Sunday, August 13, 2006

Spike Lee movies underrated on Netflix?

Jim says: "Having just finished and enjoyed Inside Man, it occurred to me I've been neglecting Spike Lee's work of late. So I was checking out his Netflix page to see what I should rent next, when I was struck by how low his ratings seem. I guess they aren't too bad, but no movies crack four stars, and quite a few seem to hover between two and three. And Inside Man gets the best mark?"

However, I think: "Netflix displays the red stars you see according to how you rate. "People who rate like you" are giving him those ratings. When I look at his page, I see only two 2-star movies, the rest are 3, 3.5 or 4. I'm going to blog about this and see if anyone else sees it any differently."

Click on the photo to see a screen capture of my view of Spike Lee's page on Netflix.


  1. A lot of people don't like Spike. I'm a huge fan. I saw Do the Right Thing in a theater, back in the '80s. I just watched 4 Little Girls this weekend. Mo Better Blues is way underrated. Get on the Bus for some reason hasn't been seen but by a few fans. But for some reason, a lot of people don't like his films, I think they are bringing his "star" average down.

    Some of them were offended by She's Gotta Have It, and haven't given him a chance since. Some, I feel, don't like him because he was very hot for a while, you know, the contrarian types who hate anyone who is popular.

    Usually when people bad mouth him, I ask if they actually saw Mo Better Blues, or School Daze, Get On the Bus, or some others. The man has an impressive body of work. People who bad mouth him, i have found are going off their impressions of his public personality and persona in the media and on the Nike commercials.

  2. Definitely check out his work. He's a genius.

  3. The user ratings of my "Spike Lee" list are definitely different, with many rated a half star or more higher. Interesting.

  4. My ratings are different too. There's some movies Netflix thinks I'd like more than you and some that they think you'll like more than me.

    BTW, the only movie of his that I've seen was "Summer of Sam". It was okay, but what creeped me out the most was how people in the audience *laughed* at the talking dog!

  5. i was a big fan of spike lee's, starting from the school daze/she's gotta have it period.

    i became suspicious of him when i saw malcolm x and he had decided to oliver stone himself by suggesting that whitey/the cia was responsible for the assassination of x. {hint: they weren't. for some reason no one ever talks about the split of the american black muslim church, nor the ongoing hostilities between the two.}

    i went on to completely re-think my feelings about his work when i saw bamboozled. although it was a little bit over the top, the movie itself didn't bother me. what got me was his unbelievably insipid commentary track -- the whole time i just kept thinking, "are you really that shallow, spike, or do you just think i am?"

    spike is very nearly a one-trick pony. if he isn't dealing with race, he doesn't know what to do (a big exception here is 25th hour, which is a nice effort).

    i strongly encourage anyone who considers mr. lee to be any type of a directorial "genius" to watch lumiere et compagnie ("lumiere and company") and see how he does with the challenge of doing a 1 minute film ... especially in relation to 39 other directors from around the world. he simply can't hold a candle to people like david lynch, or (sardonically) burkina faso's idrissa ouedraogo.

  6. i'm sorry, jim. you're the racist. The red stars on Netflix are not Netflix's ratings--they're predictions of YOUR ratings based on your rating history. If they're showing master spike's films as looking low, it's a reflection on YOU, not Netflix. Most of his movies show up with 4 and 5 stars on my page... with a few low points on his weaker fare. I'm surpised at you!!!!!

  7. Spike Lee is definitely one of America's finest filmmakers, and one of the last true 'realist' auteurs. His movies borderline narrative and experimental in order to deal with social problems that other filmmakers seem to be too scared or ignorant to talk about. People said 'Bamboozled' was unrealistic and offensive, however an almost identical situation happened 5 years later with Chappelle's Show. His movies are amazing also because they bring the best out of his cast & crew because of their authenticity. Ernest Dickerson, his cinematographer for most of his movies, is just as much a genius as Lee. Lee tends to recruit character actors (with maybe an exception of Denzel, though Denzel is obviously a VERY gifted actor) rather than 'stars' resulting in a movie experience that seems aesthetically MILES above 95% of Hollywood fare. If you look past his angry personality and watch his films, you get stuff thats 100% original and from his own observations rather than the recycled "video clerk" garbage like Tarintino or Kevin Smith. His stuff post-Bamboozled, however, has gotten too "Oscar-esque" and he seems to be losing his 'spike.' And it's sad that I have to say this, but there are idiots in the movie world, but Spike Lee is definitely NOT a racist. I'd recommend anything Lee wrote and directed in the 1990s besides 'Girl 6.' Almost all of them are masterpieces.