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Author Topic: Spike Lee's "Inside Man"
bigcitygal
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posted 23 April 2006 10:20 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I just saw Spike Lee's latest movie, "Inside Man" and I know it got luke-warm to bad reviews, but I loved it! A little too much violence for my liking, but full of intrigue, tension, and whoa, Denzel! And, of course, Jodie. Ooh lala!

What I like about Spike, and I haven't seen much of his stuff since "Do the Right Thing", is how he names and participates in centering race and racism, esp. in a film like this that doesn't have the issue of race and racism as its theme. It's New York, there are cops about the place, there's frikkin' racism!

I'm not thrilled about his sexism, (duh )but man, does he hit racism right in the face!

Anyone else see it, have thoughts? No spoilers for those who haven't seen it!


From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 23 April 2006 10:24 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, anything with Denzel in it can't be bad.

I've been thinking about seeing it, and now I think it's gone from a maybe to a definite, since you seem to have enjoyed it so much.


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StockwellDay
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posted 23 April 2006 12:09 PM      Profile for StockwellDay     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Spike Lee made some great movies after Do The Right Thing. Malcolm X is a beautiful film, Crooklyn's really sweet, and Bamboozled is crazy.

But why do you mention his sexism? Was Inside Man sexist? Did you find the heroine of Crooklyn to be proof of Spike's sexism? Did he take liberties with the portrayal of Malcolm X's wife?


From: the right coast | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
RookieActivist
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posted 23 April 2006 01:00 PM      Profile for RookieActivist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I saw this movie and really didn't like it. It wasn't just the excessive swearing, but I just didn't find it that suspenseful. It wasn't terrible or anything, but the commercials and trailers make it seem much more exciting than it is.
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bigcitygal
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posted 23 April 2006 01:32 PM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oops, of course I saw "Malcolm X". How could I forget that was a Spike Lee film? Duh.

The sexism I was referring to was in "Inside Man", specifically, Denzel's girlfriend and the overall portrayal of women characters in the film. The sexism wasn't horrible, but it was there and I could have done without it. At one point I poked my friend (another feminist) and said "Oh yeah, Spike Lee and his issues with sexism...". We giggled, rolled our eyes and kept watching.

And since I didn't see the trailer, I had no expectations, so I wasn't disappointed. I find that trailers can often do that, and that I enjoy movies much more if I just go.


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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 23 April 2006 01:37 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I'm not thrilled about his sexism...


Says the woman who just objectified Jodie Foster...

Seriously though, I liked certain aspects of the film, like the fact that I got to see an othodox Sikh on the big screen who didn't speak or act like Fisher Stevens in "Short Circut" and the way in which Lee managed to present New York as a truly multicultural city. He didn't give the impression that NY is one big, happy melting pot. That scene between Clive Owen and the little kid was cool as well.
It did strike me as very guy centric, however. Most the women, (the brassy Brooklynite, the Albanian girlfriend, Fraiser's fiance and even Jodie Foster' s character) only served as one-dimensional ornaments. It wasn't bad, but all things considered, I think that Malcom X (the only other Spike Lee film I've scene) was a much better movie.

[ 23 April 2006: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]

[ 23 April 2006: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
StockwellDay
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posted 23 April 2006 01:50 PM      Profile for StockwellDay     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by bigcitygal:
At one point I poked my friend (another feminist) and said "Oh yeah, Spike Lee and his issues with sexism...". We giggled, rolled our eyes and kept watching.

What was the point in the film where you poked your friend and said that? I haven't seen Inside Man yet, but I've seen most of Lee's films, and don't quite understand how you've come to the conclusion that Spike Lee is sexist.


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Makwa
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posted 23 April 2006 02:14 PM      Profile for Makwa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by StockwellDay:
I've seen most of Lee's films, and don't quite understand how you've come to the conclusion that Spike Lee is sexist.
"She's gotta have it" (don't get me started, geez), Rosie Perez as the complaining Latina sex object in "Do the Right Thing," every female character who is a near silent object of lust unless they're doin' a chorus dance about hair in "School Daze", Alfre Woodard as the constantly complaining spouse to the misunderstood artist who conveniently dies to helpfully increase the melodrama an' let the frikkin man play his piana in "Crooklyn," the miserable complaining mom in "Mo Betta Blues", or the cenimatically complaining women who are cheated on and filmed complaining for some 75 minutes while spinning in air in "Jungle Fever". Women in S. Lee films are either largly silent, very beautiful sex objects who adore their suffering men or constantly never-ending complaining shrews. Donno about "Girl 6" but I can imagine. I don't know what to say about the tragically complaint then later homocidal female character in "Bamboozled," I really don't. Anyway, couldn't help but drop this point o' view. I kind of like Spike Lee films - they fascinate, yet irritate. Kind of like babble.

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Stargazer
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posted 23 April 2006 02:16 PM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hi Makwa!!! Sorry couldn't resist.

I'll have to catch this film and see what the deal is, but I suspect, just like a lot of Hollywood directors, females are steretyped.


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StockwellDay
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posted 23 April 2006 02:18 PM      Profile for StockwellDay     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
But Woody Allen makes nice films, right?
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Stargazer
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posted 23 April 2006 02:24 PM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Actually I think Woody Allen is a genious and I think I may be the only person who still thinks he is.

But what does Woody Allen have to do with this?


