This is a repost from August brought back in celebration of Spike”s win.
Most of my adult life has been shaped by Spike Lee movies and I never miss a new Spike Lee Joint. My daughter saw Blackkklansman and asked if I had. When she said it was a very funny movie, I wondered how a true movie about the Klan could be funny.
I recently watched comic W. Kamau Bell’s episode of the Klan on CNN’s ‘United Shades of America’ and learned there are aspects of today’s Klan that are ridiculous. Yet, I wondered how Spike could portray the Klan of the 70s as funny.
There’s something in Blackkklansman for everyone. It is a very funny story for those who want to laugh out loud a few times. It’s an excellent period piece that portrays black lifestyle in the 70s almost perfectly for those of you over 50 who’d enjoy a visual reminder of being a young adult during those times. For those of you sensitive to race relations and criminal justice, Spike does a masterful job showing how little has changed since the 70s.
If you’re a Denzel Washington fan, his son plays the lead character and there isn’t much physical resemblance between the two of them, but their voices are almost identical which plays an important role in the movie as the young Washington has many phone conversations with the Klan.
The five highlights of the film for me are:
The Afros. I have to admit that I forgot how beautiful the Afro hairstyle was. The movie was full of college aged students rocking those huge ‘fros that blow in the wind and allow sunlight to shine through.
Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael). The movie opens with a rousing speech by Kwame to the Colorado State Black Student Union. Corey Hawkins crushed that part.
Black Student Union. The co-star was the women president of the Black Student Union. She reminded me of my days as president of the Black Cultural Society at Villanova and its history of bringing civil rights leaders to campus just 5 years ahead of my time there.
Harry Belafonte. Spike cleverly brings in Belafonte’s voice before his image. Anyone who knows it can recognize Belafonte’s raspy speaking voice a mile away. And then the real Belafonte of right here and now is on the screen spittin’ knowledge. What a treat.
Spike Lee and Jordon Peele. I’m convinced the appeal this movie will have with both young and old audiences has a lot to do with the magic of bringing an old and new filmmaker together to collaborate on this film. You can see the signature Spike Lee elements and the Jordon Peele ‘Get Out’ elements in various parts of the movie. It flat out worked.
For a guy who can hardly stay awake in a movie theater and attends the 10 am showing knowing it’s my best chance to hang in there, Blackkklansman would have held my attention if I had even gone to the midnight showing.
Check it out and tell me what you think.