school. You have to get a good S-A-T score. You have to get to a good college. You have to do have to have to have to, because then you’re going to have all these things that are going to make you happy and it’s going to be great. You have to find love this particular way. You have to be married by 25. You have to have your kids shortly thereafter, all this shit. And then if you aren’t a person who falls into that line of like, I’m going to call it an infantry cause that’s what it feels like, then you’re kind of fucked.

Julia: And like, Joe doesn’t fall in that. He’s an artist, he’s a musician. He has this passion and there’s no value. And you see that in his hall of memory, right. In the, in the sense of like what our society says is valuable. And so when you see him in his hall of memories with 22, and he’s just like, there’s just so many parts where he’s sad and he’s sitting there alone or he’s being rejected. And that was so heartbreaking to watch because when you’re an artist trying to find your path, you found your passion and you’re trying to like survive on it and make that your living, nobody values it. Nobody’s taking it seriously. Him becoming the art teacher is what matters, right? Like that music teacher, rather that is the end all be all goal.

Julia: You’ve been offered a full-time job to be a music teacher at a middle school. It’s no longer part-time and you all these benefits, but there’s no consideration externally that it could be soul crushing for him. And that it would file him under, just existing. And that breaks my heart because I know that story so well, personally. Running .

Christina: It’s more than achievements. It’s about collecting experiences. And I think that like, I’m sorry, I w I’m totally touching on your subject right now. So you can, I want you to jump off of it. I think that, um, one of the characters in the movie, it was one of the blobs. I don’t… the shepherding blobs. It said that like, oh, you and your mentors and your passions, it’s so silly.

Christina: And he walks off and that stuck with me. It was like, he again is reiterating the fact that it’s like, you are not destined to do any one specific thing. You’re not destined to go achieve any one big thing. You’re just meant to go and experience life. 

Julia: Yeah. And. Explore in the way that you want to explore and exist in the way that you want to exist. Like, there’s this construct that was developed over the last, you know, well, hundreds of years that sort of forced us into this, um, you know, survival mode you have to do, you have to kill yourself to survive, which is just cruel. And I think Soul sort of, isn’t just a reminder like this author saying too, that we need to do more than exist, but I also think it kind of challenges like this is how you all think, and this is how we in, in, maybe you should reconsider that, like this isn’t okay.

Julia: Not everyone fits into this standard issued Manila envelope where they can just sit and do whatever from nine to five. Like that’s not normal. 

Christina: Yeah. I think too, I was going to ask you, I was thinking about it last night. Do you think that because we have more access now as creative, um, Like you want to call it content creators or just creative people, or, you know, whatever you want to call yourself in that, like an artist in that sense, if you have a creative mind and that’s where your passion lies, it’s hard for you to find value in yourself a lot, because a lot of people don’t find value in you. You and your work until you’re already successful. Which doesn’t make sense because the whole point leading up is the favorite part when people look back after you’re successful, they look at your success story and they look at all your like, grinding through the dirt, but they don’t want to be there for you during that grinding, through the dirt.

Christina: They don’t want to be those supportive people that go, I love that you’re doing that for you. And like, and I’ve, I’ve definitely done that to people too. And I’ve noticed that. And so I’ve tried to correct course, correct myself and go like now be overly complimentative about people seriously, following whatever little dreams or passion projects or exciting things and avenues that they have, because I think we just need more encouragement to keep finding new things, to be excited about life, about yeah. To be excited about life for 40 years about plumbing. Like what you think that that’s Joe’s project or, you know, like, right. Like what he wants to do, 

Julia: Like what he was put on the earth to do is to be a plumber. No disrespect to plumbers. We need you. 

Christina: No, we do. But I’m just saying that’s probably not your one and only passion. You probably like gardening or something else. I don’t know 

Julia: I think with when it comes to people trying to like make their livelihood through the thing that they’re good at, that doesn’t fall in the constructs of what we know to be quote acceptable. 

Christina: Yeah. 

Julia: There’s, it’s not fear, but it’s definitely like, well, and we’ve had this conversation before. I hear the shit all the time from my artist, friends who have spouses, who aren’t in some similar artistic industry, like maybe they are, but they have like a steady job in that industry. So it’s not the same because it’s still a nine to five. And you know, it’s a whole lot of like, this is hard. When are you going to get a real job? Um, because there is that inconsistency sometime there is that sort of like, what am I trying to say, 

Christina: It’s kind of like, Joe’s mom, it’s hard to make him, like, what are you gonna, you’re just gonna chase this your whole life. 

Julia: She makes this, you know, she makes that comment where it’s like your father and I did not do these jobs to spend money for you to go to school for you to gig your whole life. And when she said that, I was just like, God, I know so many artistic and creative people. Who’ve heard that speech. And it, it’s not okay because it’s a literal long game trying to make it big. Like all of these writers, all of these actors that were suddenly that are suddenly exploding and you’re like, where have they been?

Julia: Well, they’ve been around for 20 fucking years. They’re just now they, they did the groundwork to get to this point and now it’s paying off. That’s the difference? It’s like med school, like you’re in medical school for ever before you’re a doctor making decent money. It’s like what? Like 13 years or some bullshit between dirty put yourself in a lot of debt to do it.

Julia: Yeah. Starting, starting freshman year of college, all the way through your residency like you’re actively in an education mode. So how is that more valuable than an artist or a writer or a painter or a photographer? I mean, yes, they’re saving lives, but also how boring would life be if we didn’t have people who created?

Christina: Also like, again, like everything’s a two-fold if all we had were doctors and nurses and stuff, they wouldn’t have anybody to like patch up without the creatives, without them daredevils, without the people that want to go explore mother nature a little bit too ballsy. Like there’s the reason we’re all, we all have so many complex things is because we really are meant to come here and collect as many different types of experiences as we can. And the more that you collect, the more avenues you open yourself up to to see what else you might like. And sometimes when you go down, one of those avenues you didn’t even know existed. That might be really where your happiness lies or really where like your path, like your project lies or heck it might even just be a job that makes you happy enough that you can do your other stuff that makes you happy.

Christina: You know, like you don’t know, but if you keep going through life and you keep saying yes to all the different options stop feeling stuck because you’re trying to set this one passion or one goal. Like I think you’ll have a more fruitful life.

Julia: Yeah. I also think it’s kind of a cautionary tale too, of like, look where you’re walking homie. It’s like, he was so excited and I didn’t catch it.

