REVIEW: Spike Lee’s RED HOOK SUMMER @ Miami’s O Cinema

 

Recently Norma and I were invited to a pre-screening of Spike Lee’s newest film Red Hoook Summer, which was released in theaters Friday August 31. It tells the tale of Flick, a young black kid from comfortable middle-class Atlanta who has to spend the summer with his extremely religious Grandfather, Bishop Enoch Rouse. Firstly, I would like to thank Cherline Louissaint for the invitation, along with O Cinema. If you haven’t been to O Cinema and you live in Miami then you have no excuse not to go – its a small personal environment surrounded by old movie posters and art, sitting right in the middle of Wynwood, on 90 NW 29th Street. It is an independently run establishment that specializes in showing first-run independent, foreign, art, and niche market films.

The movie, like anything expected of Spike Lee, takes place in Brooklyn ( the Red Hook projects to be exact ) and tells the story of some of the inhabitants and their day to day life, yet the film seemed to me unlike most other Spike Lee films of the past. The movie was shot with a small cast and crew. The first-person, riveting camera shots that Mr. Lee is known for only appeared once during the entire film. At first thought, the film was preachy and annoying – the only thing that makes it known that ‘Spizzike’ had his hand in this film was his occasional appearance (wearing some Spizzikes of course).

OK, without giving the ending away- let’s just say this movie is about a man trying to teach a boy a lesson even though he seems to learn more in the end. I want to break down my personal pros and cons of this movie. Norma and I agreed that I would be best suited for this review as I am a black person and I have many thoughts on the issues of being black in America. Let’s see:

CONS

  • The overacting- the overzealous religious old ladies were too much- then they added an over the top, finger snapping, very loud little girl who was so annoying I wanted to smack her.
  • The humor- I didn’t find the jokes funny. I found them patronizing and got annoyed when everyone else laughed. They were almost insulting.
  • The budget- there was a dead rat scene where there appeared to be a rat shaped muppet baby thrust in the face of a “terrified” little girl. I am by far no movie snob, but I would expect great props and casting for any Spike Lee movie. Gone are the days of Rosie Perez, Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson. I noticed more than a few scenes where 5 people were suposed to make a church look poppin’.  I guess I just assumed this would have been different- my mistake.
  • Stereotype perpetuation- I can go off on the craziest tangent here, but I don’t want to give away the ending. The finger snapping black lady. The black man who is constantly drunk. This movie seemed to play right into stereotypes. As a fan of Spike’s I was confused by this- what is the purpose? Is this a true and honest depiction of the people of Red Hook? Is this a tool to keep people’s attention? Was it intentional?

Honestly, I felt the movie was preaching to me for 90 minutes. In my opinion there is a way to explore religion and faith without pushing it down someone’s throat, and this wasn’t it. I felt like I didn’t want to step inside a church ever again after leaving the theater.

PROS

  • There is an interesting lesson on faith, you just have to REALLY DIG for it, at least I did.
  • Everyone else seemed to love it.
  • O Cinemas seating is very comfortable- there were even couches.

 

Overall, I didn’t really care for the movie. I noticed that many people left the theater  smiling and happy, yet we left feeling disappointed and a little taken aback. I really would love to hear all of your comments on the film !

Please, go see Red Hook Summer and let us know your thoughts! It’s playing right now at O Cinemas and theaters across the country:

 

Berkeley, CA – Landmark Shattuck Cinemas
Birmingham, AL – Rave Patton Creek 14
Charleston, SC – Regal Charles Towne Square
Charlotte, NC – AMC Northlake 14
Charlotte, NC – AMC Concord Mills 24
Cleveland, OH – Regal Richmond Town Square 20
Cleveland, OH – Regal Severance Town Center 14
Cleveland, OH – Cinemark Valley View
Columbia, SC – Regal Sandhill 16
Dallas, TX – AMC Mesquite 30
Dallas, TX – Texas Theatre
Dallas, TX – AMC The Parks at Arlington 18
Detroit, MI – AMC Star Fairline 21
Detroit, MI – AMC Star Southfield 20
Greenville, SC – Regal Hollywood 16
Hampton, VA – AMC Hampton Town Centre 24
Houston, TX – AMC Studio 30
Houston, TX – AMC Gulf Pointe 30
Houston, TX – Edwards Greenway Grande Palace 24
Miami, FL – O Cinema
Miami, FL – AMC Aventura 24
Miami, FL – Regal South Beach 18
New Orleans, LA – The Theatres at Canal Place
New Orleans, LA – AMC Elmwood Palace 20
New Orleans, LA – AMC Westbank Palace 16
Oakland, CA – AMC Bay Street 16
Richmond, VA – Regal Virginia Center 20
Richmond, VA – Regal Commonwealth 20
Richmond, VA – Regal Southpark 16
Sacramento, CA – Regal Laguna Village 12
San Francisco, CA – AMC Metreon 16
San Jose, CA – Camera 12 Downtown
Virginia Beach, VA – AMC Lynnhaven 18
Warrenville, IL – Regal Cantera

 

Check out some photos we took from that day. There was a chalk board wall where guests were encouraged to write their thoughts on the movie. We thought it was best we wrote those thoughts on 2dopebitches.com instead.

One Comment

  1. TheSUNK says:

    Like you, I also saw a private screening of Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer…in my own home of course lol. Respect for Spike Lee and his genius is really the only reason I sat through this horrible film. I kept thinking it was going to turn into a masterpiece or something dramatic that was worthwhile but it never did. Respect and hope kept me watching, not good cinema. I was embarrassed to watch it in all honesty. I waited awhile for that movie and it was wack. No other way to put it.

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