5 Reasons To Go See Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer
1) Its Spike Lee!
Without question, Spike Lee is one of the most compelling story teller of our times. Certainly, he’s been God-send to the African American experience, never failing to generate dialogue. “Red Hook Summer” is not his finest work, but it will make viewers cringe, think laugh and possibly cry. As director, Lee brings the story to life with vibrant colors, living and characters. Honestly, there are some glaring flaws to “Red Hook Summer,” but by the movie’s end, there is a longing for more Spike Lee. Ever the risk-taker, he really makes it clear that he will not hesitate to make a movie, even if he has to finance and market it himself.
2) It deals with unspoken hood injustice.
By now, it has been publicly revealed that “Red Hook Summer” deals with the topic of child molestation, a taboo topic for American and Black America to a greater degree. Actor Clarke Peters told AllHipHop.com how difficult it was to deal with the subject matter.
“During the scene, I couldn’t even look the little boy in his face. I looked at his [collarbone] and I noticed he had a button undone. I have five kids; being tactile with a child is no problem, so I fixed his button, which looked like I was unbuttoning his shirt and I knew it would read like that on camera. But I put it in my mind that ‘I’m getting my son ready for bed,’ because if I had to emulate some sort of transgression against that child, I would’ve walked off the set.”
3) The Soundtrack by Bruce Hornsby
“Red Hook Summer,” like most of Mr. Lee’s films, has a prominent musical soundtrack that underscores the editorial tone of the screenplay, written by Mr. Lee with James McBride. Its binding ingredient is the sturdy, gospel-tinged piano of Bruce Hornsby…” Stephen Holden, NY Times
Believe it or not, the sonic backdrop to Red Hook Summer is ridiculously infection and gritty thanks to the great Bruce Hornsby. While Spike has typically used Hip-Hop and Jazz acts, he turned to the 57-year-old pianist/ songwriter to set the mood for the Brooklyn drama. The soundtrack is available on iTunes and other retail outlets. And, that’s just the way it is.
4) The young actors
These days, there aren’t a lot of new African American actors being pumped into Hollyweird and that’s a shame. Many of the modern day actors like Denzel and Halle were pumped into the main vein of cinema through Spike Lee. Well, the Brooklyn film maker introduces Jules Brown (as Flik Royale) and Toni Lysaith (Chazz Morningstar), as both make their big screen debuts in “Red Hook Summer.” While they won’t win any awards with their performance, it is refreshing to see fresh faces on the big screen when Spike could have been less bold with Jaden or Willow and gotten just-add-water-press.
Shout out to Clarke Peters and Nate Parker for providing the glue to Red Hook Summer.
5) Another facet to African American Life
For the last decade or so, we have seen a brand of African American cinema that is beige and boring. Furthermore, these takes are the sort of stories that seemingly come off an assembly line with minor variations and huge helpings of buffoonery. So, whereas Spike’s latest isn’t his greatest (like who can top “Malcolm X” or “Do The Right Thing”), “Red Hook Summer” is far more engaging that most movies with a wholly Black cast. The spectrum of brown is as varied as a rainbow and so are the millions of stories. Lets do the right thing and see more of them on the big screen.