September 04, 2002

Spike Lee Redux

All thanks to Aaron for this-

My Spike Lee Favorites List (with brief, frivolous comments):

1. Do The Right Thing - A classic that still feels true, raw and to the heart. Bonuses: Robin Harris’s ad-libs; Ernest Dickerson’s shimmering cinematography; and St. Clair Bourne's, The Making of Do The Right Thing.

2. Mo' Better Blues - Denzil as a Jazz man! Funny, quirky and another realistic feeling masterpiece. Spike should have X'ed the happy, cornball ending though.

3. Clockers - The introduction of Mekhi Phifer. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. Still haven't read Richard Price's book of the same title.

4. Get on the Bus - Watching this sometimes makes me regret missing the Million Man March.

5. Summer of Sam - Forgot that Berkowitz last shooting occured on my 10th birthday. Uneven, but great for all the repressed memories it brought back.

6. Crooklyn - Another uneven pic, but enjoyed for the rare girl’s POV movie, esp. from a Black girl’s perspective.

7. Girl 6 - ‘Cuz it reminds me of the freek* in me.
* Think of your own damn link!

8. Malcolm X - Only for Spike’s audacity. There’s no way a single movie could do justice to Malcolm’s life.

Bonus: She's Gotta Have It - I loved this movie when it first came out. It highlighted my beloved Brooklyn, esp. Fort Greene Park which I visited often one summer when I was a summer camp worker. It was also refreshing to see Blacks in a movie that I could relate to and not cringe about in the company of white folk.

I’m not feeling most of the others.

Posted by ronn at September 4, 2002 09:09 PM

I regret missing MMM each time I watch "Get On The Bus" ... painfully so. Hey, where's "School Daze" in the mix? I was working after-school at AMC Academy 8 in Beltway Plaza when it came out. *sigh!* ... how I don't miss those days! Posted by: Donald on November 27, 2002 08:22 AM
As time moves on and I watch how Farrakhan has wasted a tremendous opportunity, I regret missing the MMM less and less. "School Daze" was too disjointed and incomplete for me. I understand his aim and intentions, but it was a jigsaw puzzle with too many missing pieces. Posted by: ronn on November 27, 2002 11:09 AM
Man, I hated Summer of Sam. It seemed so much more...sensationalistic than it needed to be, even though it tackled an overly sensationalistic time/issue, and suffered from too much emphasis on the wrong things. (Did there really need to be that many butt-shots? (my pet name for the movie is unfit for family viewing, so 'summer of doing it doggy style' will have to suffice) The man needs to get on his hands and knees and beg Mr. Dickerson back.) (I may also be bitter because the only reason I saw it was I bought a Matrix bootleg on the street, ran home, popped it in, and it turned out to be Summer of Sam. Very upsetting.) Crooklyn's in my top 3, if only for the dog popping out of the couch and because it's one of the few Spike movies I can enjoy with my little girl (I'd love her to see Do the Right Thing, but mama's not quite ready to have the discussion about why anyone would want ice cubes on their nipples). Actually, the only beef I have with most of his movies (the two out of three that are good, anyway, which isn't a bad record), is the way he treats his women. Sure, you get the level-headed sisters once in awhile (and I mean sister in the relative sense), but pretty much any grown woman entangled in a romantic relationship with the protagonist or his cohorts (or the walk-on secondary characters) comes off as shrill, cloying, harping, obsessive,stupid, unprovocatedly bitchy, crazy, trying to keep a man down, etc. I love Crooklyn because it's missing that (unless you count Troy's little nemesis, and I don't think she's untrue to the character she's portraying, and her zealot aunt, who was tempered by the spineless uncle). I noticed this the other day, Spike & wife have a kiddie book out, called Please Baby Please, and I'm going to have to pick up a gross to distribute later this month. The Clockers book is excellent btw. Have your library put a reserve on that, too. -Gwen, who is not as humorless as she seems even though she did go to a women's college (found you through a link on George) Posted by: gwen on December 3, 2002 03:12 PM
Gwen: Anyone that comments that long must be a friend of George. ;-) I never considered his female characters in the light you've mentioned, but you're mostly right. I think it was also dictated by his current relationships at the time (i.e. sleeping with the honeys before/while the filming was done). Crooklyn was largely the work of his sis (with some input from another brother) and based on their lives. Please Baby Please looks wack, fwiw. That's why I never mentioned it. Posted by: ronn on December 3, 2002 05:11 PM
heh. maybe it's a sentimental/parental thing. i used to coo 'please baby please baby' etc. at my daughter when she was a tot and acting up or cranky, and it'd calm her down and go a long way toward helping me keep my patience... Posted by: gwen on December 3, 2002 06:09 PM
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