Christina: You’re not looking at anything around. 

Julia: Well, the first time I watched it, I didn’t catch it. But in the beginning when he gets the call for the gig or whatever, like he walks and I mean, I, I caught it, but it didn’t register because I don’t know where it’s going so the second time it registers, right. He walks under a thing of bricks that fall shortly after he passes by, you know, there’s all these, you know, fruits on the side of the road that he could have slipped on. Um, he walks through traffic. And like narrowly gets missed by hitting a car. So he’s, you know, running out of chances of not having some sort of catastrophe happened that I was just like, when he fell through the manhole, I was like, oh my God, he could have died sooner. Like this is horrifying show. 

Christina: Joe I don’t know if you know this, but you could have died three other times before this. 

Julia: And this is the worst one because you fell in a manhole. Like, I don’t know. I guess I dunno being hit by. None of them would be great, like piles of bricks landing on you and getting hit by a car slipping into traffic because you stepped on a painted all of those sound horrifying.

Christina: Falling in a manhole. Just sounds like the worst porno does it not?

Julia: I mean, I don’t know. I just feel like..

Christina: You just like really enunciated the word manhole and that just stuck into my head and, um,

Christina: Terrible. I’m sorry. Didn’t mean to di – I didn’t think about the fact that he did. I noticed it the first couple. I did notice it every time that he almost like died, but I didn’t think about it in the sense of like, yeah, he literally just used up all of them at once. Like all of his get out of jail free cards at one. 

Julia: And that’s like, my biggest fear is to fall into the ground because something’s open. Like I won’t walk at the. 

Christina: Sink holes? Cold, just like 

Julia: Sink holes are terrifying, but like, man-made things too. Like, you know how there’s those grates that you have to walk over sometimes on a sidewalk, but I’m not walking over that shit. Like that is my biggest, I I’m worried it won’t hold my weight, you know, fall in.

Christina: If my dog won’t walk over it, I will walk over it. And he’s got a good judge character, right? Even the things on the floor.

Julia: Right. What Pixar is trying to do in this situation, or with this film is to be like, you know, Joe’s convinced that playing piano is his passion is so much so that he forgot to pay attention to the rest of the world around him.

Julia: And it took 22’s self-exploration for him to realize that. And I think that speaks to having connections and relationships too, because he doesn’t really have that. He doesn’t really have a ton of friends. He’s just sort of sitting around, waiting for his big break to happen. He’s not doing anything more than just like part-time teaching and like visiting his mom.

Julia: And so here comes 22. Who’s just like, “I hate Earth”, but then starts to sort of appreciate all the little things that we love. Like, first of all, I love that it takes place in autumn because the transitional seasons are my favorite spring and fall. Those are just the most, I feel like the most beautiful, but I also love winter, but that’s not the point.

Julia: The point is, is summer is the only one where I’m just like, I feel like it’s, I’m dying. It’s dead. This is death right now. So I li I thought that was a really smart move because it creates this level of nostalgia and ability to be more appreciative, because so much is changing in fall, that it just feels beautiful. The slight wind breeze, the thing falling from the sky that you mentioned earlier, like all of these things just felt so beautiful. And so for them to sit back and be like, you know, Joe, to finally like not fully catch it, but later on reflect on 22 taking it in, I thought that was beautiful. 

Julia: It was, 

Christina: I also think that 22 was able to do all that because she didn’t want to be there. So everything she said came out so authentic. Like with the barbershop, when she was talking, she made Joe’s friends, all be captivated by Joe because she was just speaking herself and then she was soulful and, um, there’s an, oh. And like with the mom, she, like, she talked back to Mom and then like, you see Joe, 

Julia: Which is wild because you don’t talk, you don’t talk back to your mama like that. I was like, Ooh, that boy’s getting slapped. And then he didn’t. 

Christina: My mom would’ve slapped me. Yeah, that’s took some 22 had some cajones she was doing. No, she did not. Um, but yeah, I think that her, her way of going about it. So like, so carefree, so like just innocent. Yeah. It’s it is, it’s a childlike innocence about it to just blurt everything out that you’re feeling. And then everyone else was so receptive and it made Joe go, oh my God, I can connect. You know, he, he was reminded again about all the connections he kind of put at bay and like, even at 22, got to experience connection too, because she got to help the little girl on the staircase with the trumpet. 

Julia: Oh yeah. 

Christina: And she was like, wait a second, you came here to quit. But now she doesn’t want to quit.

Christina: Like she just had a whole like meltdown and that was her realization. Like that was so awesome. That kind of was nice to see that breakdown. That’s what we’re saying. Like there are going to be all these hard times. You are going to say like, I don’t want to do this, but then that’s what makes it so good.

Christina: That’s what makes the good parts good is feeling all the parts where you’re like over it. 

Julia: Yeah. And that trombone player student is so incredibly talented. Like in earlier in the movie, we see her kind of getting in the zone while she’s playing. And of course, middle school, they make fun of her for it. And she’s embarrassed. But Joe sees in her that she’s, doesn’t just have talent. She also has the passion and that’s the combination that really takes you far. And it was just so beautiful to see that in the beginning and then to see her kind of come around and in the end of her portion of the, of the movie where she’s like, I’m going to quit, but first I want you, you know, like all you say, and it was just, yeah, it was a great moment.

Christina: Yeah.

Julia: It just makes me sad how awful middle schoolers can be to each other because had she really quit? Like how shitty the rest of her life is going to be cause she’s going to regret quitting. 

Christina: Yeah, but I also think like I don’t, I don’t know. Let’s move on. I can go all day about that one. 

Julia: Soul is the first Pixar feature film that slates a Black character as the lead and his article on Polygon.com , Mr. Daniel goes on to say, “In grafting, a Black lead character onto an initially non-Black story directors, Pete Docter and Kemp powers and their co-writer Mike Jones portray the comforts of Black life yet, miss its intricacies. They’ve unwittingly crafted. What’s known as a passing narrative, a story that betrays it’s Black protagonist in favor of the white good.” I didn’t get that deep when I first saw the movie, I was so focused on the artist element, a man who spent his entire life playing, waiting for his big break teaching middle school music classes only to get his chance at the hands of his former student suffer a near fatal accident that delays his path.

Julia: Mr. Daniels also makes reference in that same article to movies like Blackkklansman and Sorry to Bother you as an example of how humans tend to assume one’s racial identity by the sound of their voice. But when you think of movies, whose premise centers around body swapping such as Freaky Friday, both of them, cause there’s a seventies version in the nineties version.

