Hollywood Insider - News Entertainment & Culture

Substance & Meaningful Entertainment

Against Gossip & Scandal

Independent Media Network

Global Stories From Local Perspective

Factual Culture News

Hollywood Insider 3 Best Spike Lee Films, Do The Right Thing, 25th Hour, Malcolm X

Photo: Jose Cruz/ABr

Spike Lee films are a study in art, message and protest. Much like his other films, the new Spike Lee joint Da 5 Bloods, which released on Netflix on June 12, has been loved by fans all over the world. The story of four Black Vets (played by Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis and Isiah Whitlock, Jr.), who return to Vietnam decades later to search for the remains of their fallen Squad Leader (Chadwick Boseman) as well as the fortune they hid together. The film deals with the criminal nature of the Vietnam War, while also confronting the legacy of the violence on the psyches of those who were sent to fight in it. 

Spike Lee is not only one of the most visible faces of Black cinema who keeps on exploring a multitude of issues concerning African-American communities, but also an acclaimed director who is known for his unique and eclectic style. Aside from Da 5 Bloods, let’s look at the three highly acclaimed movies from the director’s filmography. 

Related article: Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s Love Letter to Black Lives Matter

Spike Lee Films – Do The Right Thing

“I got today’s forecast for you: hot. The color for today is black.” Do the Right Thing (1989) was the movie to put Spike Lee in the public eye and earned him the reputation of provocateur. Starring the director himself accompanied by a strong ensemble cast, the film starts as a slice-of-life comedy of a hot summer day in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood. However, as the heat rises, so does the racial tension that has been simmering in the background. Angles get slanted as things start getting out of balance and control.

Related article: Review: Spike Lee’s Netflix Film ‘Da 5 Bloods’ is a Must-Watch

Can there be reconciliation amidst continuing assault on Black life? Spike Lee doesn’t shy away from asking this hard question, while at the same time defining anew what Black, political cinema can look like, making stylistic choices far from the dictate of realism. His aesthetic choices incorporate influences from pop culture to classic Greek drama. The film ends with conflicting quotations from Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X regarding the status of violence in the fight against racial oppression. This is not to exercise judgment on the actions of the characters but to highlight the complexity of the answer to what “the right thing” is. 

Do the Right Thing is the perfect example of a Spike Lee joint, and for those new to the director’s work, the best place to get initiated.

Related article: Good Cop Stephen Mader Fired For REFUSING to Shoot A Black Person 

Limited Time Offer – FREE Subscription to Hollywood Insider, independent media network for substance and meaningful entertainment that is free of gossip and scandal, factual news on culture, click here

Spike Lee Films: Malcolm X

Viewed by most critics as Lee’s greatest achievement, Malcolm X (1992) is the biopic of the influential Black leader, spanning the four decades of his life leading up to his assassination at Audubon Ballroom in 1965. Produced while surrounded by the controversy regarding whether Spike Lee was capable or deserving of representing such an important figure in an authentic way, without distortion or sanitization, the film went on to be released in the aftermath of the 1992 LA riots pursuing the beating of Rodney King by white police officers and their subsequent acquittal. Lee’s movie opens with Malcolm’s scorching words sounding over the real-life footage of the violence, cross-cutting to a burning American Flag, as he condemns the American nightmare that black experience has always been. 

The screenplay, re-written by Lee after taking over the project, presents X’s life through the framework of his intellectual journey as well as his spiritual transformation and maturation, from his childhood in rural Michigan and his youth in Boston and Harlem as a criminal to his initiation into Islam in prison, his ministry in the Nation of Islam, his falling out with Elijah Mohammed and the start of the Organization of Afro-American Unity.  Through Malcolm’s search for his faith, independence, truth, and identity (X in his name standing for the unknown), the film interrogates what it means to be a black man in the 20th century US. This narrative of a life composed of many lives essentially marked with constant self-invention and re-invention touches upon the multifarious facets of the black masculine reality and is expressed by Lee through stylistic changes that affect tone and mood.

Related article: Innocent Kind Elijah McClain “Legally” Murdered by Thug Police Officers

Related article: Live Updates: List of Successes From Black Lives Matter Protests!

Denzel Washington gives a compelling performance as X, and the double dolly shot of him “floating” along with Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” has since then gained iconic status. Speaking of music, the movie is also a testament to the Black art of the mid-century, with the names, faces, and voices of Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, and Ella Fitzgerald accompanying Malcolm’s story throughout. Despite the cultural dispute around it, Malcolm X still stands as a critical testimony to the life of one of the most important figures of US political history. 

