Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Film: Crooklyn (1994) [Dir. Lee]

Matinees, we are sitting on the stoop of summer. The ol' Pueblo has bypassed 100F and the Matinee is saying goodbye to June with a summer classic. Spike Lee's Crooklyn. No films feel like the swelter of summer like a Spike Lee joint. And your manager has a serious soft spot for this flick, a great-coming-of-age-kick-bully-boys'-asses from the coolest 9 year old girl on the block, Troy Carmichael (played by Zelda Harris).
Set in Brooklyn 1973, this film is def a Lee love letter to memories and naughtiness of 70's childhood, written by Spike, bro Cinque and sis Joie. And it will make you cry. In Matinee tradition, when the story turns, your manager leaves off narration---but the first time i saw this i totally wept and this song did it to me---it is placed at a perfect spot:
Troy has four brothers, two older and two younger. Headquarters are her bedroom where the television is stationed. They battle between the Knicks and Partridge Family, but Soul Train always gets the unanimous vote.

Clinton (Carlton Williams), Knicks fan and all around oldest bossy pants (trust me the oldest always are)
Wendell (Sharif Rashed), owns the stoop and is a little cooler than everyone else
Nate (Christopher Knowings), hater of blacked eyed peas and secret lover of the Partridge family
Joseph (Tse-mach Washington), the baby and game for anything
The two rocks of the family are a yin and yang Mom and Dad.
Carolyn Carmichael (Alfre Woodward), the gorgeous toughie who teaches and keeps things running---she will wake you up if the kitchen is a mess but defends her munchkins like a mama bear on the block
Woodrow Carmichael (Delroy Lindo), artist papa who loves to treat with sweet snacks, hug out a fight and pleads for quiet to make music---he calls the crew into dinner with a ram's horn
Other neighborhood folks weave in and out of the jams:
Tommy La La (Jose Zuniga) who has an honorary spot on the Carmichael stoop and sings his heart out
Vic (Isaiah Washington) the super hot Vietnam Vet who rents from the Carmichaels and has the kids' backs when they need him
Tony Two Eyes (David Patrick Kelly) irate neighbor who owns countless dogs and sings atonally during dinner hour  [Twin Peaks fans alert: Jerry Horne!]
Snuffy (Spike Lee) and Right Hand Man (N. Jeremi Duru) glue addicts and recipients of Troy's temper 

Even RuPaul makes a sexy little cameo at the corner bodega
Troy is absolutely our hero, alluding gently to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn while making her own story altogether. She takes shit from no one---growing up along the way.
 Owning the block with her posse...
Dealing with new spaces...
Seeing racial injustice hit the block...
Taking no shit from her brothers...
Dreaming out her worries with her wild imagination...
Loving her family...
Overall, this is a summer love note to childhood: rocking out and loving your peeps. Wow, your Matinee manager is getting full on softie cheese here. I can't help it, this movie totally makes me feel 10 too. I promise, sarcasm will return shortly. Until then...joy from Crooklyn.

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