Julia: And The Change Up where the characters personas are swapped, but they still physically appear to be the same. Or films like 17 Again, Big or Little where the character becomes a different version of themselves. In Soul, when 22 and Joe Head back to earth, 22 lands in Joe’s body and Joe lands in a cat.

Julia: When focused on the characters, you can hear 22’s voice coming out of Joe and Joe Joe’s voice coming out of the cat. When you zoom out a little bit, the cat appears to be a cat, no one but 22 in Joe’s body sees or hears anything but a cat, right? When Joe is in scenes with other characters, he doesn’t sound like Joe. He remains sounding like 22. Except the scene, when he’s with his mom, when she’s fitting him for his father suit, his speech goes from 22’s voice to Joe’s voice. So here’s my question. Considering body swapping movies of the past, does Pixar fail in its body swapping technique by not leaving Jamie Fox in Joe’s body after Joe and 22 land, back on earth?

Christina: Okay. So I had texted you after I got. Um, some of the notes that we are going to cover on this podcast. And I was like, oh my God, I feel so bad. Cause I didn’t notice these things the first time around, because like I said, I was watching this mainly with like a grief lens. So I was like the bigger purpose then.

Julia: Totally. Which is totally fair by the way, because I didn’t know it either until I started reading articles two months after I watched the movie and I was like, oh, this was an issue. Fuck. Like, I feel like I failed Black person, cause I didn’t pick up on this. Go ahead. Sorry.

Christina: No, that’s fair. Like I, I literally was like, oh crap. I thought this movie was about souls. Like I thought we were like, that’s what I was taking this from. Like, hold up, we get deeper. Which, but that’s, what’s so wonderful about Pixar. I love that they always add layers to their movies, whether they’re right or not. However, I will say I, now that I noticed it, it really bugged me that 22’s voice would go in and out of Joe’s voice.

Julia: So like the scene that we mentioned earlier with the eighth-grader it stayed Tina’s Fay’s voice rather than Joe’s voice. So it removes that body swapping element of he still like, it still presents as Joe. 

Christina: Yeah. 

Julia: Cause like just cause and Freaky Friday and The Change Up in The Change Up, which is a hilarious movie with Ryan Reynolds and uh, Jason Bateman, if anyone hasn’t seen it, they sound and look exactly like that human, but the personality has changed. So it’s a different acting technique. Now you have to act like somebody else. So it, so, you know, my book after I kind of read that stuff, I was like, actually I Pixar, I do kind of think that you didn’t grasp the body swapping technique the way in which we know it and understand it for it to be effective.

Christina: Or at least the way that we know it and understand it for this specific movie for you to get a better reset, like better receptiveness is that of word.? I don’t know, but we’ll take from the audience. Like the reason there was a big criticism is because like you said, it’s an, it’s the first unapologetically, like Black centered lead character. So immediately people are going to be mad when then you take away all of their Blackness. 

Julia: Yeah. 

Christina: And rightfully so. Like that’s not fair. So like now coming in, after knowing that and like watching it the second time, I also saw all the different like little caveats where we could have, yeah, we could have just had 22 act like we could have done, but you said, I don’t know how to say it as eloquently as you, but like that acting method is what they should have went with where Joe’s voice always was Jamie Fox, no matter if it was 22 acting like Joe or not, and then the cat, but I think that’s where they is. That where they had to have it? 

Julia: Here’s where I was thinking last 

Christina: let’s fix Pixar’s problems. Let’s go. 

Julia: Right. We’re solving your problem. Pixer. 

Christina: We’re solving it.

Julia: In every scene where it was just cat in the, and Joe, it could have been cat Jamie Foxx, Joe Tina Fey. 

Christina: Yeah. 

Julia: But when you remove them from being alone, the barbershop, when he’s at his mom’s sewing shop with the student, et cetera, it could have been Joe and Joe.

Christina: Yes, because. 

Julia: They’re not seeing, they don’t know that it’s not like if your voice is different to me, Christina, I’m going to be like, the fuck is wrong with you. Who are you? This isn’t voice. 

Christina: Yes. But better yet. What if, when Joe was just talking to the cat, like not talking to the people in the barbershop, because that’s the perfect scene to talk about this.

Julia: Yeah. 

Christina: When Joe’s talking to the cat, it could be Joe’s voice 22 could have Joe’s voice talking to the cat. And then when the cat, like, yeah, like when the cat. 

Julia: Cause there’s that bit in the barbershop where the cat looks like a cat to the barber. 

Christina: Yes. When you zoom out in the lens and like. I lost it, but I just have to, 

Julia: It’s okay, we’re going to get back. We’re going to get there because you bring up a really good point with the barbershop. That’s an excellent to demonstrate 

Christina: that was a similar, they demonstrated how her conversation with just the cat is 22’s voice, but then her conversation with everyone else’s Joe’s voice and they didn’t do that. 

Julia: Nope. 

Christina: And if they had done that, then I think there would have been more of a and same with like the student, if it was Joe’s voice that whole time, but like 22’s wonder and awe behind it, it would still have the same effect. Kids has known the difference.

Julia: Correct. Because we have been conditioned by body swapping movies for

Christina: Years. 

Julia: 50 fucking years or more. 

Christina: Cartoons do it all the time.

Julia: All the time. 

Christina: No words. 

Julia: Exactly. And so, you know, Jamie Fox wasn’t was now removed from being able to demonstrate his acting abilities because now he can’t. He doesn’t get to pro voice perform as 22, which would have been so much more powerful, I think. And his lost soul -ness .

Christina: Yeah. Also who doesn’t want to hear that? Jamie Fox acting like a child? 

Julia: I think like we mentioned before, body swapping is such a time honored, not even a time honored. It is such an old technique that I don’t know if Pixar was trying to like spice it up or take their version of it. But I think it, it, they do in ways fail the Joe character by not fully having his voice embody his body when he’s with external elements. 

Christina: Yeah. I think, I think they could have just done it. A lot better now that we’ve seen it again, like it took me the second. I’m not going to lie. It took me to the second or third time watching it to see that element of it. But then now I feel like it’s going to be one of those every time I watch it, not gonna be able to unsee it. And that makes me a little bit mad too. 

Julia: Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do that. 

Christina: No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Don’t apologize for that. I’m just saying like, you know, when you get like those little, once you notice something and you can’t notice it now, I’m just going to watch it and be like, come on Pixar.

