clockers - by the mellow

i am so sick of being manipulated. that's why i only see action movies in my living room. if i had known how subtly powerful movies about people who look like me could be, i wouldn't have done so much squawking about 227 and good times back in the day. now i got to deal with clockers, and problems that the mellow shouldn't concern himself with. but mellow hell is full of indirection. pay attention to this review, there will be a test at the end...
one way out.
there is an expression out in the hiphop world, or at least the last time i tuned to hot 97 in brooklyn: 'studio gangsters'. and knowing that even michael jackson can trick the world (read the media) into believing he's an anti-semite with a soundbite as mealy as 'kike me' coupled with an identity trick, it comes as a great consolation to know that clockers is stacked to the rafters with first rate acting talent. it's a movie, it's a story. in one way or another, the story and the movie are old. but the reason clockers smacks you upside the dome and involves you so deeply has nothing to do with reality, but with the caliber of chemistry between story, direction and acting. that clockers is so deft and engrossing is high tribute to the men and women involved. i am convinced spike lee could make america believe anything about black people.
them white critics.
the second thing i heard about the new joint was that all them white critics liked it because it 'pointed the finger' at black people. this, in itself is the confirmation that clockers, despite the non-spike story, is indeed a spike lee joint. meta meta cum society. tiring but current. bfd. i can only say one thing, which i almost said above. i am convinced that spike lee could make white critics believe a very specific set of things about black people.
them black critics.
the third thing i heard about the new joint was that homegirl who did my lady's do was pissed about white cops saving black men. i can only say one thing, which i almost said twice before. i am convinced that spike lee could make a good movie but everybody believes what they want about black and white people. is that unraveled enough to get to the film?
i wasn't there.
'just another stain on the sidewalk' is a cruel way to say 'gorillas in the mist' is just more '6 foot 7 niggers lifting weights'. so if you are a clocker cop, a rodney king beater or mark fuhrman, your dialog is fresh and present. harvey keitel and john turturro in the house, representing the homo side squad. dinkins is out and rudy is in, that means law and order. the brothers on the benches, through their diss fest, reflect how the dozens have crumbled in the x hat generation to a single dimension bounded by pussy ass motherfucker and punk ass bitch. oddly enough, the film is all about respect and loyalty. lines drawn, cops manipulate, crooks manipulate, families persist.
the family america wished they could be.
speaking af law and order and spike lee as the great convincer, there is something that rings true about little man's mother all up in strike's face. i've seen variations myself. and while i'm making points about the bravery required for life, it occurs to me that 'friday' was on the same tip. some families refuse to be victims, reserving their integrity without recourse to escalating the war between anonymous killer cops and anonymous killer criminals through the ballot box. only women who are brave enough to beat down a clocker with her own two, is wise enough to say no to the death penalty and tax increases for police overtime and give the finger to phil gramm. "i know you and your momma." that's civilization.
arms distance.
conditioned as i am by 'law and order' every night at 11 on a&e, i expect detectives to arrest with some frequency and professionalism. somehow i beleive keitel a bit more as he effects a personal dance around suspects, flexing, cajoling, ever circling and narrowing in for the kill - ego in only slightly reserved position.
tell me what i want to hear.
i am seeing a black man's face close up. he is confessing in police custody. his skin in backlit in the glow reserved for the alien spaceship's abduction ray. i have two jobs, he says. i have been to the point where i am so tired from work i hate the sound of my own child's crying voice. i have to work. i'm doing the best i can. he is not sobbing, he is not begging, he is under no pressure. he is telling the truth. i killed a man in self-defense he says, yet he cannot be believed. it has to be somebody else.
operating system.
when was the last time you saw your brother? do you take me for some kind of jerk? isn't there something you aren't telling me? white cops. black suspects. dead bodies. conditioned audience. oj trial. we all just know the circumstances don't we? don't we? even when we look we don't see. even when we listen we don't hear. even when we think we don't know. america has forgotten what justice looks like, we have the look and feel of some system whose kernal short on memory and therefore fatally flawed. but this is '95 and the world is changing right? spike lee gives us the proper window, but do we recognize the flaw?
so now i have this problem. i have been reminded in a manner so subtle, through the device of a film about black families and drugs how americans can refuse the complexity of life and justice. . and i wonder if anybody else got that message or if they are still at the black critic / whtie critic stage.
the questions
oh yeah. i almost forgot. last night was opening night here in atlanta. they passed out questionnaires. the last time i got a questionnaire was for do the right thing in torrance california. i didn't return that one either. but i thought y'all might be interested in knowing what the questioners are interested in knowing....

1. please indicate your sex. 2. please indicate your age. 3. last grade of school you completed. 4. please indicate your ethnic background (check one) 5. indicate one item in the list below that was most influential in your decision to see this movie. (18 choices available) 6. which of the following were imporatant to you in deciding to see clockers (story | action | suspense | title | setting | musci | director - spike lee | harvey keitel | john turturro | mekhi phifer | delroy lindo | reviews of the movie | other ) 7. did you, yourself, choose to see clockers tonight or did you come because someone else wanted you to see it? 8. how would you rate this movie? 9. will you recommend this film to other people 10. please chekc all the following terms that you feel describe the movie. (well-acted | too violent | predictable | funny | suspenseful | high quality | confusing | action-filled | involving | my age group would enjoy it | different/original | realistic | dramatic | dull/boring ) 11. with whom have you attended this movie? 12. which of the following movies have you seen? fore ach one that you saw did you like it or not like it? (do the right thing | mo better blues | jungle fever | malcolm x | crooklyn ) 13. before you saw clockers tonight, did you see a preview for the movie ' sudden death'? 14. if you saw this preview, how interested are you in seeing the movie 'sudden death'?