It's not often that I rethink my original opinion of a movie, life is too short, but the backlash over my recent review of MIRACLE AT ST ANNA were so numerous, if not persuasive, I was game to give it another try. My original review of Spike Lee's film read:
New in the theatres, Spike Lee's MIRACLE AT ST ANNA. In the interest of full disclosure, let me just say right now that I don't like Spike Lee. I don't like him as a person. I don't like him as a film maker and I don't like him as a tennis shoe spokes model, but still, I keep coming back to his films hoping to see some of that promise he showed with DO THE RIGHT THING, and I keep being disappointed.
Lee is a lot like Oliver Stone lately in that they both keep tripping over their dicks while making movies. They have to keep reminding the audience that their directing the movie with totally unmotivated camera tricks.
MIRICLE AT ST ANNA starts much the same way. Zooming down hallways at floor level, cameras merry-go-rounding about the actors as if Lee got bored with what they were saying and is just trying to keep himself awake; but then the movie settles down and you actually get engaged in the story. Lee's answer to the charge that Clint Eastwood didn't use enough black people in THE FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, and then, just when you start enjoying the film a piece of dishonest storytelling of gi-normis proportions rears it's ugly and the movie falls apart, it's brainpan spread across the screen like one of the disposable under-developed characters in the first act.
The film does have a message but that message seems to be: only white people, Porto Ricans and brothers who betray their friends smoke cigarettes. Avoid MIRICLE AT ST ANNA like Chinese milk. You have been warned. I'm Lance Norris, Boston's only straight film critic saying later on croutons.
Then the internet began to buzz. It started with Cboct, a 20 year-old woman from the US who said, simply, 'boo'. I don't know if that was 'boo' as in bad, or an early Halloween scare.
Hot on her heels RedCar_BlueCar@hotmail.com sent me the more interesting: "man.........could you be more wrong! That movie was one of the best theatrical cinemas there ever will be. Your depiction of this masterpiece is a travesty....sorry for being so rude but come on you make this film look like a piece of shit..." (sic)
I asked RedCar BlueCar if perhaps, he could explain to me the point of the camera spinning around John Turturro like a May Pole? Surely the best theatrical cinemas there ever will be wouldn't have any unmotivated camera moves.
Also when Pierfrancesco Favino's Great Butterfly character retells the story of the killings at St Anna that he was told by a village woman, how does he or she know that the child saw everything? The child has told no one. The German deserter has told no one. If the woman had also witnessed the exchange between the traitor and the German officer she would have been killed, so other than lazy story telling/film making; how does that information get to the Butterfly?
RedCar BlueCar never wrote back, but then again I think he may have been a ten year-old, latch key kid out surfing the net while his mom was at work.
Qripmotha, a 24 year-old from the US felt, 'I couldn't agree more with this review of Miracle at St Anna. The movie was god awful. I couldn't help but laugh as "He's got the whole world in his hands" began playing with the end credits. Was the garnish to a wasted 3 hours of my life.'
While Shortiefoeva3 was of the opinion that, 'just because you dont like spike lee doesn't mean you have to bash his project like that. If you don't like the movie keep your comments to yourself. I saw the film and i really liked it. It's spike lee's creative signature to use those camera tricks he did it in "Inside Man". Whether or not you like them is irrelevent to the story, meaning, and symbolism.
anywho its ignorant to take someone else's word on their interpretation of movies/art because nobody's minds are alike (sic)."
I wonder if Shortiefoeva1 and Shortiefoeva2's minds are alike Shortiefoeva3's too? I know about 1,347 other emailer's were. Although, my favorite was an exchange between mongobobo and quteness10 on the message board.
Mongobobo wrote, 'I gave up on Spike Lee after SON OF SAM. Stick to documentaries, Spike.'
Which inspired quteness10 to opine, 'Before you post comments about the movie, research the background first so that you can respond with some knowledge. Spike Lee's movie is based on the novel by James McBride which was based on a relationship (between the boy and his "Chocolate Giant") with the war and the all Black division as a back drop. It's NOT a documentary! It's a movie, and movies are made for entertainment purposes and not generally for educational purposes.'
Of course, in quteness10 rush to defend Sheldon 'Spike' Lee's honor, they missed the point of mongobobo's comment, which, if I may be so bold to assume, was that 'Spike' should stick to the documentaries because his 'entertainment' isn't making it,
There is a good war movie hidden inside MIRACLE OF ST. ANNA, but, death threats aside; I have to stand by my original assessment that Sheldon Lee tripped over his own dick while trying to make it.
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Lance Norris gives us his opinions on the state of film, vents about Hollywood, and generally lets his thoughts fly.
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