Julia: Okay. We can’t discuss this movie without talking about some of the other, like very big names involved. Phylicia Rashad voices. Libba, Joe’s mom. Questlove voices, Curly, who is Joe’s former student who brings him onto this big gig. Daveed Diggs voices Paul. Angela Bassett voices, Dorothea. And she’s the faint saxophone player that has the big gig that Joe’s going to. And then Graham Norton voices, Moonwind just to name a few. And as we mentioned before, Tina Fey plays 22 and Jamie Fox plays Joe. So I’m like, I wrote this question and I was like, I don’t know. I don’t think I have an answer. I think that it’s whatever. But do you think the casting for this movie was spot on or do you think Pixar could have done things a little differently?

Christina: I mean, I don’t, I don’t feel like I have an accurate answer for that. 

Julia: Because Phylicia Rashad’s as Mom spot on. Right. She’s been America’s mom, she’s 1984. 

Christina: That I believe through and through like that. I’m cool with, I also, I love Angela Bassett so much her in Jumping the Broom is like, that’s one of my, mom’s like all time. Me and my mom watched that movie so many times, like when it first came out, I don’t know why it just hit us in the giggles and like I 

Julia: Paula Patton mixed girl representation right there. She’s half Black. 

Christina: Yeah. She’s beautiful. I loved that movie for so long, but then I started watching nine 11 and she’s in that as well and like, 

Julia: oh yeah, Angela Bassett is in nine 11. I forgot. She’s dating Adam Braverman in that show. Isn’t she? 

Christina: Yes. Thank you for calling him Adam Braverman . Thank you love that so much.

Julia: I know that he was on a show prior to Parenthood. I think it was like Six Feet Under, 

Christina: No it wasn’t just Parenthood

Julia: and you’re dating Lorelai Gilmore in real life. We’re just going to ignore the fact that you played brother and sister on TV. Yeah,

Christina: I’m uncomfortable. Right.

Julia: Sorry. 

Christina: Anyway, so I love her I’ve yes. I’m about her. Who else did I have written down? There was someone else isn’t Questlove. Um, in Roots? 

Julia: Yes. And so him playing Curly, the drummer was just, it is amazing. But then I also sometimes wonder I’m like, does he get tired of being cast as like a drummer character, but he’s such an amazing drummer and he’s so music focused, like he has taken his passion for music and ran with it.

Julia: Like, yes, he has done so many cool fucking things. He’s been a music supervisor on so many movies that have stellar soundtracks. Have you listened to his podcast? 

Christina: No.

Julia: It’s called Questlove Supreme. And he’s had, like, he did a two-part episode with Mariah Carey. It was a three hour interview. They broke it down into an hour and a half. It was so good. Like, I don’t know how he does it, but he gets these celebrities to be candid in a way that we’ve not really seen before. And I love it. Like I listened to the one he did with Anthony Mackie who plays the Falcon in the Marvel movies. And it was, I was like, oh, I think I definitely crushing it over here. Cause that he’s amazing. Like, I don’t care that you have four kids. Yeah. Anthony Mackie come to California. I’ll take care of you. Um, I don’t listen to every episode because they’re all like an hour and a half long sometimes, but I’ll look to see who he’s had on and I’ll listen based on the guests, but he’s great. He’s got a team. I think that if I ever met him, I would not. I would be that stupid fan girl who can’t make sentences. Cause I’ve been listening to the roots since the nineties probably shouldn’t have been because of my age. And like when Jimmy Fallon picked up the roots to be as house band, I was like, I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees how valuable they are to the world.

Christina: Yeah. I know they 

Julia: went down that I cut you off. I apologize. 

Christina: No, no. They are like, they are, there’s such a God, they’re such a good band. And so when I realized that hearing all the voices, it always takes me a beat or like a second time watching it to figure out who everybody is. And then I’m not a, like, I’m not the best with names as is like for anybody. I just know like the people that I’ve seen over and over and over again.

Julia: And I think QuestLove technically in the credits goes by his real name. I don’t think he’s credited as Questlove. I think he’s credited by his actual name. 

Christina: That could help too. But like, even if I saw, like, here’s the other thing I saw the casting list and I recognized all of the faces. I couldn’t tell you 90% of their names. Nope. That’s not every movie. That’s every TV show. Like this is not me being anything. I just can’t remember people’s names Heather, once I know, like you can, but I’ll remember their character named don’t worry, useless info,

Julia: Like Moonwind and the, um, the guy who’s like is so he’s I love how on earth, he’s the guy on the corner with the sign who’s super into it. But then in. Wherever they are right before the great grateful for the great beyond like the middle in between the two. And he’s like on the ship and he’s like a sailor and he’s just like here to make everything better. And I grant do you, the Graham Norton show is so fucking funny. He’s the host Graham Norton is obviously the title name and, um, it’s a chat show. And so all of the guests are on the couch for the entire hour of the show. And it’s so, he’s so funny. He’s just, uh, he’s uh.

Christina: He’s his voice makes me happy. It fills me with joy. 

Julia: He’s got a great voice for am doing animation. Like I loved his voice on his show anyway, when he talks to people like he does, you know, comedy bits and stuff too, but like seeing him in animation, it was like, Graham Norton.

Christina: There’s also the guy that’s in what I like to call every Pixar movie. He’s just one of the random, like guys, he’s like the truck in cars. He’s in Luca. He’s in monster zinc. He’s a, he’s a Rex’s toy in toy story. Like he’s just that the, um, what’s his name? I forget. 

Julia: Cheers. Isn’t that? The guy from cheers?

Christina: Probably. Yeah, probably that guy, the big, the old white guy with like the white beat. He’s got what I like to call like.

Julia: Mailman on cheers. 

Christina: Like mouse smile. Like, yeah. But yeah, he has cliff on yours. I think that was his name on cheers. Perfect. You know, so much. I’m like, I just know that like every time there’s a Pixar movie here, that guy’s voice in one of the characters and you’re like, where does this? Is this all he does just voices, the little, like one character and Pixar movies. And he just makes bank because that’s the job I want. I just, you know, living off those friends. 

Julia: He’s also living off those Cheers royalties you know, I’m sure. I don’t know. I don’t know. 

Christina: I gotta get my royalties in first before I can become just as little standalone one-off voice actor.

