Spike Lee. He’s no stranger to controversy. He’s got a knack for telling great stories (think of the Edward Norton, Barry Pepper, Phillip Seymour Hoffman gem, 25th Hour), and he’s got a knack for running his stream of consciousness when he should cut all lines of communication.
If you’ll remember, just a few months ago, he tweeted George Zimmerman’s address following the Trayvon Martin tragedy — unfortunately, the address was for the wrong George Zimmerman. (Not that Lee had any sane reason to publish the right information.)
What I’m getting at: Spike Lee possesses a level of genius and a mean-streak of idiocy. It seems he has also become more complex with maturity. When recently asked about the issues of race addressed in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained:
“All I’m going to say is that it’s disrespectful to my ancestors. That’s just me… I’m not speaking on behalf of anybody else.”
At 55 (yeah, Spike Lee is 55) it seems as if Lee might have finally figured out how to make a bold statement, without clouding it in controversy — without offering a slice of “WTF, Spike, really!?” to the mix. Lee is not a fan of Tarantino. If you’re unfamiliar, this goes back to 1997, when Tarantino offered the blacksploitation film, Jackie Brown, though I’m sure Lee was also quite disturbed by Tarantino’s work after viewing Pulp Fiction.
And then… Lee inevitably took to Twitter, after his viewpoint was challenged by a few fans.
“American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western.It Was A Holocaust.My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them”
Yes. He will honor them with films like Jungle Fever, Crooklyn and He Got Game. C’mon Spike! C’mon, man! I found chapters of enjoyment of each of those films, especially He Got Game, but honor? Really!?
If Spike Lee’s filmmaking career has been in honor of his ancestry, he has made more than a few faux-pas along the way.
What’s your take? Django Unchained: disrespectful or a fantastical romp through the 19th century?