That Summer of '77

Where some viewers see belligerence and shaky melodrama, others are bound to find social truth. After all, Lee is a moviemaker who, in his best work, tackles tough social issues head-on -- interracial romance in Jungle Fever, the burdens of greatness in Malcolm X, racism itself in Do the Right Thing. But even staunch Lee fans may find Summer of Sam disappointing. Here is America's most heralded -- and possibly most talented -- minority filmmaker diddling around with caricature and race-baiting when he could be aiming higher.

Summer of Sam.
Directed by Spike Lee. Screenplay by Lee, Victor Colicchio, and Michael Imperioli. Starring John Leguizamo, Mira Sorvino, Adrien Brody, Jennifer Esposito, and Michael Rispoli.

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