I think it’s wonderful the way things are changing.

Driving Miss Daisy (1989)   The meticulous slightness of Driving Miss Daisy is precisely the reason it proved so lauded, and also why it presented a prime Best Picture Oscar pick: a feel-good, social-conscience-led flick for audiences who might not normally spare your standard Hollywood dross a glance. One for those who appreciate the typical Judi Dench feature, basically. While I’m hesitant to get behind anything Spike Lee, as Hollywood’s self-appointed race-relations arbiter, spouts, this was a year when he actually did deliver the goods, a genuinely decent movie – definitely a rarity for Lee – addressing the issues head-on that Driving Miss Daisy approaches in

Hey, look, I know all about bourgeois clichés.

Da 5 Bloods (2020)   A sprawling, tone-deaf, indulgent mess of a movie from Spike Lee. So what’s new, right? At least BlackKklansman had a coherent screenplay at its core, undone as it was by typically scattershot direction and copious detours. Da 5 Bloods is shockingly inept on that score, likely the result of Lee overlaying his de rigueur didactic, windbag politicking over a shameless piece of exploitation cinema. It’s Three Kings meets The Treasure of the Sierra Madre meets Stand Up Guys meets (via some hilariously inept flashbacks) Platoon. But all of those influences – yes, even Stand Up Guys – are vastly superior. Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo were responsible

I’m just happy to be talking to a true white American.

BlacKkKlansman (2018)   If nothing else, BlacKkKlansman illustrates that Spike Lee is still entirely unable to judge when less is more. Only this time, his lack of discernment has come up roses, garnering him Best Picture and Director Oscar nominations. One can be cynical about this, crediting peer recognition to the picture’s socio-political currency rather than its quality, but then, wasn’t it ever thus with the Academy Awards? This really is a disappointing film, though, roundly failing to deliver on its you-couldn’t-make-it-up, must-see premise; one can only imagine how much more potent BlacKkKlansman might have been, had producer Jordan Peele opted to direct,