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Overall Rating

Awesome: 24.06%
Worth A Look30.83%
Just Average: 16.54%
Pretty Crappy: 17.29%
Sucks: 11.28%

11 reviews, 67 user ratings

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Summer of Sam
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by Filmink Magazine (owes us money)

"A mind blowing experience."
5 stars

Director Spike Lee is a big mouthed, iconoclastic, shit stirrer. His movies are always pumped up and indelibly stained with the vital juices of his volatile personality. He's taken an uncompromising stance on issues of race and politics in a number of arenas: the personal (Jungle Fever), the community (Do The Right Thing), the frontline in the drug war (Clockers) and on the national stage (Malcolm X). Basically, Spike Lee looks for hot, burning fires, and gleefully throws on more logs. And in a sometimes cold and soulless movie world, that's the kind of heat everybody needs. In Summer of Sam, Spike Lee stirs more shit, and does some of his best work yet.

It's 1977, and New York is cracking and fraying in the middle of a heatwave. Things get even hotter when the "Son of Sam" starts to feel his oats. This serial killer grinds the city in a grip of fear when he takes to blowing the heads off kids parked in "lovers' lanes". But the killer is just a catalyst. The real story is about neighbourhood boy Vinny (a powerhouse performance from Leguizamo) and burgeoning punk Ritchie (Brody announcing himself as a star), two childhood buddies whose lives unravel in a haze of paranoia and fear when the Son of Sam's reign turns the city inside out.

People might harp that this is Lee's first film without a black cast, and make the call of "sellout". But all the director's trademarks are in place: a roving, dynamic camera; a dazzling ensemble cast (Gazzara as the local mob boss turned vigilante community leader, a touching Sorvino as Leguizamo's tortured wife, hot newcomer Esposito as Ritchie's newly punked out girlfriend and LaPaglia as a cop on the case); a fearlessness in dealing with explosive issues (bigotry, mob violence, betrayal, infidelity) and even his usual acting appearance. In a desperate move, Lee plays a reporter who asks the black community how they feel about being left out of the whole Son of Sam nightmare. He double guesses himself, and puts the bulletproof vest on too soon in responding to his audience's obvious claims of "sellout".

But this is nothing compared to the film's extraordinary wealth of riches. Lee brilliantly captures the punch of a city on fire, and paints an amazing picture of life in the seventies, from funky discos to the door at "Studio 54" to a hedonistic swingers club. Brilliant, full force performances, an irreverent, compassionate script and true cinematic flair make Summer Of Sam a mind blowing experience.

With this powerful and absorbing film, Spike Lee once again proves that he can shake it up like nobody else. ---Erin Free

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1850&reviewer=14
originally posted: 11/20/99 08:09:07
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User Comments

