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School Daze (1988)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Musical  |  12 February 1988 (USA)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 4,480 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 20 critic

A not so popular young man wants to pledge to a popular fraternity at his historically black college.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Dap
...
...
Jane Toussaint (as Tisha Campbell)
Kyme ...
Rachel Meadows
...
President McPherson
Ellen Holly ...
Odrie McPherson
...
Cedar Cloud
...
Coach Odom
...
Grady
James Bond III ...
Monroe
...
Jordan
...
Edge
Eric Payne ...
Booker T. (as Eric A. Payne)
...
Half-Pint
Anthony Thompkins ...
Doo-Doo Breath
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Storyline

In the South of the United States are taking place confrontations between two groups of students who have different ideas and are not able to accept the one of the opponent. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Musical

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 February 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aulas turbulentas  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$14,545,844 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Spike Lee and Darryl Bell are members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. See more »

Goofs

When the Gamma Rays are singing I Don't Want to Be Alone Tonight, towards the end of the song, the audio and picture don't add up. The audio is slightly ahead. See more »

Quotes

Monroe: Learn to articulate, you juvenile delinquent!
See more »

Connections

Featured in College Daze (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Da Butt
Music and Lyrics by Marcus Miller and Mark Stevens
Performed by Experience Unlimited (as EU)
Produced by Marcus Miller
Sunset Burgandy Inc./Tootsie Songs/MCA Publishing, A Division of MCA Inc./(ASCAP)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fascinating, flawed but compulsively watchable
14 April 2008 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

School Daze is billed as a musical comedy but is better described as a comedy-drama with musical numbers as commentary--the only non-diegetic number is "Good and Bad Hair," Lee's all-girl fantasy homage to West Side Story that addresses colorism between the "paper bag-light" sorority Gamma Rays and the darker activist girls. Ebert wrote that this was the first movie he'd seen in a while where the black characters relate to each other instead of a hypothetical white audience--it is this that gives the movie its engrossing authenticity. (If it matters, I'm white.)

As funny as the movie can be, it's also incredibly hard-hitting--there's a sequence in the last 20 minutes where Julian, "Big Brother Al-migh-tee," insists his girlfriend "prove" her love, that's almost unwatchable and yet brutally honest. Lee has been called sexist for his underwritten female characters--there may be some truth to that but School Daze is far more critical of the men than the women. Rachel, Dap's girlfriend, is perhaps the most levelheaded, likable character in the movie, and is strong and supportive of Dap while still maintaining her independence. Even the Gamma Rays, who come off as shallow and colorist in the beginning, are sympathetic as they stand up for and try to aid the pledges during hazing. The characters who come off the worst are the GPG brothers who are, almost to a man, brutish, sadistic and crude. Julian in particular is unredeemable--clever, manipulative and almost sociopathic in his treatment of Jane. Lee supposedly based the movie on his observations at Morehouse and the movie stands as a scathing indictment against the black fraternity system and its abuse of the women's auxiliaries (aka "Little Sisters").

The movie has structural weaknesses (the ending is problematic and seems to come out of nowhere although it fits thematically) but its biggest problem is Lee's flat performance as Half-Pint (and, frankly, he looks a little too old for it). I love Lee's movies but his early tendency to cast himself in major roles was a real weakness--he's just not a good enough actor and his performance always jerks me out of the story. The rest of the cast is fantastic, though, especially Tisha Campbell as Jane and Giancarlo Esposito as Julian. Notice must also be given to Bill Lee's wonderful score. Ultimately it's a movie whose heart and imagination overcome its flaws.


5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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It was good up until the end. kyle-348
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dark-skinned gamma ray msnell10
JANE TOUSSAINT ChristianEdwards81
Didn't understand the ending; Dap and Julian gay? CarmenSandiegoIII
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