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utzworld

A Black Thing

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Do the Right Thing left me with all kinds of ambivalent feelings, for many reasons. It seems to me that nerves were hit right, left and center, but nothing was resolved. I was especially troubled by the way Ossie Davis' and Ruby Dee's characters were treated by many others in the neighborhood. (As in the scene where they confront the young woman who's slapping her little daughter around.)

Answers and corrections:

1. The lack of resolution was Spike's intention. He didn't want the film to dot all the "i"'s, cross all the "t"'s and answer all the questions for the audience. He just presented the situation and left audiences with some hefty and hearty food for thought - which is why he chose to end the film with a quote from MLK and one from Malcolm X. Your "hit nerves" were all a part of his big game plan. Which is why the film got shunned initially by the Hollywood establishment - and almost 20 years later, all the "haters" are now its biggest defenders. It's funny that folks bring this film up in comparison to "Crash". Downright hilarious. I can still remember arguing with folks in high school who swore up and down that "Do The Right Thing" was B.S.

2. While "Da Mayor" - played by Ossie Davis - was indeed disrespected in the neighborhood (which, in my own personal experience, is not that uncommon. Everybody picked on the old neighborhood drunks. I don't think that's necessarily "a black thing", either), "Mother Sister" - played by Ruby Dee - was always shown to have the utmost respect and honor within the community - Mookie greeting her the first thing in the morning, Jade braiding her hair in the afternoon.

3. Rule #5 in the unwritten guide to "Understanding Black Folk" ::w00t:: - never...Never...NEVER get in the way of an African American woman disciplining her child (another correction, it was her son in the film). You were troubled. I wasn't. Quiet as it's kept, none of us in the theatre were. We had the same reaction to the spanking scene in "Madea's Family Reunion". I'm almost certain that a high percentage of Black folk in the theatre were either a participant or an observer to a similar situation once...or twice. As an observer, the golden rule is "look the other way." I'm not saying it's right...it's just one of those things...

Chris, what about films that aren't really African American but deal with the concept of nigger as with the Palestinians in Divine Intervention?

The interrogation and torture scene in "Three Kings" is the first thing comes to mind. The stuff that the Iraqi guy said about the correlation between America and Michael Jackson's skin color cut to the quick!

You could also examine Billy Bob Thornton's character in "Monster's Ball". His racism wasn't genuine, stone cold, KKK level. It was pretty much jackassed thought and assumptions passed down to him by his jackassed father.

Edited by utzworld

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Maybe we were *all* supposed to be confused, riled and unsettled by the movie?

DING DING DING DING DING DING DING!!!!

:D

In the history of African American cinema, Do The Right Thing is the masterpiece, the standard. Spike Lee didn't simply set a standard, he created a whole new standard that has yet to be matched. John Singleton's Boyz N The Hood, the Hughes Brothers' Menace II Society, and Spike's own Malcolm X came close. But this is the pinnacle, the apex, the Magna Carta of Black cinema. I dare ANYONE to challenge my assertions.

So much has been said about it from a critical standpoint. I will now speak from a personal standpoint.

In 1989 I had lived in South Central Los Angeles for 4 years (in the midst of the Bloods vs. Crips gang wars). All I wanted to do on weekends was go to the movies. More than that, I wanted to go to the movies in Hollywood above all. For 4 years I never made it. I came close a couple of times, but I never made it. For me, seeing a movie in Hollywood was the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest or going to the Super Bowl or making a pligrimage to Mecca. But all I was stuck with were drive-in movie theatres and a sticky floored 3 screen shoebox across the street from USC.

I started going to a performing arts focused high school in the San Fernando Valley to focus on Drama. It was hard work, but it was fun. I made quite a few friends - most importantly, the coolest guy and (arguably) the best actor in Drama that season. I don't know why this dude and I clicked, but we clicked. We literally spent our lunchtimes trading hip hop dance moves, quoting Public Enemy records and, of course, talking movies. He revealed that he was a major Spike Lee fan and had enjoyed both She's Gotta Have It and School Daze (a movie that is one of the most influential films I've ever seen my 33 years on Planet Earth). We'd both seen the trailers for Do The Right Thing and we committed to catching the film together when it came out in June of 89.

