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BlacKkKlansman (2018)

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This is the thread for BlacKkKlansman, the Spike Lee-directed/Jordan Peele exec-produced joint about two small-town cops-one Black and one Jewish-who somehow manage to infiltrate their local chapter of the Klu Klux Klan. Even more incredible is that it's based on a true story. The all-star cast includes John David Wasington (Denzel's son), Adam Driver & Topher Grace as David Duke. Here's the trailer:

BlacKkKlansman

Edited by DollEyes
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1 hour ago, Spartan Girl said:

That's really Denzel's son?!  Wow!

 

Right?  I've been a fan since his work on Ballers.  Glad to see he's getting a big screen role.

Spike Lee films can be hit or miss with me but I think this will be a HUGE hit.  Even more of a gut-punch than Do The Right Thing.  The climate is ripe for it.

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I looking forward to seeing this. I barely recognize Topher Grace.

Edited by SimoneS
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On 5/15/2018 at 12:21 PM, Spartan Girl said:

That's really Denzel's son?!  Wow!

I think this movie will be exactly what we need right now.

Making it even more relevant-the August 10th release date is the first anniversary of the Charlottesville protest/riot, where Heather Heyer was killed.  Small spoiler :

 

Spoiler

Spike Lee even got permission from Susan Bro, Heather Heyer's mother,  to use footage about Heather in the film.

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This is not the kind of movie I would usually want to see, but this actually looks interesting to me.

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The commercials make this look ridiculously interesting.  Plus I'm a sucker for a good 70's throwback.  Can't wait to check it out.

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I saw this tonight, and I highly recommend it. It's not a perfect film as it can be a tad heavy handed at times, but for the most part it's very entertaining and especially relevant. 

I thought the acting was top notch, and I liked how Spike Lee captured the wide range of clan members from the lower class mouth breather to the country club member looking David Duke. Also loved the chemistry that John David Washington had with Adam Driver, and the romantic chemistry he had with Laura Harrier. 

I've seen that the ending is divisive, but I come down on the side that it was absolutely perfect. There was absolute silence when the lights came up. 

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9 hours ago, mortonsalt said:

I saw this tonight, and I highly recommend it. It's not a perfect film as it can be a tad heavy handed at times, but for the most part it's very entertaining and especially relevant. 

I thought the acting was top notch, and I liked how Spike Lee captured the wide range of clan members from the lower class mouth breather to the country club member looking David Duke. Also loved the chemistry that John David Washington had with Adam Driver, and the romantic chemistry he had with Laura Harrier. 

I've seen that the ending is divisive, but I come down on the side that it was absolutely perfect. There was absolute silence when the lights came up. 

I'm so glad to hear that. It looked good from the previews.

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On 5/15/2018 at 11:21 AM, Spartan Girl said:

That's really Denzel's son?!  Wow!

Man, does he sound just like his daddy.

I forget which review stated it, but they said Spike Lee prefers a cudgel to a scalpel. I'm more of a scalpel guy, but sometimes the cudgel is called for. This is one of those cases. I loved the obvious allusions to today's political climate. Spike's best film in years.

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I don't think I've ever seen a Spike Lee movie, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  Boy, was that powerful!  I'm glad that he added just the right amount of humor, or I don't think I'd have been able to get through it (I'm ridiculously emotional).  You could have heard a pin drop at the end, right up until the credits started, then the theater (which was surprisingly full) erupted into applause.  I'd definitely recommend it.  I also want to learn more about the true story.

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10 hours ago, AimingforYoko said:

Man, does he sound just like his daddy.

I forget which review stated it, but they said Spike Lee prefers a cudgel to a scalpel. I'm more of a scalpel guy, but sometimes the cudgel is called for. This is one of those cases. I loved the obvious allusions to today's political climate. Spike's best film in years.