9/16/17 morris campbell interesting but undone by sleaze & overlength 3 stars
7/22/11 Dave Smith On a ten star scale, a 1/4 star away from a MASTERPIECE. It's about the NEIGHBORHOOD. 5 stars
3/02/11 chris c Somewhat of a spiritual counterpart to Do the right thing despite a lot of vulgarity & sex 4 stars
6/01/09 MP Bartley Sweats and flails to little thick-headed effect. Some good moments survive. 3 stars
7/01/08 jointz on second thought, I can see what Scott's saying, the movie has no straight narrative 4 stars
5/19/08 jointz Weinberg obviously has a stick up his ass! How could you NOT love the Talking Dog? 5 stars
1/27/07 action movie fan funny, tough and super realistic-the best film of 1999 5 stars
6/10/06 Jeff Anderson Some of Lee's strongest, best work to date. Sorvino's sexy & great performance STANDS OUT!! 5 stars
8/19/05 ES Save your money, this has about five minutes of time dedicated to the killer 1 stars
5/21/05 Zelemont Are you SERIOUS? Long, pointless, straying waste of talented actors! BORING! DONT BOTHER!! 1 stars
12/22/04 Landshark visceral characters in that NYC '77 scene, Lee gets it 5 stars
8/14/04 Oliver Fantastic. 5 stars
1/21/04 Sugarfoot Spike Lee sucks, plain and simple. And so do most of his movies. (Girl 6 for one.) 1 stars
1/16/04 Agent Sands (previously Mr. Hat) Definitely one of my top 3 favorite films of all time! It's fucking perfect!!!!! 5 stars
12/18/03 ROY L. CAIN,JR. The first Spike Lee joint to not feature too many black characters. Still a groovy pic. 5 stars
10/18/03 Agent Sands (previously Mr. Hat) I don't know how Spike does it. Direction is brilliant. Surely among the best of his best. 5 stars
5/11/03 Jack Bourbon Eh. Don't care for it. 2 stars
3/18/03 Jack Sommersby Maddeningly uninvolving and unfocused. This talented cast deserves much better. 2 stars
10/23/02 Charles Tatum Spike can be as racist as the evil white man 1 stars
10/09/02 Kitfo anybody who calls spike lee self indulgent or pretentious should stick to hollywood drivel 5 stars
9/25/02 snowconehead Too much Leguizamo, not enough Sorvino 4 stars
7/17/02 Cris Abisale He Got Game is much better.Too much sex in this movie.Spike=Disappointment 2 stars
3/04/02 Alan Smithee Typical overrated Spike Lee bullshit. 1 stars
12/31/01 Andrew Carden Pretty Realistic Movie...I Didn't Like John Though. 4 stars
9/08/01 Butterbean A very underrated movie. It captured the effect of city-wide panic brilliantly 4 stars
7/28/01 Artist Freak Great performances, really pegs the 70s. Wide array of sex for a non-porn movie. 4 stars
6/28/01 See me Fly!!!! fuck this movie it's fucking hard to fucking understand, they say fuck every fucking second 2 stars
4/18/01 Socutejd This was an insult to serial killers 1 stars
4/17/01 Spetters Spike´s best film yet!! Everything and everyone is great in this explosive film. 5 stars
3/11/01 RACHEL this movie was amazing, very well made, great images 5 stars
2/22/01 italian mobster i liked the music but i cant stand the fact that a fuckin nigger directed an italian film 2 stars
1/18/01 romayne charles John Lequizamos brilliant looks and acting made this film . 4 stars
12/05/00 AtlantaBill What the fuck? There is a talking dog in this movie! Spike Lee, you suck faggots. 1 stars
6/28/00 Bender Entertaining, if overlong. Plus the most use of the F word in a movie I've ever seen. 4 stars
6/23/00 Aaron White Best talking animal scene in film history. Sex scenes restored my will to live. 4 stars
3/09/00 Kyle Broflovski Blergh. I punctuated every scene with a hella yawn. BORING!!! 1 stars
3/08/00 Richard Wright Every noun is preceded by an F word and everyone is either a moron or a slut.Dig it,man.NOT 1 stars
1/20/00 node I found this to be very thought provoking. 4 stars
1/01/00 KK Should be renamed Summer of Idiots. Lee can't direct/act/write his way out of a paper bag. 1 stars
12/31/99 Tyson Stewart It's hot and bloody. Such a great story! 4 stars
11/29/99 Mic Not as good as Do The Right Thing, good nevertheless. "Sam" should've had less screen time. 4 stars
11/24/99 Frank Curigliano Riveting, disturbing, funny and painful. The best film of the year thus far. 5 stars
11/18/99 Matthew Smith Lee's best film since Do The Right Thing, Ambitious, bold and confronting. 5 stars
10/31/99 JonnyAngel this slut of a movie sucks and swallows 1 stars
9/11/99 Jason Kinsey a whirlwind of colorful images, thumps, & sounds-great 4 stars
8/09/99 Alisa Spike Lee shows no class in this film. he didn't even research this movie for truth. 1 stars
8/03/99 Tanya I'm being generous with the rating. Spike Lee making white people look ignorant again. 2 stars
8/02/99 Lola Jones Well put together. However, there were too many sex scenes.:) 4 stars
8/02/99 david napier best film of the summer, and love that leguizamo and lee was funny as the reporter 4 stars
7/31/99 Obi Wan This movie didn't do shit to me or for me...except waste my time! 2 stars
7/21/99 PhilmPhreak Annoying movie about annoying people - and what the fuck was Spike Lee's character? 2 stars
7/16/99 Jo Jo, The Idiot Circus Boy Horror? Movie? Where is the movie? 1 stars
7/11/99 ken heine the punk scene was cool. 2 stars
7/11/99 Ah Dooey Shoddy movie I ever saw. The movie had no substance and not any dialog. 3 stars
7/11/99 evil buffy intrigued by the cinematography; look and sound made up for plot weaknesses. good acting 4 stars
7/09/99 M. Donnelly Quite well done. I really was able to get pissed off at some of the characters. 5 stars
7/09/99 P.S.O.K It wasn't as good as thought it was gonna be 3 stars
7/09/99 bridgette adrien brody-good; everyone else-ok; editing-HORRIBLE. can we say porn? 2 stars
7/06/99 Brian M honest characterizations, bizarro editing and fab music 4 stars
7/06/99 Daddy Rich Spike Lee; what more can you say? 5 stars
7/06/99 Mr showbiz Spike Lee's latest is a triumph of style... and little else. 2 stars
7/06/99 sydney awesome! 5 stars
7/05/99 Malbert Worst piece of crap I've ever seen 1 stars
7/05/99 jvt Overlong, pretentious crap with stereotypical "characters" 1 stars
7/04/99 johntidal a demented bad ass flick with great act that intensifies the terrrror 5 stars
7/04/99 ALiaS WOW!!! Spike Lee has proven that he is diverse enough to do a dark movie!!!! Kudos brother! 5 stars
6/15/99 David A subtle masterpiece; ambitious tale of ordinary lives affected by social paranoia. Great!! 5 stars
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Directed by
  Spike Lee

Written by
  Spike Lee

  John Leguizamo
  Adrien Brody
  Anthony LaPaglia
  Jennifer Esposito
  John Savage
  Bebe Neuwirth

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