School gets out for the summer and the buzz surrounding the film started sweeping the news. The rumors and fears about potential race riots at the multiplex hit a fever pitch. In the midst of all this, I got a phone call from my friend inviting me to see the movie on opening night...in Hollywood! I praise God to this day that He was able to make my dream come true in such a profound way!

We went to the Fairfax Theatre on Beverly & Fairfax - right across the street from CBS. "Geeked" and "Stoked" doesn't begin to describe what was going on in my heart as we stood in line buying our tickets. I walked into what seemed like the biggest auditorium I'd ever seen (in retrospect, it wasn't all that big!) and saw a sea of anticipatory faces. The lights dimmed, the curtain opened, the trailers spun on, then the Universal logo popped up with "Lift Every Voice And Sing" playing in the background. Then...the opening strains of "Fight The Power" and all of a sudden...BOOM! Rosie Perez starts shaking her groove thing with Chuck D and Flavor Flav setting the atmosphere in Dolby SR (digital sound was still a couple of years away).

2 hours later, my life would never be the same. Ever. I made a comment about Shaft (the film) being the voice of Soul and Black Pride in the 1970's. This film expressed the same voice using the language of late 1980's Black culture. Nardis is absolutely correct. Spike riled us and manipulated us. But being a Black teenager in 1989, it was as if Spike took a trip to my neighborhood and countless other neighborhoods and simply let the cameras roll. That film was my reality. The kids on the block were hanging out and talking s*** just like we did! The older brothers sat on their stooped and philosophized about life, women and B.S. just like the ones in our neighborhoods. The cops constanly drove by to "check in" on their neighborhood activities just like in ours. The Korean store owners were making $$$ off the addictions and cravings of the brothers in that hood just like the brothers in mine. And here's something y'all probably didn't know, some 11 years before this film, the late great Richard Pryor in his classic described a certain choke-hold used by the cops to subdue unruly Black men

I paid money to see this movie in the theatre 6 TIMES in the summer of 1989. I bought the single version of "Fight The Power" on cassette AND vinyl. I had to have played it at least 10 times a day that summer. Do The Right Thing was more than a movie, it was an event. It was the scream of a people that had been ignored for centuries. And, for a 17 year old kid in South Central, it was God moving in a strong and mighty way to awaken the passions of my heart as well as making one of my dreams come true.

Edited by utzworld

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I need time to think about and digest your most recent post, utzworld. It's fascinating.

Now I have to see the movie again. (And no wonder you can spot errors in .0000001 secs ;-))

It is, to this day, the only Criterion Collection DVD that is in my library. The only thing wrong with it is that Universal/Criterion didn't give the film a 5.1 surround sound remaster. Bummer! I want my walls to shake when "Fight The Power" comes on! Oh well...

FWIW, my pals who went to college in Atlanta told me that School Daze was deadly accurate...

As a member of the 1995 graduating class of Grambling State University, I (and just about all 500 of my classmates) can vouch for the accuracy of School Daze! Heck...a lot of us probably chose Historically Black Colleges & Universities because of the exposure generated from that movie - and also The Cosby Show spinoff "A Different World" as well.

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I don't suppose you know anyone who videos their half-time shows, do you?! ;-)

In the Fall months, Black Entertainment Television usually shows Black College Football games on Saturday afternoons where they do indeed show the halftime show. NBC always shows the halftime show during their annual airing of "The Bayou Classic" pitting Southen University :evil: vs. the one and only Grambling State University ::bow::

I don't have any halftime shows on tape, though. I watched that stuff every Saturday for 5 Fall Semesters. Video replays are unnecessary! 8O

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I don't suppose you know anyone who videos their half-time shows, do you?! ;-)

In the Fall months, Black Entertainment Television usually shows Black College Football games on Saturday afternoons where they do indeed show the halftime show. NBC always shows the halftime show during their annual airing of "The Bayou Classic" pitting Southen University :evil: vs. the one and only Grambling State University ::bow::

I don't have any halftime shows on tape, though. I watched that stuff every Saturday for 5 Fall Semesters. Video replays are unnecessary! 8O

It's been a long time since football season. Has not The Classic been at either Ford Field, or The Big House recently? If in 2006, you are my guest, should you choose to accept, to watch the game live. Let me know anytime, but if you come, tell me as early as possible. Both venues would be almost impossible to sell out, BUT as early as possible determines seat placement.