 

There's really only one moment I found overly on the nose and that's when Ron is talking to the Sargent about someone like David Duke getting elected president and Ron seems incredulous at the prospect.  It seemed just short of a wink at the camera.  The other allusions to today I think were organic and simply stem from the fact the country is pretty screwed up right now and a lot of the same racist rhetoric that was being used in the 70's is back with a vengeance.  I mean "America First" was used by the KKK.  So none of those parallels are exaggerated.

I also thought there was a fair amount of restraint used in how much racism Ron faced.  I haven't read the book this was based on (yet) but I think it would have been easy to paint every other cop Ron meets (besides perhaps Flip) as an overt racist.  While Landers was especially gross and creepy, I think the movie did a good job showing that most systemic racism was and still is more subtle.  The use of the term "Toad" to describe suspects for example.  It's dehumanizing and makes them the "other."  It's easier to shoot and kill a "toad" than it is to kill a person.  Nor does the film, in the end, give an answer to the question on how best to solve the problem of systemic racism from the inside as Ron thinks is the right way, or from the outside as Patrice thinks.

 

3 hours ago, Shannon L. said:

I don't think I've ever seen a Spike Lee movie, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  Boy, was that powerful!  I'm glad that he added just the right amount of humor, or I don't think I'd have been able to get through it (I'm ridiculously emotional).  You could have heard a pin drop at the end, right up until the credits started, then the theater (which was surprisingly full) erupted into applause.  I'd definitely recommend it.  I also want to learn more about the true story.

I'm honestly not sure the last Spike Lee movie I've watched in its entirety.  The 25th Hour is the last one that comes to mind, but I would think there has to be something after that...Regardless, I thought this movie was excellent.  I agree that it had the right balance of drama and humor.  I actually think it was funnier than most straight comedies I've seen of late.  I loved the scenes of all the cops cracking up at Ron on the phone with David Duke, especially the last one.  It also did a good job of highlighting how the KKK and other Neo-Nazi groups are both a real danger and kind of a bunch of buffoons at the same time.  I mean these are the people who cause riots and mayhem, but they go out and buy Tiki torches first.  They are morons, but they are really dangerous morons that are a real threat.  And I think this movie did a good job showing that.

I also thought the acting was excellent across the board.  Washington was great, as was Driver.  I even loved the actor who played the Sargent, I thought his reactions to Washington and Driver were great.  And I did have to go to IMBD and look up who played Flip's partner because he sounded so much like Steve Buscemi, it turns out it's his brother Michael.  

I haven't read the book on which the movie is based, but I downloaded on to my kindle when I got home from the theater.  I too am interested in learning more about the real Ron Stallworth.

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23 hours ago, purplemouth said:

The ending is unbelievably powerful. I left the theater twenty minutes ago and I’m still shaking. 

I know nothing about the true story, so after that moment where Flip was telling Ron that he hadn't been raised Jewish and never thought about it much, but now, because of all the hateful rhetoric, it was all starting to hit him?  I thought  they were going to kill him.  There were other things that made it a tense 20 minutes, but that was definitely at the front of my mind for a bit until it became clear that he survived it.

ETA:  I forgot to mention that I thought it was interesting that the first time we heard the "Black lives matter" chant, Spike showed it coming from a white woman (unless I missed something).  I wonder why he made that choice.

Edited by Shannon L.
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The movie was even better and more emotionally provocative than I expected. My theater was crowded for a Sunday and everyone really got into it. You could hear people murmuring and see them nodding their heads in agreement at times. The hate radiating from the white supremacists was overwhelming at times. After a heavy silence for a few seconds at the end, people clapped including me. There so many great moments, but I was rolling when Ron asked Duke about "r, r." Bwah.

The cast was outstanding, particularly John David Washington, Laura Harrier, Adam Driver, and Toper Grace. I liked Ken Garito who played the sergeant also. 

I loved the period costumes and the choreography of the dancing at club was stellar. I loved seeing how happy those young Black people were in that moment, singing and dancing without a care in the world.

I liked that Spike Lee featured Kwame Ture. Too often he is overlooked because he was more militant than the mainstream is willing recognize. 

