That new David Spade show on Comedy Central is pretty darn good. No one does celebrity digs like the Spadester. Another plus that came from tuning in: I found out that I'm qualified to be a writer for his program. You see, I'm sure by total coincidence, he repeated a joke I'd said over my cubicle wall earlier this week about a certain eyesore of a sculpture that's supposed to resemble Britney Spears giving birth on a bear-skin rug. My joke and David's was in regards to the artist's intention that this piece of, um, crap, I mean, craftsmanship, would serve a pro-life symbol. Pro-life, that is, UNLESS YOU'RE A BEAR.
My first film outing in a fortnight led me to see Inside Man, the new Spike Lee film. When I saw the movie posters around town, I just wanted to keep driving. I haven't seen a more boring piece of key art since I dunno when. It looked like a generic hunk of big studio Olestra parading big names (Denzel, Jodie and non-generic hunk Clive) in lieu of big ideas. Later on I found out that it was directed by Spike Lee. Well, hello there. I'm a big fan and have seen almost all of his films (one notable exception: She Hate Me. WTF?) "Alright," I thought to meself, "maybe I'll give Spikey-poo a chance on this one." Then my homie gave it a hearty stamp of approval and MD'A wrote a rousing review of it. I was in.
I think the best word to describe this film is cracklin'. It's taut energy, fine acting, old-school movie humor and fresh storytelling (e.g., "flash-forwards" vs. flashbacks) kept me firmly coiled in my velveteen seat and kept me guessing. First-time screenwriter Russell Gewirtz deserves heaps of praise. The script's a crowd-pleaser, but also gives the crowd some credit for having enough gray matter to follow along and enough focus to stay along for the plot-twisting ride. Speaking of rides, one of my favorite parts of the film utilized Spike's "actor on a dolly" move. Seeing it made me feel like I was an inside man of a Spike Lee fan. Holla!
It's interesting that both Spike Lee and Woody Allen, two directors who tended to hug the sides of the cinematic pool of mass market success due to being true to their visions, have recently found themselves swimming victory laps with the most commercial films of their careers. At first glance, it feels like a bit of a sell-out. At second glance, it becomes apparent that they've done their "Hollywood picture" their way. Both Inside Man and Match Point are trip-wired with deeper themes--most powerfully, the corroding power of greed. Whether it's a NYPD detective who longs for a career break or a tennis coach who longs for a flat overlooking the Thames, seems that money is the root of all evil after all.