OK, so School Daze is as significant as a film gets and Do The Right Thing is the great AA film. It seems like dueling superlatives to me (forgive the lack of precise quotes, I guess I should have posted, checked, then editted). Are they statements about compretely different aspects of truth? Different statements about Class within Africaan American consciousness?

Finally, I never really got hold of what "the right thing" was within the context of the film itself. Your post on the significance of the latter film implies a dead on depiction of life in a particular milieu, not unlike tamer examples such as The Time of Your Life, or Next Stop Greenwich Village and Moskow On the Hudson. That seems to me to present the title as a non sequitur. These are honest questions. As a fan of Lee the filmmaker, I wrestled to a draw with the nihilism of the film. A nihilism I have found in no other film of his that I have seen. I should say that I have failed to see anything from Get On the Bus on. YET. As I say, I like him as a filmmaker. Avoidance is a time issue, not some sort of aversion/protest.


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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[it's been a long time since football season. Has not The Classic been at either Ford Field, or The Big House recently? If in 2006, you are my guest, should you choose to accept, to watch the game live. Let me know anytime, but if you come, tell me as early as possible. Both venues would be almost impossible to sell out, BUT as early as possible determines seat placement.

The Classic has always been (until 2005 as a result of Hurricane Katrina) in New Orleans at the Superdome. The 2006 game is scheduled to return there. I doubt that I'll go, though...

BTW...what is "The Big House"?

OK, so School Daze is as significant as a film gets and Do The Right Thing is the great AA film. It seems like dueling superlatives to me (forgive the lack of precise quotes, I guess I should have posted, checked, then editted). Are they statements about compretely different aspects of truth? Different statements about Class within Africaan American consciousness?

Many critics had dismissed School Daze affixing the "sophomore jinx" label at Spike upon release. It's barely mentioned when analyzing his body of work. But that film is a significant part of my life personally and helped to shape some major decisions and choices in my life. Therefore the superlatives are not dueling - one is decidedly personal while the other (Do The Right Thing) is more collective. (Almost) everybody shares a similar sentiment regarding DTRT.

inally, I never really got hold of what "the right thing" was within the context of the film itself.

That was the whole point of the film. As we discussed earlier, Spike left everything open on purpose; choosing to end the film with the quote from MLK followed by the quote from Malcolm X. He wanted the audience to choose within themselves "what the right thing was".

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BTW...what is "The Big House"?

Chris, the Big House is the center of the cesspool of the world, the locus of all things evil in the known universe. Incidentally, it is redeemed every two years by the graceful presence of the Ohio State Buckeyes, who show up to play there when they are not too busy firing Christian librarians with a contrary streak.

[/thread derailment]

Edited by Buckeye Jones

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Chris, the Big House is the center of the cesspool of the world, the locus of all things evil in the known universe. Incidentally, it is redeemed every two years by the graceful presence of the Ohio State Buckeyes, who show up to play there when they are not too busy firing Christian librarians with a contrary streak.

Thanks...? ::w00t::

While it's on my mind, other notable 1980's AA (directed or themed) films:

The Color Purple (the book was better, but Spielberg did a heckuva job. Here's a fun game to play: Count the "Color Purple" references in modern day AA cinema. Madea quoted one of Sophia/Oprah's lines in "Madea's Family Reunion" that darn near tore the roof off the multiplex!)

Coming To America: Eddie Murphy exploded onto the scene in the 80's with "48 Hrs", "Trading Places", "Beverly Hills Cop" and a host of other films. But this one is one his 2 most underrated films...arguably, his best movie ever. In addition, it was the first film where he utilized his box office success to assemble the AA equivalent of an all star cast. Not only that, this film also brought Arsenio Hall inside the gates of Paramount which led to his show getting launched. Lastly (a lot of folks don't know this), but it's among the least profane of the early Eddie Murphy films. We love to quote lines from this flick, too.