Spike Lee Films – 25th Hour

Spike Lee’s self-described love-letter to the city and its residents, the three minutes long New York, New York, can be seen as the unforeseeable sequel to the quiet treasure 25th Hour (2002) is. Even though the screenplay (by David Benioff) was completed before the historic tragedy, the film was one of the first to depict and dwell in the mood of mourning and uncertainty that the metropolis was taken over by in the aftermath of 9/11. Lee paints the city’s story of loss in the background with subtle and ambiguous melancholy while immersing ourselves into the headspace of Monty Brogan, as he spends his last 24 hours before driving upstate to start his seven-year sentence for drug offenses. This timeframe is filled with reflection and self-interrogation, as he tries to figure out where to lay his trust in the face of an invisible betrayal. 

Related article: Spike Lee Short Film ‘New York, New York’ Honors Healthcare Workers

Subscribe to Hollywood Insider’s YouTube Channel, by clicking here.

25th hour is a slow hit in the gut, and perhaps the movie that will grab us the hardest during these times of crisis. The fears that Monty possesses – the feeling of impending doom, the prolonged isolation, and being pulled away from the life one has built for oneself along with loved ones – resonates all the more, as New York once again takes on the face of a city in grief. Edward Norton’s exquisite performance is able to express everything that the character tries to repress – his vulnerability, unresolved anger, and self-blame. 25th Hour is restrained but intense, one of the most somber and contemplative of Lee’s films, and the personal favorite of the author.

By Bilgesu Sisman

Click here to read Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Black Lives Matter, in which he tackles more than just police reform, press freedom and more – click here.

An excerpt from the love letter: Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, “Hollywood Insider fully supports the much-needed Black Lives Matter movement. We are actively, physically and digitally a part of this global movement. We will continue reporting on this major issue of police brutality and legal murders of Black people to hold the system accountable. We will continue reporting on this major issue with kindness and respect to all Black people, as each and every one of them are seen and heard. Just a reminder, that the Black Lives Matter movement is about more than just police brutality and extends into banking, housing, education, medical, infrastructure, etc. We have the space and time for all your stories. We believe in peaceful/non-violent protests and I would like to request the rest of media to focus on 95% of the protests that are peaceful and working effectively with positive changes happening daily. Media has a responsibility to better the world and Hollywood Insider will continue to do so.”

Vote with a conscience – Register to Vote – Your vote saves lives and ends systemic racism

Ways to support Black Lives Matter Movement to end systemic racism

More Interesting Stories From Hollywood Insider

Want GUARANTEED SUCCESS? Remove these ten words from your vocabulary| Transform your life INSTANTLY

Compilation: All James Bond 007 Opening Sequences From 1962 Sean Connery to Daniel Craig

– Do you know the hidden messages in ‘Call Me By Your Name’? Find out behind the scenes facts in the full commentary and In-depth analysis of the cinematic masterpiece

A Tribute To The Academy Awards: All Best Actor/Actress Speeches From The Beginning Of Oscars 1929-2019 | From Rami Malek, Leonardo DiCaprio To Denzel Washington, Halle Berry & Beyond | From Olivia Colman, Meryl Streep To Bette Davis & Beyond

In the 32nd Year Of His Career, Keanu Reeves’ Face Continues To Reign After Launching Movies Earning Over $4.3 Billion In Total – “John Wick”, “Toy Story 4”, “Matrix”, And Many More

Spike Lee Films, Spike Lee Films, Spike Lee Films, Spike Lee Films, Spike Lee Films, Spike Lee Films, Spike Lee Films, Spike Lee Films, Spike Lee Films, Spike Lee Films, Spike Lee Films, Spike Lee Films, Spike Lee Films, Spike Lee Films, Spike Lee Films, 

Author

  • Bilgesu is a writer and researcher with a background in the humanities. She considers cinema to be a medium and instigator of thought, and she is passionate about sharing her knowledge and outlook with others through writing and teaching. She is a strong believer in the transformative potential of art and is committed to engaging novel perspectives. Her approach is guided by values of justice, compassion and creativity and thus aligns with the mission of Hollywood Insider. She’s currently pursuing a PhD in Philosophy and spends her free time on creative writing.

logo

Limited Time Offer: Join For Free Today & Get Unlimited Access.

Hollywood Insider focuses on substance & meaningful entertainment.

Quality of our content over quantity, transformation rather than titillation, and extraordinary instead of normal.

 

SUBSCRIBE NOW

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.