Julia: Well, I don’t think so. There’s tons of voice actors that you like have huge amounts of credits that nobody knows who they are, but they would know their voice. 

Christina: Yeah. I love that though. I feel like he’s one of those people. It’s like one of he’s in and it’s specifically Pixar movies. Yeah. 

Julia: Why wouldn’t you want to work for Pixar? I would think. 

Christina: True. It’s a fun time. I would think. 

Julia: I don’t know. Listen, I’ve only worked in government and non-profits so my experience is limited and slightly pathetic, but I did love 

Christina: Just sounds like burnout 

Julia: I guess it is, I’m tired. Do you think that.

Christina: Okay, let me ask the question to you. Do you think that they could have done a better job casting or do you think that the cast was good, but you personally would have made alternate choices? Because I think that that’s a fair question. I think that, like in general, when people have a vision for a creative project, this might’ve been their vision. All of these characters are all of these voices. Like that could have just been what they heard when they made all these people. But. That is not always, you know, the same for everybody. And there could be something where you create like this character and everyone else agrees that this is the person we want to be at the face for it and everyone. And they’re like, no, that’s not who I had in mind. You know, fan cults always do that. 

Julia: Yeah. 

Christina: So I want to know your opinion. Do you think that we could’ve done a better casting job or do you think it was a good job?

Julia: So here’s my thing. I, first of all, I watched it it’s like the casting was great. Great. choice in Questlove. I will follow him to the ends of the earth. Obviously. Mama Clair. Yes, please. Angela Bassett is a fucking queen like, duh, I love Tina Fey. I loved her on SNL. I watched every episode of 30 rock on television before I had a DVR in my house.

Julia: And I think she’s hilarious with that said, I also know that there’s slight controversy around Tina Fey and people who are not white. So she’s had like, there’s an episode of 30 rock that didn’t land well, um, I think it something to do with black face if I recall correctly. And then also she had made this, um, weekend update appearance, um, a couple of years ago and, um, where she’s eating a cake and like, has this speech about like women’s rights or whatever that didn’t land well for some nonwhite people.

Julia: So I think when you think about those things and then pull the context of people being cranky, that her voice is in Joe for the bulk of the movie, it feels frustrating. Yes. But I also think she did a really great job. So I’m torn because I love Tina Fey, but I’m not blind to the unintentional. I’m choosing to believe it’s unintentional.

Julia: I don’t know. I don’t think she has a malicious bone in her. Body she could for all I know. So I think, you know, I love that choice, but also I think maybe once they cast her, they should have really been better about leaning into how they swap those voices.

Christina: That, or maybe like, again, if we just had someone else like altogether, like yes, she can make the movie wonderful, but there’s just as many wonderful other actresses out there that might not be as, I don’t know, well known.

Julia: I wonder 

Christina: I don’t feel like she’s problematic, 

Julia: She’s not problematic. She’s had a couple of run ins that suck. 

Christina: Yeah, that’s all, I mean is like, there’s probably someone out there who’s equally as talented, equally as wonderful. Who has not had those couple of run-ins and who could have performed. Pixar’s not well done voiceover cross change that would have made people at least a little bit happier. 

Julia: I wonder if Pixar felt that they needed every single main ish character to be a big name, because there have been movies like you could do. Like I’m trying, I’m trying to think of a Pixar movie where the whole main cast isn’t already super well known.

Christina: How about Luca? The new one? 

Julia: Oh, I haven’t seen that one yet. It’s harder now when your child’s grown, I don’t know to watch. 

Christina: Fair. I just like, we just watched it and I like, I don’t, I know that there’s probably famous people in it, but. 

Julia: But they’re not broadly famous?

Christina: Top of my head. 

Julia: Sure. I might 

Christina: just like pull it up and make me feel dumb.

Julia: No, I’m, I’m not gonna, I am going to pull up the cast though and see, cause again, I haven’t watched it yet. 

Christina: No, but you’re right. I noticed that now that 

Julia: Maya Rudolph is in it. Sorry you were talking about… Sascha Baron Cohen.

Christina: Tell me that. Tell me what they were. 

Julia: Okay. So Maya Rudolph plays Daniella Paguro . Is that how you say it? I don’t know. Daniella. Um, I’m assuming she’s a motherish character. Jim Gaffigan plays Lorenzo. Oh, I wonder if she’s married to Maya Rudolph’s character because of the same last name. Sasha Baron Cohen is –

Christina: That’s mom and dad. Yeah. 

Julia: Oh, okay. Three big names. 

Christina: Nevermind, I lied 

Julia: but the others could be like, I don’t know who these kids are. Jacob Tremblay. 

Christina: Okay. See, there we go. That’s why those.

Julia: Oh he’s Canadian. 

Christina: That’s probably why I thought that they’re not made the main characters are the kids. They’re not at all those parents. So the famous people in that movie are not the main characters, main characters are the children like straight up. So I didn’t recognize their voices and the parents are in the movie obviously, but they are parents in a Pixar movie. So they’re not really seen as often, you hear about as much to hear Andy’s mom. 

Julia: Oh, a young boy experiences, an unforgettable seaside summer on the Italian river year. Say that five times Italian Riviera filled with gelato, pasta and endless scooter rides. Why do I feel like that’s a romcom that should be made. 

Christina: Oh, honestly though, I’m someone posted a TikTok that was like, try to tell me, Luca is not the starting, um, stages of a little gay relationship. And they pointed out all the things and I was like, oh, it’s so true. They’re two little boys that have their first crush.

Julia: That’s cute. I should watch it 

Christina: like it is you should. I think you would like it 

Julia: I just know after it came out, there was, you know, people, a lot of critics were like, oh, his Pixar are losing its touch. This one wasn’t as strong and dah, dah, dah. And I was like, the fuck, like what is going on? 

Christina: It was really wonderful. It was such a good story. It’s such a good message. And the critics can go shit on themselves because they just want big life themes all the time. And it’s like, no, this was a beautiful story. And it was like, I told I turned to Taylor and I was like, oh, they have a tan character. They have a tan kid on here. It looks like me. And he just looked at me weird. And I was like, there’s always, always been like white characters or Black characters. There’s never been like a tan character. I’m like, that’s how I look all summer. Like, that’s super. And then like right next to him, his friend who looks like me in the winter, like that’s exciting for me to have a tan character.

Julia: Totally.

Christina: He’s like, okay. 