Hollywood Shuffle: Robert Townsend's semi-autobiographical labor of love about a Black actor trying to break into Hollywood. Lots of (now) familiar faces in this one...especially from the Wayans (Damon & Keenan Ivory) family. Watch for the Siskel & Ebert riff called "Sneakin' In The Movies". Just thinking about certain lines in that skit make me lose it! :lol:

She's Gotta Have It: Spike's first. Nuff said.

Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip: The late great Richard Pryor made his return to standup comedy by way of this film - as hilarious as his albums and his other movies but easily the most poignant of them all. The showstopper was his retelling of his tragic accident where he nearly burned himself to death while freebasing cocaine. If you listen closely, you'd hear shades of Paul's struggle in Romans 7: 14-24 as Richard shares in graphically honest detail how the drugs - specifically his crack pipe - took total control over his life.

Also, Hip-Hop (rap music, break dancing, stylized grafitti art, scratching) was introduced to pop culture during this decade by way of such films as Breakin' and its sequel Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, Beat Street, and Krush Groove - which featured a virtual Who's Who of rap music. This introduction to hip-hop culture via film laid the blueprint for a whole new wave of AA cinema in the 1990's. More on that later...

Edited by utzworld

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Chris, the Big House is the center of the cesspool of the world, the locus of all things evil in the known universe. Incidentally, it is redeemed every two years by the graceful presence of the Ohio State Buckeyes, who show up to play there when they are not too busy firing Christian librarians with a contrary streak.

Thanks...? ::w00t::

Otherwise known as Michigan Stadium, the largest of all temples of football. We expect the simpletons from downunder to behave with such cluelessness as Mr. Jones has displayed. While I appreciate the redemptive qualities that the Big House has on such rabble every two years, it certainly pains to have to put up with such a profanation, even if it is every other year.

The Color Purple (the book was better, but Spielberg did a heckuva job. Here's a fun game to play: Count the "Color Purple" references in modern day AA cinema. Madea quoted one of Sophia/Oprah's lines in "Madea's Family Reunion" that darn near tore the roof off the multiplex!)

I never read the book, but the film disgusted me. I got hung up on the fact that the only redeeming male character was a played as a buffoon in an otherwise rather humorless film.

Coming To America: Eddie Murphy exploded onto the scene in the 80's with "48 Hrs", "Trading Places", "Beverly Hills Cop" and a host of other films. But this one is one his 2 most underrated films...arguably, his best movie ever. In addition, it was the first film where he utilized his box office success to assemble the AA equivalent of an all star cast. Not only that, this film also brought Arsenio Hall inside the gates of Paramount which led to his show getting launched. Lastly (a lot of folks don't know this), but it's among the least profane of the early Eddie Murphy films. We love to quote lines from this flick, too.

Can't quote any lines myself, but I'd agree. Also, there is a praising of AA industriousness throughout the whole story that stands out, as opposed to either taking it for granted or belittling it.

Hollywood Shuffle: Robert Townsend's semi-autobiographical labor of love about a Black actor trying to break into Hollywood. Lots of (now) familiar faces in this one...especially from the Wayans (Damon & Keenan Ivory) family. Watch for the Siskel & Ebert riff called "Sneakin' In The Movies". Just thinking about certain lines in that skit make me lose it! :lol:

There's a who's who of Black standup stars of the '70's and '80's as well in this. Considering Townsend made this film on credit cards, I've always been impressed at the exposure he gave to so many friends a la Murphy.

She's Gotta Have It: Spike's first. Nuff said.

What ever happened to the actress playing the title character? I think I've seen her in only one or two other things (and can't recall them), and not in a LONG time.

Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip: The late great Richard Pryor made his return to standup comedy by way of this film - as hilarious as his albums and his other movies but easily the most poignant of them all. The showstopper was his retelling of his tragic accident where he nearly burned himself to death while freebasing cocaine. If you listen closely, you'd hear shades of Paul's struggle in Romans 7: 14-24 as Richard shares in graphically honest detail how the drugs - specifically his crack pipe - took total control over his life.