There are a few questionable choices. I didn't understand why Flip didn't get the hell out of there when the guy recognized him. The conversation between Ron and the Sargent about the American people electing someone like Duke should have been reversed. I didn't like the posters popping up in the middle of important conversations. I felt that it broke the flow. I wonder about the casting of the white supremacist wife. I couldn't help wondering if Spike Lee cast the actress to suggest that the hate that the couple shared was the basis of their love so he was able to overlook her size and "unattractiveness?" This possibility makes me uncomfortable.

Edited by SimoneS
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On 8/12/2018 at 9:10 PM, SimoneS said:

The movie was even better and more emotionally provocative than I expected. My theater was crowded for a Sunday and everyone really got into it. You could hear people murmuring and see them nodding their heads in agreement at times. The hate radiating from the white supremacists was overwhelming at times. After a heavy silence for a few seconds at the end, people clapped including me. There so many great moments, but I was rolling when Ron asked Duke about "r, r." Bwah.

The cast was outstanding, particularly John David Washington, Laura Harrier, Adam Driver, and Toper Grace. I liked Ken Garito who played the sergeant also. 

I loved the period costumes and the choreography of the dancing at club was stellar. I loved seeing how happy those young Black people were in that moment, singing and dancing without a care in the world.

I liked that Spike Lee featured Kwame Ture. Too often he is overlooked because he was more militant than the mainstream is willing recognize. 

There are a few questionable choices. I didn't understand why Flip didn't get the hell out of there when the guy recognized him. The conversation between Ron and the Sargent about the American people electing someone like Duke should have been reversed. I didn't like the posters popping up in the middle of important conversations. I felt that it broke the flow. I wonder about the casting of the white supremacist wife. I couldn't help wondering if Spike Lee cast the actress to suggest that the hate that the couple shared was the basis of their love so he was able to overlook her size and "unattractiveness?" This possibility makes me uncomfortable.

I personally didn't see it that way. Seeing the wife actually made me think of a Freddrick Douglass biography I read in college. Basically, that white women, in their own way, were both the beneficiaries and victims of racism. In the book, the slave owner's wife begins teaching Freddrick to read. Her husband is furious and then forbids her from teaching him to read, and from that moment on, the wife becomes much crueler to Freddrick. (I apologize I can't give more detail as college has been a decade ago.) I thought about this because the wife, in her own ways, is obviously completely broken. Her husband obviously does not respect her - as seen in her scene passing out the cheese and crackers and discussing Patrice - and he obviously enjoys being able to control her. She also lacks self respect and any power within her own life. I thought this was to show why she, her husband and various other white people held such racial hatred. They felt they were losing power, or they realized they never had power to lose and redirecting their self loathing onto Black people gave them a sense of purpose and power and automatically made them the heroes in their own story. I didn't necessarily think her attractiveness or lack thereof was essential to her particular portion of the plot.

 

 I really loved the movie. I, too, liked the relationship between Ron and Flip and also Ron and Patrice. For me, it's always nice to see a movie portray a slow build love story with two black people and I like that their obstacle had to do with their conflicting ideologies because it presented them as equals and I could  easily understand why they would fall for each other. I thought almost everyone did an amazing job acting wise, except for Topher Grace. Personally, I didn't think he truly embodied David Duke and sense the movie is set in the 70s, I didn't think he did enough to make me not think about That 70s Show. I don't think he did a bad job, but I also thought he was easily the weakest link, especially when the movie showed the true David Duke at the end.

 

It's been a while since I've seen a Spike Lee Joint, and I was a little nervous as the last few movies by Spike left me cold. However, Spike definitely recaptured his magic with this film. I loved the directing of black faces looking up at Kwame Ture with such hopeful eyes as he spoke as if they were looking at the face of God. I liked the moment of of the Klansmen screaming white power as the helpless black servants were forced to listen outside the door in disgust. And it was truly powerful listening to the one older black man recounting hiding from the Klan and his friend being castrated as a new batch of white men were being conducted into the KKK. The juxtaposition of the White power chant with the more hopeful black power chant and lastly Patrice and Ron heading toward the burning cross as the Klansmen fell to their knees (in prayer?). I thought the movie captured both the tenacity of the black spirit but also how dangerous a hopeless people can truly be, especially when there are systematic procedures to help keep the status quo.