Julia: I wonder if critics get. Not jaded, isn’t the right word, but I wonder if they get so wrapped up in having to provide critique and opinion that they no longer can enjoy movies at face value. Sometimes children’s movie. 

Christina: You have to remember this movie wasn’t made for a critic in a theater. This movie was made to teach children life lessons or good like valuable lessons. It wasn’t made for you 50 year old man critiquing it. It was made for the seven year old in my living room. Like, yeah, just you have to, you have to watch it through that lens as well as a critic. You can’t sit here and just talk about all the big themes. You also have to remember. There’s a childlike innocence to movies as well that we’re allowed to be they’re alive to like. 

Julia: Yeah, I think I couldn’t actually make it as a movie critic because I very rarely dislike anything. Because I’m always like finding relate-ability or, you know, it’s beautiful or whatever. And so even if I have problems with it at the end of the day, like, like gossip girl, like the new one there’s problems with it, but I’m still watching that shit. And I still like it. 

Christina: I think that’s, I think everybody can say that at this point, we’re all just, we’re all trying our best to do better, but there’s stuff we liked that we got to just indulge in.

Julia: Okay. So overall, this film Soul has been received positively, but audiences. I think the criticism is fair considering it’s very rare to have a lead character in an, in an animated feature that is black. I also think we have to start somewhere, right? Like we have to start somewhere just like Black Panther, Soul is yet another example that movies with Black leads can be mainstream, big blockbuster hits. So with that said, let’s talk about what we thought of the film. And w and if we liked it and why or why not? Like, let’s just talk. I loved it. I, okay. I thought it was beautiful visually. I thought that it was very creative, the way that they created the pre beyond and post beyond. I don’t know if that’s, I can’t remember if it’s.

Christina: The, yeah. The gray. 

Julia: The great gray beyond in the great before. 

Christina: Yeah. 

Julia: Sorry it took you saying it for me to remember. 

Christina: Hey, it works like that sometimes. 

Julia: Yeah. And I, I felt Joe’s emotions and wants and desire so deeply that I couldn’t critique anything about it negatively. And then when I started reading articles about it, it was like, oh yeah, I guess that’s true. Oh yeah. I could see why they say that. Um, and I loved the way they played with the concept of souls, right? Like soul number 22. This bitch has been around forever. Cause 22, 

Christina: Abe Lincoln Galileo. She had all these great mentor, like quote mentors. That was the key. I loved that. That’s what made me realize like, oh man, this 22nd soul created.

Julia: Yes. That’s kind of crazy when you think of, or it’s just super wild, you think about it. Cause that goes back a long time. Um, 

Christina: I wonder, I feel like, okay. I, how did you feel about the lack of God aspect to it? Because for so long, I would say movies have, especially with afterlife or death, like qualities, they tend to focus on any type of religion. It doesn’t even, I mean, obviously where we are, it’s mostly Christian or like a form of Christianity, but I would say in general, like all death type movies tend to find some sort of like God religious quality. And I loved so much. And definitely when I was in the thick of grief that they didn’t focus at all on religion, it was strictly about.

Christina: Just like, uh, like your soul, your soul being in this place before and your soul being in this place after, but it wasn’t, it wasn’t because you were X, Y, or Z, and you didn’t have to do X, Y, or Z, and you didn’t even have to acknowledge X, Y, or Z. It was just, we knew that you were going to be going to go do life experiences. And when you’re done with them, there’ll be back into a safe place and then go enjoy the time. That concept, it might scare other people, like not having that to me, that was way more freeing in a way. And it was so like helpful for me and my grief to go like, okay. And I think like also the great before sounds like the cutest talk about pregnancy.

Christina: Like what the great before, like all these little souls up there. I could not handle the amount of times though that they’re given, like, self-absorbed personalities out like this, one’s going to be this. 

Julia: Megalomaniac and then they’re like that’s Earth’s problem. Cause someone was like, don’t you think we should probably like dial it back? And she’s like, that’s Earth’s it’s problem. 

Christina: These five are going to be insecure. These 12 are going to be self-absorbed off you go pushes them into the earth. I think then like that, guy’s like, oh, we’re sending a lot of bad qualities to earth. And she’s like, Hmm, sucks to be earth. Like, I loved that so much because I was just like you, whether or not you want to believe that specific thing that you come programmed with certain qualities or not. I don’t think you are. I think it’s life experiences, but like just made me laugh that some people really are just nature versus nurture. Like it’s ingrained in them. They’re going to be a little self-absorbed or they’re going to be a little insecure or this or that. And that made me. Ugh, that made me laugh so hard. Cause I’m like, what soul number was I and what did they like? What did they tack onto me before they threw me into the pit?

Julia: Right. But I, I agree with you though. I did love that there wasn’t a God element because I think there’s so much hold on religion when it comes to those conversations, that for those of us who are agnostic or for those who are atheist, you know, that’s not a belief system they hold. And so to acknowledge, it’s acknowledging that there’s other belief systems out there and showing it in a way where you can still interpret that there might be God, if you want it to, but it’s still like you could, whatever your belief system about God going into this movie, I feel like you’re not walking away being angry about it.

Christina: Yeah. It had a very like ambiguous ending too. So like, if you want to decide that that afterlife was heaven, that’s on you. If you didn’t, that’s on you, if you want to decide that he’s living happily ever after that’s on you, if you want to see that he’s now paralyzed in fear, that’s on you. Like they left it so open to not knowing what’s going to happen. And I loved that aspect of it. I also I’ll have to mention just because we talked about casting for so long, I personally love that they made the souls and that they made the, especially the mentors, geometrical like shapes and just like two dimension type things. And like when they go, yeah, I loved that so much because I feel like it really made you focus on. The story. Yeah. And not in the concept of like what they’re trying to talk about and you weren’t getting too wrapped up in like how we got wrapped up and you know, the other characters, like as humans, that’s what we’re going to do. I love that when they were talking about those such big, especially for kids, you know, they’re talking about big concepts. Like they left it simple enough that like, it’s not, you’re not focusing on, oh, that character looks funny or that character has cool hair, you know, something, and it’s just a shape telling you these great things. And it’s like, I think that was very powerful, at least to me. And it was super helpful in the movie to kind of keep the trajectory of like open mindedness.

Julia: Yeah. Cause those souls aren’t assigned to anyone before they leave the planet or leave the great before. And so it leaves it open for anything to happen, which I really like, but I also 

Christina: like it shows why are you like any sort of like judgmental about anybody else? Cause you all look the same before you get here and you’ll leave the same after you’re gone.

