Spike Lee: That's My Story and I'm Sticking to It

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9780393328943: Spike Lee: That's My Story and I'm Sticking to It

A candid account of one of America's most provocative filmmakers that belongs on the shelf of any serious movie lover.

Spike Lee tells the cinematic story of the preeminent director, whose pioneering films―from Do The Right Thing, Jungle Fever, and Malcolm X to 25th Hour , Bamboozled, and The Inside Man―helped transform the face of late twentieth-century America. With unprecedented access to the Lee family and new interviews with stars and celebrities―including Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Rosie Perez, Adrien Brody, John Turturro, and many others―film critic Kaleem Aftab chronicles Spike Lee's explosive rise to stardom, exploring such important issues as Black Nationalism, Hollywood stereotyping, and the rise of a powerful black middle class. Lee's prominence in American culture continues in 2006 with the release of The Inside Man and a forthcoming documentary on Hurricane Katrina. Spike Lee tells us as much about the last two decades of American social history as it does about the life of this fascinating director.

"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

About the Author:

Spike Lee’s films have won numerous honors, including two Golden Globes and an Academy Award for Do the Right Thing. He also directed the movie biography of Malcolm X.

Kaleem Aftab is a freelance film writer for the BBC, The Independent, and V magazine. He lives in London.

From The Washington Post:

Since his brash feature-film debut in 1986, Spike Lee has staked his place in the filmmaking industry and in the public consciousness by tangling with themes that otherwise get very little screen time. Starting with a black woman's sexuality in "She's Gotta Have It" and skin-tone stratification in "School Daze," Lee has placed his characters in combustible situations and then captured the explosions, without any need of special effects.

Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that this authorized biography contains so many unflattering -- even inflammatory -- testimonials. Author Kaleem Aftab not only briskly reprises all of the charges made through the years (anti-Semitism, publicity chasing and riot-mongering, just for starters) but also airs personal and professional grievances from associates, actors and family members. For example, David Lee, a photographer who has worked for his taskmaster older brother, admits he has nightmares of Spike torturing him on set. Rosie Perez recalls her sex scene in "Do the Right Thing" as a horrible initiation into show business. Acting coach Susan Batson critiques Lee's on-camera turns: "Normally his performances are terrible." Even his wife, Tonya, gets into the act, cutting down female characters in "Girl 6" and "He Got Game." It's a tribute to Lee's vibrancy, vision and filmography that he and his films emerge as more complicated and interesting for the hits he -- and they -- are taking.

In keeping with Lee's historically minded projects, the story begins with the image of a slave ship crossing the Atlantic, carrying the ancestors of Frederick Douglass, Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King Jr. and other African-American icons. From that point, the book takes a big chronological leap to the icon staring out from the cover of this book, starting with young Lee as a happy child and a teenager more engaged by sports and music than by school.

Aftab tells of Lee's career with a lively interplay of narrative, Lee's take on events, and those of family, associates and critics like Stanley Crouch. He shows how Lee drew upon friends and family (especially grandmother Zimmie) to help him make his first films. The death of Lee's adored mother when he was in college surprisingly gets only a paragraph, but the book circles back to that event when Lee revisits his childhood with "Crooklyn," a film set in the 1970s and written by his siblings Joie and Cinque. (After Joie told Spike she wanted to direct it, he replied, "Too bad, go write another script, you've already sold this one.") Lee's relationships with his father, his stepmother and one of his three brothers are apparently so strained that they weren't interviewed for the book. Only unflattering testimonials, leavened with humor and/or affection, are included here, which is probably why Lee's pre-marriage romantic life gets little ink.

Lee himself has his regrets, such as including the rape scene in "She's Gotta Have It," straining relationships with his employees and colleagues, and allowing his empire (including stores, merchandising and advertising jobs) to become too large to handle alongside his film work. For the most part, he doesn't apologize for his scripts or for the characters who have "problematic" viewpoints. His frustration about critics mistaking his characters' statements for his feelings, their actions for his innermost desires, is understandable.

