Spike Lee movies for 2010 well, '11 by this time (pt. 1)

While fatly pigging the fuck out eating out with The Katie last Friday night, I had an epiphany. Oddly, I would find that an “epiphany” is not an item on the buffet at Golden Corral…

Never mind that though. The burst of thought led to a tweet/FaceBook status update.

“What if Spike Lee remade his movies for 2010? What if he made school daze and do the right thing now but not then?”

No need to address the couple of responses I got, since this was not a question of the day, except for the one from the homie Simon, who retweeted it as well, which included You need to blog this.”
Never one to turn down the requests of my two loyal readers (or any of the others I might have scared off by means of not coddling their fragile little egos), here we are…

I will direct my focus in these posts on the two of Shelton Jackson Lee's movies specifically named, Do the Right Thing and School Daze, and I will take them on one at a time, doing so in the order of their release…

School Daze (1988)

This movie dealt with the homecoming weekend at a fictional (for the sake of the movie, as I am sure one by this name exists SOMEWHERE) HBCU named Mission College. In it, we would see addressed things that actually went on in black colleges at one point in history.
In it, we would see the politically active groups vying for validity in a world that might not give a damn about them. Their corollary would be the gang members Greeks, who would play the role of "jocks" to their--... whatever, I'm confused now.


Issues addressed range from “internal” racism – that between darker and lighter-skinned black folks that has always existed – to a system of cliques that often form on black college campuses. I might think that something similar does on white college campuses as well, but I never been to one of those, so I do not know.
It is all done in a sometimes humorous but always musical means. Most things presented were largely symbolic and metaphorical in their message, even the ones that were not so out front. What it all amounted to (in my mind) was the painting of the black college model as a largely dysfunctional model, which remains accurate in application and as-depicted even now, three months shy of 23 years later.

In total, the movie did decently well critically and commercially, with the loudest jeers coming from those who felt they were wrongly called on their ways.
Guilty dog barks loudest, I guess.

Well, what if they did it now?

The easy answer to this question would be “well shit, he would never get green-lit or funding from the studio,” and this post would end right here…
I don’t give in that easy.
So what do I think would have changed about the movie if it had been made in 2010/’11?
First of all, the amount of on-campus activities that took place would not have taken place. It seems that the focus on HBCU homecomings these days is less on the school celebrating what in the hell ever homecomings are to celebrate. I won’t even lie and say I know what they’re actually for.
No sense in focusing on the on-campus quarrels and such. Not when we can focus on the buildup to the concerts to be held 10 miles from campus. Not when you can focus on all the out-of-towners of the opposite sex headed in to converge on the city from Thursday afternoon through Sunday morning.

The movie – if released now without the context of the original – would likely play out more like a documentary than a drama to be totally honest. With Spike Lee being Spike Lee, it would be a forum to pan people for how their behaviors have devolved, if only as a “look at what you’re doing to yourselves” and would pull no punches in doing so.
But white people would call him an ‘angry black man’ while black people would call him a ‘hater’ and the movie would be a critical and commercial flop, barely breaking even on production costs.
Now, if remade for 2010, it would AT LEAST bear the sentimental value to those of us old enough to remember the original. Themes would be similar, but adapted for the current climate, but the focus on “school” things would be similarly shifted to extracurricular activities and the disdain would still be apparent. Again, the 30+ would come and at least SEE the movie, but younger generations would completely miss the point, likely calling Spike Lee a ‘hater’ just the same.

On to the next movie tomorrow, to be continued...


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