Spike Lee at his best and worst...
Eduardo Nietzsche | Houston | 04/27/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"His best: social journalism. Nobody brings perennially pressing issues to the screen as consistently and vitally as Spike Lee---love or hate his films as you may, there's no argument that he does a superb job of provoking debate and reflection. Here it's Lee's two favorite topics, racial history/injustice/relations and (less prominently but still significant) gender/sexual issues...treated with a vast amount of humor and often insight. His worst: at times some of his films implode when Lee gets on his soapbox and goes too heavy-handed---the Message blots out the Movie. This happens towards the last one-third, with the last 10 minutes especially preachy and contrived. The film craft breaks down, characters and dialogue that before had been pretty much spot-on suddenly verge into labored allegory and caricature. It's like Lee drew up a laundry list of Pressing Societal Problems (brings to mind Larwence Kasdan's "Grand Canyon") and tried to allot 5-10 minutes for each one. Sometimes he does so with grace and wit, but sometimes he stumbles into glibness and stereotyping. I was a little disappointed that Lee didn't show more of the actual Million Man march, maybe explore the controversial Louis Farrakhan a little bit more deeply. I was however pleasantly surprisd that Lee does take a fairly mature, gutsy stand on homosexuality and homophobia absent in some of his earlier films.Had Lee made this film more as a straight (or pointed) documentary rather than trying to turn it into a heavy-handed inspirational treatise, I'd gladly give it 5 plus stars. Even in its current form it's well worth watching."
A thoughtful film
Rob Walsh | Putney, Vermont | 03/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Get on the Bus is one of Lee's best works. Poignant, funny and introspective, it tells the tale of various black men from various walks of life; a father and his estranged, angst-ridden son, a gay couple, an arrogant actor, an ex-Crip turned Muslim, a half white cop and Ossie Davis as the "spiritual grandfather/moderator" type. They travel from California to DC for the Million Man March, and along the way come to terms with prejudice and hatred they have felt without as well as within.Some may criticize the "stereotypical" treatment of the white characters, but this may be a bit much. The Jewish Bus driver is an honorable character, and in a scene with him and Charles Dutton, director Lee let's him speak his side of the story "OK, I may have some problems with blacks....but no more worse than the problems you have with whites. I don't have anything to prove to these guys". Randy Quade's redneck cop may have been over the top, but suffice to say, there are people in parts of America who still treat people that way.Overall, I think this film is definitely Lee's most underrated work."
A kaleidoscope of the black male experience...
John K. Reed | Harrisburg, PA United States | 05/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"set against the backdrop of the Million Man March.I believe that many people see us as one person, with a single set of feelings, motivations, values, abilities, temperments what have you. Spike Lee has done a wonderful job of chronicling the many different facets of what the black male experience is in america. But at the same time he very accurately shows how despite our differences, political affiliations, generations, educational levels, economic realities, and even sexual orientation we have a common goal and collective spirit that binds us together perhaps in a way that no other group (in america) will hopefully ever have to be bound. As only a small minority of the populace falls within the spectrum of the characters represented in the film so too will only a small minority of the viewing public recognize the importance and quality of this film.As a participant in the March itself I felt tremendous pride in seeing such a large and diverse representation of black america assembled united in a common cause. Not one that is directed angrily at anyone but one that hopes to inspire the individual to take greater responsibility to himself, his family, community, and mankind as a whole.Accordingly this film is a fitting tribute to that event and the spirit of its participants and sympathizers."
A good piece of work
Walter Edwards | Mt. Vernon, NY United States | 03/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Don't get it wrong this movie is not about the Million Man March. This is an excellent work portraying the diversity amongst African-American men. This movie not only showed these differencies but also the interaction between their different views on current affairs, and how this affects unity amongst African-American men and women. I like how Spike Lee used the camera on the bus to give the viewer the feeling of actually riding on the bus with the travellers. The documentary feeling of the film also served to bring your psyche into the work."