Racial tensions play a significant role in Lee's oeuvre, and Aftab puts the films within the heated context of their day, including the 1986 Howard Beach attack on 23-year-old Michael Griffith, who was killed after being chased into traffic by a mob, which set the mood for "Do the Right Thing"; and the racially motivated 1989 murder of Yusuf Hawkins in Bensonhurst, N.Y., which inspired "Jungle Fever." Aftab delves into the Nation of Islam's involvement with "Do the Right Thing" (the group provided on-set security) and "Malcolm X" (Lee met with Louis Farrakhan and showed him the scenes in the script that involved Elijah Muhammad). He notes that Lee first screened the latter "for studio heads just as the Rodney King verdict was igniting South Central Los Angeles.

The book also includes less charged anecdotes, for instance, about serendipitous script changes. Lee's signature "Please, baby, please" lines, made famous in "She's Gotta Have It," were uttered in exhaustion because he was unable to remember the monologue he wrote for himself. Susan Batson recalls the climactic scene for "He Got Game," in which Denzel Washington and pro basketball player Ray Allen are having a father-son showdown. In the original script, Washington's character loses 15-0, but during filming it became a much closer match-up. Batson asked Allen, "Do I have to teach you basketball?" "And Ray looked down on me and said, 'Susan, Denzel got game.' I said, 'Are you crazy? He ain't got game, he's just acting his buns off and you're believing him.' Denzel, he couldn't walk the next day, but his commitment to play basketball came forward that day and it was amazing."

Lee has documented his trials and triumphs through numerous books already, including a sports-fan's memoir and production histories of five of his first six films. Aftab's retelling -- his remake, if you will -- is fresh, judicious and will likely spur readers to view movies they've missed in Lee's filmography (with the probable exception of "Girl 6"). At the end of this book, Lee thanks his wife for her "laser-hot honesty," but Lee and Aftab should be commended for theirs as well.

Reviewed by Abby McGanney Nolan
Copyright 2006, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.

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Descripción WW Norton Co, United States, 2006. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Spike Lee tells the cinematic story of the preeminent director, whose pioneering films-from Do The Right Thing, Jungle Fever, and Malcolm X to 25th Hour , Bamboozled, and The Inside Man-helped transform the face of late twentieth-century America. With unprecedented access to the Lee family and new interviews with stars and celebrities-including Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Rosie Perez, Adrien Brody, John Turturro, and many others-film critic Kaleem Aftab chronicles Spike Lee s explosive rise to stardom, exploring such important issues as Black Nationalism, Hollywood stereotyping, and the rise of a powerful black middle class. Lee s prominence in American culture continues in 2006 with the release of The Inside Man and a forthcoming documentary on Hurricane Katrina. Spike Lee tells us as much about the last two decades of American social history as it does about the life of this fascinating director. Nº de ref. de la librería FLT9780393328943

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Descripción W. W. Norton & Company. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Paperback. 320 pages. Dimensions: 8.0in. x 5.5in. x 1.1in.A candid account of one of Americas most provocative filmmakers that belongs on the shelf of any serious movie lover. Spike Lee tells the cinematic story of the preeminent director, whose pioneering filmsfrom Do The Right Thing, Jungle Fever, and Malcolm X to 25th Hour , Bamboozled, and The Inside Manhelped transform the face of late twentieth-century America. With unprecedented access to the Lee family and new interviews with stars and celebritiesincluding Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Rosie Perez, Adrien Brody, John Turturro, and many othersfilm critic Kaleem Aftab chronicles Spike Lees explosive rise to stardom, exploring such important issues as Black Nationalism, Hollywood stereotyping, and the rise of a powerful black middle class. Lees prominence in American culture continues in 2006 with the release of The Inside Man and a forthcoming documentary on Hurricane Katrina. Spike Lee tells us as much about the last two decades of American social history as it does about the life of this fascinating director. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Nº de ref. de la librería 9780393328943

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