Julia: That’s an interesting point that maybe, I wonder if Pixar was intentional and pointing out that racism is a as a construct in, in, you know. 

Christina: That’s what I was getting or trying to like go off of. Like, I like that. 

Julia: It’s a learned behavior and not learned until you are exposed to that by people on earth, by people who were, you know, typically older than you and guiding you because in the great, beyond in the great before you’re right. That shit just isn’t, it didn’t matter. Everyone was happy and, and, and friendly, but 

Christina: I mean, I think. They did a couple little blue bobs blobs or especially Joe’s character was somewhat shaped like him in the movie too. Just I think, so it was easier to follow his character in the sea of blue blocks. 

Julia: Right.

Christina: But I just, in general, I liked that they took that element out. And so you can really just focus on the concepts. I know, but on the other hand, I know that a lot of people were being bugged by that because it was like, oh, the first Black centered movie and you don’t get to experience like the Blackness all the time, which I can’t understand, you know, by experience. But I would, I can understand why that would be frustrating for somebody. So I see that element. So I’m not saying that I just really liked that they explained big concepts with like a no. 

Julia: Yeah. 

Christina: No, at all type of this isn’t anybody, this is just a shape.

Julia: I struggle with the idea of always having every element of blackness in a film because Blackness is not a monolith. You know, it’s not the same for everyone. There’s what we see on movies and television. That’s just one element of Black culture. And so for me, because the way that my Blackness manifested growing up, it’s not always resembled, like, yeah, we grew up on Motown and yeah, we had jazz in the house and all of those traditional concepts, we relate to Blackness there’s other bits too.

Julia: Like my grandfather would have rather lived on a farm, the rest of his life than live in a city. So like he’s country, like that’s a country folk. And like he watched westerns and westerns and baseball. And so this idea that you have to include all of the black experience in a storyline that has a black person, I guess I struggle with, because growing up in Modesto, California, your Blackness, isn’t the same as growing up in Oakland or LA or Detroit or New York City or Miami.

Julia: Like it is different everywhere you go. And yes, there’s elements that you can pick that are the same, like macaroni and cheese is always gonna be a side dish or like every, you know, there’s like, so there’s like, or like, like there’s elements of it that are true across the board, but then when you get into the regional breakdown, I, so I’m still, I’m still. 

Christina: It’s hard to kind of put like a socio-economical or regional or any type of like thing. That’s not. Like inherently coming from within. 

Julia: Yeah. So with the article about, you know, the criticism of not fully encompassing the Black experience, you know, that writers coming from his experience, but his Black experience in my Black experience are different Black experiences. So what, what I would actually, that’s a really, I wonder if I could find him on Twitter and tweet at him in an, in a, in a positive way, not in a, like coming at this in a combative way. I’m just curious, like, what part of the Black experience would, did he feel is missing from the narrative? Because I wonder if that’s not the point, you know, it was maybe the only left out on purpose because they wanted to focus on this one element and it’s like we talked about, um, did you want to talk about that on the mom’s episode where it’s like, you have these characters on TV who are moms, but for some of the moms it’s we don’t see them being moms. We just know they have children and then for others, that’s who they are on the show. So you’re plucking one element of who they are and showing it. So I’d be curious to see, cause I get..

Christina: It’s hard also to criticize a movie for not encompassing all these things cause it’s like, yeah, no movie, no hour and a half long.

Julia: Yeah. It’s an hour. 

Christina: It’s going to encompass every experience you’ve ever had for anybody anywhere. And so I think like critics get a little bit too critical in that sense where it’s like, yes, we do still have a bunch of progress to make. And yes, we do have all these things, but I think that this movie genuinely the bigger focus was the soul aspect. I don’t think it was. And I think that they tried to do their best to connect all of what they thought, you know, the soulful connections they can make were, but again, you can’t encompass every single thing. Like you just it’s impossible in any because, 

Julia: And it becomes that point of like, what’s our focus, what’s our story? I do that shit at work all the time. Somebody will throw me a yeah. Someone will fill me a vague request. I need this. And it could be, for example, I don’t know something very vague. I want this. And then I’ll, what’s the, what’s the intention of what we’re trying to say. That’s always what I come back with when I get a vague request. And if they can’t answer me, then we need to sit down and have a conversation and flesh that out because there’s so many different angles in which you can come to a story that we need to figure out. What’s the angle that is the best way we can tell the story and then go from there. And for me, I’m like, yeah, First of all Black Panther proved that you can give us a big blockbuster movie and we’ll show up in droves and give you all of our money.

Julia: So give us more blockbuster movies. Okay. So tell us off saying, yeah, stop saying that Black films don’t make money because we’ve proven several times now that that’s not true. 

Christina: Um, lie too. Like the only reason they don’t make money is because you’re not putting them in there. Like the business 1 0 1 is just putting the product in a place that’s accessible for the most people. And if you’re not doing that, then your marketing strategy has flaws. 

Julia: Yes. 

Christina: Get a new marketing director. 

Julia: Yes. And so feel like, obviously, we talked about the flaws that ha that were part of this movie, but at the same time, they did it .

Christina: At the same time. They’re teaching children not to be afraid of death. Take that in for a second. Every other movie from Disney and Pixar up to before this point, tragic death, tragic death. 

Julia: Oh my God. Dead montage. What’s the one at montage scene and Up. Yeah. Don’t kill me with balling. Fucking balling. 

Christina: It’s a two minute portion and I got to experience a whole love story and I’m unwell after it. Like, no, but this is the first time that you have to remember this movie was for children and it was to teach them about coming to earth, not because you need to achieve anything, not because you need to do anything, but to experience it, to find joy in it, to live life in it and to find happiness in your soul. Like that’s what the whole, I think that’s what they really were trying to focus on. And when you go back to that, when you stop taking your adult mindsets, you know, your adult problems to this movie, when you go there, teaching kids is such a beautiful lesson, that there was a, you know, there was a time where you weren’t here.

Christina: There’s a time now that you are here and there’s going to be a time where you’re not here anymore. And it’s all okay, it’s all, okay. It’s all normal. It’s all part of life. And every single person experiences it. And that’s why I think that when you kind of take a step back every once in a while, and you remind yourself like this is a children’s movie. It’s so well done. They did an amazing job on telling that specific story to children. 