The phrase, "Whatchu gonedo?" still brings tears to my eyes. I believe that the rehabilitation of the reputation of Jim Brown began with this film (He's a lifelong hero of mine). He couldn't buy good press at any price throughout the '70's. That all changed with this film, or about the time this came out.

Also, Hip-Hop (rap music, break dancing, stylized grafitti art, scratching) was introduced to pop culture during this decade by way of such films as Breakin' and its sequel Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, Beat Street, and Krush Groove - which featured a virtual Who's Who of rap music. This introduction to hip-hop culture via film laid the blueprint for a whole new wave of AA cinema in the 1990's. More on that later...

I've seen all of these, some when released. I'm curious as to your thoughts.


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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I never read the book, but the film disgusted me. I got hung up on the fact that the only redeeming male character was a played as a buffoon in an otherwise rather humorless film.

Celie and Shug getting busy was the only clue you got of that fact??? ::w00t:: Be thankful you only saw the movie. Spielberg toned things down A WHOLE LOT! The book went MUCH MUCH MUCH deeper into their relationship.

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Celie and Shug getting busy was the only clue you got of that fact??? ::w00t:: Be thankful you only saw the movie. Spielberg toned things down A WHOLE LOT! The book went MUCH MUCH MUCH deeper into their relationship.

Oh, I know. Even the getting busy was toned down to barely a hint. But the the one successful man as a buffoon enfuriates me even now. I was furious at the film and particularly how it overshadowed A Soldier's Story from the same year, which I thought was better. I'd seen Rollins before, but Larry Riley just exploded onto the screen for me. I still miss that man and his work.

Edited by Rich Kennedy

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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I miss Adolph Caesar, who was also in A Soldier's Story.

Back to the thing about men in A Color Purple - Spielberg would have been crazy to have his screenwriters invent characters who weren't in the novel, methinks.... (Just a wild guess ;-))

Heh, heh. That sort of thing is done ALL the time in order to widen appeal, or forstall objections such as mine.

I suppose that I would not have gotten too far into the novel and set it aside. Spielberg was accused of softening the novel.


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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A friend just forwarded me this and I thought it was appropriate for this thread. Apparently, it's from an interview with Harold Ramis in The Believer.

BLVR

: Rumor has it that you turned down the chance to direct Disney

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There is a fine line between reworking material to make one's point and to widen the appeal. I guess the aspect of this in Purple that angered me was depicting a Manichean male bad/ female good matrix and being hit over the head with it in almost every scene. If that was a softening of the novel (and I was told by some I respect that it was), I had no interest in the novel at all.


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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Also, Hip-Hop (rap music, break dancing, stylized grafitti art, scratching) was introduced to pop culture during this decade by way of such films as Breakin' and its sequel Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, Beat Street, and Krush Groove - which featured a virtual Who's Who of rap music. This introduction to hip-hop culture via film laid the blueprint for a whole new wave of AA cinema in the 1990's. More on that later...

It's later... :D

As 1990 rolled into view, AA cinema was on the verge of an explosion. Spike Lee, Eddie Murphy (to a certain extent) and others lit the fuse in the 80's. The two most significant fuse burners of 1990 were:

House Party: This small film with a paltry budget of $2.5 million bucks snuck in under the radar and grossed $25 million (including probably $15 bucks in matinee pricing from my own pockets). It was a simple, universal plot: a kid tries to sneak out of his house to attend "the party of the year" thrown by his best friend. When the dust settled, the Hudlin Brothers (who directed the film) graduated to Eddie Murphy's second most underrated film Boomerang in 1992, New Line Cinema became the unoffical "go to" studio for low budget AA films, Martin Lawrence's career got launched, and America got a peek into the lighter side of hip-hop culture thanks to rap duo Kid N Play who starred in the film. Years later, the flick is still fun, entertaining, and free from the thug/gangsta stereotypes that would plague later hip-hop based films.

