Dark, biting satire of the television industry, focusing on an Ivy-League educated black writer at a major network. Frustrated that his ideas for a "Cosby Show"-esque take on the black family has been rejected by network brass, he devises an outlandish scheme: reviving the minstrel show. The hook: instead of white actors in black face, the show stars black actors in even blacker face. The show becomes an instant smash, but with the success also comes repercussions for all involved. Written by
N. Cognito <nobody@noplace>
This could have been a brilliant film. The problem I had with this film is that Spike Lee had too many ideas he was trying to pursue, and should have kept to the single focus. Yet, there were some brilliant scenes. We see a black gangsta group of hip-hoppers and one scene shows a member drinking out of a bottle shaped like a rocket. Later on we see a commercial for this product. Subtle and interesting. The film clips from old films and the display of of toys during the endtitles, were fascinating and could have made an interesting documentary.
One thing I didn't like, besides the stereotypical white bigots, was Lee's focusing upon 40s black comedian Mantan Moreland as the epitome of black humiliation. Moreland was a brilliant comic who stole the show from the white actors of the day. Whites and Blacks turned against Moreland during the civil rights movement and the man could hardly make ends meet. Before he died in the early 70s, opinion changed again and he was seen as a pioneer. He once again managed to get some work in films and tv before his death. A better target for Lee should have been Stepin Fletchit, who made a career out of playing a lazy black freeloader.
I have to agree with Lee on hip-hop as a minstrel show. The gold chains, oversized sport jerseys, and baseball caps worn sideways are clownish and not far removed from the olden days when blacks played buffoons to entertain white people. The show is still going on....
11 of 17 people found this review helpful.
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