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Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

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Spike Lee's "Red Hook Summer" Slammed By Sundance Movie Critics

spike lee Toni Lysaith Jules Brown

“Red Hook Summer” was slammed by Sundance movie critics following an expletive-filled rant at the Sundance screening by the film’s maker, Spike Lee. Actor Chris Rock sparked the rant after he asked Lee how the movie would have looked if it had been made by a big studio.

“We never went to the studios with this film, Chris,” he said. “I told you, we’re gonna do this motherfucking film ourselves!… I didn’t want to hear no motherfucking notes from the studio telling me … about what a young 13-year-old boy and girl would do in Red Hook. F*ck no.”Red Hook Summer film Toni Lysaith Clarke Peters Jules Brown David Lee

Speaking about studio execs, Lee shouted: “They know nothing about black people. Nothing!”

“Red Hook Summer” is a tale of a well-to-do black teen from Atlanta who is sent to spend a summer in Brooklyn with a grandfather he doesn’t really know. Lee asked the audience to spread the word that his film is not a sequel to “Do The Right Thing”. Critics didn’t see it that way, however, and ripped “Red Hook Summer” for being one of Spike Lee’s least greatest works. Here’s a sample of what they had to say:

Robert Levin of The Atlantic: “….Dreams of vintage Lee’s return go sadly unfulfilled, however, as the film is a long-winded, rambling mess. Far from a personal, character-driven production, the movie offers Lee’s grandiose take on what it means to be African American in the 21st century (with an assist from co-writer James McBride). There’s a lot to be said for such an enterprise, particularly when it comes from the mind of one of our premiere social chroniclers. But this is a 135-minute harangue, not a movie.”

David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter: “…But Lee’s latest rambles through almost two hours of unfocused drama, burdened with endless didactic editorializing, before lurching out of nowhere into ugly revelations and violence.”

Peter Debruge of The Chicago Tribune: “For those expecting Mookie’s mid-career encore to signify a return to Spike Lee’s roots, Red Hook Summer instead surprises — and to some extent delights — as yet another radically unique entry in the director’s iconoclastic oeuvre. Lee’s vibrant coming-of-ager isn’t so much a follow-up to ‘Do the Right Thing’ as a fresh survey of the same geographic turf, following a well-to-do black teen forced to spend the summer with his Bible-thumping grandfather in the Brooklyn projects.”

Owen Gleiberman of WE.com: “My own feeling is that if the film had been better, he (Lee) might not have been reduced to griping about the movies the Man won’t let him make. For Red Hook Summer isn’t just a letdown. It’s a bit of an ordeal.”


  1. IcareEnough says:

    From reading the comment by Peter Debruge
    And seeing the Pic on this page- This seems
    like another coordinated effort to mock and
    debase the church. This is being done with
    frequency now on tv, movies, and in the music.
    Hopefully this is not the case but I wouldnt be
    surprised for the Word of God says these things
    would occur in the last days. And anytime I
    see bible thumping it makes my hairs stand up
    for it is so demeaning. Those who havent received
    Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour ought to give it
    great consideration more than ever before.

  2. Robert Levin of The Atlantic: can kick rocks as its not ‘grandiose’ for a Black man to have a perspective on where he (and people like him) stand(s) and what they experience or think.

    Peter Debruge of The Chicago Tribune: Is this guy on the fence opinion-wise? What is he really saying?? Further, what are Spike’s Ruuts??? that he should return to? And its not that it ‘isn’t so much a follow-up to ‘Do the Right Thing’’ as it was NEVER a follow-up to ‘Do the right thing’!! (Bewildered here)

    Owen Gleiberman of WE.com: Hey klansman, what makes it an ‘ordeal’? (One must look up the words one wants to use before using them) Unless you’re saying that you’re the ‘divine’ judge that knows all things and is capable of finding Spike guilty of his own perspective-which I doubt seriously- which is ultimately what his film-making has been from the beginning. Who are you that we should agree OR very seriously take heed of your critique?? (o,0 More bewilderment) You give me this kind of pause just from the statement about Spike ‘griping about the movies the Man won’t let him make.’ Do you know Movies? Do you KNOW movie-making? Do you even know Black people or the Black experience(s) with regard to movies and or movie making? Very doubtful.

    These so-called critics are (to me) no more qualified to critique a movie or the complaints of movie-makers, actors and the like than Kim Kardashian is qualified to give wife advice. In fact these guys’ whole ‘profession’ (I use the word very loosely) is like being the talentless, uneducated and unexperienced–I mean a socialite.


    • Plus Hey, everyone doesn’t DO Spike flicks. As a Spike supporter I can attest to the fact that you either get him or you don’t.

      However, most of the critique on his (and other Black) films is unduly harsh with a tone or air of race prejudice (see Robert, Peter and Owen’s critiques). it would be better recieved and more educated of you critics to simply say that YOU as a critic don’t get or like Spike or his films because…(fill in the blank), but to amounting the film to garbage is about the same as deningy that he has skill from experience and a certain style all his own.

      ***I don’t care for Roman Polanski so I simply don’t take interest in his films or commenting on them.

  3. Who listens to critics anyway ? They are all wanna-be filmmakers. Who cares what they say!!!!!! They couldn’t put together a film if there lives depended on it!!!!!!!!!

  4. HarlemQueen23 says:

    Hey Mr. Lee! Remember when I saw you coming out of the barber shop on Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan? You were walking alone on a bright but cold sunny day and when you saw me trying to approach you, you turned around very quickly and walked across the street. That’s alright I’m not mad at you. I just wanted to say “Hello” and give you a chance to get to know your sister who grew up in Harlem. I have written a few skits myself and I am totally involved in my community fighting for social justice.

    I just wanted to tell you that I was proud of you, but when I realized that you were an arrogant jerk, it take it back.

    P.S. “What Comes Around Goes Around”.

    Better Luck Next Time.

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