Mo Better Blues: Spike's first collabo with Denzel Washington and one of my top 20 favorite films ever. After riling us AA teenagers with DTRT the year before, Spike threw us for a loop by making his follow-up project so mature and adult oriented. As a result, it wasn't as well received as it should have been, but I fell in love with it from the second the Universal 75th Anniversary logo hit the screen. It's also packed with a nice and nifty cast - and, most notably, it marks the only time (to date) where Denzel, Wesley Snipes, and Samuel L. Jackson all appeared in the same movie. I was totally impressed with WS's ability to keep up with Denzel on screen. I knew he had the stuff to blow up. 1 year later he did...

...which brings me to THE GREAT EXPLOSION OF 1991.

IIRC, 19 AA directed film hit theatres that year. An unprecedented event. It seemed like a new AA film was coming out every friggin month that year! I darn near saw them all, too! It will be interesting to see if, in 2011, someone makes a documentary with all those directors waxing poetic about their films. Look at a sampling of the titles and directors below. It was truly a heckuva year:

New Jack City - d. Mario Van Peebles

The Five Heartbeats - d. Robert Townsend

A Rage In Harlem - d. Bill Duke

Jungle Fever - d. Spike Lee

Boyz N The Hood - d. John Singleton

Straight Out of Brooklyn - d. Matty Rich (who raised the $$$ for this movie DESPITE THE FACT that he didn't go to film school!)

Livin Large - d. Michael Schultz

House Party 2 - d. George Jackson/Doug McHenry

Talkin Dirty After Dark - d. Topper Carew (Martin Lawrence's first topline starring film)

True Identity - d. Charles Lane

Strictly Business - d. Kevin Hooks (and Halle Berry's first starring role)

Add to that the yearly appearance of Eddie Murphy and Whoopi Goldberg (fresh off her Oscar for "Ghost") and Denzel's OTHER film roles - "Ricochet" and (Nardis's favorite) "Mississippi Masala", AA artists truly had a banner year at the movies.

Next up: recalling my first time setting foot at Mann's Chinese Theater (to be specific, the smaller theatres that were NEXT to the big one). The movie I saw: Boyz N The Hood.

Edited by utzworld

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Next week's TVGuide alerted me that throughout May, Turner Classic Movies will feature Race & Hollywood: Black Images on Film on Tuesday & Thursday evenings.

Unfortunately, our cable provider doesn't offer TCM, but yours might.


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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Next week's TVGuide alerted me that throughout May, Turner Classic Movies will feature Race & Hollywood: Black Images on Film on Tuesday & Thursday evenings.

Unfortunately, our cable provider doesn't offer TCM, but yours might.

Interesting...they don't start showing any post Civil Rights era flicks till the end of the month. Not surprising...

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In their defense, they don't show too many at all. I'd say 65% of their playlist is pre-'55. Maybe 5% is post '65. Almost nothing later than 1985.


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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Birth Of A Nation, The (1915)

Haunted Spooks (1920)

Uncle Tom's Cabin (1927)

Jazz Singer, The (1927)

Hallelujah (1929)

Green Pastures (1936)

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The (1939)

Baby Face (1933)

Judge Priest (1934)

Check And Double Check (1930)

Mad Miss Manton, The (1938)

Ghost Breakers, The (1940)

Day At The Races, A (1937)

Imitation Of Life (1934)

Littlest Rebel, The (1935)

Show Boat (1936)

Going Places (1938)

New Orleans (1947)

Gone With the Wind (1939)

Way Down South (1939)

Cabin In The Sky (1943)

In This Our Life (1942)

Home Of The Brave (1949)

Pinky (1949)

Intruder In The Dust (1949)

Lost Boundaries (1949)

Bright Road (1953)

World, The Flesh, And The Devil, The (1959)

Patch Of Blue, A (1965)

Member of the Wedding, The (1952)

In The Heat Of The Night (1967)

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)

Shaft (1971)

Superfly (1972)

Sounder (1972)

Rocky III (1982)

Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

Get on the Bus (1996)

There are four Civil Rights era films and six post-Civil Rights era films, out of a total of 38 films. (26% combined.) I agree, that's pretty dubious. One could question the value of doing a racial representation series that emphasizes stereotypes and one could question the value of doing a series restricted to Hollywood, leaving out such independent masterpieces as Spencer Williams' The Blood of Jesus (1941) or Nothing But a Man (1964) or the UCLA filmmaking revival of the '70s (Charles Burnett, Haile Gerima, Billy Woodberry, Julie Dash); not to mention radical cult films like The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973), or countless international films. I mean, when you're reduced to discussing Rocky III as a race film, you're pretty much working with a shallow pool to begin with. No John Singleton?

