This Spike Lee film examines the life of an aspiring actress in New York. She is upset by the treatment of women in the movie industry during one of her screen tests with 'QT'. Out of work ... See full summary »
Vanessa Williams was originally considered for the role of Jane Toussaint. However, Spike Lee was impressed by Tisha Campbell's singing performance in Little Shop of Horrors (1986), so she got the part. See more »
When the Gamma Rays are singing I Don't Want to Be Alone Tonight, towards the end of the song, the audio and picture don't add up. The audio is slightly ahead. See more »
You're just a jig-a-boo, tryin' to find somethin' to do!
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Lee's sophomore effort is far from great, but it's a fine effort nonetheless
School Daze isn't something that is exclusive to those who went to
all-black colleges, despite what some other commenters have said on
IMDb. Coming from an average state school, there's still nothing *big*
in the movie that comes from specifically being all-black, as there are
many things like fraternities/sororities, male and female camaraderie,
sex, fashion, insults, sports and rituals in general that are common to
any college experience. Spike Lee captures that, when he's at his best
here, very well. If you *did* go to an all-black college ala Lee's alma
mater Moorehouse, then I'm sure it will have more relevance. But in
general, Lee's made a solid, technically wild college
comedy/musical/drama, with some major missteps.
There are some messages thrown about in School Daze, mostly around
sexism, not so much racism (there's barely a white person to be seen in
the film so it's not really an issue to deal with per-say), but they're
all used in relativity with the story and characters, which is good.
We're given Mission college, an all-black college down south, where
classes are pretty much moot and everything revolves around cliques of
various sorts: the Greek frat, which Half-Pint (Spike Lee) is trying to
join, and his cousin Dap (Fishburne) who definitely is not and is
defiant against a lot of things on campus, which nearly get him
expelled. There are also the jigaboo's and the wannabes, two sets of
girls on campus who are certainly opposed (as we see, brilliantly, in
one of the better musical numbers).
While Lee's plot isn't always connected together, there's so much that
works when he keeps the dialog moving along. He has a great sense of
the characters, the BS that binds guys together and how the rhythm of a
conversation with these 18-22 year olds goes, and about the ambivalence
between the opposing sexes, leading up to the dramatic climax. Even
most of the actors, close to all of them their first time in a Lee
joint (Esposito, Davis, Bill Nunn), are terrific when given the chance
showing off how absurd and, in retrospect in life, abstract all of this
becomes. What keeps it down from being a lot better- and, sadly, what
makes it look a lot more like an exercise in style (which, granted, was
Lee's first movie with a budget above 100 grand and for a studio)- are
the padded musical performances, and specifically those that don't
contribute anything to the story. The first sequence is dynamite as the
actresses all perform in an energetic performance about the differences
between the sororities. After that, it's more or less (more for the one
scene with the singer intercut with the sex) just filler that is shot
well but empty.
Nevertheless, School Daze shows a filmmaker ready and hungry behind the
lens to try and do things and show us bits and pieces of life that
haven't been much in American movies, and at best it's riveting and
entertaining. For this it's commendable, but it's also a stepping stone
for Do the Right Thing. 7.5/10
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