Some critics will say that Spike Lee hasn’t done the right thing in years.
While he hasn’t had a Malcolm X quality film in 20 years, he has managed to continue creating good, sometimes great work. Inside Man, anyone?
Red Hook Summer won’t be a summer blockbuster, and Lee himself recognizes that Hollywood is in Superhero mode. And, that’s why he self-financed the film.
Lee told Bloomberg Businessweek:
From the get-go, I knew it would be self-financed. I never went to the studios.
Hollywood is really superhero land now. It’s harder to make adult films today without people flying, unless you’re a select few: Spielberg, James Cameron, Clint Eastwood, George Lucas.
I couldn’t get them to fund a sequel to Inside Man, my most successful film ever.
If that wasn’t a signal, then I don’t know what is.
I refused to go through the frustration of knocking on steel doors, hat in hand like Oliver Twist, saying “Please sir, can you make this film?”
Lee has a point considering that Inside Man grossed over $184 million worldwide on a $45 million budget.
But, one thing is certain: While Spike Lee is a talented writer and director, he is also the absolute worst at naming characters.
Red Hook Summer is the story of Flik Royale, a young boy who comes across a love interest named Chazz Morningstar. Flik Royale? It sounds like a dessert. Chazz Morningstar? It sounds like the better half of a late 1960s pop duet.
Some are saying that the look of Red Hook Summer is a result of the low budget, but we think the look is part of the nostalgia Lee is trying to create with the film, and we like that.
Judge for yourself:
RED HOOK SUMMER tells the story of Flik Royale (Jules Brown), a sullen young boy from middle-class Atlanta who has come to spend the summer with his deeply religious grandfather, Bishop Enoch Rouse (Clarke Peters), in the housing projects of Red Hook.
Having never met before, things quickly get off on the wrong foot as Bishop Enoch relentlessly attempts to convert Flik into a follower of Jesus Christ. Between his grandfather’s constant preaching and the culture shock of inner-city life, Flik’s summer appears to be a total disaster–until he meets Chazz Morningstar (Toni Lysaith), a pretty girl his age, who shows Flik the brighter side of Brooklyn.
Through her love and the love of his grandfather, Flik begins to realize that the world is a lot bigger, and perhaps a lot better, than he’d ever imagined.