Two cousins attend the same historically black college and pursue different goals. One atttempts to join a popular fraternity, undergoing humilating hazing, the other becomes a political activist leading anti-apartheid dem... more »onstrations.
Catharsise | Washington, D.C., District of Columbia United Stat | 01/25/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I once heard on a TV talk show that you don't have to be a parent to know about kids. This was uttered by a single female with tons of doctorate credentials. As I listened, having kids of my own, I found her comments clinical and devoid of those fundamentals any parent experiences during daily contact with their offspring. I subsequently disregarded most of her observations with the exception of the obvious. Some things do have to be experienced. With that said, Spike Lee's School Daze had to be experienced to really appreciate the social comments being made. Being a graduate of Howard University (an Afro-American college since federal inception) in Washington, D.C., I could readily identify with the life and social levels depicted. This movie is FUBU (For Us By Us). The distinction between light skinned and dark skinned, "good hair" and "kinks", "Greeked" (Fraternity/Sorority) and outsiders, upper-class, middle-class and no-class, may be lost in an already segmented society. However, it hits home to anyone (irregardless of ethnic background) who has attended historically rooted colleges and universiies. The voluntary (and involuntary!) sub-segmentation on campus is real and extant. Spike Lee's direction, musical scenes and comedic comment, gives us a laugh at these really stupid concepts. Laurence Fishburne as usual gives an excellent performance as a politically aware student, trying to change a system that cannot be changed, and personally changing because of it. Spike Lee plays his usual "Baby, baby, pleaseee baby, baby" self-depreciating character caught-up in fraternity life but willing to play for the perceived rewards of acceptance. Giancarlo Esposito is the fraternity leader and movie antagonist bent maintaining class/segment separation. Tisha Campbell (Martin - TV show co-star) plays Esposito's "girlfriend" and gives an excellent performance as a "have" who is victimized by her own would-be ascension and maintenance of same. This movie demonstrates our society's nature for congregation by segregation as we matriculate through a "Black" college and the surrounding urban community. View this movie with an inquisitive mind and you'll find it a very entertaining movie. View it with a similar background and it will haunt you. On a lighter note, of all the musical numbers one of my favorite scenes is the talent show when Tisha Campbell belts out a soul-stirring song so strong I want to "play" (read blast) it every summer when the weather is hot, the windows are rolled-down and the world is out."
A Tough Pill to Swallow
dred_steel | Bolingbrook, IL United States | 04/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As an African American, fraternity member I found this movie not only entertaining, but also convicting. Being a man of Omega (those familiar with the Black Greek system know what I mean) I was a little offended by Gamma Phi Gamma's dipiction of the "dogs." More often than once I felt he was referring to the "dogs of Purple and Gold." Yet, once I got beyond my petty sensitivities, Lee's underlying critique of the social ills plaguing the African American community revolving around issues of social consciousness, skin color, hair texture, education, etc., made this movie provocative and challenging. Also, it's depiction of homecoming, pledging, parties and general "college life" made for an entertaining walk down memory lane. I found his attempt at making this a musical production to be somewhat forced, although the lyrics of the songs were pointedly appropriate.I may not completely agree with Lee's conclusion concerning the advantages (or disadvantages) of participating in the Black Greek System. However, I appreciate his candid attempt to "tell it like it is." My mother used to say, "Don't air the dirty laundry in public." This is exactly what Lee has done, and unfortunately it is about time."
College Life From The Black Perspective
G. J Wiener | Westchester, NY USA | 09/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have seen this film a few times. Although parts of it are a bit overdone, it basically shows that African Americans each have varying views on their own identity. The scene in the fast food restaurant where the locals and the the college kids clash shows that even African Americans have issues amongst each other. African Americans just like any other race or religious group need to accept each others differences and get along. Spike Lee and Lawrence Fishbourne give excellent portrayals of two conflicting characters in this movie and send a very powerful message especially in the final scene."
Movie Fan | 03/12/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Why would they re-release this movie and audio is still in 2-channel? Do they know about 5.1 or DTS? The picture quality is still not that great to say that it's done in HD. HD have never looked this bad.My first copy of this movie was better.
The 2 disc is NOT of the movie. It's a DVD and the CD soundtrack. However, they don't tell you that on the packaging. What a RIP-OFF!!!
I am soooo disappointed. Please don't get fooled...if you are thinking of buying the new release of School Daze...my advice is DON'T!! keep your old copy...you'll be gald you did."
"It takes an HBCU graduate to write about the HBCU experience, period. Just look at "A Different World" and how bad the first season was. Debbie Allen (a Howard grad, I believe) stepped in and gave the show the authenticity it sorely needed. So it's no surprise that Spike Lee, the Morehouse man, would make a movie that sparked so much emotion on both sides of the coin. I'm not saying that you had to attend an HBCU to UNDERSTAND "School Daze", but you had to have attended one to get the real "flavor" of what it was like. And you have to have an open mind.
Any HBCU alum saying that this film wasn't realistic is flat-out lying. Yes, it hit on some things that the old folks call "dirty laundry" (such as hazing, color issues, those who think that getting an education makes you "white", and so on), but those things are real at HBCUs - yes, even today. (Major props to Spike for having that ONE dark-skinned sista in the Gamma Rays. Isn't that ALWAYS the way?) And there are no "good" people or bad people; Spike leaves that decision up to you. Julian had his good points (his intelligence, leadership and pride in his town, school, etc) and Dap had his bad points (his blatant bigotry and bullying), and both of them had legitimate points.
One thing Spike nailed right on was the confrontations that the students tended to have on a regular basis. No offense to whites or anyone who graduated from a PWC, but in my experience at a predominately white high school, I noticed that students there were a lot more subtle with their dislike; they particpated in a more "destroying from within" kind of system, and grew wide-eyed and offended when confronted, even with solid proof. ("I would NEVER spread rumors about you/sleep with your boyfriend/steal your term paper!") Black students, on the other hand, will take ANYONE head-on, whether that person is the school president, captain of the football team, the richest kid on campus, crippled...doesn't matter. Your "status" doesn't count if you go to an HBCU. I had a friend who saw SD and said "That is SO unrealistic! Since when do college kids go fighting with each other all the time?" She graduated from the University of Texas. Enough said.
I'm so grateful for this film, and its realistic portrayal of black HBCU students for those who think that all young black people do is have babies and suck up welfare, and that people only go to HBCUs because they can't get into a "real" college. I wouldn't trade my experience at Florida A&M University for a degree at any PWC. RATTLERS!"