 

I'm not sure if this is a movie that will win Oscars or not, but while watching, I kept thinking how happy I was that this film was made.

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On 8/12/2018 at 9:27 AM, Shannon L. said:

I forgot to mention that I thought it was interesting that the first time we heard the "Black lives matter" chant, Spike showed it coming from a white woman (unless I missed something).  I wonder why he made that choice.

I found that interesting as well and, coupled with the ending's focus on Heather Heyer and 

Spoiler

the part of the ending where the white cops help Ron set up and expose the bad cop,

I wondered if Lee was trying to make the point that the fight against racism is everyone's fight and that it's going to take everyone to defeat it.

I thought it was an incredibly powerful movie, and I say that as someone who has a bit of a love/hate relationship with Lee's work. John David Washington was great in general, but I thought he handled the more comedic moments particularly well, especially in that scene where he makes the initial contact with the KKK over the phone and afterwards one of the other cops points out that he used his actual name and he's like, "Oh... shit."

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I saw it on Saturday. EXCELLENT. I want to see it again. My only complaint was the "weird Spike Lee thing". I swear, the entire theater groaned at that.

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I thought it had some powerful moments but also had some "style over substance" stuff that was maybe too heavy-handed.

Two minor gripes: I strongly doubt Colorado College had that many Black students in the early 70s though the few they had could easily have been very visible locally. Also, for the most part the geography and the housing styles were not realistic for the time or the region. Afterward I read on IMDb that the movie was shot in NY state so that makes sense I guess.

Quote

The use of the term "Toad" to describe suspects for example.

It wasn't just to describe suspects in general, it was to describe Black suspects in particular. Every time Stallworth looked in the jacket it was a Black guy who'd been arrested and that's why he got increasing angry about it.

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This is the only time I think I've ever wished I'd been spoiled for the ending of a film.  I was not emotionally prepared for the Charlottesville footage.  It's just a little too close to home (literally -- C'ville's about a two-hour drive from here), and it's still pretty raw. 

That said, though, I really liked the movie a lot.  I didn't recognize Topher Grace at. all.  And Ron Stallworth's "white voice" reminded me of "Sorry To Bother You" (another film I really liked!).

I'm sure the filmmakers took lots of liberties, as they always do, but I'm looking forward to reading the real story.

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BlacKkKlansman has gotten four Golden Globe nominations: John David Washington for Best Actor, Adam Driver for Supporting Actor, Spike Lee for Best Director & Best Motion Picture, Drama.

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I finally saw this....wow....soo good....not a movie I care to see again but I think this is a movie everyone should see

 

I thought Topher Grace did okay...I never was very impressed with his acting, I thought he was always very one note...I remember hearing when this movie came out that he really had a hard time with this role and saying those lines

 

I think this movie really showed Adam Driver and John David Washington's acting chops...hence their nominations

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Rented this tonight and it was fantastic. Even all the shit those assholes kept spewing made me want to take several showers. The whole sequence of the Klan ceremony watching that fucking Birth of A Nation movie intersecting with that elderly black man recounting his poor friend getting lynched? Sickening.

I was prepared for the allusions of how You Know Who came into power by blending racism in politics. But I WASN'T prepared for when Ron got beat up by cops when he was trying to arrest the Klan wife. Ugggh.

It was totally worth it just to watch that satisfying last call when Ron revealed himself to David Duke. Of course that might not have been smart in retrospect but still worth it!