Julia: And it won Best Feature for an Academy or Best Animated Feature for an Academy Award. Like, that’s huge because again, you know, Black stories are typically left out of the conversation for being nominated for awards. And yes, this isn’t like the Black, uh, Black story in the way that we know and understand Black stories to be. It’s, it’s another deviation of that. It’s another version of that. And so it’s something that doesn’t include the traditional traumas that we associate with black stories. Cause picture’s not going to do that, but death is a big thing. That’s a big, and it’s also how wonderful to create new types of normal for the black community.

Christina: Just because it wasn’t the normal immediate before. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t normal. Now that this is here, that is somebody’s norm someone out there at least one person out there is feeling normal right now because of that. And that’s sometimes all that art is meant to do. 

Julia: Yep. That’s good. Makes you feel, do you even have a soul if you don’t feel during art?

Christina: No. No, you don’t. 

Julia: So watching Soul the first time was hard because I wasn’t in a good place personally. I was suffering from jealousy and disappointment because I had had such high expectations for my post high school life. And the movie felt like I was staring into a mirror minus the death part, of course. And that rocked me, right. Like the idea like his, the speech his mom gave and just all these things. And I feel sometimes that as much as we do this whole like moms or everything, we still have zero value on humans, raising humans. And so that’s hard. And so I had been toying with this idea, like, like last year and around this time that this movie came out, I’d been toying with this idea of starting, like, just start from the beginning, just fucking once you’re free from daily parenting, go off and just start from the beginning, get a job as a PA, so you can get a writers room whatever.

Julia: But I also kind of recognized that I’d be like dealing, like competing against people my child’s age. And that was also kind of scary too, because now I’m not like young and hip I’m like old enough to be their parents. And so in February of 2021, I decided it was time to give it a try in the way that I could. And so I feel like I I’ve been Joe so many times chasing and hoping and trying in the face of “get a real job” that this movie you made me, like you say, with the normal normalizing things, this movie made me think it’s still worth it to try. 

Christina: Yeah. It’s always worth it to try. It’s always worth it to experience life because just like the trumpet thing, like, remember it hurts to try and not like succeed. It hurts to try and not get everything you’re going after. However, it’s going to hurt you way more to stop trying to do the things you love to do. That will hurt you and fill you with more poison than trying and failing because trying and failing gets you one step closer each time, and it even betters as you as a person each time, even if it’s not in your work or creatively, it betters you as a resilient person and betters you and learning how to look at yourself and readapt your own. Readapt? Like reevaluate, whatever you were trying to put out there and fix whatever you can to try again. Like, yeah. And I think that effort.

Julia: I think that’s where my jealousy, and disappointment was coming from. I had to give up things I had, and it wasn’t really a choice. Like, yeah, we have choices, but it wasn’t a choice. You had two options and neither of them had good outcomes. One would be suffered. My family is suffering and one of them would be me suffering. So I’m just going to make me suffer because why not? 

Christina: Less people.

Julia: Less people, less collateral damage. And so, as I had quit those things that I needed as part of my self care, my sustenance, but I didn’t realize it at the time. Bitterness and anger that you were speaking of. Like I was, that was inside of me and it’s not as much anymore now that I understand how I can get out of that and like that my life isn’t over. And I think that’s, what’s so beautiful about Soul. Joe’s got gray in his hair, gray his mustache, you know, he’s not young and he’s worked so hard and influenced so many people, so many children and he still was able to make something happen for himself though, I do have to say at the end, when he does get his chance to play with him and his disappointment about how she was like, get to this and she’s like, oh yeah, that was a great show. You don’t get many like those blah, blah, blah. And he just, if the disappointment on his face about how, like he finally made it, but it’s not really that great.

Christina: It, wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

Julia: Yeah. 

Christina: In his own mind. And I think it’s going to get to the metaphor about the water that she said the ocean that was, that resonated with me so much where it’s like, I don’t know if anyone remembers it’s I don’t have it word for word, but basically she’d said like, there’s a fish that look screaming I want to go to the ocean. I want to go to the ocean. And they’re like, you’re in, we’re in the ocean. And they’re like, this is water. I want the ocean. And it’s like, Boom, that’s it? You can. I always say, like, I want to be a writer someday. I want to, I want to be a podcaster or that someday I want to do the, I want to be a photographer someday. I want to do this one day. And I stopped doing that this year. I said, and now, instead of whenever, the day I feel like that I go, okay, and I’ll take my camera and I start taking pictures or okay. And I get my book and I start writing things down and I’m like, I was a writer today. And then I give myself that credit.

Christina: Like I wrote things down and that’s what it takes to be that step I need to stop, or everybody needs to stop being their own enemy. And by tearing themselves down, before they even try the tasks that would propel them forward. 

Julia: That’s the thing, right? Like it takes work. It takes time. Joe had so much. Moments in his hall of life that felt sad, felt lonely, felt depressing, but he needed all of those pieces to get to that point because he impacted Curly. Curly didn’t forget him. Curly called him up. Curly was his advocate throughout the entire film. And he showed up and he crushed it because he never stopped trying. And that’s the part, that’s the hardest because our society is constructed to beat us down and to quit. I was just having this conversation with my friend the other day. I was like, how do people do this full time job plus their creative projects on the side. I feel like I’m going to fucking die some days.

Julia: Like, I feel like I’m working seven days a week and I don’t get any rest and I need rest because I’m not good if I don’t rest. 

Christina: But then it’s like, I’m not good if I don’t do my creative projects, but then I don’t look good if I don’t go to work. And it’s like, you’re stuck in this never ending cycle where you’re going and counting between all the different things. You need to be a human, but our society is not set up to let you allow. All right. 

Julia: It’s so cruel. Oh my gosh, Christina today was great. Do you want to tell people where they could find you if they want to keep up with you online? 

Christina: Uh, you can head over to my Instagram. I’m at Christina K J um, on Instagram and that’s about it.

Julia: Uh, Soul is currently on Disney plus, which requires a subscription. Sorry, friends, if you don’t have it.

Christina: But also if you don’t have it, what are you doing? 

Julia: What is even your life right now? 

Christina: Disney plus has a national or graphic on it, which.

Julia: Oh my God. Have you seen the Jeff Goldbloom show that he does? I botched a couple of the songs.

Christina: I like. Such it like so many good documentaries on there to say, 

Julia: yeah, they’re taking over the world. Watch out guys. Watch out friends. Well, thanks for tuning in y’all until next time. We’ll see you soon. 

Christina: Bye .

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