Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Reassessing Spike Lee: Part I

For the last few weeks, Encore Indie has been airing old Spike Lee movies.  It has been great to revisit some of the most iconic moments of Lee's classic films such as this one from Jungle Fever (1991):

And this one, also from Jungle Fever:

And who could forget this scene from Mo' Better Blues (1990):

Or this one:

You probably remember what happens in the very next scene (also classic and brilliant)...Another favorite film from Lee's 90's era output was Crooklyn (1994), which produced this nostalgic gem:

And I am ashamed to admit this, but I FINALLY saw all of Clockers (1995), a movie that I'll need to watch a few more times before I call any specific scene iconic. 

By the way, these are not posted in any particular order, except maybe in the order of which scenes I think are most memorable (but not in order of which films I think are best).  But I wanted to post these because they capture something unique about Spike Lee's creative genuis that has not been paralleled and because these scenes highlight why his very public beef with Tyler Perry is so timely.  Check back for my analysis in Part II.

Friday, July 08, 2011

What the World Needs Now...

Is not another list of things that annoy me, but I just can't help it! I've been on a roll at the BBW blog lately, and I feel as if I'm neglecting the Cafe.  So here is my list of ten things that have been annoying me of late:

1. Old cartoon shows becoming live action movies - I watched the Smurfs, the Chipmunks, Fat Albert, He-Man, Inspector Gadget, The Tick, Underdog, and Scooby-Doo as a kid and I prefer them as cartoons where it made sense that a pot-smoking guy named Shaggy could communicate with his dog. It does not make sense in real life that a guy would adopt singing chipmunks or that a beagle would develop super powers (or that somehow Jason Lee would be associated with both of these craptastic movies).

2. TV Trials - This is not just about the Casey Anthony trial, but about televised court cases in general. Because the results of the Anthony, OJ, Michael Jackson, Phil Spector, Robert Blake, Anna Nicole Smith, Bill Clinton's impeachment and every other TV trial is pretty much going to disappoint if you were hoping for some type of public execution.  These TV trials are so riveting because the prosecutors and the media are more focused on swaying the TV audience than they are at proving reasonable doubt to the 12 folks in the jury box.   So if you want to see a slam dunk, can't lose trial, you need to go back to watching Perry Mason or Matlock reruns.

3. Contest shows - These are as old as TV, so my complaint is not that they exist, but that they seem to multiply like rabbits or tribbles. And there are more of these contests shows airing than scripted serials.  If I see another show about dating, racing, weight-loss, singing, designing, cooking or modeling...

4. Awards Shows on MTV, BET, Vh1, or CMT - At some point, the awardees themselves are going to wonder what the heck that thing is on the mantle.  These shows remind me of those soccer games where no one keeps score, but the sad truth is that everyone is NOT a winner.  Maybe I am just annoyed because no one has offered me anything yet...

5. The Kardashians.

6. Twitter Beefs - Just acknowledging that such a thing exists seems childish, especially when you consider that it is a war of words waged in 140 characters or less.  Worse, a few of the participants are grown a$$ folks with jobs who should know better (yeah I'm talking 'bout you Roland S. Martin)!

7. Hypersensitivity About President Obama - He's black.  And a few folks in this country are not cool with that fact.  And in a nation where we pride ourselves on the right to free speech, I say we let these fools say whatever the heck they want to say about him and the rest of us people of color.  Maybe it will help to rid them of the ignorance once they spew it out and feel the backlash.  And if their ignorance goes unchecked, well, I am not worried about the POTUS because the Secret Service are some pretty scary dudes.

8. The GOP Candidates for President - For the most part, I am ignoring them, but the two craziest and unavoidable declared candidates happen to be a Morehouse Man and a Foster Mom from Iowa/Minnesota.  And the Democrats practice bad affirmative action?  Yeah right!

9. Tavis Smily and Cornel West - This could possibly brand me as hypersensitive to the criticism about the POTUS, but I don't think so.  I actually think there are some valid points of contention that these brothers have against the positions taken by the Obama Administration on certain issues.  Dr. West's primary complaint appears to be that he could not secure a ticket for his mama to attend the Inauguration; Tavis' beef is that then-candidate Obama chose to announce his presidency in Illinois than attend the State of the Black Union Gabfest in 2007.  Thus, the roots of discontent come from personal slights that have then been conflated into policy disagreements.  OK, but guess what guys--I volunteered at the DC for Obama headquarters every Friday night during the month of October 2008 and I did not get an invitation to the inauguration or a job.  I could be pissed; instead, I found something better to do with my energy...maybe you should do the same.

10. Obama - And this is where I prove that I am not hypersensitive to the President.  Mr.Obama, please reveal the method to the madness before I lose hope.  I read everyday where you appear to capitulate to the forces of evil that are holding the country hostage and I cannot help but to think that you are either the smartest man alive, or the most naive.  Because I think I know better, I am going with the smartest man alive, but could you wink or clear your throat or send some other sign that you are still on our side?  Thanks.