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Hmm...does anyone think any of these choices are particularly enlightening or provocative? I'm hearing good things about the original Imitation of Life (although Douglas Sirk's remake is doubtlessly better) and Intruder in the Dust (based on Faulkner's Tarnished Angels), but other than that, I'm seeing cute musicals, Stanley Kramer-like "prestige pictures," and what Dave Kehr once called the "I Passed for White" melodramas ("a genre popular in the '50s when race problems could only be embodied by white actors claiming 'Negro blood'").

Edited by Doug C

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Well, two of these movies were featured in my History of American Thought class, where we looked at movies from the last hundred years to talk about ideas that were circulating during those time: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and Birth of a Nation

Edited by solishu

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Well sure, Griffith's film was an aesthetic watershed but socially it's virulently racist, and I'm not sure that Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, despite its popularity with white, middle class audiences, can boast accomplishments on either counts. Even a critic like Roger Ebert spent most of his 1968 four-star review scoffing at the film:

"Kramer has taken a controversial subject (interracial marriage) and insulated it with every trick in the Hollywood bag. There are glamorous star performances by Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy made more poignant by his death. There is shameless schmaltz (the title song, so help me, advises folks to give a little, take a little, let your poor heart break a little, etc.). The minor roles are filled with crashing stereotypes, like a Negro maid who must be Rochester's sister and an Irish monsignor with a brogue so fey and eyes so twinkling he makes Bing Crosby look like a Protestant."

I guess in light of the fact that John Cassavetes had already made a bold film (Shadows) with a similar theme 10 years earlier makes me question how Dinner really functioned as a social statement. Did it actually challenge people or simply flatter their sense of sophistication? It seems more akin to something like American Beauty: "critical" on the surface, but deeply self-congratulatory. The Oscars love that sort of thing.

I guess the worth of many of these films will be dependent on how TCM presents them and what Robert Osborne and the black commentators have to say about them. In a class setting, there's much more room to critique them.

Edited by Doug C

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I can't believe they're showing Birth of a Nation withut putting it right next to a film like Do the Right Thing.

I concur...they should have had the b@lls to at least counterprogram Birth with DTRT...or even Bamboozled! That would have made for a helluva discussion!

Who organized this series, anyway??

I concur again. The biggest problem is their choice of scheduling the films in order of release date as opposed to their relevance. Looking at those titles, I have a subtitle of my own for this series that I won't even post here because it's too "inflamatory". And why...Why...WHY is Rocky III on this list?!?!

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And "The Littlest Rebel," too!!! Forgive me for screaming, but AAARRRGGGHH!!! Klan "Kuteness"??? Bill "Bojangles" Robinson playing second fiddle to Shirley Temple???? Slavery is OK when you can dance???

BTW, I can't figure out why on earth they scheduled "The Mad Miss Manton," either.

I tried so hard not to say it...thanx 4 taking me off the hook. Seems like the whole first half of this series is dedicated to the days in which we were "niggrahs".

Edit edit: Speaking of which, where the h*** is "Carmen Jones"?! It's not great, but it's got some super performances...

...most notably Dorothy Dandridge's OSCAR NOMINATED BEST ACTRESS performance! Dang...who scheduled this thing?!?!

Edit edit edit: They *really* need to get Cass, The Diva *and* Chris down there for some in-studio commentary. (Bams, too, if she'll come out of retirement for the gig.) Now that could be interesting!

We'd be bleeped, edited, and shredded all over the cutting room floor just on Diva and I's arguing alone! Besides, they've got Donald Bogle who's good at calm and peaceful discussion - unlike Yours Truly.

... not to mention radical cult films like The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973)...

Maaan...that movie will scare the crap outta folks in the Red states!!! You wanna talk about revolutionary?! I seriously doubt if that movie will ever see the light of general population ever again. I think its only available on bootleg VHS and DVD. I understand why... ::w00t::

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