Thursday, March 22, 2012
Top 5 Spike Lee Joints
Happy belated to the Knicks' number one fan and maybe Brooklyn's most famous resident, Spike Lee. While perhaps most well known for his die hard through-thick and-thin love of the Knicks, few people ever bring up the fact that he's a huge frontrunner when it comes to every other sport. He roots for both the Jets and the Giants equally depending on who's winning, he grew up rooting for and rooted for the Mets in the 80s when they were good, but now is seen at Yankee games and wears that stupid cap with all the pennants on it all the time. He probably would be a huge Rangers fan now if they had any brothers on the team. But, despite that douchey quality, Spike has still made a few really good films (along with some not so good). I have some issues with his film making style, mostly with his heavy handed at times preachy style and his over use of musical score, but there's a lot to like about his movies too and you can't deny his impact. What were his top 5 best?
5) Inside Man
Spike's biggest box office hit by far thanks to the presence of white people and the fact that it's one of his only forays into the heist movie genre. While I think this one was a bit over rated, and they really lost me when they got into the weird neo Nazi subplot or whatever, Inside Man was probably Spike's most entertaining flick. Plus, he wasn't in it.
4) Jungle Fever
John Turturro is great in almost everything (Transformers sucked but a guy gotta pay the bills). This one also stars a young Michael Imperioli (Chris Moltisanti from the Sopranos) and Nick Turturro as Bensonhurst guidos hating on their little sister's choice of a boyfriend. And this wasn't just any old Moolinyan, but Wesley Snipes. The blackest brother in the world. Halle Berry also pops up as a crackhead and Sam Jackson is killed by his father. It's pretty great (although the last scene is kind of lame).
3) 25th Hour
I'm a little partial to this one since the main characters are a couple guys from Bay Ridge (there's even a scene at their father's bar where the patrons are drinking beer and chanting "Let's go Yankees") but it's also Spike's most consistent work to date, in my opinion, if not the best. It doesn't veer off into any weird subplots and features one of the best monologues in film history.
2) Malcolm X
A great flick, even if you're not black (like we aren't) or aren't big fans of brother Malcolm. Spike's one truly epic bio pic is without a doubt among the best of his movies. Many feel that Denzel was robbed by the Academy (and some think it was a racist conspiracy resulting in Denzel having to be crooked before he took it) and his performance is pretty good.
1) Do The Right Thing
This is a no brainer as the number one Spike Lee joint, and he never really reached these heights again. Deals with racial issues without being overly preachy, features great performances from Turturro, Danny Aiello and even Spike himself is pretty good. Also had a great soundtrack and Rosie Perez's tits (or a close facsimile). Tons of quotable lines in this one. Sums up the racial divide in the late 80s in the scene below. Great stuff, Spike.
Honorable Mentions: He Got Game, Clockers, Mo Better Blues, Crooklyn