By now you have certainly heard about the recent Academy Awards controversy — where Spike Lee, director of competing movie BlacKkKlansman, was “visibly upset” when The Green Book won Best Picture and apparently tried to leave the Dolby Theater.
“I’m snakebit. Every time someone’s driving somebody, I lose,” he was heard to say, referring to his loss to Driving Miss Daisy in 1990. “I thought I was courtside at the (Madison Square) Garden and the refs made a bad call.”
I have now seen both movies.
My conclusion? If Spike Lee can’t tell the difference between his own movie and The Green Book, he is a no-talent idiot (case closed, I guess…).
I’m certainly no movie critic, but I was expecting great things from BlacKkKlansman. After all, it had the guy from Star Wars, Steve Buscemi (who I once met at a party in New York), and the guy from Ballers, which is one of my favorite series.
The acting was not bad, but the picture itself was frankly amateurish and crudely done, especially given the sensitivity of the topic. I was expecting humor, but what was there was weak and obvious.
But even more, I was expecting great things in terms of depth of character in the bads guys. Indeed something masterful, from this Oscar-nominated film. Did you ever see Christoph Walz in Inglourious Basterds? Walz’s performance gave a visceral reaction that made you want to throw up. Or Javier Bardem, the villain in Skyfall, whose performance was so eery, painful and upsetting that he made me wait more than five years before I would see that movie again.
Spike Lee’s bad guys did NOT engender the depth of disgust that would have made a difference in race relations across America, although I’m sure he thinks it did.
Spike Lee’s villains were two-dimensional stereotypes, lacking in depth or intelligence, with kneejerk, typecast responses. As the owner of a marketing company and expert in mass psychology, I can say this movie had exactly the opposite effect Lee intended. It is, in fact, a spectacularly good recruiting tool for the KKK. Yes, he missed his mark that badly.
In short, in my opinion, Lee’s movie had no business being nominated for any Academy Awards at all, let alone Best Picture.
The Green Book, on the other hand, is easily the best movie I’ve seen in the past year. The acting is superb and the characters were deeply developed. I was drawn into the ridiculousness of the situation, expecting the two characters to blow up any second.
As the movie progressed, I wanted more and more depth from the characters, and the movie delivered. I was rooting for the characters to win, and they eventually did. The heroic moments were truly heroic, and tragic moments of racism in the South were exposed in such a way, that I wanted to lash out at the wrongfulness of it, in favor of characters I cared about.
To be honest, if it had not won the Academy Award, I probably would not have watched this movie. I’m happy I did.
And Spike Lee thinks he did something good with his movie? Screw him; he is part of the problem, not part of the solution. He did a poor job on his movie, whined about it to get it nominated, and then whined when he lost.
Suck it up, Spike. Do better next time.