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voice of the damned
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posted 23 April 2006 02:32 PM      Profile for voice of the damned     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I saw INSIDE MAN yesterday.

Usually, I find Spike Lee's films rather boring and long-winded. He's an "ideas man", which is fine, but his scripts tend to get bogged down in these scenes where two people have a never-ending coversation that fails to hold my interest.

Not so with Inside Man. It had me hooked throughout, and the plot twists were pretty cool. I especially liked the scene with the Albanian woman translating the dialogue on the wiretap, although admittedly that owed at least as much to the punch line as to the delivery.

I think the thriller genre works well for Lee, because it is almost by definition fast moving, and gives the pace of his work a needed pick-me-up. I really hope he returns to this genre in the future.


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StockwellDay
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posted 23 April 2006 02:42 PM      Profile for StockwellDay     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sorry to force you to rejoin babble, Makwa. I'm just trolling.

quote:
Women in S. Lee films are either largly silent, very beautiful sex objects who adore their suffering men or constantly never-ending complaining shrews.

Well, the three most important women in Malcolm X could fit in your two categories. Did you feel they were unfairly portrayed?

I've seen all the movies you've mentioned, and I just disagree with your assessment of those female characters. You thought they were either eye candy or shrews, I didn't. Lots of characters in a 40 Acres and a Mule production are going to be one dimensional. Sometimes it's a white cop, sometimes it's a black dj... Did everyone find the Korean grocer in Do The Right Thing to be wonderfully nuanced? Why have a problem with female characters in Inside Man, which Lee didn't even write?


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bigcitygal
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posted 23 April 2006 03:53 PM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hey Makwa! It's been awhile hasn't it? You an' me, babble, talkin' about racism and sexism. Just like old times. *sigh*. Missed you, guy!

Stockwell, I feel that Makwa has effectively answered your questions, and has also seen way more SL films than I have. I also feel like you're deliberately being provocative, even if that's not what you intend.

votd, yeah, I was hooked in too. I could kinda see a few of the plot devices coming (but not the big one! Whoa! ), and I still really enjoyed it.


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Makwa
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posted 23 April 2006 04:02 PM      Profile for Makwa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by StockwellDay:
Well, the three most important women in Malcolm X could fit in your two categories. Did you feel they were unfairly portrayed?
There were women in "Malcolm X"? The sister of Minister El-Shabazz, Ella, who convinced him to convert to Islam was never mentioned, nor was his mother, Louise Little. His spouse, played by the extraordinary Angela Basset, barely spoke. I seem to remember the most noticeable female characters as either past partners in crime or exploitation figures. Not the most progressive treatment of Alex Hailey's. Femme fatale or tragic figure. In the showing I was at, most of the audience laughed at the hippie chick who got told. Sigh. Nyway, just dropped in 'cause I couldn't resist a Spike Lee joint.

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StockwellDay
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posted 23 April 2006 04:13 PM      Profile for StockwellDay     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
His mother wasn't in the movie? It's been ten years since I've seen Malcolm X; who was the woman at the beginning of the movie?

I'm not quite sure that Makwa has answered all my questions. For instance, what was the point in Inside Man where bigcitygal poked her feminist friend and giggled about Spike Lee's sexism? I'll see the film this week, and wouldn't mind paying particular attention to that point.


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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 23 April 2006 04:49 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What was that ballywood tune they played at the begining of the movie?
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voice of the damned
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posted 24 April 2006 12:31 AM      Profile for voice of the damned     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
What was that ballywood tune they played at the begining of the movie?

Hey, I'd forgotten about that music. Yeah, that was cool. I also liked the opening of 25th Hour, with the "towers of light" and ominous music.


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Brett Mann
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posted 24 April 2006 08:32 PM      Profile for Brett Mann        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Gotta put my 2 cents in when I see mention of the 25th hour. I love all Spike Lee's joints, but this one struck me as one of the darkest, most serious and honest movies to ever come out of America. On a par with Bergman's work perhaps. I'm really looking forward to seeing Inside Man.
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Jacob Two-Two
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posted 24 April 2006 10:43 PM      Profile for Jacob Two-Two     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Alfre Woodard as the constantly complaining spouse to the misunderstood artist who conveniently dies to helpfully increase the melodrama an' let the frikkin man play his piana in "Crooklyn"

I really gotta disagree. There may be Spike Lee films that are sexist (the Malcolm X argument is valid, but then Malcolm was sexist), but "Crooklyn" isn't one of them. The younger sister and the mother are the heroes of the film. Yeah, the mom complained a lot, but wouldn't you? Raising five kids, working a full time job, and your husband is downstairs playing the piano all the time? I'd be complaining big time. Why do you think she was the one who got cancer? Because she had to do everything herself. She seemed pretty restrained to me. Hardly a "shrew". That movie was also based on Spike's real-life experiences. It wasn't a plot device, his mom really died, and his sister stepped in to take care of the family because apparently, the guys were all useless. If anything, that movie paints a rather unflattering picture of men.

And I think it's a bit of a stretch to say "Do the right thing" is sexist. I can see what you're saying, I suppose, in that the men are driving all the action, but I don't think that's sexist in itself. Rosie's character does give Spike a hard time (can't remember the character's names), but he definitely seems to deserve it. In fact, he comes off as a real prick in a lot of ways, much worse than she does. Personally, I don't see it.

I haven't seen the other movies.


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