Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Another interesting article in The New Yorker struck me. It's on Spike Lee by John Colapinto and it's called "Outside Man: Spike Lee's Unending Struggle." I enjoyed it because it gave me some inside information about such a talented writer and director.
I consider myself a Spike Lee fan. He hooked me with his incredible take on the life of Malcolm X. The way he creates scenes and develops characters hooks you. He has a talent to deliver a strong message in just one film--every film is a chance for him to voice a strong opinion or injustice (and sometimes he even struggles to try to solve that, even if the situation is entirely impossible).
The article surfaced because Spike Lee has a new movie coming about about a division of African American soldiers in WWII called Miracle at St. Anna. An interesting piece of info they slid in there was a fight between Spike Lee and Clint Eastwood, who directed two takes on WWII, Letters from Iwo Jima and Flags of my Fathers. Lee accused Eastwood of leaving out African Americans in his films, while Eastwood fired back that they had not raised the flag, so they had no place in the film. The fights escalated, of course, with Lee calling him "an angry old man." Wow.
Even though he had that quarrel, apparently things were resolved, even though the media had a slight field day with it.
But, I was impressed to hear about Spike Lee's start as a filmmaker. He was accepted at NYU film school, one of the six African Americans in the entire school. So it was a pretty big deal for him to be there. After that point, he started to write and direct some powerful, controversial films. Now he is the artistic director of NYU's graduate program (the same he graduated from) where he teaches a master class in directing. Imagine having this guy as your professor. You sure would learn a lot. But how does he have time for all of this?
Spike Lee always tags his movies as "A Spike Lee Joint," which I like because it is quite unique. He commented in the article that he did this to put his name out there, almost like advertising. I think it's very clever and creative. You don't really see a lot of filmmakers do that really.
He even acts in the first few films he created, not because he wanted to, but because he couldn't afford to hire anyone else. Now he has big name stars like Denzel Washington starring in his feature films.
Anyway, there were other great parts in the article, especially about Lee's thoughts on Barack Obama and the owner of BET, which I found quite humorous.
Here are some excellent films and works by Spike Lee:
Miracle at St. Anna (2008)
M.O.N.Y. (2008) (TV)
Lovers & Haters (2007)
"When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts" (2006) TV mini-series
Inside Man (2006)
All the Invisible Children (2005)
Jesus Children of America (2005)
Sucker Free City (2004) (TV)
She Hate Me (2004)
25th Hour (2002)
Jim Brown: All American (2002) (TV)
Come Rain or Come Shine (2001)
A Huey P. Newton Story (2001) (TV)
The Original Kings of Comedy (2000)
Summer of Sam (1999)
Pavarotti & Friends 99 for Guatemala and Kosovo (1999) (TV)
Pavarotti & Friends for the Children of Liberia (1998) (TV)
Freak (1998) (TV)
He Got Game (1998)
4 Little Girls (1997)
Get on the Bus (1996)
Girl 6 (1996)
Malcolm X (1992)
Jungle Fever (1991)
Mo' Better Blues (1990)
Do the Right Thing (1989)
School Daze (1988)
She's Gotta Have It (1986)
Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads (1983)
The Answer (1980)
Last Hustle in Brooklyn (1977)
Do you like Spike Lee? What movies do you like/dislike?