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Cannes - Spike Lee criticizes Eastwood, Coens

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Cannes - Spike Lee criticizes Eastwood, Coens

Old 05-22-08, 11:56 AM
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Cannes - Spike Lee criticizes Eastwood, Coens

This was mentionned in a racism thread in the political forum, but Spike's antics are probably best suited for this forum.

Spike Lee rips Coens and Eastwood at Cannes
Director takes issue with fellow filmmakers over death, use of black actors


By Eric J. Lyman
Hollywood Reporter
updated 9:51 a.m. ET, Wed., May. 21, 2008

CANNES, France - Spike Lee is in Cannes to promote a new film, but he couldn’t resist taking a few swipes at some fellow directors, including Joel and Ethan Coen and Clint Eastwood.

Speaking about his World War II drama “Miracle at St. Anna,” Lee said that, unlike the Coens, he was respectful in the way he portrayed death.

“I always treat life and death with respect, but most people don’t,” Lee said at a news conference Tuesday. “Look, I love the Coen brothers; we all studied at NYU. But they treat life like a joke. Ha ha ha. A joke. It’s like, ‘Look how they killed that guy! Look how blood squirts out the side of his head!’ I see things different than that.”

Speaking about the casting for his tale of four black American soldiers in Tuscany, Lee said that black actors appear in war films too infrequently.

“Clint Eastwood made two films about Iwo Jima that ran for more than four hours total, and there was not one Negro actor on the screen,” he said. “If you reporters had any balls you’d ask him why. There’s no way I know why he did that — that was his vision, not mine. But I know it was pointed out to him and that he could have changed it. It’s not like he didn’t know.”

Lee said that “St. Anna” is in the final stages of postproduction, with an Oct. 10 release date likely — exactly one year after shooting started. He said the film is likely to premiere at a festival the month before, either Venice or Toronto.
For the record, roughly 1% of the soldiers who fought at Iwo Jima were black. Of course their number doesn't diminish whatever contribution they made but considering that the 1st film's central theme is how the soldiers who raised the flag (none being black) were exploited afterwards, and that the 2nd film presents the Japanese perspective, frankly I don't think it's something to get all worked up about. Well unless your name is Spike Lee.

The comments about the Coens? Meh...

And using the opportunity to promote your own film to take a dump on other filmmakers makes you look like an ass.
Old 05-22-08, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
The comments about the Coens? Meh...
They at least learned how to end a movie.
Old 05-22-08, 12:13 PM
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I couldn't stand 'No Country for Old Men' so I can cide with Spike on his comment, but Spike's fifteen minutes were long gone IMO.
Old 05-22-08, 12:17 PM
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I think Lee is beyond caring how he looks.

Spot-on about the Coens, though. It points to my main source of criticism of the majority of their films: utter contempt for their characters. And if that's the way they want to make films, they are certainly entitled to it (and I don't go out of my way to see their works).

As for the Eastwood criticism... that gets a 'meh' from me. But then, I haven't seen either of the Iwo Jima movies.

A criticism I would heap towards Lee's films is the blustery self-importance that can infect his work. That's a high-wire act, though, because the aspect I love about his films is the unrestrained expressionism and emotional breadth. I sincerely enjoyed She Hate Me and I consider Bamboozled to be one of the finest American films in the past ten years.

I just heard yesterday that he is working on a Michael Jordan documentary (featuring a lot of unseen footage of his 'comeback' with the Washington Wizards). It will be very interesting to see how that turns out.

Last edited by sundog; 05-22-08 at 12:22 PM.
Old 05-22-08, 12:17 PM
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Sadly Spike has never materialized as a 'Great' Director'. He has had some decent films, but even his greatest film 'X' had flaws and wasnt GREAT. it was very good I think the only reason it was that was because of great acting by Denzel.

The Coen's have showed Violence in many aspects, and Eastwood was right to make his movie that way. I hate it when people stick a black guy in a role just because they feel they need to. If there was at least a real percentage of black fighters there, then yes by all means make it real, put them in, but putting them in just to make people like Spke Lee happy, HAHAHAHAH NO FREAKIN WAY!!! People who say idiotic things like Spike Lee are aparently very high up on their horse and need to come down to reality.

Spike has needed to get into reality for quite awhile.
Old 05-22-08, 12:20 PM
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Spike isn't fit to shine Eastwood's shoes.
Old 05-22-08, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Rockmjd23
Spike isn't fit to shine Eastwood's shoes.
But he IS fit to market Michael Jordan's.

Old 05-22-08, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Rockmjd23
Spike isn't fit to shine Eastwood's shoes.
As an actor, certainly not. As a total package, debatable. As a director, I think they can go toe-to-toe, especially considering that Eastwood is near the end of his career and Spike Lee is almost 30 years younger. Thirty years ago, Spike Lee was still a film student. And Eastwood hasn't written anything besides scores.

