With tons of thunderstorms yesterday, I left work early and found myself with multiple Netfux to plow through. First, I popped in The Jane Austen Book Club. Admitting it was in the house may be enough of an embarrassment, but I didn't know much about it. I really like Emily Blunt and Maria Bello, after all.
Wow. What a turd. I'm actually surprised I wasn't more offended by it's All Wrapped Up in a Big Fat Bow ending. Not to mention the endorsement of "all this ferocious pairing off," as they say in Last Days of Disco. It's the worst kind of chick---well, no, wait. Mainstream Fool's Gold schlock is probably the worst kind of chick flick, but this is type is a very close second. Worse still, it wasn't even a guilty pleasure--it was only vaguely entertaining. I can only chalk up my having finished it to my inability to get the cat off my lap. I wish I could bitchslap movies sometimes.
Then I watched Do the Right Thing, which has always been in the back of my mind to re-watch. I saw it in film school and really didn't care for it. Shortly afterwards, I was forced to put it in my Raising Arizona bag of Why the Fuck Does Everyone Worship This Movie and What Am I NOT Getting? So I thought I would re-visit it another time. Joe mentioned he would be looking at it on Cinemaslave, so I figured now was as good a time as any.
This time, at least, I can really appreciate the style and color--it is very well done. The colors alone almost make it worth watching--plus I really did enjoy the RED WALL--and he did a great job conveying heat. Again, the style is really incredible. I also listened to the commentary this time, which was decent.
Storywise, I don't think you have to be able to relate to this film to appreciate it, but I'm sure if you could relate it would certainly just add another layer for the viewer. Having lived in the minority in Tokyo, I still don't think that qualifies me as being able to relate to the deeply-rooted racial tensions of Brooklyn (although it did teach me wonderful other things, but that's another blog).
I'm sure this film was a real eye-opener for some, but I just wasn't part of that crowd (which I guess is a good thing). I was shocked, listening to the commentary, at Spike Lee saying how many critics bashed the movie for being unrealistic in that it portrays a black neighborhood but "leaves out the drugs." WTF??? As if there is no such thing as a black neighborhood without drugs. I'm embarrassed not just that someone would think that, but far worse, that they would print it in their review as if it were not a viewpoint to be ashamed of. 1988, how charming.
On a personal level, I certainly don't hate it, but it's not my cup of tea. No reason, really, just that some Spike Lee movies tend to leave me cold. I didn't even like his "first" film, She's Gotta Have It. I used to have a rule that every other Spike Lee movie was really good, offset by the sucking of the one after it. But then Inside Man kind of sucked and that rule stopped working. And then I sort of realized 25th Hour was the only Spike Lee movie I like. And back in my Angelika days I was forced to watch She Hate Me, which almost made me stop watching any of his movies ever, it was that bad.
After all that, I then just wanted to watch one of my favorite stylish movies, so I popped in Heat. It wasn't the whitest move (ooh, Miami Vice time!) but I was aware it was pretty close. I just really love that movie, never get tired of it. It's one of the few movies that, while I'm watching it, it occurs to me that somehow 42" just doesn't seem big enough. A friend of a friend owns a print and by god, one day I'm going to make a screening happen.
The first time I saw Heat was on a date when I was 16 and the movie was so much more memorable than the date. It was the first time I ever asked a guy out (at least I chose an awesome movie). This guy must have been very good looking because I recall in AP English he used to say that no one actually liked Shakespeare, but everyone felt they were just supposed to like Shakespeare and no one questioned why we still read it. Interesting viewpoint...completely moronic, but hey, way to Question Authority, dude. At least I can recall thinking it was idiotic even at the time. So again, he must have been very good looking.
My point is that I'm so glad we saw Heat because otherwise that night would have been such a waste. History would repeat itself years later at university with an Actor who smoked entirely too much weed (though you would have never guessed) when we went to see Boogie Nights...
(Luckily, the first movie D and I saw together was Cannibal Holocaust, so the formula was reversed and we got married.)