Wow, your first Spike Lee joint? You really have some catching up to do. He’s one of my favorite directors. Here’s a list of his other films, start at the top and work your way down:
Do The Right Thing (1989)
The film that gained Lee praise and got him noticed as an up and coming independent filmmaker. About the people that inhabit a block in Brooklyn on the hottest day of the year. The hotter it gets, the more the tension rises. Known for memorable characters like Buggin’ Out, Radio Raheem, Da Mayor, and Sweet Dick Willie. Lee’s real sister, Joie, plays his character Mookie’s sister in the film.
Summer of Sam (1999) Winner of 5 Fidelio Film Awards
This could have turned out to be just any old serial killer movie, but not with director Spike Lee. Lee takes a different turn with his film and concentrates on the city, the Bronx, and how the tension Berkowitz creates affects the people. Music stands out as well as the montage sequences.
He Got Game (1998)
Lee has always been a basketball fan, which you can see in some of his other films like Crooklyn, and this is his tribute. Jesus Shuttlesworth is a star high school basketball player trying to decide which college to go to. His father Jake (Denzel Washington) is in jail and is let out to try and persuade his son to go to Big State. Examines college basketball recruiting on the surface, with a mystery surrounding Jesus’ mother’s death. He Got Game also looks at loyalty and a father/son relationship. Stars the young Rosario Dawson, also seen in Lee’s 2002 film 25th Hour.
Get On the Bus (1996)
On the surface, this is about the journey to the Million Man March, but really it’s about the characters that fill the bus, their lives, their discussions on the black man’s place in society. What’s interesting is Lee touches on not only racism, but sexism, homosexuality, and death.
Bamboozled (2000) Winner of 2 Fidelio Film Awards
A dark satire of how the TV industry is run by white executives who make African Americans out to be buffoons on TV. He shot in digital which gives it a hazy real quality. This of course will throw off the average movie-goer, but it adds to the film. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about the TV industry, so why not make it look like TV. One of Lee’s most in-your-face films that really makes you think.
Mo’ Better Blues (1990)
Lee’s tribute to jazz that touches on the themes of friendship, loyalty, talent, and love. Lee’s sister Joie, also seen in Do the Right Thing, plays one of Denzel Washington’s love interests.
Malcolm X (1992)
After a line of serious films, Lee made this semi-autobiographical family drama-comedy about growing up in Brooklyn back in the 70’s.
25th Hour (2002)
“A story of friendship, trust, betrayal and redemption. . . . Richly textured . . .takes a deep look into the life of a street criminal.” Great performances by Edward Norton and Rosario Dawson.
She’s Gotta Have It (1986)
Jungle Fever (1991)
School Daze (1988)
Girl 6 (1996)
4 Little Girls (1997)
Documentary about the 1963 bombing of an African American church in Birmingham during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Four little girls were killed and this is their story. Consists of different people’s memories of the event, including celebrities.
*The Original Kings of Comedy (2000)
Film School Projects
*The Answer (1980)
*Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads (1983)
Save Us Joe Louis (TBA)–listed awhile ago on a website, rumor is he’s having trouble funding this, so doing other projects first.
This movie will focus on the long rivalry between boxers the USA’s Joe Louis and Germany’s Max Schmeling, starting with their first fight in 1936. Louis loses that bout, but gets a rematch in 1938 that is promoted, as the threat of World War II loomed, as symbolic of the coming conflict between the two countries.
Adolph Hitler was personally interested in seeing Joe Louis defeated to show German superiority over African-Americans after Jesse Owens was so triumphant at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Though this movie is being called the Joe Louis project, it will also show how the facts of Schmeling’s personal life conflicted with the slant that Nazi propaganda put on him (far from a Nazi, he had many Jewish friends).
After the 1938 bout, the film will show what happened to Louis and Schmeling in its aftermath. One would become bogged down in tax problems, drug abuse, and poverty, ending up at Vegas, and the other would be shunned by the homeland that once loved him.
Danny Glover and Samuel L. Jackson are in talks to play Joe Louis; Maximilian Schell is in talks to play the older Max Schmeling.
Was originally called The War to Come