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Overall Rating

Awesome: 23.88%
Worth A Look30.6%
Average: 16.42%
Pretty Bad: 17.16%
Total Crap: 11.94%

11 reviews, 68 user ratings

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Summer of Sam
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by Chris Parry

"Spike has something to say, but hey, say it quicker next time."
3 stars

Spike is stylin'. He really is. Cat knows how to make the camera transmit weather. Observe flicks like She's Gotta Have It and Do The Right Thing. These films actually make the room temperature rise. You sweat. Your blood pumps. You get uncomfortable. And for a subject matter like the Son Of Sam serial killings, that's the kind of ability that can make a good premise into a great movie. There's just one problem. Spike takes far too long to shoot his cinematic load and by the time you're into the second hour of foreplay you kinda wish he'd just let the pants hit the floor already.

It's New York, it's summer and the Son Of Sam is blasting holes through the heads of assorted random teenagers. People are getting a little antsy. They're getting paranoid. They're changing their hair so as to not look like his targets, they're accusing each other of mass murder, they're going nuts and the press is helping them along the road to the Nutbar-ville.

Great premise for a flick, eh?

And in the midst of it all is a group of Italian dudes who, in when not fucking anything that moves, doing some disco, beating on "fagues" and doing the odd line of coke/speed/bleach, illustrate exactly what the city is feeling. Complete panic mixed in with grumpy machismo.

Unfortunately, Spike wants these guys to have their own film and he gives them one. Each. Leguizamo and Sorvino play a married couple who, like the city, are about to split apart at the seams. Leguizamo's best friend returns from the UK where he's been punking it up and starts dating the town bike in between dancing for sugar daddy's and playing "rawk and ro-well".

And then there's the killer (who by day works for a legal practice, or was that me just getting confused with something else?) who is having trouble with the dog next door who just won't shut the hell up (I can empathise, bro). In fact, this dog is a big black Babe with big white teeth, but I'm digressing.

Unable to concentrate on one particular avenue (or perhaps trying to cover multiple avenues), Summer Of Sam does one too many twists and not enough shouting. Given the chance to have a long winded spray about irresponsible journalism, paranoia, big city living, infidelity, drugs, the death of disco, friendship or serial killers, Spike has chosen "all of the above" and lost any chance of making *A* point.

Is it typical Spike stylin'? Yeah. Is the music great? Sho' nuff. Do the performances rock shit? Abso-diddly-utely, especially Adrien Brody as the punk dude. Is it worth a look-see? Well, on a dollar:minute of film ratio it's good value, but if you're expecting a mind-shattering point to be made, go see something else. And wear shorts.

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originally posted: 12/19/99 23:48:24
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User Comments

5/04/19 GLR Spite Wee's usual truth-mangling Black racist propaganda "film" 1 stars
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
3/03/11 chris c Somewhat of a spiritual counterpart to Do the right thing despite a lot of vulgarity & sex 4 stars
6/02/09 MP Bartley Sweats and flails to little thick-headed effect. Some good moments survive. 3 stars
7/02/08 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
1/28/07 action movie fan funny, tough and super realistic-the best film of 1999 5 stars
6/11/06 Jeff Anderson Some of Lee's strongest, best work to date. Sorvino's sexy & great performance STANDS OUT!! 5 stars
8/20/05 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
1/22/04 Sugarfoot Spike Lee sucks, plain and simple. And so do most of his movies. (Girl 6 for one.) 1 stars
1/17/04 Agent Sands (previously Mr. Hat) Definitely one of my top 3 favorite films of all time! It's fucking perfect!!!!! 5 stars
12/19/03 ROY L. CAIN,JR. The first Spike Lee joint to not feature too many black characters. Still a groovy pic. 5 stars
10/19/03 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
5/12/03 Jack Bourbon Eh. Don't care for it. 2 stars
3/19/03 Jack Sommersby Maddeningly uninvolving and unfocused. This talented cast deserves much better. 2 stars
10/24/02 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
9/26/02 snowconehead Too much Leguizamo, not enough Sorvino 4 stars
7/18/02 Cris Abisale He Got Game is much better.Too much sex in this movie.Spike=Disappointment 2 stars
3/05/02 Alan Smithee Typical overrated Spike Lee bullshit. 1 stars
1/01/02 Andrew Carden Pretty Realistic Movie...I Didn't Like John Though. 4 stars
9/09/01 Butterbean A very underrated movie. It captured the effect of city-wide panic brilliantly 4 stars
7/29/01 Artist Freak Great performances, really pegs the 70s. Wide array of sex for a non-porn movie. 4 stars
6/29/01 See me Fly!!!! fuck this movie it's fucking hard to fucking understand, they say fuck every fucking second 2 stars
4/19/01 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
3/12/01 RACHEL this movie was amazing, very well made, great images 5 stars
2/23/01 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
12/06/00 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
6/24/00 Aaron White Best talking animal scene in film history. Sex scenes restored my will to live. 4 stars
3/10/00 Kyle Broflovski Blergh. I punctuated every scene with a hella yawn. BORING!!! 1 stars
3/09/00 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
1/21/00 node I found this to be very thought provoking. 4 stars
1/02/00 KK Should be renamed Summer of Idiots. Lee can't direct/act/write his way out of a paper bag. 1 stars
1/01/00 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
11/25/99 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
11/01/99 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
8/10/99 Alisa Spike Lee shows no class in this film. he didn't even research this movie for truth. 1 stars
8/04/99 Tanya I'm being generous with the rating. Spike Lee making white people look ignorant again. 2 stars
8/03/99 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
8/01/99 Obi Wan This movie didn't do shit to me or for me...except waste my time! 2 stars
7/22/99 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
7/12/99 ken heine the punk scene was cool. 2 stars
7/12/99 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
7/10/99 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
7/07/99 Brian M honest characterizations, bizarro editing and fab music 4 stars
7/07/99 Daddy Rich Spike Lee; what more can you say? 5 stars
7/07/99 Mr showbiz Spike Lee's latest is a triumph of style... and little else. 2 stars
7/06/99 sydney awesome! 5 stars
7/06/99 Malbert Worst piece of crap I've ever seen 1 stars
7/05/99 jvt Overlong, pretentious crap with stereotypical "characters" 1 stars
7/05/99 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
6/16/99 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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