If both ended their careers after this year, obviously Eastwood prevails.

All I'm saying is that this isn't Uwe Boll making fun of Steven Spielberg. Both men have put their stamp on the world of film and both have crafted critically acclaimed movies, box office winner(s), and a few duds.
Old 05-22-08, 01:05 PM
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I don't think there is a filmmaker out there that I like less than Spike Lee. Hell, even with Michael Bay and Uwe Boll you know you're getting crap, but they aren't marching around acting like it's the greatest art since the Sistine Chapel. Spike does, though, and I haven't liked a single movie of his. I have to force myself to suffer through a Lee "joint".
Old 05-22-08, 01:05 PM
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I love Spike Lee, Eastwood and the Coens.
SPike lee did not say anything negative against the Directors or the works themselves. He made valid points and I agree to some extent with most of his comments.
He compared his work with the works of these other filmmakers. He even says he loves the Coens. The media loves to portray Lee as an angry black man and has for about 2 decades now. He has had problems with Tarantino and his use of the "N" word, Norman Jewison (who was the original director slated to film Malcolm X) after saying a white man cannot adequately portray the life of the iconic black civil rights leader, Charlton Heston (Yes, Mchael Moore was not the first one to take out anger against Mr. Heston), and many others.
Are his opinons sometimes controversial and outspoken yes buy they probably wouldn't be made such a big deal of if he were a white man. These are not Uwe BOll types of comments and he makes valid points that are realistic and understandable and dont take away from the films that they criticize.
First off the Eastwood films comments in regard to no black soldiers In his "Iwo Jima" films. He was obviously pointing out differences between his upcoming WWII film and Eastwood's set of films. Yeah Eastwood probably could've shown some black soldiers but he didn't in Flags of Our Fathers. WHy? I don't know. In Letters from Iwo Jima I don't think anybody expected black solders fighting alongside the Japanese. I' am sure Lees flm wll be better than both of these films combned though and he'll even out the score so all will be well.
As for the COen bros. its a fact they have a particular kind of violence that s many/most times trying to be a cool or comical type of violence. Thats just the way they do things. It works very well for them and Spike Lee does not have the film making sensibility to portray violence/murder/death the same way the Coens do. If you remember Spke was also very vocal back in the early 90's with the emergence of the "Hood" films like Menace 2 Society and Boyz in the Hood, (and later) Get Rick or Die Tryin' etc. and their glamorization of gangsta/hood lifestyle. He did not appreciate or identify with the films and their rationality that the lives of the people portrayed in these films had no value. In response to this he made Clockers which was a counterpoint to these films in which consequences and actions and responsibilities were portrayed much more realistically.
I hope people try to have some idea of where Lee s coming from and also understanding his complaints and grievances. Yes sometimes Lee probably should just keep his mouth shut but apparently he is incapable of doing this and its not like he makes completely ridiculous claims that have no merit.

Last edited by chris_sc77; 05-22-08 at 01:08 PM.
Old 05-22-08, 01:07 PM
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I think the troops were still being segregated during WWII, so Eastwood was depicting accuracy as opposed to political correctness.

Personally, I think Spike Lee just likes to hear his own voice.
Old 05-22-08, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Rockmjd23
Spike isn't fit to shine Eastwood's shoes.
that's the simple truth... he isn't in Eastwood's league, period... and he is not in any way a great filmmaker...

of all his times at bat 'The 25th hour' is the high point, and it's the only film of his i own... that film is carried by stellar performances, and not Spike's direction... with Edward Norton, Barry Pepper, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Brian Cox, etc... a drunken moron could make a good movie...

'Malcolm X' has some value, and that value is on performances and not any great achievement in direction...
Originally Posted by DVD Josh
But he IS fit to market Michael Jordan's.

he should have stayed with that...
Old 05-22-08, 01:11 PM
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Is he still making movies?
Old 05-22-08, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse
that's the simple truth... he isn't in Eastwood's league, period... and he is not in any way a great filmmaker...

of all his times at bat 'The 25th hour' is the high point, and it's the only film of his i own... that film is carried by stellar performances, and not Spike's direction... with Edward Norton, Barry Pepper, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Brian Cox, etc... a drunken moron could make a good movie...

'Malcolm X' has some value, and that value is on performances and not any great achievement in direction...
These are just completely ludicrous statements. 25th Hour and Malcolm X are masterpieces of Direction.
Not only do we get signature spike Lee shots and scenes (The "Fuck you" montage harkens back to a similar scene in do the right thing) we also get Lee's fantastic use of music (by way of frequent lee collaborator Terrence Blanchard in 25th hour and many 60's R&B tunes in "X"), controversial opening credit sequences, powerful dialogue, etc.
Eastwood could not have made the films Spike Lee made wit the same results. On the other hand Spike Lee i feel could have made many of the films Eastwood has made and possibly even made them better.
And thats the double truth Ruth!

