Trending
MOST READ
Andrew Weissman poised to open The Luxury in addition to two more restaurants

Andrew Weissman poised to open The Luxury in addition to two more restaurants

Food & Drink: In the last few years, San Antonio has seen an exponential rise in the number of quality restaurant offerings, several of... By Diana Roberts 2/27/2013
How Weed Advocates Hope to Spark Legalization in Texas

How Weed Advocates Hope to Spark Legalization in Texas

News: Less than a mile from the Whatcom County Courthouse and even closer to Bellingham High School sits Top Shelf Cannabis, the first store to open and operate after... By Mark Reagan 8/13/2014
Hall & Oates Singer Hated the Late ’80s, Too

Hall & Oates Singer Hated the Late ’80s, Too

Music: It’s hard for musical duos to survive. Garfunkel felt slighted, Cher never needed Sonny and the Captain could never get a word in edgewise with Tennile. When... By Chris Parker 2/19/2014
Phô Nguyen Woos Phonatics

Phô Nguyen Woos Phonatics

Food & Drink: I don’t expect much from Vietnamese restaurants in the way of decor; it’s more not Chinese and not Japanese than anything. I certainly don’t expect... By Ron Bechtol 8/27/2014
Hot Joy’s Here to Stay

Hot Joy’s Here to Stay

Food & Drink: Since its inception more than two years ago as one of the first true pop-ups in the city, Hot Joy’s been a hit. Maybe it was the The Monterey’s... By Jessica Elizarraras 5/28/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Screens & Tech

Black History Month: Some of the most important black films ever made

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

“He was handsome, articulate, funny ... and he was whooping ass, too!” said Spike Lee of Muhammad Ali (center) in When We Were Kings.


Black film (or films dealing with black reality) didn't start with '70s blaxploitation. There was black film in the early part of the 20th century, and not just any film: Oscar Micheaux tackled race issues almost a century before the advent of Melvin Van Pebbles, Spike Lee, and John Singleton. Yet, the majority of those films are typically left behind in most film histories and re-releases, so all we're left with generally comes from the '60s on. The good thing is that there's still plenty of great flicks to choose from, and the following represent my personal take on black films that you need to see, by any means necessary.

1. When We Were Kings
(1996, dir. Leon Gast)
In 1974, Muhammad Ali became the first man in history to win the heavyweight title three times by knocking out favorite George Foreman in Zaire's "Rumble in the Jungle." This movie shows you the build-up leading to the fight and the fight itself, but it is much more than that — it is a stunning document of black pride. Not only did Ali upset Foreman: he stole the movie as well. "I'm gonna let everybody know that that thing you got on your head is a phony, and it comes from the tail of a pony!," he told Howard Cosell, one of the many people at ringside who didn't give Ali a chance and was forced to eat his words later.

2. Do the Right Thing
(1989, dir. Spike Lee)
Spike Lee's first masterpiece takes place on the hottest day of the year in the Bed-Stuy section of Brooklyn. Lee slowly builds up his examination of race relations and makes the movie explode into a riot. Instead of tailing off with a "back to normalcy" ending, he added two quotes that had people leaving the theater arguing with one another. "Violence ends by defeating itself," read Martin Luther King's quote. "It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers." The quote was followed by one by Malcolm X. "I am not against using violence in self-defense. I don't even call it violence when it's self-defense, I call it intelligence." An explosive, ambiguous ending for an explosive film that was at number 96 on the American Film Institute's list of best all-time American movies.

3. When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
(2006, dir. Spike Lee)
If you thought Hurricane Katrina was a bad thing, wait till you see this eight-hour documentary — the reality of it was much, much worse.

4. Malcolm X
(1992, dir. Spike Lee)
Denzel Washington should have won his second Oscar for his portrayal of Malcolm X, one of the most complex and misunderstood personalities in American history. An epic film that a stubborn Lee was able to finish his way despite Universal suggesting the Mecca scenes be filmed in the Arizona desert. Now available in Blu-ray.

5. Guess Who's Coming To Dinner
(1967, dir. Stanley Kramer)
An early masterpiece about interracial marriage and race relations, with a superb performance by a star-studded cast. But Spencer Tracy sent the movie home with a memorable speech towards the end. "The only thing that matters is what they feel, and how much they feel, for each other," he said. "And if it's half of what we felt — that's everything." Despite feeling at times dated, with Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, and Sidney Poitier on board, this is as powerful and real as it gets.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus