Friday, August 10, 2012

Spike, all of him

I would have ranked Clockers higher for its mournful study of black-on-black violence and I think When The Levees Broke is a major work of American history. That said, this ranking of Spike Lee's films gets it just about right. I haven't seen She Hate Me but it's hard to believe it's worse than Girl 6. (Vulture)
In his diary on Christmas morning 1987, Spike Lee jotted down his ideas for his next movie: “I want the film to take place over the course of one day, the hottest day of the year, in Brooklyn, New York … The film has to look hot, too. The audience should feel like it’s suffocating, like In the Heat of the Night.” Beyond its other notable achievements, Do the Right Thing is a triumph of craftsmanship and vision, with both Lee and cinematographer Ernest Dickerson delivering a powerfully atmospheric snapshot of life in late-eighties Bed-Stuy at a time of escalating racial tension in the city. But the film’s precise, funny characters and vivid, sweltering look would have meant nothing without Lee’s wise and ultimately sad vision of multicultural America as a place where good intentions and casual mistrust are as commonplace as the local pizzeria.

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