What “Sorry to Bother You” Says About “Blackkklansman”

There has been a lot of brouhaha – some of it in The New York Times– regarding Green Book winning The Academy Award’s Best Picture, many suggesting Spike Lee’s Blackkklansman was much more deserving.

I am not sure what to make of this childish outrage, given that the awards orgy has far less to do with film-making than faux grandstanding.

Hollywood’s attempt to do the right thing in correcting racial representation in filmmaking, as right and wonderful as it is, has all the grace of Lenny embracing his mouse, or a strung-out actress clinging to her award.

The thing is Blackkklansman was a mediocre film at best, burdened by limited characters, heavy-handed newsreel footage and a trite rendering of the central issue – racism.

Boots Riley called out Spike Lee for much of this, offering a blow by blow assessment of the film in this tweet: https://twitter.com/bootsriley/status/1030575674447212544?lang=en

The long and short of it is that Blackkklansman wasn’t a Spike Lee masterpiece – apologies to Barbra Streisand – and pales in comparison to Jungle Fever, Mo’ Better Blues, Malcolm X and Do the Right Thing. Nor does it compare to Boots Riley’s own Sorry to Bother You, a film that takes risks and challenges the viewer.

No, Spike Lee wasn’t robbed of anything, nor did The Academy fail in the selection of Green Book. It’s status quo, folks. Even if the New York Knicks won a game.

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