Acting-wse Eastwood does kick Lee's ass. SPike lee admits he isn't a very good actor and he is not even fond of acting. thats why he doesn't do it anymore.
Old 05-22-08, 01:27 PM
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One of these men is an Oscar winning director, and one isn't...
Old 05-22-08, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mcfly
Is he still making movies?


well he runs his mouth about infinitely better film makers to try and make people aware he still is making 'joints' i suppose...

cheap gimmicks are a good crutch when there is no real substance or talent after all...
Old 05-22-08, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by stingermck
One of these men is an Oscar winning director, and one isn't...
Well. Lee was Nominated for Best Documentary Feature for directing 4 little girls and he was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay for Do the Right Thing.
SO, by your estimation would you concede Spike Lee is at least A better Documentary filmmaker and Screenplay writer (if not a better director) than Eastwood if we are judging by academy award recognition?
Old 05-22-08, 01:44 PM
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This is how Spike keeps his name in the news, listen to his point, decide for yourself and move on. Getting angry at him just fuels him more. I love his movies, he is a very talented filmmaker who is willing to take major risks, but I view him the same as Woody Allen by just looking up at the screen and not the press.
Old 05-22-08, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by chris_sc77
I hope people try to have some idea of where Lee s coming from and also understanding his complaints and grievances. Yes sometimes Lee probably should just keep his mouth shut but apparently he is incapable of doing this and its not like he makes completely ridiculous claims that have no merit.
While his claims might have some merit, it's the context in which they were made that makes him sound petty and classless. He's selling a product, he's promoting his film, and he's doing it by using the most puke inducing method ever devised by mankind, "negative advertising".

"Candidate 'Y' snorted coke and had sex with goats, so vote for me!"

"Eastwood disrespected black soldiers by not including them in his WWII films and the Coens treat life and death like a joke, see my film wich will have none of these flaws!"

Sell your "product" on it's own merits.

And for the record, I don't have a bone to pick with Lee nor do I generally dislike his films. But yeah, he should learn to keep his mouth shut.

Last edited by eXcentris; 05-22-08 at 02:00 PM.
Old 05-22-08, 02:00 PM
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Hes not the only person that does this though. For example the New Hulk move has been promoted by the talent/studio involved as being "nothing like the artsy one Ang Lee did".
Old 05-22-08, 02:32 PM
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It was a news conference, so that means myriad questions, no doubt ranging from directly related to tangental. And with Lee, I'm sure folks covering this conference were looking for those typical Lee comments. And this is what was reported.

Originally Posted by chris_sc77
Hes not the only person that does this though. For example the New Hulk move has been promoted by the talent/studio involved as being "nothing like the artsy one Ang Lee did".
Well, I won't be seeing that, as I found "Hulk" to be one of the finest of the new genereration of comic book movies...

But that reminds me of going to a screening of Rio Bravo a few years ago at Northwestern University. The professor presenting it said that Howard Hawks and John Wayne said they made the movie as an answer to the liberal-minded High Noon (they detested the whining of Gary Cooper in the movie).
Old 05-22-08, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by chris_sc77
Well. Lee was Nominated for Best Documentary Feature for directing 4 little girls and he was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay for Do the Right Thing.
SO, by your estimation would you concede Spike Lee is at least A better Documentary filmmaker and Screenplay writer (if not a better director) than Eastwood if we are judging by academy award recognition?
No. I like Eastwood better.
Old 05-22-08, 03:15 PM
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And this is exactly the reason I hate Spike Lee.

He has to criticize everybody. Just keep your mouth shut.
Old 05-22-08, 03:33 PM
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Yeah, I'm with you Spike. I'm still pissed that there were more Japanese people than white Americans in Letters From Iwo Jima. I mean, history be damned.

Oh, by the way, Unforgiven starred Morgan Freeman. That was a western with a black guy as one of the main characters. How many of those are there?

And I thought this quote needed repeating...

On the other hand Spike Lee i feel could have made many of the films Eastwood has made and possibly even made them better.
Seriously, I laughed so hard I almost spit out my drink.

Last edited by vcuram; 05-22-08 at 03:35 PM.
Old 05-22-08, 03:55 PM
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Is there any merit at all to his claim about the Coens? It's seeming to me like he's only seen Fargo. I don't remember many comically gory deaths in No Country for Old Men, The Ladykillers, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Big Lebowski, Miller's Crossing or The Hudsucker Proxy. It's been years since I've seen their other films, so maybe I'm forgetting some things there, or even with the films I mentioned, but it really feels like Lee is judging their whole catalog by one film.

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