On August 19, 2018 at 4:07 PM, 4evaQuez said:

I personally didn't see it that way. Seeing the wife actually made me think of a Freddrick Douglass biography I read in college. Basically, that white women, in their own way, were both the beneficiaries and victims of racism. In the book, the slave owner's wife begins teaching Freddrick to read. Her husband is furious and then forbids her from teaching him to read, and from that moment on, the wife becomes much crueler to Freddrick. (I apologize I can't give more detail as college has been a decade ago.) I thought about this because the wife, in her own ways, is obviously completely broken. Her husband obviously does not respect her - as seen in her scene passing out the cheese and crackers and discussing Patrice - and he obviously enjoys being able to control her. She also lacks self respect and any power within her own life. I thought this was to show why she, her husband and various other white people held such racial hatred. They felt they were losing power, or they realized they never had power to lose and redirecting their self loathing onto Black people gave them a sense of purpose and power and automatically made them the heroes in their own story. I didn't necessarily think her attractiveness or lack thereof was essential to her particular portion of the plot.

Yeah. Still didn't feel the least bit sorry for her though.

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I hope Blanchard's beautiful score wins for this, or at least that the voters take a long listen to it. I had my issues with the film itself. I thought it was a good time while it was going on, and it has a generosity that was not always present in Lee's early films. But its combination of bludgeoning and tall tales bothered me more as I got some distance from it. I'm surprised Lee and his co-writers are getting a relatively easy ride from the authenticity watchdogs, as the liberties they've taken (fraudulently conferring Jewishness on a major character, making up a love interest, fabricating the third-act bomb drama out of whole cloth, and dumping the whole case seven years prior to its correct time frame -- Duke would only have been 21-22, and Stallworth a cadet) are more jarring than those in some films that have been assailed. The filmmakers obviously had a solid fictional film within their grasp; maybe they should have just gone the "inspired by" route.  

All that said, the music was entirely on point. As was Adam Driver's nominated performance, although I know he has no chance, and I haven't seen everything in the category yet. Accuracy concerns notwithstanding, the scene in which he talks about his cultural identity, and how the case was stirring his feelings about it, was the best moment an actor had in the film.

Edited by Simon Boccanegra
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I liked the movie a lot for much of the same reasons people here liked it. I've only ever seen JDW from a few episodes of Ballers and LH from Spiderman: Homecoming so they were as good as expected, better, especially LH since she had more to work with here.  

My one grip is the weird almost ending with Ron and Patrice moving towards the door/window/can't remember. 

This is definitely one of those movies that who watch once because it's pretty hard to take. 

On 8/13/2018 at 4:10 AM, SimoneS said:

I wonder about the casting of the white supremacist wife. I couldn't help wondering if Spike Lee cast the actress to suggest that the hate that the couple shared was the basis of their love so he was able to overlook her size and "unattractiveness?" This possibility makes me uncomfortable.

Initially, my answer was going to be since it's based on a true story, then the actress was probably cast because she resembles the real life wife. Then this was posted

 

On 2/3/2019 at 11:16 PM, Simon Boccanegra said:

But its combination of bludgeoning and tall tales bothered me more as I got some distance from it. I'm surprised Lee and his co-writers are getting a relatively easy ride from the authenticity watchdogs, as the liberties they've taken (fraudulently conferring Jewishness on a major character, making up a love interest, fabricating the third-act bomb drama out of whole cloth, and dumping the whole case seven years prior to its correct time frame -- Duke would only have been 21-22, and Stallworth a cadet) are more jarring than those in some films that have been assailed.

 Now I'm like maybe the actress doesn't resemble the real-life wife. I never got the impression that her husband had an issue with her weight so he probably genuinely "loved" her. I put that in quotes because he obviously didn't treat her well all time. I already planned to read the book. Now I really want to read it because so much has been changed. 

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My friend and I are mad that John David Washington got fucking SNUBBED from a Best Actor Oscar nomination while Adam Driver got Best Supporting.  Like, seriously?!  Adam Driver was good and all, but John was in the lead!  It was his character's operation.  What the hell, Academy?!

Edited by Spartan Girl
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On 12/30/2018 at 12:11 AM, snickers said:

I finally saw this....wow....soo good....not a movie I care to see again but I think this is a movie everyone should see

 

I thought Topher Grace did okay...I never was very impressed with his acting, I thought he was always very one note...I remember hearing when this movie came out that he really had a hard time with this role and saying those lines

 

I'm watching it right now, and didn't even recognize him. 

I loathe David Duke, this is hard to watch, but I need to watch it again soon, because I've been so distracted this morning, and the DVD has to go back today. 

On 2/5/2019 at 12:23 PM, Spartan Girl said:

My friend and I are mad that John David Washington got fucking SNUBBED from a Best Actor Oscar nomination while Adam Driver got Best Supporting.  Like, seriously?!  Adam Driver was good and all, but John was in the lead!  It was his character's operation.  What the hell, Academy?!

He wasn't nominated? But he's so good!! 

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I did think Adam Driver was excellent, and he had the more psychologically interesting material of the two guys, but I think what it really comes down to is that the Supporting Actor category had fewer sure things claiming space. Everyone knew by Oscar nomination time that Bale, Cooper, Malek, and Mortensen had four slots of the lead-actor category sewn up. They were in so many of the other awards races that the absence of any of them would have been a shocker. That left many people fighting it out for one open slot, with Washington, Ethan Hawke, and Willem Dafoe having the most support, ahead of a large field of "possibles" (Carell, Eastwood, Gosling, Hedges, Jackman, Stephan James, Redford, Reilly). Dafoe just ended up being the lucky boy. He's obviously respected (three prior noms), and while I haven't seen his performance as Van Gogh yet, I'm sure he's his usual first-rate self. I was seriously bummed for Hawke, who had never been better than he was as the unraveling clergyman in First Reformed. I found him heartbreaking in a very difficult part. But...eh. Awards. They're fun to talk about and watch, but the real test of great films and great performances is what reaches you and then what endures through the years.

Edited by Simon Boccanegra

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On 8/19/2018 at 8:11 PM, Steph J said:

I found that interesting as well and, coupled with the ending's focus on Heather Heyer and 

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the part of the ending where the white cops help Ron set up and expose the bad cop,

I wondered if Lee was trying to make the point that the fight against racism is everyone's fight and that it's going to take everyone to defeat it.

I thought it was an incredibly powerful movie, and I say that as someone who has a bit of a love/hate relationship with Lee's work. John David Washington was great in general, but I thought he handled the more comedic moments particularly well, especially in that scene where he makes the initial contact with the KKK over the phone and afterwards one of the other cops points out that he used his actual name and he's like, "Oh... shit."

OMG, my favorite part, as well. Adam Driver's dead pan turn in the chair and comment, "Did I just hear you say your real name?" to JDW's facial expression and "Oh, motherfucker," when he realized his rookie mistake. 

I know that there is sarcasm laced throughout this movie, but I'm having a hard time with my DirecTV listing this as a COMEDY.  Seriously?

I also have a love-hate relationship with Spike Lee movies. I love Crooklyn, mainly for the 70's setting, music, and remembering the clothes and pop culture of my childhood matching it so well.  Unfortunately, in a few too many of his movies, the "racist white asshole," tends to be a stereotypical, wife beater wearing, uneducated, heavily accented, dumb ass Guido.  If my people are not being portrayed in movies as mobsters, they're being portrayed as racist morons.  I was relieved that the character of the crooked cop, Landers, last name didn't end in a vowel for once. 

To me, this was Spike's best work.  And JDW and Driver were excellent, both deserving of every nomination that they were given.  It's too bad that the Oscar's snubbed Washington. He deserved a nomination. 

Quote

My one grip is the weird almost ending with Ron and Patrice moving towards the door/window/can't remember.

That's a Spike Lee trick. The same camera work was used in Crooklyn toward the end, when Troy and Joseph go to get Joseph's money back from the two glue sniffers on the stoop (one of which was Spike, himself). Troy is holding a bat over her head as the camera brings them toward the huffers. 

I just realized something. There was a Spike Lee trick that was missing from this movie. He tends to insert himself into a role, mostly minor, in a lot of his movies. This time, he did not. I'm actually glad. I think the gimmick would have distracted from the movie's message. 

Edited by ChicksDigScars
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